Thursday, September 29, 2011

Media Advisory - Vital Signs Report Shines Spotlight on Local Issues

Vital Signs report shines spotlight on local issues

Hamilton Community Foundation will release its 2011 Vital Signs report on Tuesday, October 4. The reader-friendly report will offer a comprehensive look at how the city is faring in 12 quality of life areas such as learning, health, housing, and the environment. It will compare the city to provincial and national averages and look at comparisons between areas of the city.

Link of the Moment - No More HECFI Slushies

TheSpec - HECFI kills event subsidy fund
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As the LRT GOs, Twists and Turns - Episode 1

The LRT and GO issues are sounding like a bit of a soap opera. We’ll randomly fill in the role of the protagonist and antagonist, for the purposes of the narrative, but you can easily swap these roles and change the narrative to suit your own perspective.

In this episode, our protagonist, Ryan McGreal and the LRT lobby are rapidly gaining registered support, which reportedly now exceeds 600 people and climbing.  In the meantime, Clr. Brad Clark seeks to convince council to confirm full funding from the province for the capital costs of the two long planned LRT lines. But not everyone is happy and some of his peers warn that they are asking a question at the wrong time. But most councilors support the need for clarification.

At the conclusion of the episode, just as you thought it was time to turn the channel, our antagonist, Mayor Bratina makes a surprise announcement that the province will fund all the necessary capital for the new planned Go stations and service upgrade.

Will this surprise offer any comfort to Hamiltonians who may be worried about the costs of all day GO? Will the LRT lobby and those who believe that LRT and GO are not mutually exclusive and equal priorities, find their way through this latest additional information?

Tune in for the next episode, of As the LRT GOs, Twists and Turns. In the interim, feel free to suggest plots, story lines and speculations as to what might happen next. Please keep it respectful.

Note: The Hamiltonian does not subscribe to the belief that the Mayor is an antagonist, or that the LRT lobby are the protagonists. Descriptions are included to facilitate a light hearted but informative way of describing the developments on a serious set of issues. We'll probably switch the roles, next episode- just to keep it balanced.  Note- We  doubt we'll be able to broadcast these episodes in High Definition ;-)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Rally- Fight Against the City Motor Hotel

Hosted by:Councillor Sam Merulla  Ward 4 – East Hamilton

When:Wednesday, October 5th, 2011
Where:Montgomery Park
1570 Main Street East
(South of Main, between Berry Avenue and Weir Street South)
Time:6:00 p.m.

Topics of Discussion:
•Increase awareness of Police involvement to date
•Provide update on enforcement blitz; and,
•The development of a licensing category for motels.


MEDIA ADVISORY Cracking the colour code: Forum on poverty and race this Thursday

Click on pic to make bigger


Cracking the colour code: Forum on poverty and race this 

HAMILTON - A community forum this Thursday at 6 p.m. will help Hamiltonians understand the link between poverty and race, and what they can do about it.

“Poverty is not colour blind,” says keynote speaker Dr. Grace-Edward Galabuzi, author of Canada’s Economic Apartheid: The Social Exclusion of Racialized Groups in the New Century. “How do we make sure all our citizens have a chance to realize their potential?”

Award-winning Hamilton Spectator reporter and author of the poverty and health series Code Red, Steve Buist, will present data from one of the city’s most racially diverse neighbourhoods.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

McGreal on CHML's Scott Thompson Show

CHML's Scott Thompson
Did you miss Ryan McGreal on CHML's Scott Thompson show, discussing LRT?  Click on the links below to hear it:

Part 1
Part 2

What's the GOing rate?

You will recall that the Hamiltonian highlighted Mayor Bratina's comments on the Bill Kelly show concerning LRT. In those comments, the Mayor, reasonably it seems, expressed concerns about the unknown costs of LRT, insofar as situations may present themselves that are unforseen or unbudgeted. (hear the Mayor's comments here)

In Howard Elliot's opinion article in The Spectator today, see it here, Howard raises a slew of unanswered questions about all day Go service. Here is an excerpt :

..who pays? The province typically pays operating expenses for GO Transit. But what about any capital expenses incurred through the service expansion. Who pays for the two platforms/stations? Who pays for any traffic rerouting made necessary by the expansion? Who pays for movement or changes to rail tracks? Who pays for the engines and cars made necessary to supply expanded service? Typically, these are paid by the municipalities benefiting from expanded GO service. Does that mean Hamilton is going to be on the hook? If so, for how much? And how does Hamilton city hall plan to pay for those capital expenses? Will local taxes increase to pay for expanded GO service? What does city council say about all this, since the matter hasn’t been discussed recently?

Falling out of this, the logical question is: Given the Mayor's unease with the potential unknown cost components of LRT, would he not harbour the same type of concerns with All Day Go, particularly because many of the costs that Howard identifies, are expected? And particularly because All Day Go seems more immediate and will impact Hamiltonians sooner? And where does council stand on all this?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Media Release - Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction

The Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction this morning issued a challenge to all Hamilton-area provincial election candidates to ‘Tweet’ their support for social assistance reform.

Town Hall Roll Call

Note: While we asked for submissions by day's end yesterday (Sept 26th), we will continue to post submissions (if received)  from any of the councillors and from the mayor. 

In support of Town Halls and efforts made by community associations in Ward 2, and Town Halls Hamilton, we asked our Mayor and Councillors the question below. (Note: Replies will be posted in the order in which we receive them. Bookmarks have been set for each councillor and the Mayor, and we will post the replies as they are received).

Q. As you may know, there is a movement afoot in our city to call for the traditional Town Hall Meeting to be resurrected and become a regular part of civic engagement. The Hamiltonian supports these efforts. We recognize that there are and have been other forms of engagement ongoing in various shapes and forms, but the focus of this email is on the classic Town Hall Meeting.

Are you agreeable to participating in regular town hall meetings in your ward (for the city - in the case of the Mayor), that are organized and driven by your constituents and/or community associations in concert with Town Halls Hamilton and/or other organizing groups? Any other thoughts you may have on this topic are also welcome.

Replies (in order received)

Note: Clr. Farr has already been featured on this topic and need not reply unless he would like to add something to what he has already said. In which case, we will publish it)

Clr. Brad Clark (Ward 9)  I already had one on Sept 22 and I will be having one every month alternating upper and lower stoney creek

Clr. Sam Merulla (Ward 4)  I've been conducting quarterly Town Hall meetings for eleven years and I find them very helpful in being inclusive in my representation of Ward 4 East Hamilton.

Clr. Terry Whitehead (Ward 8) Town Hall Meetings are not new to Ward 8. Since I was elected in  2 003 it has been my mandate to conduct not one but as many as 22 Community meetings throughout the Ward on a yearly basis. I now host 16 Community Meetings a year by grouping some of the smaller neighbourhoods together for a group meeting. I also host a Constituency Day at WestcliffeMall one Saturday afternoon a month from September to May with the exception of January. 

I also host a yearly Budget Meeting in the Ward where constituents can have their questions heard by staff from our Financial and Tax Department. I have also been fortunate to have a Ward 8 Community Advisory Council that has assisted with the organization of a yearly Movie Night in the Park choosing a different neighbourhood each year. 

It is my opinion and that of many constituents that meetings of this nature reach more people and the residents have the opportunity for a one on one conversation with myself or staff than a larger group would have if I was to host one or two larger meetings a year in a "Town Hall" type setting.

Further, It has been my experience that large town hall meetings attract special interest groups which have been commented on by many of my residents.. They end up dominating the discussion. This further discourages many other residents from attending future meetings. That is why I decided to have many neighborhood meetings to allow all points of view to be heard unencumbered.

Clr. Brian McHattie (Ward 1) I have had many town hall meetings and participate actively in the three neighbourhood associations and their meetings so I'm likely already doing this but would keen to do more if the Ward 1 neighbourhoods felt it necessary.

Clr. Brenda Johnson (Ward 11) Meeting with the residents as well as organizations/groups within the Community is a high priority for me. There is no better way to keep informed with the residents and groups you represent than by meeting with them first hand. Since being elected last fall, I have already had more that 25 different meetings with members of my Community on issues of importance to them.

A number of these meetings have been on issues that affect all the residents of Ward 11 for example "The 2011 Budget/Area Rating". Other neighbourhood meetings were to discuss events or developments that
affect those residents directly.

As well as community meetings, I have also had 4 Open Houses where residents can stop by and have a more casual conversation with me. At this time, residents of ward 11 generally seem very happy with the level of community meetings and the opportunities that they have been given to talk about issues of importance to them.

For the next Town Hall meeting to discuss the Winona Recreation Centre, watch my website and the Stoney Creek News for the confirmed date.

Clr. Judi Partridge (Ward 15)

Public meetings are an important part of how we need to plan and develop in our communities. Hamilton is a collection of many communities and neighbourhoods that share one economy and governance across the city. As a City Councillor I have and will continue to host regular public meetings. People simply want to have a say on what is happening or what they feel needs to happen where they live, and they deserve to have their input taken seriously.

Since being elected in 2010 one of my first priorities was to establish a Flamborough Community Council. Residents in all area's of Flamborough had expressed interest over the past few years. We have a 16 member council with it's own Chair and soon to be elected Vice Chair, with members from both the rural and urban areas. Meetings are open to the public to attend. Minutes and agenda's are posted on my website judipartridge.ca.

For specific community planning issues, I will also establish Community Liaison Committees to provide input to staff. One example of this is my plan to restore Memorial Hall in Waterdown. Once I know funding is secured and the project is a go, we will work with city staff to form a local committee to provide direct input to this important project.

I also publish my Councillor E-NEWS (Flamborough E-NEWS) monthly or bi-weekly as needed which goes to over 1,500 Flamborough residents and local media, which I believe the Hamiltonian receives.

Outside of this, I also host community meetings for broader discussion on bigger issues such as the proposed Mid-Penn Highway and Millgrove Truck Route/Highway #6 issues. City staff, provincial staff and other experts on the issue are also there to present and answer questions.

My practice to date is to include local business organizations, sometimes to help facilitate the meetings Q&A session or panel discussions. Community groups are also given the opportunity to present their side of the issue - where appropriate it is important to give them an audience as well.

I also regularly attend breakfast meetings/events for the local Rotary, Chamber and would attend local town halls if they were organized by one of the recognized community organizations such as the Flamborough Chamber of Commerce, Waterdown BIA or FORCE (Friends of Rural Communities & Environment) with an agenda that would benefit from community discussion

Mayor Bratina Thanks for your message.Currently our office conducts the equivalent of two "town hall" events, a monthly open-line "mayor's update" on the Bill Kelly Show on CHML, and similarly on Cable 14 with John Best. Should an issue arise requiring something beyond these two monthly events we would certainly consider how we would facilitate it, perhaps in the City Hall Council Chamber.

Clr. Pasuta (Ward 14) With respect to regular town hall meetings in Ward 14, organized and driven by Ward 14 residents, I would respond that while there have not been any formal meetings as such, I do, on a daily basis, attend many informal meetings, that would be considered "town hall" style, with the numerous groups and associations of Flamborough (Ward 14).

Ward 14 is very unique, comprised of numerous small communities who are comfortable with this current approach. I find this works extremely well and have not received any requests to make a change to the current status. Should a particular issue arise that requires me to meet with a larger number of residents, those arrangements are made on an as-required basis.

The majority of Ward 14 residents are involved with a community group or two and any matter of concern they may have are always brought to my attention during my ward travels. Thank you for the opportunity to provide my comments.

Pending replies:

Clrs.  Morelli, Collins, Jackson, Duvall, Pearson,  Ferguson, Powers,  

Click here for Media Release from Hamilton Light Rail

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Town Hall with Clr. Farr

In light of the upcoming Town Hall with Clr. Farr as the guest of honour, we thought we'd ask the Clr. the following:

Q. You are to be the guest of honour at an upcoming Town Hall meeting scheduled for November. Can you tell us what you hope to accomplish by engaging in the town hall meeting, and is this something that you are open to doing regularly?

A. Well, I hope if I accomplish anything it is that the concept is sound. How do we do that? Attend. 

The point is to increase engagement between the public and the public official. This event was born from low voter turn out. No one could argue that there is an alarming percentage of folks just not interested in the local political scene.

The two gentlemen (organizers) interested in changing that feel that bringing the politician to the people may well help increase engagement. I trust in their ability to market this concept to those whom might not otherwise have given a Q and A with the Ward 2 Councillor a try. I admire their passion and hope they are successful in drawing big numbers in November.

Certainly a Town Hall meeting is not a new concept, but I cannot recall too many in my time and in our town.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Celebrating Hamilton Businesses- Sonia's Piece of Cake

Please join us as we celebrate local businesses in Hamilton. Enjoy our chat with Sonia Macaluso of Sonia's Piece of Cake.

1. Tell us about Sonia's Piece of Cake. How long have you been in business, where are you located and what is it about Sonia's that makes you special? 

We have been baking now for 2yrs. We are currently located on the west mountain side of Hamilton. We here at Sonia's Piece of Cake like to take on great challenges. No dream is to big that can't be defined with cake!

2. Have shows like "Cake Boss" had an impact on how many people are interested in the cake/pastry business and your products?

I must say that yes the Cake Boss, Ace of Cakes and other TLC shows has drawn in some great interest as well as some strange orders! I love how our customers get to see first hand all the work involved in creating cake art however what they still fail to see is that we can't do it all in 1 hour...lol.....

3. What is it about Hamilton and Hamiltonians that encouraged you to have a business here? 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Whitehead's Appealing

Clr. Whitehead will be appealing the Ontario Superior Court judge's May 16th decision that found the Clr. guilty of defamation. See previous The Hamiltonian coverage here.

Clr. Whitehead's legal representation in this matter will not be paid for by the taxpayer. Mr. Sarachman, who was on the receiving end of the actions that resulted in Whitehead being found guilty of defamation, is reportedly frustrated. As reported in the Stoney Creek News, Sarachman will be asking for costs of this new action and is also saying that he will run against Whitehead in the next election, should the Clr. continue with the appeal.

Sarachman also stated that if he wins the appeal, he will sue the city,  including former city officials and former Mayor Eisenberger. He believes the city targeted him and his de-almalgamation group.

You'll recall that Clr. Whitehead vowed to do everything humanly possible to help offset the costs that the taxpayers had to foot to defend his actions that led to the defamation ruling.


Taking Back Our City

Admittedly "Taking Back the City" may be a little dramatic, in that nobody is suggesting that it has been held hostage. But undoubtedly what we have gained by way the of streaming of live meetings, the ability to email our elected representatives and other forms of "e-engagement", we may have lost by the absence of the classic and traditional "town hall meeting".

As many of you may know, our Publisher, Teresa DiFalco initiated a live mayoral and Ward 10 and 11 debate last municipal election, in recognition of the need to be able to hear the candidates and ask questions of them. She thought it was important for the community to be able to engage with the candidates and become better informed on where they stand on certain issues. The full audio for this event was made available on The Hamiltonian. She has also organized community meetings through the years. 

It should be of no surprise that The Hamiltonian was pleased to learn that in response to an initiative by Town Halls Hamilton, and Ward 2 neighbourhood and community associations, Clr. Jason Farr has agreed to be a guest at a town hall, to engage with his constituents.  

We hope that this trend will continue and that each councillor and the Mayor will be guests at regular town hall meetings. Like E-Engagement, there are pros and cons to any form of engagement- be it town halls or other forms . But indisputably, the spectrum of engagement is a necessary ingredient to representative government.

Kudos to Town Halls Hamilton, the neighbourhood and community associations that are organizing this, and Clr. Jason Farr for setting a good example. 

The Hamiltonian supports such efforts and will continue to provide engagement opportunities, e-wise and otherwise.

Note: The Town Hall with Clr. Farr is set for November 10th. We assume that additional details will be posted here (click here) when they become available. 


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

6 Million dollars. That's nothing to sneeze at, and it represents the total cost of sick days that taxpayers are having to absorb due to city worker sick days. And that figure is only for the first half of 2011, says a Spec article.

Heart disease and mental health issues have been on the increase from the start of 2010.

In the first part of 2011, 28,000 sick days have been used up, which averages to more than 2.5 per employee.

The city plans to hire a Healthy Workplace Specialist to try to address this problem. Councillors are calling for more detailed stats by department. What is your reaction? Are these figures to be expected from a city this large, or do you think these numbers are unacceptable? What would you do if you were faced with solving this issue?

Over-Reaction or Spa Faux-Pas?

Update: The motion can be seen here. There was no recorded vote. The motion carried with no councillors recorded as opposed. 

It is now legal in Ontario for a business, whose primary focus is not to serve alcohol, to get a liquor licence for their business. Hence, the owner of a Stoney Creek Spa/Salon for men, applied for her liquor licence, which would allow her to provide her customers the option of a drink while her customers are at the spa/salon. (see Spec write up here)

Municipal departments are asked to comment on these types of applications. In that vein, Public Health, building and fire officials have all given the Salon/Spa's application a thumbs up.

However, Stoney Creek Ward 10 Councillor Maria Pearson spearheaded a motion to object to the application. Pearson argued that the application would have a negative impact on the surrounding community, and that the salon does not have enough parking or adequate sound barriers and security.

The owner of the Spa/Salon is looking to operate a small locked mini bar, for the exclusive use of her customers and as a option to them. Do you think the Councillor is over reacting? Will the addition of a mini bar warrant additional parking, sound barriers and security? Are we putting up unnecessary barriers to small business people?

Monday, September 19, 2011

How They Voted in July

From our friends at C.A.T.C.H.

CATCH News – September 19, 2011
This is a regular CATCH summary of votes at committee and council meetings. This report covers the month of July 2011. The first line of each entry identifies the issue, followed by a brief description. This is followed by the location of the vote in the third line. Multiple votes on the same issue are reported together. Absentees are only listed where reported in the minutes and where the missing councillors are members of that committee or decision-making body. Links are p rovided to source documents. Note that the vast majority of council decisions are unanimous and the votes are not officially recorded.
Social assistance rates

Tweet of the Moment

"PanAm games becoming political football. I think it's time to assess whether Ian Troop is doing his job. I don't think he is doing it well."

Larry DiIanni- Host of Hamilton Talks, past Mayor of Hamilton

McGreal Responds

Click here to read Ryan McGreal's response to information provided to The Hamiltonian by Peggy Chapman, the Mayor's Chief of Staff.

Note: The Hamiltonian remains committed to airing all sides of any issue. 

Media Release- YMCA Peace Medal Breakfast and Awards Ceremony

Do you know a person or group from the Hamilton or Burlington area that has made a significant contribution to fostering a culture of peace in the community? If so, the YMCA of Hamilton/Burlington/Brantford would love to hear from you.

Nominations are now being accepted for the annual YMCA Peace Medal Breakfast and Awards Ceremony taking place Tuesday, Nov. 22 from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the Hamilton Convention Centre.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Information from Mayor's Chief of Staff

We have received the following information from Chief of Staff Peggy Chapman, of the Mayor's office. This information pertains to this interview (click here) with Ryan McGreal. 

It has come to our attention that Ryan McGreal has made claims, in your publication, about the Mayor not following council direction in regards to GO and LRT. This is factually incorrect. The City Manager's commitment to LRT was to bring a feasibility report to Council this year, which is the essence of his earlier directive. The Mayor is speaking unanimously for council - as you will see by the report below.

The following report was unanimously approved by Council on April 27, 2011.

Backstage Pass

The graph to the left represents what garnered the most hits this past week. It is a point in time snapshot, so bear in mind that some items were up for discussion longer than others, and that can skew the stats somewhat. 

Click on the graph for a closer look. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Hamiltonian talks LRT with Raise the Hammer's Ryan McGreal

Update: Please refer to the followinginformation from the Mayor's Chief of Staff (click here) 

The Hamiltonian always enjoys a chat with Ryan McGreal, Editor of Raise the Hammer. In this instance however, the dialogue is more than just a "chat". It concerns an important issue to Hamilton. Join us as we discuss Light Rail Transit with Ryan:

1. Mayor Bratina has indicated an intent to aggressively pursue all day Go Service to Toronto. When he speaks of LRT, he speaks to the need to understand the total costs and clarity as to what level of government is paying for what. He also cites unknown costs that may emerge, that need to be recognized as potentially introducing a new tax burden. If we read into that, we can summarize that the Mayor is fixated on due diligence and being duly informed by way of a feasibility study that is due to be received next month. 

To an objective listener, it would seem to be a reasonable and responsible approach as Mayor of the City. We recognize that the Mayor has taken a lot of heat over his take on LRT. What part of the above (if any), do you find troublesome. What, if anything, is missing from that line of thinking?

This picture is missing a lot of important details.


Click on pic for better view
From the lens of Angelo Noto Campanella

Access The Mayor

It seems that mayor Bratina is beginning to make himself available, beyond his regular appearances on CHML. A new show entitled "Access the Mayor" , hosted by John Best , is airing on Cable 14 every third Thursday of the month at 7pm. The show is produced by Bratina's Chief of Staff, Peggy Chapman. 

The show takes calls and emails. 905-645-3232. See Spectator write up here.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


It has been brought to our attention that some words in peoples posts are automatically being hyper-linked to pages that the person did not intend. This is not a function of The Hamiltonian blog, but may be a function of the particular browser you are using. We have not gone commercial ;-)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sam Merulla Answers a Velodrome Question

"If I had a million dollars (if I had a million dollars)
I'd buy me a.......

We couldn't resist quoting the lyrics to the Bare Naked Ladies' , If I Had a Million Dollars, as an intro to Clr. Merulla's response to this:

Q. If enough funds are gathered through private investment and/or fund-raising, and all that is missing is an additional 5 million injection by the city, would you support the notion of building a permanent Velodrome, or do you believe an additional 5 million injection would not be prudent, despite the other money on the table?

Clr. Merulla:  This question is similar to asking me what I would do if I won millions in the Lottery. My contention has been that we need to focus on basics and not get distracted by pipe dreams.

Bratina on All day Go and LRT

Click here to listen to Mayor Bratina on the Billy Kelly show, talking about Go Transit and LRT. From today's airing. 

Link of the Moment

Raise the Hammer's Election Coverage. See it here. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Your Meter's Running

In tandem with The Hamilton Spectator's new look, they are also adopting a metered model. What this means is that viewing pages on their site, will be free of charge, up to a limit.  The initial limit that they have set is 35 pages per month. 

If you exceed the 35 page limit over the course of a month, you will asked to subscribe. If you already subscribe to  The Spectator, the fee to subscribe to the digital version (once you have met the set limit of 35), will be $2.95 per month. Those who do not subscribe to The Spectator and wish to browse the site content beyond 35 pages per month, will be asked for a $6.95 per month digital subscription fee.

Do you think this is a good idea for The Spec? Is it a sign of the times in terms of trying to drive revenues up? Will you be going over the 35 page per month  limit?

White Knight or White Elephant?

Time heals everything, so the saying goes, but can it help us to find a "white knight" to save the day where the funding gap for the Veledrome is concerned?  Will an additional month suffice to help us find a savior to our funding woes, or to conduct a successful  fundraising effort to come up with the funding shortfall? 

White Knight needed or White Elephant in the making? See recent Spec write up here

Monday, September 12, 2011

It's Up to You, New York, New Yorrrrrrk

The Hamilton Spectator is considering including a 20-page summary of weekly content from The New York Times one day per week in the newspaper.

It's asking subscribers for their feedback, via an online survey. 

Infrastructure Ontario Responds to Our Questions- Sort of.....

You may recall that we first put the questions below to Ian Troop's office, who referred us to Infrastructure Ontario. Infrastructure Ontario has re-referred the first question back to HostCo (ping-pong anyone?).  Questions 2-4 have been responded to by Infrastructure Ontario. We'll let you decide if you are satisfied with the responses. 

We've served the first question back to Hostco. We'll let you know when we get an answer. Update: Answer has been received and question has been updated. 

1. The potential Hamilton solution to the veledrome, which would see the build of a permanent facility at much greater cost than a temporary one, has resulted in both interest and concern from Hamiltonians.

Under this model, Hamilton must find the money to fund a significant financial gap. Efforts are apparantly afoot to attract the interest of philanthropists and perhaps private investment.

What value does Hostco attach to a solution that would see a permanent structure in Hamilton and to the extent that value is attached and, in light of the significant increase in cost, will Hostco own a greater share of this problem by upping their contribution from 56%, or otherwise providing relief to Hamilton? Or is it basically our issue to address?

Perspectives, On the Veledrome

We asked our Perspectives Virtual Panel the following question:

How important do you think a permanent Velodrome is to Hamilton, and do you believe the investment required, is worthwhile?

Please consider the following responses from Herman Turkstra, Larry Di Ianni, Mark Alan Whittle and Marvin Ryder, and feel free to add your own:

If we review our City's history with major tax funded projects, about the only success stories are the art gallery, Theatre Aquarius and our conservation areas. I have to make this comment in the context that I was part of the team that

CHCH National Cycling Centre Hamilton

The following is an article submitted by Brent Kinnard, Communications Director for the CHCH National Cycling Centre Hamilton, on the Veledrome topic:

Two wheels for the community

Cycling as a mode of transportation, a recreational activity and a competitive sport has risen in prominence across the city in recent years. If we rewind to the 2003 World Road Championships hosted in Hamilton, we quickly find a catalyst for much of the change in culture around cycling. Bicycle paths, dedicated lanes and numerous campaigns to highlight the co-existence of cyclists and motorists have raised the level of awareness in 
the community. The prospects for continued progress and develop by constructing a facility to house even more cycling related activity is exciting.

Nine11 Play- Review

We are guessing that there wasn't a dry eye in the house, as a seized audience looked on as a victim of 911 is having a final phone conversation with her best friend, prior to leaping to her death to flee from the burning room behind her. This, as well as many other powerful and riveting scenes, mesmerized the audience at The McIntrye Theatre as Nine11, the play, delivered a stunning view into how the tragedy impacted people from different walks of life.

The acting was stunning and came from a different place- in terms of its depth. The actors and actresses were transfixed into their characters, each one drawing on raw emotions to deliver a credible and at times, atonishing performance. 

Kudos to Colourblind Productions and the brilliance of Producer and Director, Michael Pett! Not only was the play moving, powerful and meaningful, but it proved to be a respectful and tasteful homage to the many who were impacted and devestated by the 911 tragedy.

A well earned standing ovation ensued at the conclusion of the play. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Oh The Drama - LRT

Oh the drama. Jill Stephan is leaving the city. City Manager Chris Murray sent some , what some may describe as confusing messages around Hamilton's commitment to LRT.  Mayor Bratina is not seemingly championing it. And now this, an article from Andrew Dreschel which only adds to the ongoing drama that has become LRT. Did Jill leave on account of the City's  lack of commitment toLRT or didn't she? Was it a matter of work/life balance or wasn't it? Was it a hybrid of the two? Inquiring minds want to know (presumably).

But while the drama unfolds and spins around, The Hamiltonian would like to propose what the real discussion ought to be, as reflected in our previously published opinion on this matter. Click here.

On the Wheel

Update: These questions were posed to Infrastructure Ontario and although we were told they would get back to us shortly, we are still waiting.... 

On Sunday, we sent Ian Troops's office four questions to consider. We were told by his communications office that they would strive to respond to our questions by end of day today (Thursday).

Late this afternoon, we were told by Mr. Troop's communications office that it is better that we pose these questions to Infrastructure Ontario - which we are in the process of doing. Obviously, it left us to wonder why it would have been left to the last minute to redirect our queries.

While we're back on the wheel trying to get answers, we thought at minimum, we would share with Hamiltonians the questions we asked:

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Way We Were

Click on pic to enlargen
From the lens of Angelo Noto Campanella

Friday, September 9, 2011

Getting Off this Train

In the wake of the messaging from the City Manager and Mayor around Hamilton's position on Light Rail Transit, some are speculating that Jillian Stephan, the Manager in charge of the city's Rapid Transit Office,  is resigning from her job due to the lack of LRT support.  Her last day is September 22, at which time she will leave her post in favour of another position with Niagara region.

A recent write up In Raise the Hammer (see it here) concludes by stating "Key Rapid Transit staffers have already decided to leave the city and take their expertise elsewhere. In the best case, will take months to assemble and train a new team that can pick up from where Stephen's team was kneecapped."

Ms. Stephen cites personal reasons for leaving, while Clr. McHattie attributes at least some of it to a lack of support for LRT in city hall. (See Spec story here

Your thoughts? 

'Hamilton Talks' With Guest, Fred Eisenberger

Former Mayor of Hamilton Larry DiIanni, now serving as host of Cable 14's Hamilton Talks, interviewed former Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger. The episode was aired this evening on Cable 14, and it may be replayed- in case you'd like to catch it.

Highlights included:

A fair deal of talk about Fred's new role as CEO of The Canadian Urban Institute.

Some talk about the relationship between the Mayor's role and the media. The media question was put to Fred by Larry, and whether intentional or not, it came across as a message from both men. Fred stressed the importance of having a professional and respectful relationship with the media and very much saw it as integral to the role of Mayor. Larry appeared to be on the same page. 

Larry challenged Fred a bit on his handling of the Ti-Cat, Pan Am affair, but they didn't have much time to get into it. The conversation was fair.

Early in the show they briefly reflected on the sense of loss that goes along with losing a mayoral election and

4th Annual JCC Breast Cancer Research BRIGHT Run

4th Annual JCC Breast Cancer Research BRIGHT Run Tomorrow 

September 9, 2011 - The fourth annual Juravinski Cancer Centre's Bright Run (Breast Cancer Research in Greater Hamilton Today) is taking place tomorrow, September 10th at the Dundas Valley Conservation Area. Participants in the run are both Breast Cancer Survivors and individuals who want to raise funds and awareness for Breast Cancer Research in Hamilton. The day will include a 1 km or 5 km run or walk.

There will also be an interactive Media tent where people can learn about the new features on the BRIGHT Run site, and record a video message of hope to be featured on  www.brightrun.ca.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Made by Canadians?

Clr. Ferguson appears to be on a roll, or rampage, depending on how you want to look at it, with respect to his concerns over the Pan Am Stadium/Veledrome matters.

The Clr. is expressing concern that British and American firms are among those who have appeared on the short list of firms who will potentially design and build the new version of Ivor Wynne ala Pan Am. 

Staff maintain that firms appear on the short list  based on the technical and financial quality of their proposals.Ferguson worries that "bureaucracy has gotten in the way of common sense".

Are you in the Clr's camp on this one, agreeing that preference should be given to Canadian construction companies? Should that be a weighted criterion, when considering proposals? Or, are you of the view that the most qualified should prevail, regardless of place of origin?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Article of the Moment

Have a read.  http://www.thespec.com/opinion/article/590260--we-can-t-go-on-this-way

Hamiltonian Trivia

What do Clrs. McHattie, Farr, Merulla, Whitehead, Ferguson, Pasuta and Partridge have in common?

Click here for answer. 

Mayor Bratina and The Media

What does Mayor Bob Bratina have in common with legendary rock band Led Zeppelin? The most obvious similarity is that Bratina and members of Led Zeppelin are musicians. We would go out on a limb and bet that Bratina can play the lead flute line in Stairway to Heaven.

But beyond that, there's this, which is an excerpt from Stephen Davis' LZ-'75:

"Led Zeppelin rarely let journalists anywhere near the band. Shortly after guitarist Jimmy Page founded the English rock group in 1968, relations with the press deteriorated to the point of outright hostility on both sides.  Early reviews of Led Zeppelin's recordings and concerts were negative, unkind, and even vitriolic. The band retaliated by banning writers and photographers from their shows, with the exception of a few trusted people who could be counted on to write positive articles. All this changed in 1975. By then, Led Zeppelin was the biggest, highest-grossing rock band in the world, as well as the music industry's biggest act."

Admittedly, the Mayor’s relationship with the press cannot be described as outright hostility on both sides, and reviews of his performance have not reached the same stage, but the Mayor's interaction or lack thereof with most of the press and his clear preference for CHML's Bill Kelly show, has raised some flags that we initially wrote about here.

Equally as concerning is a recent comment tweeted by The Spec's Emma Reilly, which describes a pattern

of the Mayor openly dismissing The Spec. (His recent online chat via The Spec, seems to be an exception to that)  To add to that, a Hamiltonian blogger described a scene at a recent council meeting where the Mayor

Monday, September 5, 2011

DiIanni to Interview Eisenberger

Around The Hamiltonian, and in other conversations, the phrase "The Fred and Larry Show" was sometimes used as a shortened way of describing an event that Fred Eisenberger and Larry DiIanni would be attending. Usually, it was a candidate's debate of some sort.

However, it appears that there will actually be a Fred and Larry show of sorts, as Larry DiIanni interviews Fred Eisenberger.

Recently, DiIanni tweeted
"Great to host "The O Show", tues; "Opinionators Too" Wed. and interview show: "Hamilton Talks" thurs. First guest: Fred Eisenberger"

Both gentlemen have led our city and both have had their share of successes and failures. Will you be tuning in to the show, or do you think it is time to change the channel?


From time to time, we see comments on The Hamiltonian and on other places, where people voice concerns about how difficult they say it is navigating through the city's web site, which can be found here

Recently, following a team meeting, one of our staff was asked to obtain a copy of the council code of conduct, in relation to some research we were doing. Simple task- so we thought....

After a few frustrating attempts, trying what we thought was the most logical approach (ie: look for it under certain sections of the site, use the search feature etc.), we threw up our hands. Having failed to find it on the site, we emailed city staff and asked them how to find it. The answer we received, which struck us a somewhat complicated was:

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Checking In with Professor Marvin Ryder

The Hamiltonian likes to check in with our friend, Professor Marvin Ryder from time to time to get his take on issues.  The following is a loaded question we asked Marvin, which he had no trouble breaking down and addressing each component:

I have concluded that you are really asking two quite different questions. I will answer each separately and then you can decide if you want to post them singly or together.

Part A) With the investment in McMaster's downtown health campus, the

prospects of the Royal Connaught finally being revived, and other developments that are in progress or being talked about in the core, what would you say the probability is of these changes culminating  to the transformational boost to the downtown that Hamiltonians have  long been anticipating?

I have been suggesting that there is no one thing that will mark either the turning point or the final step in the revitalization of the downtown. This is more about evolutionary change which is, by nature, slow. It also often seems to take a few steps forward and then a couple back, and then a couple more forward.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Clr. Whitehead on the Veledrome

Clr. Whitehead has been kind enough to send us this article, representing his thoughts on the veledrome. Comments welcome.

Veledrome Opportunity or Burden?

A lot has been said in the last number of days regarding the Velodrome
and  process. I want to take this opportunity to provide some clarity on
the issue.

First of all, I would like to start off by indicating that in thiis term of Council, I believe this is one of the best Councils I have had the honour and privilege to work with. Secondly, Chris Murray has a  high level of integrity and my colleagues and I have full confidence in his role as City Manager. Many members of Staff have been working tireless hours on the Pan Am file, as these files are very complex and involve a lot of due diligence as well as a constant state of flux. I can appreciate the frustration and the fair criticism on these type of initiatives.