August 16, 2016
Here is the text of a leaflet I wrote to try handing out at one of these "consults" that councillor Matlow is organizing. It is questionable if I can hand them out inside. I even get hassle if I hand contrary stuff outside of venues in public space these days. Below I will discuss the nonsense I had from Matlow when I tried speaking against it at the "tenants rights committee" meeting last May 17th.
The "tenant pimps" are at it again. The aim of this landlord license is to create a new tax on tenants. It will not do anything about bad landlords because this is a problem of unenforceable laws and weak local government.
If courts were working right tenants would be able to make the repairs and charge them to the landlord, and be protected from retaliation. We almost had such a system before Harris.
If city government was working right, badly run buildings would just be expropriated. We can't do this because councillors are almost impossible to remove and answerable to no one. They will generally side with property owners against tenants.
But the tenant pimps have a long standing goal to get a grant from the city on a "per tenant household" basis. The landlord tax would be the perfect way to fund this.
To repeat, a landlord tax will solve nothing. It is another insult to tenants from people with no right to claim to speak for them.
I had to leave but the new security people at city hall are not interested in pandering to vendettas by power tripping assholes, thank heavens, so I was not bothered much. Matlow had better understand that if he keeps trying to intimidate me there will be some legal action about it.
It might be possible to stop the landlord licensing abuse again. However, I do not think there is really any way to get rid of the obnoxious "tenant pimp" groups, with Federation of Metro Tenants Associations at the had, until there is a serious reform of local government.
What needs to be reformed is a complicated debate, too much for this piece. Most people have a misunderstanding of what the problem is due to lack of information about comparative governmental systems. The way things are right now gives councillors too much unchecked power, leading to control of city government by well funded lobby groups.
The basic solution is multimember ridings and a party system. The removal of the city from provincial hegemony and its establishment as a de facto province, is also necessary.
The reason all these little grafter organizations like FMTA thrive in the present Toronto environment is because they serve some narrow special interest. Usually they are a source of "dark" funding for some group. All they need is a few councillors to protect them, even if most of the council is hostile or indifferent to them.
In FMTA's case, they serve some needs of the city housing department. Partly it is to goon down any real tenant's rights activism which could become a headache for them. And partly it is to act as a sock puppet when an artificial demand has to be created for something like the landlord license/tenant tax.
With the austerians in control of city hall and a fiscal crisis developing, "Shelter-Support-Housing" badly needs new sources of "dark funds".
Please go ahead and read through my huge file on FMTA and my smaller one on ACORN.