8 MOST COMMON MYTHS AND TRICKS SAID BY DEFENDERS OF THE CITY’S
INTERIM REZONING POLICY
1) “City staff can recommend rezonings approved, deferred, or rejected.”
MYTH: There is nothing new about this; staff always has the power to make such recommendations. Without getting a commitment to deferrals or refusals in writing or any indication in practice that staff is willing to go the extra mile on this it is purely empty and misleading rhetoric.
2) “You can speak at council if you disagree with a report from city staff.”
MYTH: Any person who can make it to council always has the right to speak to council motions. Although this seems like it offers us some voice and power it actually reduces our power as a committee by making us just an ordinary public body and not in a special partnership with the city.
Also: Those of us who have been to city council know that city staff motions are rarely ever amended or overturned by the power of persuasion by public speakers.
3) “You’re jeopardizing the LAPP Committee by not cooperating”
TRICK: This is a silencing trick. It is meant to make low-income people feel bad for inconveniencing people with social, economic, political power. We are not being done any favors through partnership with the city, it’s a LOT of work for the low-income community to be involved and it is something we have and are fighting for. It is disrespectful and conniving to try to guilt-trip the generally open and generous low-income community into complying with the city’s heavy handed methods.
4) “If you insist on everything you’ll get nothing.”
TRICK AND MYTH: This is how they try to pressure us into bad compromises, by playing off the vulnerability of our community and our desperate need for basics. The truth is that the city is offering us nothing, only fancy words. And their “compromise” deals actually offer everything to developers and always less and less to low-income people. For example “social mix” at the Pantages offers 79 market condos and only 8 or 9 social housing units.
5) “Our hands are tied because of law and policy”
MYTH: These governments are the ones who make laws and policies. And they have the ability to change policies and laws as needed to suit the interests of those they care about. For example, every rezoning represents a break of law and policy. A moratorium on development is a question of political will not law or policy.
6) “The Chinatown battle has already been fought and lost”
TRICK: That is true for development permit applications, which we are not challenging. But it is not true for Rezonings… which are always applications to get exemptions from the law, are always extra perks for developers. Under the logic of the LAPP partnership these should be put on hold in order to create a comprehensive plan that includes protecting low-income people, housing, and services.
7) “The Interim Rezoning Policy will make us slightly better off, and not worse off”
MYTH: The low-income community is pouring hundreds of hours of volunteer work into this process, work that could be invested in fighting for our community in other ways if this is not effective. We NEED a policy that will give us some breathing room from the pressures of development or we will be worse off.
8) “The City has never come this far before with recognizing the pressures of development”
TRICK: This admission is only in the introduction to the policy and is not reflected in the steps or concrete policy points. It feels like rhetoric that is meant to placate us… and it’s not much even for that. The LAPP committee has more power to carry out public education by voting down this Interim Policy and putting our arguments out publicly as a city recognized and significant body.
So… Vote against the City’s Interim Rezoning Policy and continue the fight for a moratorium on market development in the DTES