Thursday, May 28, 2015

Coleman- on Assault Charges against Clr. Ferguson

Journalist Joey Coleman released the following statement with respect to the OPP not proceeding with charges against Clr, Lloyd Ferguson for assault.

The OPP is not proceeding to charges related to Mr. Lloyd Ferguson’s assault against myself on February 26, 2014 which occurred in the public foyer of Council Chambers at City Hall.

The OPP must weigh numerous factors in determining whether to prosecute offences and I agree with their decision that public interest is not best served by using court time and resources on this matter.

The OPP concluded that Mr. Ferguson’s actions were wrong and unjustified.

I wish to thank my fellow Hamiltonians for their support and both the Hamilton Police Service, and the Ontario Provincial Police for their professionalism.

Though I respect how these events have concluded, I do request that Council consider formal action to rescind former Integrity Commissioner Mr. Basse’s flawed report, a report that has been widely criticized , and a report that untruthfully maligns my character. I hope to work with staff to see this action taken.

Where these events might undermine public confidence in our civic government and civilian oversight of policing, increasing cynicism and disengagement, I implore the public to stay engaged with an inquisitive eye on City Hall.

My final message is thank everyone for your support. The strong support from the community is what enables me to continue my work.

Mr. Coleman's statement appears on his site. Click here to go there

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Motions in Motion

Whereas, the Province of Ontario has just announced that the City of Hamilton will receive LRT funding that will see the B-Line run from McMaster University through downtown Hamilton to Queenston Circle, Ward 4, East Hamilton and;

Whereas, the LRT will connect directly to the new West Harbour GO Station, which is now under construction, and protect for a future, high-order pedestrian connection to the Hamilton Centre GO Station and;

Whereas, procurement for the LRT will start in 2017, with construction starting in 2019 and;

Whereas, the province will extend GO rail service on the Lakeshore West line from the West Harbour GO Station at James Street North to a new GO station at Centennial Parkway in eastern Hamilton, with construction is expected to begin in 2017, with completion in 2019 and;

Whereas this undertaking equates to over $1B in investment, including construction and;

Whereas this announcement and scope of work will affect significant regions of the entire City of Hamilton, specifically around the B-Line, and GO station(s);

Therefore be it resolved that:

1. The City Manager be directed to report back on creating an office to facilitate this work, one that will work closely with Metrolinx and;

2. That a sub-committee of Council be struck and that at minimum, the affected Councillors along the B-Line corridor be asked to participate on the sub-committee.

authored by Clr. Sam Merulla

Media Release: Councillor Green Calls for Safer City Gun Buy Back Initiative

May 25, 2015- Ward 3 Councillor Matthew Green announced he would take steps to make our neighbourhoods safer by proposing the Safer City Initiative, a gun amnesty and buyback program supporting past Hamilton Police Services amnesty programs by adding a financial incentive. Councillor Green will move the Initiative at the next Hamilton City Council meeting on Wednesday, May 27, 2015 in response to the recent brazen gun violence in Ward 3.

"I am supporting the community and police efforts in crime reduction by taking unwanted and illegal guns off the street. We are sending a message that we will all be working together and sharing responsibility to make our neighbourhoods safer.”

A gun buyback program would allow those with illegal firearms to turn in their illegal and unwanted firearms to the police. Last year’s amnesty program resulted in 374 guns and almost 20 000 rounds of ammunition turned in.

A similar amnesty and buyback program launched in 2000 in Toronto successfully made communities safer by taking 2000 firearms off the streets in two weeks.

“The best response to the events of last week in Hamilton is a show of force; not in the traditional meaning of the words. To get tough on crime you also have to get smart on crime. The gun buyback program is a show of the force of the resilience of the neighbourhood and the city as a whole to deal with the long-term factors that contribute to urban insecurity," says former Toronto City Councillor Rob Davis who championed the gun amnesty and buyback program in October 2000 and reached out to Councillor Green to provide support.

Councillor Green will gather with residents at JC Beemer Park on Thursday May 28 at 6pm for the #Proud2bWard3 rally in the wake of recent shootings in Hamilton. All residents of Hamilton are invited to attend.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tweet of the Moment

Premier @Kathleen_Wynne announces up to $1 Billion investment for light rail transit and GO service in #HamOnt. #LRT

Motions in Motion

Moved by; Councillor Sam Merulla

WHEREAS the public electricity system in Ontario is a critical asset to the economy; and

WHEREAS the public electricity system generates significant revenue for municipal and provincial governments and gives Ontario a competitive advantage; and

WHEREAS Hydro One is a profitable and well-run provincial utility; and

WHEREAS local control and decision making is important to meet the needs of our communities and residents; and

WHEREAS local electricity distribution companies provide a source of stable and predictable revenue to our communities; and

WHEREAS some Ontario municipalities have examined possible sales or mergers of their local distribution companies, and have decided not to sell to Hydro One or the private sector; and

WHEREAS the privatization, partial or whole, of electricity has led to higher rates and less control;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the City of Hamilton call on the provincial government to:

Stop the sale of any part of Hydro One, and maintain Hydro One as a wholly public asset for the benefit of all Ontarians;

Strengthen Hydro One by investing in the next generation of workers and upgrading aging infrastructure;

Respect the autonomy and local decision-making powers of local distribution companies by not forcing these companies into mergers or sales; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City of Hamilton maintain ownership and control of its local distribution company; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the City of Hamilton circulate this resolution to the Association of

Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and the Electricity Distributors Association, and work for its adoption.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Food for Thought with Alex Bielak- Refreshing Rhubarb (with Red Pepper Jelly and Star Anise) and Road Trips

Refreshing Rhubarb (with Red Pepper Jelly and Star Anise) and Road Trips  

My wife loves rhubarb because it reminds her of her Grandmother. Grannie was a wonderful gardener and would give the children rhubarb stalks sprinkled with sugar to chew on as soon as the first harvest from her garden was ready. Tart and crunchy, it’s a memory of carefree childhood. 

Grannie’s approach is too tart for me, so I improvised a version that would work for both Roberta and I. This gloriously-refreshing stewed rhubarb recipe is dead simple to make, and can be eaten as an easy dessert (with a crisp oatmeal cookie, perhaps), as a fillip to the tastebuds at breakfast, or perhaps incorporated in a cocktail. The possibilities abound and I leave readers to experiment with ingredient quantities to their taste.

I took a dozen or so slim fresh rhubarb stalks (the leaves are poisonous), chopped them into inch long pieces and put them in a pan with a cup and a half of water. (They will release more water so use more or less water if you like your compote thinner or thicker.) I then added a couple of tablespoons of sugar, a large dollop of red pepper jelly (for an interesting colour accent, and to add a tad more sweetness as well as a colourful, fiery hit) and a couple of star anise pods.

I stirred the gently simmering mixture to dissolve the sugar and jelly, and as soon as the stalks were tender (perhaps ten minutes or so) I turned off the heat. As the contents cool you can adjust the sweetness: I sometimes add a touch of fresh maple syrup. You can eat the dish warm, or (my preference) chilled in the fridge. It’s delicious with or without a dribble of cream.

Thinking of spring also brings to mind road trips and discovering the bounty of other parts of Southern Ontario.

A wonderful event is coming up June 6th – 7th, just to the south, in Beamsville. Nearly sold out, Graze the Bench has eight wineries teaming up with some of the top chefs in the area for what promises to be a splendid weekend of bevvies, munching and tunes. You can also “Rock the Bench” on the evening of June 5th at Thirty Bench Winery. Our friends at Memphis Fire are providing the bound-to-be-tasty BBQ.

Try Smoking Buddha’s oriental offerings at Angels Gate winery, Chef Mark Hand’s fennel sausage at Mike Weir winery, El Gastro’s amazing food (Check out my early review of their new cookbook, Curbside, in the previous column) at the Organized Crime Winery, and Chef Victor Barrie’s “100 day aged chuck burger” at Hidden Bench Vineyard among others. As a member of Les Marmitons, I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of cooking under the direction of all these chefs and can promise you their food is nothing short of amazing and alone worth the trip. And the wines at all the participating wineries aren’t half bad either!

Going north, I’d alert readers to the upcoming May 30th Spring Rural Romp in Wellington County. It is a self-guided farm, plant nursery and food tour and includes great opportunities to win prizes by participating in the Butter Tart Trail Challenge (mmm… butter tarts), and a photo contest.

Enjoy the warming weather and all it brings to bloom!

To see more pictures, click here.
To see all past columns please see (and “like”) the Food for Thought Archives
Alex (Alex can be reached at fft@thehamiltonian.info or on twitter @AlexBielak)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Media Release: Barton Village Festival is One Month Away

By shining a huge spotlight on the positives of Barton Street a team of residents and volunteers are going to show the City how great Barton Street is this summer!

In the heart of Barton Village on Saturday, June 20th the first annual Barton Village Festival is taking place at Woodlands Park. “We want to showcase the amazing diversity on the street and bring people from across Hamilton to see what a great community it is.” Festival Director Rachel Braithwaite says. “The hope is to increase awareness of some of the many assets it possesses, and shine a different light on a much maligned street. Really, it’s a fantastic area.”

This free family-friendly festival will feature food, fun, music and much more.

With three stages of music, the main stage in the park, a youth stage beside Sign Aids and an acoustic stage inside 541 Eatery & Exchange, there will be something for everyone. Musical acts will be announced on the Festival’s website very soon.

Other activities at the festival include Zumba and belly dance instructing, a flash mob, and a presentation by the Hamilton Aerial Troupe. The Dundas antique fire truck will be on display and Little Ray’s Reptiles will be putting on two shows. A photo contest is underway, asking “What do you love about Barton Street?”

There will be over 40 vendors at the Barton Village Festival, “which really speaks to the interest there is in celebrating the area.” Braithwaite says. “We’re all so excited for June 20th and to show off Barton Street!”

Thanks to our sponsors: Hamilton Community Foundation, Pan Am Hamilton, Councillor Matthew Green, Little Ray’s Reptiles, Sign Aids and Ruffin’s Pet Centre.

For more information, please visit http://www.bartonvillagefestival.com.

Monday, May 18, 2015

MEDIA RELEASE- City reaches tentative deal with CUPE 5167

City reaches tentative deal with CUPE 5167

HAMILTON, ON – May 18th, 2015 – The City of Hamilton and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 5167) have reached a tentative agreement through collective bargaining. The two parties met all day today and late into the evening with a provincially-appointed conciliator.

The tentative agreement reached comes after twenty-five days of negotiations over the last four months.

The CUPE negotiating committee will be presenting the tentative agreement to their membership next Monday with a recommendation to accept the deal. The report will be received by City Council on Wednesday May 27th.