Thursday, December 10, 2015

7- Candidate John-Paul Danko

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 commences with Ward 7 candidate John-Paul Danko. Enjoy our Q/A with John-Paul:

1. Why are you running for Ward 7 Councilor? What are you hoping to achieve by doing so?

It is an exciting time to live in Hamilton; we have one of the most diverse economies in Canada and we’re on the cusp of a massive investment in new public infrastructure.

Yet, it still feels like Hamilton is stuck in neutral.

I am running for Ward 7 Councilor because I believe that we can do better. I come from outside of Hamilton’s political circles and hope to bring a fresh new perspective on what is great about our City and where we can improve from here.

I am running for Ward 7 Councilor because I believe that we need representatives with real world experience in industry and business. As a professional civil engineer, I solve complicated problems for a living and I would be honoured to bring that same approach to City Council.

Finally, I am running for Ward 7 Councilor because I believe that our Council representative should be personally invested in our community. I live here. I am raising my family here. I am your neighbor in Ward 7.

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?

There are a number of important issues facing Ward 7 and the City as a whole that I look forward to addressing as the campaign progresses. Our $3.3B dollar infrastructure deficit, effective transportation planning, Ward inequities, taxation, transparency and poverty come immediately to mind.

However, if I had to focus on just one thing, I think the primary issue we need to address in Hamilton is complacency and our collective tendency to settle for the status quo.

When I was a student at McMaster, I was one of the only hometown students in my class.

When describing Hamilton to my friends, I often found myself talking about Hamilton’s potential.

Over 20 years later, I am still talking about Hamilton in much the same terms – Hamilton as a city with potential.

I believe that in order for our City to finally realize its potential, we need to be willing to take bold steps. We need representatives who understand that what is popular in the short term might not be best in the long term.

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?

I honestly think that all of our current Councilors are dedicated, hardworking and truly care about their communities and our City.

However, I also think that we are represented by a number of Councilors who have become "career politicians" and that anyone who has been in the same job for a long time tends to lose perspective and avoids change. When every action taken is measured politically and every decision is made in the shadow of the need to be re-elected, the end result is often a culture of stagnation.

I am not a politician. I do not seek a seat on council as a career or a political stepping stone. The most important thing that I can bring to council is an honest and frank discussion from outside the current Hamilton political establishment.

4. How can people reach you to ask you about your position on matters or to otherwise engage with you?

One of the things that I have learned from my years of experience designing and managing large public infrastructure projects is the importance of gathering as much information as possible from as many diverse sources as you can reach. I look forward to answering questions and discussing the issues in a number of ways.

Directly by phone or text at 905 818 5711
Email at VoteDanko@gmail.com
Facebook at /JPDankoCentralMountain https://www.facebook.com/JPDankoCentralMountain/
Twitter @JPDankoWard7 http://www.Twitter.com/JPDankoWard7
Instagram @jpdanko https://www.instagram.com/jpdanko/
My campaign website http://www.jpdanko.com will go live on December 10th, 2015.

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 was born at Henderson Hospital and grew up on the mountain in a typical working class Hamilton family. My father worked in payroll at City Hall for 35 years and my mother was an elementary school teacher.

My grandfathers both worked their entire careers at two of Hamilton’s traditional cornerstone industries, Dofasco and Westinghouse, and half of my extended family worked at Stelco.

I graduated from McMaster University with a degree in Civil Engineering in 2001, and I am currently the Senior Project Manager at ELLIS Engineering Inc.

I am married with two children. We live in Ward 7 on the Central mountain.

I am also a small business owner. I operate a photography and media production company called blurMEDIA http://www.blurmediaphotography.com/ . I am a freelance stock photographer https://www.stocksy.com/blurMEDIA ; I write a weekly column at DIYPhotography.net http://www.diyphotography.net/author/jpd/ , one of the world’s most popular photography resources; and I produce and market online learning content at Skillshare.com https://www.skillshare.com/jpdanko .

6. Is there anything else you would like to add?

We have a wonderfully diverse and engaged community – I’d like to ask your readers to share their answers to a similar set of questions!

What are you looking for in a new Ward 7 representative at City Hall?
What do you think are the most pressing issues in Ward 7 and the City as a whole?
What qualities would you like to see the new Ward 7 representative bring to council?
Please leave a comment below or get in touch with me personally.


  1. "When every action taken is measured politically and every decision is made in the shadow of the need to be re-elected, the end result is often a culture of stagnation. "

    Damned straight!!!!!!

    1. You got my vote just based on that statement.

    2. I don't live in the ward, but I agree that Dankos; answer to question 3 was very astute.

  2. Sounds good to me. Question No.: 6 nicely covers John-Paul's answers to Questions 1 to 5.
    It looks like there will be no need for me to run in Ward 7 in 2016!
    I'll be watching with much hope should John-Paul Danko be elected.


    1. @TheBaldasaro - you just made my day!

      BTW - Campaign kick off meet and greet at Finch Espresso Bar 601 Upper James, Saturday 1-3 - love for everyone to come by and say hi. Free coffee on me, just RSVP https://www.facebook.com/events/1102494089785556/

  3. So far, I like Danko's answers the best. They come across as honest.

  4. HelloPaul...I know your Dad very well.You may ask your Dad..Do you know shekar? We need people like you at the City council..Best wishes...shekar

  5. Hi Shekar - Dad says hi! He said you were the hardest working guy in the City :)

  6. Best answers. You got my vote.

  7. Your answers are great, but your self promotion of your small business was a little over the top for me. I'm not sure you would be any different then the councillors we now have.

  8. Some history on Mr. Danko:
    A Queensdale parent who hijacked a public meeting on central Mountain elementary school closures says he felt it had to be done.
    Grabbing the microphone from the chairman was an extreme measure, admitted John-Paul Danko, but necessary because many parents do not feel their opinions are being heard and there was no chance for them to speak at the meeting.
    Not all parents agreed with his tactics, however, with many yelling at Danko to give up the microphone so the meeting could continue as planned.

    1. Thank you for the comment, I appreciate your candor. If anyone is interested in a more in depth account, Raise The Hammer published a detailed explanation back in 2013: http://raisethehammer.org/article/2005/why_i_seized_the_mic_at_a_school_closure_meeting

      Best regards, John-Paul Danko

    2. Do you think there would have been a better way to have handled the frustration than channeling the spirit of a character in a novel by Ayn Rand, who has become the darling of right wing politicians in the U.S.?

    3. Do you think there would have been a better way to address the criticism than to refer to fellow citizens as "crazy old ladies"?

    4. Thank you for the comment. I think you might be mistaking frustration for strategy. At the time we were preparing a judicial review case to ask the Superior Court to stay the school closure process all together. Effectively stopping a meeting that the Board was legislated to hold was a part of the legal case. In the end, a court case was not required as our actions at that meeting changed the Board's approach and we were ultimately successful in saving a number of community schools and guiding the board to a reasonable outcome. However, it is unfortunate that we caused some bruised feelings that night with resentment that is still held over two years later. As for John Galt, I suggest you read Atlas Shrugged, there is quite a bit there - it is a very inspiring book and not necessarily the right wing bible that it is often mistaken to be.

    5. I have read Atlas Shrugged, along with much of Ayn Rand's non-fiction. I was quite impressed. I was a teenager. Now that I'm an adult, I have no intention of re-reading it.

    6. Wow - well, you certainly have a lot more patience than I do. It took me nearly a year just to get through "the speech" in Atlas! (Its a little tedious.) Cheers, John-Paul Danko

  9. Thanks that convinced me to vote for him. We need bold leaders to stand up to others in council.

  10. His wife is ward 7 Trustee for Hamilton Wentworth District School Board:


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