Thursday, February 28, 2013

Secret Complaints?

In a Spectator article ( see it here or buy today's print version), Integrity Commissioner Earl Basse is reported to maintain that he will not acknowledge whether or not he is working on any investigations. Basse, who previously would advise if an investigation was active, is saying he misinterpreted the Municipal Act and on reconsideration, he believes he ought not to be revealing whether an investigation is active. In essence, what this means is that the public will not be aware if there is an active investigation unless the complainant comes forward, the councillor comes forward or as part of Basse's annual report to council.

The section of the Act that Basse reconsidered reads as follows:

The Commissioner and every person acting under the instructions of the Commissioner shall preserve secrecy with respect to all matters that come to his or her knowledge in the course of his or her duties under this Part. 2006, c. 32, Sched. A, s. 98.

Basse appears to have taken a very broad interpretation as to  the preservation of secrecy with respect to all matters in the course of his or her duties  in which he includes the initiation of the complaint itself. 

The counter to Basse's interpretation is that the preservation of secrecy with respect to all matters in the course of his or her duties part really pertains to details found in the course of his investigations (which would equate to his/her duties)  rather than on the fact that the investigation was initiated and information surrounding the initiation of the complaint.

Do you support Basse's interpretation or do you believe it is too broad an interpretation?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Beating Bratina - Opinion

The Mayor's degree of culpability or lack thereof on an issue by issue basis, would be a rather lengthy piece, more appropriate for a thesis rather than an article on The Hamiltonian. Charred with the censure, an analysis of whether that was necessary or deserving would, in of itself make for an interesting read and exchange of perspectives. 

While the Mayor may have stepped in it from time to time, or not helped himself, the proportionality and veneer of the criticisms launched by councillors and certain elements of the press, appear to tell a story or, at the very least, set a dynamic.

Let's consider a few recent examples. In today's Hamilton Spectator, (see the article here or purchase today's paper), the Mayor was reported to have been chastised by Clr. Merulla for correctly pointing out that not all cities received 100% funding for LRT from the province; Mississauga being an example. In a reasoned discussion, statements of fact are received as a value added contribution to the considerations. In this discussion,  it was reportedly received as an attempt to give "Metrolinx' an excuse not to live up to its promise to provide 100% funding related to LRT construction.

In another article (see it here),  the Mayor was reported to have been chastised for pointing out that the

Thursday, February 21, 2013

"What's the Plan Sam?

Under Clr. Merulla's charge, city council voted to expropriate the City Motor Hotel, which had become a hornet's nest of illicit activities. Most, if not all, would agree that the Hotel needed to go. However, some are turning their minds to the fall out of the expropriation, and are questioning Clr. Merulla specifically on the costs and the plans going forward.

Engaged Hamiltonian Mark-Alan Whittle for example, took Clr. Merulla to task yesterday on Twitter as to what the business plan is for the site. Mahesh Butani, via email, asked the following of the Clr:

1) Why is the cost of acquiring this property so high?
2) Why was this large amount not discussed in public when you led the charge to expropriate this property?
3) Where is the money coming from for the purchase of this property; and for the planning, demolition and

Pic of the Moment- A Scoop of a Different Flavour

Only the sign remains of the former Stoney Creek Dairy. Click on pic to make it bigger
In 1929,  George Dawson began the original Stoney Creek Dairy from a small garage at the back of his home on King Street, collecting milk from surrounding farms, bottling it and providing his neighbours with fresh milk from their own community. For decades to follow, young and old gathered to buy their favourite scoop of ice cream. Sadly, today's Pic of the Moment, depicts a different kind of scooping going on at the site, as the once infamous landmark is leveled and the rubble scooped up.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Global Spectrum/Live Nation Letter

The Hamiltonian contacted Frank E. Russo, Jr.,  Global Spectrum's Senior Vice President for Business Development and Client Relations. Mr. Russo is out of the office, but his Assistant kindly furnished a copy of the letter Global Spectrum /Live Nation sent the Mayor and City Councillors last week which clarifies their position. The Hamiltonian thanks Mr. Russo's office for this information. The letter reads as follows:

February 15, 2013

Honorable Mayor Bob Bratina
Hamilton City Councillors
City of Hamilton
71 Main Street West
Hamilton, ON, CN  L8P 4Y5

Dear Mayor Bratina and Councillors:

This letter is written to clarify the position of Global Spectrum and Live Nation regarding the possibility of

Clr. Whitehead in Defense of Clr. Farr

Clr. Whitehead
There had been some messaging on Facebook about an alleged complaint to the Integrity Commissioner about Clr. Farr and his statements re: Global Spectrums. The Hamiltonian has not been able to confirm that a complaint has been made. We emailed the Clr. directly and have yet to receive a reply. However, this morning, we received the following statement from Clr. Terry Whitehead, which is published verbatim.

There has been recent blogs and letters criticizing Councillor Jason Farr for his impromptu press conference providing Global Spectrums concerns as it pertains to a downtown casino. I find some of the language and criticism harsh and not appreciating the full context. As an individual who has been quite open to allocation for a casino, and after reflecting on the issue over the weekend, I believe that the criticisms of Councillor Farr are unfounded. Councillor Farr did accurately express the views of Global Spectrum in response to his questions. Councillor Farr has taken a strong position for the casino not being down town, he continues to champion the concerns of his constituency and had every right to shed more light on this divisive issue. If I was in Jason’s seat, I would have done exactly the same thing. 

The criticism should be focused on Global Spectrum who willingly and knowingly provided the answers to Councillor’s Farr’s question and they were aware that their position would be made public. In my opinion, Global Spectrum should have been aware of the debate around the downtown casino and should have placed a call to City staff to further understand the context in which this debate is taking place. For Global Spectrum to now shut off direct access to media and other inquiries clarifying their position is not prudent.

In time, I have found Councillor Jason Farr a hard worker and a man of integrity who strongly fights on behalf of his constituents. Kudos to Jason Farr.

Councillor Terry Whitehead 
Ward 8 - West Mountain
City of Hamilton

To see and hear Clr. Farr's statement for yourself, click here. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Media Release- Shaping plans for the Pan Am Stadium Precinct

Shaping plans for the Pan Am Stadium Precinct 

HAMILTON, ON – February 19th, 2013 – The City of Hamilton is hosting three upcoming community meetings to further shape plans for the Pan Am Stadium Precinct. The first session will be held later this week.

WHO: Councillor Bernie Morelli
City of Hamilton staff
Neighbouring residents and businesses
The GSP Group, third-party consulting firm who will facilitate the sessions

WHAT: The City of Hamilton Neighbourhood Development office has been working with community partners, neighbourhood groups and residents to develop a comprehensive community plan for the Pan Am Stadium Precinct. This plan will convey a clear vision for the future of the neighbourhood and describe specific, achievable projects that can be implemented with widespread community support.

The three upcoming community meetings will form phase two of this consultation process and build upon the work completed last year.

For more details, please visit www.hamilton.ca/panam

Meeting #1
Thursday, February 21
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Prince of Wales School (77 Melrose Avenue N.)

Meeting #2
Thursday, March 21
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Prince of Wales School

Meeting #3
Thursday, April 11
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Prince of Wales School

Monday, February 18, 2013

Perspectives Virtual Panel- On Social Media Use

The use of social media by Hamiltonians has certainly earned considerable attention on many levels; not the least of which is how it plays a role in shaping or influencing public opinion on political matters and issues facing Hamilton. 

With the recent example of how the use of social media impacted a major contract that the City of Hamilton had with a firm that specilaizes in community engagement, The Hamiltonian thought it would ask our Perspectives Virtual Panel the following question:

Social media tools, such as Facebook, blogs, Twitter and other resources, have proven to be tools of choice for engaged citizens of Hamilton, as well as many elected officials.

A recent example of social media and its impacts, is how it played a part in the controversy related to the Dialogue Partners contract and the mishaps that occurred in the implementation phase of that effort . Aside from that particular example, it has become commonplace for social media networks to light up once a hot issue hits Hamilton, or as part of everyday citizen/political engagement. Without talking about specifics related to the Dialogue Partners example mentioned above,

What do you believe Hamiltonians may have, or should have learned, about how to make effective use of social media?

When is it effective and when is it destructive?

Do you have a list of do's and don'ts that you would recommend, to make the use of social media more effective?

The following are responses form our panel:

What do you believe Hamiltonians may have, or should have learned, about how to make effective use of social media? What I hope Hamiltonians have learned is that the landscape is forever changed respecting BIG CITY ISSUES. What I fear is the loss of the large demographic TRADITIONAL VOICE who for whatever reason are prohibited from this particular avenue of engagement. This will require a

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Putting it Off

On the heels of perhaps one of Hamilton's most stellar examples of citizen engagement, whereby hundreds of people through multiple avenues participated in a debate as to whether Hamilton should get a new casino, a recently approved motion effectively defers the ultimate outcome to 2014. (See Spec story here or purchase today's paper.) At that point, a referendum could be held.  

The motion landed on Flamboro Downs as the preferred location , but kept the door open should it prove to be not a viable option. Under the weight of a 490 page report (see it here)  prepared by staff that identifies the challenges of a Flamboro Downs location, alternatives may be necessary.

The net result of this motion is that it seems to set aside a final decision until such time that the Flamboro option is tested against willing takers.  In the end, it may resolve the issue by have a successful deployment at Famboro Downs, or it may simply recycle the notion of if not there, where? 

Do you think the motion has served Hamilton well as an interim remedy, or do you believe that we ought have been more definitive?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Food for Thought with Alex Bielak- Sips and Bites - February 2013

Sips and Bites - February 2013 

This week is a bit of a miscellany, providing some options for readers to enjoy in the next few weeks.

Taste of Burlington is in full swing, ending March 10th, and it’s a great way to try a new eatery. The prix-fixe promotion features almost two dozen restaurants offering lunches as low as $15, and four-course dinners ranging from $30-40. The website has all the details, including where to find vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and children’s options.  

Meanwhile I was alerted via Twitter to the opening of a new Italian restaurant in Hamilton. Prosecco is at 275 King St. East and one of the new owners, Mario Nesci, told me they have been doing good business since they opened February 5th (and not last October per the relatively favourable Spec review by Dan Kislenko). Mario said their website should be up in a couple of weeks and the place certainly sounds like a good addition to our local food scene.

Watching the Valentine’s Day episode of CBC’s Dragon’s Den, I was amused to see a businessman in a cow suit come and make a pitch for funding. Ed Dorian is a Hamilton restaurateur who several years ago invented a different take on poutine, called Mootine! Though Ed did not get the money, he did get the girl, proposing to his girlfriend, Debbie, on the show… (ahhh).

If you want to try this concoction of mashed potatoes, meatballs, gravy and cheese, ($3 for a small, $4 for a medium and $5 for a large according to the pitch), mosey on down to Big Ed's burger joint at 132 Queen St S. (A word of caution however; the Urban Dictionary defines Mootine as “a fat boy” which might just be the outcome of eating too many!) 

Finally, earlier this week, I was at a splendid fundraising dinner at Benchmark Restaurant with the proceeds benefitting Niagara College students. I learned the College is running a Chef Signature Dinner series featuring instructors from the College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute. (The last dinner in the series will be May 9th.)

The six featured chefs are a Who’s Who of Niagara cuisine; the next event in the line-up (March 6th) features the ebullient Chef Olaf Mertens who produced a great suckling pig and mud bugs creole appetizer at the afore-mentioned fundraiser. Frankly the events are a relative bargain at $79 all in, including taxes, gratuity and a wine or beer pairing. Call 905-641-2252 ext. 4619 or email benchmark@niagaracollege.ca for reservations.

So whether you are off for a Mootine, or something a bit more haute, happy eating.

For more pictures, click here. 

Alex (Alex can be reached at fft@thehamiltonian.info ) or on twitter @AlexBielak

Food for Thought logo, designed and kindly donated by Ninka Bielak. Ninka can be reached at ninka.bielak@gmail.com.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ryan McGreal on (L)RT

While Hamilton flirts with the idea of a new casino, other arguably more substantive issues are being discussed; namely, what it would take to get Light Rail Transit in Hamilton. A recent Spec article (see it here) which talked about how money might be raised, general timing around when it might happen etc., got us thinking that it would be timely to check in with our friend and Editor of Raise the Hammer, Ryan McGreal. You will know that Ryan and the good folks at Raise the Hammer, have been very engaged on this front. Here is our Q/A with Ryan:

In today's Hamilton Spectator, the following article appeared:

The article talks about what it would take to fund a LRT initiative in Hamilton, its position or perhaps lack of ranking alongside other priories in wave 2, and a general sense of timing, which seems to be in the out years.
What is your reaction to the article and what advice might you have to ensure LRT is properly considered for Hamilton?

Thank you for the opportunity.

My advice is the same as it has been for years: Hamilton's political leaders need to be strong, vocal champions for light rail transit.

Mississauga is muscling its way past Hamilton right before our eyes, mainly because their political leaders believe in LRT and are championing it both publicly and in their direct dealings with Queen's Park.

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion is loudly and steadily calling on the Province to provide the same funding arrangement to Mississauga's LRT that Toronto has received for its LRT - the full capital funding that Metrolinx was established to manage and allocate across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

In contrast, the silence from Hamilton is deafening. Our leaders aren't talking about it, and our municipal government isn't engaging the public on it. The City's Rapid Transit website hasn't been updated since January 2012 - over a year ago - and they didn't even bother to advertise the Metrolinx Big Move consultations currently happening in Hamilton.

This is doubly frustrating since Hamilton Mayor Bob Bratina has recently been touting last year's LRT study by McMaster Institute of Transportation and Logistics, which specifically argues that LRT needs a political
champion to be successful.

The "sense of urgency" about LRT that former rapid transit manager Jill Stephen used to talk about has evaporated. Over five years into our LRT planning, Metrolinx actually seems to be moving backward, now referring to our plan not as "LRT" but as "RT" - using an as-yet-unspecified technology.

This transformative, once-in-a-generation opportunity is sliding off the table while the City takes a passive, wait-and-see approach.


Ryan McGreal
Editor, Raise the Hammer

Apps-olutely Interesting

Look beyond Mayor Bratina's clever title for his recent blog post " APPS-olutely", which is a play on words reference to Open Data, and one might find some interesting nuances and messaging in the messaging.

You may wish to click here to read his post, before continuing. 

1. The Mayor seems to have turned a corner on the concept of Open Data and is declaring its potential as an invaluable tool in support of better citizen engagement. His observation (criticism?), of the way in which Hamilton has been lagging behind on this front, can be received as a challenge for the city to make greater strides where Open Data is concerned. An ironic reference to the work of Joey Coleman comes to mind, but the Mayor seems to be on the right track.

2. The Mayor makes reference to the City's vision to be, among other things, "The Best Place to Raise a Child", in the following way :

The City of the 21st century can not be the same as the 1990’s, nor should its manner of governance. Past decisions have given us urban sprawl and big box stores. This is not a sustainable path for Hamilton, especially for those children, whom we are supposedly raising in the “best place,” who will inherit the costs of our decisions. Let’s make good ones using the new tools now available.

The Mayor's use of the words "supposedly raising in 'the best place', seems to suggest that he recognizes that a lot has been left to be desired when it comes to a meaningful attempt to truly align our actions to our vision. Perhaps we are reading too much into it, but if we aren't, maybe there is hope in addressing a paucity of council insight into the true meaning of that vision and how to achieve it. We refer to a previous set of articles where The Hamiltonian attempted to get council's views on what "The Best Place to Raise a Child" really meant. The lack of responses, and the received responses, indicated a disconnect between what presents as a lofty goal, and what it actually takes to get there. 

In any event. we hope the Mayor succeeds in his stated goals in his blog post.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

On a Sad Note....

The Hamiltonian is saddened to learn of the death of Peter Barkwell, former City Solicitor. Mr. Barkwell passed at age 58. Mr. Barkwell served in the city's legal department since 1988. Our thoughts go out to his  family and friends. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Merulla to Convince Council to Take a Gamble?

The question of whether Hamilton should get a new casino anywhere, or whether a referendum is needed to decide, may be derailed by a fast track approach that Clr. Merulla is proposing.

Based on the strength of an indication from the OLG that if Famboro Downs was the council endorsed location, it would "put that out there" to see if a private operator were interested, Merulla sees this as an opportunity to gain momentum for a motion that would see Flamboro named as the  choice.  In a Spec story (see it here or purchased today's print copy), Clr. Merulla seems to have interpreted the OLG's statement as very promising. 

Clr. Whitehead however is not as convinced and would prefer to have the public consultation piece completed first. 

The OLG signalling that it will query private interests if the casino were to be in Flamboro, does not bring with it an assurance that there will be takers.

Do you think Merulla is taking too much of a gamble and putting an inordinate amount of faith in the prospect of a private operator should Flamboro Downs be endorsed, or do you see this as an expedient way to cut to the chase and diffuse what promises to be another heated debate over the value of a downtown location? 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Herman Turkstra- On a New Casino

We asked Herman Turkstra, lawyer, activist and engaged Hamiltonian about the notion of a new casino in Hamilton. Enjoy our Q/A with Herman:

What are your thoughts on the notion of a new casino in Hamilton. Are you on the Yes side or the No side, and can you share your rationale?

I have visited the Casinos in Windsor, Niagara Falls and Gananoque and last week drove to Brantford to better understand what that City`s Mayor had said. My conclusion is that Flamborough is clearly the preferred site for the Casino. 

When you watch the behavior of the patrons, it is very clear that a Casino is a destination, not part of a shopping or tourist visit to the Town. People come to gamble in the building, stay in the building until the money runs out, have a variety of entertainment and food resources available in the building, win or lose, and go home. We are not and never will be Los Vegas where dedicated gamblers go for a week and stay in a local hotel. 

The benefit to the community comes from the cash that OLG shares with the community and that benefit would be the same whether the Casino was put next to our landfill in Glanbrook or downtown or left where it is. What is troubling about the entire OLG approach is that they are highly focused on increasing revenues which fundamentally means convincing more people to gamble and leave the bulk of the cash flow in the building. 

I`m not sure that is a provincial or municipal goal I would endorse, but if we are going to provide a place for people to lose money, and OLG`s figures give a very clear indication about the total dollars they take away from their customers, then leaving it where you have to drive or catch a bus to get to seems like a moderately sensible solution. 

I do not believe there will be more jobs from a downtown location and I doubt that there will be more cash coming to the City from a downtown location because it is size and number of slot machines that governs the revenue, We have had our fair share of Trojan Horses offered over the years. Most of them did not pan out as expected. (Try Copps Coliseum for example.)

 So I would confidently opt for Flamborough. Incidentally, what I found fascinating was to learn that Hard Rock is owned by the Seminole Indian Tribe of Florida. I wondered if anyone had considered approaching our neighbours beside the Grand River to see if they were interested. The HardRock-Seminole story is fascinating.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Terms of Separation

We asked the city for clarification about the terms of separation with Dialogue Partners. The City replied as follows:

I believe the following answers your question relative to the "terms of separation" The parties to the contract have mutually agreed to:

A) bring the contract to an end;
B) to issue a media statement;
C) provide for indemnification;
D) and for the City to pay for consulting services (work in process) to wrap up the project which will at the end of the day amount to approximately $242,000 of the contract price. 

Casino Thoughts

To read the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction’s position paper on a proposed new casino development in Hamilton, click here. 

Do you have a position on the casino idea, that you would like to submit for consideration? We welcome all sides of the issue. Send your position to admin@thehamiltonian.info

City and Dialogue Partners mutually agree to part ways

Media Statement

City and Dialogue Partners mutually agree to part ways

Hamilton, ON - February 4, 2013 - The City of Hamilton has reached a mutual agreement with Dialogue partners to part ways for the best interest of the Our Voice. Our Hamilton. project.

“All parties involved understand the importance of citizen engagement and hearing the voices of our residents with respect to city services,” said Mayor Bob Bratina. “The agreement we have reached speaks to the importance Dialogue Partners places on this initiative and our belief that moving in a different direction at this point is our best option.”

“We can all agree that the public launch of this initiative did not go well for a variety of different reasons,” said Chris Murray, City Manager . “However, it is important to recognize that Dialogue Partners has provided us useful information and a sound strategy for completing this process. While we will be working with new partners going forward, I want to acknowledge the work undertaken to get us to this point and offer my thanks,” added Murray.

Staff will be reporting back to a future General Issues Committee (GIC) meeting on next steps.

To read The Spec's coverage, click here or purchase today's print copy.

Sanford School Demolition- The Consultation that Hardly Happened?

On the heels of the City of Hamilton executing a stellar citizen consultation on whether we want a new casino in Hamilton, continued research conducted by Gary Santucci, seems to suggest that efforts to conduct a meaningful citizen consultation with respect to the plight of Sanford Avenue School, is quite the opposite. Having been on CHML, The Hamiltonian, Raise the Hammer and The Spectator, Santucci and the efforts to save the school from demolition, is capturing the attention of the media and community. 

The following email which provides Santucci's conclusions on the matter, is published below:

Update: Public Consultation in a so-called "Code Red District"

The Conclusion Section is republished here with the outstanding questions having been answered by Mr. Jack Brown, Division Director, Recreation Department, in an email response January 29.


While three outstanding questions remain directly unanswered one may look at the published results of this consultation exercise and extrapolate the following;

1. Whatever advertising that Councillor Morelli may have done was ineffective. His efforts resulted in one documented referral.

The information was supplied to the councillor's office and communicated in the June newsletter.

2. The flyer distribution to homes may not have occurred as not even one participant referred to it and it wasn't tracked on the sign-in sheet.

The flyers were posted in the Pinky Lewis Recreation centre and distributed at Cathy Wever school through the principal (Lori Kyle). The community associations (Wever Hub and partner agencies and programs) were notified and invited as well as Fire & Police.
We did not deliver to the residents' homes.

3. The publication of a public service announcement may not have occurred, as we do not have proof of its publication in the Spectator as of yet and it was not referred to in the tracking on the sign-in sheet.

Staff have confirmed that there was not a Public Service Announcement put in the Spectator by the Recreation department.

4. At least 25% and (now perhaps more) of the 44 attendees were from outside the local community.

We stand by our remarks expressed in the opening statement of the the original document.

"Much has been written concerning the socio-economic conditions in our Downtown core neighbourhoods, particularly reports published in the Hamilton Spectator under the banner of "Code Red". Like it or not these reports have created an impression that somehow we who live here are incapable of directing our own future and are in need of third party help and intervention. This is painfully obvious in the way we have been disenfranchised suffering from woeful political representation and failed planning policies over the last 30 years. This fact is exemplified in the process that was passed off as community consultation in the matter of the Pinky Lewis Centre /Sanford Avenue School controversy."

Gary Santucci
The Pearl Review

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Food for Thought with Alex Bielak- A Coffee Drinker’s Dilemma (Part 2)

A Coffee Drinker’s Dilemma (Part 2)

Part 1 of this column got a strong response from readers of Food for Thought. Besides the expected suggestions for favourite methods of caffeine delivery, the hot button issue was clearly the environmental impact of “one cup” systems.

Some of you even questioned my environmental cred simply for reviewing pod-delivered coffee. Let me assure you, I agree it is environmentally unsustainable to add tons of used pods to landfills. For an excellent overview of that issue see this New York Times article, courtesy of my friend Ecogirl, or read this piece as flagged by a reader in the comments section from Part 1.

For the record, I won’t be switching to any variant of the pod system soon as I’m happy with my current Espresso machine and other alternatives. I’m glad, however, to see producers of such systems moving to address the environmental concerns.

Adriana Melo, the manager of the busy new Burlington ECS location, told me some of the product they sell

Friday, February 1, 2013

Don McGiver- End of the Line

To describe End of the Line, as a book that simply depicts the 1857 Toronto to Hamilton train wreck at the Desjardins Canal Bridge, would do it a disservice. In addition to describing this tragic accident that took sixty lives, Don McIver, its author, provides a wealth of historical information and context,  particularly as it pertains to Hamillton and the local and broader development of the railway industry.

McGiver  skillfully tells the story of the tragedy, tracing  how fate led passengers to be on that train, and how it spared others from being there. Along the way, McGiver helps the reader understand how the blurring of personal interests and political positions was tolerated, if not, taken for granted in that era and how that play complicated the movement forward of the rail industry.

Of interest is also the evolution of rail technology and how primitive some