Ken Charko believes that the Non-Partisan Association has a good shot at the October 15 municipal election in Vancouver.
Charko is convinced that the city’s oldest electoral organization has a winning campaign theme around the twin issues of safety and affordability.
Charko is one of the NPA’s candidates for council, and he is paying close attention to issues affecting small businesses.
Charko is a business owner himself, having been the operator of the independent Dunbar Theatre for many years.
One of his biggest concerns is about crimes affecting small businesses, especially break and enters.
“Crimes against small businesses hurt hard-working Vancouverites,” Charko told the Straight in a phone interview.
Charko noted that small businesses “pay their taxes and get nothing in return from city hall”.
“No one in city hall cares about crime and small businesses,” he claimed.
On May 4, 2022, the Straight reported that Cardero Café at 1105 Davie Street has been listed for sale.
The offering came following a series of break-ins at the Latin American-inspired establishment.
Cardero Café opened on Davie Street in July 2020, and had thieves break into it three times since then.
On July 5, 2021, Cardero Café’s window was smashed a third time, and cash and merchandise were stolen from the West End coffee shop.
Owner Sonia Zebadua said in a CityNews Vancouver report that the three incidents have cost her between $10,000 and $12,000.
“I’m demotivated, because now you have to do all the process for the insurance again and see if it’s even worth it, because the claim is $1,000. I wouldn’t even recommend to anybody to put a business here,” Zebadua said.
A Vancouver Police Department report to the police board noted incidents of commercial break and enters have increased by 4.2 percent in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the three-year average.
A Gastown clothing store is an example of what’s been going on.
Angel Vancouver located a 2 Powell Street has been broken into 11 times since the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020.
Global News reported on March 14, 2022 that seven of these break-ins that involve smashed windows occurred in the last two-and-a-half months.
Also, the owner pays a $500 deductible on each smashed window.
Moreover, it costs about $1,000 every time broken glass needs to be boarded up.
In the same report, Global News recalled that Vancouver police chief Adam Palmer told the police board in March this year glass breaks were up 40 percent since 2019.
As well, commercial break and enters with broken glass in the downtown core have increased 24 percent from 92 reports in 2019 to 114 in 2021.
On April 14, 2020, the VPD stated in a media release that it arrested 40 suspects in connection with commercial break and enter crimes.
The recommended charges include but are not limited to break and enter, theft, and possession of stolen property.
The VPD noted in the same release an increase in commercial break and enter incidents.
In the interview, NPA council candidate Charko also noted reports about violent shoplifting incidents.
Charko said that an NPA-led council will push for a review of city expenditures.
“We’ve heard that millions are being spent every year on non-core activities,” Charko said.
“We’re going to do an audit and really make the decision on which core city services need to be supported, like making sure that small businesses are supported,” he added.
Follow Carlito Pablo on Twitter at @carlitopablo