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Melissa Fong: @VisionVancouver @MayorGregor Manifesto #YVR #Homelessness

Vision Vancouver Manifesto? 1 Promise to end homelessness 2 Pass inadequate #DTESLAP 3 Ballem report worst AFTER ppl pleaded to stop gentrification 4 Gregor blames Prov — Melissa Fong (@internationalmf) […]

Melissa Fong: What are we going to do about Vancouver’s Chinatown?

What are we going to do about Vancouver’s Chinatown? Remembering Chinatown’s soul I spent many days and weekends in Vancouver’s Chinatown helping my dad at his office. He worked in […]

Melissa Fong: Electronic music, raves & Toronto’s moral panic on drugs

…they do the work because they want to re-produce the type of city they want to live- the type of city that is worth living in. … …not all entertainment is built the same- some of these very worth while performers and promotors can’t jump through your hoops, or will grow tired doing so. These local, smaller-name talent will seek other places with fewer restrictions- and those other cities, their citizens and tourism will benefit from it. You have local artists just trying to build a city they want to live it- why are you squashing their efforts? One of the (Read more…)

Melissa Fong: Once upon a time, there was a Vancouver Mayor who promised he’d end homelessness…

Once upon a time… There was a handsome young prince named Gregor Angus Bethune Robertson. He was a much envied prince. He represented his fiefdom, Vancouver-Fairview, for years before he, […]

Melissa Fong: Housing in Vancouver #VancouverManifesto

I’m going to start a series called “Vancouver Manifesto”. They are going to be my general beliefs about Vancouver city-building. They might be in the form of starting a conversation, answering a question or just a quirky statement from an urbanist. The best housing in #YVR is in S. False Creek/Fairview/MountPleasant-dense, midrise, mix. Limit condos;encourage infill. #VancouverManifesto

Melissa Fong: #Urbanarium2014: How to build a truly “Engaged City”?

“Engaged City” was unanimously passed yesterday, and it seems like the pundits are all out criticizing the process. … Democratization of the planning process is a fundamental problem with bureaucratic institutions; government is fundamentally hierarchical. Do we target Vision Vancouver? NPA? Nah*- There is a problem with the plumbing and none of them are plumbers…. An Urbanarium, in its basic sense, is a three-dimensional model of the city. If a developer wanted to propose a development, they would have to create a 3-D model of the building(s) and place it on the model city for public review. I can still remember (Read more…)

Melissa Fong: Arundhati Roy: A voice for women of colour; opportunity stifled?

“Incredibly disappointed with the organizers of Arundhati Roy’s talk…. did not allow Arundhati to bring out any of her work or political analysis in any meaningful way. The guy talked about typical White Vancouver nonsense …”- Jahanzeb Hussain making critical points on what it means to exercise privilege and teaching lessons on allyship

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…)

Melissa Fong: Vancouver developers- Gillespie, DTES & other thoughts on financial reform, Vision Vancouver

…. They WILL earn a profit because it is Vancouver.

Gillespie knows that encroaching on DTES is best odds at this point in Vancouver’s real estate. Largest “rent-gap”/ current to potential price in the city- and he’s always known that so he’s more bold, perhaps than others, to make that happen.

I know a lot of people are really pissed off at developers, but I think we’ve just created relationship/political economic environment that allows developers to do “business as usual”….

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 […]

Melissa Fong: PHS Social enterprises are ESSENTIAL to poverty elimination in DTES

… social enterprises by PHS provide job/skills/alternative livelihoods to those in a tangle with poverty/addiction/unrealized-skills. These social economy opportunities can’t be taken away from people who face job discrimination in almost any other employment situation. ….

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: Dear Translink… Rob did a good job

I know we don’t agree often. We have a love/hate relationship dependent on my mood and whether or not it’s cold and rainy outside. To be fair, you are consistently late and often leave me standing out in the rain.

You have just been voted 3rd best public transit in Canada, which is not saying much considering that there are only 3 big cities in Canada anybody wants to ever live in. So, in other words, you placed last- or as we like to joke about bronze medalists- you are “The Best Loser”.

However, on Tuesday, March 18th, you made (Read more…)

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…)

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 […]

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 […]

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…)

Melissa Fong: Vancouver DTES Local Area Plan City Council Debates- PART 2: CHINATOWN BUSINESS INTERESTS

Chinatown Businesses interests came into the room hesitant. I don’t think any of the mainstream news media (Vancouver Courier or the Straight) did justice to the hesitance … I am personally sympathetic towards Chinatown business interests because I know the exact memories and nostalgia upon which they recall and the commercial area they want to revive. You might not remember it if you weren’t in Chinatown during the 80s and 90s. … I’m not going to sit here and pretend that middle class residentialization in the DTES won’t increase business for Chinese businesses. It will. What I am going to say is (Read more…)

Melissa Fong: Vancouver DTES Local Area Plan City Council Debates- Part One: Developers

…One topic that dominated the DTES LAP discussions last night was the 60/40 (Social/ market rate housing split) and the definition of affordable housing … All the usual suspects always caution against social housing. Developers are constantly talking about how it is not possible to build social housing without other levels of government. They halt right there like a bratty child putting their foot down until they get they are promised candy. But developer “candy” is the bonus, or dessert atop a fortune they already make. I consistently don’t understand why everyone else in the world is expected to do their (Read more…)

Melissa Fong: Vancouver Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan- Speaker #55

…when you have an extensive plan that guarantees redevelopment and insertion of new and desirable market rate housing, you are planning the upclassing of a neighbourhood. The DTES has staved off gentrification forces as much as it has because it is has been safeguarded for the poor. The redevelopment of Hastings East might as well be a beacon to upwardly- mobile middle classes- telling them that it’s “safe” now, and they can go ahead and move in….