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Vicky's Vitriol

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Hint to flippers

Miss Vicky Sat Dec 19, 2009

If you don't want your tenants to know that you've put your properties up for sale and are marketing them to developers, don't put 'em on MLS.

Here's the marketing pitch for several adjacent properties, each with a separate MLS entry: Attention developers. Land up to 37800 sq ft of space available unobstructed view of Parliament Hill, river, mountains from top of second floor Discretion requested do not approach tenants .

Would love some insight/perspective from Mechanicsville neighbours... the properties don't look like they've been maintained well, so maybe it's a good location for infill. But what do you want to bet the sellers' vision for this land doesn't include affordable rental housing?

That's 2 minutes for looking so bad

Miss Vicky Sun Nov 15, 2009

or rather, for not looking at all.

There is so much wrong with this story, Miss Vicky is not quite sure where to begin...

So we'll just start with the observation that this is the second place housing vulnerable women to be destroyed by fire this week.

The first was the Cornerstone shelter on Maclaren - a fire that killed a longtime resident. Then this rooming house fire last night - apparently started by a molotov cocktail (!) Clearly this is going to put some pressure on emergency housing services for women (as if it wasn't pressured enough

Ian Capstick over at Mediastyle.ca has compiled a good list of Ottawa organizations who support women in crisis who need shelter, clothing or food. Miss Vicky would add Centretown and Somerset West Community Health Centres as they often step forward when there's a crisis in the catchment area. Also the Salvation Army often mobilizes when there's a fire. Please do what you can to help out!

Now, on to the vitriol. Let's pull out some key items from the Citizen article. While "two waiters named Rashid and Nour, from the nearby Aroma Meze Restaurant, ran into the burning building to get women out", patrons and staff at Beckta, the other neighbouring restaurant, ignored a bathrobe-wearing, barefoot resident who ran in yelling that they should get out. Says an unnamed woman who was at a private party at Beckta with some of the Ottawa Senators "'We thought it was a street person imagining a fire...We thought it was a street person being a bit silly."

Nice example of the blindness of privilege, eh? Let's just say the Sens lost more than a shootout yesterday. And that image of folks snapping pics of the hockey players while 20 women huddle in a bus watching what meagre shelter they had burn... it's a perfect illustration of the challenges that vulnerable women face on a daily basis. Whether they're fleeing domestic violence, struggling with addiction or mental health issues, homeless, poor, new to Canada, they have to deal with a myriad of obstacles - stereotypes, ignorance, sexism, racism and any number of indignities, not the least of which are the averted gazes of some of our community's most well-off.

Miss Vicky is looking forward to the kick-butt fundraiser for women's housing that Beckta and the Sens had better organize after this fiasco.

UPDATE: so by the time Miss Vicky was able to blog, the Citizen story was updated to add a bit more info about the fire and a statement by Daniel Alfredsson and removed the rather damaging statements by the unnamed Beckta diner. Kind of takes the sting out of the vitriol, doesn't it? Unfortunately I don't have the original story so you can better understand where I was coming from.... I'd still like to see them take some action, though!

UPDATED UPDATE: Here's the original story, reprinted elsewhere. Thanks, Jenn!

UPDATED UPDATED UPDATE: New version up on the Citizen's site this morning, with some of the unnamed diner's quotations back in. Thanks to all who sent me screenshots from caches, links, etc.


With friends like these...

Miss Vicky Tue Nov 10, 2009

Leave it to Ottawa's city council to screw up one of the few good decisions they've made in recent years. Folks across the city are receiving their green bins and there's general excitement about starting the program in January (at least, there's excitement in the twitter feeds Miss Vicky follows). The city's education program, rolled out with the delivery, seems to be pretty good - funky website, YouTube videos and other social media activity, sample bins in community centres, advertising... they seem to be covering the bases.

Of course, the program has its opponents and some councillors have had it in for the green bins since the beginning. Since Miss Vicky has had a keen interest in this program for quite some time, here's a little retrospective for your reading pleasure. Amazing that, despite the success of these programs in cities and towns across Canada and around the world, we here in Ottawa have been discussing this years - and the real obstacle continues to be our elected leaders.

Yep. It was April 2005 that Miss Vicky wrote this reponse to Randall Denley's trashing of the program, which was about to be recommended to Council.

Here's Miss Vicky's presentation to Council supporting the program, which was directed to specific remarks by certain councillors

Then election time and there was some turnover... however the program did get the green light after some debate

But the excitement was short-lived, as the need for budget cuts drove councillors to make decisions that would undermine the scope of the items collected by the program (and thus its effectiveness and appeal)

And then there was the ridiculous decision to maintainweekly garbage pickup when the program starts.... costing us more money and reducing the incentive to compost.

And now this.

Yep, there's nothing like the budget process to ruin a good program for everyone.

The notion of separating waste diversion fees from the rest of the property tax bill has been floating around for a while (you'll see a reference to it on one of my early posts). Didn't like it then, don't like it now. City services are city services - separating them out just leads people to think they can pick and choose. And what they've done is add unnecessary controversy to a good program that will reduce what we send to the landfill - thus saving us all money and environmental headaches in the long term.

If the city is really worried about paying for the costs of garbage, how about setting some limits on the amount of crap you can put out in a week? There's no incentive to reduce waste in this city. You can demolish an entire house and put the residue in individual bins, set it out and they'll pick it up. It's nuts.

The issue will be debated by the full council. I hope they'll see the error of their ways. And I hope they'll start acting like leaders and promote this program for the benefits it will bring (note to Peter Hume: saying we're "stuck with it" is not helpful).


Cue the circus music

Miss Vicky Wed Sep 16, 2009

So Miss Vicky wasn't really surprised to wake up this morning to the news that the likely first phase of the "new" light rail project is going to be - wait for it - the North-South route that council threw out shortly after getting elected. Ken Gray has the whole maddening story over at the Citizen.

Why wasn't Miss Vicky surprised? Because she called it. In December 2006:

So I figured that we'd waste a few more years, and a whole lot of tax revenue, studying it only to find that we wouldn't be able to do it after all, and we'd wind up with the original plan in the end.

OK, it's not entirely accurate, 'cause we haven't written off the tunnel yet (but there's still time!). But the current paying-to-kill-a-lawsuit-while-asking-for-funding-for-the-same-project debacle adds a whole new infuriating angle, doesn't it?

What's that I said in 2006? Oh, yeah:

Does anyone else hear the circus music soundtrack playing? Funny, I could have sworn....

And I am more convinced than ever that

we might have light rail by the time Gordon graduates from high school. If we're lucky.

UPDATE: David Reevely points out that it's not exactly a revival of the original proposal. True. But it still makes North-South a focus of phase one of the project, which was the reason many opposed the original plan. There's never going to be a perfect light rail project, because so many folks have differing priorities and visions. But had we not killed it, we'd be so much further ahead for so much less money. That's what's got that circus music reeling through Miss Vicky' head tonight.


Heritage lost

Miss Vicky Thu Aug 20, 2009

The saddest thing I've seen in a while:


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