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dark-age-ahead-11“If we can prevent the Government from wasting the labor of the people, under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy.”–Thomas Jefferson.

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/12/20/only-the-province-can-protect-artists-enclave-keenan.html

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/12/21/how-much-did-401-richmond-st-w-cost.html

https://niagaraatlarge.com/2011/06/07/jane-jacobs-–-the-death-and-life-of-great-american-cities-50-years-on/

It is forgotten, ignored or not known by just about everyone who writes about Jane Jacobs that her perspective was always that of the dirt poor.

Her primary concern was always what new obstacles are the government(s) placing in front of the poor for them to leap over.

This is why urban planners are out of touch with the reality of her ideas. They live in a world where breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper are taken care of.

Jane, in her early years, lived in a world where they are not taken care of.

When she left home to begin her career as a writer she met constant refusals to hire her. She came out of the Great Depression which, contrary to popular wisdom has never, ended. As Jerry Mander writes in FOUR REASONS FOR THE ELIMINATION OF TELEVISION, “The Great Depression never ended. It went underground, covered over by the false economy created by World War Two and maintained since then by a pipe dream sold to us by advertising.”

Mander should know. He came out of advertising.

Jane dealt with their inability to pay her by offering to write for free. To her the important thing was not the money. It never was. It never is with the best though we all know it is important.

J. R. McCulloch, an able Victoria economist, wrote: “Oppression, it has been said, either raises men into heroes or sinks them into slaves; and taxation, according to its magnitude and the mode in which it is imposed, either makes men industrious, enterprising  and wealthy, or indolent, dispirited and impoverished.” He adds, “…Were (Income tax) carried to any great height, or to 10, 15 or 20 per cent, it could generate the most barefaced prostitution of principle, and do much to sap that nice sense of honour which is the only sure foundation of national probity and virtue.

Thomas Jefferson wrote: “I place economy among the first and most important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers to be feared…To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with public debt…We must make our choice between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude…If we run into such debts, we must be taxed in our meat and drink, in our necessities and comforts, in our labor and in our amusements…If we can prevent the Government from wasting the labor of the people, under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy.”

There we have it: “If we can prevent the Government from wasting the labor of the people, under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy.

Who could have imagined that the Roman Empire, which cost a fortune in taxes to maintain, could fall so swiftly?

In her last book Jane Jacobs points out the the Dark Age which befell on the fall of the Roman Empire was not the first nor the last.

Dark Ages happen because we forget.

In 1970 at the invitation of a friend I went to Hollywood, California from Toronto, Ontario, Canada with only a public library card for identification.

We are told that the reason we can no longer do this is because the world has become a much more terrible place to live in. These laws are in place to protect us we are told.

Is that danger real or manufactured?

Wernher von Braun came to America at the end of World War Two where he worked on defense missiles and the space program. He said, “They say we need these weapons to deal with the Russian threat. There is no Russian threat. Then they will say we need these weapons to deal with the threat of international terrorists. There are no international terrorists. Then they will say there will be third world crazies. Then there will be asteroids. Finally the last card will be the threat of aliens from outer space. All of it is a lie. What they really want to do is to build a global police state.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gP8ftWzFYI4

“A city that sees value in rules, but no value in letting Reg Hartt bend them, has no right to claim Jane Jacobs’ legacy.”–Edward Keenan.

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/06/27/cineforum-deserves-a-happy-ending-to-its-saga-keenan.html

Jane Jacobs on urban design of Toronto & Montreal circa 1969

If we can prevent the Government from wasting the labor of the people, under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy.”

Were (Income tax) carried to any great height, or to 10, 15 or 20 per cent, it could generate the most barefaced prostitution of principle, and do much to sap that nice sense of honour which is the only sure foundation of national probity and virtue.

Only the province can protect artists’ enclave: Keenan

Margie Zeidler‘s vision for 401 Richmond came true, and the city has reaped enormous benefits. MPAC’s rules, however, all but doom it, writes Edward Keenan.1

It is almost unthinkable to consider in today’s Toronto, that in 1994 Margie Zeidler and her family bought the building at 401 Richmond St. — a block-long, five-storey, 200,000-square-foot office building in a former tin lithographing warehouse just south of Queen and Spadina — for $150,000.

You may be inclined to think, well, there’s inflation for you. But consider that even at the time, the average sale price of a house in Toronto was over $200,000. Such was the derelict state of the building, and the apparently equally derelict prospects for the neighbourhood around it, that you could get 138 warehouse-loft office units for less than the price of a bungalow in Scarborough.

Today, of course, it’s a different story. The building’s assessed value is so high, and growing so quickly, that property taxes on tenants are set to virtually triple by 2020, the Star reported last week, essentially pricing virtually all of those arts and culture-industry businesses out. In 2012, the property tax bill for the whole building was $446,689. In 2020, when the latest assessment is phased in, it will be $1,286,800. If I’m doing my math right, that means the assessors say the building is now worth just under $50 million.

Now here’s the thing — the terribly troubling thing: it’s hard to say whether that building would be worth so much today if Zeidler hadn’t bought it when no one wanted anything to do with it, lovingly restored and renovated it, and made it a home to artists and entrepreneurs who couldn’t otherwise afford downtown rents. She has always said that her business model was to, as Jane Jacobs said, take that old building and make it a home to new ideas, by charging enough to earn a profit but little enough to make it affordable. And as the model predicted, that building become a central part of the revitalization of the old Garment District, as it morphed into the Entertainment District, and then became a bursting site of downtown condoland.

We can pause a moment to see how that model shaped the revitalization and growth of the city. The property manager Zeidler worked with in her first year at 401 Richmond left to buy the old Carpet Factory building, which was one of the tech-and-creative industry hub pioneers of what became Liberty Village. The developers CityScape, who bought the 44 abandoned Victorian industrial buildings of the Gooderham & Worts complex in 2001 (for $11 million) specifically name-checked Zeidler and 401 Richmond as a model for using the arts and heritage buildings to spur a neighbourhood’s development when they were building the Distillery District. The trendifying of Beaconsfield Village in the early 2000s, too, was sped on by the artsy renovation of the Drake Hotel by Jeff Stober and the Gladstone Hotel by Zeidler herself.

Restore landmark heritage property, add culture, watch the neighbourhood flower. The 401 Richmond Formula, you could call it, applied liberally with great success across the city.

But Zeidler’s plan had always been to ensure those small enterprises she supported could stay put, even as the area they helped revitalize got more expensive. Her own early investment model seemed to guarantee that she could earn a comfortable profit even while shielding her tenants from normal market forces. She earned far less money than she could have, but enough to make her happy, and her tenants got to keep office space in a high-demand part of town, and the city got to ensure interesting buildings stayed preserved and interesting small businesses remained a part of the urban fabric. Win, win, win, win.

Strange then, that the one factor throwing everything off is the taxman. The provincial MPAC agency assesses commercial property value for tax purposes based on “highest and best use.” That’s theoretical use, not actual use. So if you have a building or a vacant lot downtown that would make a likely site for a 40-storey condo or office tower, then you wind up paying taxes on that 40-storey tower. Even if you’re running a gas station or a parking lot or, say, a small-margin cultural hub charging below-market rent to tiny entrepreneurs and artists.

 In some cases, maybe, this is a good thing: maybe it’s in everyone’s interest if vacant lot owners have an incentive to build needed housing or new commercial space on their land to maximize its value. But it becomes a problem in the cases of many types of older buildings we’d like to see preserved: beautiful old banks and theatres that have heritage value to the city, that define the character of a place, for instance.

And landlords who are not trying to maximize their profit, but who are instead trying to preserve excellent architecture and build a community that is interesting and vibrant and affordable, for another instance.

It is the ever-present complaint about gentrification as a process that those who made a neighbourhood a great place to live can no longer afford to stay in it when the market catches on. In this case, Zeidler’s own business model had seemed to provide a shield against the market forces normally at work. But she cannot provide a shield against government policy that seems determined to force people out, even when the market won’t.

It is up to provincial policy-makers to fix this — and looking at what 401 Richmond has given to the city, and continues to give, it’s clear that it should, and soon.–Edward Keenan.

I have posted this to make it clear that my programs here at The Cineforum are not the only ones in this city under attack.

If we speak only for our self our voice is small.  We must always speak for everyone.

In 1961 Jane Jacobs’ THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES showed us from the perspective of the least heard and most often ignored part of society, the dirt poor, what kills cities.

In 2004 in DARK AGE AHEAD Jane Jacobs showed us the direction the world is heading towards.

Jane Jacobs, over a few beers in her home, one day said to me, “The best part of what you offer is what you have to say.”

As over the years one city inspector after another has done their best to silence me I have remembered her words.

These bureaucrats come from the ranks of those taught to obey. They are angry because I refuse to comply.

What is my crime? My crime, in their eyes, is that I am inviting strangers into my home. States a City Inspector to my landlord’s agent, “Your tenants stated position that ‘anyone who shows up on my doorstep is considered a friend’, and thus, he should not be considered to be open to the public, seems at best disingenuous. ”

Disingenuous means false, a lie.

I came to Toronto from Hollywood in 1970 to become part of the most reviled place in the city, Rochdale College, where I became Director of Cinema Studies. Rochdale had no money to pay me. That was fine because I was standing on Faith. I am still standing on Faith.

I came to Toronto from Hollywood in 1970 to become part of the most reviled place in the city, Rochdale College, where I became Director of Cinema Studies. Rochdale had no money to pay me. That was fine because I was standing on Faith. I am still standing on Faith.

quote-jane-jacobs-there-is-a-quality-even-meaner-than-19934

Jane Jacobs, through her life and her works, showed the importance of dis-obeying.

The government is not always right. In fact, as she made clear most often the government is wrong.

Were (Income tax) carried to any great height, or to 10, 15 or 20 per cent, it could generate the most barefaced prostitution of principle, and do much to sap that nice sense of honour which is the only sure foundation of national probity and virtue.“–J. R. McCulloch.

TAX BILL OF THE AVERAGE CANADIAN FAMILY (FAMILIES AND UNATTACHED INDIVIDUALS), 2014 (The Fraser Institute’s Canadian Tax Simulator, 2015)

In dollars ($) As % of total taxes

TAXES

Income taxes 10,166 30.6%

Payroll & health taxes 7,158 21.5%

Sales taxes 4,806 14.4%

Property taxes 3,478 10.5%

Profit tax 3,591 10.8%

Liquor, tobacco, amusement, & other excise taxes1,763 5.3%

Auto, fuel, & motor vehicle licence taxes 834 2.5%

Other taxes 803 2.4%

Natural resource taxes 405 1.2%

Import duties 268 0.8%

Total taxes $33,272

Total cash income $79,010

Taxes as a percentage of cash income 42.1%

We are paying 42% of our income in taxes.

Thomas Jefferson wrote: “I place economy among the first and most important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers to be feared…To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with public debt…We must make our choice between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude…If we run into such debts, we must be taxed in our meat and drink, in our necessities and comforts, in our labor and in our amusements…If we can prevent the Government from wasting the labor of the people, under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy.

I can not to highly stress the importance of getting yourself a copy of THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES and DARK AGE AHEAD by Jane Jacobs. Once you have them read them. Re-read them. Re-re-read them.

Familiarize yourself with her ideas.

The Boy Scout Motto is: Be Prepared.

Prepare yourself. As bad as the world we live in right now is it is about to get worse.

I came to Toronto with no money. My father’s brother, Douglas Hartt, served as Director General of Public Works Canada. He said, “You are doing good work. You qualify for government support. You should apply for grants.”

When I told him I wanted to find out what I could do without government help he said, “You are crazy.”

Perhaps I am.

The only problem is that there are far too few crazy people right now. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rwsuXHA7RA9be4ea468d7af22837847ab04a3671b2

–Reg Hartt (Crazy-Wisdom-Yogin) 12/21/2016.

 

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