In our series entitled "7", The Hamiltonian will provide all candidates who are registered to run in the Ward 7 by-election, equal access to The Hamiltonian to get their message out. As per our standing policies, The Hamiltonian will remain nuetral and will allow all an opportunity.Our series continues with Ward 7 candidate Howard Rabb. Enjoy our Q/A with Howard:
1. Why are you running for Ward 7 Councillor. What are you hoping to achieve by doing so?
I am running to represent the people of the Hamilton Mountain because we will need a strong voice in the years ahead. Hamilton is growing quickly and changing rapidly. A billion dollar investment is coming to our downtown from the province that will require additional investment from the Municipality to make it a reality. That money has to come from somewhere and I want to make sure that priorities on the mountain aren't ignored.
We can't let Mountain roads crumble and we can't ignore the incredible lack of public transit on the mountain any longer.
During my time at City Hall I made relationships with both senior staff and Councillors. Those relationships are key to getting things done for the ward. Because of this I can hit the ground running and begin delivering for Ward 7 on day one
2. What do you think are the most pressing issues facing the Ward and facing the city as a whole. How would your contributions help to resolve these issues?
The City will be overseeing a massive billion dollar contract to bring LRT to the lower city. We'll be watching as Metrolinx invests another $250 million in a new GO station in the east end. With all of this attention being placed on downtown it will be a challenge to make sure the needs of the Mountain and the outlying areas are not forgotten.
The much needed GO Station on Centennial will be the third GO Rail Station in the lower city. The mountain has none.
Additionally the City has a ward boundary review underway, the issue of Area Rating for Transit to deal with and the upcoming development on the waterfront not to mention what to do about the massive loss of revenue caused by the collapse of US Steel Canada.
On top of all of this the City has a $3.3 billion in unfunded but needed repairs. We fall behind a further $195 million each year. Wiping out this $195 million deficit (while still ignoring the $3.3 billion in existing repairs that are needed) would mean a property tax increase of over 30% and that's just not doable. With the new Federal Government in Ottawa we need to keep up the pressure and make sure those badly needed infrastructure dollars make their way to Hamilton.
3. What is your current assessment of this installation of City council? Are you satisfied with their performance. What, if anything, might you add to council that would be unique or new?
There are things I can point to and say "yeah, I like that", and there are things I can point to and say "We can do better". Friends are able to criticize friends when those criticisms come from an honest and well meaning place. When I worked at the City I had no problem sitting with a Councillor after work (and not just the one I worked for) and asking them why they did something, or didn't do something. Some people that I respect a lot have taken positions that I disagree with but at the end of the day I respect them all.
I hope that my fresh voice, energy and enthusiasm will reinvigorate debate and bring in new ideas into the City. In the 2014 election we elected four new Councillors and a new Mayor. That brings 5 new voices to a room of 16 people. With this election Ward 7 has the opportunity to send a sixth new voice into that room. I can't recall a time when there was so much new blood in our local government. Its quite an exciting time to live in Hamilton!
4. How can people reach you to ask you about your position on matters or to otherwise engage with you?
People can reach out to me via email at: email@example.com or on Facebook at https://facebook.com/Howard.Rabb
They can also follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Howard_Rabb although due to the character limits on Twitter I'll probably just respond to most questions with a link to a longer answer. People deserve more than 140 character response.
My website at http://electhoward.ca is also up for people to learn more about me, and I'll be publishing articles throughout the campaign.
5. Tell us a little about yourself, on a personal note. Your hobbies, likes, dislikes, background etc. Anything that would have people get to know who you are on a more personal basis.
I grew up in Dundas before moving to Guelph in my 20s where I met my wife. We stayed there for a few years before moving to Toronto for work. My time in Toronto made me long for home everyday. Traffic congestion made it nearly impossible to get anywhere or do anything if it wasn't on the subway line and my commute to work along the 401 everyday seemed like a punishment from which there was no reprieve.
We moved back to Hamilton when my wife went back to Mohawk. After she graduated we bought our starter home. My time working for the West Mountain Councillor Terry Whitehead gave me an appreciation for the mountain and had me looking for a place to move even before I contemplated this run.
We're now in the final stages of choosing where we want to live and have our eyes on several places on the mountain that will suit our lifestyle well.
We have two cats and a big white dog and as a result travel with a lint roller in the car at all times.
I feel humour and brevity are important communication tools. When used correctly, and with respect they can help get across a point and build bridges when disagreements come up.
6. Is there anything else you would like to add?
If you live in the ward please come out and vote. Turnout in by-elections is incredibly small and every single vote matters.
And whether or not you live in the ward I'm happy to sit with you and talk about issues affecting our city and how we can work together to solve them.