China meddling in Vancouver election to protect its billion dollar assets in the city

Vancouverites woke up on Saturday to the chilling news that People’s Republic of China was meddling in the city’s municipal election.

Vancouver Police Department announced an investigation into a vote buying scheme organized by a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) front group was underway1)https://thebreaker.news/news/wechat-wenzhou/. Canada Wenzhou Friendship, a group with ties to CCP United Front2)https://www.thestar.com/vancouver/2018/10/16/vancouver-society-at-centre-of-vote-buying-allegations-has-ties-to-chinese-government.html, was promoting Vision Vancouver, Vancouver 1st and Coalition Vancouver candidates.

Even more frighteningly, Vancouver’s leading mayoral candidate independent Kennedy Stewart had endorsed the Vision candidate at the centre of the scheme, under an agreement signed with Green, COPE and OneCity candidates3)https://twitter.com/kennedystewart/status/1051488043650015232.

The same groups ardently pushing to get these candidates elected are also mercilessly attacking my grassroots electoral organization ProVancouver. Their attacks especially harsh against our mayoral candidate David Chen, whose parents migrated here from Taiwan. They’ve also gone after me with a vengeance, because, like David, I have spoken out against the impact of global dirty money distorting our housing market and displacing our families.

Why is China so keen to take over a municipal government in Canada?

Beijing now owns billions of dollars worth of assets in Vancouver with the forcible takeover of the Anbang group last march4)https://vancouversun.com/business/local-business/billions-in-b-c-assets-caught-up-in-high-profile-chinese-fraud-case. This includes four major office towers and a chain of senior care facilities. The governing federal Liberals, former BC Liberals and outgoing Vision Vancouver all share the blame for doing nothing to protect such valuable assets falling into the hands of a foreign state.

It’s hardly surprising that the Chinese communist leadership would try to meddle in our municipal elections. President for life Xi Jinping and co. simply want to safeguard their economic interests. They want to install government at 12th and Cambie that protects their assets worth billions of dollars while promoting Chinese government interests over those of local taxpaying citizens.

Citizens of Vancouver do not need to accept Chinese Communist Party’s meddling in our democracy as a fait accompli. Citizens can stop this assault on our democracy by turning up in droves to the nearest voting place and casting your ballot for the group of candidates who have a proven track record of standing up for citizens against global dirty money interests.

I’m running for Vancouver City Council with ProVancouver to free Vancouver from global greed and make the City Hall work for citizens again. Please support me by voting for me and making sure you friends also vote for me. I’m the second from last on your ballot.

References   [ + ]

1. https://thebreaker.news/news/wechat-wenzhou/
2. https://www.thestar.com/vancouver/2018/10/16/vancouver-society-at-centre-of-vote-buying-allegations-has-ties-to-chinese-government.html
3. https://twitter.com/kennedystewart/status/1051488043650015232
4. https://vancouversun.com/business/local-business/billions-in-b-c-assets-caught-up-in-high-profile-chinese-fraud-case

How Vancouver condo offshore presales may be used to launder global dirty money

It’s incredibly easy for transnational criminals to use Vancouver condo offshore presales to launder their dirty money. It can be accomplished in just three steps:

Step 1: Buy a presale contract at an offshore sale using dirty money in the offshore currency and hold on to it for a couple of years
Step 2: Flip it to a Canadian buyer for double what you originally paid for it and get paid in Canadian dollars
Step 3: Pay the developer back and walk away with a clean million Canadian dollars instead of dirty offshore currency

We know for a fact that Westbank, Onni, Concord Pacific and other big developers market Vancouver condos offshore. In Westbank’s case, we know buyers from China are able to get a hold of a presale by putting a 10% down payment in the Chinese currency renminbi1)http://archive.is/oK32r.

We also know that many of these offshore presales are flipped to local buyers2)https://thinkpol.ca/2017/10/23/westbank-pre-sold-nearly-1-in-4-kensington-garden-condos-heavily-marketed-overseas-to-flippers/. The prices of these condos have sometimes doubled between the time they were sold in an offshore presales event and the time they’re flipped to locals close to completion.

Imagine the scenario where a transnational criminal who bought a Westbank offshore presale contract for RMB 700,000 (approximately CAD 130,000) in dirty money for a condo worth $1.3M in 2016.

The criminal could easily flip it for around $2.5M, given that condo prices have risen by 35% year-over-year since. After paying back the developer the $1.3 million, the criminal would be walking away with a clean million dollars Canadian. Like magic, a little bit of dirty offshore money has turned into a lot of clean Canadian money.

If it’s child’s play to launder money through presales, just how prevalent is it?

Only the real estate industry knows the answer and they don’t want us to find out. There’s no transparency whatsoever regarding offshore presales at the moment. The industry has a history of trying to silence anyone who dares to even offer a glimpse into the murky world of offshore presales3)https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/daniel-tencer/why-are-realtors-trying-to-stop-us-from-knowing-the-facts-on-housing_a_23293390/.

The provincial probe into dirty money in real estate is a major step forward. But it’s time for City of Vancouver to set up a Vancouver Police Department real estate crime unit. We need to thoroughly investigate offshore presales, and all other forms of questionable real estate practices that have turned our housing market into one giant laundromat for global dirty money.

Global dirty money being laundered in our real estate market is a major cause of the housing crisis that heaping misery on hundreds of thousands of our citizens. The sooner stop criminals washing their proceeds of crime in our housing market, the sooner we can make our city affordable to locals again.

I’m running for Vancouver City Council with ProVancouver to free Vancouver from global greed and make the City Hall work for citizens again. Please support me by voting for me and making sure you friends also vote for me. I’m the second from last on your ballot.

References   [ + ]

1. http://archive.is/oK32r
2. https://thinkpol.ca/2017/10/23/westbank-pre-sold-nearly-1-in-4-kensington-garden-condos-heavily-marketed-overseas-to-flippers/
3. https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/daniel-tencer/why-are-realtors-trying-to-stop-us-from-knowing-the-facts-on-housing_a_23293390/

Over 1,000 new Airbnb listings added in Vancouver within a month of new rules coming into effect

More than 1,000 new Airbnb listings have appeared on the platform within a month of new Airbnb rules came into effect in Vancouver.

The City of Vancouver claimed that the number of listings on Airbnb had fallen from 6,600 in April to 3,742 on September 1, but the scan of the Airbnb website I ran last night shows that the number has crept up to 4,743.

A majority of the listings may be violating City of Vancouver’s short term rental bylaws.

This includes 1,257 duplicate licences, 403 claiming dubious exemptions, 76 obviously fake licenses, and 252 units using invalid or expired licences. Moreover, 2295 units are run by operators who run more than one listing, potentially in breach of the short term rental bylaw.

To meaningfully protect our long term rental market from being decimated by Airbnb and other short term accommodation platforms, we must take the following steps:

  1. Introduce licence auto-verification, so, we can nip unlicensed units and licence cheats in the bud
  2. Introduce a tough new bylaw and agreements that hold platforms accountable for the hosts’ actions
  3. Make Airbnb fines lienable, so that the city can place liens against egregious violators who refuse to pay the fines

At the same time, the City should use fines collected from short term rental violators to help the Airbnb’s greatest victims: the renters.

I believe Vancouver should take care of those who take care of our city and our citizens. I dream of a place where those who contribute to our communities are able to afford to live in the city. I’m running for city councillor to see that dream come true. Please help me by donating and volunteering to my campaign.

Please find me on Twitter, Facebook and Github.

Vancouver election lottery: the winners and the losers

Who got lucky and who didn’t with the random ballot lottery? Here’s my quick analysis.

CandidateAlphabetical OrderRandom OrderDifference
ALM, Kelly119-18
BAINS Brinder (YES Vancouver)237-35
BASRA, Nycki (VANCOUVER 1st)330
BHANDAL, Taqdir Kaur449-45
BLIGH Rebecca (NPA)523-18
BLYTH, Sarah654-48
BOYLE, Christine (OneCity)725
BUCHANAN, Barbara811-3
CARDONA, Diego (Vision Vancouver)956-47
CARR, Adriane (GREEN)1066-56
CAUDWELL, Justin1192
CHAN, Glynnis (YES Vancouver)1269-57
CHARKO, Ken (Coalition Vancouver)1342-29
CHERNEN, Glen (Coalition Vancouver)1457-43
COOK, Graham1527-12
COPELAND, Cord "Ted"1653-37
CRELLIN, Breton (ProVancouver)17170
CROOK, Adrian18612
DE GENOVA, Melissa (NPA)19415
DEAL, Heather (Vision Vancouver)2071-51
DOMINATO, Lisa (NPA)2122-1
EL-RAYES, Hamdy2233-11
EVANS, Catherine (Vision Vancouver)23203
FALLS, Larry2448-24
FRANSON, Marlo25124
FRY, Pete (GREEN)26719
FU, Hsin-Chen2750-23
GOODRICH, Justin P (NPA)2832-4
GRANT, Wade2943-14
GREWAL, David (NPA)3041-11
HARDWICK, Colleen (NPA)311318
HUGHES, Ashley32311
JOHL, Jesse (VANCOUVER 1st)3344-11
KENNEDY, Gordon T3451-17
KHAN, Abubakar3564-29
KIRBY-YUNG, Sarah (NPA)3640-4
KOUTALIANOS, Anastasia371225
KRISTIANSEN, Lisa (ProVancouver)382414
LI, Morning (Coalition Vancouver)3960-21
LIN, James (Coalition Vancouver)40355
LOW, Ken (VANCOUVER 1st)411526
MALUSA, John (VANCOUVER 1st)42384
MCDOWELL, Rob4355-12
MIEDZYGORSKI, Herschel443014
MIRZA, Raza (ProVancouver)452124
MOLLINEAUX, Michelle (VANCOUVER 1st)4652-6
MUSSIO, Penny (Coalition Vancouver)472918
NOBLE, Penny481434
O'KEEFE, Derrick (COPE)4959-10
OSTLER, Stephanie (YES Vancouver)5067-17
PAZ, Tanya (Vision Vancouver)513615
PEROSA, Elishia (VANCOUVER 1st)52475
PETA, Franco (Coalition Vancouver)531835
PORTER, Elke5461-7
QUIMPO, Jojo (NPA)553421
RAMDEEN, Katherine5658-2
RAUNET, Françoise571047
REZEL, Rohana (ProVancouver)5870-12
ROBERTS, Anne (COPE)591643
SHUM, Erin602634
SPARK, John61853
SPIKE624616
SWANSON, Jean (COPE)634518
TANG, Phyllis (YES Vancouver)643925
TAYLOR, Elizabeth (VANCOUVER 1st)65560
VIRDI, Jaspreet (YES Vancouver)662838
WIEBE, Michael (GREEN)6768-1
WONG, David HT (GREEN)68635
XIE, Jason (Coalition Vancouver)692544
YAN, Brandon 甄念本 (OneCity)70655
ZHANG, Wei Qiao (Vision Vancouver)71629

Elizabeth Taylor (VANCOUVER 1st) emerged the luckiest, moving up 60 places compared to where she would’ve been in an alphabetically ordered ballot. She entered the race lucky with a memorable name. Lady luck must really like her.

Glynnis Chan (YES Vancouver) came out the unluckiest, dropping 57 places compared to where she would’ve been in alphabetical order. But then again, Yes Vancouver has developers altruistically putting up billboards for them, so it should even out the misfortune.

Nothing changed for Nycki Basra (VANCOUVER 1st) and Breton Crellin (ProVancouver) ending up exactly where they would have if the ballot had been ordered alphabetically.

I’m at 70, one from last. In a way, that’s better than being any number between 10 and 65. That’s what I like to tell myself.

My priorities

End global speculation in our housing market

  • Rental-only zoning along transit corridors
  • VPD real estate crime unit
  • Community owned housing on public land
  • Locals-only presales
  • Work with province to tax landbankers

Crackdown on Airbnb

  • Complete ban against Airbnb until Airbnb agrees to:
    • Automatic licence verification
    • Platform accountability
  • Enforce existing $1000/per day fines against all violators
  • Airbnb fines to fund rental rebate

Protect local workers

  • City-wide job seeker database
    • Match companies seeking temporary foreign workers with local workers seeking jobs
  • Local essential workers to be given priority for affordable rentals
  • End privatization of city services

Promote small business and innovation

  • Reduced property taxes for local small businesses offset it by increased property taxes for luxury retailers and chain stores
  • Space reserved for local small business in new developments
  • Create a small businesses incubator
  • Local business-first procurement policy

Please vote Rohana Rezel (ProVancouver) for Vancouver City Council on Oct 20. I’m second from last on the ballot.

[Photo Credit: Gord McKenna]

Authorized by candidate Rohana Rezel ([email protected]).

Urgent: Vision playing dirty to ram rezoning motion through council bypassing public input

After telling people that the backup time for today’s mass rezoning public hearing is tomorrow (Wednesday) at 3PM, Mayor Gregor Robertson decided to suddenly recommence the hearing at 11AM, without any notification to the people who had left home for the night expecting to come back at 3 O’clock tomorrow.

Thanks to a little bit of push back from Councillor Adriane Carr, the mayor came to compromise and now the public hearing will start at 1PM tomorrow. But many people will are unaware that the public hearing is happening earlier than scheduled. And many can’t take time off from work to attend the public hearing at 1PM.

Vision Vancouver’s playing dirty to undemocratically ram mass rezoning through the council. We need your help. They’re making a mockery of a “public hearing” by making it as inaccessible to the public as possible.

We still can stop Vision lame ducks in their tracks. Please turn up en masse to the Vancouver City Council tomorrow (Wednesday) at 1PM and ask to speak. The council must listen to each and everyone one of you who signs up to speak. We need hundreds of people to show up and demand to speak. Please invite everyone you know who are retired or taking a day off tomorrow. Let’s unite as one people to stop Vision’s vile assault on democracy.

[Photo Credit: Tyler Ingram]

Re-open online sign up for mass rezoning public hearing immediately

Update: The City Clerk reopened online sign ups following my complaint.

Katrina Leckovic,
City Clerk,
City of Vancouver
By email at: [email protected]

18-Sep-2018

Dear Madam,

I’m disturbed to hear from citizens who were planning on speaking at the mass rezoning public hearing that you’ve closed online sign ups for the hearing last night, despite having advertised that online sign up would be open till 2PM today. This kind of action to stop citizens from exercising their right to be heard has no place in a democratic society.

It was clear from the beginning that the lame duck Vision Vancouver mayor and councillors were determined to rush this through council and ram these far reaching changes down citizens throats. Starting the public hearing at 3PM, when most people are at work, is just one way to make this happen. But your decision to close online sign ups last night after having told citizens that they had till 2PM today to sign up is plain wrong.

I demand that you reopen the online sign ups immediately and forthwith, and keep sign ups open till 2PM today. Please let me know when you have opened the hearings so that I communicate the news to the hundreds of citizens who’ve prevented from signing up to speak at the event.

Thank you,
Rohana Rezel

Don’t let a callous City Hall bulldoze our neighbourhoods

Update 8:30AM: Vision Vancouver is playing dirty again! The online sign ups for public hearings are supposed to end an hour before the hearings open. But they closed the hearings for mass rezoning the night before. If you haven’t already registered, please go to the city hall in person before 2:30PM and register to speak. Or you can turn up and wait your turn. The council has to listen to everyone who’s there.

Update 9:00AM: The City Clerk reopened online sign ups following my complaint.

The bulldozers are coming for our neighbourhoods. The Vancouver city council will vote today, Tuesday September 18, to make Vancouver a free-for-all for developers who pour millions into Vision Vancouver coffers. This is the final act of depravity of a Vision’s mayor and council that has ridden roughshod over our communities for a decade.

Vision’s vision of Vancouver is a jungle of glass and concrete luxury condo skyscrapers built by the likes of Westbank, Onni, Concord Pacific and Aquilini giving a permanent middle finger to the citizens left despondent by crushing unaffordability. There’s no place in their emerald city for nurses, teachers, police officers and other women and men who serve our citizens with unwavering dedication.

But we have the power to stop Vision lame ducks in their tracks. Vancouver City Council will hold a public hearing before the vote on the 18th. The council is required by law to listen to every speaker who signs up to speak. The council can hear approximately 10 speakers a night. So, if thousands of Vancouverites sign up to speak, we can delay it till the next election.

I urge you to sign up, make your voice heard, and take part in the citizen filibuster to thwart Gregor and co’s last attempt to drive the knife further into our beloved city’s dying heart. If we don’t stop Vision mayor and council from going through with their final act of wanton debasement, we’ll be allowing them to permanently disfigure our neighbourhoods, snuff life out of our communities, and turn Vancouver into one gaudy gambling resort for the global rich.

I believe we should take care of those who take care of us. I dream of a place where those who contribute to our communities are able to afford to live in the city. I’m running for Vancouver city councillor to see that dream come true. Please help me by donating and volunteering to my campaign.

578 new Airbnb listings added in the last 10 days

Vancouver’s chief licencing officer announced with much fanfare that the number of Airbnb listings in the city have dropped from around 6,600 in April to just 3,742 in September. But in just 10 days since the City of Vancouver’s September 5 announcement, hosts have added 578 news listings, bringing the total to 4,320.

Out of these 578 listings, at least 400 appear to be listings claiming dubious exemptions, or listings with obviously fake, incorrect or duplicate licences.

To meaningfully protect our long term rental market from being decimated by Airbnb and other short term accommodation platforms, we must take the following steps:

  1. Introduce licence auto-verification, so, we can nip unlicensed units and licence cheats in the bud
  2. Introduce a tough new bylaw and agreements that hold platforms accountable for the hosts’ actions
  3. Make Airbnb fines lienable, so that the city can place liens against egregious violators who refuse to pay the fines

At the same time, the City should use fines collected from short term rental violators to help the Airbnb’s greatest victims: the renters.

Vancouver has a fake Airbnb licence problem

Airbnb hosts seem to be getting around the new City of Vancouver’s licensing requirements by using brazenly fake licences. Some fine examples include “12345678str”, “000000000” and “Exampp”.

ListingLicenceRoom TypeNamePrimary Host IDMin. Nights
197221420entire_homeModern Strathcona Garden Suite367187462
2755792400-0000entire_homeKits summer suite2079252221
246318798-555339entire_homeThe Cozy Garden Suite1861425361
2492020813-124323shared_roomBright room by the beach1682346871
2801036415-595467private_roomOak House - Room 3 Newly Renovated Character Home1326870121
2582238616-102468entire_home?????????????????1940389583
2641803716-904523entire_homeModern Loft - The Flats in Chinatown203018222
2805811516-6767678entire_homeLangara Guesthouse2119646141
1260299317-2341Aprivate_room#32 Wow ~ View, Kits Location. Min. 30 day stay.316850275
2780565717-14567entire_homeJoyce two bedroom396744921
2453525917-23487entire_homeNew York Style Down Town Loft One Bed in Yaletown311890711
2121992117-100317entire_homeLOCATION! LOCATION! LOCATION!1533086792
1488890317-101096entire_homeModern Yaletown Studio close to everything no pkng668454672
2763748317-101101entire_homeWater View Sanctuary2085629411
2378997217-101196entire_homeGastown Style with a View12698593
2567952017-101597entire_homeHeart of Yaletown933800354
2821843917-101598entire_homeNEW Spacious studio in the heart of Downtown!2131387852
2467763717-108090entire_homeSophisticated & Luxurious 1 Bdrm23008981
1188980717-111993entire_homeSPECIAL Kitsilano Bright Van 2 bedroom295815351
2719833317-113568entire_homeOne Bedroom & Den in Yaletown with View & Parking2048125532
1969805717-147787entire_homeCozy and Spacious House in Beautiful Neighbourhood1387723052
2615785317-227772entire_homeDowntown 1 Bedroom & Bath with Den/Office1108190914
281203817-241295entire_homeVancouver 2 bd trendy Main street52138921
2219780217-573612entire_homeCozy Apartment in the heart of Yaletown1622036641
2813686617-614632entire_homeDowntown Luxury with stunning view 1.5 bedroom apt362384763
2476093417-873475entire_homeUpscale And Modern 2 BR In The Heart Of Downtown!123336102
1137127917-905634entire_homePrivate Garden suite: Nice views AVAIL SEPT 14-1698816412
2701947219-102359entire_homeYaletown Condo/Free Parking/24 Hour Gym725373823
2324123120-856044entire_homeMODERN & BEAUTIFUL 2BR in the Heart of Downtown!1711493035
65998686-13134private_roomNear DOWNTOWN+CAMBIE---PRIVATE BATH848203
491606486-13134private_roomBRIGHT ROOM near BC HOSPITALS / SKYTRAIN/ DOWNTOWN848201
27134169123123entire_homePrivate Space in the East Village604117421
26786562589779private_roomBright Beautiful Room349454831
27086551589779private_roomSimple room for solo travelers349454831
27085753589779private_roomBeautiful master bedroom349454831
27085935589779private_roomQuite room in Kerrisdale349454831
27092067589779private_roomPrivate room in Kerrisdale349454831
27579649589779entire_homeBig Beautiful home349454833
2532592512345678strentire_homeMi Casa Su Casa - My House Is Your House1906932941
2714231117101095entire_homeLovely Penthouse - View - Heart of Downtown1979815091
23353187878287762entire_homeLuxury 2 Bd,2bath Downtown w/Street Level Entrance750021972
21345540C27562bcentire_homeLuxury Bar Boat fits 10532281921
27954001DB-2017-05485private_roomGuest House-4 Convenient to Downtown2111407382
27957252DB-2017-05485private_roomGuest House-6 Convenient to Downtown2111407383
27675765Examppprivate_roomVancouver Multi-unit building859952961
17833138Excemptentire_homePanoramic Water + Mountain View in Gastown1217869064
25426653Pendingentire_homeCharming Laneway Home in the Heart of East Van84002153
26495317pending approvalprivate_roomBeautiful kingsize room in the heart of East Van!1129546732
26496921pending approvalentire_homeBeautiful 2 bed kingsize garden suite in East Van!1129546733
17404142STR8549512entire_homeNEW 2BR private suite, near subway, city centre143010355
26997674STR8549599shared_roomNew house Super luxury Excellent room balcony .964657031
111077STR8613765entire_homeClean and Comfy, 2 Bd, Walk to the Drive5696823
6285444Valid Vancouver Airbnb businesentire_homeDesigner Home w/PLAYROOM 5min to Downtown16159392

To meaningfully protect our long term rental market from being decimated by Airbnb and other short term accommodation platforms, we must take the following steps:

  1. Introduce licence auto-verification, so, we can nip unlicensed units and licence cheats in the bud
  2. Introduce a tough new bylaw and agreements that hold platforms accountable for the hosts’ actions
  3. Make Airbnb fines lienable, so that the city can place liens against egregious violators who refuse to pay the fines