Monday, January 31, 2011

The Final Curtain for The Movie Palace On Feb 3rd 2011

The voice on the outgoing message machine is boisterous and full of energy, the vision as conveyed on the TV program The Dragons Den, is enticing and the website is snazzy,-  but that wasn't enough to stop The Movie Palace from closing this Thursday.

With an emphasis on a classy ambiance complete with designer bathrooms, roman pillars and red velvet church pew style seating, The Movie Palace seemed to have the ingredients of a competitive edge.

However, as shown on this YouTube video, the "judges" on the show took issue with the low priced tickets assigned to admission. They argued that higher admission prices should have been charged in order to make a viable business case.

The Hamiltonian tried to reach the owner, Dale Barker, to get his perspective on what led to this unfortunate outcome and what, if anything , he might have done differently

It is always disturbing to see people with good offerings and energy, close down their doors.

Your thoughts? Was this theatre on your radar. Did you go to it? If not, why not? What advice or observations might you have?

We recommend you watch the YouTube video before you comment, as it will give you a sense of the owner's perspective at a point in time. The Spec also did a story- see it here.

Special thanks to David B.

Pic of The Moment

From Clr. Merulla's Facebook page.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Vetoing Bike Lanes

As reported in a C.A.T.C.H. release, Clr. Tom Jackson invoked a veto power, allowed to a Ward councillor, to cancel an east-west bike lane across the east mountain. 

While the details of the Clr's actions can be found here,  it seems that the Clr. did not want to commit to supporting "300 or more cycling links that have been highlighted in this report.” The Clr. then asked if staff would push ahead if there were feedback from the community indicating that they feel overwhelmingly that it was not going to work. 

Clr Jackson added he was “just not detecting a clamouring from a large number of our citizenry from a commuter standpoint to spend the money, taxpayer money, to convert a lot of our road network”, although he was supportive of strictly recreational trail development. He subsequently sought an alteration to the staff request for endorsement of the master plan.

As reported in C.A.T.C.H.,  Jackson cancelled the 3.2 kilometre route last year despite its inclusion in the approved master plan and the Queensdale Avenue reconstruction went ahead without it. Jackson’s opposition to commuter cycling facilities could threaten three other approved bike lanes in his ward.

At this point, the only bike lanes in Jackson’s ward run along Stone Church Road and had been put in place prior to the adoption of the cycling master plan. Recreational pedestrian/cycling routes are in place on a rail trail running along the eastern edge of the ward and through conservation lands near Albion Falls.
What do you think? Do you support Clr. Jackson's reasoning or do you believe he's pedaling with the chain broken?

Howard Elliott New Chair of Poverty Roundtable

Poverty Roundtable appoints Howard Elliott as new Chair, announces public call for new members

Howard Elliott takes the reigns as Chair of the Hamilton Poverty Roundtable

Hamilton – The Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction (HRPR) today announced the selection of Howard Elliott as the new Chair of the multi-sector collaborative body.  He takes over from local business leader, Mark Chamberlain who led the organization since 2005. 

Howard Elliott has been an editorial executive at The Hamilton Spectator for nearly 25 years.  Howard is currently managing editor overseeing commentary and internet operations. He is passionate about Hamilton, where he was born and raised.

Active in the community, Howard was in an early graduating class of the Bay Area Leadership program, and sat on the board of the Bob Kemp Hospice Foundation. Howard was also a founding board member of Hamilton’s Centre for Civic Inclusion, and co-chaired that organization in its formative years. He recently wrapped up a term on Hamilton’s Immigration Partnership Council. Howard has been with the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction since its early days and more recently sat on the operational steering committee.

Having seen first-hand the collective effects of poverty on Hamilton, he is convinced the approach of the Roundtable is the right one. “The team which Mark has so ably led until now has accomplished a remarkable amount, and done so in a really collaborative way, which isn’t always the easiest way to make things happen.  A great deal of work remains in front of us, but I’m confident it’ll happen, thanks in large part to the passion and determination of the people on the roundtable, our remarkable staff and the tremendous support we enjoy from our many community partners.”

Howard has been happily married to Pearl Wolfe for more than 20 years. They are proud parents of a teacher-in-training, provide refuge for a crazy Australian Cattle Dog named Buddy. And Howard is a lifelong guitar fanatic who still enjoys playing in a band on weekends when he can manage it.

Restructuring the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction

In 2010 the Roundtable launched a new Action Plan focussed on strategic initiatives intended to reduce and eliminate poverty in Hamilton.  These priorities included: making Hamilton a Living Wage community, developing a universal school nutrition program for children, reforming social assistance and continuing to shift attitudes about poverty at all levels of government through investments in poverty reduction initiatives. 

The Roundtable is issuing a public call for fifteen new community members to join the table.  Noted Roundtable director, Tom Cooper:  “The first phase of the Roundtable’s work has been completed.  A new structure built around supporting our Action Plan provides the opportunity to reach out to others in the community who should be “at the table”.   Community members who wish to apply can find more details at www.hamiltonpoverty.ca

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Staff Report on Ivor Wynne Stadium

Click here to read the staff report on the feasibility and analysis of the current Ivor Wynne Stadium as the site for the construction of a new Pan Am Stadium.

Comments welcome.

Ti-Cats Transition Position

As things begin to get a little clearer than mud, the Tiger Cats have clarified what it is they are seeking in terms of transition costs, if IWS stadium goes ahead for the Pan Am games.

While the transition costs have been estimated at 7 million dollars, team President Scott Mitchell , as reported on CHML, says that the team is not asking for that amount.

He says all the team is asking for from the city is what the team's costs are going to be if they are forced to leave Ivor Wynne for a year or more.

He says they also want to know where the Cats will play and practice, and how are they going to sell tickets.

See the CHML writeup here. What do you think? Fair requests? 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


But I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood
Yes, I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood

Those are lyrics from a popular song by The Animals, Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood, but they could also serve as a theme song for some of the goings ons this week. For example (selected excerpts from The Spec- see full article here):

In a question-and-answer session following a speech to a Hamilton Rotary luncheon at the Art Gallery of Hamilton Thursday, Mitchell said the Ticats are Ottawa-bound if the stadium deal dies.Mitchell made the comments after he was asked if Ticat owner Bob Young was bluffing when he said he'd pull the CFL team out of Hamilton.

“I can tell you absolutely and unequivocally no,” Mitchell said. “Not only was he not bluffing about potentially moving the team to Burlington, if this stadium doesn't get built and if the project wasn't going to come to fruition, I can pretty much guarantee you this team will be in Ottawa in 2013.”

Mitchell also hastened to clarify his initial remarks.

“I'm very optimistic and there is no reason not to continue to get this (stadium) done … But obviously the team can't continue to play at an obsolete stadium and not have some sort of alternative.” Mitchell said there have been no discussions between the football team and either the city of Ottawa or the people with interests in bringing a team to the nation's capital.

Mitchell's statement wasn't the only comment that raised eyebrows at City Hall Thursday. During the meeting, Mayor Bob Bratina announced that he had a deal with a private investor to bring $10 million to the project.

“If there's $10 million being promised in investment, we'd like to know who it is,” said Councillor Brad Clark.

In an interview a few minutes later, Bratina denied he said someone from the private sector made a commitment.

“An investor told me he would put $10 million in if he could see how he would get a return on his investment,” he said. “The money could come if a return could be shown.”

Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood.....

Due to the angst some of the comments to this post are causing, we have decommissioned this topic. 

Now You See It, Now You Don't

In an interesting article, by the good people at C.A.T.C.H., they trace the references to private money being put on the table to cover a large part of the costs of a new football stadium. 

In one such reference, C.A.T.C.H. states "Council has repeatedly been promised that private corporations would cover a large part of the costs of a new football stadium - most recently just two weeks ago when Tiger-Cat owner Bob Young addressed council. He spoke enthusiastically about “millions of dollars” that had been committed by several private companies to the renovation of Ivor Wynne stadium– money that appears no longer to be on the table."

In a series of references that almost reads like a "now you see it, now you don't" scenerio, C.A.T.C.H. takes readers through the a series of exchanges and statements that appear to have confused an already convoluted process. You can catch the full article here, thanks to C.A.T.C.H. Comments welcome.

Note: The latest, as posted in today's Spec. Anonymous source to The Spec says funding shortfall is really in the range of 10 million and not 40 million. 

Hamilton- The Missing Years, 2008-2011 by Mahesh Butani

Hamilton - The Missing Years, 2008-2011

When the history of early 21st century Hamilton is written, the years 2008-2011 may end up being referenced as the ‘missing years’.

It is quite probable that public events around these missing years went so wrong for the people of the city, that records from this period were wiped clean - lest they influence the thinking of future generations.

Future historians searching for clues may have to dig deep to discover that this was a period of immense unrest and discord. They may even stumble upon Hamilton's spirit during these missing years, and ascribe: rampant distrust, anger and hopelessness, as qualities that defined the city’s mood.

They may wonder – could the reasons for this disharmony have been the building of a stadium, or the development of some lands to the south of the rail tracks which ran past the inner harbor?

Perceptive historians putting the pieces together decades from now, may be thoroughly confused after digging around these missing years – for in spite of all the darkness surrounding this period, they would also notice the faint signs of progression in the city’s trajectory.

However, would they be able to connect the dots between the events that led the forgotten Ward 3 (which for the longest time, was only remembered when tax bills were mailed out) to suddenly become the focus of hesitant attention; and would they recognize the flickering hope that was beginning to surface through this ward for the first time in many decades?

Trailing the Parade

In today's Spec, Andrew Dreschel paints a vivid picture of his perception of how Monday's meeting of council went, where they discussed Ivor Wynne. See Andrew's article here

Amongst his quotes:

 "Picture a clutch of winter white snowshoe hares trying to hide in the middle of a russet meadow.That’s how city councillors appeared throughout much of Monday’s crucial discussion on the funding shortfall for rebuilding Ivor Wynne."

"Presented by staff with an array of options illustrating a spectrum of stadium scenarios and shortfalls, they ineffectually fretted and flopped around the issue, seizing on small details, failing to ask staff the big, basic questions upfront."

"In effect, there was a thousand pound gorilla stomping around the room but, with some worthy exceptions, the best most of them could do was endlessly nitpick about parking, signage, operating costs, club seats and the like."

Monday, January 24, 2011

Are We Wynning?- Maybe Not

Update: We may not be Wynning. See Spec report here. Comments welcome.

It is looking as if the stars are aligning in favour of the rebuild of Ivor Wynne. See recent Spec article here

Whether this option would have been your choice or not, are you glad this issue is reaching some sort of conclusion? If you were not a supporter of this option, can you live with it? 

Is it time to move on?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Eisenberger Lays Down His Cards

According to former Mayor Fred Eisenberger, , the Tiger Cats were bluffing about leaving town, and the city should have hung tough on building on the West Harbour. In Andrew Dreschel's column today, (see it in today's Spec on page A17). the former mayor did not mince words . 

Amongst his quotes: "I'm hard pressed to understand how they've now rationalized the Ivor Wynne site as infinitely better. I think that's an exercise in frustration and I think the Tiger Cats have a lot of explaining to do".  Eisenberger added that the previous council erred by providing a door for other options to the West Harbour one. "My sense is that if we had not done that, and council was resolved on the West Harbour, I would think that today we would probably be well on our way to having redeveloped the location". 

He added " I can only say that based on the evidence I see now, the Tiger-Cats weren't going anywhere. Was that my sense at the beginning?-Yes".

Eisenberger continues to believe that council should be pushing for solid redevelopment at the West Harbour site and that the Ti-Cats should be helping. 

He added  "It's been pretty clear that this has been a game of poker.I think the city has had its hand on the table from the very beginning and I think the Tiger Cats have kept their cards completely face-down"

Do you think the former mayor have a winning argument, or is he just flush?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

"Grow Up"?

"I didn't have a contentious relationship with Mayor Eisenberger. I didn't have any relationship with mayor Eisenberger". That was a quote in today's Spec from Scott Mitchell, President of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

It comes on the heels of an article that was printed yesterday in The Spec where former Mayor Eisenberger made a few remarks of his own about the Tiger Cats.

It sells papers, makes for interesting reading to an extent, and easily lends itself to blog topics. But, is it helpful? ; particularly at this juncture? Do you think it is at all useful to continue reading about the seemingly bad blood between these parties, or do you think Hamilton needs to begin to repair its image and take the spotlight off of the more negative aspects of this matter?. 

"Grow up!" is a term many of us have heard at some point in our lives. Does it apply here?

(Note: We will not publish any comments that violate the blog's policy. Please keep comments professional and respectful)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Checking In with Clr. McHattie

Amidst some speculation as to why Clr. McHattie put forth a motion for a Plan B consideration, in the event the Ivor Wynne options failed, we decided to ask the following question to the Clr. directly:

On the Hamiltonian, a blogger speculated that your interest in having a plan B, should the Ivor Wynne option fail, is tied to your desire to have the West Harbour lands remediated as well as not lose the 10 million investment. Do you have any comment in this regard? Is your heart still with the West Harbour option and are you prepared to support the IWS option if the staff report deems it to be viable? 

The Clr.'s response is stated below:

Hi Margaret,

I am prepared to support the Ivor Wynne option depending upon learning more about the agreement with the Cats, neighbourhood benefits etc. In supporting a submission on the smaller west harbour stadium, my interest was in not missing the Pan-Am funding altogether; if Ivor Wynne was not supportable then we would want a new civic stadium which the 6,000 seat scaleable stadium at the west Harbour could provide. If Ivor Wynne doesn't go and we didn't have our oar in the water with the smaller stadium, then the concern would be to miss out altogether on the Pan-Am (federal and provincial) funding.

Special thanks to Clr. McHattie for the prompt reply. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Burlington Staff Report on Aldershot Stadium

Click here to read it

Special thanks to R. F. for the link.

Core Numbers

Note: Complete link to the report can be found here. Thanks to the anonymous blogger who provided it!

Citing an impressive array of stats, a front page article in The Spec today (see it here) signals a rebound and recovery of our downtown core. Amongst the stats:

23,400 jobs, 1,623 business locations, 75% of jobs are in private sector, avg. income of downtown worker -$53,926, 55% of businesses have 4 employees or less, 1,500 new jobs since 2001 and 1,200 new residents since 2001.

More downtown people work in creative sectors such as design, music, digital media and the arts than in education and manufacturing combined.

This information comes from a commissioned report entitled , Working in the Core, done by the Centre for Community Study, a Hamilton-based urban research firm . As quoted in the Spec, Paul Shaker of this firm said "“This shows the downtown is a major employment node and it's not often recognized as that. It's the single biggest cluster in the city. It's important to send a message within Hamilton and outside about the opportunities in our downtown and what exists there already.”

With all the negativity surrounding the Pan Am stadium mess, do you welcome this news and does it match up to your perceptions of the core?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Locked Out? Is Ferris Fair

As a follow up to The Hamiltonian's "Is Ferris Fair" series, we emailed Clr. Maria Pearson on January 7th, to invite her to field questions related to this matter. We did not hear back from Clr. Pearson, so we sent a follow up email on January 14th. Her assistant was copied on both emails. That email was also not responded to. The request remains open.

The following articles have been published on this matter, to date:

Is Ferris Fair?
Is Ferris Fair-? Status Update
Ferris Park Follow Up

Please keep all comments professional. 

Early Impressions

Note: We have received the following response from Clr. Farr, which he has agreed to publish on The Hamiltonian:

"Looks like I have some work to do if I respect the results thus far (and I do).This is the first microphone I have been in front of in 25 years where the work has not been to entertain (or at least try to entertain). Last Wednesday night I folded my prepared notes to instead respond to what I felt were obvious criticisms of where we were in the stadium issue. In my view, the point of the meeting (and motion) was to have staff go forward to get all those answers many of my colleagues felt compelled to share concerns for not having??? It was odd to me and I switched gears in an effort to portray a more positive approach to what has been an exceptionally divisive issue. In retrospect, I might have not done that. This poll is fair and serves as a very helpful reminder to me.

It's only been a short time since these four faces assumed new positions within city council. Even so, you have had an initial opportunity to hear them speak and convey their views on things.

The poll to the right is unscientific and admittedly, being conducted in early days. Take the poll and give us a sense of how you think Mayor Bratina, Clrs. Partridge, Johnson and Farr and  are doing so far. 

Feel free to comment constructively on what you are seeing as strengths and opportunities for improvement (if any occur to you at this early phase) Please keep all comments respectful and professional. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Acting Loco?

You may recall that in a post entitled Hip to Be Square, The Hamiltonian wrote about the controversy that was stirring in relation to the city's decision (at the time), to decline the applications of some long standing vendors from the new Farmers' Market.

The Hamiltonian received word from Yves Dubeau that MacLeans.ca  ran a story on this matter. The article can be found here

Excerpts include:

 " Like the city itself, the Hamilton Farmers’ Market is a no-nonsense place."

"The catch was the new Soviet-style application procedure that required vendors to “itemize each particular kind of produce/foodstuff sold, and to write a paragraph on how their business promoted the market and the city of Hamilton.”

Two Timing?

If this were a dating scenario, the Tiger Cats might be accused of "two timing". At least, that's what Burlington Councillor Rick Craven may be feeling as he reflects upon the courtship between the Cats and an Aldershot solution, which involved the city of Burlington. Craven was quoted in The Spec as saying " I guess in looking back, I do find it difficult to resist the feeling that we were used, but it wasn't the feeling at the time."

Ti-Cat President Scott Mitchell conceded to The Spec that he did not specifically disclose the Ivor Wynne option to Burlington.  

For full details, please see Andrew Dreschel's write up in today's Spec (front page). Despite that, the Burlington Councillor and Burlington Mayor Goldring managed to see the positives. Craven commented on how this whole thing highlights the huge potential that Alderhot holds for development, while Goldring added that he holds the Cats in high esteem.

Building on Craven's statement to the Spec in which he said " It was fun while it lasted, and we move on", Andrew cleverly labelled his second headline as "One-night stand was fun while it lasted"  

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Letter from Chamber of Commerce

Your Worship, all members of Council and Senior City Staff:

On behalf of Richard Koroscil, our Board Chair and all Directors, indeed all 2,000 members of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, their 75,000 employees, and family members; we would like to convey to all of you our hearty congratulations and solid support on the unanimous decision of Council last night in proceed with working collaboratively with our Hamilton Tiger-Cats, along with other potential private sector partners, to re-furbish Ivor Wynne as the location for our Pan-Am Stadium.

While understandably this location may not be absolutely "perfect" for all parties concerned; it nevertheless certainly seems to us to have the potential now to be more than a reasonable compromise that enables us to re-create the true "Win-Win-Win" scenario that the Pan-Am Games originally promised to provide to this City, indeed to the entire Province.

We know that this has been a very trying time for all of us, and particularly for our elected Councillors; but we do sincerely appreciate your collective dedication to the tax payers of this City as well as your determination to be open minded to any reasonable opportunities to save this unique investment opportunity for Hamilton, as well as solidify our historic relationship with our beloved Ti-Cats.

In short, last night was a stellar collective display of responsible, indeed visionary, leadership of which we all should be justly proud.

In brief, may we say then simply, thank you!

John Dolbec, CEO & Board Secretary
Hamilton Chamber of Commerce

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Post Election Reflections with Paul Tetley

1. What have you learned in terms of what it takes to maximize your chances of success in winning an election. 

I learned the importance of getting on the campaign trail early and having a dedicated team that can operate throughout the entire campaign. Having depth on the campaign team is also important as you need to be able to draw from many in order to campaign constantly for an extended period of time.

2. Upon reflection, what would you have done differently?

Immediately after the campaign I did some analysis with key advisers and we identified a few things that could have been done differently. What we identified will be incorporated into a future campaign so I prefer not to get into details.

3. How important is name recognition, and what can a candidate do to build their presence in that regard? 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hand Off or Rebuild?

Faced with deadlines looming and a late in the game power play to see a regional solution out of Hamilton, Burlington Mayor Glodring seems to be asking for a hand-off.

In today's Spec:  "The mayor says the two cities share a local economy, so locating the stadium in Aldershot would benefit both.

“It is not uncommon for cities to operate facilities outside of the their boundaries,” Goldring said in a statement released late Monday afternoon. “Burlington is simply not large enough and therefore does not have financial capacity to lead on this project.”

At least one councillor finds it an odd request. Clr Brad Clark said to The Spec  "“We bail them out so they can take the Ticats? Who would agree to that?”

Meanwhile, this from Mayor Bratina (an email he sent, published in today's Spec) 

Dear Colleagues
I believe we may finally have satisfactory resolution to the stadium issue. The Tiger Cats are prepared to sign a lengthy lease with the City to continue to play in a rebuilt stadium on the Ivor Wynne site. The old stadium was originally rejected because of the requirement for about twenty acres to include an adjacent warm-up track as required by Hostco. This configuration was not possible on the available land. When the difficulties over site selection continued to the point where the deadline was looming the Tiger Cat management put all options on the table. In our discussion yesterday afternoon I urged them to give serious consideration to rehabilitation of the old stadium, and a long-term agreement with the City as a show of faith to residents and fans. There was no hesitation by both Bob Young and Scott Mitchell in agreeing to a 20 year lease arrangement, pending details of course.
We are prepared now to present this to the public and media, and bring it forward for Council consideration at the Jan 12 meeting.
I would have preferred to speak to each of you personally but thought it best to get this information to you as quickly as possible.
Bob Bratina
See full article here.   Your thoughts? 

Monday, January 10, 2011


Can City Council Find a Solution?
"The ridiculous but surging idea of Hamilton building a scaled back Pan Am stadium in the west harbour smacks of stumbling through the five stages of grief."....

"And now that they've run out of time, panic, wishful thinking and resentment over Burlington fishing in Hamilton's troubled waters seems to be taking hold among some councillors and across the community"
Andrew Dreschel- in today's Spec

"All those who oppose it: Remove your battle helmet for a second and replace it with visionary cap, because I think the decision to locate there is a one time opportunity for Hamilton to start a new future.  It doesn't take a genius to see that the city's future is undoubtedly tied to a waterfront, both the bay and the lake."
Opinionator in The Spec, in support of the Confederation Park option.  

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Case for the "Mother of all Stadium Locations" in Hamilton

A Case for the "Mother of all Stadium Locations" in Hamilton: 
by Mahesh Butani

With the Ti-Cats moving their Final Act to Burlington, and Raise The Hammer (RTH) unveiling its West Harbour (WH), Act II, with its forceful thrust for a scalable stadium — are we any closer to witnessing the conclusion of the saga which has polarized our city over the past two years, or are we merely setting ourselves up for a post Ti-Cat / Eisenberger era depression?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Making You an Offer You Can't Refuse

“How can we not look at this?” “They have come with an offer we can’t refuse to look at". That was the way Mayor Goldring from Burlington described the latest offer being put to Burlington city council for a stadium solution. Goldring added that be believes he has enough support to ask his staff to explore the proposal and that an extension to the Feb 1 deadline may be necessary.

As reported in The Spec,  A Burlington Pan Am Stadium consortium has proposed a $90 to $120 million stadium for Aldershot that would not require a municipal contribution from the City of Burlington. The proposal depends on the Pan Am organizing committee providing $70 to $100 million in funding that was to go to a Hamilton stadium, before Hamilton council ran out of sites.

Ti-Cat President Scott Mitchell added that as part of the deal, the private consortium would operate and manage the 22,000 seat stadium for the municipality. He added "We have tried to give them a compelling business case,” he said. “What we are proposing involves no financial contribution from the City of Burlington.”We have tried to give them a compelling business case that will result in tens of millions in revenue for the city and region.”

Mayor Goldring said "Clearly this is a great opportunity for the city to investigate,” he said. “This is something we have to strongly consider.”

Meanwhile Hamilton council is expected to revisit recommending Confederation Park as the stadium location when it meets again Wednesday.

What do you think?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Checking In With The Chief (Glenn DeCaire)

The Hamiltonian thought it would be timely to check in with Chief Glenn DeCaire, given that he has now been our Police Chief for a year. (The Hamiltonian's initial interview with the Chief can be found here) .

The Chief, as always, was willing to answer questions we put to him. We think you'll find his responses forthright and informative. Thanks to Glenn and the good women and men who make up our police services!!!

1. It has been roughly one year since you have become Hamilton’s Police Chief. Reflecting on this past year, what have you found most satisfying about the job, and what have you found to be the most challenging aspect(s) of it.

I can’t believe how fast a year has gone past and it has been a very satisfying year for the Hamilton Police Service. Our front line officers continue to provide excellence in policing services and go about their business every day to protect our citizens. We have worked as a cohesive team at all levels to better serve the community. We committed to review the structure of the organization and we are proud to report the completion of the reorganization which found efficiencies from within, clarified reporting lines, established stability in span of control and sets the organization is a strong position for the future. The senior command and all levels of the organization were consulted in the process and involved in the redesign.

The H2O Paradox

A paradox is a statement or concept that contains conflicting ideas. In logic, a paradox is a statement that contradicts itself. It seems like this concept may apply to the city's struggle to deal with the loss of revenue attributed to consumer and industrial conservation of water usage. You may recall that The Hamiltonian previously featured this story here. On the one hand, water conservation has been encouraged. On the other, successful conservation reduces revenues.

According to a C.A.T.C.H. release, staff are recommending a 4.2 percent increase in water and sewer rates – this year and in each of the next 10 years – as the city struggles to cope with declining water use and a huge upgrade and expansion program for sewage treatment.

Read all the details here. Comments?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Go Big or Stay Home

Mayor Bratina told CHML that Hamilton must decide whether it wants to be in the big leagues, adding that either we're going to be in the game and play off the tradition that the Tiger Cats are a part of, or not. Anything in between, he says, doesn't make any sense to him.

He also stated that he does not want to diminish Hamilton and be the Mayor who saw as 30,000 seat stadium give way to a 6,000 seater. 

He also said a regional solution in Aldershot is not out of the question, but added that there's no way all parties involved could meet and decide who will pay for what in less than a month.

At this point, do you think we've  backed ourselves into the sidelines? Is there a "Hail Mary" play out there to save the day?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Where's the Bread Coming From?

The deal with Maple Leaf subsidiary to bring Canada Bread to Hamilton, was touted by many as a great thing for Hamilton, and an accomplishment.

A recent C.A.T.C.H. report however, suggests that significant concessions were made by the city, to make the deal work. Some of these concessions include selling acerage for what is alleged to be less than fair market value. The deal also requires the city to pay up to $500,000 “towards site preparation and road upgrades”, and to “provide sanitary and water stubs to the property line” at an unspecified cost. The company was also given $1,124,357.85 under the city’s LEEDing the Way grant program which rebates a portion of property taxes to encourage corporations to meet a US-based green standard for energy-efficient buildings.

The C.A.T.C.H. release states that with the LEED subsidy included, the net dollars collected by the city from Canada Bread falls to slightly below $50,000 an acre – less than one-quarter of the land value calculated last year by the city’s own consultant.

There appears to be no hard guarantee that the plant will offer significant employment opportunities to Hamiltonians. The Canada Bread facility will be the largest bakery in North America and is expected to employ 300 people, although many of those positions could be occupied by some of the 435 Toronto employees whose factories are being replaced by the Hamilton plant.

The deal does offer over $2.5 million to the city in development charges, although payment is being deferred for up to five years according to the posted terms of the agreement. For more details, see the C.A.T.C.H. release here

Can you accept some of the trade-offs and concessions that were made to make this deal work, or do you think the deal was "half-baked?"

Perspectives- Predictions for 2011

We decided to ask the Perspectives Virtual Panel to do some crystal balling and make some predictions in accordance to some questions we asked them. (by the way, if you would like to be a member of the Virtual Panel, simply click here and subscribe)

Please feel free to comment on the predictions or to provide your own answers and predictions via the comments section.

NOTE: Marvin Ryder's , Michael Baldasaro's and Danya Scime's submissions have been recently added. You may want to re-read this topic.

1. What ultimately will happen to the Tiger Cats and to the prospect of a stadium in Hamilton?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Weekend Feature- momstown - A Unique Offering

Join us as we chat with Andrea Kovacs, about momstown Hamilton, a unique offering for moms.

1. Tell us about momstown.ca. Who created the site, when was it created, what inspired you(them) to create it, and who is your target audience?

momstown was founded in Burlington, Ontario, by Ann-Marie Burton & Christi Rasheed in 2007. It began as a grassroots community initiative to help local moms connect and support each other. There are now 18 chapters across Canada. These local chapters provide a much needed service to the modern (and somewhat isolate) neighbourhood mom by keeping her connected with others. We use the internet to connect but our goal is to get moms off the computer and out of the house! It really is these real-life connections that make momstown the supportive, organized ‘neighbourhood’ it is today.

2. Why would someone consider bookmarking your site and coming back to it. What value would they get from frequenting your site?

momstown understands that even with the best intentions, moms can't always get out but still need to be connected and supported by others. We stay true to our mandate to connect and support moms via our dynamic website that includes message boards, tips & tricks from mom bloggers, and practical content. Other features include: details on local events, links, social media opportunities via Facebook & Twitter and more.

But it extends beyond the computer. Odds are that when you were growing up your mom knew all of your neighbours. Your street was full of kids you knew and your mom invited the neighbourhood over to run through the sprinkler while the other moms had coffee and chatted. If a neighbour had a new baby, you were probably sent over with a hot casserole and the new mother would have been warmly welcomed into the folds of the other families. Although some of these social conventions have (sadly) changed, what hasn’t is the need to connect with other local mothers. It is this opportunity to connect, both online and off, that add value to the lives of our moms and keep them coming back.

3. In the age of smart phones, texting, electronic gizmos, SIMS etc., do you have any advice to families as to how they can strike a balance between kids using these devices, and helping them to engage more in other activities which perhaps may have been part of our childhoods, like playing outside, etc.

I believe there is definitely a place for devices and electronics, these are great tools for enhancing our lives and even the lives of our children. However, we encourage moms and kids to get out from behind those devices and interact! We provide an avenue for children to connect with each other at a young age while learning important social and developmental skills. There are a minimum of 25+ events monthly per local chapter so there is plenty of choice for staying as active as one wants. These events give moms the opportunity to connect with their child(ren) on a variety of levels - education, creative play, music and more.

4. Can you give us an example of a memorable moment that resulted from momstown.ca? A particular event or circumstance that stands out?

momstown really is the ultimate support network. Members have been known to come to the rescue of others with home cooked meals, babysitting or a bottle of wine and a hug when one needs it most. In fact this was my own experience. I joined momstown when I had taken extended leave from my career to spend with my 2 children. At that time all my friends were still working and I found myself quite lonely. I stepped into the "neighbourhood" intentionally seeking a community for me and my kids to be a part of. I soon realized how valuable that community would be when my family was nearly devastated by a health issue. Fortunately the health issue has resolved but it was amazing to have the support of this large network of friends I had made during a very worrisome time.

5. Is there anything else you'd like Hamiltonians and our broader audience to know about momstown.ca?

We have recently partnered with Scholastic Canada & CBC Kids to help bring literacy to more moms & kids. In addition to that momstown has a teacher on staff that has created a 5 year rotating educational curriculum. As a result, the crafts and activities that we do at momstown events are all inspired by the Nipissing District Developmental Screen (NDDS) and the Ontario Full Day Early Learning-Kindergarten curriculum.

6. Is there a fee to become a member of momstown.ca and how does one become a member?

An annual membership with momstown is only $45, which includes offers to exclusive momstown events and social opportunities every month, an online calendar featuring local events, a 24 hour interactive message board, exclusive member privileges, discounts, and links to mom and child focused blogs.

If one were interested in checking us out just visit http://hamilton.momstown.ca to register for a free 2 week trial.

Thanks Andrea for sharing this information with The Hamiltonian. 

Musical Notes- Mike Ferfolia

The Hamiltonian caught up with Mike Ferfolia, a native of Stoney Creek who, in a tough music industry has managed to make a name for himself playing gigs in Toronto and releasing his first CD.  Here's our chat with Mike:

1. What kind of music do you perform and do you write your own material?

I perform cover songs for a living here in Toronto, I've been lucky enough to be doing this for the past 8 years. In an average week, I'll sing anything from Michael Buble to Stevie Wonder to Journey and many many more! I also write my own material, actually, I released my first ever original album this past Spring entitled "Pop Star Reject". Shameless plug… It's on iTunes!

2. Can you tell us a little about how you started out, and , in particular, your roots in Hamilton/Stoney Creek?

My musical education began many years ago as my dad played me all kinds of records as I was growing up, that's where the influences started and continue to advise me to this day. The real legwork and learning began at Cardinal Newman's west campus where the first high-school class I ever took was instrumental music! I played the Alto sax and I really wasn't very good… lol However, I started learning the basics and started performing with the school band which is probably my earliest memory of the performance bug bite. On to grade 10 when I started a vocal group with some very good friends of mine and began performing at Newman's talent shows. From there, the music/performance ball was rolling and I'd never look back.

3. What are you musical influences?

There are FAR too many to name! I'll try to narrow it down to the top five throughout my history/musical education:
1) Sting
2) Stevie Wonder
3) Brian McKnight
4) Justin Timberlake
5) Robin Thicke

4. What makes you distinct as a musician?

That's a tough question as anyone, especially myself, is merely a product of their influences. I think I'm one of the more intelligent sounding Pop singers out there simply because I'm constantly singing every kind of music under the sun from Jazz to classic Rock. I've also matured to a point where I understand and respect the differences between all of those styles, for example, I'd never sing a Bon Jovi song like Steve Wonder, that just doesn't make sense! You should really come out to a gig and see exactly what I mean!

5. What would describe as your greatest musical achievement?Another tough question… I feel extremely lucky to be performing and making music for a living so I might say that every time I hit the stage or record a song is an achievement. If I had to pick one thing, hands down it would be my latest album. Singing other peoples songs can only do so much for your inner artist and I found that through the writing and recording process, I managed to grow more musically in 7 months than I had in the last couple years.

6. How can people hear and/or see you? Do you have a website? Do you have a sample of your music online? Please provide a link.

There are a few ways for people to connect! 

My personal website is www.mikeferfolia.com where you can listen to four full cuts from the album and also see where I'm playing. 

My cover band, Shugga: www.shugga.ca 

And of course EVERYONE'S on Facebook, you can find me and my fan page simply by searching my name! 

7. Is there anything else you would like Hamiltonians to know about your music?

I'll be the first to admit that my music isn't for everyone but I had a lot of fun making it and I think that shows through. If it isn't your cup of tea, I'd invite you out to a gig with my band Shugga and we're likely to play something you love. Either way, I truly appreciate the time that you spend checking out my music. I hope to hear from you all soon!

Thanks Mike. We wish you continue success!!!!  
The Hamiltonian

The Hamiltonian Reaches a Milestone - Information Item

Thanks to the interest and engagement of Hamiltonians (which is what this site is all about), we have reached 200,000 hits!!!! (and that doesn't include 3 lost months when our stats feature went down- so the hits are likely well over 200K)

A recently run query that looked at stats since our inception, reveals that our visitors come from  2,872 different service providers (ISPs) that visit The Hamiltonian. 

Musical Notes- Revolver

Revolver - reviewed by Angelo Noto Campanella

On February 9, 1964 The Beatles first appeared on television in North America on The Ed Sullivan Show and music all over the world was forever changed. The strains of this music are echoed today in the band I'm currently interviewing, Revolver. 

 During this interview I recieved an education as to the difference between Cover and Tribute bands. A Tribute band covers all aspects of the musicians involved like costumes, accents and characterizations. Cover bands concentrate strictly on the music.

 Jeff Doreen(aka J.D.) of  Revolver, states "people like to do the Tribute band but not many do Beatles as a Cover band like we do, we're not a tribute band, we don't dress up in the costumes or speak with accents....we are more of an Audio Tribute band." J.D. told me that his bandmate Rick Morgan said about the Beatles music "You don't wanna mess with the sacred text"...LOL...

Revolver covers the Beatles music with only 3 band members, they are J.D. - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals Rick Morgan - Bass Guitar, Keyboards, Percussion and Eric Costello(aka Spider) - Drums, Vocals.
What role has the city of Hamilton played in your musical career?

J.D. - "I became a musician at the age of 11/12yrs old, my dad and two uncles taught me to play guitar, and I started a band right away at 12. We were covering Beatles, The Who, Zeppelin classic rock pretty much, we had done a few shows but the second or third show we ever done was in the east end of Hamilton on Centennial Parkway at the age of 14 at a place called Porkys, it was a strip club..." We both laugh out loud, and I ask "well how old were the other guys in the band?" J.D. says "Well we were all 14"..."We were from a town called Hanon between Hamilton and Binbrook so we called ourselves Hanon, we later found out that Hanon is actually a musical exercise that you do on the piano. 

We played around town and got booked basically by word of mouth, we also played at a place on Barton street called The Rockpile and Dallas, one half played country music and the other Rock music. Promoters
took advantage of us because we were so young and took a big cut so we didn't get paid much, but we liked playing so we just did it. We've had the same core group of guys in the band, exept for the bass player, from age 11 to 19yrs, we played Soupfest almost every year since it started as a three piece band, mainly acoustic Beatles."

 What made you choose The Beatles music to cover?

J.D. - "It goes way back. Music was always around my house, my dad was always listening to country music like Hank Williams and CCR, but my mum was a big Rolling Stones and Beatles fan, so I heard The Beatles constantly around my house. My mom had this Beatles 45rpm record,"Get Back", and I remember watching that apple on the record going round and round on the turntable, I thought that apple was so cool, but it was an awesome song too. That song and "I Saw Her Standing There"were two 45's I always remember my mom listening to and I think music is like learning another language, you've got to hear it over and over again to be able to speak it. Hearing The Beatles all the time, it feels very natural to me to sing and
play, it feels good, it feels right and people love The Beatles.

What makes your Beatles band stand-out above the rest?

J.D. - "People like to do the Tribute bands but not many do a Beatles Cover band like we do, we're not a tribute band, we don't dress up in costume or speak with accent's, well maybe just for fun sometimes we'll talk with an accent, but we're not in character for a whole show, it's something we've chosen to do and that makes us more unique than other Beatles bands. A collegue of mine said that we are more of an "Audio Tribute Band". The other thing that makes us so unique is that we're a three peice band; I'm primarily a guitar player and Rick is primarily a bass player but because the Beatles have keyboards, horns and string sections, Rick and I have taken on keyboards and that kinda fills it out. Rick plays the Tambourine with his right foot, the key board with his left foot , the bass guitar with his right hand, I don't know how he does it, he's like Octopus man...LOL. We want to make the music sound exactly like the Beatles so that if you were to shut your eyes you would think that this is the Beatles, note for note and every single nuance as well, the talking or coughing or sound effects, that's what we're aiming for."

What are your goals musically for this Beatles cover band?

J.D. - "When we do a song like "Tomorrow never Knows" people are generally surprised because it's only just the three of us doing it and I'm going back and forth from the keyboard to the guitar and there's a wicked beat going on and Rick is playing an awesome bass line(pretends to be strumming the bass), there is a guitar solo I had to learn that is actually recorded backwards on the song. I remember learning that solo, it's a backwards guitar solo, I was gonna learn it (how it would sound played forward) and then pass it through my foot pedal that would reverse it so it would sound like it sounds on the album but that would have been too hard to get the timing right. So, instead a friend of mine lent me Hal Leonards book with the music notations for the Revolver album that has it written the way it sounds on the album and I learned it and it was fun, just learning an intricate solo like that, I love doing that. 

 When I was a kid I had a tape machine(we both look at my tape machine and laugh)I would press play, stop, and then reverse, stop and reverse, and then play it(on the guitar),then reverse and stop again...LOL...I would learn entire songs note for note like that, it's so much easier now-a-days because they got tabs on line, they got dudes on Youtube showing you how to play it, you can watch their fingers, so much easier to learn solos. I enjoy learning the music and when we do, pardon the Beatles pun, all come together as a band it's awesome. The thing that made our last show so great is that from the second song in all the people started dancing and they danced all night long, because Beatles music is so perfect for dancing and I'm so happy when the crowd is up dancing because it makes it that much more fun to play and I said to Rick "this is why I wanted to make this band so people will beup dancing and have a good time".

If you would like to contact and/or hear Revolver play some of your favorite Beatles tunes I have included that information below along with sites to see some video's.

upcoming Revolver show dates

Dec 3, 2011
Imagine - The Music of John Lennon At the Winchester Arms

December 3, 8:30pm till close
The Winchester Arms
120 King Street
Dundas, ON
(905) 627-8016

Feb 7, 2012
Feb 7, 5:30pm
Hamilton Convention Centre
Hamilton, Ontario
(905) 546-3000

Revolver facebook fansite


Revolver site



Youtube site


The Best Place to Raise a Child? Picture of the Moment

A double trailer transport truck barreling down Fruitland Rd; a residential neighbourhood that was assured to be a cul de sac, closed to traffic.