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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bad Faith Bargaining or Fair Play?

According to a Hamilton Spectator article, the Tiger Cats may be scratching their heads over the notion of city council handing over management of the proposed Pan Am stadium to the Katz group from Edmonton.

Scott Mitchell, Ti-Cats President was reported to have said "“We’ve acted in good faith through this process the whole time,”  “Obviously, things like this represent something other than good faith.”

Mayor Fred Eisenberger denies that talking about turning over stadium operations to Katz undercuts the city’s negotiations with the Ticats. The Mayor maintains that those discussions are about stadium location, not the business arrangements related to the facility. “What we’re doing with the Tiger-Cats is a site issue,” he said.

Scott Mitchell disagrees, maintaining that every revenue stream has to come into play.

Is the city is trying do an end-run around the franchise? Do you believe the rumour that  the Mayor is looking for or may have a new buyer for the Cats- even though they don't seem to be for sale?  How do you think this whole thing will end?

Bus Safety or Bus Fuss?

In response to driver concerns that there is a blind spot on "mega busses" in Hamilton, whereby passengers can potentially slip and fall, and not be seen by the drivers, risking them being run over, the Hamilton Street Railway is pulling its 18-metre buses from the 1 King bus.

A number of stops along King and Main streets were designed for the standard 12-metre buses.Drivers said they were forced to stop with the back half of the vehicle on an angle, creating a dangerous blind spot.
"The concern is that if a passenger fell, we couldn't see them," said Eric Tuck, who is vice-president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 107 and has driven articulated buses on the King route.

See full Spec article here. Your thoughts?


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Copps' Lease / West Harbour Stadium

Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz is in the city today negotiating a deal to take control of Copps Coliseum and the Pan Am Stadium.

Updated Spec article is here 
Second article here

Excerpt:   the purpose of today’s meeting is to discuss a “non-binding memorandum of agreement which would lead to a ‘licence to operate’ various HECFI properties including Copps Coliseum and the future Pan Am sports stadium proposed for the West Harbour.” Council is meeting now behind closed doors to get council approval to negotiate a memorandum of understanding with the group.

Comments?

As reported by CHML earlier today:
There's word out of Edmonton that the owner of the Oilers is about to take control of the lease at Copps.Reports suggest the goal is for Daryl Katz to control the potential arrival of a relocated or expansion NHL team.
Apparantly, further details are to be had at noon. If you hear an update, please post it. Thank-you. The Hamiltonian Staff.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Huh?

It seems that the new rennovated City Hall has fallen short on a few critical features:  a shared media room and the ability to directly connect to the chamber sound system to ensure the media can make high quality recordings of the proceeds of  sessions.

Prior to renovations, the council chambers media table included direct hookups to the chamber microphone system that allowed good quality recording by media reporters and CATCH volunteers. Electrical outlets were also available at the table.


Mayoral Poll Results


















In an unscientific poll conducted on The Hamiltonian, people were asked who they would vote for, if the only people running for Mayor were Eisenberger, Butani, DiIanni, Hamilton, Baldasaro and Haines. The results are in the pie graph to the left. Double click on it, to see it better.

Comments?

Incubation Percolation

Proponents of an arts incubator in Hamilton, will be asking for $250,000, the first of two installaments of a $500,00 plan to achieve their vision.Today's request will be for a quarter-million dollars to hire a fundraising co-ordinator, begin to focus on one building or cluster of buildings downtown, and negotiate with lead institutional tenants.

The project, first proposed by the non-profit Imperial Cotton Centre for the Arts, calls for the city to harness creative energies bubbling away in Hamilton and concentrate some of them in an "incubator" somewhere downtown.

The idea is that artists and entrepreneurs working together in close proximity will feed off each other and start creating new creative industries.

A major report commissioned by the city and released early this year calls for an incubator in either a 50,000-square-foot "iconic" building or a 120,000-plus-square-foot structure.The former would cost up to $11 million to buy and renovate; the latter, $21 million.The consultants estimated that such an investment would generate $58 million in economic benefits for the smaller-sized incubator and $230 million for a large one.

Jeremy Freiburger, executive director of the Imperial Cotton Centre for the Arts, said McMaster University, Mohawk College, Redeemer University College and Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University have expressed interest in hosting such a structure/idea.

Your thoughts? Attractive ROI - is it feasible?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The $500.00 Eisen Burger

$500.00- that was the price of admission to a barbacue fundraising event that Mayor Eisenberger recently took part in. The Spec reports that the exclusive event was held at an Ancaster home where local business people paid $500.00 to mingle with the Mayor.

The Mayor said he couldn't confirm that they all were business people, but he thought they were largely business people. The Mayor characterized the exchanges as presentations, coupled with chats about what the attendees thought the issues are.

Eisenberger would not reveal who attended or where it was held, but said he would probably report the donations prior to election day, adding that he believes he has no reason to do so now.  The $500.00 entry fee is a departure from last term's campaign which was run on a shoe string budget without campaign donations from corporations or unions. Eisenberger said he will not accept donations from unions or corporations this time around either.

The Mayor said he neither organized the event or set the ticket price.

Butani Launches Website

Hamilton, Ontario, June 25, 2010 – Mayoral candidate Mahesh P. Butani is pleased to announce the launch of his campaign web site: www.ButaniForMayor.com.

Mahesh Butani's ideas and vision to redirect the City of Hamilton towards a vibrant and sustainable economy are presented here - along with his priorities for making this happen.

Specific initiative on various fronts will be available in the 'solutions' section in the coming days.

Visitor to the web site are welcome to comment/participate in discussions on the evolving Blog on this web site.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tag - "You're It!"

A joint city, police and community campaign has ramped up efforts to erase graffiti vandalism. That's the good news. But a local business owner got an order from the city, directing that him to remove grafitti found on his restaurant or face fines of $100,000 to $200,000 or demolition of his building.

I don't think anyone is going to argue that stepping up our efforts to get rid of grafitti is not worthwhile- especially in light of the fact that it cost $750,000.00 last year for the city to remove it from  public property.

But the threat of fines to property owners, who are likely equally frustrated by grafitti on their property,  is causing controversy. See full Spec article here. What do you think? Who should bear the responsibility and costs of removing grafitti from private properties or businesses? Are fines appropriate?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

In Honour of Sam Macaluso

In honour and memory of a good friend and family man, Sam Macaluso. Sam passed at age 49. He was a gentle soul, a jovial person and one of the kindest people one can ever meet. He will be very sadly missed. See details of the obituarie here.

Disharmony and over $830,000.00 later

As reported on CHML, a staff report was presented to politicians Monday, which advised that 622 grievances were filed last year, costing the city over $830,000.00 in arbitration, mediation and legal fees. If you add in lost time due to sick leaves, that number may be greater.

Overtime and discipline were the most frequent reasons as to why grievances were filed.

Clr. Duvall found the numbers troubling adding that it points to a relationship that is not very" harmonious". A disproprtionate amount of grievances, relative to the size of the unit, came from Public Works.  Comments?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Food for Thought

It seems like Clr. McHattie wasn't getting a clear enough answer when he probed about the place for agriculture and the ability to grow food locally in the city's economic development strategy. McHattie was stressing the value of having agricultural lands available, particularily in the context of producing food locally for ourselves and surrounding areas. Specifically he asked "“What’s it going to take to feed ourselves and should one of our economic development foci be being the breadbasket of the GTA?” Say we remove 2000 acres of farmland, how does that compare to a different focus where we’re actually going to need that land to grow food, not only for ourselves, but for the larger GTAH area?”

Pressing on, he stated "“Is farming truly part of our economic development strategy in terms of actually growing food for local consumption?” It seems to me that you can put business parks in place on that farmland – and there’s the greenfield-brownfield issue, I understand that – but those farmlands are hopefully worth something from a farming perspective as well.”

Have a look at the full CATCH release by clicking here and the response to Clr. McHattie's queries. It's an interesting exchange as it relates to our future ability to grow food, its relation to the Aerotropolis lands and an emphasis on processing as oppossed to food production at source.

Your thoughts? Does McHattie have a legitimate concern. Are we putting enough emphasis on the ability to grow food locally?

DiIanni Hedges

Will we ever see a picture resembling this one again? Hard to say. DiIanni continues to hedge as questions as to his viability swirl about, perhaps even in his own mind.

Will he run? Should others step up? Is Eisenberger up to another term? Was he up to the last one? What of this Butani guy,? Will there be a late registrant to surprise us? Hamilton and Haines- who are they? Baldasaro- an oddity? It seems like Hamilton has it's own little soap opera happening around this mayoral race. Will leadership emerge from the suds?

For Sale- A Royal Connaught Hotel - Downtown Hamilton

12 millions dollars. That's what the going price is for the Royal Connaught Hotel as it proceeds through bankruptcy.

A mortgage-holding numbered company, who is a secured creditor, has put the building up for sale, said the bankruptcy trustee. See Spec article here

Additional details found in today's Spec. See it here.

Do you think this is the beginning of a renewal of the iconic hotel, or is it another step toward an ultimate state of demise?


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Perspectives "Picture This"

This edition's Perspectives Assignment was a bit different. Entitled "Picture This", it asked folks to submit a picture, that they took, that makes a statement about Hamilton. We asked that they not provide a text explanation but, rather, a caption. Maybe because it's summer, or maybe for other reasons, we did not receive many entries. We have received two however, which are posted below. If anyone would like to contribute, simply send a picture to adminhamiltonian@cogeco.ca that you want others to see. It should be about Hamilton and/or Hamiltonians and you should submit a caption with it. If you have anyone other than yourself in the photo, you must assure us that you have permission to submit the picture of them. (Double click on pictures to see them better. ) Comments welcome - keep those pictures coming.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Putting the Cart Before the Horse, or Good Planning?

In the midst of negotiations, involving appointed facilitator Michael Fenn, with respect to the site of the Pan Am Stadium, it might appear odd that expropriation notices were issued to property owners. It appears that at least a handful of property owners, were taken by surprise by the notices.

"I'm shocked," said auto garage owner Harban Kalsi of the expropriation notice, reports the Spec. (see full story here). Others couldn't understand why the expropriation process has begun when talks about the stadium site are still ongoing. Still, at least one other resident was pleased with the way the expropriation negotiations were handled in her case.

The city has notified facilitator Michael Fenn and the Tiger-Cats that expropriation was under way, city spokesperson David Adames said.Adames noted even if the west harbour area doesn't work for Games venues, the city has designated the neighbourhood a strategic development area.It has already purchased the former Rheem property at Tiffany and Barton streets.

Do you find it odd that these notices are being issued, during the a period of facilitated negotiations? Or is this just good  planning?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"Poverty Reduction at the Crossroads:Where do we go from here?"

Wednesday June 16 at 7 p.m. John Stapleton will be giving a talk
at the First Unitarian Church of Hamilton. Admission is free and doors open at 6 p.m.

Here is some additional information:

So much talk about poverty: new cuts, old cuts, clawbacks, new taxes on the poor, yet more evidence of the links between poverty and ill health. But who has answers?


Press Release- Hamilton Needs Light Rail

Hamilton Light Rail is an independent group of citizens who believe that Hamilton needs an ambitious approach to economic development and urban revitalization based around high quality rapid transit.


Hamilton Light Rail aims to educate Hamiltonians about the many benefits of light rail, provide evidence-based reports and resource materials, and build broad support across all sectors of the community: citizens' groups, neighbourhood associations, business groups, and trade associations. http://hamiltonlightrail.com/

Monday, June 14, 2010

Hamiltonians for Progressive Development Give the AEGD Plan, a Thumbs Down

In an email addressed to Mayor Eisenberger and Members of Council, Hamiltonians for Progressive Development urge the Mayor and council to reject the Aerotropolis Secondary plan. Below is the text of their email, which lays out their reasoning.

June 14, 2010


Mayor Eisenberger and Members of Council


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Not looking for a "kickback" - Bob Young

Mark Alan Whittle alerted The Hamiltonian to an interesting post that was apparantly made by Bob Young on the Tiger Cats' discussion forum page (see it here).

Here is what he wrote: "To be clear we are -not- looking for "a share of the pie" or a "kickback". We want a stadium that contributes to the tax base of the city, not one that requires ongoing subsidy.


Desired Mayoral Attributes

The Hamiltonian, in an unscientific poll, asked people to vote on what attributes the next Mayor ought to have. The poll allowed for respondents to choose more than one attribute. The results are below.


Note: If you are finding it hard to see the chart, double click on it.







When considering registered contenders such as Fred Eisenberger, Mahesh Butani, Michael Baldaserro, Andrew Haines and Glenn Hamilton and, when considering people who are considering a run at it (eg: Larry DiIanni), how do you think they would fair against the applicable listed attributes above?

Mayoral candidate Mahesh Butani's "Run Larry Run"

Run Larry Run, by Mahesh Butani

It is difficult to ascertain whether the latest bold call for Larry to run is a quick dash for the mayoral seat; a call to register for the race, or a plea to run from the racetrack as quickly as he can.

This very personal call with a touching show of regard for the fine - emanates once again from the crypt. It is all the more puzzling, for it is backed up with a liberally splashed blue-bleeding, endorsement of the highly astute printing press.

Friday, June 11, 2010

In Honour and Memory of Blane


Blane Morden, 21, was riding on Upper James Street on Tuesday when he was struck by an SUV and died in hospital from severe wounds to his neck. He was due to graduate from an architecture course at Mohawk.

The tragic details of this story are here.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sharks?

Here is an article published in the Star. The article is by sports columist Dave Perkins. It gives you a perspective of what some are saying, as they observe how Hamilton is handling the Pan Am decision.

If the two sides in the Hamilton stadium standoff can’t get their act together, 2015 Pan Am Games organizers will pull the plug and build the new facility at York University.

The Toronto Argonauts would be the long-term tenants of a new 25,000-seat stadium to hold Pan Am track and field events, plans for which are moving ahead as the alternative if Hamilton stalls out. Allegedly, the subway will be extended to York by 2015. Switching the Pan Am’s marquee events there would be an impetus to finish a transit job on time. For once.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hamilton's Taxes Still Highest as % of income

As reported by CHML's Ken Mann

An annual study called the Municipal Tax Competitiveness Study confirms that property taxes collectively eat up 5.2% of a city taxpayer's income.

That is the highest percentage when compared to more than 20 other cities across Ontario. The provincial average is a full point lower at 4.2%.Officials notes that the "above average residential taxes" combine with a "relatively low average household income" to put Hamilton on top of the list.

The study also shows that the average detached bungalow in Hamilton pays just under 35 hundred dollars in residential taxes, 11% higher than the sample average.

Thanks to TJR for the suggestion

Ward 10's Jose Pablo Bustamante Leaves No Doubt

Ward 10's Jose Pablo Bustamante issued the following Press Release which leaves no doubt as to where he stands on this issue. The Hamiltonian invites Councillors and Contenders, as well as all readership on this blog, to weigh in on this issue and Mr. Bustamante's take. Do you support Mr. Bustamante's views?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Free Money to Campaign

Stoney Creek, Tuesday June 8, 2010. Not only did the incumbents already have an intrinsic advantage just by being in the media all the time, but now they are giving themselves $241,000 for infrastructure to “campaign”. This is not only unfair but it is a corrupt practice that should be banned by the Municipal Elections Act.

Secret Body or Outrageous, Insulting and Insane?

As reported by CHML's Ken Mann

Another emotional meeting of Hamilton politicians.

They've traded some heated words while finalizing the creation of a working group that will advise Pan Am Games stadium facilitator Michael Fenn.

The working group will be made up of Mayor Eisenberger and Councillors Lloyd Ferguson, Tom Jackson, Maria Pearson, Bob Bratina, Scott Duvall and Russ Powers.The group's meetings will not be public, drawing the ire of Councillor Sam Merulla. He calls it a "secret body" and complains that it will violate the principles of openness and transparency.

The controversy set off the mayor, wHe also insists that a level of confidentiality is critical when dealing with sensitive issues, adding that the facilitator requested a group that he could "bounce ideas off".


Monday, June 7, 2010

10 Tough Questions with Rene Gauthier

Rene Gauthier has been a member of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce since 2003. He is a IT consultant who specializes in manufacturing systems. He's also a member and supporter of the Liberal party. He graduated from Mohawk in 1998 and is a former member and committee chair of Red Hill Cooperative Homes. His history also includes being a volunteer at Cable 14 (87-88) and being a former Sea Cadet (84-88).

In addition to running his own blog, and commenting on other blogs such as The Hamiltonian, Rene was considering taking a run for the mayoral race. Ultimately, he decided not to this time around.   Rene answered all 11 questions I put to him, so welcome to 10+ Tough Questions with Rene Gauthier. Comments welcome.

1. You've given serious consideration to running for Mayor of this city. What were the considerations that initially compelled you to consider a run for the Mayoral race. What do you say to those who believe that you should first secure a seat on council?

Poverty, Pork Barreling, or Common Sense Spending?

What would be the right thing to do when receiving 3.6 million dollars in the form of a special rebate from the province, which mostly is attributed to social service spending? With the degree of poverty in Hamilton, would it make sense to use the money toward poverty reduction?

Council rejected a suggestion to use the monies on poverty reduction, and also decided to override the usual staff-run priority setting process that uses established criteria to determine the order in which city projects get scarce dollars.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Hot Topic for Hamilton

Taking Stock, Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Hamilton, a discussion paper on greenhouse gas emissions, paints an almost apocalyptic view of what it could be like in Hamilton in the year 2060.

The document assumes that if serious actions such as higher density, cycling , more transit and highly protected agricultural land, do not take form by 2012, the results may mean that the temperature will top 30C close to 50 days per year, severe storms previously occuring once a century may occur annually and the city’s infrastructure will take a constant beating, power outages will be routine and it will be almost impossible to get property insurance for homes and businesses.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Passport to Hamilton

Did you know that for a $9.00 charge, you can purchase a HSR day pass? Best of all, the $9.00 gets you a pass that can be used by:

o one adult with up to five youth aged 19 and under, or
o two adults with up to four youth aged 19 and under, or
o maximum of six youth aged 19 and under, or
o maximum of two adults.

Your HSR Day Pass allows everyone eligible in the group to travel anywhere in the HSR system, all day. The HSR Day Pass can be purchased at any time, not merely the day you plan to use it. On your day of travel, the bus driver will punch that day’s date out on your pass. Once punched, the pass is now only valid for that calendar day on any HSR bus.

You can purchase a pass at locations where HSR passes are normally sold. Locations are listed on the map You can also visit  http://www.environmenthamilton.org/ for a list of locations, as well as new locations such as Eva Rothwell Resource Centre, East End Kiwanis Boys’ and Girls’ Club, Tourism Hamilton locations, Mohawk College, Cathedral High School and selected Municipal Service Centres.

Benda Johnson, Project Manager for Environment Hamilton, adds the following:

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Respecting the Ultimate Sacrifice- Making it Right

There are thought to be up to sixteen soldiers shabbily buried , 200 years ago after the Battle of Stoney Creek. The city is attempting to buy the land in which the soldiers are thought to be, so as to facilitate an archeological dig to exhume, and properly bury these soldiers.

City council has told staff to make an offer at "fair market value" for the King Street property listed for $374,900.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Helping Jake Rayner

Jake Rayner is a 15 year old child who is diagnosed with Ewings cancer, a rare bone cancer. The volunteer Stoney Creek firefighters (Station 15), are helping to raise funds for Jake and his family. There is a firefighter car wash event taking place on June 12th, and also, other ways of helping.  Please click here for details. Your support would be greatly appreciatedThank-you.

Eisenberger Registers

Mayor Eisenberger has registered to run again for the Mayoral chair in this upcoming election. Registering, amongst other things, allows for a candidate to begin fundraising.

Eisenberger says that an official campaign launch will be forthcoming.

Eisenberger only won by 452 votes over incumbent Di Ianni four years ago. To date, three other registered candidates: Michael Baldasaro, Mahesh Butani and Andrew Haines are in the mayoral race with DiIanni and perhaps others, thinking about registering.

 What do you think Eisenberger's chances are this time around? Do you think the Pan Am issue will be pivotal? What do you think will be the variables and factors that will influence this race?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mysterious PCB site?

As submitted by Mark Alan Whittle

After reading the Story about various PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls) storage sites in Ontario featured in the Hamilton Spectator a few days ago, I was shocked to learn there was a storage site in Hamilton.

 I contacted the Journalist who wrote the story for the address of the PCB storage site in Hamilton. As it took a day or so for a reply (all the writer knew was the lot number and concession) I started doing some Google searching to see if I could find any references to PCB storage in Hamilton.



City Manager Sticks with Experience/Education

City Manager, Chris Murray has named his first new hires, pursuant to his office re-org. They are not exactly new however, with Chris opting to go with experience and education.

City lawyer Art Zuidema has been named Murray's new second-in-command, as director of corporate initiatives. His job will involve helping Murray with day-to-day matters and supporting strategic plans.

Glenn Brunetti, who is working in Murray's office on secondment from the community services department, is the new service delivery program manager. Brunetti will help oversee city services and help improve them.

"Murray said he chose both men for their combination of "experience and education." See Spec Story here.

Do you agree with Mr. Murray's emphasis? Tried and true? Or new blood?