Things go on as usual. They remain dug into the fabric of Toronto. They are still acting as preventives to any organizing in the tenants interests. They are still bilking "memberships" out of people who do not know what hey are dealing with and cant do a bit of research on the web.
As to web searches, they are still trying to suppress sites which are critical of them. In the last year they got an associate of theirs Andy Lehrer, to start a bogus lawsuit for libel against the site. This forced us to move everything to Switzerland and change the domain name.
This made it a bit harder for awhile, people to find this site. However, if you type federation of Metro Tenants Associations into google we now come up third. We are after Levitt's tenants rights page and FMTA itself.
As for Levitt's page, Bobbert is on the recovery arc. He finally figured out to use google advertising to make money from his excellent site. Link here. He stopped updating it for a couple of years, after he seemed to fall into a depression and paranoia.
The FMTA goons have been demanding that he hand the site over to them. He tried selling his own advertising. But the goons threatened al the advertisers, with bricks through the window and so forth. He even tried selling the site to a newspaper.
He is now getting some money from the site and that accounts for his evident better health. He is eating better.
Once again they tried to get another half million a year out of the city government and failed. This year, they were after $600 000. They still have their very own "fund us" committee. This council term it is called "Tenant Issues" committee. Josh Matlow is the chair.
A useful account of one of the meetings of this committee is below. They are still trying to get a landlord's license in the city; one of the long term objectives of the people backing them. What it really is is a tenants tax.
Nowadays, the abominable ACORN group is allied with them on this. They seem to have come to terms with ACORN after initially trying to eliminate them. Neither group have ever noticed the totally unjust slant of property taxes towards tenants and away from home owners.
And here is a message I received lately about FMTA's efforts at "tenants organizing". Tessler is still very much involved.
Talking to a neighbour in another building on Jamieson Ave. Howard Tessler is still trying to get people in our community to be volunteer tenants organizers for them. It looks more like volunteers to sell membership in their group locally. The person said last year Howard told them they would get a "volunteer certificate" that would look great on their resume and sure to help them get a job!
I don't know about the certificate helping them get a job but at least it might be useful if they ran out of money and were out of toilet paper.
You might want to warn people that they print piles of these "certificates". I know at least ten people in Parkdale who have these "certificates" for doing free (volunteer) work for the Metro Tenants or going to their tenant organizer workshop, but I am sure the certificates cost a lot less than paying someone a salary. The unions wouldn't call them volunteers but "scab workers" replacing paid employees.
Finally, the latest change at the helm of good ship FMTA. Effie Vlachoyannacos has moved on. She has now joined Maytree foundation. No doubt she has been schooled by FMTA in techniques of turning good organizations into shit and is now ready to join the infiltrators of Maytree.
The new chair is John Plumadore and a whistlefile is opened on him.
I attended one other political meeting last week that is also worth writing home about. This was the new 'tenant affairs' committee at city hall. Nothing much ever changes with Federation of Metro Tenants Associations (FMTA) and the shadowy forces behind them. They still have the same goals but never seem to achieve them.
This year they again failed to get another half million a year out of the city. Actually they were after $600 000 this time. They have never forced Levitt to turn his web site over to them. They have never got me sleeping under a bridge as threatened.
One long standing goal they may be about to achieve is the apartment license. What this is really about is a hidden tax on renters. As the boys from the Greater Toronto Apartment Association told the committee, there is nothing to be achieved by licensing landlords. The city already has all the power it needs to go after bad landlords if it had the will.
They noted, and I noticed, that the five witnesses they brought forth were all from the same building. FMTA will adopt a troubled building when they need some tenants to put on a show for some committee. These will be dropped when no longer needed. Of course, most of the time tenants having bad landlord troubles will get an FMTA 'organizer' to show up at their building to pitch giving FMTA $15 each in membership. That is all they will get.
Of course if they dare try to do something on their own they might get some further attention from FMTA. It will come in the form of working with their landlord to try to break up their tenant association if they have one, and get trouble tenants evicted. FMTA and the fake left political network it is embedded with are masters of intercepting and discrediting complaints about them.
But FMTA no longer has a monopoly on the tenant pimp business in Toronto. Plenty of fresh faced bubble heads in ACORN t-shirts were there too. They were also lobbying for the landlord license, but ACORN has a different approach. They are powerful enough that FMTA does not try to attack them directly.
I have no problem with the Greater Toronto Apartment Association. I do not take the Manichean approach that much of the left in Toronto does. GTAA are fairly sensible people. They were treated like shit by the committee chair, Josh Matlow. He rudely cut them off right at five minutes, when other presenters had been allowed to ramble on well over that limit.
I made no 'deputation' but I came up to Matlow after the meeting and introduced myself. I do not know if he recognized my name or knew what I was about, but I got vigorously glad handed. His tone changed when I asked him how much the landlord license would be, and then whether it would be 'per tenant'? The answers were, he did not know, and it was one of the options being discussed. In the end he was flinching away from me, but that was what I needed to know.
Of course, this is what the license is all about; a way of making the renters of Toronto pay the cost of regulating the rental housing industry in Toronto, and probably a lot more. There are about one million rental units in Toronto. An old dream of FMTA is to get money per month from every one of them. Imagine how much money would be raised from the less fortunate half of the population if they could get $10 a month from each door.
If I have any time at all, I should see about making a 'pute about stopping this tenant tax. If...