scamcouver

fear & loathing in Lotusland

Category: Vox populi

2013: The Scam Reviewed

by Zbigniew

This blog serves as a personal alter for eviscerating and laying bare the entrails of that overabundant local ruminant, the bovis sanctus siccus –the temperate sacred cow. It’s a messy job on a good day. But given the distended fecal sacks of our holy bovines, retching is not uncommon.

Has Scamcouver been successful in this regard? Probably not: at the end of the day there’s not much to be said about a slab covered in offal.

However, the audience for the gory spectacle is growing. In 2013, followers are up four-fold and readership has grown by a factor of five. There’s something of a world-wide audience, too. While the vast majority of readers are Canadian residents, Scamcouverites could be found in about 70 nations, from Albania to Viet Nam, from Iraq to Italy. The top ten non-Canadian sources are:

  • the United States of America
  • the United Kingdom
  • the Federal Republic of Germany
  • Georgia
  • Japan
  • the Netherlands
  • the Republic of France
  • Australia
  • the Republic of Korea
  • the Federative Republic of Brazil

Thanks for your interest and support -especially Lindsay.

Scamworld 2013

“Chimera” (an imaginary monster comprised of grotesquely disparate parts; a fanciful mental illusion or fabrication) was the most popular search term driving traffic to the blog. Some others:

  • arthur erickson graham house
  • arthur erickson house and garden
  • blandcouver almost afraid
  • bob rennie is an asshole
  • cash money
  • coronet theatre vancouver
  • deborra hope hopeless
  • dental building blown up vancouer
  • fake philanthropist
  • fine grained scam
  • fuck you gregor robertson
  • fuck you vancouver
  • generic cityscapes
  • gold cruiser resources ltd, gold scammer in georgia
  • gregor robertson is an arrogant asshole
  • lotus land branding strategy
  • northwest odour hastings
  • people in vancouver are fucked
  • photo violation technologies scam
  • pretty green$
  • rick cluff loves john furlong
  • technoschlub
  • vancouver crap housing
  • vancouver fire property disclosure statement residential
  • vancouver getting worse
  • vancouver real estate is fucked
  • vancouver scam infrastructure
  • vancouver stock exchange scams
  • vancouverization of los angeles
  • vancouvers worst
  • welcome to vancouver sign “buy now”
  • wind kingsgate mall
  • worst places to live in vancouver

The most popular posting in 2013 was The Worst of Vancouver Survey: “Winners”, the reader-determined shit-list of local persons, places and things. The next ten most popular postings were:

But a few of the entertaining comments received:

From Boom, in response to The Cringe: It’s You … Vancouver: “It’s you that makes me shit my pants on the skytrain. It’s you”

From Sister Jake, in response to The Worst of Vancouver Survey: “But i love vancouver! where else can you ski in the morning, play golf in the afternoon, and shoot up after a raw food dinner?”

From Ksk, in response to Welcome to Vancouver: “Truckers were considerably thinner in the 1970s.”

Scammer of the Year

To be eligible for “Scammer of the Year,” candidates must have been character assassinated in this blog’s “Scammer” category at some point over the course of the preceding 52 weeks. Candidates are judged for their ability to present themselves as stalwart citizens while simultaneously deforming the local psychogeography for their personal enrichment; extra points are awarded for overall douchebaggery. The winner will be notified of their victory by poison pen letter, which will be accompanied by the cash prize comprised of whatever Canadian Tire money I happened to have pinned to my refrigerator. A likeness of the winner will be installed in a future “Strip Mall of Shame” -development permit still awaiting City Hall approval.

The candidates for the second annual Scammer of the Year award are:

  1. Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson
  2. Vancouver City Manager Penny Ballem
  3. Associate Professor, Real Estate Foundation Professorship in Real Estate Finance & Director, UBC Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate, Tsur Sommerville

For his tireless effort to shill for the real estate industry that pays his way, and the shear ridiculousness of his title, I declare Tsur Sommerville the 2013 Scammer of the Year. [Yawn]

2014

Friends, the alarums have sounded. The New Year will immediately bring 439 Powell and the Hollywood challenges, and many others great and small. And then there’s a civic election ahead. I hope for the sake of our community that seizing the reigns is not a task beyond our grasp. I resolve to double my efforts, to dig deeper, to cut through that swollen fecal sack, if necessary. It’s a messy job and I hope see you there.

Best wishes,

Zbigniew

The Worst of Vancouver Survey: “Winners”

by Zbigniew

Dear Scamcouverites:

My thanks for the 130 odd of you that completed the inaugural Worst of Vancouver Survey. As for the very few that continuously employed the same irrelevant word, your limited capacity for self expression leaves me worried for you -please seek out the support of a trained professional.

As previously noted, the survey is decidedly unscientific. I’ll generalize anyways: aside from a few spikes of relative consensus, dissatisfaction about our burg seems widely dispersed and unfocused. I’ve tried to reflect this heterogeneity, while every attempt has been made to accurately reflect your snide, smart-ass and rage.

Without further ado …

1. MOST DISPIRITING ELECTED CIVIC REPRESENTATIVE

The hands-down winner: Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson

Mayor McJuice

Also referred to as:

“Mayor Handsome”

“Mayor Moonbeam”

“Mayor McJuice”

“Gregor ‘Bend me over and spread my butt cheeks for developers’ Robertson”

  • “Looks like Ken Doll and has the moral depth of one, too.”
  • “The only policy he has implemented is the ‘put a condo on it’”.
  • “Stand up for something other than your fucking bike and your fucking development buddies for a change.”
  • “Thanks for nothing.”

2. Sam “The Sham” Sullivan
3. Christy “Krusty” Clarke (not civic, but that’s vox populi)

General comments:

  • “I can’t make heads of tails of all the spin.”
  • “Most of them are tired, narcissistic cunts.”
  • “Whoever it is that won’t let people drink in movie theaters.”
  • “Who are they again?”
  • “Glargh.”
  • “Meh.”

2. MEDIA PERSONALITY OR OUTLET MOST LIKELY TO INDUCE AN APOPLECTIC FIT

Media outlet: Global-TV

Media personality: Rick “How does he have that job?” Cluff, host, CBC Radio 1’s The Early Edition

Rick Cluff

Contenders:

  • The Vancouver Sun
  • The Province
  • CKNW
  • Tamara Taggart

Comments:

  • “CBC … it’s so establishment trying to delude itself it’s so not.”
  • “I read the hockey pages of The Province. The rest of it is litter box lining.”
  • “All of Vancouver’s print media …. misinformed, inaccurate, hyperbolic, all of it is utter magazine trash. Could get more out of reading Hello! Canada.”
  • “Mike McCardell, the floppy mouthed old bastard who does the smarmy human interest stories on Global.”
  • “What is apoplectic?”

3. REAL ESTATE DEVELOPER OR COMPANY YOU’D MOST LIKE TO SEE RUN OUT OF TOWN PURSUED BY AN ANGRY MOB

Winner: Bob “Condo King” Rennie

2. “All of them”
3. Solterra

Dishounorable mentions: Steven Lippman, Cressey, Hollyburn, Atira, Concord Pacific, Rize, Aquilini, Bob Ransford, Bosa, Ian Gillespie/Westbank, Onni, Ryan Beedie, Peter Wall, and Trump!

Extra cynical: “City of Vancouver” and “Vision”

Comments:

  • “Oh I don’t know, ALL OF THEM? Especially since they were crying to the media recently that ‘nobody wuvs them’”.
  • “Steven Lippman … I’d like the angry mob to catch him, flay him, and stake his head outside the Lotus.”
  • “Feckless apologist & perpetual spinner Bob Ransford, who tries to extract compensation for stupid speculation against protected Musqueam land.”
  • “Ugh! That Pantages theatre developer deserves every pillory available in the city ….”
  • “Screw the developers, people who buy out apartments and let them fill with mold instead of living in them so be pursued.”

4. MOST DISTRESSING REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT (OR, “THE MOST MASSIVE BULLSHIT SINGULARITY”)

Winner, by a nose: Rize (Main & Broadway)Rize

2. Olympic Village (aka “the Olympic Potemkin Village”)
3. “All of them”

Extra cynical: “Vancouver”

Comments:

  • “What’s this ‘podiums’? Are we really expecting to host more athletes?”
  • “The display board on the Woodwards building talking about what an amazing project it is, in which the architect tells us that this building (his building!) represents the greatest hope for humanity. Barf.”
  • “Anything over 8 stories high. More than that and community is adversely affected.”
  • “The proposed development at Commercial and Broadway. Who’s blowing whom on that one?”
  • “ALL OF THEM. ENOUGH ALREADY! I mean, I get it, change happens, but the faintest whiff of tact, nuance or imagination on the part of either the developers, the architects or City Hall really would make the public input dog-and-pony show more bearable, at least, right? Although if the Beedie group really does tear down the real-people refuge that is Kingsgate Mall to replace it with The Same Development as exists everywhere else in the city, we should all run screaming with only gasoline-fuelled fires in our wake.”
  • “They can Ni Hao themselves.”

5. THE BLANDEST NEIGHBOURHOOD

The winner, by a nose: Yaletown (aka “Staletown”)

Staletown

2. Kitsilano (aka “Kitsiblando”, “West Shitter’s Burg”)
3. Coal Harbour (“I suppose it’s faintly interesting to assemble twenty city blocks of investment vehicles and surround them with concrete planters [ad infinitum].”)

Too many distributed multiple votes to omit -other neighbourhoods or municipalities singled out for abuse, in alphabetical order:

Cambie

Champlain Heights

Delta

Downtown

Downtown Eastside

Dunbar

East Vancouver

Fairview

Kerrisdale (“I live there! There’s no PUB in Kerrisdale!”)

Knight Street & Marine Drive

Main Street

Marpole

Oakridge

The Olympic Village

Point Grey

Richmond

Robson Street

Shaughnessy (“Or however the fuck you spell it.”)

South Fraser

South Granville

South Vancouver

South East Vancouver

Southlands (“Where you might stumble across Michael Geller if you’re unlucky.”)

Strathcona

Surrey

Vancouver

Victoria and 49th (“It’s a mish-mash of nothingness.”)

West Vancouver

Comments:

  • “Wow, so many choices ….”
  • “Another toss up. Yaletown for its bland yuppy nothingness or Coal Harbour for its absolute nothingness? And there’s Main St with its generic hipster-ness. I dunno, I can’t call it.”
  • “Vancouver: Everything closes at 1:00 AM, hipsters are boring, EXP bar gets fucked, almost closed down the Rio, Richmond is a bleak flat landscape of nothing, Surrey is a dilapidated hole, Coquitlam is devoid of life, North Van full of sleepy rich people; were it not for the natural city we would be the Phoenix, AZ of Canada.”

6. THE SADDEST EXCUSE FOR A PUBLIC SPACE

The winner, by a nose: Jack Poole Plaza

SONY DSC

Also referred to as:

“Olympic Torch Plaza”

“Pig Fucker Square”

“I was so angry about the Olympics (and uh, I’m guessing I still am) that I can’t be bothered to even learn what its official name is.”

2. The North side of the Vancouver Art Gallery (“ … why the bark mulch – don’t we pay a bunch of gardeners?”)
3. Olympic Village

Comments:

  • “The whole weird concrete and grass schmoz going on around the new Convention Centre. Half Arthur Erickson, half Aeon Flux, all lousy with puzzled tourists.”
  • “The ‘plazas’ they make large buildings put in downtown and along Broadway–which they put in the noisiest spot, with no shade, some random backless benches in odd places not conducive to reading or chatting, and a few ugly concrete planters with undersized, spindly trees attempting to live in them. Have you noticed nobody is ever sitting in these spaces? I wonder why not? Could it be because they are actually designed to repel human beings?”
  • “It’s more or less top secret but the grass/fountain on the South West corner of Burrard and Nelson – in front of the Wall Centre – is, apparently, a public performance space. No joke, look it up.”
  • “The ‘Public Park’ at 333 Seymour Street (under the big glass dome ) …. It has a plaque in the middle of its concrete slabs declaring it a . . . Jeez, I think it’s actually a PROVINCIAL park. Mind blowing.”
  • “Do we have these? Like a public meeting area? I guess Granville Street? Is that a thing? Maybe the spurt of land around the courts -all 80s sharp concrete and hardy trees? Pigeon Park? We just don’t have quality public spaces.”

Dissenters:

  • “Actually, I think Vancouver does well on its public spaces. I just moved home from Toronto, where every piss-soaked patch of grass had a sign erected on it telling you (pleading with you to believe) that it was a park.”
  • “I’m going to give Vancouver a pass on this one! I think public spaces are one of the few things in town that function in the vaguely anarchic, consensual way that urban spaces ought to. Future ruination always possible.”

7. MOST SIGNIFICANT LOSS OF A CULTURAL VENUE

Hands-down winner: The Waldorf

Waldorf

2. The Pantages Theatre
3. The Ridge Theatre

Dissenters:

  • “Fuck the Waldorf: those howls of outrage you heard were the cri de coeur of the condo class, to whom it had not occurred that they, too, could get evicted. Tough shit; take your trust fund and play somewhere else.”
  • “Everyone will say the Waldorf … though having attended live shows there it’s much the same as every other live venue in Vancouver… crap because the audience has no idea how to appreciate live music and talks/shouts the whole way through … quite ironic as elsewhere NO ONE SPEAKS TO YOU!!!”

8. THE MOST DISPIRITING PLACE TO ENCOUNTER A DOUCHE BAG

Winner: Granville Street (“On a Friday or Saturday night”, after “8:00 PM” or “9:00 PM” or “10:00 PM” or “1:00 AM”)

Douchey

2. Public Transit
3. “Anywhere” and/or “Everywhere”

Comments:

  • “Off the Granville strip – that means they are on the move!”
  • “Finch’s in Strathcona. I heard one bragging about his trip to Ibiza and my soul died.”
  • “At the door to the apartment downstairs where your neighbour got renovicted.”
  • “The library. Get out, douchebags! That’s our space!”
  • “Crab Park. (It’s like ‘how did you find out about this place?!?’)”
  • “In a car while he/she pointedly jaywalks in slow motion, itching for an altercation.”
  • “Granville ‘mall’ or the seawall. Not sure which is worse -the juiced up jocks spilling out of clubs that threaten to knock everyone’s teeth out, or the brimming-with-confidence preppy shits who jog on the actual wall part of the seawall. Both of these types are liabilities to the species overall.”
  • “Hmm, I have to think -in their element or outside their element? Equally distressing in different ways. I’m going to say Chinatown, whose rapidly increasing douche bag gentrification makes me want to weep.”
  • “In my bed.”

9. THE MOST FRUSTRATING TRANSIT LINE

The hands-down winner: the 99 B-Line (aka “the Bullshit Line”)

Sorry

“Eats my soul.”

“… Jesus Fucking Christ. Try catching a 99 bus after 8:00 PM.”

“I have sold my soul to Car2Go just to avoid having to commute on that little piece of hell.”

2. The #20 Victoria
3. Expo Line

Other lines of note:

  • The #5 Robson, “… which moves around depending on the whim of Gregor Robertson”
  • The #7 “NOnaimo/DUMBar”
  • The #135 “Roulette”

Comments:

  • “As Sartre said, Hell is other people. More specifically, Hell is the other people that have waited seemingly interminably for a bus to arrive only to find it too full to board and are miserably watching it drive away.”
  • “Any given trolley bus line when the daytime wait exceeds 20 minutes when 3 or 4 buses come at once. Hey bus driver, did you get to your break fast enough?”
  • “We have transit?”

10. IF ONE WORD COULD CAPTURE ALL THE FRUSTRATIONS OF LIVING IN THIS BURG, THAT WORD WOULD BE …

Surface

FuckthisshitIwannabeagoatfarmerinacobhouseonthegulfislands

Saudade

Automobiles

Constipation

Zoning

Expensive

Boring

Pretentious

Introverts

Clusterfuck

OVERRATED

RENT

Cultureless

Gloom

Schadenfreude

Expense

Twatty

Selfentitledtwats

Vision

Spendy

Cunty

Pricey

Profligate

Misguided

NOFUNCITY

BLURGH!

Realtor

Douchbaggery

Uptight

OVERPRICED

Passive-aggressive

Pretentiousness

Inequality

Expensive

Greenest

Exasperating

Dollarslice

Money

Vanloser

Facade

Sucktown

Arg

Lame

Greed

Isolation

Cars

Cliquey

Expensive

Development

DoucheTown

VisionVancouver

Expensive

Translink

Shrugs

Gentrification

Privelegindignation.

Instagram!!!

Splatt!*

Premature

EXPENSIVE

Uptight

Artifice

Developer

Dichotomous

SOULLESS

Raining

Bullshit

$

$$$

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh

Gentrification

Lackofaffordablehousingforall

Dead-end

DEVELOPMENT

Juice

FAKE

Poo

Frustrating

Trendy

Expensive!!!!!

Arrogance

Visionvancouvertwofacedhypocrisy

Self-Entitlement

Pinchy

Unfriendly

Deceived

Schizophrenia

Mediocrity

Self-entitlement

Vision

Blandcouver

Bullshit

Zombie

Meh

Trying

Pretend

Feudalism

Scamcouver

* “I’ve been waiting for decades for The Province to use it as a context-free headline.”

The Worst of Vancouver Survey

by Zbigniew

Summertime, and the living is pricey.

Condo lifestyle got you down? Maybe Mayor Smiley’s toothy grin mit square jaw is wearing a little thin? Why not take a few minutes to channel that background angst into the inaugural edition of Scamcouver’s The Worst of Vancouver Survey.

Its short, bitter, and decidedly non-scientific, like a cheap, badly mixed drink. Pithy, smart-ass answers welcome, but there’s space for more considered invective, too.

Survey closes August 24th.

To take the survey, click below:

“Live, Live, Live”

by Zbigniew

60880008

Walking by yet another development promoting “Live, Work, Play” and I wonder if the mantra isn’t getting a little tired –and, let’s be honest, a little dishonest, as the adjacent “Work” and “Play” will be inevitably converted into “Live” and “Live”, respectively.

Perhaps its time for a catchphrase update; something fresh, yet bracing and cynical. To that end, a few thoughts:

Live, Work, Schtump

Live, Work, Struggle to Make Mortgage Payments

Reside, Produce, Engage in Sanctioned Recreational Activities

Work Eight Hours, Sleep Eight Hours, Play Eight Hours*

Drink a Coffee, Walk the Dog, Bag the Shit

Live in a Box, Work in a Box, Be the Box

Exist, Toil, Distract

Invest, Hold, Sell

Any more?

* Courtesy of They Live

2012: The Scam Reviewed

by Zbigniew

Gullet stuffed? Eyes bloodshot from reading all those “year in review” articles. So what’s a little more?

This blog launched in earnest on March 9, 2012 with the mission of uncovering and presenting the scam that runs so vibrantly beneath this city’s glitzy sales pitch. It’s off to a good start: 81 posts, almost 3,000 views, a small but growing cadre of followers and commentators, and a growing roster of contributors (thanks DJKlueless and Sadiethievery).

Not surprisingly, the vast majority of Scamcouver‘s readership is Canadian. However, US readers accounted account for a substantial portion and visitors to the blog were located in another 36 countries. Aside from those like former resident and occasional commentator “Ian from Hamburg”, this globally distributed readership begs the question: “what the devil are they looking for?” Scamcouver readers can be found in:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bangladesh
  • Belgium
  • Bermuda
  • Brazil
  • France
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hong Kong
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Lebanon
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • the Netherlands
  • Pakistan
  • Panama
  • the Philippines
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • the Russian Federation
  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Thailand
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • the United Kingdom
  • Venezuela

Scamworld

While property development was a singularly popular subject, surveillance, egomaniacal shenanigans and oddball bits of our past and present also drew attention. The 10 most popular postings were:

  • Boom/Bust Town
  • Rennie Overdrive
  • Thinner Streets, Fatter Revenues
  • No Gold, But Lots of Brass
  • Here Was Man
  • Full Colour Epitaph
  • Soon
  • Seen in Passing: Terminal & Begg
  • Some Shiny Thing
  • Friendly Surveillance

Some of the more unusual search terms that drove traffic to the blog included the following:

  • best security cam pic
  • bob rennie asshole
  • booms booms hastings sunrise
  • chimera fish
  • deborra hope global tv is hopeless
  • delusion (noun)
  • dorothy stratten
  • east village hastings vancouver ugly banners
  • electric lotusland
  • encased in concrete fetish
  • fake spring loaded hypodermic needle
  • ferdinand marcos cash account scams
  • “fine grain” retail frontage
  • fixation synonym
  • gigantic constructions car
  • grass on yoga pants
  • illusion synonym
  • “john furlong”+”asshole”
  • monster chimera
  • mountain monster fantasy
  • petition to replace the east villiage (sic) banners in east vancouver
  • photo violation technologies corp
  • podium defile
  • tawdry romanticism
  • tom burrows on second narrows
  • ugly reflective jacket fire marshall
  • vancouver severely scotch
  • yoga weed

Scammer of the Year

With all that quantitative stuff out of the way, it’s time for some pure subjectivity in the form of the first annual Scammer of the Year award. To be eligible, candidates must have been character assassinated in this blog’s “Scammer” category at some point over the course of the year. Candidates are judged for their ability to present themselves as stalwart citizens while simultaneously deforming the local psychogeography for their personal enrichment; extra points are awarded for overall douchebaggery. The winner will be notified of their victory by poison pen letter, which will be accompanied by the cash prize comprised of whatever Canadian Tire money I happened to have pinned to my refrigerator. A likeness of the winner will be installed in a future “Strip Mall of Shame,” pending a development permit approval from City Hall.

The candidates for the inaugural 2012 Scammer of the Year award are:

  • dead-but-still-kicking former CPR boss, Cornelius van Horne;
  • master of the condo shill, Bob Rennie; and,
  • CBC deadweight, Rick Cluff.

And the winner -for extreme self-aggrandizement couched as public service, “philanthropy” and a penchant for uncivil discourse- is … Bob Rennie! (Cue the half-hearted smattering of applause.)

2013

Writing this blog is a personal necessity. But this evisceration of beasts is also an emotionally messy process, for it’s about my home. Perhaps 2013 is too soon to hope to lay down the knife and hose off the altar, but not too soon to wish you and yours a happy and prosperous New Year.