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Melissa Fong: Planning the Metropolitan #Vancouver Region: A Critical Perspective

Here is a review of the Planning the Metropolitan Vancouver Region: A Critical Perspective- Thank you to AY for inviting me- great catching up with SCARP people and making new connections. […]

Politics, Re-Spun: Poor Kids, Poor Families and Shame

“When Centennial’s students found out Seymour couldn’t hold a pyjama day because many students didn’t have pyjamas, they fundraised to buy every Seymour student a pair last Christmas.”

- When the Field Trip’s Too Pricey, Students ‘Self-Exclude’

BC’s disgusting and preventable child poverty crisis. Let’s stop coddling the rich!

When parents receive letters from their kids’ school asking for donations for playground upgrades or library books or technological devices, a certain segment of the population sighs, grows a few more grey hairs and dies a little bit inside.

Parents who are struggling financially cannot afford the luxury of even (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Occupying Homelessness?

Homelessness isn’t a policy thing regarding random people. It’s a thing for actual people. It’s not abstract, it’s in our face, yet we live in denial.

Clearly, I’m no brain surgeon. But if there are homeless people, a civilized culture would find a way to use a progressive tax system to house them. Simple.

Homelessness, however, is a magnet for reprobate poor bashers who are too greedy to part with their wealth [massive or otherwise] to solve a problem.

But guess what. Research shows it’s actually cheaper to simply house the homeless. Unless you secretly hate them, or are a (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Rising Homelessness

In 2010, I wrote a blog post in which I suggested that: a) the recession of 2008-2009 would bring on increased homelessness; and b) there would be a lag effect of roughly three to five years. Indeed, I suggested that it would not be until 2014 until the full effect of the recession is seen in terms of homeless numbers.

Recent data from the City of Toronto appears to lend support to my prediction.

 

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Trish Hennessy’s latest numbers focus on the skills gap myth in Canada. And PressProgress documents a few of the Cons’ damaging public service cuts which kicked in yesterday, while Theresa Boyle reports on the end of Canada’s health care accords (featuring the observations of Roy Romanow on the end of meaningful federal participation in our health care system).

- Scott Stelmaschuk’s latest post fits nicely with the theme of yesterday’s comment on the importance of seeing politics first and foremost as a means of improving the world around us – rather than a (Read more…)

Melissa Fong: DTES Local Area Plan- Speaker #5, on Amendments

We need to respect the experiential knowledge of DTES residents that understand how the plan violates their security. Not fundamentally opposed to Vision- but you have to realize reality. If you insist on the ideology of “social mix” you also have to set up the circumstances for dignity of all people- not just a veil. I wanted to make clear: 60/40 Would only be acceptable if all of the 60% was at welfare rates Microsuites in principle are okay- perhaps we need to deal with smaller living spaces; however the sizes proposed are unliveable. Some of the most dense housing (Read more…)

Melissa Fong: Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan- Summary

Like last time, I did some LiveTweeting of the evening- My strategy is to summarize the main point of all the voices; add in my OWN commentary (I can be […]

Politics, Re-Spun: Honing In On Friday’s #WaveOfAction

We need to think about two things for this Friday’s Occupy Movement reboot in the Worldwide #WaveOfAction:

When thinking about pursuing social, political and economic equality, what is the list of things we need to change, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally? Who do we need to build coalitions with to listen to them, support them, empower them; and who will convene the meetings?

And instead of wondering who’s got your back, figure out whose back you need to protect.

There are two days left. No rush, because Friday is just the start of the 3-month Wave that culminates on (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Sarah Ayres discusses the value of the social safety net as a matter of both social and economic policy: A significant body of evidence supports the view that, far from creating a so-called poverty trap, the safety net actually reduces poverty, increases economic mobility, and strengthens our national economy. Moreover, studies have shown that many antipoverty programs, especially those that target children, offer an excellent return on investment to taxpayers.…An analysis by the Council of Economic Advisers shows that when safety net programs are taken into account, the poverty rate actually fell from 26 percent in 1967 (Read more…)

Melissa Fong: #25KLunch WINNERS Announced! Who said there’s no free lunch?

Other than the fact that I should win the best prize for dragging out a meme that would have otherwise had the life-span of a fruit fly… I’ve got some […]

Politics, Re-Spun: Is Your Job Bullshit?

Work should be liberating, not enslaving!

It’s Saturday so it’s the weekend so you’re not working.

But that’s just an incorrect hypothesis. Lots of people are working this weekend. In fact, weekends don’t mean much to billions of people. They are a luxury, relatively speaking.

But your job may be bullshit, in the context of how our society could/should be operating. We should have way more leisure time if we managed human economic activity more intelligently.

Instead, “we” [well, the 1%] are busy maximizing shareholder wealth instead. This is why we don’t have a sustainable 15 or 20 hour work (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Canada’s Seeks the OECD Record for Income Inequality

America: Where the rich get richer faster than in so many other places!

Yesterday I wrote about the rebooting of the Occupy Movement in 10 days. I’m very excited.

And to help you understand why this is such a big deal, especially in Canada, it’s important to see how Canada is increasingly becoming the poster child for income inequality. We are not nice and neighbourly and friendly. We are increasingly unequal society. Unless we step up and say that we’re mad as hell and we aren’t going to take it any more, the rich in Canada will continue to pad (Read more…)

Melissa Fong: Top 25 of #25KLunch Meme Finalists Announced!

  Okay, folks! The moment has come to see your Top 25 Finalists for the #25KLunch meme competition! I can’t even tell you how many messages I’ve received telling me […]

Melissa Fong: Financial reform: Taking responsibility as public servants and otherwise…

Facts: I don’t hate Vision Vancouver. I’m indifferent to the overall career of Gregor Robertson. I actually like Andrea Reimer, from what I know of her. (Confession: I really like […]

Melissa Fong: Admitting to not knowing until it was too late: The DTES Local Area Plan implications

…I admit that I didn’t know how REAL it was until the 3 days came to an end and even after it passed….

After that the reality sunk in, I got more and more angry as I realized the implications of the plan.

The fact is that poor people LIVE this. This is their reality. I come from a critical academic perspective and knew it was bad- but I’ve never experienced the feeling of ZERO safety net in my life- and most proponents or apolitical people about the plan probably won’t have experienced that either. So while we can ignore (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Stop. Obeying. The. Rich. NOW!

Once upon a time, we were taught to envy and respect our “betters,” like the rich.

No more.

They’re taking our money and throwing us under the bus every day. And it’s not even just the super-rich or those in America, it’s the aspirational rich; they’re just as toxic.

This stops now, it’s time to ramp up the Occupy Movement again, and for good this time:

The super-rich of the 21st century no longer think that you and I are needed for their continued success.

And in some ways, they have given up on America, period.

As Paul Buchheit brilliantly (Read more…)

Melissa Fong: #25kLunch Meme Competition Update #1

The #25KLunch meme has received more press than I would have ever imagined! Amazing what a group of really dedicated “mockticians” can do to bring the issues out there. #25KLunch […]

Parchment in the Fire: Low-Wage Workers Are Finding Poverty Harder to Escape – NYTimes.com

Low-Wage Workers Are Finding Poverty Harder to Escape – NYTimes.com.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — At 7 in the morning, they are already lined up — poultry plant workers, housekeepers, discount store clerks — to ask for help paying their heating bills or feeding their families.

And once Metropolitan Ministries opens at 8 a.m., these workers fill the charity’s 40 chairs, with a bawling infant adding to the commotion. From pockets and handbags they pull out utility bills or rent statements and hand them over to caseworkers, who often write checks — $80, $110, $150 — to patch over (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Yes, Your Parents’ Standard of Living Was Better

Ugh. We’re so much poorer than our parents!

Yes, your parents’ standard of living was better, so what are you going to do about it?

When I was growing up in the 1970s, most [maybe 80%?] of my friends had a mom who stayed home and didn’t work.

Over the last 40 years the proportion of single income households seems to have flipped so that it seems to be only about 20%.

So what’s wrong with this graph over there?

There’s a huge increase in the number of families with more than one income source in the last 40 (Read more…)

Melissa Fong: #25kLunch Meme Competition to shame Mayor Gregor Robertson’s partnership with Developers & Condo King Bob Rennie

So I’ve started a #25kLunch tag – the good people on twitter who have engaged throughout this whole process have kept spirits high and helped suggest a meme competition.

1) Create your own meme http://memegenerator.net/ 2) Upload your meme to twitter images (make sure you save image & upload to Twitter direct b/c it’s a lot easier to view). 3) And remember to TAG it with #25kLunch and tag me: @internationalmf

Melissa Fong: DTES LAP Amendments that Cllr Carr shuts down: Watch the speech & Read the full document by Reimer

I already posted snippets of the full documents (4 separate PDFs here). This post is specifically the first pdf Amendment doc from Reimer and the speaking points Cllr Carr was […]

Melissa Fong: Sneak Peak!: AMENDMENTS to DTES LAP- DRAFT sent to my by Andrea Reimer

Councillor Andrea Reimer was kind enough to send me the DRAFT of Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan Amendments. *OFFICIAL copy posted on website by staff tomorrow. This is a sneak […]

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Eduardo Porter writes about the rise of inequality in the U.S., while Tracy McVeigh reports on the eleven-figure annual cost of inequality in the UK. And Shamus Khan discusses the connection between inequality and poverty – as well as the policy which can do the most to address both: While a tiny fraction of Americans enjoy almost all the spoils of our national growth, the majority of Americans have a radically different experience. About 40 percent of Americans will live in poverty at some point in their lives, and many (Read more…)

Melissa Fong: DTES LAP Part 3- Residents’ Losses & small victories

…Councillor Adriane Carr was the only one who wanted to refer the plan back to staff to ensure an acceptable definition of Social Housing (due date for end of May). The rest of City Council seemed fairly confident that that could be defined as we went along and the plan should just be passed, although Reimer made a few tearful speeches about understanding the harsh reality of living in the DTES and the implications of the LAP. There was a distinct feeling in the room that Andrea Reimer, Tony Tang and Elizabeth Ball seemed sympathetic to redefinition, but they didn’t (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Paul Krugman points out how the U.S.’ corporate elites are agitating to make sure that any economic recovery helps only those at the top, rather than reaching most workers in the form of wage increases: Suddenly, it seems as if all the serious people are telling each other that despite high unemployment there’s hardly any “slack” in labor markets — as evidenced by a supposed surge in wages — and that the Federal Reserve needs to start raising interest rates very soon to head off the danger of inflation.

To be (Read more…)