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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Clr. Green's Complaint

Update: In light of this topic being the subject of a lot of discussion, we sent Clr, Green the following questions. If he replies, we will post his response:

It appears clear that you had a logical reason for being where you were at the time you were questioned. Do you think that that reason would have been apparent to police, or anyone else for that matter who may have observed you at that point in time. What would you think the appropriate response should have been with the police? Or do you believe they should have simply driven by? If this incident did not involve a person of colour, do you believe it would have unfolded the same way? Can you explain your answer?

Clr. Green was kind enough to provide a copy of the complaint he filed, based on his recent incident with Hamilton Police. The following is his complaint:

April 27, 2016

Hamilton Police Service
155 King William St
Box 1060, LCD1 Hamilton, ON L8N 4C1

RE: Hamilton Police Service Complaint Arbitrary Stop April 26, 2016

To whom it may concern:

On Tuesday April the 26th at approximately 3:15 pm I arrived at the bus stop located on the Eastbound/South side of Stinson St and Victoria Ave. waiting for the 5 Delaware bus to take me to my home a few blocks away.

Having underestimated the temperature outside I was dressed in dark blue sports blazer, light blue dress shirt and casual pants and decided to cross the street to stand beside the bridge adjacent to the Central Memorial Recreation centre in order to shield myself from the frigid wind and wait for the Eastbound 5 Delaware bus.

While reading emails on my phone, two Hamilton police squad cars exited the parking lot from Central Memorial School, turning left onto Stinson in the eastbound/north side of the street. The first officer driving squad car 725-1 stopped directly in front of me with his window rolled down.

The following conversation contained in this complaint is part of but not limited to the extent of the stop which felt like roughly 7 or 8 minutes in duration.

Having a relatively familiar relationship with Division 1 frontline officers my first thought was that he was going to say hello so to my surprise he began to arbitrarily question me in an intimidating tone asking, “what are you doing there?”

To which I replied, “checking my phone”.

He responded, “under a bridge?”

I replied, “out of the wind waiting for the bus”.

His line of questioning and tone became more agitated as cars began to line up behind him and he held up traffic.

He further asked, “where I was going?”

Recognizing the nature of his questioning and feeling harassed I believe I replied, “why does that matter?”

He responded, “the bus won’t be able to see you” thinking that I was waiting for the westbound bus when in fact I was waiting for the eastbound bus which I would have easily seen turning down the street off of Wellington St. South.

When I looked to his partner who was waiting behind him in a separate squad car, his partner said, “tell him he’s holding up traffic”. Which I relayed to the officer questioning me while the roughly 5 or so cars were left waiting.

The officer said, “they can wait”.

I asked him if he’d rather pull over to have this conversation to which he replied “no I’m good here”

He then asked me “are you from this City?”

To which I replied that “Yes I’m very much from this City and you?” He then asked me my name in an annoyed tone to which I replied “Matthew Green and what’s your name?

To which he replied “Officer REDACTED (spelling unknown) I believe it was at that time that he followed up with, “are you the City Councillor?” To which I did not answer and looked to his partner hoping the interaction would have ended and he would have continued along his way.

Perhaps recognizing that I was an elected official he proceeded to repeatedly ask me, “are you okay?”

To which I replied “are you okay?” I do not feel the interaction was caused by any particular concern for my wellbeing or safety. The conversation felt confrontational in nature and I was made to justify my existence in my own community. Nor do I believe it followed the proper Hamilton police protocols given the nature of the interaction.

This process of arbitrary stopping and questioning in public with cars lined up on the street waiting caused me embarrassment, frustration and anger. He repeatedly questioned my credibility, acting in an intimidating manner and continued to harass me even though it was clear I was not a suspect in any crime nor involved in criminal activity. I feel what he was doing was unlawful and unconstitutional.

This questioning was both arbitrary and agitating in nature and constitutes both harassment and intimidation as I was not under any investigation nor related to any criminal activity or events in the area.

Respectfully Submitted,

Matthew Green


Note: As per our site policy, only respectful comments will be published. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Food for Thought with Alex Bielak - New RBG Chef Reaches for the Moon

Chef Stephanie Brewster in New Kitchen
New RBG Chef Reaches for the Moon

I’ve written previously about the ‘Luna’ re-launch events for the rejuvenated Crown Jewel of the Royal Botanical Gardens’, the stunning David Braley and Nancy Gordon Rock Garden. More on that below, but the real long-term foodie story here is of a new chef with serious cred that has been enticed from London, Ontario to take over culinary operations at the RBG. I believe Chef Stephanie Brewster is going to transform RBG’s culinary operations for the better.

Hailing from Fanshawe College, where she was a popular professor in the culinary program, she was the winner of the very first episode of Chopped Canada, impressing chef judges Michael Smith, Vikram Vij and Anne Yarymowich. Along with some other food writers I had the opportunity to meet her (again in my case) at a walkthrough of the new facilities at the Garden.

Brewster with her great attitude and ready chuckle is easy to warm to. She has quickly immersed herself in the local culinary scene. Clearly relishing competition, she went head to head with three other chefs in a recent Popup Hamilton Showdown where she produced a stunning dessert pairing for a Peller Estates Icewine she was assigned to match up with.

She told me, just having returned from Italy, and with only six weeks in the Burlington/Hamilton area


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Hamilton Police Services re: Clr. Green Complaint

We reached out to there Hamilton Police Services to invite them to comment on the issue we are covering with respect to Clr. Green's complaint. Accordingly, we received the following from the Hamilton Police Service:

We want the community to know that if and when they have a concern or a complaint about a member of our Service or our service delivery that we encourage people to use the OIPRD complaint process so that there can be an investigation. It is also important to know that we cannot provide any comment in order to ensure the integrity of that process. More information on the complaint process can be found here: ~https://hamiltonpolice.on.ca/how-to/file-complaint

Media Release: 41st Annual Hamilton Community Prayer Breakfast

Hamilton, ON –April 28, 2016 – The sold out 41st Annual Hamilton Community Prayer Breakfast will take place on Tuesday, May 3rd 2016 from 7:30-9:00 a.m. at LIUNA Station, 360 James Street North.

The Prayer Breakfast is an annual engagement, where our present and future leaders come together in the spirit of strengthening self and with the purpose of building and sustaining a healthy community that values respect and openness for all. The Prayer Breakfast Committee and the Office of the Mayor encourage people of all faiths and creeds to attend this Hamilton tradition of the community coming together to share a meal and be inspired by the life experiences, passions and talents of our local speakers.

Madeleine Levy, Chair of the Hamilton Community Prayer Breakfast Committee believes, “This annual Breakfast celebrates faith, student voice from our area school boards, local musical artists and sharing of ideas and perspectives. For over 40 years, it has been a true catalyst to encourage participation in dialogue, foster mutual understanding and awareness about community and global issues, and develop relationships.”

The theme of the 2016 Hamilton Community Prayer Breakfast is Words and Action ~ CommUNITY, fostering caring, peaceful and inclusive societies.

The keynote speaker for this exciting program is Lishai Peel, an award winning poet, creative consultant and community animator. Deeply committed to using spoken word as a tool for social change and community capacity building, Lishai facilitates spoken word/poetry writing and performance workshops with youth in schools all across Canada. Lishai utilizes culturally-sensitive, alternative education, arts based practices in her workshops, with a focus on confidence building and excavation of personal stories.

A truly inspirational morning showcasing creative artistry from our local schools and community with a powerful message of unity and building bridges of understanding and respect through dance, poetry, music and prayer.

We are pleased to invite the Media to join us for this moving and inspirational gathering and support Hamilton’s Vision, "To be the best place in Canada to raise a child, promote innovation, engage citizens, and provide diverse economic opportunities."

Media Release: Councillor Green Response to Arbitrary Stop by Hamilton Police

April 26, 2016 

Councillor Green Response to Arbitrary Stop by Hamilton Police

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—On Tuesday, April 26th Councillor Matthew Green was waiting for the bus to go home when two police cruisers stopped and one officer proceeded to engage in an arbitrary stop and questioning of Councillor Green.

“The truth is, this experience has been happening thousands of times throughout Ontario—it criminalizes innocent people, dehumanizing them and making them question their own place in their community. Although this is not the first time this has happened to me, this is the first time it has happened since being elected in 2014,” says Councillor Green.

Councillor Green submitted a formal complaint to the Hamilton Police Service on the morning of Wednesday, April 27, 2016.

“When residents call me to ask my advice on incidents revolving around racism or policing, I give them the same advice: officially file a complaint because not doing so allows people to continue to believe or suggest it doesn’t happen,” says Councillor Green.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Media Release

STATEMENT FROM MAYOR EISENBERGER ON RECENT RANDOM POLICE QUESTIONING OF COUNCILLOR GREEN

HAMILTON, ON April 27, 2016 –As this is a formal complaint, and as I am both mayor and a member of the Police Services Board, it would not be proper to comment while the matter is being investigated.

My position on carding in general is well-known: it is indiscriminate, targeted, street checks, without the suspicion of a crime. As far as I’m concerned this must not be practiced and it is proper that it be banned.

In October 2015, the Provincial government proposed draft regulations that have now been passed. As of January 2017, the new rules say police officers cannot randomly or arbitrarily stop and question citizens. Officers must also inform a citizen that a stop is voluntary and they have the right to walk away. They will also be required to provide a reason for the stop, documentation about it afterwards, and must inform citizens how to file a complaint or access information obtained during the stop.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Mayor Firm in Keeping Poverty Reduction and Social Housing at the Forefront

Enjoy our Q/A with Mayor Eisenberger

The Hamiltonian: On the heels of your motion to earmark millions of dollars over 10 years to address poverty and social housing, it appears as though some councillors are reserving full support until such time that more definition is had on how that money will be spent. On that note, we acknowledge that you have provided some indications on how you might approach that question.

At the same time, recently, at least one city councillor resurrected the idea of building a tower by city hall to accommodate the consolidation of city staff, as well as potentially for other uses. Such an investment, would be significant despite leveraging what appears to be a hot real estate market. While recognizing that your motion to earmark millions of dollars to poverty reduction and social housing needs is bold, how will you navigate and protect this investment against competing ideas such as the tower idea, or anything else that might call upon significant investment? Or do you see the ability to run this investment alongside other calls for significant investments

Mayor Eisenberger: The investing in people initiative will not impact the property tax levy. $20 million to increase affordable housing will come from extending the payback term for existing City loans from the Future Fund from 2031 to 2036; and $3 million annually over 10 years for poverty reduction will come from the dividend uplift to the City resulting from the merger of Horizon Utilities Corporation and several other local utilities into the new entity provisionally called MergeCo.

Poverty comes with high costs to the health of individuals, communities, and the economy. Poverty costs federal and Ontario governments between $10.4 and $13.1 billion per year. Lost productivity costs add to this burden; “Federal and provincial governments across Canada lose between $8.6 billion and $13 billion in income tax revenue to poverty every year.”

The investing in people poverty reduction plan is over and above any project that we are currently doing or contemplate doing in the future. Once the commitment is approved by council other projects will have to look to different funding sources. The reduction or elimination of poverty needs to be and remain to be a priority.


Friday, April 22, 2016

In Honor of the Late Great Prince

I never meant to cause you any sorrow
I never meant to cause you any pain
I only wanted to one time to see you laughing
I only wanted to see you
Laughing in the purple rain


"Movies are real! Music is real! It affects people, it's real. … The other night I went to a club and I watched a DJ control an entire room. Even politicians can't do that."
Prince

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Motions in Motion: Eisenberger on Poverty Reduction

The following is a motion that Mayor Eisenberger is brining forward. 

CITY OF HAMILTON
N O T I C E O F M O T I O N

General Issues Committee: April 20, 2016

MOVED BY MAYOR EISENBERGER…………………………………………………….
SECONDED BY COUNCILLOR C. COLLINS……………………………………………

Initiative to Increase Affordable Housing and Reduce Poverty by Investing in People

WHEREAS, our most important form of capital is human capital, and the most important infrastructure is human infrastructure;

WHEREAS, we are all striving to make Hamilton the best place to raise a child; we want every child in Hamilton to grow up to meet his or her full potential thereby preparing the next generation of adults to be full participants in their own communities;

WHEREAS, the conditions in which people are born, live, grow, and age all effect the overall wellbeing of individuals and communities - low income almost inevitably ensures poor health and significant health inequity; 19% of Hamiltonians live below the Low Income Cut-off and 22% of all Hamilton children live in poverty;

WHEREAS, the lack of stable and quality housing negatively impacts people, families and young people in particular. There are over 5,700 individuals and families on the waiting list for social housing in Hamilton. The deferred maintenance of the social housing stock in Hamilton would require approximately $200 million to be brought into a state of good repair;

WHEREAS, CityHousing Hamilton (CHH) has annualized capital requirements of $16 million and this year received $8.2 million, resulting in an annualized shortfall of $8 million; and, further, CHH this year received $11.4 million for operating maintenance expenses, and requires an additional $2 million annually to keep all units maintained and available for rent, resulting in about 90 units that are currently unavailable for rent; and,

WHEREAS, Hamilton has a strong history of local collaboration on many initiatives and numerous strategies including the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction, Neighbourhood Action Strategy, the Mayor’s Youth Strategy, 10 Year Housing & Homelessness Action Plan, and the Hamilton Best Start Network. Hamilton has put in place the right conditions for success and it is time to move forward on the next chapter in reducing poverty in Hamilton;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:

(a) That $20 million be allocated to increase affordable housing and improve the state of good repair with funds derived by extending the payback term for existing City loans from the Future Fund from 2031 to 2036;

(b) That $3 million a year over 10 years be allocated toward poverty reduction with the funds derived from the dividend uplift to the City resulting from the merger of Horizon Utilities Corporation and several other local utilities into the new entity provisionally called MergeCo;

(c) That staff be directed to develop a 10 year integrated poverty reduction plan to include:

(i) Key components informed by engagement with partners such as the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction, Hamilton Community Foundation, Hamilton Best Start Network, Aboriginal Network, and stakeholders from health, education, housing, employment, and those with lived experience of poverty.

(ii) Leveraging of existing services and partnerships, as well as augmenting and assisting successful programs in order to maximize their impact;

(iii) Appropriate measurement and outcome indicators to track the progress and success of this initiative.

(iv) A governance structure that involves engaged community partners and stakeholders. This body would report back to the Emergency & Community Services Committee on progress made every six months;

(v) Funding from non-tax and non-rate supported revenues and reserves;

(vi) Leveraging of funding commitments in the form of loans and grants from senior levels of government, school boards, and foundations as well as other potential contributors from the private sector.

(d) That staff be directed to report to the Emergency & Community Services

Committee by October 2016 a Plan to Increase Affordable Housing and Reduce Poverty by Investing in People for consideration and approval by Council.


The following backgrounder accompanied the motion:

Monday, April 18, 2016

Media Release: Ontario's Big City Mayors Encouraged by Prime Minister's Commitment to Partner with Cities on Key Issues


For Immediate Release April 18, 2016

The Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario (LUMCO) met with Prime Minister Trudeau and key members of his cabinet last week to discuss the issues facing the majority of cities in Ontario and across Canada, including infrastructure funding, job creation and affordable housing.

During LUMCO’s meeting with Prime Minister Trudeau, discussions focused on forging a new and different relationship between the two levels of government. The federal government made a commitment to tackle infrastructure funding and other major issues by working in partnership with cities at a four-sided table that would include the federal government, provincial government, cities and Indigenous People.

“The Prime Minister clearly understands the need to have all levels of government at the table to deal with the complex issues facing today’s cities - that’s the only way we’ll see real progress,” said Mayor Jeff Lehman, City of Barrie and LUMCO Chair. “LUMCO mayors look forward to working with the federal government as soon as possible on solutions to these issues for the benefit of the 6 million residents who share our priorities.”

LUMCO met with Prime Minister Trudeau and Trinity-Spadina MP, Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs. Mayors also met with Finance Minister Bill Morneau; Infrastructure and Communities Minister Amarjeet Sohi; Transportation Minister Marc Garneau; Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development; Rona Ambrose, Leader of the Official Opposition and Tom Mulcair, Leader, NDP. Below is a summary of key outcomes:

Infrastructure Funding

LUMCO applauds the federal government’s focus on infrastructure in Budget 2016 with its commitment to invest $120 billion in infrastructure over the next ten years. The federal government has stated that infrastructure funding will be implemented in two phases. Given the importance for cities to have access to long term, predictable, sustainable funding mechanisms to address growing infrastructure deficits, LUMCO made the following requests of the federal government:

That Phase 1 implementation include straightforward funding mechanisms, similar to the permanent and indexed federal Gas Tax Fund, and streamlined approval processes to make funding available for municipalities as soon as possible; and

That the federal government consult directly with municipalities for input into the implementation of Phase 2 funding.

LUMCO is encouraged that the Trudeau government is increasing its funding commitment up to 50 per cent for some infrastructure projects in recognition that municipalities across Canada own 60 per cent of public infrastructure, yet, Ontario cities get only 10 cents of every tax dollar collected.

Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Enhancement

As part of Budget 2016, the federal government announced that in the coming months, it will launch consultations to give Canadians an opportunity to share their views on enhancing the Canada Pension Plan, with the goal of being able to make a collective decision before the end of 2016.LUMCO requests that the federal government make this issue a priority and work to align provinces nationally to find consensus on CPP enhancements so they don’t have to create their own pension plans.

Affordable Housing

Affordable housing is a critical issue facing cities across Canada. Minister Duclos emphasized the federal government’s commitment to build a national housing strategy – which LUMCO has been calling for – and to work in partnership with provinces, territories and municipalities in developing innovative options and solutions to address this crisis. LUMCO looks forward to engaging with all parties to develop the national housing strategy.

The issues facing Ontario’s largest cities are the same ones facing cities across Canada. These are complex problems that require all levels of government to work together. LUMCO looks forward to working with FCM and the federal government as a full partner in our efforts to build strong and prosperous communities for the benefit of all Canadians.

About The Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario (LUMCO)

The Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario (LUMCO) represents 67% of Ontario’s population with Mayors of 27 communities over 100,000 residents. LUMCO advocates for issues and policies important to Ontario’s largest cities. Jeff Lehman, the Mayor of Barrie is the Chair of LUMCO; Linda Jeffrey, Mayor of Brampton, is Vice-Chair.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Media Release:4th Annual Neuro-Palooza fundraising event

On Saturday evening, April 30th Kevin Black, the brother of country music superstar Clint Black, and partner David Clements are coming together at the 4th Annual Neuro-Palooza fundraising event at the local Bay City Hall in Hamilton, Ontario located at 50 Leader Drive. Kevin will perform in the hopes that they can bring awareness to Rett Syndrome and sell their book Raising A Hand: A Photographic Music Festival With a Cause to as many people as possible in an effort to fund a cure for Rett.

Dave Clements and Kevin Black joined together in Raising A Hand: A Photographic Music Festival With a Cause to help raise awareness of Rett syndrome. Kevin Black’s daughter, Cortney, died in 2003 at age 16 of complications from Rett syndrome and for the last decade Black has devoted his time and talent to the Rett cause. This book gives you an insight of the syndrome and celebrities that are Raising A Hand for the cause that range from Blake Shelton, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Clint Black (Kevin Black’s brother), and so many more. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Article of the Moment

...from our friends at C.A.T.C.H. . Click here to go there...

Saturday, April 2, 2016

LRT- The Political Perils of Transformative Change

LRT for Hamilton denotes a transformational change. The primary and secondary impacts it will have on many aspects of commerce and our everyday lives, will be undeniably significant.

One of the preconditions of successful transformation is the presence of a state of disharmony. Said simply, it is a lot easier getting people to accept transformational change, if the present conditions are unbearable. Optimally, that degree of unbearability ought to be universally shared. If people willingly accept that there is a pressing need for change, that change will be generally welcomed and easier to implement.

But is this the case for LRT? Certainly it cannot be denied that the LRT lobby in Hamilton has been loud, clear and persistent- ultimately and arguably pressing governments to the edge, culminating in a commitment and funding to make LRT happen. It is credible to think that with LRT comes many primary and secondary benefits; albeit not in a predictable one size fits all way, but in a location specific way. Meaning, that its ensuing benefits for Hamilton can best be understood as we consider its placement , cost of implementation and function in Hamilton specifically, using other case studies as reference points rather than an assurance of identical outcomes. 

So, back to the question. Is there a understood need for change? Is there a present condition that is indigestible to many and that has resulted in a state of disharmony? 

In some ways, the notion of LRT really goes to a notion of less reliance on cars and more uptake in public transit. Thus not making it a response to a universal pressing demand, but to a new envisioned state whereby public transit becomes more the norm.

It is somewhat ironic that recently, data harnessed by Tom Tom, makers of GPS systems, revealed that Hamilton scores well on the driveable cities scale; unlike neighbouring Toronto whose degree of congestion caused it to score poorly. 

And with that comes the political problem with this particular transformation effort.  If we accept the premise that LRT is not a response to a universal feeling of disharmony with a present condition, it will be understood as a choice made by politicians to move toward a heavier investment in public transit at the expense of available road space to drivers of vehicles. 

Some may legitimately argue that investing in LRT is a smart short, medium and longer term investment and the transitional pain ought to be taken as par for the course. There are others however who may cry foul when their drive to or from their destinations is severely impeded, or even marginally so. 

LRT appears to be a deliberate attempt to shift the habits of people away from a car centred culture, to a public transit centered culture. Will it work? Will Hamiltonians embrace such a change in transportation culture? Only time will tell. 

Your thoughts?

The Hamiltonian

Book Review- Walking the Stones of Time

Burlington resident and retired school teacher Oswald Brown writes a tale that blends history and fantasy in a new novel that presents as a love story  shrouded in adventure, mystery and treachery.  On a mission to free the woman of his dreams from slavery, the story's hero has to call upon  everything he has to prevail over a set of circumstances that conspire to  keep him from the one he loves. Brown himself describes the book as "a fantasy of time that might have been. These people existed and left their signs of being here, not only on the strange sanding stones we pass daily without seeing them, but in the customs and the way they lived."

If you are not new to the genre of fantasy, or are new to the genre and are looking for a book that will allow you to escape to another world,  Walking the Stones of Time would prove an interesting choice. For more information, including its social commentary, click here.

Available in hard cover, softcover and e-book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Xlibris