The TCHC reorganization of its tenant's involvement processes rolls on. At least the first part of it seems to be done. I attended some sort of wrap up session last week.
They seem to be getting more confident of spending a bit of money on the project. They held this at the Grosvenor "Y" and they even started serving up little sandwiches again. Gene Jones was not there but of course the woman who had been conducting the process all along was.
It was an open mike format, five minutes of fame. Bring your written screeds if you have them. Usually such events in THC attract huge crowds but there were only about 35 people there.
You had the usual types of people thrown up by the tenant rep system, people looking for power or to hold onto the trivial power they have had. People who are pissed of that they have ben no new elections for tenant reps and they no longer have the privileges they have had.
Below is my own "deposition" about it. Some of the people liked the first part of what I said as I read it, but were silent for the second part. The mistress of ceremonies wanted my text when I was done but never suggested writing anything up in more detail. I might later but I am too busy right now.
A couple of people were there from the the time when the old tenant associations were being crushed; Hoogenboom the idiot and Wally Simpson, whose motives I cannot understand. He seems to be watching everything for some other group who wants to keep tabs in the inner workings of TCHC.
Of course the blow hard from my own building was there. The one who would love to be the next tenant rep if they held new elections, but has been acting as if she is. She has totally messed up the garden club and the building committee. Neither are holding meetings anymore.
It is her way or the doorway so everybody just heads out the door. She had been set up by Roknic the district manager who I was attacked by when I lived on George street. Somehow she got send down here. She started trying to attack me again but got warned off. Now she has been removed as district manager and "assigned elsewhere".
So the above mentioned blowhard is a bit in limbo. I do not think she gets along with the new manager who I hear does not have time for all this sort of bullshit; she is focused on running buildings.
This is one reason why the tenant rep system has broken down; most of the social worker types do not want anything to do with it anymore. Many districts do not have social worker types anymore, whatever they are calling them now. The name changes about every two years. At one time it was "Community Health Promoter".
Whatever they are called, they are always overworked. Now they stick to the more justifiable part of their job, trying to keep people in their housing so the housing authority is not embarrassed by to many more highly senile residents being thrown in the streets and dying because they forgot to pay the rent.
Oral presentation from Tim Rourke
I have said the same things I am saying here many times in the past fifteen years. I have long ago got tired of saying it. I have also been attacked quite viciously for saying some of these things as well.
I have submitted written reports. I can't even find the old ones anymore. I would not write any new ones unless I had assurance that they would actually be listened to.
I have spent some time researching how public housing actually works in many countries. The sum of this research is that the only way to run housing is to let the tenants run it themselves. In fact, to make them run it themselves.
Huge, abusive bureaucracies like TCHC are incapable of managing housing properly, become playthings of partisan politics, and are a threat to the safety and civil liberties of their tenants. They create instant slums which create political resistance to building any more social housing. Politicized housing bureaucrats really do not like to hear this.
While absolutely necessary, tenant self management will be very hard to implement. Many elements in society really do not like the lower classes learning to run their own lives and their own organizations. I have found that the Central Canadian culture makes it especially hard for people to work together cooperatively.
As I said, I have been observing tenant politics since I came to Toronto almost twenty years ago. I have seen it all. I have seen the last attempts of tenants of Toronto Housing to form a network of tenant associations crushed by the housing authority and its "social work" types, by the slimiest of means.
In its place I have seen the establishment of the tenant representation system by other contemptible means. I predicted then that a system based on conflict of interest would not stand in the long run. It no longer has any credibility except among tenant reps and their toadies.
If you want to set up a logical system for running social housing you had better first be able to grasp the concept of conflict of interest. A tenant representative cannot work for the interests of the tenants and the housing provider at the same time.
Experience in many countries shows that housing can be run so that the interests of both the tenant and of the public which owns the buildings, can both be protected. Housing bureaucrats are inevitably the enemies of both these interests.
To conclude, I have long been thinking of how a tenant self governance system could survive and thrive in the face of some of the cultural and political realities of Toronto. I do not have any definite answers, but I have some insights and ideas. If anyone is really interested in listening to them. tr