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On Politicians Being Landlords and Vancouverites Discovering Their City Had a ‘Planner’

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.

Solidarity with the entire Asian community: Reports of Anti-Asian hate crimes are surging in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. Combined with the white-supremacist who had a “bad day” the other day, my heart absolutely aches. I’ve had bad days, really bad days, but guess what? I didn’t murder 6 Asian women. Yeah, we’re not the States but saying the suspect gave no indicators that his crimes were racially motivated is not only criminally tone deaf but exceedingly dangerous. Stop criminalizing sex work and recognize the fetishization of asian women’s bodies: “The conflation of massage parlors and sex workers without any nuance is very specific to anti-Asian racism against Asian women.”

While we’re at it, dismantle the patriarchy and abolish the prison industrial complex that perpetuates this kind of nonsense: A Former Mountie Will Set the Police Budget for Vancouver. That’s Wrong. They investigate themselves and they set their own fucking budgets. Overhaul the Police Act now, Mr. Premier:

So Rideout, not Vancouver’s council or anyone actually responsible to citizens, will set the budget and decide how many police officers will be hired, what work they’ll do and how much taxpayers will have to spend.

Here’s how to participate in the Special Committee on Reforming the Police Act.

They finally raised the rates, and it’s not good enough: B.C. income and disability assistance to increase by $175 per month. Minus the $150 temporary increase, meaning that this is actually only a $25 increase. In a city where a fucking $1500/month apartment is considered “affordable” and “below market”, this is inexcusable.

In a city where, if the land was totally free, there were no parking requirements, development fees were waived, and GST was waived it would still cost $1,273 monthly rent for one bedroom: Study shows how to build new affordable housing with $1,273 monthly rent for one bedroom. If you’re on disability this still leaves you with -$438 a month. And we still won’t even do it. It doesn’t matter how much supply you build, if the base cost is this high that means everyone’s wages have to go way up, something I’ve been saying for 20 years now. This is our crisis, supply, foreign money, zoning, cheap mortgages alone aren’t what makes Vancouver unique. It’s our criminally low wages. I mean, we asked for 15 bucks an hour, like, 10 years ago.

It’s not like we can even build this kind of housing. We can’t even build washrooms for the homeless without it turning into a reactionary circle jerk where everyone starts punching down and throwing out whataboutisms: City of Vancouver opens additional washrooms for vulnerable residents. Here’s a sample from Daily Hive’s Facebook page: “And yet still no washrooms at SkyTrain stations”, “Future junkies shoot up sites, millions of taxpayers dollars more down the drain”, and my personal favourite: “Why those people destroyed it and to think of the dease. [sic]” Sure thing, Craig.

Oh, weird. So the pandemic just exacerbated the already massive disparity in wealth? Who would have thought? British Columbians say their finances are worse than a year ago due to COVID-19 pandemic: poll. “When surveyed, B.C. residents said some of the things they’re spending more money on included groceries and electronic entertainment, like TV and streaming services.” Imagine if we actually taxed Netflix and Amazon and then used that money to pay people to stay home during a pandemic?

Experts suggests it’s time B.C. step in to cool off Metro Vancouver’s real estate market. And yet nowhere do these experts talk about a moratorium on house flipping, land value capture, higher interest rates, curbing short-term rentals, tripling the Empty Homes Tax…

And this: The Housing Boom That Never Ends Already Wiped Out All the Short-Sellers.

Today, the buying, selling and building of homes in Canada takes up a larger share of the economy than it does in any other developed country, according to the Bank of International Settlements. It also soaks up a larger share of investment capital than in any of Canada’s peers.

Canadians’ mortgages have helped create one of the largest consumer debt piles in the world, and its financial system’s exposure to those loans is twice that of the U.S. With prices already at record levels, Canada’s housing market kicked off 2021 by going into overdrive, posting annual gains of 30% in many communities across the country.

To many politicians, ‘crisis’ means ‘opportunity’. Politicians make up a disproportionately higher percentage of landlords than the general population in Canada: Find Out If Your Political Representatives Are Landlords.

10 ways to return coherence to Vancouver’s municipal government. Not a bad list except for the stinking turd of privilege here: “Today’s five-figure pay is mainly attracting those who either haven’t earned this much ever – which should tell us something – or have to juggle other jobs and cannot devote service fully. Council should be a profession attracting professionals.” This literally applies to the vast majority of Vancouverites, but ok.

Meanwhile: City of Vancouver’s chief planner leaving job. Dude, we had a planner?

Gil Kelley voted against the Beedie development: Dan Fumano: Beedie vs. Vancouver — Developer takes city to B.C.’s top court. Vancouver: “Yeah, sorry. 25 units of ‘social housing’ in a 110 unit building isn’t good enough.” Beedie: “See you in court, motherfuckers.”

Developer-friendly former mayor gets married under a tree. This is the kind of hard hitting news we all need right now! This Couple Said Their Vows Beneath the Largest Maple Tree in the Forests of Canada.

Speaking of ex-mayors… Opinion: Burnaby named a park after an ex-mayor. Now do Derek Corrigan. What sycophantic garbage is this? You want to name a park after this bully whose name is synonymous with the eviction of thousands of disproportionally low income POC, immigrants, seniors and disabled people? That’s a ‘no’ from me, dog.

Also in Burnaby: Mom horrified at Burnaby bus ‘crammed’ with people not wearing masks. Aaaand I’m never going outside again.

Remember these clowns? When Anti-Maskers Melt Down and Lash Out:

Experts The Tyee talked to say versions of the bizarre episode are all too common during the pandemic. They can be distillations of toxic masculinity, a sense of entitlement or superiority, contempt for low-wage workers, xenophobia and racism — released after being whipped up by far-right rhetoric, social media algorithms, and liquor or drugs.

Canada is a racist hellhole: Nurses fired after Atikamekw woman said they ‘humiliated’ her while she sought treatment.

This has to stop: Chelsea Poorman Went Missing Seven Months Ago. Her Family Is Still Searching.

The gutting begins: TransLink triggers backlash from transit users by eliminating some Vancouver bus stops:

On March 12, Joan Gillis objected to TransLink’s claim that when these bus stops are removed, the next one is always only a few minutes away.

She emphasized on Facebook that walking two or more extra blocks is “not trivial” for those with mobility problems.

Atta boy! Meet Joe Buffalo: skateboarding star, residential school survivor, and now SXSW-certified film star.

Bonus: Tla’amin Nation is welcoming and guarding the return of herring spawn.

There are 3 comments

  1. “Here‘s how to participate in the Special Committee on Reforming the Police Act.”
    Link is broken! Please fix?

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In his latest read of the local news headlines, Sean Orr finds irony in "safety, affordability, and sustainability", and shouts out a bunch of amazing local organizations working on the frontlines.

On Running for City Council, Playing Whack-a-Mole with Homelessness, and the Public Washroom Deficit

In his latest read of the local news headlines, Sean Orr finds a park ranger with a grudge, a gross misuse of air quotes and Tripadvisor slander.

On Living in a City Preoccupied with Street Cleaning, Chandeliers, and Campaigns Against the Homeless

In his latest read of the local news headlines, Sean Orr hones in on the recent Langley shootings, and the ongoing criminalizing and dehumanizing of the homeless population.