It is All About Fairness – No Freeloaders!

I cannot stay silent any longer on this subject because I am sick and tired of listening to business people complain about how they are unduly singled out with higher taxes and other parasitic encumbrances to their bottom-line, and that they should be given tax breaks. In traditional fashion, you have the Right-wing saying that all businesses must be taxed in order to stay competitive, while on the Left-wing side, they say businesses must pay more in taxes because they make the lion’s share of the profits. Oh Boo-Hoo. I am tired of everyone from property owners to business people saying that everyone else except them should shoulder the taxes burden. I just heard a small business owner say that all taxes should be dumped on the consumer and property owners while they focus on enjoying their profits and employing more works. Oh-no, I say pooh to that, everyone pays their share—period, especially those who make huge profits in my city!

Ok, we have this issue of gentrification, and it is prevalent in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Gentrification is where you have a depressed area, become affluent and prosperous as a higher class of the socioeconomic population moves in as their boundary spreads outwards. When you have an area where everyone wants to live, that area goes through a cycle of inflation as property prices and costs rise. So too for businesses, as they enjoy rise in the boon of consumers. Nothing is free, as all must pay to enjoy the benefits of this. It boils down to choice. People move to the cities, like Vancouver, because they want to enjoy its weather climate, and the bounty of employment. Businesses do this along the same lines of reasoning too. But sooner or later, inflation creeps in, and so too do taxes. Remember, you have a choice to stay or leave—simple.

The majority of Canadian’s taxes are paid through taxing their income. This concept of paying taxes on the amount of money you make, goes back to the Second World War in Canada, and is one that many have no choice in the matter. You earn a pay cheque, you employer is obligated, in most cases, to collect that money on behalf of the Government. But the bulk of Income Tax goes to both the Federal and Provincial Governments, leaving the Municipalities left to eke out their sources of revue in other ways. So municipalities share the proceeds on mostly businesses and property taxes that they tax directly. I am probably over simplifying the tax laws here, as there are hundreds of different forms of taxation in Canada, but this is a thumbnail sketch of where and who gets what. So as a community grows, in its population and services, so too does its operational costs and development.

The idea of fairness is simple: all of us, who choose to work and live in an area that is going through gentrification, must pay their fair share, no matter who you are. If you are a home owner, then yes, you pay your taxes. As businesses who want to set up in this area as well, they must pay their fair share in taxes too, as they enjoy the prosperity and volume of consumers moving through their doors. Usually it’s the business owner who argues that the market economy should run the world; then let it be so, as the market place becomes over saturated, and the population shifts, then businesses should make a choice. If they have to raise their prices for their wares, then so be it, but to stay competitive by paying less in taxes is not fair—then you need to adjust your profits.

Bottom line, everyone pays their fair share in taxes. No one should be exempt, or reduced, from their fair share in taxes within the population. If you come here to make a profit, then you come here to pay your taxes to enjoy all the benefits that come with living here.

My Take On Property Assessments

The privilege of being a property owner is the right to do with it as you wish within reason. As a landlord, there are huge benefits, and responsibilities. However, as land is a “fixed” product, meaning that there is, and always will be, the surface area of the Earth to own and live on (in this context), so the value will hinge greatly location. When one area of the plant becomes desirable to live on, then so to does its value. With value, comes taxes, as land can’t move, or be relocated. Hand in hand, when its value goes up, so to does its taxes as most countries’ governments are depended on land taxes. Here is my take on Property Assessments, as my region undertakes what it calls Property Assessment Season, the time of year when British Columbia does it property assessments evaluations.

On one side of the table you have the land owners, who are loving the growing rates of real estate values in many regions, so their potential investments are, in some cases, beyond their wildest expectations. Where I use to live, the Lower Mainland near Vancouver, property values have sky rocketed, so many there are enjoying their investments grow over the couple of decades to the point that they are, in some cases, worth millions. Almost everyone has enjoyed this increase. Not too many property owners are complaining about their investments today, only those who wish to buy.

On this other side of the table, are the Governments, who all are enjoying this boom in property value as well becuase their cut of the pie is in the form of taxes. It goes hand in hand that both sides should prosper. Simple, eh? But here is where fun starts, in my opinion.

So the BC Government has just released their Property Assessments, and mailed them out to the property owners, plus you can go on-line and see them too. And so the grumbling starts. Many are not happy, and see this as a huge burden, especially those who have huge mortgages against their properties. Maybe many of those who are in this huge state of debt should think twice about being property owners in their desired area to live? But nevertheless, as a property owner, very few reasons can be given to kick you off of it, unlike a tenant in a rental situation. But back to the point, and I call this greed–plain and simple. Your investment has grown beyond your expectation, yet you see many parasites nibbling way at it. Sure, taxes can be seen to be that way, but when your bottom line is just barely able to keep up, any parasitic increases are seen as critical. Perhaps some land owners have forgotten what taxes do, and why inflation in land reflects in costs of services? It is called “inflation.”

One of the criteria built into the assessment is the land’s market value. But Property Taxes reflect more than just market value, they also reflect the community that you live in, such as what utilities you have servicing your community, and future developments. Sadly, I see land owners refusing to see this, but rather looking into their pockets and seeing the gouging by taxes taking place.

A Cool and Cuddly Passed Weekend

So it is Wednesday, or “hump day,” as I sometimes call a typical Wednesday, and with it, the happiness knowing it is the halfway point in the workweek where we are moving towards the next weekend, a sense of hope that Friday is getting nearer. So, having said all that, what I wrote below, was written last Sunday, and rewritten Monday night, with proof reading and corrections done. So forgive me on my past tents, and wondering sense of time, in my use of grammar. This is, after all, my personal Weblog, so I get to make up the rules as I see fit, yet trying to conform to the standards that I was taught.

Friday night is somewhat a night to myself. I did my laundry, cleaned up a bit around the apartment, and prepared for tomorrow.  I have a couple of emails to send out, and some matters on Evil-Bay that are pending. Mostly, my online to-do list is small this week. It is the month-end, so I paid all of my Bills on-line (November 30), and made sure that my Bank statement balanced out with my records; it all works out, right down to the penny (though Canada no longer has pennies). I also bought a large size bar of chocolate–do not tell–it was my treat for a week well done. Somehow, chocolate has gripped my needs and wants in the food department. For the record, chocolate is not just a “Female” food, we Males get the cravings too. 🙂

Saturday was spent working on the PC, getting it’s software all up to date and fixing some of the on going bugs that have popped up in the last couple of days. Then I spent the rest of the morning reading some Court Documents that I want to study. These are rather touchy for most folks who live in and around the North Coast of British Columbia, so I will not include any details here on the Weblog. But, I did spent over six hours pouring over them, and I learned a lot. But having said that, I see even the Courts are a long ways from finishing this matter, as there are so many questions still yet to be answered. About high noon, Suz., called, and said she is on her way to pick me up, as we wanted to check out the weekend’s community craft events. The craft fair at the Kitsumkalum Centre was the best one, in my humble opinion, as it was packed and had more goodies to offer. In all, we had a great time. To end the night off, it was movie night at Suz.’s place. A fun and relaxing evening, even the Cats enjoyed curling up on my lap, playing chaperone on the couch, as we watched the show.

Sunday was spent with more morning reading, though not as deep as the morning before, but the rest of the Court Documents that I had with me, I finished. Later on, the plan was having dinner with Suz., and her parents, as we were celebrating her birthday. The dinner was awesome, and I was very full. We had Chinese at the Golden Star Restaurant, in down town Terrace. I have to plug this place because they are great, and me and Suz., go there often. Then I left for home early, so I could have a great start for Monday at my work. 

This was an abbreviated version of my weekend. So much more happened, of course, but this is all I need to write. I would also like to add that my car went five weeks before I needed to fill it up with fuel, and my heating bill was under seventy-five dollars (electric heat). Now I know we are getting ripped-off down in the Lower Mainland as far as bad Land Lords and local Governments goes. Shame on you! Just so glad I moved away from all that nonsense. But, you all have a great week, and as always, “stay out of trouble.”

Snow Removal to Air Plants

Where to begin? First I will talk a little about the snow removal issues that are going on in my little corner of the universe. There has been lots activities on that subject over the four days–to say the least. Second, me and Suz., went to the various local markets, to see old friends and see what lurks in the deals department, or anything that might “tickle our fancies.” It was a win-fall for Suz., as she won a huge basket of goodies in a draw that we entered. Lastly, I finally bought an air plant. Yes, a plant lives in the air, and has no need for soil. How cool is that!

The topic of snow removal has been a hot, yet muted, issue here in the sleepy little town of Terrace. We have been bracing for cooler and more wiled weather, since the weather scientists have been overwhelmingly predicting such. So far, for the this month, they have been right on the mark. So too have the snow removable companies, as they gear up for the bonanza of business. With my case, the snow plough company has been very aggressive with their efforts of make sure we have spotless yards, free of snow, before we start our day. However, with the lull in business over the last few years, they want their share of the pie, and when you are main game in town, it goes hand in had with modern day thinking, to want it all. So any way possible, to charge extra for work, especially when you do business for a large corporation, is oh so natural. At my work, the battle rages, as the snow removal company wants more money for there services, yet at the same time, wanting to leave the contract the way it is. I say, get some competition in this town.

My hat goes off to the very lucky Suz., as she won the huge basket of goodies today. It was kind of amusing, we were eating at the Golden Star Chinese restaurant, when she got the call. The women that called her is also named Suz., so it was kind of funny to know that there are Suz. One, and Suz. Two–they worked that out for themselves. It was Suz., Two that called to let Suz. One, know she won the door prize. Tomorrow, Suz. One will collect her prize.  Yay!

I finally got an Air Plant! I have it sitting on my old lamp by the window. This is a short term solution until I get something more permanent for the plant. The lamp “arm” seems to be a perfect spot for the plant for now, as it is right by the window, and easy enough for me to spry-water it. This was something that I always wanted for a long time (since I heard about them on Twitter, from a contact).

Beware the Scammer

It was a couple a weeks ago now, as I was nonchalantly looking at the rental market up in Northern British Columbia, that I came across an ad that seemed to good to be true. I was delighted when I got a response almost within hours of my query to the ad. I was inspired, and felt hopeful glee, when I was told that this particular home was available, and that I was the only one who has responded. However, in the end, once it was evident that this was a scammer hard at work, trying to dupe me, I whisked away the happy thoughts and moved on.

So, yes, scammers are everywhere, and sadly, not even our law enforcement in British Columbia, the RCMP, can do much about it. It is buyer beware, and due diligence that must be practice when combing the ads of both printed and on-line media. Scammers are everywhere, and they have no moral values; they are human parasites in today’s world.

What was obvious at first for me was how awesome the ad was. It was too good to be true. The price for the dwelling was, unreal, to say the least. So moving forward, looking at the price, and how it was a deal, was the first sign of the scam. In a market that is flush with little competition, where prices were outrageous, seeing a deal that was unbelievably fifty precent below market value, was a dead giveaway. But I kept going with the email exchanges anyway, hoping that this could be the real deal, but doubting it more and more as time went on. Added to this, all utilities were included, even cable and Internet. Yes, he was going to pay for my Internet! My B.S. meter/detector was pointing off the scale now.

The second warning sign came in the form of how fast the acceptance was, and the rush to move to the actual rental agreement form. I should also point out that the replies I received were typed in very poor English, almost to the point that this person was using a spell-checker, while doing “cut and paste” chunks of phrases from other emails. The poor grammar, and ward choice, coupled with flawless paragraphs in the same email proved that this scammer was luring several victims at once. Yes, I had one section where he was speaking to me as a female. Not to mention how basic the rental agreement was, and how little information I had to give, I laughed when he added that to the text of  the email–no attachment or signature in return. It was obvious that all I needed was a pulse, to prove that I was alive, and money, to give to the scammer.

Third, was when I asked to see the place first before I would give out any money for the damage deposit. Now this is where things got murky. In British Columbia, the laws are different from other jurisdictions about what a land lord can, or cannot, ask for as far as money, information and types of contracts rental agreements. To pay for “site unseen” is, well, not the proper way of doing business here in Canada. So when I asked to have the address of the dwelling before I would consider paying with any money, the answer was no: “pay first, then you get the keys” was the reply. The exchange was to priceless. First was the Trans Union Money address in the Untied States, and then the promise of the keys and receipts delivered to me by Fedex. Then was a possible visit, once I was moved in, to see how I would enjoy my new home.

I stopped my conversation with David, the scammer. He never bothered to continue as well. It all stopped as it began. However, I could imagine him waiting for his next prey, another unsuspecting person searching for a place to live here in British Columbia with his deceptive ad.  All I could do was hope that his ad be taken down after my complaint and rid the net of this parasite for about thirty seconds.

Please use your head when shopping on-line, or from printed media, especially about renting. If it seems to good to be true, than it will be a scammer hard at work ready to take your money. Do your research, and please report these ads to the appropriate authorities once you have determined them to be scammers.

Caught One, Rats! (Warning-Gross Image)

Well, they say a picture is worth a thousand words, perhaps along with shock value, this image (below) speaks volumes to my plight. If you have been following my weblog, I have been battling with these vermin for the last four or five months now. They have cost me, in the pocketbook, a sum of around $1800.00 now, by replacing the damage they have caused. Chewed wires, holes in plastic containers and isolation, these rats have been nothing but trouble to both my home and vehicle. So I took action, and I am getting results!

Let us look at the above photo for a moment. This is the first rat caught while on the motor. I check my engine almost every day now. You can see the socks places under the wires. Those socks are filled with Mothballs, and since I have been placing them in the engine compartment, I have not had one wire chewed since.

Besides the Mothballs, I have been laying poison near my vehicle too. I bought some Rat-A-Way pellets, which did wonders on the first couple of days I set the traps. The first twenty-four hours three rat bodies were found underneath my Pathfinder, and the following day, four mice and one rat. Since then, the bait had been nibbled at, but no more bodies near my vehicle. Though, near my front door steps, I caught three more rats along with six mice in the last month.

But my main concern has been my vehicle. I now have proof that the Mothball method works!

To all those deniers and self-proclaimed rat experts (you know who you are) look-at-the-image. And “no,” I did not place the rat there and staged the whole photo–that is just gross!

Politics

It is about 2:00am, and I am ready to end the day (I work afternoons by the way). I just thought I would type a few words about today, and what is going on South of the border from my perspective. I try hard not to get too involved in other countries’ political affairs, but today is different as I see the voting U.S. results have yet again shocked me. Yup, it looks like Trump is in; will the world as we know it—end?

So, Trump. Well… what will this mean? My first thought is, will the world economies collapse and take us all with it. But then this probably will not happen right-a-way. Like our Rob Ford here in Canada, Trump maybe all talk and no action on matters that will affect us around the world, and with his record of “foot-in-mouth” and flip-flopping, I can see many issues going off in weird directions, which would probably amount to the same old State that has always been. Though I kind of ponder at the idea of the U.S. building a wall around itself. I think if the “Iron Curtain” from the Russian-Soviet era when I heard Trump talk about the “Wall” between it and Mexico. Walls are the opposite of two-way streets, as they not only stop what comes in, but block what goes out too. And what will the U.S. do without all that cheep labour? I can see everything getting more expensive, especially with charging high taxes on imported goods from China.

I noticed the shock in the Stock Markets as the Eastern markets start to open. The CBC news is saying that markets are jolted with the U.S. elections results, and the reaction is very negative. We will have to see how far this goes. Hey, maybe gasoline prices will come back down! Sweet!

I just watched Trump’s victory speech. I am some what surprised. He actually sounds “presidential,” as opposed to a man flailing insults, shooting from the hip with his words. Words from his Teleprompter I bet.

Why Having No Neighbours is So Nice

Listening to my ex-neighbour who moved to another neighbourhood, telling me about his new problems, makes me appreciate the peace and quiet of my little corner of the universe. I could not live in a trailer park, or condo, or any other place that has people crammed so close together. When I thought about his tails of the weird and wacky people that have moved close to him, I realized that half of his trouble were his alone: he wants his privacy, yet craves the social interactions at the same time.

Sure, having people around is human. We humans like to live in colonies, families, and sometimes in metropolitan centres and cities. I even heard this called “human nature” while taking my undergrad classes university. Ultimately, we take on a mate, and raise children, and build our own families. In turn, we live close to populated areas for jobs, schools and stores, which give us securities.  We in our homes, towns and cities, governments to give us Rule of Law and build roads, schools and keep us safe. Some how, in this human utopia, chaos can ensue.

For my friend, in his trailer park, the mix was spoilt over time. Drug users, which are common among low income sites, were part of his problem as they moved in, but also tenants who wanted the joy and happiness that they claimed of their properties, also interfered with his peace and enjoyment. Then there were the whores and prostitutes that occupied the park as well; many are also drug users, and bring their own troubles. The neighbourhood is now labelled as a haven for lawlessness. Law enforcement even fears venturing into the area, and unless they have to, it is with body armour.

As I look across the farm fields and forests from my front door, I am happy. I live where many would not choose to. My neighbours are far enough from me that I like them. I can leave my windows open, and car unlocked and barbecue out on my patio without a chain. Good ridden to the trailer park trash; my friend, I feel for you–honest.

A Hit to the Head: Did it Make a Difference?

It was sometime around the last week of July that I reached up to pull a box down from a very tall skid of product at my work. I do this almost daily, and I have had boxes fall on me before, sometimes hitting me, or just falling to the ground, but it does happen from time to time, so I thought nothing of it at the time. That time, it was a saw blade in its packaging that fell on me. The pallet full of items was about 40 to 50cm taller that I am. When I went to pull the top box down, the saw blade at the top of the pile was out of my sight, so when it fell, it hit me right in my glasses. Thankfully my glasses broke, not my eye.

So a week went by, and I thought nothing of it.

The following week, I was telling my supervisor about how I broke my glasses, as we, four of us from the department, were comparing some of the shipments from our vendors and how bad they were. When he heard of the saw blade, he reacted a little more strongly than I would have thought he would. Actually, he said he was going to write an email to the regional bosses about this. I assumed that it would go nowhere.

Yesterday I was told that the regional head manager was going to fly over to our department and personally see me about the incident. When, I do not know, but my story made some big waves regarding safety and how the merchandise is being shipped to us. Now, there is an inquiry that has started, though I am not aware of it personally.

I hate being the centre of such attention. I wear glasses, and they did their job. Sure, I might get another set, but I really do not care. What I care about is when they make such huge pallets of freight, that people my hight have to reach up and grab down without knowing if there are other objects hidden above. Maybe this will change the way we get freight, but I doubt it. But I hate being the centre of this type of attention.

Department Move

It has been nearly five weeks now. Five weeks since the move from night-shift to days, working in a new department, a move that I very much wanted. With change comes challenges, and joining a new team comes finding that new fit comes with anticipation and complications. Working with the new team has pretty much gone as I anticipated.

I knew, going forward, that not all the team members would embrace “the new guy” amongst their space. Old habits, mixing with new blood, will be a challenge for the weeks to come. Already in the last five weeks, I have witnessed the stubbornness by staff as they try to keep their routines,and leave the undesirable work for me. Since I was hired for my skills, for one staff member, I have become a threat in the sense that I exceed the skill level of some tasks, and easily jumped onboard in the workflow, keeping up. Though I laughed as two members peppered me with questions about myself, probing, then relaying factitious/distorted versions of my words to the Manager—who is a good friend of mind. We had a good laugh. And yes, I have names, I know who you are. Nothing like jealous people burning their bridges so quickly.

My new department will have lots of changes in the coming months. I was given an outline of what to expect in the days and weeks ahead. Most of this information I have kept to myself, as requested, so who knows what, or where I will be once the changes take place. I am not worried, as new opportunities are always be around. But for the senior staff, they feel they have been “betrayed,” or “disposed of,” by the corporation, as they have some of the information that I have, and see my move into the department as part of those feelings. I say, “get over it,” because it is going to happen whether I am here, or not.

I have no troubles with embracing new responsibility and change in this case. However, for some of the senior staff, these new responsibilities mean a new level surveillance by management, and they are resisting this, even telling me that I must take this stance along with them. There is a world beyond the walls of the department, and if my fellow co-workers cannot see this, then they miss out on the big picture—at their cost. Remember it is easier for me to embrace change, then for those who have old habits of their daily routines.

Thankfully the good out weighs the bad by a long shot. I am very happy, almost grateful under what is happening in the global market place economy. The pay may not be that great, but I would rather be doing this, than being homeless with no income.