Vancouver Council “Screws” Low and Middle Income Home Owners and Renters

You can ignore all the platitudes and phony pronouncements from members of Vancouver City Council about the need to assist, protect and preserve homes and housing for hard-working low and middle income residents.

Their actions … including solid support from the supposedly working and middle-class simpatico Greens and COPE representatives on Council … have piled a HUGE 2020 property tax increase on Vancouver ratepayers.

The approved SEVEN PER CENT property tax increase for 2020 … the highest property tax hike in at least a decade … will push the annual operating budget to $1.6 BILLION.

And that’s ON TOP OF all the well-above inflationary increases piled on Vancouver taxpayers in the past four years: 3.9% in 2017; 4.24% in 2018; 4.5% in 2019 .. and now, a whopping 7% for 2020.

Nor does that include all the increases as well in charges for Metro regional services … such as water, waste etc.

Is there ANYONE reading this whose pay/pension/income rose 3.9% in 2017; 4.24% in 2018; 4.5% in 2019 .. and now, a whopping 7% for 2020 ????

The clear result of these City of Vancouver property tax increases … and the subsequent incremental piling on of inflation and other ripoffs they impose each year forward … will be to further push out of the city seniors, pensioners, low and middle income residents and aspiring young families, home/condo owners and buyers … making Vancouver an even more expensive place to live … just for rich professionals, corporate executives and offshore millionaire and billionaire investors.

And make no mistake about it … renters will feel the hurt as much as low and middle-income owners just trying to hang on to their homes/condos.

A big change this year results from a decision by Council last April, as readers of the Vancouver Sun were reminded recently by writer Dan Fumano:

“In April 2019 council approved a “tax shift,” from business properties to residential, of one per cent for 2019 and 0.5 per cent in 2020 and 2021. The stated purpose at the time was to provide relief to Vancouver’s independent businesses struggling with soaring property taxes. But that will also mean higher tax increases for residential properties.”

You can read his full article here: https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/dan-fumano-why-falling-property-assessments-wont-mean-lower-property-taxes

I could understand the more business-friendly for NPA Council members going along with that.

And yet, the left-leaning Greens, COPE and even Mayor Kennedy Stewart (a former NDP MP) also supported the biggest operating budget increase in at least a decade piled on the backs of residential home owners and subsequently, renters as well.

Why?

Well, I believe it happened because they ALL get to enjoy/spend on their pet causes/projects the benefits from this “rape” of taxpayers.

Council agreed to spend $6.8 MILLION more in 2020 alone “to accelerate the city’s action on climate change and $4.1 MILLION (my CAPS) to address affordability and the housing crisis,” reported Mike Howell in the Vancouver Courier.

Read his full article here: https://www.vancourier.com/news/new-vancouver-firefighters-cops-to-be-hired-under-7-per-cent-tax-hike-1.24037418

They want to address affordability? Why don’t they all look in the mirror!

Another $7.2 million for 25 more police officers and 30 new fire safety hires… bringing the total force to 1,352 police and 775 fire fighters … eating up 30 per cent of the total budget.

Surely, the added taxes paid by the increase in Vancouver’s population (reportedly 200,000 over the past 30 years) and the thousands of homes and condo units added in the city should have covered any added police/fire costs ????

But no … just keep building the “Empire”, adding spending, approving wasteful and frivolous projects (seen the Granville Bridge lately?) … and just taking more and more from struggling home/condo owners and renters.

And by the way, to squeeze every last quarter they literally can from Vancouver residents, Council also approved adding MORE parking meters to city streets (are there any non-residential streets left without them?) … and, of course, INCREASE the parking rates yet again.

It’s RAPE … and part of the way they get away with it, each year now, is that, most of the time, Vancouver Council operates in obscurity: very few of the media even cover City Hall on a regular basis anymore … and Council meetings are no longer broadcast as a community service.

Out of sight government is out of control government.

NPA Councillor Lisa Dominato reportedly wanted the budget approval delayed until April for further discussion/consideration/debate and NPA Councillor Colleen Hardwick warned against the years of budget increases … including $700 MILLION ($500 MILLION for 2020 alone) in capital projects.

But to no avail … the biggest screwing of Vancouver ‘s low and middle class home/condo owners and renters in a decade was approved … by the Green/NDP-leaning and COPE dominated Council.

Think about that next time you hear/see any of them wringing their mouths … and decrying the lack of affordability for those struggling to live/stay in Vancouver.

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: You can get First Alerts of all new postings on this BC-based blog by following @harveyoberfeld on Twitter. No spam ..just Alerts to new postings.)

Posted in British Columbia, Media | 40 Comments

Soleimani Killing Was Deserved, But Dumb

Qassim Soleimani was an evil man; a key leader of an evil regime.

He got what was coming to him … for no other reason than his support/complicity in the deaths, imprisonment, torture of hundreds of Iranian protestors and students in 1999 (and ever since) … as the head of the Quds/Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

Why? Because the protestors and students DARED to demand more freedom, less oppression and better wages/living conditions.

Soleimani was also instrumental in organizing, supporting, directing Iran’s armed aggression and sponsored terrorist attacks that resulted in the bombing and killing of not just “enemy” soldiers, but THOUSANDS of civilians in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, Saudi Arabia … and worldwide.

He certainly deserved to die … by modern moral standards.

But nations almost never judge/act, based on morality.

Which brings US President Donald Trump’s decision to have Soleimani killed up for discussion.

I must admit: my first reaction was “Great! They got the bastard!”

But now what?

Nations in conflict have long practiced tit-for-tat actions/retaliations … diplomatically, economically, covertly, technologically, politically … and even violently through sabotage, secret agents, proxies, or even directly with military force … BUT , usually, under the unwritten rule of proximate proportional basis.

In other words, you hit/seize one of our people, ships or bases … we hit/seize one of your people, ships or bases.

And there’s the problem.

Soleimani was not the head of a stateless proxy terrorist group or paramilitary organization hiding in forests or mountain caves: he was an Iranian government official, a very high ranked Major General and that commands a quite different set of rules … or at least has until now.

Taking out Soleimani was overkill … literally!

And now, of course, it will require a substantive response from Iran.

So … what was the long-term purpose or benefit from the hit?

Virtually none … internationally.

Very likely it will lead to MORE violence, MORE targeting, MORE escalation … and, WORSE, an even MORE chaotic situation in an already chaotic part of the world.

Surely, this will destroy for years more ANY hope, idea or chance for détente or truce between Iran and the US.

And hundreds … maybe thousands more civilians will die in the region as a result of the escalating actions/reactions between the two nations and their proxies.

So what was the reason for such a HUGE hit on the Iranian foe at THIS time?

After all, the US (and its allies) could have pre-eminently taken out ANY known planned military missions from/by Iran or its proxies … without killing their leader, Soleimani, himself … and they also certainly have in the past exercised their ability to retaliate punishingly to any actual attacks.

Hitting Iran’s regime much wider, economically, militarily, technologically …where it REALLY hurts … could have even been more punishing and more effective!

I believe the deliberate targeting/assassination of Soleimani was a tactical blunder: a result of US President Donald Trump’s inexperience, arrogance, brashness and failure to surround himself, keep or listen to more experienced, sophisticated diplomatic or military strategists.

And it may also have been carried out for domestic political purposes: in the belief that many more Americans will now rally to the President’s side … deflecting attention from the impeachment process and with the real target of benefiting Trump’s re-election campaign.

Iran WILL respond … and that response, complete with casualties, will no doubt harden American resolve and, very likely, evoke more US retaliation.

With Trump, I believe, betting his Mr. Tough Guy stance will win him votes in the Fall election.

Harv Oberfeld

(Follow me @harveyoberfeld on Twitter to get First Alerts of all new postings on this blog. No spam …just alerts to new topics.)

Posted in International, National | 57 Comments