Tea & Two Slices is a long-running local news round-up by NEEDS frontman and veteran dishwasher Sean Orr, who lives and works in Gastown, deeply aware of his privilege.
Oh, would you look at that! Just as we are sending our children back to school and ending the moratorium on evictions, lung-crippling forest fire smoke wafts up from Washington, just in time to complete the 2020 dystopian bingo card!
Brace yourselves for a deluge of smoky sunset Instagram photos! As if yesterday’s explosion of Hemlock Looper moths wasn’t creepy enough, we now get to be constantly reminded of the frivolity of the hoi polloi as we ponder the immediate and tangible consequences of an ecological crisis that capitalism will also fail to tackle miserably.
On top of all of this, we have to contend with a sudden uptick in anti-homeless vigilante social media groups tearing at the fabric of our communities: Vancouver Councillor Urges End to Social Media Attacks against Homeless People and Drug Users. And yet, this is Vancouver. Groups like the Downtown Community Safety Watch Group and Safer Vancouver are direct windows into the our collective psyche. We are as hollow as the hollow tree and as vacant as our empty green glass condos.
And remember, these are exactly the kinds of people that City Hall and the media panders to — these privileged and superficial basics whose pearl-clutching complaints about “street disorder” mask selfish concerns for property values and an unforgivable disdain for the poor. They suggest people who use drugs should be forced onto naval ships on the Fraser River where they “can do whatever they want and use their drugs and yell and scream and fight but it’s not going to be near children [or] elderly people.”
Both groups have links to homeowner groups in Shaughnessy, one of Vancouver’s wealthiest neighbourhoods where homes are valued in the millions or tens of millions. StepUP started as a group of homeowners opposed to a provincial tax on homes worth more than $3 million, while Brodie is a former member of the Shaughnessy Heights Property Owners’ Association.
How rich is it that these fuckers started as anti-mansion taxers, something that literally starved the city of funds that could have helped the situation they are now whinging about? How rich is it that they think poor people all come from the nebulous amorphous zone they know as the DTES, spawned there like some sort of Dark Souls cursed undead?
And how rich is it that Nadia Iadisernia, the only other person publicly associated with Safer Vancouver, is also the principal at the Hublot Diamond charity rally, a glorified street race with VPD escorts that donates to the Vancouver Police Foundation: Lamborghini with supercar rally among vehicles involved in Sea-to-Sky crash. I’m not sure I can think of a better metaphor for the current state of Vancouver: Poor-bashing, addict-shaming, Lamborghini-driving 1%ers getting an escort from a bloated, overfunded police force that’s being paid overtime to chaperone supercar drivers.
The very next day: Ferrari impounded on Sea to Sky after being clocked at more than 100 km/h over the limit. Hands up if you’re thinking a luxury tax of at least 50% on cars like this might be a good idea.
‘It’s gotten worse and worse’: Gastown residents besieged by homeless on their doorstep. Gastown resident here. No it hasn’t. How rich is it that the media interviews renoviction king Jon Stovell, whose building used to be an SRO and is now charging crazy rents for “micro-suites”. Is it really that hard to make the connection between renovictions and the rise of “street disorder”?
This is the part of the column where I remind everyone that it is indeed possible to have compassion for drug users and the street-entrenched while also being worried about the uptick in violence and open-drug use. Apparently, that’s some real big brain stuff.
I’m just glad I could help: NPA members denounce party director over Facebook comments targeting drug users and homeless people.
Speaking of people who shamelessly insert themselves into their own articles: OPINION: With a drug crisis raging, my MLA leans on dangerous ideas. Wherein a guy who consistently voted for the same BC Liberals that got us into the public health disaster we are facing now smears his BC Liberal MLA.
Punch up, not down: Amid rising hostility toward drug users in Vancouver, Gabor Maté urges empathy. “It’s easy to focus on how someone is different from you than recognize what you share, Maté said. That tendency is magnified when the person doesn’t resemble you, he added.” These people won’t stop until the city is a homogenous, cookie-cutter simulacrum, Black Mirror-inspired dystopian hellworld where everyone lives in the exact same condo, eats at the exact same Joeys, and wears the exact same $600 Arc’teryx jacket.
It’s weird how “putting them all on a naval ship on the Fraser” isn’t included here: Jean Swanson: My three-point plan to tackle homelessness that creates six big winners. “bUt hOw wIlL wE pAy foR iT”- all the people who were against the mansion tax. Never mind the fact that almost every study ever shows that it’s cheaper to house people who are homeless than abandon them on the streets.
Oh, hey look! It’s Gastown/Yaletown/Strathcona:
Fantastic in-depth long read about Camp K-T: Tent cities Save Lives. They Shouldn’t Have To. I can’t decide which segment to highlight because it’s all so good, so here’s two:
A small encampment grows, housed neighbours complain, and the Province intervenes. In doing so, they promise that residents will be offered adequate housing, yet it becomes immediately apparent after police have destroyed the encampment that many unhoused people still have nowhere to go.
“The solution to tent cities, then, will not be found in forcing every unhoused person to conform to middle-class norms of respectability. Instead, it will require profound structural change…”
It will also require a lot more than a measly fucking $7 million from the Feds, whose decision to get out of the housing game in 1993 helped trigger this whole mess: Dan Fumano: ‘Numbers don’t lie’: B.C. gets just 0.5 % of federal housing program funds. “National” housing strategy, indeed.
It doesn’t help that the middle class is allergic to paying their fare share: Canada real estate: House of Commons petition says tax on home equity will punish millions of residential owners. We’re also, like, the only developed nation that doesn’t have an inheritance tax.
That being said, there is still a lot municipalities can do: Can innovative thinking solve Vancouver’s affordable housing crisis?
“Development taxes put downward pressure on the price of the land underneath the project. Municipalities have more power at their disposal than they have actually used up to this point. They should make use of it.”
Of course, that would mean politicians would actually want land prices to decrease: Vancouver real estate: city staff note to developer seen to suggest land lift for controversial Broadway rental tower. It turns out we’re addicted to CACs and we’ll do anything to change zoning to allow more density, even if it means windfall profits for landowners. Land lift is such a banal term for it. More like land steroids, amiright? I mean, do you even lift, bro?
Scumbag of the day: Man who ran Airbnbs in rented houses takes owners to court claiming multimillion-dollar loss. Guy takes rentals off an already insane housing market, rents them out unbeknownst to the owners, gets caught and then claims there’s ‘nothing extraordinary’ about his multiple lawsuits. He’s just another trusted member of the AirBnB community.
Wow, imagine being outflanked on the left by the most fascist president in history: White House moves to halt evictions as fears of coronavirus-fueled housing crisis grow.
Of course, to be fair, landlords are really doing everyone a favour:
Oh good, only 1.4% more unaffordable: B.C. drops maximum allowable rent increases for 2021 to 1.4%.
‘Now we have teeth’: New unit cracks down on bad landlords. So…all of them? If it’s not a guillotine then it doesn’t have teeth: “We’ve had cases where tenants are living with rat infestations and cockroach infestations with small children, and they’re getting bed bug and cockroach bites, living in rodent feces,” McGregor said.
Landlords have hearts? ‘It was heartbreaking:’ Nanaimo landlord flooded with pleas for his apartment. “These weren’t people on welfare, these were people who are the backbone of our community and the stories they’ve been communicating to us, they just cannot find apartments…”
Unacceptable: Homeless Vancouver man battling cancer struggling to find parking for his RV. At the risk of sounding sophomoric, maybe all the RV owners should park at City Hall.
Into the Wild: Squamish Ponders a Ban on Van Life. And Its Future. How dare these people help grow your booming recreation economy by any means necessary.
B.C. restaurant rebound amid COVID-19 linked to location: industry rep. “Whether or not a restaurant in B.C. will rebound from the effects of the pandemic seems to come down to one factor: location”. Or you know, whether or not it’s a fucking corporate behemoth with deep pockets that can outlast mom and pop operations so that there’s nothing left in this city but Instagram influencers living in cookie cutter condos taking pictures of smokey sunsets and crashing their lambos on the Sea to Sky. I think you get my drift. Alex Black, take it away:
The fact that the tone of this article makes it seem like there’s some positives to be had right now in this industry is beyond insulting. The fact that the BCRFA chose two representatives from companies that were listed in a human rights commission investigation into over sexualization of workers and another that’s company was involved in a CBC expose on tip theft to represent my industry is even more insulting. The hospitality industry is going through an apocalypse right now, and these clowns are patting themselves on the back and using the media to make it seem like everything is fine and dandy thanks to their efforts. Small, independent bars and restaurants are being destroyed. The BCRFA board of directors is made up of multinational food supply representatives and not those that care about locally owned and operated business, or local farmers and suppliers. They are not the leaders this industry deserves.
Speaking of local independent businesses: Petition: Keep the beat in the ‘Heart’ of Mount Pleasant!
Thanks to all the selfish assholes who can’t even do this “sit in this chair and drink” thing right: B.C. closes nightclubs, banquet halls after confirming 429 new COVID-19 cases over long weekend.
Many parents were depressed, anxious and drinking more during COVID-19 lockdown: report. Me too. I mean, I’m not a parent, but… me too.
B.C. government says pandemic pay promised in mid-May coming in October. It turns out banging pots and pans doesn’t pay the bills.
This is a wild story. White teacher runs over black student and instead of calling the police dumps him on the sidewalk in front of his home and drives away. No charges laid: Surrey mom petitions for stricter hit-and-run laws after son struck by motorist. Here’s a GoFundMe for Marquice.