Friday, June 1, 2007

Into the city's pockets

London mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best said yesterday in Calgary that "[a]ny plan to combat low-income housing and help Canada's homeless off the streets can only succeed with the federal government's leadership."

"Municipalities alone cannot get this solved," said DeCicco-Best […]

"It (the housing problem) is not going to go away."
I'm sure that it's considered churlish to question the Orthodox Tenets of Political Problemism, but since I'm congenitally disposed to churling, here goes: Is there a problem? And whose problem is it?

Granting that some people do have a housing problem, however, there can be no reason to suppose that federal leadership would succeed where municipal and provincial problem-solving has failed despite the enormous sums those governments have thrown at it already. By federal leadership, however, DeCicco-Best and other mayors at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference this week mean precisely only more enormous sums thrown in the same futile directions — except that those sums should come out of federal tax revenue for which the mayors bear no political cost for collection and spent on projects in cities for which they can take political credit. What the mayors have in mind is a zero-sum (or close to it) redistribution of taxes but a one-sided redistribution of political opportunity. Either way, DeCicco-Best is right about one thing, however: the "housing problem" is certainly not going to go away.

The London Free Press also reports that "about half the 19-member council" is in Calgary for the conference, a trip that one Toronto councillor called "another junket without a purpose."
DeCicco-Best, however, dismissed any criticism of the trip.

"That issue comes up every year," she said. "This is how to craft our policies and . . . I can't think of anything more important than us singing from the same book.
That would be the political lobbying songbook she's speaking about, a text that for some reason cannot apparently be transmitted through emails or video conferencing. This is a particularly challenging engagement for DeCicco-Best, who ordinarily sings exclusively from the city management's songbook.


Jake said...

Wait, I thought DeCicco was busy trying to set up another failed, costly bid to lure the Shriner's Hospital here? She made herself and London look like an bunch of idiots when she placed that big "sold" sign on that Shriner's billboard next to LHSH Vic two years ago.

It seems that every other week she is in some other city trying to lobby for federal handouts here or for some fancy event or building there. Does this women actually spend time in London?

Richard Richmond said...

Give me a break! Ottawa is not to blame for the lack of affordable housing. The City of London's punishing tax rate on multiple resident properties is to blame. The tax rate for homeowners is 1.206727%, and the property tax for apartment buildings is 3.016160%. So companies like Drewlo, Transglobe, Timbercreek, Sifton, and Boardwalk all have to charge higher rents to tenants in order to pay for the sky high tax rates that they are charged.

If the City of London Council is so concerned about the lack of affordable housing, perhaps they can curb their wildly out of control spending.