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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Judgement Day Part 2 of 3 Poll Results

The results of an unscientific poll conducted on The Hamiltonian, with respect to the performance of the Mayor and Council are in. You may recall that the first iteration of this poll was conducted in September 2009. The results of that iteration were reported here.

The current results are as follows:

Angry or Relevant?

According to a recent C.A.T.C.H. report (see it here) , outgoing Councillor Margaret McCarthy took The Hamilton Spectator and City Council to task, suggesting that during the city's past unsuccessful efforts to obtain the Commonweath Games, the then Publisher of The Spec, participated in an in-camera council meeting. Further, McCarthy maintained that the then Publisher, Jogoda Pike, not only attended the closed door council session, but then reported on the games bid afterwards.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Margaret McCarthy Not Seeking Re-Election

Margaret McCarthy announced that she would not be seeking re-election in her ward, citing a promise she made to her husband that this would be her final term.  Your reaction?

10 Tough Questions with Terry Cooke

Terry has been serving his community for over 25 years. He was elected Chairman of the Region of Hamilton-Wentworth in 1994 and re-elected in 1997.  He was also the primary political champion of the amalgamation of Hamilton and its former area municipalities into the new City of Hamilton in 2001. Prior to his election as Regional Chairman, Mr. Cooke was elected 3 times as a City and Regional Councillor for Ward One in the City of Hamilton.

Upon his retirement from political life, Mr. Cooke entered the private sector with his appointment as President and Chief Operating Officer for the Foxcroft Group of Companies which includes Fluke Transportation, Hamilton Terminals and Fox 40 International.

Terry Cooke began his career in 1983 at the Ontario March of Dimes where he was Provincial Director of Housing and Support Services. During his tenure with the March of Dimes Mr. Cooke lead the development of housing and support service programs for disabled persons in over 20 communities across Ontario. Terry is also is a past Chairman of the Hamilton-Wentworth Police Services Board and also served on the GO Transit Board, the Greater Toronto Services Board and the Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation Board.

Since January 1, 2010 Terry has been President & CEO of Hamilton Community Foundation,a local organization that links the philanthropic interests of generous Hamiltonians with the community’s needs and opportunities  

Welcome to 10 Tough Questions with Terry Cooke. Comments welcomed.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Secret Meeting?


According to a recent C.A.T.C.H. release, the city had a "secret meeting" in which amongst other things, discussion ensued about directing an external law firm to explore how land owners prone to have their properties exproprited to allow for the Pan Am games site, can have their hearing rights circumvented. The article is below in full.
Do you think this is a fair tactic or do you think this is disrespectful to those who own land that is in the Pan Am crosshairs? Moreover, is the city dealing with this in an open, transparent and respectful manner. If you were one of the people who may have their properties expropriated, how would you feel about having your right to a hearing under the Expropriations Act, potentially quashed by a city directed legal tactic?
With special thanks to the good people at C.A.T.C.H., here is the report:

The city will use outside lawyers to try to circumvent the expropriation hearing rights of owners of lands related to the Pan Am Games. The decision was part of a three-hour secret session that is being described as improper by several councillors.
At the beginning of last Thursday’s special meeting on the Pan Am Games stadium site, Brad Clark objected to holding closed door discussions on advice from the Gowlings law firm.

“There are very few of those eight recommendations which could be considered something that should be debated in camera,” Clark argued. “I know they’re on a letter from a lawyer, hence solicitor-client privilege, but the actual substance of those eight recommendations are items that should actually be debated publicly.”

Mayor Eisenberger turned to city solicitor Peter Barkwell for advice on Clark’s objections to the secret session.




Monday, February 22, 2010

Dumb, Dumb and Dumber

Yves Dubeau, a regular here on The Hamiltonian sent me an interesting email and asked me if the subject would make a good blog topic. Yves granted me permission to post it on the blog. Here is Yves' email to me. He entitled it "Dumb, Dumb and Dumber" 

I do not share the view of Andrew Dreschel and the exuberance demonstrated by Mayor Fred regarding last week’s council vote in selecting the site for the new stadium. This site, over and above the construction cost of building the stadium (pegged at over $100 million) comes with additional costs which possibly would not be there if another site such as Confederation Park would be part of the equation.

On the Ground with Richard Koroscil


Follow up interview with Richard Koroscil:

1. As you know, there has been speculation about documents being kept from the general public, with respect to the provisions of the tradeport lease. You've been kind enough to provide some clarity on this issue in the past, on The Hamiltonian.

It seems to me that underneath these queries is a notion that perhaps Hamitonians are not getting a fair share of revenues related to the airport's operations. Can you talk to this in relative terms.

In other words, using some sort of ratio or other comparative metric, how would Hamilton rate in terms of ROI on a scale of minimal, moderate, high or very high return? Of course, the relativity would be as compared to other airports and corresponding income driven to the tax base.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

"My head is bloodied, but unbowed" Abdul Khan, in his own words.

Note: Jim Harnum has been invited to The Hamiltonian for an interview. We await his reply.

Abdul Kahn, in his own words:

I don't have the entire police report and only base my observations on the news item in Spectator. I am no legal expert but this looks strange.

Lets assume that few PEOPLE in the City get together and take scrap from City's stores and sell it for cash and use the proceeds for BBQs. The issue is reviewed by City and the following is found:

- Scrap was indeed sold for cash .

- The proceeds from the sale didn't go to City's treasury

The City reports the issues to Police and after investigations, I doubt that the outcome would be no 'Criminal Code Offences'. Most likely the police will lay charges against the PEOPLE.

Now in the scrap issue that I had reported in my e-mail to council, the only difference with the above is that those few PEOPLE in the above example happen to be the CITY EMPLOYEES.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hamilton Police Services conclude Wastewater Treatment Plant Investigation


Hamilton Police Services conclude Wastewater Treatment Plant  Investigation

(Hamilton, ON - February 19) Today, correspondence was received from  Hamilton Police Services by City Solicitor Peter Barkwell on the  matter of the Wastewater Treatment Plant Investigation. The  investigation has now been completed.

 
The lead investigator, Det. Sgt. Glenn Bullock issued the following  statement: "Based on the outcome of the investigation, it is the  Investigator's opinion that there were no theft or related Criminal  Code offences arising from the activities as described by Mr. Khan."

Your reaction?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Making Bread

Canada Bread announced that it is building a $100 million, 375, 000 square foot bakery in the city's industrial park in Glanbrook. It is expected to create 300 permanent jobs, 120 jobs during construction and 31 seasonal positions. See full Spec story here.

It is also expected to generate 1.1-1.5 million in taxes annually and 2.5 million in development fees. Hamilton approached Canada Bread in December and,  in a proactive move, seems to have landed the deal (It's great to hear good news for a change).

Considerations for choosing Hamilton included the park's close proximity to highways and our skilled workforce. The bakery will produce white and brown bread, rolls and tortillas, mainly under the Dempster's brand name on seven production lines; the first of which will open next year and the rest by 2012.

Average income for the new jobs created will be in the range of $45,000 to $65,000 and jobs will be open to local residents after workers displaced from closures in Toronto plants, are accommodated.

Your reaction?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

By Law Crawl Update

I asked Matt to provide The Hamiltonian with an update as to how the presentation went to the City's Economic Development and Planning committee. Here is his summary, along with a reminder (to the left), of the date and theme for the next outing.

Brian McHattie made a motion to set up a meeting with Marty Hazell and staff to take my suggestions into consideration and start working on them, see what's possible.

My suggestions were: a) to set up a group of students (similar to what the city has done in property maintenance) to regularly check up on the exteriors of vacant buildings and report findings to by-law staff b) to order a review of the complaints process to ensure that complaints are received and the person who makes the complaint is responded to, and c) that the Vacant Building Protocol be revised to require inspections of vacant buildings on a monthly basis as opposed to every three months.

Brian is setting up a meeting to discuss these options. I'll send out an update when that meeting happens, and I'll let you know what comes out of it.
 I'm working today, but I'll post this on the blog for now. I'm reasonably satisfied with the outcome- we'll just have to see how things go with staff.

For a more detailed summary from Matt, please read the rest of this article. Comments/feedback?

1o Tough Questions with Martinus Geleynse

Martinus grew up in Charlottetown, P.E.I., and Hamilton, Ontario and was always drawn to the communication arts.  Martinus says "As far back as I can remember I, with my siblings presented recitals, air bands, magic shows, theatrical performances, etc. etc. to a sold out living room. I started studying piano when I was 4, and began designing boats, planes, cars, and other unique inventions shortly thereafter. Driven by a rapidly developing passion for politics, I designed my own fictional nation around age 10, complete with parliamentary government, detailed economic infrastructure, and a raging pop culture."

He attended undergraduate university was in Grand Rapids, Michigan. While at Calvin College he completed a major in media studies, and a major in music (choral conducting), with a minor in international development studies.

During his university studies, he produced several short films and went on to screen in festivals in Germany–even winning an award for ‘best new filmmaker’ in Nuremberg. " Through these experiences, I became convinced that there was a value in my pursuing the development of my own media firm. In my final year at university, I laid the groundwork for my company, and in July 2007, I registered World Media Red and began operations.As of January 1, 2009, World Media Red has been rebranded as MG International.

Martinus answered all 11 questions I put to him. Welcome to 10+ Tough Questions with Martinus Geleynse. Comments welcomed.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Judgment Day Part 2 of 3

You may recall that a while back I conducted an unscientific poll on The Hamiltonian that explored citizens' level of satisfaction with council and with the mayor. See results of previous poll here.

You may also recall that I posed  key questions along the following lines:

Approval rating/effectiveness of council as a whole,
Approval rating/effectiveness of the Mayor,
Stewardship of public funds and resources,
Value for money for tax dollars and
Culture at city hall.

First By-Law Crawl Says it All

It was cold, it was nippy but the first By-Law Crawl, organized by Matt Jelly, was successful.  About a hundred or so Hamiltonians braved the weather, to take to the streets and make note of by-law infractions related to the conditions of buildings/properties. Noteably, no representatives from city council were in attendance. When a participant yelled out "Is the Mayor coming?", there was a shrug from Matt.



Saturday, February 13, 2010

Randle Grief?

It seems that the clean up of the Randle Reef and the money that was to be earmarked, is uncertain.

The 90 million dollar Randle reef project was to be funded on the basis of a three way split between the Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments. The Hamilton Port Authority, (HPA)  was to be a contributor, of 7 million dollars, to the funds required to proceed with the municipal share of the project.

 Councillor Ferguson seemed to have been under the impression  however, that HPA should be securing the entire 30 million required for the municipal share, as HPA stands to benefit most from a new pier.

HPA President Bruce Wood responded that the HPA are “not the guys in charge of getting the other one-third” and acknowledging that “we are short; there’s no question about it”.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Day the Music Died?

Is this the beginning of the end for the  Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and  Symphony Hamilton , in Hamilton, at least? Apparantly both approached Burlington Mayor Cam Jackson, with repect to possibly moving to the $36-million facility under construction at the corner of Elgin and Locust streets in the Burlington city core.

Jackson said he first met with Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra and Symphony Hamilton's former manager about a year and a half ago."They want to expand their audiences, and they are very excited about our venue.They are looking for a place to call home, and Hamilton Place is where they all perform, but there are other issues around storing equipment and all that other stuff.They were exploratory discussions."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ward 15's Judi Partridge


“It’s time for Ward 15-Flamborough to have a stronger voice and bring leadership at the City Council table, someone who is experienced at making tough decisions, a strong negotiator who will take action at City Hall to build consensus on behalf of all taxpayers”.

The propsect of viable choices for Ward Councillors this election, keeps getting better. Judi Patridge (quoted above) was happy to chat on the phone . By all accounts, it sounds as though she'll be a force to reckon with in Ward 15. Having run before and proven she can garner a respectable amount of votes against a long time encumbent, makes her a formidable challenger. Her press release is below. Join me in welcoming Judi to the electroral race. Comments welcome.
Press release

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hamilton Downtown Mosque Expansion?

As reported in The Spec. on Feb. 2, 2010, the Hamilton Downtown Mosque want to expand their quarters at 96 Wilson St. E. (see article here) A new mosque on that site would also include in an elementary school and housing for new immigrants.The expanded complex, estimated to cost $5 million, would grow out of the present location.

The present location can accommodate 200 people, while the accommodation need is reported to be 600-700 people- which the new expanded site would be able to address. 

Monday, February 8, 2010

10 Tough Questions with Councillor Bernie Morelli

Councillor Bernie Morelli and I have been lining up the timing of his invitation to 10 Tough Questions for a while now. Bernie has been diligent in contacting me when he needed more time to reply and I appreciated his receptiveness and enthusiasm to participate. Each time I receive a reply to 10 Tough Questions, I review the answers. While all answers are always posted verbatim, and without any edits whatsoever, I don’t often resist the urge to review the answers prior to posting them. I found Bernie's answers well thought out, well articulated and it is clear that much time was put into them. Bernie answered all 11 questions I put to him. Welcome to 10+ Tough Questions with Ward 3 Councillor, Bernie Morelli. Comments welcomed.  1 What contribution are you the most proud of, during your many terms as a Hamilton councillor. Why did you pick that example?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Ward 10's Jose Pablo Bustamante

Jose Pablo Bustamante strikes an impressive balance between expressing intelligent views on issues and listening intently, as we talk on the phone for 10 minutes or so.

In the context of a battle cry found on several blogs (including this one), whereby Hamiltonians are calling for a "clean sweep" at the polls this October, Bustamante's message, as relayed to the Stoney Creek  News,  resonates " Let’s shake the ground and get people involved".

Could people like Jose Pablo Bustamante , Ken Chartrand and others actually serve as model candidates in Hamiltionian's battle cry to "clean house"?

We'll see as Bustamante lays claim to Ward 10. See his interview with the Stoney Creek News here. Visit his web site here.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Richard Koroscil, President and CEO of Hamilton International Airport, responds to The Hamiltonian

The following is an email exchange I had with Richard. As I made it clear that my intent was to put the response on The Hamiltonian, I am posting my email and the response verbatim (save for the niceties that were separate and apart from the topic.)

Email from The Hamiltonian to Richard:

As I am sure you are aware, much is being said about the fact that financial information (audit compliance reviews) pertaining to the Tradeport lease and revenues, is not being released to Hamiltonians. See the topic here
http://www.thehamiltonian.net/2010/02/secrets.html May I ask you for a response as to why this information is not being released and how Hamiltonians may be satisfied, going forward, on this account?

Richard's reply

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Secrets?


After 20 months of wrangling, Councillor Clark seems to have had enough of trying to get the release of the annual compliance audit reviews submitted by Tradeport to the city to justify their calculation of the company’s annual rent payments.

Clark, filed a application for the release of this information through Freedom of Information- this, in spite of cautions from city staff that this may put him into a conflict of interest situation.


According to a C.A.T.C.H. release (found here), the warning didn’t stop Clark from introducing a motion that could toss the issue into the lap of Ontario’s privacy commissioner. Referring to sections of the provincial freedom of information legislation, Clark called for council “to notify Tradeport of the council’s decision to disclose the lease compliance audits to the public” and give the airport management company an opportunity to appeal the decision to the privacy commissioner.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

An Interesting and Refreshing Interview with Connie Smith



Connie Smith has over 30 years experience in television news and current affairs, most of them at CHCH-TV Hamilton, Ontario, which, at one time, was the biggest independent television station in North America. Connie co-hosts the annual McMaster Children’s Hospital Celebration broadcast,which earned her the prestigious Hamilton Health Sciences Cornerstone Award. She is also the recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, a Premier’s Award nomination, the Ontario Association of Broadcasters’ Howard Caine Memorial Award and the CanWest Community Spirit Award. She has been named a Hamilton and Halton Woman of the Year, received the Zonta Club of Hamilton II ‘s Founder Award in 2007 and in March 2009 was named a Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary International’s top honour for public service. She most recently was presented with Sertoma Hamilton’s “Service to Mankind” Award.

Connie was quoted as saying "“Everywhere I go, people tell me they just want to hear some good news. The world needs good news right now, and there is goodness all around us. It’s all about how you look at things.” Connie's new program, It’s Always Good News seems like a natural progression. Welcome to a refreshing and interesting interview with Connie Smith.

1. Blogs and other media outlets tend to gravitate toward topics that require attention and action. Usually there is a degree of discord attached to the topics that garner the most interest. Always Good News provides a refreshing counter balance. What inspired you to choose that theme for your program and what type of reception have you been receiving?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Let it Rain - tax?

According to a C.A.T.C.H. report, the city is denying any claims againsts it, launched by insurance companies seeking to hold the city responsible for the damage attributed to the storms that caused flooding to properties. This is consistent with the city historically denying such insurance company claims since 2005 over the course of 9 storms.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada reported last month that they have received $156 million in claims related to that one storm which also resulted in over 1400 liability claims against the city for an estimated $20 million in damages.