Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sole Sourcing with Hamilton Waterfront Trust?

Contemporary procurement policies require that work that is needed and that meets a pre-set financial threshold (as set by the organization), be tendered in a competitive process.

Sole sourcing, the act of forgoing a competitive process and allowing work to be awarded to a sole source without a competitive process, is usually used very sparingly and by exception only.

An example may be a hospital that needs a sophisticated piece of equipment repaired immediately because people's health or lives may be at risk. There may be only one company who is positioned to respond immediately and with the necessary qualifications. Thus, a sole source procurement may be pursued in that instance.There are many other examples where sole sourcing is defensible.

But sole sourcing is generally frowned upon unless absolutely essential because it, among other things:

"Early Birds" - Meet Paul DiFrancesco

Can you tell us why you chose to run in this election? What do you hope to accomplish?
I chose to run in this election for Catholic School Trustee because I still wanted to give back to the community. I have dedicated thirty-one years of my life to student achievement at the high school and elementary school levels and for the past four years as trustee. As a trustee, I will continue to make achievement a top priority. Education is the gateway to success. Our Catholic schools must ensure Christ-centred student learning.

Can you briefly describe your experience, and/or what you believe you have to offer as a candidate.

As a parent, coach and former educator, I know the importance of trustee responsiveness. I also know how the system works and can use this expertise to best represent concerns at the Board table through policy and individual situations through advocacy. We need a united and open board of trustees with transparency in all decision making policies.

Where or how can constituents learn more about you and/or contact you?

Constituents are welcome to contact me via email at pdifrancesco3@cogeco.ca or by phone @ 905 662-7447.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Expectations for Hours of Work- Waste Collection

The city has provided the following documents that speak to the hours of work and expectations of Waste Collection personnel. 

Job description - click here

Bargaining Agreement for CUPE 5167 click here

It would appear from the job description  that the expected amount of hours are 40 hours per week. 

"Early Birds" - Meet Lynda Hykin

Q1. Can you tell us why you chose to run in this election? What do you hope to accomplish?

2 years ago I returned to Hamilton after living in Vancouver for 3 years. I was amazed by the positive change that had taken place in just 3 short years. When I was looking for a place to live, people told me to check out James St. N. I was very skeptical. But after walking around the neighborhood, I fell in love with the area and I now call one of these communities home. The transition that is taking place in the downtown is inspiring. I chose to run because I want to be part of this transition and help Hamilton evolve into a world class City. I would like to see Ward 2 as a sought-after, safe, affordable place for families to live, work and play, as well as one that attracts investors and business; where residents are invested in their communities and proud to live where they do.

Q2. Can you briefly describe your experience, and/or what you believe you have to offer as a candidate.

Life experience is probably my strongest offering. I have owned a business, worked for minimum wage, been a single Mom, and have been through some of the same hardships that others have been through. I struggled to put food on the table and a roof over my head. I have worked in manufacturing and understand how it feels when that 'secure' job can be pulled out from under you. I have a strong belief in Hamilton, that it can become the envy of other cities, and I am committed to help make that happen. I am a published Author and Speaker, and an advocate for helping women and Teens break the poverty cycle. I am taking an active role in my community and in my city.

Q3. Where or how can constituents learn more about you and/or contact you

You can learn more about me through my website, www.lyndahykin.com,
Twitter at lynda4ward2,
Facebook as lyndagreenhykin
I can be reached through email at lynda4citycouncil2014@gmail.com or phone at 289-260-2556

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Spectator Remains Relentless in Pursuit of the Waste Collection Scandal

The Spectator remains relentless in its allegations that city waste collections workers are working around five hours for eight hours pay. Today's paper has Editor in Chief Paul Berton, reporter Matthew Van Dongen and Columnist Andrew Dreschel drilling down on the issue and taking the city to task. (Click here, here and here to read these features or purchase today's print copy). Columnist Andrew Dreschel has dubbed it "Garbagegate".

The Hamiltonian has asked the city for a copy of the contract, or any other like-documents that the city references to set performance expectations for waste collection employees. We are told that the city would get back to us today. As soon as we receive the document, we will post it for your review. 

And then there were Six

Eisenberger registered as a candidate for Mayor of Hamilton

Will lead Hamilton to become “ambitious city of the future”

HAMILTON – Fred Eisenberger registered today as a candidate for Mayor of Hamilton.

“I want to lead Hamilton so it can become the ambitious city of the future that we all deserve,” said Eisenberger.

“I am bursting with passion and energy and want to roll up my sleeves and get to work for the people of Hamilton.”

Eisenberger said he wants to build on his record of success in the area of economic development so that new businesses will create new jobs and new opportunities for Hamilton.

“Together, we can dream. We can build. And we can create our Hamilton of the future, today.”

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Spectator Sting

Spec reporter Steve Buist dropped a bombshell today as The Spec's front page contains a report alleging that city Waste Collectors are working part time for full time pay. (Click here or purchase today's print copy).

This falls on the heels of a scandal which resulted in national embarrassment where the city found that some public works employees were committing time theft.

Mayor Bratina- Media Release re: Waste Collection issue.

The following is a media release by Mayor Bratina. Following the release are comments from Clr.s Farr and Clark.

Immediate Release:

Re: Spectator article “Part time work for full time pay”:

“Our data shows that city crews pick up more garbage at lower cost compared to the private sector. This work is physically and mentally demanding, made all the more difficult by the extreme conditions of the past several months. I want to personally thank our city workers for the efforts they have made through one of the harshest winters in recent memory in delivering the front line services in accordance with our schedules and policies.”

Bob Bratina
Mayor of Hamilton

Reactions from Councillors, so far. 

Clr. Jason Farr

Mr. Mayor,

I sincerely appreciate the work of all municipal employees. However, I am concerned that there seems to be a quick attempt at rationalizing the findings in the investigative report as opposed to a thorough review.

I would prefer to see an actual investigation into the allegations.

Perhaps the workers are speeding through their routes which can lead to serious health and safety concerns. Perhaps management is encouraging faster collections. I would like to see a comparative analysis of private versus public, : the length of routes, number of units, homes, tonnage, number of employees, number of hours worked each day, and policies.

Brad Clark
Councillor Ward 9

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Santucci vs. Dreschel

The following is Gary Santucci's response to an opinion piece published by Spec columnist Andrew Dreschel (Click here or purchase today's print copy).

Today's opinion piece in the Hamilton Spectator http://bit.ly/1pyvVBx presents the familiar argument that there are only tough decisions to be made and someone's got to make them. The moratorium movement is not about avoiding the tough decisions it is about making the right decisions. The accommodation review process used by the HWDSB did not even live up to the spirit of the Provincial guidelines and truly address the four principal categories that should be addressed in the school closures determinations, They are as follows;. 

"The Ontario Provincial Government school closure policy regulations require School Boards in Ontario to develop their own school valuation tool to weigh each one of a set of four considerations about a school that has been marked for closure:"

· Its value to the students
· Its value to the community
· Its value to the school system
· Its value to the local economy.

The Board as currently constituted is not up to the task. Let the community speak in October and begin the process of school board reform.
Gary Santucci
Hamilton, Ontario

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

We Don't Need No Education?

Here is the list of 40 HWDSB controlled properties that have been liquidated since 2002 to 2012. They were acquired and built with public funds and many were bought and paid for by City of Hamilton with public funds. The HWDSB must be salivating at the opportunity to sell off the next 30 properties. Cue the music "We don't need no education" 

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board
Site Sale Proceeds Summary

School Years 2002/03 to 2011/12

Bennetto School 895,203.01
1434 Kirkwall Rd., Flamborough 123,925.77
360 Frances Ave, Stoney Creek 2,049,527.33
887 West 5th, Hamilton 1,713,549.99
Burkholder 1,901,748.28
Central Park - Dundas 568,089.47
DiCenzo Dr. (Ryckmans) 1,860,464.11
Dundas District (Partial Sale) 997,891.68
Dundas District 536,296.02
Easement of Parkdale School 17,498.00
Fairfield 534,111.58

"Early Birds" Meet Greg Sinasac, Contender for Trustee (Public) Wards 9 & 10

Q1. Can you tell us why you chose to run in this election? What do you hope to accomplish?

I chose to run in this election for Public School Trustee because I am concerned with the direction our current school board is taking us. Neighbourhood school closures, respect towards families, and stronger programming for students are major issues that have motivated me to run in this election. I believe we can develop an effective strategy to win back students to the public system and save our neighbourhood schools by restoring public trust and advocating programs that work for students. I believe that hard work combined with intelligent, responsible, and innovative thinking can improve our schools and help to make our public schools truly public once again.

Q2. Can you briefly describe your experience, and/or what you believe you have to offer as a candidate.

As a previous caseworker with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hamilton and Burlington, as a previous Program Director of KidQuest Camp in Stoney Creek, and as a current Big Brother, I have been active and involved in the lives of children and youth in Stoney Creek for many years. These experiences have allowed me to meet parents and school staff, and to gain an understanding of their experiences and concerns. My time spent working as a Contractor has taught me the value of standing up for the needs of students who will train outside college and university. We need school trustees who are strong, independent voices for families. I believe I am in a unique position to help put an end to partisan politics on the school board.

Q3. Where or how can constituents learn more about you and/or contact you?

Constituents are welcome to contact me via email at greg.sinasac@gmail.com or by phone @ 905-973-2246.

Taking Care of Business?

As reported in today's Spec, (Click here or purchase today's print copy), city of Hamilton By law Director Marty Hazel advised that he does not have enough staff to follow up on 684 businesses such as salons, convenience stores and garages that may be operating without a valid business licence. This lack of capacity not only presents as unfair to business operators who play by the rules and have a valid licence, but it also forgoes $130,000.00 in unpaid fees yearly. Add the fact that those who do not renew their business licence on time, will face quadruple late fees, and the inequity widens. There may be also an element of public risk, if businesses are operating unchecked.

Clr. Collins expressed concern that about 300 of the businesses who are believed to be operating without a business licence, involve food. From a public safety perspective, The Clr. believes that these matters have to be addressed soon. 

However, City General Auditor Ann Pekaruk advised that most of the businesses who are thought to be operating without a licence, have been inspected by the fire department or public health, which is how they were detected in the first place. An auditor compared a database of licensed businesses against data gathered by fire and public health, to identify the problem businesses. 

Hazel was asked to report back in July on what it would cost to check out all 684 businesses and to promptly investigate any that pose public health risks. It is unknown whether he was also directed to determine what it would take to proactively solve this issue to prevent future additional build ups of unlicensed businesses.  

Are you surprised by the size and depth of this problem? 

Please note: The Hamiltonian will not publish any posts that identify specific businesses.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Mayoral Bids...so far......

As our readers will know, The Hamiltonian is engaging all registered mayoral candidates in a series that will pose questions in order to provide Hamiltonians with good information to make an informed voting decision.

We have recently extended an invite to newly registered candidate, Clr. Brad Clark. Clr. Clark has indicated that he will participate after his camapign launch. The questions we posed in our first round of this series, can be found in the links below:

To read Brian McHattie's responses, click here.
To read Crystal; Lavigne's responses, click here
To read Michael Baldasaro's s responses, click here.
To read Don Ross's responses, click here.

The Hamiltonian remains committed to remaining neutral and facilitating a fair exchange of information. We encourage all Hamiltonians to vote this October. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Fundraiser for Anita Kos (Silkovich)

You may recall that The Hamiltonian featured a story about a local woman, Anita Kos (Silkovich) who is fighting to get the necessary treatment she needs to fight Lyme Disease. The poster to the left is about an upcoming fundraiser. It promises to be an evening of fun and entertainment.

You can view its details more clearly by clicking on the poster to the left, to enlarge it. You can read more about Anita's struggle and her need for assistance by clicking here.

Giant’s Rib Discovery Centre- April Program Notice

Giant’s Rib Discovery Centre Box 1469, Waterdown, ON, L0R 2H0 www.giantsrib.ca

April Program Notice

1) Bruce Duncan Memorial Lecture Series

The Giant’s Rib Discovery Centre (GRDC) presents Jon Wells, Award-winning Hamilton Spectator journalist speaks about his experience taking a "FAM" tourism tour of some of Hamilton's waterfalls and natural wonders on Sunday April 6, 2014 from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Hamilton Waterfront Trust Centre, 57 Discovery Drive, Hamilton.

Jon Wells is an award-winning journalist and author with the Hamilton Spectator, where he writes primarily long features on subjects ranging from true crime to arts and the environment. Jon has written features about Hamilton's natural wonders, including "Jon's Journey," a first person account of his experiencing canoeing, biking, and hiking around Hamilton -- a story that won a Hamilton Tourism Award and an Ontario Newspaper Award.

Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors will open at 1:30 p.m. and complementary refreshments and door prizes are available after the presentation. Parking is free. Admission for the program is $5. Further donations to help cover program costs are greatly appreciated. The Bruce Duncan Memorial Lecture Series runs once a month from September through May. This series presents topics relevant to the Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve as a part of the GRDC’s public education programs.

2) Featured Artist of the Month

The GRDC operates a Discovery Centre on weekends in the Dundas Valley Conservation Area, and features an Artist of the Month. Images from the Giant’s Rib permanent collection will be on display during the month of April. There is no admission fee to the Centre or the Arts and Photography series. Parking fee for the Dundas Valley Conservation Area is $9 per car per day and fees go towards trail maintenanceand conservation projects in the Dundas Valley.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Food for Thought with Alex Bielak - But wait, there’s more Kitchen Kit

Marc the Garlic Grater Guy
But wait, there’s more Kitchen Kit 

Do you remember “It slices, it dices…”? It was, of course, the pitch for the Veg-O-matic? But wait, there’s so much more...

Partly prompted by the catastrophic failure of my trusty stick blender, and partly by several recent acquisitions, this edition of Food for Thought deals with some pieces of indispensable kitchen kit, most of which you can see by clicking on the pictures link at the end of the column or the various hyperlinks.

The stick (or hand) blender is ideal when you don’t want to take out a larger blender or food processor. It allows you to blend soups or smoothies right in the pot or measuring beaker and is a snap to clean. Ours (a Cuisinart Smart Stick) had been used daily for a couple of years, but its gearing was frankly over-taxed by

Mayor Bratina to Write Books; Possibly Run for Federal office.

Read it by clicking here.

Santucci- Public Consultation in the so called "Code Red" District

Email to City Council, HWDSB, Media et al

Public Consultation in the so called "Code Red" District

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. This fact is exemplified in the process that was passed off as community consultation organized by the HWDSB and the City of Hamilton in the matter of the Pinky Lewis Centre /Sanford Avenue School controversy.

So in the end, after all of this, we lost a magnificent heritage building, we lost the two gymnasiums that were being used by the community; the expansion of the Pinky Lewis Recreation Centre, is no where in sight and likely deferred for years as the focus and funding is now on the Recreation/Senior's centre to be located in the Pan Am "precinct". We now have an empty field that duplicates the underutilized Woodlands Park, complete with an outdoor gym and field house with washrooms, that is a mere 2 minute walk from Cathy Wever Elementary School.

Read the complete story and analysis here: http://bit.ly/1iKg16X
Gary Santucci
Hamilton, Ontario

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Will They or Won't They?

Former Mayor Fred Eisenberger (seated on the left) advised The Hamiltonian that he will be running for the Mayor's Chair and while not presently registered, plans to.

Former Mayor Larry DiIanni, (seated on the right), advised The Hamiltonian today that ten days ago, he wasn't even considering a run for the Mayor's chair. But now, he's thinking about it. 

Will they? Won't they? And what will it do to the race if either or both run?  Stay tuned as The Hamilltonian continues with our coverage. 

Media Release- Clr. McHattie - City Council and HWDSB Board of Trustee relationships

Councillor McHattie seeks to strengthen City Council and HWDSB Board of Trustee relationships for stronger neighbourhoods

HAMILTON, ON (March 20, 2014)… Councillor McHattie seeks to strengthen City Council and HWDSB Board of Trustee relationships for stronger neighbourhoods in a letter sent to HWDSB Chair Jessica Brennan today.

“Many Hamiltonians are concerned about pending school closures. As Ward 1 Councillor, I have experienced the impact that Accommodation Reviews can have on students, families and neighbourhoods” said McHattie.

McHattie goes on to say that the impact of school closures are both immediate and long-term as schools often play a central role in the life of a community.

“The closing of a school affects not only students, but also how the city manages neighbourhood development in a variety of areas including: planning of parks, building and maintenance of community centres, and budgeting for building and/or land acquisition.”

McHattie wants to find a way for the City and the School Board to work together to ensure that families and neighbourhoods are treated fairly and with transparency.

McHattie has two requests:

1) That the HWDSB immediately slow down the pace of current school closures to provide an opportunity for the City to work with the Board

2) That both the HWDSB Trustees and Hamilton City Council commit to an engaged Joint City/School Boards Relations Sub-Committee.

“I look forward to the opportunity to collaboratively address the very real challenges we are all facing regarding our students, our schools and our communities.”

The full text of the letter is posted at http://www.brianmchattie.ca/download.php?id=249.

Media Release- Candidacy Announcement for School Board Trustee


Candidacy Announcement for School Board Trustee

Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board Wards 9 & 10

Ken Chartrand announces his candidacy for Trustee for the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board for Wards 9 & 10. Ken Chartrand is a long time resident of Stoney Creek who has committed many years to helping and improving his community. Ken Chartrand is a member of the Hamilton East Kiwanis club, The Royal Canadian Legion, and an active volunteer with the United Way.

Ken Chartrand aspires to build upon the positive work that has been happening at the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board. Ken feels that there is always room for improvement and feels he can bring fresh new ideas and help improve on exciting ones. Ken believes that the role of the Trustee is more than a municipal advocate and goes well beyond the classroom. He believes that education incorporates the student, parents, teacher, administration, education workers and the community. Ken Chartrand is committed to working collaboratively with shareholders to continue to improve our education system for all.

Ken Chartrand is married to Sharon Quirt and the father of two daughters and a step son, Dayna and Christa and Eric, and proud grandfather to his new granddaughter Samantha.

Contact Information:
Phone: 905-643-7202
Facebook: Kenchartrand9and10@gmail.com
Twitter: Kenchatrandfor9and10

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

So far......

The Mayoral race further defined, as Mayor Bratina announces he's out and Clr. Clark enters. 

Link of the Moment

An important story from our friends at CATCH entitled Council Wants Bigger Aerotropolis. Click here to go there. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Retrospective with Mayor Bob Morrow

It has always been one of The Hamiltonian's goals to interview past Mayor Bob Morrow. Given that Mr. Morrow had retired from politics, we did not want to intrude. However, given that Mr. Morrow kindly agreed to once again serve Hamilton and Hamiltonians by temporarily filling in as the Ward 3 Councillor, we seized the opportunity to ask Mr. Morrow questions we've always wanted to ask him.

Rather than ask him anything about his current role as Ward 3 Councillor, we were more interested in asking him about his past service as our Mayor. Mr. Morrow served as our Mayor from 1982 to 200, making him the longest serving mayor in the city's history.

In light of his new temporary role, we were torn about how to refer to him. But in honour of his service to our city, and for the purposes of this article, we will refer to him as Mayor Morrow. Enjoy our Q/A with Mayor Morrow.

1. Being the longest serving mayor in Hamilton’s history, can you share what it was about your service that made you so successful. What was your general approach to leading the city, why did it work and are there any universal lessons/advice that those aspiring to be in political life, or are in political life, may benefit from?

Hard work would sum up any reason for success in political service. There is no substitute for being available on a 24/7 basis and always being ready to "go the second mile". You also have to really love people - being with different kinds of people and finding out about their interests and backgrounds and always trying to get to know all the different individuals and groups within our very diverse and complex community.

2. What was the most difficult situation you faced as Mayor of Hamilton during your tenure. How did you handle it and what did you take away from the experience.

I think the huge change which swept our community economically with the massive downsizing of the industrial sector and all that that meant in terms of disruption economically and socially.

3. Can you tell us a little bit about what you did after political life. We know that you are musically talented and have served as organist at St. Patrick’s church. How did that come about and how easy/difficult was it to transition away from political life?

My involvement in things since being Mayor has involved, as you have said, music - primarily in the church - more recently at St. Patrick's and before that at other area churches. I have also had involvement with several local businesses as a consultant or facilitator and have volunteered with several local organizations (primarily in the arts).

4. What achievement/outcome are you most proud of, relative to your previous service as Hamilton’s mayor.

I championed the diversification of the local economy and community fabric while in office. This helped lead to growth in education and health care as well as harbour redevelopment and the completion of many of the major redevelopment projects built in the 80's and 90's As well, the measures taken to reinvigorate the downtown (business loans program, tax changes, beautification, moving resources into the downtown, two-way streets etc.) - while slow to produce results - have started to bring new life to the downtown - particularly helped by the growth out from the Toronto market.

5. Is there anything else you’d like to say to Hamiltonians reading this article?

We've always had good reason to be proud of our City and we are in a particularly exciting time now with vitality and diversification taking place impressively. I think managing the change and growth well and sensibly will be important and much can be done to expand opportunities for all of our citizens - particularly who are not doing as well as they might be doing at the present time.

With gratitude Mayor Morrow, thank-you for engaging with Hamiltonians on The Hamiltonian and for your past and present service to Hamilton. 

The Hamiltonian

The Shell Game (part 4) - A Q/A with Clr. Collins

Further to recent stories we wrote (click here) about some city staff channeling funds within city spending, but outside of their intended purposes and outside of council"s approval/awareness, we followed up with Clr. Chad Collins. You will recall that Clr. Collins and Clr. Terry Whitehead expressed concern about this practice.

Here is our Q/A with Clr. Collins:

Further to your concern about tax monies being repurposed without council approval and in some cases, awareness, are you satisfied that appropriate steps have been taken to address these problems? If so, can you describe what has been done to satisfy you. If not, can you comment on what needs to be done. 

Based on my discussions with the City’s General Manager of Finance, I’m satisfied that all of the matters I raised are in the process of being reviewed and dealt with in the appropriate manner.

Thanks Clr. Collins for engaging with Hamiltonians through The Hamiltonian

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Bratina will not seek re-election

The following statement is from Mayor Bob Bratina, as shared with The Hamiltonian:

I’ve had the honour and privilege of being the mayor of one of Canada’s great cities, the City in which I was born, the city I love, Hamilton Ontario.   By any measure this term of office has been a tremendous success,   one of the most productive in the modern history of Hamilton. 

At the time I became mayor there was no site approved for the Pan Am Stadium nor was there sufficient funding  in place.   Council was completely split on the issue of area rating,  the taxation imbalances that resulted from amalgamation.  McMaster had changed its plans to  locate a medical school  in the downtown core.  There was no firm commitment by the Province  on  GO Train service to a new  railway station at James Street North.  We  faced  difficult contract negotiations with our public service unions  and had not reached agreement to proceed with the Randle Reef  project which would  clean up contamination in the

Fin de Fiesta at The Pearl Company

Lia Grainger (pictured on the left), is a dancer in an all-Canadian flamenco performance group Fin de Fiesta. Their tour of Ontario will take them on a one night only performance at one of The Hamiltonian's favourite venues, The Pearl Company (click here to go to their website).

Lia and Fin de Fiesta will be performing at The Pearl Company on Friday March 28th. To read one of her reviews (click here).

Here are a few facts about Lia, in her own words:

I'm a professional freelance journalist and also a professional flamenco dancer (randomness!). My background and physique as a dancer is unusual -- I’m 6-foot-1 and a

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Shell Game ..part 3

Ontario Ombudsman comments on this article via Twitter
You may recall that on the heels of Clr. Collins confronting a disturbing finding that a significant amount of tax dollars were being channeled outside of their intended purpose, without council approval/awareness, The Hamiltonian published these two stories (Click here and here).

It seems that Hamilton is not the only municipality whose practices in this regard need to be reigned in. As you can see from the following articles (click here), entitled "City officials are struggling to account for the lion’s share of $766 million designated to go to 670 capital projects over the past seven years, many of which haven’t even been started." the city of Brampton is also in peril.

With no nonsense Provincial Ombudsman Andre Marin looming in the background, and positioned to be able to investigate complaints related to the MUSH sector” – the broader public sector comprising of municipalities, universities, school boards and hospitals, municipalities who are out of bounds with these types of financial controls, may wish to walk the straight and narrow quickly.

With special thanks to SC

Monday, March 10, 2014

Term Limits Tweet

Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin, retweeted The Hamiltonian's thoughts on term limits, to his 20,040 followers. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Op Ed- by Jeremy Wilkins

Bratina’s LRT blog is irresponsible and misleading

We can all be thankful to Mayor Bratina for making LRT a focus of Hamilton’s next election. Unfortunately, the Mayor’s recent clarification of his stance is misleading, insulting to voters, and downright irresponsible.

To grasp why, it is important to note that Hamilton has a serious, thoroughly researched LRT proposal on the table. Since 2007, when the provincial government announced its “Big Move” program for GTHA transit, the City of Hamilton has spent some $5-million in a comprehensive and evidence-based study of the feasibility and benefits of LRT. Studies conducted by Metrolinx and by a team at McMaster agreed with the City’s findings: LRT would have a major positive impact on Hamilton’s economy, and provide a significant net benefit over other options, including Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). (Ontario Transport Minister Glenn Murray made the same point during a recent visit to Hamilton.)

Hamilton produced a detailed report, Rapid Ready, unanimously approved by Council with a request for provincial funding for B-line LRT. The King/Main B-line was prioritized because it already has more than enough riders—some 13,000 a day—to justify LRT. The studies also showed that LRT along the King/Main corridor, if combined with intelligent land-use policies, could maximize the benefits to the whole city: an influx of investment, residents, businesses, and jobs; appreciating real estate values; a broader taxbase; and a greener, healthier, safer, and more walkable urban environment.

City Council, including Mr Bratina, has unanimously supported this proposal for B-line LRT at every vote. In

The Way We Were

Published on Mar 4, 2014- The first episode in a video series highlighting the history of Hamilton, Ontario. Produced by the Hamilton Public Library in association with the Local History and Archives department, 2014. Edited by Alex Miller and Jeff Comer. Click here to see it

Friday, March 7, 2014

Food for Thought with Alex Bielak - Sips and Bites – Coming Attractions, March 2014

Chef Tobias & Louise Sherwood
at Red Canoe
Sips and Bites – Coming Attractions, March 2014 

Coming soon. Spring. We hope and pray.

I’ll admit to feeling overwhelmed with matters culinary: I simply have too many ideas on the go to focus on just one this time around. So, I’ll alert readers to some neat opportunities both locally and a bit further “afield” (Ahem, almost a pun there, as you’ll see below). I’ll also share how stories can evolve organically and how inter-connected our culinary scene really is.

First off a reminder: the 9th Annual Food and Drink Fest at the Careport Centre on Longwood Rd., Hamilton is nearly upon us. On March 21 – 23, it is truly a wonderful event and draws good crowds. However don’t expect to see it featured much by either the Spec or our Community newspapers: They’re

Link of the Moment- Bratina on LRT

Click on pic to enlarge it
Mayor Bratina on LRT. Click here to go there....

Click here for details.  Further Information can be found at hamiltonlandtrust.wordpress.com.
RSVPs should be sent to allison@hamiltonclt.org.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

"Early Birds" - Meet Bobby Assadourian

Can you tell us why you chose to run in this election? What do you hope to accomplish?

I have chosen to run in this election because one way or another I have been advocating for change and helping people my entire life, becoming a councillor just makes it official and broadens the scope of the people that I can reach and help in a Ward that I work in as a contractor that is very dear to me as it holds fond childhood memories.

My goal will be to bring the peoples concerns to council in a passionate and loud voice. Work hand in hand with community groups to achieve my platforms objectives, in protecting and enhancing the lives of senior

Media Release- McHattie Launches Online Campaign Platform Survey

McHattie Launches Online Campaign Platform Survey


HAMILTON - The Brian McHattie for Mayor Campaign officially launched its online Platform Survey today. The survey had a ‘soft’ launch on Monday of this week and within less than 24 hours, over 100 responses were received.

According to McHattie, “I made a commitment at my campaign launch that I would be reaching out to all residents of Hamilton to hear about their issues and their ideas about Hamilton’s future. This survey is an important part of that process. We’re already off to a good start.”

McHattie says, “We’re already seeing issues from respondents right across the city such as enhanced transit, safer streets, better snow clearing, more jobs, to name a few.”

The survey asks participants to provide comments about things they would like to see improved on their street, in their neighbourhood or Ward, and in their city as a whole.

“I’m very excited about the survey. While I’ve already identified a framework consisting of 5 themes, I want to build the details of my platform based on input from citizens. I also plan on using the survey results to help shape the face-to-face conversations I’ll be having throughout the city in the coming months. Many of those meetings are already booked, and there are many more to come.” says McHattie.

The survey is open to all Hamiltonians who access the McHattie for Mayor website at www.mchattie2014.ca

Deferred Development Charges

Further to this article in today's Spec (Click here or purchase today's print copy), we asked Neil Everson,  Director of Economic Development & Real Estate Planning & Economic Development Department, the following:

We understand that a renewal of incentives related to deferred development charges is under review. It is our understanding that the current structure, which has been deemed successful, allows that development charges be deferred provided the company pays the borrowing costs and a 1 % admin fee. In exchange, development charges can be deferred for up to 5 years. Are there any safeguards in place in the event that a company becomes insolvent prior to the fees coming due?

Let me clarify - the rate is the City's cost of borrowing (our interest rate) plus a 1/4 percent for an administration fee. Yes there are safeguards - there is a legal agreement that must be signed by the company and the city.  Any amount owing from the DC deferral agreement (because it is registered on title) can be added to the property taxes payable if a company becomes insolvent.

Thanks to Neil and his staff for the reply. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

"Early Birds"- Meet Todd White

Can you tell us why you chose to run in this election? What do you hope to accomplish?

HWDSB has generated a lot of attention this term for a variety of controversial decisions. This has sometimes resulted in a disconnect between the School Board and its communities. This has not been the case in Ward 5. I am running for re-election to maintain our strong voice in the boardroom and our school communities.

The next four years may see a review of Ward 5 schools. We need a Trustee that isn’t asleep at the switch. I am committed to open and transparent dialogue that encourages full community participation. Past successes have shown that we accomplish more for our students when we work together.

Can you briefly describe your experience, and/or what you believe you have to offer as a candidate?

Navigating government bureaucracy isn’t always easy. I have worked my way through the Board’s governance structure, first as a member of each Trustee Special Committee and now as Chair of the Policy Committee and Vice-Chair of the Board. I am prepared to assist families through any challenging circumstance at the school or Board level. I am also proud to serve Hamilton East–Stoney Creek through my full-time job as MPP Paul Miller’s lead community assistant. I’m always available for a quick phone call or visit in the community.

Q3. Where or how can constituents learn more about you and/or contact you?

I welcome your questions or concerns 24/7 at 289-237-1644 or twhite@hwdsb.on.ca. If your inquiry is campaign related, please e-mail me at toddrwhite@hotmail.com. To view my HWDSB responsibilities, please visit www.hwdsb.on.ca/board/trustees/todd-white. Stay tuned for further information about my re-election campaign.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Bratina Retorts

In response to Clr. McHattie's statement to The Hamiltonian (found here), we asked Mayor Bratina the following question:

Mr. Mayor:

In response to our question to Clr. McHattie “ How do you respond to those who think it was a bad choice to write directly to the Premier and do you have any regrets about doing so? Can you explain your action and rationale. If you were to become mayor, would you endorse councilors taking similar action on issues? If not, what makes this different?, Clr. McHattie responded

"As to how I would react to a Councillor who did this sort of thing if I was the Mayor, as Mayor I would be diligent in my efforts to accurately and consistently represent the will of Council. It would be my job to do so with other levels of government. In fact, I plan on ensuring we have an active government relations strategy that includes specific roles for Council. As a result, it’s likely there would be less requirement for the kind of clarification I sought through my letter."

See full article here: http://www.thehamiltonian.net/2014/03/clr-mchattie-on-his-letter-concerning.html

The Clr. seems to imply that his actions were born out of necessity. How do you respond to the Clrs’ assertion in this regard?

Mayor Bratina replied: 

I have no comment on Clr McHattie’s behaviour. I base my official correspondence on Council direction.

Clr. McHattie- on his Letter Concerning LRT to the Premier

On the heels of the controversy surrounding Clr. McHattie's decision to write to the Premier directly concerning LRT and city council's position on the matter, we asked the Clr. to further explain his rationale. Here is our Q/A with Clr. McHattie.

Q. Your letter to the Premier with respect to LRT, has been generating controversy. Some say it showed leadership, others suggest it is electioneering while others think it was inappropriate to by-pass Mayor Bratina. How do you respond to those who think it was a bad choice to write directly to the Premier and do you have any regrets about doing so? Can you explain your action and rationale. If you were to become mayor, would you endorse councilors taking similar action on issues? If not, what makes this different?

The letter I wrote to Premier Wynne was focused on Premier Wynne’s, and therefore the Ontario Liberal government’s, commitment to fund the capital costs of LRT in Hamilton. My intent was to both reaffirm Council’s position and to ask for confirmation of capital funding from the province.

In the letter, I explained my rationale by saying, “I believe someone has to stand up for all Hamiltonians when it comes to ensuring promises made to our citizens are kept. In my view, we have to reduce the level of noise and mixed messages you have been receiving and increase the clarity and consistency in the communication of Hamilton’s democratically approved priorities. I know my Council colleagues want the same thing.”

Council has been consistent and clear on what our position is on LRT, particularly as it relates to funding. There have been too many mixed messages, in my view, about LRT from a variety of sources. That kind of mixed messaging is not only counter to what Council has said, but it’s also unfair to the citizens of Hamilton because it makes it harder for Hamilton to compete for provincial funding when other cities in the GTHA are also in line for provincial transit funding.

My Council colleague, Chad Collins, said, “I have no problem with the letter so long as his message is

"Early Birds" - Meet Nick Lauwers

Q1. Can you tell us why you chose to run in this election?

I have decided to run for the position of Public School Trustee in Ward 15 for many crucial reasons. First, I think it is important that the public have the option to elect a candidate who is not simply committed to the position that schools need to be closed down. Our current trustees are moving forward with the agenda of closing down local schools in favour of opening mega-schools. I support local schools and would like to look for alternatives to closing down your neighbourhood school. I want to see schools like Millgrove Elementary in Ward 15 stay open.

Next, I want to listen to the public and make sure that residents have their say. During the Accommodation Review Committees there was a process - but were citizens really heard? From my interpretation of things, people were not listened to. I want to listen to people and if elected will vote with the aspirations of the community. Public schools are public; they belong to taxpayers and communities, not bureaucrats.

In addition, I would like to run in order to work towards making school environments safe and harmonious while working with teachers to invest in top-quality results in education. This includes the hope of redirecting funds from administrative costs to front-line education and technology in classrooms in order to aid student learning.

Finally, I am running because I care deeply about our children, families and community. When we send our kids to school we are trusting others with what is most precious to us. I am aware that the decisions we make in our stewardship of public education will have implications that affect the quality of life for students, families, and communities.

Q2. Can you briefly describe your experience, and/or what you believe you have to offer as a candidate.

As a candidate I bring to this position compassion for people, a desire to listen and to be helpful. I am here to serve and be a positive force in our community.

I have a broad educational background and have been fortunate enough to gain experience in local politics at

Sunday, March 2, 2014

"Early Birds"- Meet Ralph Agostino

First of all, I would like to thank the Hamiltonian for inviting me to participate in their election coverage. I really do appreciate the opportunity to discuss issues and to provide information.

Can you tell us why you chose to run in this election? What do you hope to accomplish?

I have always wanted to represent the hardworking residents of Ward 3 in the next level of municipal involvement. Having served the educational needs as Catholic School Trustee of Ward 3 constituents for the past 20 years, I believe I have the necessary experience to represent them well at City Hall.

I want to continue to carry on the hard work of the Late Bernie Morelli on representing the everyday needs of the residents of Ward 3. Listen to their needs and to make Ward 3 an even better place to live. Dealing with everyday issues, being a hands-on councillor and accessible at all times. The BIA’s of Ward 3 are doing an amazing job and I would like to continue work with them. I intend to continue with the enhancement of the participatory budget process, I want to work closely with the neighbourhood associations to determine their priorities, and put those priorities into action where possible. I want to continue and ensure that when commercial development happens, that it respects the existing neighbourhoods and residents and at the same time encourage these small businesses to situate in Ward 3. I want to continue to build our vibrant, progressive and inclusive community.

Can you briefly describe your experience, and/or what you believe you have to offer as a candidate.

I have been serving the residents of Ward 3 for the past 20 years, as a Catholic School Trustee, dealing daily with the constituents concerns and dealing with them in a timely manner, being on the School Board has given me the experience to deal with governance, balancing the budget, listening to the concerns of the people involved and being a team player to enhance Ward 3 and the city.

Some of my accomplishments were to be instrumental in the establishment of the Equal Opportunities Project and the new state of the art replacement schools for Holy Name of Jesus and St Ann Hamilton, I have also served as Vice Chairperson of the Board since 2012.

Where or how can constituents learn more about you and/or contact you?

I can be reached anytime at the following number 905-317-6654 or you can e-mail me at agostinoralph@gmail.com or have me paged at my office RE/MAX Escarpment Realty Inc., Brokerage 905-575-5478. I am willing to meet with any resident of Ward 3 in person to discuss any issues. 

Thanks Ralph for your submission to The Hamiltonian. 

Ferguson's Fatal Faux Pas?

Ferguson                   Coleman
Update: Complaint is lodged with City Manager. (Click here to read Spec article or purchase today's print copy)

"In Regards to Councillor Lloyd Ferguson’s Use of Physical Force Against Myself". 

That headline, found here on journalist Joey Coleman's web page, captures in a nutshell Coleman's description of an altercation between Ward 12 Councillor Lloyd Ferguson and Joey Coleman.

Reportedly, Ferguson was the aggressor who while in reportedly a foul mood over a stadium debate, laid his hands on Coleman. Coleman's description of what took place can be found on his web page, which you can see by clicking here.

Aside as presenting as inappropriate behaviour unbecoming of anyone, let a lone a city Councillor, the action can rise to the level of an assault. It also appears to be in violation of the Code of Conduct for city councillors. 

Ferguson reportedly subsequently apologized unconditionally,  Coleman accepted the apology.  Here is an excerpt from Coleman's description of the incident:

"Behind me, from the Councillors offices, a visibly agitated Councillor Lloyd Ferguson walked in front of me saying – to either the Manager or Councillor Clark – “I need to talk to you about something”. Immediately, Ferguson looked at me and aggressively told me to get away from the area.

Before I had a chance to move, Ferguson turned around, strongly clenched my upper right arm and shoved me with force.He did not let go of his grip, continuing to clench me and strengthening his grip as he very angrily stated with a threatening tone that I wasn’t welcome to stand where I had been, stating further that he didn’t want me eavesdropping upon his conversation, looking at my camera.

The camera was turned off, the shutter was closed, and I was only carrying it because I was moving locations for a press conference.I quickly regained my footing, my composure, and stood my ground. I told him to not touch me, that he had no right to use force against me, and we exchanged heated words."

Ferguson, rumoured to have mayoral aspirations, may have adversely affected his chances. At the very least, he will find it difficult to reconcile this action against the ability to lead. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Electioneering, Leadership or Bad Judgement?

As reported in The Spec (click here or purchase today's print copy), Clr. McHattie has written directly to Premier Wynne,  reminding the province of the city's support for the notion of a provincially funded LRT initiative.  To see a copy of the letter, click here.

In light of the fact that McHattie has registered as a mayoral candidate, some may suggest that he is electioneering by writing to the Premier directly. It is noted however that McHattie did not use campaign letterhead, thus sending a message that he is speaking on council's behalf- a role ordinarily reserved for the Mayor of cities.

Others may interpret McHattie's action as good leadership on a file that requires clear and persistent messaging. 

However, it is undoubtedly the Mayor's role to convey the position of city council to higher levels of government. Can one imagine what would happen if each councillor from time to time decided to petition the Premier directly, purportedly on behalf of council? 

What do you think? Good intention, bad form? Good move? Or pure electioneering? 

Helping Anita

The following reflects the tragic story of a local woman who is fighting to get the treatment necessary for Lyme disease, a severely debilitating disease. 

In an earlier picture to the far left, Anita Kos, (Silkovich) presents as a vibrant young lady. Sadly, her fight with Lyme disease continues to erode her health and has robbed her of her well being, as shown in the picture to the right of the picture mentioned above.  To learn more about her condition and the havoc it has reaped. visit this blog (click here), that is devoted to her battle to restore her health. 

 We encourage our readers to help in any way that they can, and to also visit her blog site, for additional information.  An immediate way to help, is by donating at any CIBC bank by citing  the Anita Kos Trust Fund; #03662 010 8593183. 

Donations will help to get Anita the essential treatment she needs that is not covered under our health system. 

The following is information pertaining to a fundraiser, as presented in a press release issued by the family. 

AnitaHelp Save Anita

Lyme Disease – The Killer among us

One Woman’s Fight to get Treatment from a Health System that refuses to acknowledge its Existence   

A local girl needs our help. After exhausting all avenues within the Ontario Health System to find the cause of her severely debilitating illness,  Anita Kos was finally diagnosed by a doctor in the U.S.A as suffering from Lyme disease.

To read more about Lyme disease check out: http://lymefacts.wordpress.com

Isn’t it strange that the moderate to high risk areas for contracting this disease are clustered around the U.S. Great Lakes region yet it is not considered a concern in Ontario. Our border patrols must be very vigilant.

Our health system is unwilling or unable to treat Anita and her only recourse is expensive treatment in the United States. Please join us in a fundraiser to enable Anita to get the medication and care needed to restore her to health.

Where: Knights of Columbus Hall, 222 Queenston Road, Hamilton, ON.

When: Friday, April 11, 8:00PM – 1:00 AM

Tickets: Call Frances at 905 388 0103 or Nancy at 905 662 6904


"Early Birds"- Meet Michael Adkins

Q1. Can you tell us why you chose to run in this election? What do you hope to accomplish?

I am running for Public School Trustee so that I can actively be involved in improving Hamilton's educational system from within to better serve the needs of our children and their families in Ward 3.

Q2. Can you briefly describe your experience, and/or what you believe you have to offer as a candidate.

I am semi-retired from my private practice as a family counsellor and now have the time to both devote and dedicate my efforts to properly and appropriately serve the parents and children of Ward 3. I am well aware of the complications and difficulties in pleasing all of the people all of the time but will endeavor to be the voice for as many families as I possibly can.

I have significant experience working on appointed City Committees. I have been appointed to the Hamilton Municipal Heritage Committee for two terms (8 years). An active and vocal (sometimes controversial) member, I have been instrumental in improving the relationship between developers and heritage preservation. I have worked to ensure that historic buildings are adapted for re-use in a way that brings the building forward to meet the needs of the 21st century while maintaining its heritage value.

As Chairman of the Heritage Permit Review Committee I have assisted with streamlining the permit process and allowing the work to commence with reduced wait times.

Q3. Where or how can constituents learn more about you and/or contact you?

I can be contacted by e-mail where I will endeavor to answer any and all questions asked by residents of Ward 3. My e-mail address is progressivecounselling@yahoo.ca.

Thanks Michael for your submission to The Hamiltonian