2014 Hamilton Municipal Election

Recent posts

Hamilton Community Legal Clinic & Roundtable for Poverty Reduction Mayoral Candidates Forum

Starts at 4:30pm

Hamilton’s 12 Mayoral Candidates have been invited by the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic and the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction to discuss all issues during a Mayoral Forum on September 22, 2014 at the Hamilton Public Library Central Branch starting at 4pm.

This is the first forum open to the public with all 12 candidates.

Live video begins at 4pm.

The Hamilton Public Library is graciously providing access to Internet to enable this live broadcast.

The HPL is providing the internet access as all my work is licensed under the open culture license: Creative Commons – By Attribution – Sharealike

Brad Clark Positions In Favour of More Bus Service Instead of LRT – but Will Province Change The Big Move?

Brad Clark says Hamilton needs more HSR conventional bus service and BRT because the City cannot afford light rail transit.

In his first campaign announcement, the current Stoney Creek City Councillor and former provincial cabinet minister, says Hamilton should ask the province to fund a Bus Rapid Transit system with expanded conventional HSR service.

Clark Campaign Press Statement

Clark Campaign Press Statement

Clark argues Hamilton cannot afford the costs of upgrading the City’s underground water and wastewater infrastructure improvements required as part of the LRT development.

Clark cites Hamilton’s growing $200-million a year infrastructure deficit, and growing combined municipal debt which will reach over $1-billion in a couple of years as the City pays for improvements to water treatment plant.

A concept rendering of a Hamilton LRT line (City of Hamilton / Handout)

A concept rendering of a Hamilton LRT line (City of Hamilton / Handout)

Clark is positioning himself as a fiscal conservative candidate in the election. He joins mayoral candidate Crystal Lavigne in formally opposing LRT.

Brian McHattie is on the record supporting LRT. Fred Eisenberger supported LRT in the past, and is presently calling for more consultation on the file.

Clark’s Past Positions

Clark voted for LRT during the numerous unanimous council votes during the past six years.

Like many on Council, his support was based upon 100% provincial funding. Clark argues that because municipal costs will be incurred, the City cannot afford LRT.

The City will have to replace water and wastewater piping along King Street in the future. LRT will move this work forward, and BRT will likely require similar infrastructure road work.

Clark, with all Councillors, voted for the required water treatment plant improvements and voted in favour of the airport employment growth district.

These two items are major costs increasing the City’s municipal debt, with the water treatment plant improvements – which are required – being the largest driver of the debt increase.

Will Province Fund Clark Plan?

Clark’s position raises the question, will the province fund increased conventional bus service as part of The Big Move?

The challenge for all municipal candidates on transit platforms is that the province will not clarify what 100% funding means.

 

Appointment of new Ward 3 Councillor and Lack of Transparent Process

Let’s first get this clear, the debate about the process of filling the Ward 3 Councillor vacancy is not about the merits of appointing former Mayor Bob Morrow to fill the vacant seat until December 1, 2014.

The debate is about if Hamilton City Council should be diligent in its decision-making and transparent in its processes.

Unfortunately, much like the Pan-Am Station decision of 2010, Council prefers finding a “solution” behind closed doors without debate or public input.

We learned this week that during the funeral for the late Bernie Morelli, back room discussions were occurring to determine who would fill the vacancy created by Morelli’s death.

Out of these discussions – we still don’t know who was involved or how – a decision was made to appoint former Mayor Bob Morrow.

Ward 4 City Councillor Sam Merulla contacted The Spectator and CBC to make the announcement. Quickly, articles appeared to announce that Morrow would be appointed to the seat.

Ward 9 Councillor Brad Clark says media reports of Council’s “consensus” is how he and many of his fellow Councillors found out about the arrangement.

The Permissive Municipal Act

The Municipal Act does not prescribe how a City Council is to conduct an appointment for a vacancy on a City Council. It merely sets the timelines that a decision is to be made.

Secret votes are not allowed under the Municipal Act.

The Legislative Assembly, by not prescribing procedure, entrusts municipalities to govern themselves in a transparency democratic fashion while allowing for local autonomy to ensure each vacancy and regions unique circumstances are properly accommodated.

The Legislature is trusting municipal politicians to be able to govern themselves properly.

Traditionally, municipal level vacancies that are filled by appointment are advertised, candidates are invited to put their names forward, public meetings are held to allow the candidates to be vetted, and a public vote occurs to fill the vacancy.

In Hamilton, we had a series of private meetings, a series of private names were discussed, and an unknown group of City Councillors decided on whom to appoint.

Those who were not part of this network of unknown people were not invited into the process and the public was not informed until a decision was made.

Much the same as with the stadium at Ivor Wynne Stadium, a decision without public knowledge.

This is how our City Council is making big decisions and it is not acceptable.

Bob Morrow, City Councillor

The outcome, the appointment of former Mayor Bob Morrow, is a good one.

I, for one, was thinking about who was best able to fill the position and the idea of appointing an elder civic statesman was the conclusion I came to.

However, this was only after a proper public process that ensured our community had diligently filled the position.

The Decision is Made, What About Next Time?

The “process” is now complete. Morrow is the Ward 3 City Councillor.

Moving forward, how does Council not engage in backroom rushed decision making when facing a difficult choice?

Governance isn’t easy, democracy is difficult, and it isn’t quick.

Only Ward 9 Councillor Brad Clark had the courage of conviction to vote for a proper public process.

The next Council needs to create a clear set of policies to ensure processes are in place for difficult decision making.

Next time, we may not have a candidate such as Mayor Morrow that a consensus can be arranged upon despite a back room tainted process.

 

General Issues Committee for February 5, 2014 [Replay]

Council meets today to start the formal process of declaring the Ward 3 Council seat vacant, hear public delegations on the Farmers’ Market and workplace safety, receive the latest Neighbourhood Action Plans, and introduce a new task force to address brownfields.

Live coverage begins at 9:30 a.m.

Brian McHattie launches 2014 Mayoral Campaign at LIUNA Station [Replay]

Current Ward 1 City Councillor Brian McHattie is officially launching his campaign at an event that campaign chair Todd White says will “push the boundaries of a traditional campaign launch.”

“We’re starting off with a bang,” wrote White in a press release.

Live coverage begins at 6:45pm. Continue reading

Why I’m not Covering the 2014 Hamilton Municipal Election Until the 2014 Hamilton Municipal Election

Elections are serious business, and my coverage of the 2014 Hamilton Municipal Election will be the most thorough coverage of any local media outlet.

This site will focus on giving you, the voter, in-depth informative information-based, without any preferred candidates or agenda, to enable you to decide what candidates and platforms you wish to vote for.

There will be no endorsements of any candidate. You’ll be able to determine your own endorsement.

Our elections are about the future of the city we all love, I will take my responsibilities very seriously with that in mind.

Coverage Begins January 2nd

Until January 2nd, all we have to cover is a speculative and is horse-race politics.

On January 2nd:

– We will launch a new website and brand for Hamilton’s own local journalism outlet
– I’ll be at City Hall interviewing the candidates who register on Day 1
– In the event, our newly rebranded local journalism outlet will host a discussion of how to improve civic knowledge and engagement during the 2014 municipal election.

We need more serious journalism in Hamilton, and that’s what my election coverage will deliver.

P.S. I can’t wait to get started!