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  • Jenoa Meagher

TENANTS MUST RUN IN MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS

KUT started about 4 years ago in response to the audacity of the current Mayor and Council to appropriate land given to the City by nuns for public social housing into private, deregulated, for profit market housing. It started with us calling them out for setting up a Mayor’s Task Force on Housing composed of landlords, developers, career politicians from all 3 major parties, and not one single tenant - a task force that, unsurprisingly, returned findings that suited landlords and developers and not tenants. We’ve watched them since hand over millions upon millions of dollars and free land to the wealthiest of landlords and developers to create an insane amount of unaffordable, super-expensive for-profit housing. In the process they’ve put enormous pressure on ordinary Kingstonians trying to keep up with runaway real estate and rental prices thus creating overcrowding and homelessness. We studied their tricks and deceptions - we’ve exposed their double-speak to them and to everyone that would listen in our writings and social media posts as well as in our interventions at the City Council meetings. We’ve learned how they work and we’ve managed to make quite an impact on their policies. We forced them to open ICH and a warming centre, we pushed them into actually applying for Federal and Provincial grants which are widely available. Of course, they did their best to turn every opportunity to provide public not-for profit- RGI housing into an opportunity to channel millions into for-profit private market-rent housing and this make their donors wealthier. But they still had to throw us some crumbs. We made them answer maintenance request, we made them back off from entirely clearing people off all land, we pushed them into putting a few people into motels, into coming up with horrible and humiliating housing ‘solutions’ such as those sheds and super-restrictive shelters, but make no mistake, had we not been there yelling at them and exposing their cruelty and hypocrisy, things would be much worse. WE PUT HOUSING ON THE AGENDA IN KINGSTON. I am contemplating running for Mayor of Kingston. The Mayor is a lot more powerful than he would like you to think. He determines the agenda along with the City staff - he sets the terms of debate. I want to put real, housing solutions on the agenda. I want to end homelessness immediately and I know I can do it. I want the Kingston City Council to talk about how to make life better for ordinary Kingstonians every time it meets - about how to make life more affordable for single mothers on ODSP and OW or working minimum wage jobs, how to feed their kids, how to help them not have to live in constant fear of being evicted and/or having their kids taken away, I want to talk about how our seniors will feel safer in their homes, how they’ll get help getting groceries, how they’ll be able to get around to and from their appointments without breaking the bank, about how people struggling with mental illness won’t have to feel like they need to hide deep in the woods from the eyes of the judging onlookers, how they can have a safe place to stay, I wanna talk about healthy options, I want healthy food to be available and free for the people so they don’t suffer from diseases that ‘cheap’ fast-food ‘restaurants’ are giving them, I want to talk about how everyone can have the medication they need… A Mayor can do a lot, but he is not all powerful. He does indeed need the approval of his Council in order to get things done. And our current Mayor has had the approval of his Councillors. And that’s why they all have to go and get replaced with tenants. None of the current City Council members are tenants and many of them are for profit landlords. They have the landlords’ and property-owners’ agenda. If you think that your mental illness or your poverty should stand in the way of you running for Council than I’m here to tell you that it’s actually an advantage. Regular, imperfect people with regular people issues are the majority and perfect, wealthy, issue-less people are not only a minority and have no one to represent but are in fact not real. You know a lot more than you realize - we’ve all learned a lot over the past 4 years of talking to each other and following politics in our town, reading about tenant issues, watching the councillors and greedy landlords do their thing. We’ve seen that we are not alone and what regular, hard working people have to deal with every day - bugs, evictions, hunger, inflation… All it takes is a Kingston address and 25 signatures to run for a Councilor in the City of Kingston. We have a very simple agenda and a platform that is already written out for you - it’s simple: house everybody, clean up the housing, feed everybody, good jobs for the people, free transit etc. It’s a $40 000 bucks per year and all kinds of free stuff part-time job. And even if you’re running only for that paycheck and that free stuff and aren’t going to show up to meetings and don’t want to do the work so be it! I’d rather a poor person get it for nothing than those greedy snakes who don’t need it and already have too much. They are counting on your fear and silence. They are counting on you being intimidated by the halls of power. They are e counting on you staying away and finding it all took complicated. And you know by now - we’ve watched them for 4 years - you know that they are neither smart not eloquent not just. Many of them don’t even show up or are sitting there silent not having read the reports and having no clue about what’s going on. They are there to rub shoulders with the rich and powerful - they are there because they think politics is a good, profitable career choice. We can! Politicians want us to think that there’s nothing they can do about anything when we ask them to do something for us but their landlord and developers friends know very well that they have a lot of power and can do a lot. So can we. We can take our city back from the small number of wealthy landlords and give it to the people. We can end homelessness in Kingston. We can get rid of the bugs. We can fix people’s places that are run down. We can invest in the existing not-for-profit, public, rent-geared-to-income housing and we can build enough for everybody that needs it. We can democratize public housing so that it is run by tenants and not by businessmen and landlords. We can reign in landlords’ greed. We can punish bad landlords. We can end hunger in Kingston. We can create a free, effective and dignified public transit. We can make leisure and sports free and accessible to everyone!

We can make this City a place that everyone living here is proud of. If you have an interest in running in the Municipal Election or helping me and others who are willing to run come out this meeting. We need you. Now is the time to step up. Don’t be shy, don’t be scared. It’s your time to shine and do something about the injustice you’ve been watching. Tuesday, August 2nd, 2022. 7:30pm Virtual zoom meeting link: Zoom meeting. Topic: KUT meeting Time: Jul 26, 2022 07:30 PM America/Toronto Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84334971648 Meeting ID: 843 3497 1648 One tap mobile +13126266799,,84334971648# US (Chicago) +13462487799,,84334971648# US (Houston) Dial by your location +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston) +1 386 347 5053 US +1 564 217 2000 US +1 646 931 3860 US +1 669 444 9171 US +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose) +1 929 205 6099 US (New York) +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma) +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC) Meeting ID: 843 3497 1648 Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kbu6U2FNIS Join our Cloud HD Video Meeting


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Dear Neighbours, Thank you to the 2,682 voters who went to the polls on Monday, October 24 and cast their ballots for the People’s Platform of Kingston. While we are disappointed with the results, we