Oh man. So in case you guys aren’t up on Vancouver news, the city workers are on strike right now. This means that parks aren’t getting maintained, the libraries are closed, and that garbage isn’t getting picked up. This has been going on for weeks now; I have no idea why the city isn’t proposing anything. Actually, I do: the City awesomely started talking about how they were going to spend all the money they were saving from not paying their workers within days of the actual strike starting. This, as you can imagine, sucks.
There is a big pile of garbage outside my house. There are more bugs around. The pool at Stanley Park has turned a horrible shade of green.
But it sucks for some people more than others. If you, say, live in a condo, your garbage is picked up by a private company. You can probably just buy books and you have internet access in your house. If you live in the Downtown Eastside, not so much:
There are also the back alleys around town where household waste is piling up, and the plight of the Downtown Eastside, where people live in alleys and there are questionable conditions on a good day. In that part of the city, the concern is that you get human waste tossed out with the trash.
This makes me really sad; in Planet of Slums Mike Davis has a whole section about how many people literally live in shit, and how unsavoury the whole thing is for the priveleged. In other words: slums! Not just in the “Third World” anymore! Thanks Vancouver. Or as another writer puts it:
But what doesn’t ever get brought up is that there is only one portion of society that is truly suffering from this excess poop. Most of the rich folk in the West side all have private garbage collectors and life is continuing without a hitch of stench. But the po’ folks on the East side are the ones that depend on city workers to pick up their trash and are now the ones swimming in their neighbours’ semen. So why is one half of the city paying for labour bullshit while the other half gets off?
With a prolonged strike the city saves millions, which it is already planning to pass onto homeowners by cutting their property taxes (which side of Vancouver owns expensive property?), and our mayor gets to finally look firm on something.
I do technically live on the “West Side,” in that my address does have a West in it, but I live a block and a half from the boundary, and I am still poor. Also, beside the point. What actually prompted me to write this was this whiny editorial. “Boo hoo! The Anti-Poverty Committee dumped garbage at the mayor’s condo! It is totally unfair that he should have to
step over deal with garbage in his home!” (This was basically my mom’s reaction when it was on the news last week too.) Uh, yeah, except, some people have to do this all the time.
My mom was all “Other people live here. They should keep the protests to City Hall.” But… City Hall is in a residential neighbourhood (incidentally, my residential neighbourhood). People have to live there too. Anyway: maybe the reason the APC is “devoting themselves to helping the well-fed, freshly laundered picketers outside city hall” is that those picketers, when they are actually working, are all that is keeping Vancouver from turning into Victorian London.
This city, it has turned me into such a commie. You can’t say we live in a classless society: everything comes down to class here.
(Links culled from various posts on Beyond Robson.)