Monday, June 29, 2015

Media Release: Clr Green - Town Hall on Electoral Reform


June 29, 2015

Councillor Green to Host Town Hall on Electoral Reform: 100 Remedies for a Broken Democracy

Hamilton, ON— Ward 3 Councillor Matthew Green will host a town hall on electoral reform on July 9, 2015 at 6:30 pm at Hamilton City Hall. Dave Meslin will lead the discussion.

“Now is the time to ensure we engage in a discussion on how we can make our system more accessible, more fair, and more vibrant,” says Ward 3 Councillor Matthew Green.

Dave Meslin is the founder of the Ranked Ballot Initiative Toronto (RaBIT), and a co-founder of Unlock Democracy Canada. His 2010 TED Talk, “The Antidote to Apathy”, has over 1.4 million views. His Fourth Wall project explored 36 proposals to make local democracy more accessible and participatory. Currently, Dave is crowd-sourcing 100 Remedies for a Broken Democracy. The results of the project will be published by Penguin Canada, in 2017.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is currently undergoing a review of the Municipal Elections Act. The submission deadline for comment is July 27, 2015.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Video of the Moment

Click here to see it. It speaks volumes. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Changes re: Powers of Ontario Ombudsman

"For the first time, the public will be able to complain to the Ontario Ombudsman about school boards (as of September 1, 2015), and about municipalities and universities (as of January 1, 2016), now that the dates have been proclaimed for the relevant sections of the Ombudsman Act, 1990, the Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act. The Act extends Ombudsman scrutiny to the so-called “MUSH sector” for the first time in the office’s 40-year history."

These are more stories are featured in the Ontario Ombudsman's Newsletter, which can be accessed by clicking here. To direct a complaint to the Ombudsman, click here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Additional Requests for Campaign Compliance Audits

Update: See The Spec's coverage by clicking here or purchasing today's print version. 

Update: The person who has filed these complaints, is Viv Saunders who is a resident in Ward 10. Ms. Saunders has chosen to reveal her identity.

The same person who had recently submitted for a compliance review pertaining to Maria Pearson's campaign funds, has made additional requests for reviews of the campaign finances of Chad Collins, Doug Conley, Lloyd Ferguson, Tom Jackson, Sam Merulla, Robert Pasuta and Terry Whitehead.

The following is a media release received by The Hamiltonian:

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Pearson Compliance Audit Request

The following document (click here), sets out the allegations that form the basis of the request for a compliance audit of Maria Pearson's election campaign. The resident who made the request,provided The Hamiltonian with the following clarification with respect to the document filed:

Please note that the complaint document has been amended, and the new amended version has been submitted to The Hamiltonian. Thus, the link above brings you to the new amended document.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Food for Thought with Alex Bielak - Dream of Blue Oysters

Dream of Blue Oysters

So, with apologies to Sting, I’ve become a farmer. Well technically I financed a smallholding, and sub-contracted the work to my wife and daughter. How small, you ask? About a foot square by a couple of feet high. Allow me to explain…

A couple of weeks’ back – during the Les Marmitons Gala I mentioned in the last column - I was at a talk by Brad Kuhns and Angela Vessie, the husband and wife team that runs Top Shelf Mushrooms in Collingwood. I love mushrooms, especially the more exotic ones that cost so much at supermarkets, so I found their talk fascinating. They are foragers who eventually founded a business making kits for folk who wanted to try their hand at growing their own. They also now run an expanding mushroom farm.

Their grow-at-home kits, available by mail, are certified organic and come with a couple of

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Compliance Audit requested for Pearson's Campaign Finances

The Hamiltonian has been advised that Maria Pearson's campaign finances pertaining to the last municipal election, may be subject to an election compliance audit. The request for a compliance audit was filed on June 16, 2015, by a resident in Ward 10.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Whitehead Weighs In

Clr. Terry Whitehead, who has lead the charge on behalf of the city of Hamilton in its dispute with Canada Post around the installations of community mailboxes, has provided The Hamiltonian with the following letter for release:

“I have been working with Canada Post for 7 months to move a mailbox 6 feet. They agreed to move it, but today the guys are installing right where they said they would in the first place.”

That is a paraphrased comment but it is indicative of messages, emails, and conversations I and my staff have had with residents all across the mountain since Canada Post began installing mailboxes. Canada Post’s John Hamilton has been on television, radio, in newspapers, and online telling Canadians Canada Post has been consulting with communities across the country. They are telling us that in Hamilton they’ve moved 30% of locations after talking to residents. The only problem is I can’t find a single one of them!

Instead I have residents calling me asking why there is a mailbox in their new driveway after Canada Post said they wouldn’t install it there. They’re asking me why we let this happen. Residents are frustrated with this process and this “consultation” we keep hearing so much about. I and my fellow Mountain colleagues invited Canada Post to an information night in February to speak with residents and hear their concerns first hand. They refused to show up. This is why, after repeated attempts to work with Canada Post and having no luck, we asked staff to create a by-law and passed it in April.

Other municipalities are learning first-hand about this “consultation”. The town of New Market

Sign, Sealed and Deliivered

With a recent court decision that asserts Canada Post's position that their interests in installing community mailboxes, trumps the city's position, a clear message was sent concerning the hierarchy of rights in this instance. Clearly, the Federal government prevailed and city council is left to decide whether they should appeal the decision.

The Hamiltonian recognizes Clr. Terry Whitehead for leading the charge and fighting what turned out to be a very difficult battle.

In terms of whether the city should appeal, we ask for your thoughts.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Rolling out the Red Carpet

Guy Magakian
"Rolling out the red carpet" is a term commonly used to acknowledge something very special or someone extraordinary. In the case of Guy Magakian who recently retired after 58 years of continuous service at Alexanian Carpet and Flooring in Hamilton, the descriptor is particularity fitting.

Guy came to Canada from Greece on March 25th, 1957 (coincidentally, Independence Day in Greece). A few short months later, in June of that same year, Guy was given a entry level opportunity with Alexanian's.  Guy advised the folks at Alexanian's that he would do any type of work and that he could start immediately

Guy was relieved in getting the opportunity, as he had made a pact with his wife, that they would move out of their home in Windsor and move back to Greece if he could not find employment in Hamilton. He told his wife that she should not unpack, in the event that his efforts were unsuccessful. Alexanian's in Hamilton came through for Guy, the suitcases were unpacked and Guy's wife and two children moved to Hamilton.

Guy's work ethic and commitment to the company earned him recognition and respect from management.  During the 58 years, Guy rarely took any time off, save for medical appointments.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Media Release: 2015 Final Property Tax Bills

2015 Final Property Tax Bills

HAMILTON, ON – June 9, 2015 – Beginning on June 10, 2015 Final Property Tax Bills will start to be delivered to all Hamilton taxpayers.

Residents, who receive their property tax bills electronically, would have already received their bills on June 5, 2015.

In addition to pre-authorized debit payment plans, there are various payment options for a property tax bill: 

By mail
In person at a local Municipal Service Centre, or at Hamilton City Hall, Citizen Service Centre, 71 Main Street West, Hamilton
In person at any bank or financial institution
By telephone or computer banking

For more information on the payment options, visit www.hamilton.ca

Residents that have questions about the 2015 Final Property Tax Bill should contact:

· (905) 546-CITY (2489) for general inquiries
· (519) 647-2577 if calling from 519 area code (St. George exchange) in Flamborough
· (905) 634-2971 if calling from Campbellville

Friday, June 5, 2015

Media Release-the City of Hamilton wants to know your vision for the future of Hamilton

Hamilton, ON – Wednesday, June 3, 2015: On Monday, June 15, 2015, the City of Hamilton is hosting a public meeting at Hamilton’s picturesque Waterfront Banquet & Conference Centre to talk to the community about their vision for the future of Hamilton. Participants can attend either the 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon or 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. session.

This public meeting is one of the many engagement opportunities available to residents and city stakeholders as part of the “Our Future Hamilton: Communities in Conversation” campaign. The aim of the campaign is to meet residents where they are and give everyone in Hamilton the opportunity to help create a new vision for our city. Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger is passionate about public engagement. “It’s more important than ever that we make sure our city planning effort is informed through conversations with members of our community who live, work, play and learn here”, said Mayor Eisenberger. “Our elected officials are charged with ultimate decision making on behalf of residents, however the goal is to make sure those decisions have been well informed by an effective public engagement process.”

In 1992, the City of Hamilton asked residents and stakeholders what they thought their city would look like in 25 years. The result was Vision 2020, Hamilton’s first and current community vision. Vision 2020 has helped Hamilton make significant progress and inspire collaborations in several key areas such as environmental protection, poverty alleviation, cultural and economic growth and integrated infrastructure planning. As Vision 2020 nears its end, the City of Hamilton is looking ahead to the next 25 years. A new Community Vision will help the City understand what matters to Hamiltonians and drive a new Strategic Plan that supports key decision making and effective service delivery.

Hamilton City Manager, Chris Murray, believes it’s an exciting time to be having this conversation with our residents. “The momentum in Hamilton is real”, said Murray. “With so many opportunities in front of us, Vision 2020 and the City of Hamilton’s 2012-2015 Strategic Plan both nearing the end of their lifespans, and with many of our key community partners involved in the same exercise, it’s the perfect time for us to talk to the people of Hamilton about what’s important for our city and help us shape the future over the next 25 years”.

June 15 Public Meeting – Waterfront Banquet & Conference Centre

At this meeting, participants will have a chance to learn about the project, share their ideas and hear some of the results of the campaign so far. Light refreshments will also be provided.

Space is limited, to register please visit:


Or Call: 905.546.2424 ext. 5913

For more information about the “Our Future Hamilton: Communities in Conversation” campaign, please visit www.hamilton.ca/ourfuturehamilton .


Food for Thought with Alex Bielak - Les Marmitons - Cooks Without Pants

Les Marmitons - Cooks Without Pants 

Made you look! More on pants, or lack there-of, below.

In my last column, while extolling the virtues of several chefs under whose direction I have had the pleasure and privilege of cooking, I mentioned a cooking group I’m a member of. Here’s some more information about it, and how to express interest in joining.

A “Marmiton” was traditionally a young kitchen helper or apprentice chef, and Les Marmitons is a men’s cooking organization with 17 chapters across Canada and the U.S. The Niagara and Toronto clubs are within a manageable drive of Hamilton/Burlington, depending where you live: I’m involved with both. Members at clubs benefit from cooking on pro equipment at culinary colleges, the Canadian Food and Wine Institute at Niagara College, and Liaison College West, in Etobicoke, respectively.

Chapters organize events more or less monthly between September and May, including special ones