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Friday, April 30, 2010

Mayoral Candidate Mahesh P. Butani and The Hamiltonian

Mahesh P. Butani has confirmed that he will participate in an interview on The Hamiltonian.  Stay tuned....

The Hamiltonian will also be open to , and will  invite other Mayoral candidates, including Mayor Eisenberger, once and if registered.

The Hamiltonian Admin

Thursday, April 29, 2010

11 for 13


Last week we received  emails from a Hamiltonians, asking us to pose  questions to each contender for Ward 13. We sent the 11 questions to each of the contenders, requesting each to respond to the questions. 

Not all contenders have replied. Some of this may be due to the fact that the email addresses that some listed on the city web site, do not seem to be accurate, causing bounce backs. Those contenders may wish to double check the email addresses listed on the site as any emails that are listed in error or are not functional, may cause them lost opportunities.

Here are the questions (verbatim)  and the replies we received thus far.  To comment, go to Channel 13









Glenn Robinson,
1. Do you live in Ward 13?
Yes.

2. What is your day job?
Branch Manager, Linde Canada Limited, Stoney Creek.

3. What are your skills\capabilities\experience?
I am a graduate of the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program at McMaster University with over 10 years of experience in management roles. 

4. What's in it for you?  What is your personal interest in running?
I am a resident, a parent and a member of the workforce.  With the guidance of constituents, I want to be involved in the decisions that impact my family, my friends and neighbours.

I have decided to run as a candidate for council representing Ward 13 to provide a choice for the residents of Dundas. I can provide a new perspective on city council.  I am a capable person with a genuine desire to make Dundas the best place it can be.

The October 25th municipal election is an exciting time for the residents of Hamilton including the community of Dundas.  The number of registered candidates in this election indicates that citizens are ready and willing to serve their community.  I am one of those people standing up to offer the residents of Dundas a choice.

5. What are the most important issues in the ward and how will you address them.
Some of the most important issues in Dundas include:
1. Pedestrian safety- Implementation of the pedestrian safety measures outlined in the Dundas Transportation Master Plan report is a priority.
2. Preservation of our small town streetscape and natural areas - Development must be the appropriate scale, at the appropriate site at the appropriate time.
3. Promotion of an all-inclusive community - Work with all stakeholders including local agencies and senior levels of government to identify effective means of addressing both the immediate needs of those who need help and target long-term alleviation and prevention strategies.
4. Fairness in taxes (area rating) and representation (ward boundaries) - I will ensure that the voices of Dundas residents are heard and that any proposed changes to our tax system and/or ward boundary fairly reflects the needs of Dundas residents. 
  
6. If elected or re-elected, what will you do in the first 90 days?
I will meet with the community council and listen to constituents to learn their concerns and priorities.  I will do a lot of reading and listening. 
There are council orientation meetings at the end of November and Committee of the Whole (COW) budget meetings during the week of December 13, 2010. 
The first Council meeting is currently scheduled for January 12, 2011, allowing time to meet with constituents.  

7. How will you, or, if you are the incumbent, how have you/will you, ensure the voices in the ward are heard?
I will encourage meaningful grassroots dialogue and community participation and involvement. To create true democracy in our community I will:
-         Maintain the Dundas Community Council and provide it with any necessary support to ensure it continues to effectively send the voice of local residents to City Hall.
-         Develop mechanisms to inform residents of upcoming council decisions impacting on Ward 13.
-         Host regular neighbourhood meetings to ensure open lines of communication.

8. What should be done about the Pan Am stadium situation?
This is a matter before the current council to decide.  I would expect the remainder of the process be transparent and involve all stakeholders including the public at large. 

9. How will you prioritize the needs of the ward?
Quality of life, fairness and community consultation are my guiding principles.  I will set priorities through community consultation and neighbourhood meetings. Safety issues and concerns will always be one of my top priorities.

10. What approaches might you use, to be an effective councillor?
Councillors are elected to represent their constituents.  Councillors must also take a broader perspective when considering what is best for the city as a whole. To properly balance these objectives requires respect for other opinions and deference for the protocols and procedures in place. A positive and balanced approach will achieve effective governance.

11. What performance measures will you set for yourself, to assess your effectiveness as a councillor and how would you hold yourself accountable?
I will attend meetings, consult residents frequently, and be accessible.  I will set goals and strive to achieve those goals in a timely fashion.  Feedback from residents will always be welcomed.

Danya Scime





1. Do you live in Ward 13?


 Yes.  I have lived within Dundas and the surrounding area since since 1976~ RR# 2 Dundas (Flamborough), Lynden, Troy, Alberton (Ancaster) and back in the Valley Town since 1998.

2, What is your day job?

 I own and operate Mizener's Antiques and Flea Market in Flamborough. 

3. What are your skills\capabilities\experience?

  I am a strong people person who enjoys interacting face to face during any given situation.  My problem solving skills and working 'outside the box; to ensure conflict resolution has kept me busy intervening with Vendors and Customers for over twenty years.  My innate capabilities of calming and working with people of all ages has gained respect amongst senior citizens, my peers and children of all ages. 
 Owning and operating an in home daycare for over a decade (1984-1994) and being dedicated to the co-operative education for pre-schoolers led me be elected as President of the Hamilton and District Co-Operative Preschool Association.  Working within my children's world and school setting while encouraging other parents to be connected was extremely important to me. I was responsible for grant applications, children's programming, ensuring that each individual school had the money to support any family that wished to be involved in this program.  I worked very closely with MCSS to ensure that our schools were within all regulations and that our budget was on track.
 Life experiences are never forgotten and can foster even more growth than can often be taught.  My role changed from 'daycare Mom' to 'caretaker wife' in 1992 when my husband was diagnosed with a brain tumour.  This new chapter opened my eyes to in home palliative care, and the need for it through out the community.  I am a "quick study" and realized quickly that in order for my husband to have the 'best', I would need to 'wear another hat'.  My problem solving for many of our new friends catuplted me to Chairperson of the Neuro-Oncology Foundation.  Another not for profit organization that helped patients and families deal with all aspects of their illnesses.  Working with Doctors, speaking with Insurance Companies, assisting our "Brainy Bunch" support group with all outside funding and donations, making sure that the ones that needed support, received it.
My husband passed away in 1995 and I was left with three small children, and unemployed (I closed my business three months prior to his death).  I was asked by several friends and volunteer groups to work for them.  I started another business, this time as a 'support service'.  My new career had me assisting other companies with everything from in house accounting to public relations.  My children were my main focus and I was lucky enough to work my hours around their schedules.  Both of my daughters danced, volunteered in local plays (I proudly assisted behind the scenes) and also sang for the Children's International Peace Choir. 
 Helping others that were ill became my focus so I went back to College and earned my PSW diploma.  I worked in a nursing home and later homecare.  I quickly realized just how much more was needed for our elderly and palliative citizens. We still have a long way to go !
 In 1998, I moved my four kids (short second marriage) and I back into Dundas. The girls continued to be involved in dancing and singing and my son played hockey (helping with the time clock and driving the kids around Ontario,) Balancing their schedules and my need for helping others was still not enough.  I volunteered for Aquafest and other community projects and also took some night courses in psychology to 'exercise my brain'.  I learned to 'juggle sixteen eggs, riding a unicycle while waving to a crowd'.
 In 2001, I was hired to manage the Antique and Flea Market.  This new endevour gave me the insight into just how hard it is to turn things around in a business world.  I have worked diligently for the past 9 years building it back up.  With a very tight budget, I learned to negotiate prices, to work in house with what I have, to plan strategically for the future.  I learned many years ago, through my diversified experiences, to work 'smarter, not harder'...With what precious time I had and the mountains I have had to climb, I learned that what must be done, can be. I make the challenges work for me, towards a financially stable goal and positive outcome. 
 Because of my diversified back ground and lifes' experiences, I have gained the skills and grown into a strong, confident, compassionate woman.  I am one that when something needs to change, I change it. When something needs to be fixed, I fix it. When there is disconnection, I make the connection. 
 I work hard and passionately with whatever scenario comes my way.  I have the earned capabilities and will power to find a balance and make a positive change in all of my endeavours.

4. What's in it for you?  What is your personal interest in running?

 To make the difference !  I love Dundas and want to live out my senior years here.  When something is important to me, I jump in with both feet. Maintaining my Town and supporting the City  ensure it grows into its' full potential is my goal for not only my fellow Citizens, for my children. I have worked hard to build my children a solid and healthy foundation.  The only way I can see ensuring them a strong and sustainable future is by being the new voice for everyone in Dundas and the City as a whole.

5. What are the most important issues in the ward and how will you address them.

  We have multiple issues in Dundas that need to be addressed. Each challenge is paramount to the Constituents that it is directly affecting.
Keeping our small Town uniqueness is status quo across the board.  All new construction needs to keep in character with our heritage buildings.  The proposed development of highrise apartments and apartments in single dwelling neighborhoods is a concern for every person I have spoken with.  For this issue (different locations, same concerns), I will advocate that all buildings are in uniform with the existing buildings.  All new construction on a main street will have to 'blend' in with the character and charm of its neighbours.  We need to keep Dundas looking like the heritage town it is.  We need to respect the wishes of the community and work with them face to face to find a fair solution to what the developers propose. All development should be discussed via a Town Hall meeting in Dundas.
Because of our amalgamation, new zoning has taken effect and with that headaches for many of our small business owners.  By-laws, restricted usage, development issues of existing companies have seen many of our Ma's and Pa's shops fight to stay alive.  I will work diligently to have the City understand and agree that we cannot be painted with the same brush.  What works in the downtown of Hamilton, simply does not always work in our small Town. 
Poverty is two fold in Dundas. If we do not have the business, we do not have the jobs.  Working with Economic and Development along with the businesses, we need to find a balance and ways to keep what we have and encourage growth through out Dundas and in the City.  We need to rejuvenate all of the unused buildings and look at alternative/ multiple usage applications for many of these buildings.  (Commercial on the street level, low income housing above.) Our senior population issues must be addressed and solved.  Between in home care, finding a senior resident in thier neighborhood and allowing our elders the choice of where they want to live out their final years.  We need to ensure that they can stay within their Town if not in their home.

6. If elected or re-elected, what will you do in the first 90 days?

 An open house at Town Hall to speak with all of my Constituents
Reading, researching and fact finding on the issues at hand.
Get to know my fellow Councillors one on one.
Introducing myself to all the City's staff.
Proposing new ideas on how to find balance between the Hamlets and the core. 

7. How will you, or, if you are the incumbent, how have you/will you, ensure the voices in the ward are heard?

  Open communication, being in the community and accessible to the Citizens via telephone, e-mail and meetings. Remaining transparent and accessible even to Constituents that are unable to visit me , that I visit them in their home.
Encouraging neighbourly discussions where there are topics within a specific area.
Remain accountable and having an audit by the Dundas Citizens ,about my performance once a year.

8. What should be done about the Pan Am stadium situation?

  I struggle with the costs and really think we can do this if we work as a team with the right players.  I would work diligently to ensure as little money is spent on this project by reaching out to the private sector.
I appreciate and understand our current economic state, there are many other areas that need funding in Dundas and the City as a whole.
This is one of the times that we need to look at the larger picture and realize that this if done financially wisely and with proper planning can have a positive, life long effect.  Having the games will generate huge public awareness.  it will provide full time jobs, it can grow to other national events, it will boost our tourism dollars. I would propose that the outlying rural areas have a piece of the glory by advertising what each Hamlet has to offer... For example, Dundas' bed and breakfast locations, our great local restaurants, our amazing trails, our waterfals...by including and incorporating all areas within the promotion of the games.  We need to understand that if we have a stadum that also hosts our Ti -Cats, that this too will spin off more concerts, soccer clubs, and a chance at hosting the grey cup.
The games themself would be a huge boost for our economy and further development.
Let's get all the facts on the table.  We need to have a professional relationship with Mr. Young and understand the reasons why highway access/visability is so important.  It is not simply traffic issues...If there is prime visual from a Highway, we could secure a major sponsor with naming rights...that will decrease the money we have to spend on this project.

9. How will you prioritize the needs of the ward?

 Urgency of the situation, time frame with turnaround, cost basis, best possible outcome based on the former priorities.

10. What approaches might you use, to be an effective councilor?

 Be approachable to my Constituents. Keep an open mind and realizing that to the indivicual, that I may not see the urgency,  the individual does.  Each issue is important to the one bringing it forth. All concerns must be dealt with in an expediant matter and not be thrown on the table for discussion and deferal ten times. Respecting the differences and needs of each councillor and knowing that we are in this together for the betterment of our community as a whole.



11. What performance measures will you set for yourself, to assess your effectiveness as a councilor and how would you hold yourself accountable?

  I have always been harder on myself than my collegues.  I will have daily , weekly and monthly goals.  There will be time for the individual consitituents and business owners.  I hold myself accountable for all of my actions.  I will encourage yearly performance reviews by my constituents at Town hall.I will continue writing a monthly update on what's happening and if permitted, having a monthly kicks and kudos area in our local paper, written by any Constituent.   If I don't do my job well, I will have failed my children and my Constituents, Hi that is not an option.


Ron Tammer



1. Do you live in Ward 13?


Yes, I live on Ann St. in Dundas.


2, What is your day job?


I work as an Income Tax/GST Appeals Officer for the Canada Revenue Agency.  When people disagree with their tax assessments, they can file Objections; we conduct impartial reviews of these Objections, and try to determine if the assessments were correct or if there should be adjustments or reversals.


3. What are your skills\capabilities\experience?


As stated above, I work for the CRA.  I am also a Steward for my Union Local.  Most of what I do in these two roles involves dealing with conflict.  This has taught me a great deal about the value of interest-based methods of dealing with others, which involves setting aside differences and working towards a common goal.  I feel this experience will be extremely useful as a Councillor, as Council needs to avoid infighting, and work together in order to achieve results.
As far as experience working in groups, my involvement at work includes the Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign, the Employment Equity Committee, and the Sustainable Development Committee.  Outside of the workplace, I have been a member of the Youth Justice Committee since its inception, Vice President of the Public Service Alliance of Canada Hamilton Area Council, President of Dundas Little League, and Vice President of Senior House League for the Dundas Minor Hockey Association.
In short, I have a long history of working in groups and getting results.


4. What's in it for you?  What is your personal interest in running?


I am never satisfied to sit back and complain about the way things are; I feel that it is up to all of us to try to correct what we see as being wrong.  I want the Community of Dundas and the City of Hamilton to be even better than they are; I am proud to live where I do, but see many things that can be improved.
Perhaps the biggest motivator is to have my family involved, and reinforce the idea that everyone can make a difference.

5. What are the most important issues in the ward and how will you address them.


I see some of the most important issues as being:


Seniors – We have a large number of seniors in Dundas, and I think that there are many issues that can be addressed to improve their situations.  There are areas in town that are very prohibitive for all pedestrians, not only seniors, for example the corner of Ogilvie St. And Governor’s Rd.  This intersection is within 2 blocks of 2 large retirement homes, a plaza with a drug store, and a supermarket; yet the sidewalks are narrow, there are no barriers to the heavy vehicle traffic, and one of the crosswalks is a multi-stage crossing which can strand seniors on a median with traffic flowing in 3 directions around them.  This needs to be corrected.  I understand there may be a plan in the works to install a crosswalk at the entrance to Creekside Dr., but until that is done the area poses a real danger to pedestrians.  Seniors also need to feel engaged with society, as nobody likes to feel isolated.  I would like to work with the local high schools to set up a program for students to earn volunteer hours by visiting retirement homes and helping seniors learn basic computer skills.  Besides the benefit of seniors feeling more connected with technology and information, the interaction between teens and seniors will be mutually beneficial.
Poverty – Many people are surprised to learn that poverty exists in Dundas, but with large numbers of single-parent families and seniors living below the poverty line, there is a very real problem.  Another proposal for high school student volunteer hours would involve planting, maintaining, and harvesting vegetable gardens on the school grounds.  This food would be donated to the food banks, as one of the major health issues of lower income groups is poor nutrition due to the high costs of fresh fruit and vegetables.  The family studies classes could even learn about jarring and preserving these crops, to space donations out though the year.
Small Business – Dundas has a thriving downtown partly because of its small town charm.  With a number of projects being planned, some of this charm may be lost to big box type stores.  I would work to ensure that any new development in Downtown Dundas would have to adhere to size and appearance guidelines.
Revenue Generation – Many of the businesses along King St. In Dundas are concerned about parking meters and enforcement; their customers find the 2-hour limit too short, the meters too costly, and the by-law enforcement too quick to ticket.  I believe that instead of raising revenue by punishing people for shopping in Dundas, we should look at other means of generating revenue.  I would propose a $0.10 surcharge on each car using a drive-thru at a fast food or coffee shop.  While this nominal fee would not be restrictive enough to drive customers away, it may encourage them to occasionally park and go in to order, reducing pollution caused by the idling cars.  With the number of cars that would still go through the drive-thru, there would still be a substantial amount of revenue raised.

6. If elected or re-elected, what will you do in the first 90 days?


As anyone who is taking on a new position, I will do a lot of learning in the first 90 days.  There will be many issues concerning the City of Hamilton that will be inherited from the current Council, and I will ensure that I get up to speed on those.  I will also touch base with all of the Dundas contacts such as the BIA, etc., to see where we stand and where we need to go.
I will also strive to make new contacts, research projects that are on the back burner to see what should be prioritized, and set up a means for constituents to voice their concerns to me.


7. How will you, or, if you are the incumbent, how have you/will you, ensure the voices in the ward are heard?


I will continue to use Dundas Town Hall as the office, and promote an open-door policy.  I will also ensure that the constituents of Dundas have a variety of means to reach me; phone, e-mail, Facebook, etc.  As I have stated before, I believe my job as a Councillor would involve not only being a thinker, but also being a listener; when I hear concerns from the people of Dundas, I will make sure that they are heard in City Hall!


8. What should be done about the Pan Am stadium situation?


Frankly, with the number of delays and the indecision that has resulted from this, I am surprised that we are still being considered by the Pan Am people.  I stand by my position that the West Harbour site would be the best choice, as it would promote the area as well as the new LRT which I would want to see tied into it.  But, since the West Harbour ship seems to have sailed, if we can get a Stadium built on the CP land at Aberdeen and Longwood, and not infringe on the McMaster Innovation Park land, then I would accept that as second best.


9. How will you prioritize the needs of the ward?


My first priority would be to get projects completed that involve safety concerns.  Three that come immediately to mind would be a sidewalk along the Albert St. side of Dundas Central School, the pedestrian area of Ogilvie St. and Governor’s Rd., and the lack of a 4-Way stop at Hatt St.and John St.  All of those directly impact the safety of some of our most vulnerable citizens, children and seniors.
Next priority would be to address the poverty situation within the Ward, and Hamilton in general.  We are not a third-world country, and should not have people dealing with the same types of health issue that you would see in one.
Small business concerns would be next, in conjunction with sustainable development and promoting Dundas to the rest of the City.  I have promoted my ideas for a Sports Park in the area of Kings St. and Olympic Dr., and made suggestions to improve the parking meters on King St.  I have spoken to preserving the small town feel of Downtown Dundas, and maintaining the sense of community of the small businesses in town.

10. What approaches might you use, to be an effective councilor?


I would use the approaches that have worked for me in my job as a Canada Revenue Agency Appeals Officer, as a Steward for the Public Service Alliance of Canada, and as executive member of many different committees and associations.  This involves interest-based problem solving, which is agreeing to common goals and working together to achieve them.  Once those goals are reached, then the other issues in dispute are much easier to resolve.  I think one of the big issues with the current Council is the inability to work together to get results, and I would work very hard to correct that.


11. What performance measures will you set for yourself, to assess your effectiveness as a councilor and how would you hold yourself accountable?


I think the best way for a Councillor to assess their effectiveness is to listen to the voices of the constituents.  You can’t please all of the people all of the time (I have much evidence of that from the blogs here on the Hamiltonian), but you can still get a sense of whether or not you are doing the right things, even if they are unpopular.



Comments? Go to Channel 13


The Hamiltonian does not endorse or counter any candidate running in the municipal election. We are neutral. We operate in a democratic context where free speech is valued. Our focus is to engage Hamiltonians in dialogue with one another on matters concerning our great city. We encourage all Hamiltonians to vote.  For more information or to be a guest here, please email adminhamiltonian@cogeco.ca.

The Best Place to Raise a Child?

In a telling article, based on studies conducted by Dr. Param Nair, an associate professor of medicine and a respirologist at the Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health at St. Joseph's Healthcare, and McMaster University colleagues, Dr. Nair warns of the health perils of living near major roads and highways.

Specifically, he cites relationships between increased risk of bronchitis and exacerbated respiratory problems and increased risk of asthma associated with close proximity major roads and highway.

The study also suggests that the impact of car emissions from these roads is worse on days with lake effect weather, which traps pollutants close to the ground, and that women may be more affected than men.

The study also confirms bronchitis patients affected by the air pollutants of cars on these roads and highways tend to have a specific type of the disease.The bronchitis was found to be a type of infection, but with lesser intensity than other bronchitis infections.

"The significance is we now know the biological effect (of living close to highways and major roads)."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Meet Paul Tetley

Months ago, on my daily commute to Toronto while on the Go Bus, I was tapped on the shoulder by a stranger. "Are you Cal DiFalco, the guy who runs The Hamiltonian?" "Yes" I replied, somewhat surprised that the person recognized me.

"I'm Paul Tetley, and I'll be running in Ward 3. I wanted to introduce myself". Paul presents as a friendly and unassuming man. Very quickly, on the heels of that, I found myself immersed in his vision for the ward and in his vision for Hamilton. He's a good communicator and presents a compelling account of how he has been vested and interested in his community. He's done his homework and was able to take me through the demographics of the ward, the issues and his approach to addressing them.

Paul is one of the many new faces that are providing voters with options. Below, you will find his press release. Welcome Paul to the race. Check him out folks. I'm sure he'll find his way into a Hamiltonian interview, sometime soon. Here is his press release:

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Grow your own?

A city advisory committee is wanting to ensure that low-income neighbourhoods get an equal opportunity to grow their own food under the city's Community Gardens policy. Community organizations will inherit control of the city run gardens next year. Funding however, is an issue and some councillors are concerned about these gardens presenting as eyesoars.

The new policy asks residents to run the existing gardens, and proposes to budget $20,000 to establish at least five new gardens each year that would also be resident-operated. (see CATCH article here)

The costs of organization, insurance, tools and legal representation however, could disadvantage lower-income gardeners and communities. There is also a  need for a coordinated approach to help people get together.

Pre-Election Reflections

I attended the Hamilton Civics League's forum to discuss Aerortopolis and the airport lands. I found the panel discussion and the questions and answers enlightening and , for the moment, I won’t comment on the topic of the airport lands.

However, one of the panel members David Braden made a very profound and interesting observation, in the course of his responses. He said words to the effect that Hamilton really needs leaders with vision. He further commented that there are moments where everyone is looking at the same song sheet, only to turn the page the next day; meaning, there is no cohesive and sustained adherence to a common reference point. He further added, (and this is the piece that I found profound ), that to the extent that this happens, investors or would be investors quickly run away from Hamilton.


Puzzled

It's the weekend, and so we thought something a little more light hearted may be suitable. The crossword puzzle below, will also challenge you to get to know the contenders in the various wards and for the mayoral race, a little better. You may recall that we did a similar puzzle previously that focused on councillors (see it here)


Note: Not all contenders are part of this puzzle, because we are not as familiar with some, as we are with others. As an aside, The Hamiltonian continues to be open to anyone who is running, to contact us and be interviewed.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

"Perspectives" On Leadership

This edition of Perspectives' focus on leadership, is not directed to any individual or group. Leadership can be practiced by anyone. From the Mayor, to council, to city staff to every Hamiltonian.

As always, the perspectives of anyone reading this are welcome and I would encourage you to post your comments.

The question is:

Leadership, the brand of it, or the lack of it (according to some) is often cited as one reason why Hamilton is struggling to reinvent/transform itself. How much of it is a leadership problem? What kind of leadership is needed? What does it look like? What shape and form does it take?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Up and Downs

Stats Canada reports that those collecting E.I. in Hamilton dropped 9% in February, compared to February of 2009. That's the good news. City figures show a the rise in welfare for that same period was 20%.

Economist, Erin Weir of the United Steel Workers was quoted in the Spec as saying " It's clear that EI benefits aren't enough to keep unemployed workers from slipping into poverty"
Your thoughts?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

An Opportunity for Citizen Engagement

The following is a forum that will be hosted by The Hamilton Civic League. It promises to be one that you won't want to miss.

Smart Growth or Development Folly? Public forum set for Monday will tackleHamilton’s airport development

Hamilton, ON. April 21, 2010 – The land surrounding Hamilton International Airport is quickly becoming a topic of heated interest among Hamiltonians as the city considers expanding its urban boundaries.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Khan Responds

Abdul Khan, in his own words:

Hello Cal,
Thanks for again providing me an opportunity and sorry for the delay in responding to you. My response is as follows:


 While I have full faith in democracy and collective decision making process, I am at a loss of words with what is going on in relation to my reporting of the issues to the Council. I don't know why these issues, that are in such a public domain and interest, are being discussed and revi ewed behind closed doors.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Khan or Conned?

Update: Jim Harnum to leave the City of Hamilton. See Spec coverage here


In a closed-door meeting last week, council ruled that no further investigation is needed into Khan's claim that Halton region planned to divert sewage into the Lake Ontario. The city also dismissed his claim that profits from Hamilton Renewable Power Inc.'s green-power project, which burns sewage biogas to generate electricity, are exaggerated.
 Khan, the city's former director of water and wastewater treatment, made a string of allegations about his former department in an e-mail late last year. The city launched an internal and external investigation into his claims.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Making a Dirty Decision

Liberty Energy, who has been lobbying the city to sign a 30 year contract to have Liberty burn the city's sludge, seems to have run into difficulties in making its case. It has been determined that it is significantly less risky for the city to build its own sewage sludge incinerator instead.

The Liberty incinerator got provincial environmental approval two years ago. Since then, Liberty has been lobbying councillors to cancel a planned city facility as Liberty tries to win contracts with other Ontario cities, which is essential to its plan. Last fall, council agreed to put the city plans on hold until a Liberty proposal was evaluated.


Friday, April 16, 2010

10 Tough Questions Wilamina McGrimmond

Driving Wilamina McGrimmond home from a Hamilton Media Advisory Council on Racism meeting, which we are both members of, always brings with it pleasant conversation. Wilamina presents as a wise, charming and cheerful person, who takes great joy in telling me about the adventures of her grandson, who she loves dearly.

So when she casually mentioned that she once "took over city hall", by a protest that effectively temporarily paralysed it, I was somewhat surprised. As the conversation continued, in that mix of charm, wisdom and cheerfulness, there is also an astute activist with a good heart.

Term Limits and Electing the City Manager

Tom Robertson, a frequent blogger here on The Hamiltonian, has submitted a topic for consideration. Thanks for writing this Tom.
Here's Tom's topic:

As we get closer to the election it would be a good time to discuss term limits for city council.  I am in favour of it. They should just be allowed to serve two terms in office. After the two year term, the only option for them to remain on council would be to run for Mayor. That would create some exciting races for the job.

I think this would make the Councillors more responsible in considering how the motions they vote for will affect the whole City and not just people in their ward that continue to elect even the bad ones year after year. The behavior they show would have to improve since they will be trying to impress on the voters that they are Mayoral material. The citizens deserve more than the stale council we continue to elect year after year and a turnover in councillors will bring fresh new ideas in the development of our City. A con to having term limits could be the effect that lame duck councillors could have on the city when they know they have no chance for being elected Mayor. This could partially be looked after by letting them back in the running after sitting out a term.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Race is On!

Mahesh Butani has thrown in his hat for the Mayoral race. The only other contender at the moment, is Michael Baldaserro. I am assuming that Mayor Eisenberger will, at some point, confirm he is running. Looks like we  may have ourselves a good race. To see Mahesh's responses to a previous 10 Tough Questions interview, click here.

Your thoughts?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Playing Ball with City Hall?

In an opinion article today in the Spectator , Andrew Dreschel stated that the Tiger Cats football club, have been asking season ticket holders certain questions, in order to inform the preparation of their business case on the feasability of the west harbour site.

Questions include things like: How do you expect to get to the new stadium in the west harbour area? Car? Public transit? Walking? What do you think a reasonable walk would be from the parking lot to the west harbour stadium?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Red Light, Yellow Light, Green Light - Stop - Pause - Go

In an unscientific poll conducted on The Hamiltonian, bloggers were asked which councillors they would like to see either defeated in the upcoming municipal election, or voluntarily choose to not run.

I am presenting the results, in a stop light format, with an interpretation of what the results seem to be suggesting.

Green shading indicates councillors who were  found to be the least concerning.  In that light (pardon the pun), the green light designation may mean that they should be considering running again.

The pale Yellow light indicates councillors who were found to be somewhat concerning but moderately so. For these councillors, they may wish to reflect upon why they were not in the green designation and whether there are adjustments they need to consider, to be more effective.

The darker Yellow  indicates councillors who were found to be concerning in a more serious way. These councillors may wish to take  a hard look at their conduct, style, performance.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Perspectives

"Perspectives" is a new feature on The Hamiltonian. I have loosely assembled a "virtual panel" who will field questions put to them, periodically.

The intent of the questions, is to promote discussion and varying perspectives. This virtual panel will not be identicle for each issue of "Perspectives" as, in respect of people's time and other committments, I have allowed a lot of latitude in terms of opting in or out of any particular question. So, at any given time, you will probably see a sub set of this panel or different version of it.

The panel is made up of a whole range of people. If you are interested in becoming part of this "virtual panel", you only need email us at adminhamiltonian@cogeco.ca. Having said that, you already have the opportunity to express your opinion, by virtue of the fact that you are on this blog reading this.

I'll admit that the first question is very big, very broad and leaves a lot of room for a response. But here it is, as well as the replies from this round's version of the virtual panel. Please join in the discussion.

Question:

Ronald Reagan struck a nerve during his 1980 Presidential campaign when he asked Americans: "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?" Do you think Hamiltonians are better off now than they were four years ago? Explain.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

In or Out?

Blogs are wonderful things as they allow for interesting queries. Today I was thinking about the value of having councillors run "at large", just as the Mayor's position does. There are obviously pros and cons to that. One pro is the notion that councillors would be held accountable by their ward constituents and by all Hamiltonians.

Of course, such a model would have to be worked out in terms of all of its pros and cons, and its ultimate viability, but as an offshoot of the idea, I thought we'd embark on a experiment of sorts here on The Hamiltonian.

Should Clark "Park It", or Does He Have a Good Point?

Controversy over 145 parking spots in Stoney Creek, has effectively caused a delay in a decision on the city's budget.

2 and a half hours were spent with councillors wrangling over whether parking metres should be installed in downtown Stoney Creek.

Councillor Clark is against it. Clark said yesterday that installing paid parking in Stoney Creek would be a massive detriment to his community.

He argued paid parking is putting several organizations in his community at risk, including the Royal Canadian Legion, Seniors Outreach Services, Shoppers Drug Mart and Tim Hortons. Many businesses will be forced to close due to a lack of customers, Clark said, and charities will lose their volunteers if they're forced to pay for parking.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Community Advisory Committees, Secondary Plans and my Mother

Every once in a while, I come across an article that I find refreshing. An article in which the author is not afraid to call it with way he/she sees it. Here is an excerpt from an article found in the Stoney Creek News, penned by Ward 10's Jose Bustamante.

Community Advisory Committees, Secondary Plans and my Mother

The City of Hamilton, through its Development and Planning Committee, has established a consultative mechanism for developing land use policies. This process is called "Secondary Plans".

To organize the community, the city encourages the formation of Community Advisory Committees  (CAC) in order to receive input from the neighbours. This is the case with the Fruitland-Winona Secondary Plan. However, in this case, as in many others, I find the city official plans are like my mother.

Last year my mother asked my advice on what car would suit her better- the Honda Accord or the Nissan Altima. I spent half a day to do the research. Based on her needs, I recommended the Honda. She went out and bought the Altima. She just liked it better.

For the Fruitland-Winona Development plan, the Pan-Am Stadium location, the parking fees in Stoney Creek and for many other issues, the city already has a plan (or agenda). They've already made their choice. Then why does the city encourage consultation and formation of CACs and Secondary plans? Why even have a policy in this matter? Just like my mother, they are trying to be inclusive and not look like dictators.

I cannot change my mother, but I CAN change my city officials.

Jose is running in Ward 10- the only person registered thus far. Good luck Jose and thank-you for your perspective.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Dealing with the Centennial Parkway Wal-Mart Issue

In their August 2009 newsletter, Environment Hamilton called the Wal-Mart centred development at Centennial Parkway and the QEW  “a classic example of the desperation planning that so frequently characterizes Hamilton.” They argued the proposal ignored “the problems with car-dependent development, peak oil and climate change.” was inaccessible to pedestrians and unsafe for cyclists and said councillors “seem unable to understand that more big boxes will simply close more existing smaller businesses.”

It seems however that community groups have struck a deal and have obtained some modifications  that will improve pedestrian and transit access to the site and reduce the loss of city employment lands. Wal-Mart centred development at Centennial Parkway and the QEW had been under appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) by Hamiltonians for Progressive Developme nt (HPD) and Environment Hamilton.

This week the two groups announced a settlement with Smart Centres that requires the developer to build a sidewalk along the east side of Centennial Parkway, install bus layovers, and provide up to $50,000 a year to the HSR for four years to facilitate transit service to the commercial complex. The groups’ media release says the OMB-approved settlement also re-converts “a portion of the lands” to employment (industrial) purposes.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

What in the World is Going on?

New article on The Hamiltonian After Dark entitled, What is the World is Going On. See it by clicking here.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Heritage Designation?

I thought it would be interesting to get Harry Stinson's take on this. Here is what he said:

I suspect most people are going to be surprised to learn that the Connaught is not historically designated in any way.


Will the petition "help"?


If I were Tony Battaglia I would suggest that donations would be more useful than petitions. It might also be said that a heritage designation may have a further detrimental effect on the already significant financing challenge; and that would be true. It is thus possible that the designation might prove counterproductive.

However, on a personal level, I believe the Royal Connaught structure absolutely should indeed be protected and restored, and that if the Lister Block deserved $7,000,000 in public funds, the Connaught certainly deserves that and more. In fact, if there is any building in Hamilton that deserved some 'protection', for architectural, historic, planning and social reasons, it would be the Royal Connaught. Reviving the Connaught - and not necessarily as a hotel - is critical to the revitalization of downtown.

Of course, I have a conflict of interest because I would dearly love to acquire and restore the Royal Connaught (designated or not).   Harry Stinson to The Hamiltonian. Comments are welcomed.