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The empty-homes tax is done. Well, maybe … except for an exemption to come for “family use”?

November 17th, 2016 · 4 Comments

It was one confusing council meeting at one point Tuesday, as Councillor Kerry Jang made a motion to amend the empty-homes tax, basically asking staff to study new data coming in in 2017 and decide whether there should be some kind of exemption for secondary homes “frequented for family purposes.” Your guess is as good […]

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Empty-homes tax might go even higher than original two per cent proposed, with higher penalties

September 20th, 2016 · 9 Comments

Vancouver councillors debated the proposed empty-homes tax this morning, with some unexpected results. (Well, at least to me, so perhaps I’m clueless.) The NPA councillors came out AGAINST the tax, which I thought would have been seen as very popular with their base. (See my story for their various reasons.) And then Vision councillors started […]

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UBC economists recommend a surtax on vacant properties, as the call for new strategies to moderate housing speculation grows

January 19th, 2016 · 22 Comments

As likely most of you who read this blog know, a group of UBC and SFU economists and/or business professors put out a joint statement yesterday calling for a tax on vacant homes. That follows an interesting op-ed piece published last week by SFU public-policy prof Rhys Kesselman for a surtax on expensive properties whose […]

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NPA, LaPointe apologize to Vision mayor, councillor over statements during election

September 21st, 2015 · 10 Comments

We could see this one coming after the last Supreme Court judgment. VANCOUVER, Sept. 21, 2015 /CNW/ – During the 2014 civic election campaign the NPA, through its election materials, and mayoralty candidate Kirk LaPointe, made allegations of impropriety on the part of Mayor Gregor Robertson and Councillor Geoff Meggs in seeking a campaign contribution […]

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Vancouver’s revolutionary city manager is gone, leaving behind a lot of change and debate over her record

September 17th, 2015 · 13 Comments

The rumours about city manager Penny Ballem leaving the city had been circulating for so long that many of us got lulled into wondering if, in the end, nothing might happen. So the announcement Tuesday that she was out came as a surprise, as the mill had been quiet for a while. (My story in […]

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The post-plebiscite transit mess: Surrey, Vancouver look to self-financing, mayors’ council on verge of blowing up

July 16th, 2015 · 28 Comments

In the aftermath of the resounding no in the transit plebiscite, yes, it’s a mess out there. Mayors are looking at self-financing their big projects in Surrey and Vancouver. (And even Delta is considering using its own money to run some needed buses.) Senior execs are being fired at TransLink, and there are calls for […]

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Judge: It’s completely acceptable for politicians to promise to do things in exchange for campaign donations or votes

April 21st, 2015 · 42 Comments

On the off chance that this savvy crowd missed this on Friday: Supreme Court Justice Elliott Myers dismissed the petition from Randy Helten and others to have the mayor and councillor Geoff Meggs removed from office for conflict of interest or accepting gifts (those were the two provisions of the Vancouver Charter the case relied […]

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Soliciting donations, promising stuff to donors – the Supreme Court asked to figure out if that’s conflict

April 2nd, 2015 · 6 Comments

I realize the keeners in class already know that the Supreme Court heard the case this week involving five Vancouver residents — including one of Vision Vancouver’s most persistent critics, Randy Helten — versus Mayor Gregor Robertson and Councillor Geoff Meggs. The residents are trying to get them thrown out of office for having, they […]

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Yes side starting to talk to real people instead of each other and media

March 2nd, 2015 · 280 Comments

So the mayors headed out on to transit this morning to sell the Yes side. And then there’s this, tonight. No info in the news release from City of Vancouver on how people can join in, but perhaps 3-1-1 has the answer As part of ongoing efforts to raise awareness about the upcoming transit and […]

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Social column: Mayor and Chinese pop star dating; election injuries endure; holiday time for councillors

January 6th, 2015 · 82 Comments

Some people feel I haven’t done enough to document the personal lives of our politicians. So here is my new year effort. Green Party Councillor Adriane Carr is vacationing on the Sunshine Coast until Jan. 19, thanks to a very convenient city council schedule that has the first meeting not on the schedule until Jan. […]

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