Wednesday, December 30, 2009

10 Tough Questions with Chief of Police, Glenn De Caire

When I approached our new Police Chief , Glenn De Caire to gauge his interest in being a guest on 10 Tough Questions, he was immediately receptive to the idea. I thought it would be a very good follow up to my interview with previous Chief Mullan , found here.

From what people have told me, and from my brief interactions with Chief De Caire, including a review of his answers  to the questions I posed, he presents as an upfront and "no nonsense" professional. I was also impressed with the fact that  that he did not shy away from some questions that may have been a little "edgy", or perhaps not in keeping with what usually consititutes an entry interview. But the new Chief stepped up!

This is an opportunity for Hamiltonians to get to know Chief Glenn De Caire a little better and to show him our support. His leadership will be critical. I think he's up to it! Welcome to 10 Tough Questions with Chief Glenn De Caire.

Happy New Year Hamiltonians - 2010 - Your Hamiltonian Predictions

I thought it might be interesting to ask you for your predictions as to what 2010 will bring for Hamilton. Will we have a new Mayor? Which councillors will be re-elected?  What will voter turn out be like? Will James North and the arts movement continue to explode? Will we see more scandals? Will the Integrity Commissioner make a difference? How will the Abdul Khan allegations be handled? Will we make any headway on light rail? What progress will we make or what challenges might we face en route to the Pan Am games? Will The Hamiltonian.net garner 500,000 hits (shoot high ;-)). 

Share your predictions here in free form. Make your predictions on any topic affecting Hamilton. Might be fun to archive these posts and then reflect back on them at the conclusion of 2010.

Fire away.....

New Integrity Commissioner Set to Start

Earl Basse, former RCMP Inspector, small town mayor and hockey referee- in-chief, will soon commence his role as Hamilton's Integrity Commissioner. Welcome Earl!

At present, he runs his own business and acts as Windsor's Integrity Commissioner. According to a Spec story (see it here) , Mr. Bassee intends to keep his job as Windsor's Integrity Commissioner, while being Hamilton's as well.

The Spec reports that Mr. Basse's performance as Windsor's integrity commissioner has received mixed reviews. His first report, released in November, outlined his inability to find the source of a leak during Windsor's bitter municipal strike this summer. Some blame that leak for prolonging the strike for another month.

Friday, December 25, 2009

10 Tough Questions with Herman Turkstra

Herman Turkstra is a lawyer, businessman and a founding member of Turkstra, Mazza law firm. Herman is currently on sabattical from his law practise and serving as President of ZIYP Inc. ZIYP is active in the use and development of business directories on the Internet and in print. Herman founded 701.COM and 701 Media Group which were purchased by the Toronto Star and now publishes directories to over 2,500,000 households in Ontario communities. You can read more about Herman here .

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Infrastructure Report Card

It seems that the city’s infrastructure is getting worse. From a soon to be released consultant’s report, the city’s average grade fell from a C plus (issued in 2005) to a C. Apparently, the city needs to spend $153 million more each year if it hopes to keep its infrastructure up to date.

The worst mark -- a D (minus) -- was awarded to Hamilton's roads and traffic systems, which includes bridges, sidewalks, traffic lights and street signs. This category is the city's most expensive group of assets with the biggest projected shortfall -- $96 million a year.

Councillor Bratina called the city's performance "fair or worse" and called the road and traffic rating "shocking." "What it tells me is that we're building infrastructure that we can't afford to maintain," Bratina said, citing the Red Hill Valley Parkway and the Lincoln M. Alexander Parkway."It's great to have it, but we can't afford it."

Are you as shocked as Clr. Bratina is? Are we focusing on the right things? Have we leveraged the Red Hill Parkway build?

See the full Spec Story here including the individual scores assigned to the categories reviewed.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.

May you and yours have a joyful holiday season.

Let's be thankful for what we have and be generous with what we can give. And let's remember those who have gone before us that are with us in spirit.

Peace to all.

Margaret, Daniella, Cari, Adri, Kyle, Mathew, Erin, Carm and Cal

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Popping the Bubble with Adam Kuhn

Pop the Bubble at McMaster focusses on reacquainting McMaster University  students with their surroundings. With the majority of students' time spent on the McMaster campus, it is easy for the average student to remain isolated from the rest of Hamilton. This trend is exacerbated, as students often do not veer off the path between their residence and the university, which becomes their " bubble".

Adam Kuhn, the manager of the Office of Community Service-Learning and Civic Engagement in Student affairs at McMasterThe Office of Community Service-Learning and Civic Engagement at McMaster has come up with a new initiative named Pop the Bubble, an awareness campaign oriented towards getting students off the campus and engaging them within the social fabric of the city. The work of Adam and his team sounded interesting and I am pleased to feature him on The Hamiltonian.

1. Tell us about "Pop the Bubble". What was the genesis of the idea, what do you hope to achieve and are you seeing any results?

Friday, December 18, 2009

What Does a Hamilton Hero Look Like?

While the jury continues to be out, pending the commissioning of a full and impartial investigation into Abdul Khan's allegations against the City of Hamilton, Hamiltonians who responded to the Hamiltonian online poll, which asked whether people thought Abdul Khan is a Hamilton hero or a scorned employee, think that Mr. Khan is a Hamilton hero. The poll is unscientific.

Of those who responded to the poll, 77% indicated that they think he is a Hamilton hero.

In today's Spec, the city maintains that the lifting yesterday  of the Lynden drinking water advisory, is unrelated to the allegations of Mr. Khan.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

10 Tough Questions with Gregory Hough

Gregory Hough has been an avid blogger on several of our local blogs (known as WRCU2) , and a regular here on The Hamiltonian. Greg has always intrigued me, based on his unique style of getting his points across. I readily accepted the opportunity to meet Greg face to face to get to know the man behind the posts. We met at a Hamilton standard- the Tim Hortons at Ottawa street. Behind the mystery, I found a quintessential Hamiltonian- engaged, interesting with a genuine concern for our city. I was also impressed with Greg's quest to volunteer in the community. Additionally, he hails from Buffalo, NY, and it was thus very interesting to hear his perspective on Hamilton. I am pleased to have him on 10 Tough Questions. Greg has elected to answer all 11 questions I put to him. Welcome to 10+ Tough Questions with Greg Hough. Comments welcomed.

1. You originated from the United States and are now living in Hamilton. What brought you to Hamilton and what are your impressions of our city?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

An Informed Opinion on Abdul Khan's Allegations

Some of the allegations made by Abdul Khan, former Hamilton Director of Water and Wastewater Treatment from May 2005 to June 2009, are fairly technical and difficult to understand by everyday Hamiltonians who would not have expertise in wastewater management. Given the magnitude of the allegations, it is important to decipher what is being alleged and what the allegations mean. To that end, The Hamiltonian has interviewed Roger Lambert, now retired, who has some expertise in the field. To further inform Mr. Lambert's opinion, it is our understanding that he contacted Mr. Khan directly, after having a thorough read of the allegations.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

10 Tough Questions with 820 Talk's Dave Shuttleworth

Throughout the past decade, Dave Shuttleworth has worked at many stations, and in several formats, including Country, Oldies, Adult Contemporary and Talk. In 2006, Dave took a chance at local politics when he ran for Hamilton city council. Although he didn't win, he had an impressive showing.When he's not on the air, Dave can be found all over town at various events; hosting functions, jamming with local musicians, or taking in a lecture at McMaster University, where he is completing his Political Science degree.  Dave and his wife, Jennifer Sanders, live in downtown Hamilton with their daughters, Laurel and Julia . Dave answered all 11 questions I put to him. Welcome to 10 + Tough Questions with Dave Shuttleworth of 820 Talk radio.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Special to “The Hamiltonian” by Tom Cooper, Director Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction

The term “welfare fraud” is flying fast and furious –and inaccurately - this week thanks in part to report released by Jim McCarter, Ontario’s Auditor-General. The debate has provided political and media fodder and turned attention away from the reality that individuals in receipt of social assistance receive are often living in dire poverty.

Abdul Khan - In His Own Words

Who's telling the truth?

The allegations made by Abdul Khan against the City of Hamilton (see document here) , alleging serious wrongdoings has thrown Mr. Khan into the spotlight. Is he a hero who simply did his duty as a responsible public servant b Mr. Khan was kind enough to agree to an interview in The Hamiltonian. His answers to my questions are posted verbatim. In the interests of fairness, any representative from the City of Hamilton, is also invited to an interview in The Hamiltonian to discuss these issues. They need only contact us.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Welcome Chief Glenn De Caire

Just a note to welcome our new Police Chief, Glenn De Caire. Some of the highlights of his speech featured today on video on the Spec web page include:
- Wants to position the police service in Hamilton to contribute to policing strategies in the province
- Wants to share and transfer the skills that he has acquired through his years in policing

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

10 Tough Questions with Mark Cripps

Mark Cripps is managing editor for Hamilton Community News (serving the communities of Ancaster, Dundas, Hamilton Mountain, Stoney Creek).He has been with HCN for over seven years, starting as editor of the Stoney Creek News. Mark is a graduate of the Ryerson School of Journalism, and has worked at numerous community newspapers across the province, including Seaforth, Goderich, Kitchener and Prescott.

Kangaroo Court

Surprisingly., Hamilton city council  allowed the discussion of this allegation openly ( click here) , in absence of an investigation. 

McCarthy, Clark, Bratina and Pasuta were the only ones opposed to discussing the matter in open council.

Jobs? Where?

It will be a tough new year for those who are job hunting in Hamilton. Manpower has found that 13% of local companies are planning cut backs in the first quarter of 2010. This nets out to a negative 10 ( -10) employment outlook for Hamilton, the worst it has been in 3 years. Only 3% of local companies are looking to hire new employees. ON CHML this morning, a Manpower representative also noted that many companies are opting for temporary workers, where hiring is being contemplated. Certainly, the dire economic times and recession has impacted Hamilton. I wish it were better news.

Drowning in Taxes

Updating Hamilton’s aging infrastructure is not a problem that is going away anytime soon. In fact, it will only get worse if it is left unchecked. In response, the city is primed to introduce a new surcharge on our tax bills, to target the problem. And now this - click here

The average household is expected to pay an additional $14 that will be used to offset costs related to upgrading roads, transit and city buildings. In the best scenario, taxes would increase to 3.6% At worse, if the city doesn’t secure 16.5 million that it has requested from the province, the tax increase will be more in the range of 6.4 %.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Indebted to Aerotropolis

It seems that new money is required to supply water and sewer services to the proposed aerotropolis. It's money we don't have and will likely incur more debt. Hamilton councillors are contemplating a  freeze on development if the provincial and federal governments don’t provide more cash.

The water and sewer budget calls for $2 billion in capital spending over the next ten years for pipes, pumps and other infrastructure including a new sewage treatment plant. Half that amount – over $1 billion – is scheduled to be used in the next three years, with most of it being borrowed.
Finance head Rob Rossini, said "“If our growth projections don’t materialize, or if they materialize slowly, there is significant risk to the existing ratepayer, and the impacts of funding that debt. Because once the project’s constructed, once the debt is issued, the bank wants its money.”

Friday, December 4, 2009

10 Tough Questions with Chris Farias

Imaginitarian and Partner, Chris Farias is a Hamiltonian entrepreneur and owner of kitestring creative marketing + design.

Now in kitestring`s third year of business, Chris acts as Creative Director on all campaigns with his knack for creating unique identities and on-target brand awareness. He has a stellar background in print design, illustration and art direction. Chris also brings over 9 years experience in brand development to kitestring.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

"Breaking the Dam of Resistance"

Heres a story in today's Toronto Metronews

City Councillors Limit Political Donations

Toronto city councillors have decided they will no longer accept campaign donations from corporations or unions.

"This is kind of a revolutionary day, " Councillor Michael Walker, who pushed for the reform, said after the 29-12 vote. "We've broken the dam of resistance". The issue has been before Toronto council off and on for several years, but the politicians haave resisted reform until now.

This means that future candidates will have to rely on individuals to fund their campaigns. Toronto city council also voted to study the feasbility of providing some city funding for campaigns.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Secrets or Procedural Paralysis?

The city's legal department once again submitted a  report  to council that refused to release any portion of the annual audits of the company managing the airport. Councillor Clark has been diligently after this for some time now and had asked for portions of the report to be released some 18 months ago.
The resolution to accept the staff report was subsequently defeated by a vote of six to one, with only committee chair, Maria Pearson supporting the motion.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Elect More Women- Hamiltonian profile

Organizations such as The Hamilton Civic League (HCL) and Elect More Women (EMW), are important change agents on the Hamilton Municipal scene. Maximizing voter turn out and providing more choices in candidates running for office, are, in my view, pivotal components of transforming our city.

I was thus extremly pleased when Kelly Hayes of Elect More Women  agreed to appear on The Hamiltonian. I strongly encourage Hamiltonians to lend their support to EMW the HCL and like causes.

Picture -Denise Doyle, Caitlin Maclennan, and Kelly Hayes

1. Can you tell me about your organization "Elect More Women". Who is involved, what are your goals and what inspired you to start this venture?