Six In The Morning:Censorship, Strikes, Annoying Rent Hikes

1 THIS! IS! NOT! ACCEPTABLE! Greg posted about it last night but this is important. A U of R public lecture in Victoria Park, which was to be part of a series, has been censored by Regina Downtown. The topic — sanctions against Israel — is controversial. So what? That’s why you get an authority to speak to it. This is another example of how liberal arts university profs, many of whom absolutely work their butts off, just don’t get enough respect in our business-worshiping culture.

Just watch: every single news outlet that runs a story on this online will have commentators saying “profs don’t have a right to say whatever they want in Victoria Park, they can go speak somewhere else.”

This is absolutely appalling–a real black eye for Regina. Wonder if it’ll hit national news.

2 MEANWHILE IN SYRIA It’s going from bad to worse.

3 ON STRIKE 300 Saskatoon health workers including pharmacists, orthopists and psychometricians are picketing today. They haven’t had a contract for two years.

4 LESS APARTMENTS, HIGHER RENT A catastrophic failure of the business community to meet a basic need — housing — continues to unfold in Regina as vacancy rates dip slightly to 0.7 per cent. Realistically, anything lower than two per cent is a disaster. Sometimes I think we don’t live in a city — we’re participants in a pyramid scheme run by suburban developers and the car dealerships who benefit from sprawl. We’re pushed into buying over-priced homes and expensive cars because transit is underfunded and there aren’t enough places to rent.

5 MORE WORK Canada added over 22,000 more jobs this year.

6 A BUNCH OF STUFF ABOUT THE CONSERVATIVE CONVENTION The CBC website has a fine article on the current Conservative convention. Topics covered: leadership votes, tax reform and not creating a youth wing of the party.

FRIDAY RANDOM TECHNO-UTOPIANISM Hey, maybe the future will look like this cool video:

FULL PRINTED from nueve ojos on Vimeo.

Author: Stephen Whitworth

Prairie Dog editor Stephen Whitworth will never, ever pass up a chance to make a Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo pun.

20 thoughts on “Six In The Morning:Censorship, Strikes, Annoying Rent Hikes”

  1. The LP has a photo gallery comparing Regina rents to other cities in Canada – I guess we’re supposed to think – oh, ok, it’s not THAT bad here. Of course they have left out that:
    a) wages are higher in these places
    b) there are more amenities in these cities (they are larger and have the population to sustain more of this stuff)
    c) the climate in a lot of these places is about 100x better.
    d) the difference in $$$ is just not that much (I could aparently get an apartment in Victoria for about $125/mo more than in Regina – AND I WOULD BE LIVING IN VICTORIA!!!)
    e) this does not address the actual condition of these units – rentals here seem to be quite run down compared to other cities I’ve lived in
    f) Our average rents are significantly pulled down by the rents in N. Central – rentals outside of that and a couple of other areas are probably just as high as in the other cities shown.

  2. Also re: #4: I’ve been attending Globe Theatre productions for a long time, but until I read the program for last night’s performance, I don’t remember ever seeing a request for billets as well as self-contained private suites for rent for artists who come in from across the country to work in Globe productions. The preferred area would be within 2.2 km of the theatre. I’m assuming that much of what might have been available in other years has been converted to condos. This is just another aspect of the rental-accommodation shortage.

  3. This wonderful vacancy rate we have now is something that was contributed to, oddly enough, by legislation designed to make life better for renters. Remember a couple of years ago when landlords had to face inspections and bring their units up to code? A lot of them just went (and are still going) “screw this, the real estate market is up: I’m selling and cashing in! Let somebody else worry about silly things like maintenance!” So instead of forcing slumlords to do repairs, the result has been people getting eviction notices — “we’re selling – get out!” This of course has a nifty effect of creating more demand on existing rental units, and more demand on “entry level” real estate, which drives all such prices up. Lots of apartment buildings went condo, and thankfully the applications for those has stopped…. but one thing which I think has escaped the public eye is that houses, townhouses, and duplexes which used to be rentals are now being sold…. only none of their owners had to apply to the city for permission to “convert” from rental to sale.

  4. @ anon #4 – yes this is perhaps a contributing factor, but really, the way properties here are maintained is deplorable. There are certain basic standards that need to be maintained and that is why that legislation and those bylaws are there. It is not moral or ethical to expect someone to pay to live somehwere which is unsafe or does not provide basic things (a bathroom, kitchen, heating, water). Sorry, but those landlords are just jerks who are probably better off being out of the rental business. This is just another example of the “catastrophic failure of the business community” as far as providing housing goes, not a reason to allow slum lords to just carry on doing what they were doing. Truthfully, there are still plenty of them doing it and their tenants are either too scared to report them or don’t know that they can.

  5. All you anonymousniks should come up with fun Dog Blog handles. Super heroes have secret identities and you should too. Because you’re comment superheroes!

  6. I was to be one of the professors signed up to participate in the Profs in the Park initiative put on by the Regina Regina Downtown Business Improvement District (http://www.reginadowntown.ca/),
    in partnership with the U of R’s Faculty of Arts– that is before the RDBID arbitrarily decided what topics were approved safe to talk about and which would be censored/banned; I’m uncertain as to the criteria they used to decide.

    It is with regret that I had to withdraw my participation in what once promised to be an innovative series. What appealed to me most about the series was its truly public nature, the diverse participants it promised to attract, and the fact that my own talk was to be on homelessness and there are few better places for such a talk than in the public parks where so many of have so little choice but to stay when the weather allows.

    I say I withdraw, however, there’s no telling if my topic on homelessness would have made the approved list given Regina’s growing problem and the city’s reluctance to admit it, let alone deal with it in a humane manner.

    BUT, if anyone is curious, on my own, on Tuesday June 28, 12:15 pm – 12:45 pm I’ll be in the park talking to myself about some “Thoughts on Homelessness, Permanent Temporary Shelters, the Charity Model, and What Needs to be Done…”

    NOTE: I am very happy to talk with and share thoughts and experiences with others, however, if anyone should happen to also be enjoying our fine public park that day.

    best,

    Marc Spooner

  7. [sorry a couple of typos in the last one]

    I was to be one of the professors signed up to participate in the Profs in the Park initiative put on by the Regina Downtown Business Improvement District (http://www.reginadowntown.ca/),
    in partnership with the U of R’s Faculty of Arts– that is before the RDBID arbitrarily decided what topics were approved safe to talk about and which would be censored/banned; I’m uncertain as to the criteria they used to decide.

    It is with regret that I had to withdraw my participation in what once promised to be an innovative series. What appealed to me most about the series was its truly public nature, the diverse participants it promised to attract, and the fact that my own talk was to be on homelessness and there are few better places for such a talk than in the public parks where so many of have so little choice but to stay when the weather allows.

    I say withdraw, however, there’s no telling if my topic on homelessness would have made the approved list given Regina’s growing problem and the city’s reluctance to admit it, let alone deal with it in a humane manner.

    BUT, if anyone is curious, on my own, on Tuesday June 28, 12:15 pm – 12:45 pm I’ll be in the park talking to myself about some “Thoughts on Homelessness, Permanent Temporary Shelters, the Charity Model, and What Needs to be Done…”

    NOTE: I am very happy to talk with and share thoughts and experiences with others, however, if anyone should happen to also be enjoying our fine public park that day.

    best,

    Marc Spooner

  8. Stephen – I am open to suggestions, as I comment fairly frequently and wouldn’t mind an identity to differentiate myself from other anons. I am entirely lacking in creativity myself though and for various reasons can’t use my real name or nick name.

  9. In case anyone is curious:

    Regina Downtown Business Improvement District
    #140-2401 Saskatchewan Drive
    Regina, SK S4P 4H8
    phone: (306) 359-7541

    Regina Downtown Board of Directors

    Mr. Colin Perkowitsch (Chair)
    Colin O’Brian’s Man Shoppe
    Councillor Michael Fougere (Vice Chair) City of Regina
    Mr. Shawn Grice (Financial/Admin Chair) Saskatchewan Transportation Company
    Mr. Jim Kilkenny Delta Regina Hotel
    Mr. Doug Kozak Cornwall Centre/Oxford Properties
    Mr. Steve Enns Harvard Developments Inc.
    Mr. Anthony Marquart Royalty Developments
    Mr. Dale Griesser Avison Young Commercial Real Estate Inc.
    Ms. Twyla Meredith Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation
    Mr. Garth Tomlinson PCL Construction Management Inc.
    Mr. Mike Mamona Magna Electric Corp.
    Mr. David Cormican Minds Eye Entertainment
    Mr. Jason Carlston (advisor)

    Regina Downtown Team
    Judith Veresuk
    Executive Director [email protected]

    Samantha Routley
    Manager of Marketing & Communications
    [email protected]

    Janine Heinrich
    Office & Special Projects Administrator
    [email protected]

    Jessica Corbeil
    Operations Manager
    [email protected]

  10. The censorship matter is no small thing. It would be one thing for the muckety mucks at City Hall and the Hill Companies to curtail speech in a private area, it is another for them to determine what the public gets to see in our park. Although the park itself is much smaller and less shaded by trees, but the disaster of the 12th Ave plan is another story altogether – btw, boo urns to all the people who don’t work on 12th ave who have had to put up with this terrible project for over a year now. Enjoy your 45 degree concrete broiler in mid July!!!

  11. Stephen – I don’t know that what I say is neccessarily that violent… and it would have to be Smackdown Jane or Smackdown Barbie or something anyway. I think I like Gordeaux suggestion of anonymouse better. Not entirely original, but far more fitting with my character in general.

    Marc – I would totally love to come and have a chat about homelessness on the 28th!

  12. Good gravy. Clearly, Bob is subtly gender-neutral–short for “Bobbie”. And think what a fine disguise the nickname would be when enemy commentators make assumptions about your gender! It would totally throw them off your trail!

    Too violent though huh? Okay, howabout, uh, pick an animal you like and add an adjective? Like, uh, Action Hamster, or something? Coyote Friend? Robo-Squirrel? Noodle Owl? Fast Rabbit? Lucky Bat? Good Goose? Bob’s Your Llama? (It’s true, I do like the name “Bob”.)

    If you partake in the beverages and have friends, maybe you could have a brainstorming session this weekend and report back Monday.

  13. I’m having trouble with the theory that trying to force landlords to keep their properties up to code causing them to sell those properties, has contributed much, if anything, to the low vacancy rates.

    Who bought those properties?

    If they were sold because they were “slum” properties then other low rent landlords bought them, or people who were going to fix them to live in them, or people who were going to fix them to sell them again.

    In any of those cases they would remain rental properties or would go, eventually, to first home buyers. If they stayed as rentals no reduction in vacancy rates, if they went to first home buyers then a decrease (or at least no increase) in the number of renters and little change in vacancy rates.

    The low vacancy rate in this city is caused by an increase in the population and a failure of government to either create the housing or the economic environment which would attract business to keep existing and create new rental housing. The impact of the city trying to assure existing rental housing is safe and sanitary is minimal at worst and probably nothing.

  14. Random thoughts from a landlady:
    – rental units are a fantastically easy way to make money, despite what slumlords say. Even if a house gets trashed over and over, the property appreciates, and that’s what they leave out of that equation.
    – Might I say, it’s just as profitable to be a decent landlord/lady and not be a fucking control-freak jerk. That’s got absolutely nothing to do with money. Ghah.
    – with the real estate bubble, the purchase price of buildings and rental houses is way high. If a building changes hands, renters are in effect paying for this increase, because the new owners have decided to buy an overpriced building and get the extra financing costs out of the tenants. (Renters are the ones who are paying all these mortgages, another thing left out of the narrative.) I think prices used to be determined more by how much cash flow a property generated than real estate market hype, but now that the sky’s the limit on rent, property prices have gone up. In the case of someone buying a run down property to fix it up, the money that should have gone to upkeep left in the wallet of the previous owner.
    – those poor Globe actors are sent out with a list of potential places and not nearly enough money to pay for them, and they’re paying their own rent at home. Hopefully the plug in the program will recruit volunteer homes, because it’s sure not working now; it’s demeaning for everyone involved.
    – The other thing that really gets me is that so many of the people who invest in buildings actually don’t even like buildings, but just see them as a way of making money for nothing; that’s how we got here to a city centre like a mouth full of broken teeth and a huge segment of the population keeping the whole system afloat by paying premium for rat holes, especially irksome because a lot of it is subsidized by the state. We are all involved in this, whether we like it or not. Ghah.
    – Oh, and that’s ‘fewer’ apartments, not ‘less’ apartments. Geez, Steve.

  15. OH! OH! One last thing! Is anyone else looking at all those new plywood houses and multi-unit things on the edges of town and wondering whether we are actually getting all those new people to fill them all?

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