Friday, December 11, 2015

7- Candidate Howard Rabb

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: howardrabb@gmail.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.


  1. Howard, I went to school with you at Dundas District. I now live in Ward 8, and have been watching your involvement with Terry since we moved here a year ago. I wish you the best of luck in your campaign!

    1. Hamiltonian AdminDecember 12, 2015

      Please note that the above comment posted by "Admin", is NOT The Hamiltonian Admin.

    2. Nice of you to say hi. You've got my curiosity going. Feel free to hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

  2. I'm concerned that you would associate yourself with Councillor Whitehead as he is a career politician. In many people's thoughts, he is a part of the Old boys club. I can't say anymore or my post won't be published.

    1. Terry and I met when I was running for the Liberal Nomination in HWAD. He was running the campaign of one of my opponents and he was impressed by my abilities and how I ran the campaign. After the nomination was settled he offered me a position in his office as one of his people was moving to Toronto. I jumped at the opportunity to get hands on experience working in local government and spent the bulk of 2015 spending every available minute at City Hall or in community meetings learning about how we get things done.

      On my first day Terry said to me: "We won't always agree on everything, you don't have to agree with everything I do in order to do your job" and that is totally true. When you work for a politician whether its in a constituency role or a political one you work to get the message out of what that person is working on. You do the background research etc and you deal first hand with constituent issues. Sometimes you agree, sometimes you don't but at the end of the day its about doing the best job you can for the residents. It was that job that made me want to move up to the mountain, and seek the Council seat that opened up when Councillor Duvall resigned.

      When you're on Council you have to associate with everyone else on Council. You need 9 votes to get anything passed which means you have to learn to work with everyone from the newly elected Councillors to those who have been there for a long time. If you ever want to chat feel free to call me direct at (289)426-2386

    2. If you get elected, please stop using the term "at the end of the day". It's overused by politicians.

    3. Have you moved up to the mountain? If so, what ward? While I'm more concerned about city-wide issues, I do think the person representing the ward should live in the ward.

  3. Terry Whitehead's assistant? No thanks.

  4. The mountain is a big place. I suspect Ward 7 is much different than Ward 8. Although Ward 8 has the one "Code Red" area on the mountain, I believe Ward 7 has a much greater population living below the poverty line, especially in the older areas. In the newer areas, there are still very busy streets that have no sidewalks, including parts of Upper Sherman, Upper Wellington, and particularly Rymal Road. We have lost our high schools, making it of greater necessity to take the HSR to school, and in some cases, have no sidewalks on part of that journey. This is not said in any way to discourage having money spent on safe streets in other parts of the city. It is said to bring issues to your attention of which you may not be aware, considering you are not from the area.

    1. An excellent point. I was actually well aware of this as it is something that I dealt with quite a bit when working in Ward 8. Ward 7 does have considerable poverty issues, but I think a big problem there is its often forgotten about. The only code-red neighbourhood that exists on the mountain was Rolston (ward 8) and that was done after Terry fought to have it included. Had that not happened, the mountain would have been left out completely. Every ward is unique, but my time at city hall working right beside Scott Duvall's assistant showed me the issues were nearly identical, as we both took the same calls every day, just from people on different sides of Upper James. One thing that did strike me as concerning though was the number of Ontario Works related calls seemed to be higher for W7 than W8. I don't have a metric for that, it was really more of an observation really. It just seemed to me that Jackie had to deal with more of those than our office did generally.

      Sidewalks are a huge problem on the mountain from Stoney Creek to the border with Ancaster. Busy streets and side roads without sidewalks make getting to and from work, or school quite dangerous if you aren't driving. You are correct by saying with all of this talk of safe streets sidewalks on the mountain often get forgotten. Many people assume because the neighbourhoods are newer they all have sidewalks.

      If you ever want to talk about this further give me a shout I'm happy to chat. (289)426-2386

  5. Saw you speak Monday, incredible!!! Seems like you are in this because you care and you have the ambition and know how to implement change, not for the notoriety that was obvious for some other candidates. Best of luck!

    1. Thank you for the kind words. If you would like to request a sign or be involved in anyway please email the team at info@electhoward.ca


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