Municipal Election 2010

Eisenberger Stumbles In Race For Mayor

The large number of undecided voters indicates that many have yet to find any mayoral candidate particularly appealing. This is a straightforward failure of Eisenberger's campaign.

By Adrian Duyzer
Published October 16, 2010

A poll commissioned by the Hamilton Spectator and conducted by Nanos Research puts Bratina, Eisenberger, and Di Ianni ahead of the pack, but virtually tied with one another - and the number of undecided voters means that victory is within anyone's grasp.

The results break down as follows:

Although the results put Bratina ahead of Eisenberger, the poll's 3.1 percent margin of error means it could be the other way around. However, Bratina's 5.1 percent lead over Di Ianni is outside the margin of error.

Most significantly of all, however, is that Bratina is a major contender and possibly the leader in the race for mayor, confirming earlier polling rumours.

Bratina is well-known in the downtown as Ward 2 councillor, and even more well-known across the city - and especially in older demographics - as a CHML radio personality. He's temperamental, but his urbanist outlook has earned him wide support among downtown residents.

He's a household name among the older crowd, which is particularly valuable because they vote in greater numbers than younger people. This is reflected in the poll's methodology, as an astute commenter on RTH pointed out this morning, writing that the poll is "skewed to reflect historic voter apathy" because it features more older respondents than younger ones:

Out of 1000 respondents:
  • 18 to 29: 89 respondents
  • 30 to 39: 119 respondents
  • 40 to 49: 194 respondents
  • 50 to 59: 244 respondents
  • 60 plus: 354 respondents

It will be interesting to see if voting patterns among age groups in this election are consistent with previous years.

The large number of undecided voters - almost 30 percent - indicates that many have yet to find any mayoral candidate particularly appealing. This is a straightforward failure of Eisenberger's campaign.

I don't believe, as many have claimed, that tepid support for Eisenberger is because people disagree with him on the best location for the Pan Am Games stadium, or are upset with the way he handled negotiations with the Tiger Cats.

Although Bratina's positions on the stadium have been, shall we say, "nuanced", he never supported the East Mountain proposal and eventually did express strong (but late) support for the West Harbour. In spite of that, Bratina is enjoying plenty of support from voters, so support for the West Harbour is not a serious political liability.

The biggest problem with Eisenberger's campaign is that the message is weak.

Eisenberger has a great track record to run on. In his four years we've installed an integrity commissioner, made substantial progress on LRT, saved the Lister Block, instituted a one-bag limit on garbage (a challenge Hamiltonians rose to in impressive fashion) and held taxes to 2% or less per year (half that of Toronto). We endured the worst recession since at least the 1980s and now the Conference Board of Canada reports that Hamilton has the second highest rate of economic growth in the country.

These accomplishments, plus the natural advantage of incumbency, should make Eisenberger the clear favourite. Instead, weak messaging has allowed his opponents to define him as lacking leadership and the ability to get things done.

Certainly, he's not the most charismatic person, but his steadiness, his clear vision for the future of Hamilton, and his personal integrity more than make up for that. Unfortunately for him, it doesn't look like that's getting across to many Hamiltonians.

Bratina's message, on the other hand, seems to be getting through loud and clear.

Adrian Duyzer is an entrepreneur, business owner, and Associate Editor of Raise the Hammer. He lives in downtown Hamilton with his family. On Twitter: adriandz

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By cd (anonymous) | Posted October 16, 2010 at 15:29:26

I'm pretty certain Bratina will win this one, in no small measure due to the growing perception of the mayor's poor handling of Pan Am games stadium process. A competent mayor but he fell short where real leadership was needed.

I hope this is the last we'l see of Di Ianni, too. Frankly, he's becoming an electoral embarrassment.

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By Malex (anonymous) | Posted October 16, 2010 at 16:48:27

I wasn't included in the poll, and I'm voting Mayor Fred (and Paul Tetley) all the way and so is my wife...I still think Freddy will come through with the win...

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By bigguy1231 (registered) | Posted October 16, 2010 at 18:13:54

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By cd (anonymous) | Posted October 16, 2010 at 18:36:00

"I don't neccesarily believe that DiIanni will do a better job than Fred. But I do believe that he has the better chance of winning."

Voting for someone because he's a better statistical bet than Eisenberger is about the lamest reason I've seen yet!

What did DiIanni do when he was mayor? I seem to recall some pretty terrible snow removal issues,a lot of bluster about downtown revitalization but little to show for it, raised property taxes and, of course, the Chapman affair. Does the man not have an image problem? Is this "a good compromise candidate"?

Wake up, people!

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By Kevin B (anonymous) | Posted October 16, 2010 at 18:50:37

I was voting for Diianni anyway so this turn of events with Bratina makes no difference to me. I'd actually choose Fred before Bob too. It's interesting how polarizing Bratina can be. I seldom hear people having neutral opinions of him.

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By T-rav (anonymous) | Posted October 16, 2010 at 19:31:38

Last person I would ever see as mayor is bob. Bob used to be my neighbour on central mountain years ago and he was a real prick then so I don't believe he is in this for Hamilton at all, just his own interests. I wish people would really listen to what he is really saying and if you get to know him you will see the real side of this asshole. People at that point might wake up and realize he is no good for this job. I am still sticking by Fred for this, he is truly in this for the best interests of the city and really believes in what he is doing now and what he will continue to do, he deserves another term without any doubt in my mind. I want my mayor to have experience, just because Bob was a good voice on the radio doesn't mean he will be a good mayor. If he did get in I can see him loosing next election big time, it's happened before and I know it will happen this time if he wins.

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By Tartan Triton (anonymous) | Posted October 16, 2010 at 19:37:19

DiIanni is clearly dogged by the taint of his past. I'm sure he'd insist otherwise, but the campaign messaging - the supersized Larry and subscript DiIanni on his lawn signs, the larryformayor.com domain – speak volumes. His surname will be in all-caps on the ballot but he dare not play it up on the way there.

Bratina is making hay out of being "the other name candidate," but has a farcical platform (even if it were feasible, deamalgamation would be an agonizing, city-stalling process that would make the Pan Am marathon look like a wind sprint) and would have had trouble equalling his mediocre 2006 vote count had he run again in Ward 2. He had a lot of downtowners onside when he got elected but has grown crankier and less credible over time.

Eisenberger is worse for wear after LD hijacked his inner circle, but he's doing okay. The thing is, okay is lame. He should own at least another 10% of the polling results -- but then, the 27% silence is a damning verdict on the 15 gents assembled.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted October 16, 2010 at 19:53:06

What I find fascinating is that before Bratina committed to the mayoral race there was already a slew of candidates in his ward race.

Has this reality been lost on the electorate? Because really; who inspires a dozen and a half challengers, except someone who is clearly not perceived as doing a good job and deserves to be shown up in an election campaign?

Never underestimate the ability of Those of The Many to not see things very clearly.

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By stacey (anonymous) | Posted October 16, 2010 at 20:50:16

Fred is the guy for the job, we have to let him do his job and continue working towards a better future. Fred for mayor!!!!!

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By Pathetic P (anonymous) | Posted October 16, 2010 at 21:44:10

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By Ancopa (registered) | Posted October 17, 2010 at 07:54:44

I see your "LMFAO AND ROTFLMAO AND LOLWOTFL" and raise you a "Larry for Mayor? ROFLCOPTER!"

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By synxer (registered) | Posted October 17, 2010 at 12:04:07

Part of the reason that Fred Eisenberger is campaigning so lightly is likely that his focus on the city is more important to him than his own re-election, strange as that might sound. Pouring every second into the city's growth is already a great feat, let alone campaigning as well.

He should be re-elected on such principals.

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted October 17, 2010 at 12:43:13

I'll be voting for either Fred or Bob. Leaning towards Fred right now, and waiting for Bob to commit to something and convince me.

No way will I vote for Larry.

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By Binbrook Resident (anonymous) | Posted October 17, 2010 at 13:02:58

Does anyone care about Bob Bratina's connection with the Vranich family? I asked Bob, via email, if that family was backers/supporters of his campaign and he replied yes. I'm seriously concerned about this considering the criminal activity that Denis Vranich has been convicted of and the previous allegations of bribing City officials. My family and I were all Mayor Fred supporters before and after discussing the Vranich/Bratina connection, we are more committed than ever to Mayor Fred. Mayor Fred has a vision of integrity and responsible growth for this City that we haven't seen for over 30 years.

It is funny how some people from the amalgamated areas will jump on the Bratina bandwagon with just one whisper of de-almagamation. Has Bratina even stepped into any of our towns before?
DiIanni isn't any better. Look at the list of contributors from 2006 - mostly developers and we all know his major black-eyes of criminal convictions of MEA and the secret dealings with Maple Leaf on the slaughterhouse thing. Mayor Fred brings up Canada Bread and DiIanni brings us slaughterhouses that stink and are associated with major community environmental disasters.....hmmmm....

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By adam2 (anonymous) | Posted October 17, 2010 at 13:46:15

If DiIanni gets elected, even more tax dollars from the lower city will subsidize the suburban sprawl. Bratina would put an end to this practice and help revitalize the city itself. The new subdivisions in Flamborough and Stoney Creek need to start paying for their own water pipes, electrical poles, paved roads. Deamalgamation is a sure way to get this process started.

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted October 17, 2010 at 14:36:34

So far, Bob Bratina has benefited from his long-time relationship with the Hamilton media to propel him into the thick of current mayoralty race.

Bob Bratina did not formally announce his candidacy for mayor of Hamilton until September 10, 2010. This seemed to allow CHML time to subliminally pre-campaign for Bratina, either for mayor or for Ward 2 councillor, over the first several months of 2010 without Bratina having to declare their assistance as an election expense. For example, from February, 2010 to July, 2010, Bratina and Bill Kelly, his colleague at CHML, acted in tandem on an anti-west harbour stadium fear mongering campaign. On his talk show, Kelly made sure to attack the current mayor, Fred Eisenberger, whenever he discussed the stadium location. Kelly rarely if ever mentioned that nine other city councillors also voted in favour of the west harbour stadium site. Kelly also never mentioned that Kelly himself had voted in favour of the west harbour stadium location back on April 30, 2003 when he was a city councillor and the city was bidding for the Commonwealth Games.

An interesting fork in the road occurred in late July, 2010. Mr. Bratina, who proposed the Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School as a Pan Am stadium site although that parcel of land was too small to accommodate it, changed his mind and became a supporter of the west harbour stadium site when it looked as though the east mountain would become the stadium site. But nothing changed at CHML. Kelly continued his attacks on Eisenberger. Bratina seemed to be immune from similar attacks.

CHML also “jumped the shark” on its morning news broadcasts. On numerous occasions during the first several months of 2010, CHML played more taped “news” sound bytes from Bob Bratina about the stadium or other issues than from the mayor or any other councillor. The morning newsreader, Paul Tipple, could have literally yelled across the room to morning host Bratina and asked “Hey, Bob! What do you think about (the issue du jour)?”

The clincher came on August 31, 2010 after Hamilton city council voted in favour of investigating a potential stadium site at the McMaster Innovation Park. Mr. Bratina spoke with The Toronto Star later the same day. Here is an excerpt from the article:

“Staff at Hamilton city hall will sit down with the team for an intensive evaluation of the west end site, which is owned by McMaster University, Hamilton councillor Bob Bratina said in a telephone interview.

He said the site was supposed to be used to house firms involved in innovation, but that hasn’t really happened.

“Innovation Park hasn’t been fulfilling its mandate…so they’re probably just as happy to look at alternatives to the (prescribed) land use,” Bratina added.”

Here is the link to the article: http://www.thestar.com/sports/football/c...

Mr. Bratina’s ill-considered statement to the Toronto Star seemed to express or imply that the McMaster Innovation Park was a failure and that McMaster University had given up on the project and would be willing to sell and/or allow the construction of a stadium on its lands. Neither Bill Kelly nor anyone else at CHML, CHCH-TV, Cable 14 television, or the Hamilton Spectator, which frequently prints Toronto Star articles to fill its pages, reported or criticized the statement Mr. Bratina made to The Toronto Star. Had Mayor Eisenberger or any other councillor made the same statement to a Toronto newspaper, it would likely have received plenty of attention and criticism in the local media.

The stadium issue and the current municipal election have shone a light on a biased, dysfunctional Hamilton media.

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2010-10-17 13:37:09

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By Pathetic P (anonymous) | Posted October 17, 2010 at 17:31:14

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By highwater (registered) | Posted October 17, 2010 at 18:16:07

I've been doing a bit of volunteering for Mayor Fred's campaign, and I've seen enough to know that he is not campaigning lightly by any stretch. He and his wife are out at public events from sun up till long past sundown, and when he's not attending functions, he's canvassing door to door, returning phone calls personally from any voters we encounter who have questions, doing pretty much everything except putting up his own signs, and for all I know he's done that as well. I'm exhausted just watching them.

I didn't know Fred at all when I started. I decided to volunteer because I was impressed that he had put his political future on the line to do what he felt was best for the city where the stadium was concerned. But seeing him in action more closely over the course of this campaign, I've really come to respect and admire him. He's an incredibly decent, down-to-earth man.

Maybe his campaigning seems light because unlike Di Ianni, he doesn't call a press conference every time he farts.

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By Politico (anonymous) | Posted October 17, 2010 at 18:39:29

None of the so called top three candidates truly have "Executive" experience.
Larry was a school principal most of his working life. No wonder he failed as Mayor.
Fred was a stay-at-home dad. He has failed as Mayor.
Bob was a radio host. He will fail as Mayor.
Hamilton has huge challenges and we need a Leader who has executive skills to oversee the municipal corporation and take it forward.
Unfortunately, that is not going to happen.

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By HamiltonBrian (registered) | Posted October 17, 2010 at 18:52:34

Love the trolling comments. Keep up the lucid contributions, folks. I love the idea of trying to get Hamilton to be the first large city designated as a Fair Trade city. The devil is in the details, but Hamilton needs to move forward, not remain on a static path of "what worked before" because it doesn't work anymore, if it ever did. At this point, Fred is the ONLY mayoral candidate positing a vision. Bratina has some interesting things in his plank but to watch how quickly he shifted gear/alliances/ideas, I don't feel comfortable with that.

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By AJ (anonymous) | Posted October 17, 2010 at 19:05:54

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By JMorse (registered) | Posted October 17, 2010 at 19:16:40

Leadership is great except when it takes us down the wrong path. Fred may not be Alexander the Great, but would we prefer strength in place of sense? Of the 3 candidates, Fred's is the only vision that is not just shallow-minded short term promises and hot button issues.

Fred's are the only ideas and plans that appeal to a more enlightened electorate. The other two would have made great leaders for the current council, they'd make bad decisions even faster. Let's get Fred in there for 4 more years, and perhaps some new councilors with half a brain between them. This way Fred can finish more of what he started. In fact Fred leads by example in terms of his consistency and dignity. Fred is a reasonable man, it's just that one cannot reason with fools.

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted October 17, 2010 at 19:47:58

I like Bob Bratina.

I've met him on several occasions, I have always had a good conversation with him. He clearly knows what is going on, he is intelligent and has a critical eye. He is a huge booster of the city, and I think clearly is in politics to do what he thinks is right, rather than to line his and buddies' pockets. Unlike someone else in the race we could mention.

Of course, I've never listened to his radio show. Others who have heard much more from Bob may have a different view.

Mind you, I am a supporter of Mayor Fred and already voted for Fred. He is my first choice, and I think he's the best man for the job in the race.

But the good news here in the poll is that Larry DiIanni is trailing both of them, and that for those who are dissatisfied with the Mayor, they have an easy choice of an alternative. I'd feel comfortable seeing Bratina take the mayor's chain.

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By wkert2001 (registered) | Posted October 17, 2010 at 21:33:42

I just have one comment. DiDianni couldn't do it last time, Eisenberger can't do it now and Bratina is too focused on himslef rather than the city. It' time tive someone who really loves the City the job. Let's get Tone Marrone up from the 2.7% mark up the 23% mark. Seriously, how is Baldasaro ahead of him.

Tone Marrone for Mayor!

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By bobinnes (registered) - website | Posted October 17, 2010 at 22:21:09

Tone morrone knows squat except his own inflated ego and his TiCat paymasters. I prefer Victor Veri who has the most practical ideas I've heard about how to lift the city without squandering our taxes on useless pipe dreams. Have a look at his website

http://www.mayorforthetaxpayer.com/

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted October 17, 2010 at 22:24:52

In the last year or so my opinion of Bratina has dropped so far I don't know that I wouldn't rather see Larry back at the helm. Between shilling for Vranich, going after tenants in Durand and his general drunken nonsense, I'm really tired of him. I used to be a big fan - voted for him, but these days I don't want a thing to do with him.

And as for Fred's lack of "executive experience" - how does his time at the Port Authority figure in that?

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By bobinnes (registered) - website | Posted October 18, 2010 at 01:07:54

I believe folks should vote their conscience instead of voting strategically. Otherwise how can politicians ever know what the people want? With so many candidates to chose from, it is obvious that people are letting the Spectator do their thinking for them. It is the manipulations of the Spec that thus destroys our options and they do it on the basis of what monies they hope to reap in revenue, now and later. That, and sheer malignant love of sound byte bloodsport. The finger of history will point to the Spectator as being responsible for the shape this community is in. People, it is time to turn off the media and listen to your own heart.

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By WRCU2 (registered) - website | Posted October 18, 2010 at 06:19:22

CHML, CHCH-TV, Cable 14 television, or the Hamilton Spectator

There you have IT ladies and gentlemen, the four primary courses of loca-illy cooked information. I can understand folks frustration, but I like Bob despite his dicier moods and IT just so happens I also prefer spicier foods, therefore, Bratina is the best choice for me. Some like IT hot with a slew of extra sauce and we'll get the whole enchilada with Bob Bratina as our new boss! The way to a man's heart is through his stomach, when 1 bites off the concept from a Mr. Innes comment...

Comment edited by WRCU2 on 2010-10-18 05:29:48

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By stacey (anonymous) | Posted October 18, 2010 at 07:37:58

I have to agree, Fred needs to be our mayor for the next four years. He has vision, he has plans, he listens, he is down to earth and certainly a hard working individual! Bratina, i am scared, does he have any plans, platform not strong. He says what people want to hear! I am happy that Fred stood his ground regarding the Stadium. That is leadership to me. I am happy that Fred has innovative ideas for the city. That is leadership to me. I am happy that he and his family are present in our community. That is leadership to me. He needs these 4 years to finish what he wants to accomplish. If we have someone from the past like Dianni, we are going backwards, someone like Bratina we are not moving ahead. Fred you certainly have my vote!

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By SillyOnes (anonymous) | Posted October 18, 2010 at 08:16:33

Bratina=Vranich
ToneMarrone=welfare (check it out....along with the "problems")
Eisenberger=confusion
DiIanni=Red Hill
Baldasaro=weird
Butani=everyone's a racist
Filice=pagliacci


Oh me....lions and tigers and bears...oh my!!!

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By Tartan Triton (anonymous) | Posted October 18, 2010 at 08:21:55

Remember as well that The Spec always likes a good piñata. Bratina has quite rightly been the butt of jokes from the paper since shortly after his election.

http://www.mackaycartoons.net/2004/huh2004-10-05.html

http://mackaycartoons.net/2005/huh2005-02-23.html

http://mackaycartoons.net/2005/huh2005-10-31.html

http://www.mackaycartoons.net/2005/huh2005-11-18.html

http://www.mackaycartoons.net/2007/huh2007-04-14.html

http://www.mackaycartoons.net/2009/huh2009-01-31.html

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By Concerned (anonymous) | Posted October 18, 2010 at 10:01:49

The Bratina-Vranich connection is certainly concerning. Awareness about this needs to be raised by the media before hamilton ends up with a mistake that can't be corrected.

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By realitycheck (anonymous) | Posted October 18, 2010 at 10:04:28

Intersting that this polling report includes the undecided when presenting voter peference. Normally undecideds are factored out when reporting voter preference. I wonder why this was not done in this case? Perhaps to give the perception of a tighter race than what is actually transpiring.

Municipally speaking, undecided generally equates to not going to vote. Now consider the breakdown of decided vote: Bratina has 32.2% of the decided vote in this poll, Eisenberger has 28.7%, and DiIanni has 25.2%. This is not as close a race as the Spec would like us to believe it is.

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By Not Larry (anonymous) | Posted October 18, 2010 at 10:20:14


just to keep things in perspective when making your vote...

www dot (notlarry) dot com

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted October 18, 2010 at 10:42:59

When the cloud of stadium indecision hung low over the city, council stepped into the chamber and made a decision that nobody saw.

They voted 13-2 FOR building the Aerotropolis

We watch in awe while the bickering continues about tens of millions of dollars in stadium funding gaps, meanwhile we are all blind to the fact that 13 of our "leaders" just stood up and approved spending $353 million. THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY THREE MILLION DOLLARS. And that's not counting trunk sewer upgrades among other things. This price will easily top half a billion dollars before the dust settles.

And all this on what? On servicing a "business park" that we don't need now, and will never need in the future. On land that is owned by tract home building companies. Land that partially lies in the Grand River watershed meaning that sewage must be pumped uphill before it flows down to the Woodward plant (A plant by the way that is already undersized to the point that it overflows into east end basements on a regular basis) - Did I mention the sewer costs were not incorporated into the 353 million cost estimate?

Who voted against? Two lone voices of reason: McHattie and Bratina

Up until now, I was really torn over the mayoral vote. I do not believe DiIanni should legally be allowed to run. As a proven cheater who has too many hands in his pockets (or his hands in too many others' pockets), I do not believe for a second that he has the city's best interest at heart.

Fred had my support last time, but knowing that he voted for funding the aerotropolis just makes me SICK. Where does he expect this money to come from? There is only one funding source for the aerotropolis: taxpayers of Hamilton. WHo cares about the stadium? The stadium is all just a symbol of overpriced fun and games. At least the stadium is going to be partially funded by the upper levels of government.

Meanwhile this aerotropolis vote represents our incumbent council's bets on our infrastructure spending future. That they would throw our money up into the cornfields when we can't even manage our current roads and sewers is an absolute nightmare. WHo are they working for?

Bob has swayed me hard over to his side by being the only mayoral candidate who can see past the backroom handshaking that the aerotropolis represents and who also has a chance of winning. We can no longer afford to pour our residential taxes into a city that funnels it into private deals.

How fred got swayed to the "yes" side, I'll never understand. He is either too out of it to understand how this is a total waste of money, or he is too "in" to say no to his landowner buddies... either way, his position represents future disaster in my mind.

Comment edited by seancb on 2010-10-18 09:45:53

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By Concerned (anonymous) | Posted October 18, 2010 at 11:51:07

Vote Mayor Vranich (I mean Bratina).

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By Borrelli (registered) | Posted October 18, 2010 at 11:55:40

Dear Reality Check:

Only residents who said they were likely to vote were polled. That is why the undecided numbers are important. This means there is a good chunk of sample intending to vote but who are parked on the sidelines waiting, and there's no reason to think those votes will be evenly distributed.

No candidate has license to break out the champagne with this poll. If Undecided was a candidate, maybe they could. The margin of error is such that Bratina and Eisenberger are essentially tied (+/- 3.1), and Dianni is not far behind.

And if you use the true margins for each percentage, Larry's not doing well among decided voters. Fun fact: as a rule polling companies tend to report the highest confidence interval as the global "margin of error". However, each percentage statistic has an error term associated with it, so if you wanted the unvarnished numbers:

Bratina 23.4% +/- 2.62 Eisenberger 20.8% +/- 2.51 Di Ianni 18.3% +/- 2.39

Comment edited by Borrelli on 2010-10-18 10:55:59

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By joejoe (anonymous) | Posted October 18, 2010 at 12:26:52

I believe thye Aerotropolis vote was for Phase I study only (another study - hooray!). I think this was Eisenburgers excuse, that his vote was just for the study (although why there isn't enough evidence of it's inappropriateness already I don't know...)

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By JMorse (registered) | Posted October 18, 2010 at 13:30:32

Perhaps the problem with Fred is with our perception. I find his 'support' for the airport lands and Longwood stadium site troubling. If we look closer, at the details of the latest steps taken, he hasn't given away the reins for either, merely agreed to further careful consideration as the decisions are important ones, not to be taken lightly. The media, other candidates, and the general public, myself included, will not usually accept anything that isn't black or white. These issues are complicated. They deserve thorough consideration even if it takes time and costs money. I am giving careful consideration to my vote for mayor. It's not as easy as black or white (Larry or Bob), so I will make the difficult choice.

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By AndreaC (anonymous) | Posted October 18, 2010 at 14:07:32

I suspect Bratina as mayor would mean four years of quotable sound bites and a very polarized community. The root of my suspicion is that during the stadium debate a few months ago I wrote a thoughtful but strong email to Mr Bratina in which I expressed my disappointment at his lack of leadership on what was a very important issue to me as a North End resident. He responded in an extremely disparaging and insulting manner. I did try to stick to issues and after a few emails back and forth the tone become somewhat conciliatory and Bratina said he'd like to have a cup of coffee with me. I proposed some suitable times but the cup of coffee never happened. The impression I was left with was of a man with a large ego who does not have a geniune interest in exchanging ideas, and who does not keep his promises. I will vote for the less-charismatic Eisenberger, who I suspect is more into under-promising but over-delivering.

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By Tartan Triton (anonymous) | Posted October 18, 2010 at 14:10:49

@ Concerned "Vote Mayor Vranich (I mean Bratina)."

Beneficium accipere libertatem est vendere.

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By PseudonymousCoward (registered) | Posted October 18, 2010 at 14:19:13

Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur.

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By forward2 (anonymous) | Posted October 18, 2010 at 14:25:12

'He responded in an extremely disparaging and insulting manner.' Ah the old Bratina mailbomb, anyone who has to deal with him as their ward councilor sooner or later incurs his wrath and gets an inboxful.

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By joejoe (anonymous) | Posted October 18, 2010 at 14:34:30

'He responded in an extremely disparaging and insulting manner.' I've met Bob a few times and, having only ever agreed with him I haven't experienced his wrath :) Perhaps voters may give him the opportunity to learn how to distinguish between vitriol and constructive critisism.

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By Charles (anonymous) | Posted October 18, 2010 at 14:40:53

AndreaC,

You should pass on your exchange with Bob to the spec (Emma Reilly or Dreschel), I'm sure they'd be interested if Bratina was really being insulting to one of his constituents.

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By Charles (anonymous) | Posted October 18, 2010 at 14:41:25

Or you could post it here.

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By Kevin B (anonymous) | Posted October 18, 2010 at 15:39:32

No surprise here about Bob's insulting behaviour. From his pencil-throwing antics to calling Matt Jelly a fat loser, this man obviously has no sense of civility or decorum.

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By WRCU2 (registered) - website | Posted October 18, 2010 at 16:47:15

I had a fifth grade teacher who would throw erasers at classroom disrupter's although I was never in his sights, but calling my friend Mr. Jelly a "fat loser," is a virtually unforgivable slight. Would a few kind hearted folks please confirm this accusation? I am not ready to jump ship just yet but this news is worthy of substantial persuasion.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted October 18, 2010 at 16:53:55

@WRCU2

Basically, Matt sent a nasty tirade to Bratina attacking him on every front. Bratina said he really didn't care about one fat loser. Matt told him to get fucked. Matt used to have it up on his blog, but I see he's taken it down since it really didn't show him in any better light than Bob.

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By WRCU2 (registered) - website | Posted October 18, 2010 at 16:58:55

Thanks Pxtl, looks like clear sailing and a warm tummy.

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By WRCU2 (registered) - website | Posted October 18, 2010 at 17:14:56

Now then, in the spirit of potluck, would anyone else care to share something yummy? And please don't spare the sauces you shuck, juice IT up good, hot and runny...

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By donnaj (registered) | Posted October 18, 2010 at 19:20:58

AndreaC,

At least you got a response. I've have e-mailed Bob on a couple of occasions since he became councillor and did not receive a response either time. At the end of the West Harbour Rally, I waited behind another woman to have a word with him, but when he finished with her he just scowled at me and walked away.

Two things really concern me about Bob. First is that he can be hard to pin down on an issue, and second is his propensity to go off in a hissy fit. Both of these qualities were demonstrated during the stadium debate. He wouldn't come out in favour of West Harbour (until it looked like East Mountain might win the day) because Mayor Fred didn't listen to his suggestions for a different downtown site.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted October 18, 2010 at 20:48:02

Let us not forget the colossal face-palm of his repeated e-sparring with Councillor Merulla (recently unveiled, to general astonishment, as the smartest guy in the room) while cc:ing the national press, who were forced to ask them to get a room. I think there's an RTH entry on that somewhere.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted October 18, 2010 at 20:53:09

...or this nugget: http://www.raisethehammer.org/article/425

"I prefer simplicity and when I told Bob I was a Luddite, he smiled and said, 'So am I.' I generally like Luddites, so we were off to a good start."

Sounds like the perfect guy to head up the innovation charge and the challenge of building a competitive next-generation economy.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted October 18, 2010 at 21:09:23

This was my favorite http://www.raisethehammer.org/blog/551/ where Bob votes for increasing bus fares as a protest against Merulla who went ballistic at the thought that anyone would vote for increasing bus fares.

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By throwdown (anonymous) | Posted October 18, 2010 at 21:14:14

More classic Bratina/Merulla throw downs:

http://www.raisethehammer.org/blog/1221/

http://www.raisethehammer.org/blog/1251/

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted October 18, 2010 at 23:57:25

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted October 19, 2010 at 01:04:09

If I recall the exchange between Jelly and Bratina, it was a remark about Vranich that really set him off. Again and again this comes up...but I never seem to hear an answer. It's a pretty serious charge, even by Hamilton Council standards. I could say many an unkind word about DiIanni and DeSantis, for instance, but nothing on a scale which matches the public record as far as the Vranich family goes (suburbs are one thing, sex crimes are another). Publicly associating one's self with such people says very bad things about a public servant.

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By No to Airport Mega-Project (anonymous) | Posted October 19, 2010 at 01:26:33

Eisenberger supports the airport expansion. Can you believe it? He must know that it's a farce project that will bankrupt our city even mores. I can't vote for him now!

Bratina said "NO" to the airport expansion. So did McHattie.

That's why I already voted for Bratina in the advance poll and will help him canvas this week.

We need a Mayor with balls and a some fire. Somebody that has the guts to say the things that need to be said, and understands what he is saying. Bratina is that man. We're lucky to have someone with his depth of knowledge devoting his time to improve Hamilton's future path.

Sure, Eisenberger is a good guy, but doesn't inspire. He's a fluffster. He's for the airport. He was for Red Hill. He's DiLiar in a conservative blue suit.

Bratina's our man, and his spirit will help Hamilton. Watch.

In the meantime, please disseminate the website about Larry "The Liar" DiIanni. It's a disgrace that this slimy crook is running again. Has he no conscience?

Check out this "Anybody but DiIanni" website, and share it with others: http//notlarry.com

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By Concern (anonymous) | Posted October 19, 2010 at 06:17:55

No to Airport Mega-Project,

Compared to Bratina's association with Vranich, DiIanni's developer connections seem almost savory.
In any event, telling people not to vote for Larry on raisethehammer is a bit redundant but I wouldn't for "Anybody but DiIanni" b/c Bratina has some serious itegrity issues.

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By jason (registered) | Posted October 19, 2010 at 11:41:03

Fred's platform is released:

http://www.votemayorfred.ca/blog/667

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted October 19, 2010 at 11:48:52

He did a good job on today's CHML debate, strong answers, promoting the good things that have happened under his watch, taking the high road, kept bringing it back to city building. DiIanni sounded sniveling just kept taking cheap shots at him and pandering to the suburbs, Bratina was solid too but a bit too much 'When I was a wee lad' for my taste.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted October 19, 2010 at 12:36:25

We need a Mayor with balls and a some fire. Somebody that has the guts to say the things that need to be said, and understands what he is saying.

This always comes out at election time. Claims that we need "strong leadership".

Problem is, "strong leader" could mean almost anything or anybody with an agenda and the drive to push it in the face of public opposition.

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By AnneMariePavlov (registered) | Posted October 19, 2010 at 16:18:30

I wish I could vote for Brian McHattie for Mayor. There, I said it.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted October 19, 2010 at 19:04:06

Don't we all wish we could vote Brian McHattie for mayor?

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By Meagan (anonymous) | Posted October 20, 2010 at 08:24:17

Hi, I'm a new resident and have tried to keep up with the issues and watched the panel last night. I won't be voting for Di Ianni or Bratina, I'll say that now. Eisenberger does not have my confidence due to the years in office and lack of progress for Hamilton, particularly the core. Watching the panel last night and subsequent reading up on this site, I have to wonder what others think about Veri. I was impressed, but he isn't even a major contender it seems. I was impressed, but not so much about the Fair Trade issue, perhaps because I don't quite understand it.

Now, as a resident of Ward 3, I am particularly disenchanted with council. I had a look at Morelli's campaign donators, and I am not impressed. With my vote I'm hoping to be a small voice in the overhaul of Hamilton's council. It's obvious that the old guard needs to go, and that we need charismatic and knowledgeable people who are willing to take Hamilton into the 21st century (even if we are a decade late). I want to see city council, as it is today, wiped out, and new fresh blood put in. We need innovators.

I'm interested in hearing other's opinions, on Veri, and on Ward 3 contenders as well.

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By Peloton (anonymous) | Posted October 20, 2010 at 16:51:51

@AnneMariePavlov "I wish I could vote for Brian McHattie for Mayor."

Set your time machine to 1997.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted October 20, 2010 at 17:02:01

@Meagan

Yep, you're definitely a new resident. People who live here realize how long and hard it has been for downtown Hamilton, and that such problems aren't going to be fixed overnight. I don't know if Eisenberger can get the credit for it, but downtown Hamilton has been steadily improving in his tenure... whereas the previous trends were inexorably downward.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted October 20, 2010 at 21:31:53

did anyone see the full page ad in yesterday's paper that DiIanni took out?

It's like a full page attack ad pitting Fred and Bob against each other with DIIanni as the referee.

Hamilton is in need of some real city building and all DiIanni cares about is trying to sling mud.

GROW UP

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted October 20, 2010 at 21:55:28

did anyone see the full page ad in yesterday's paper that DiIanni took out?

An alarming number of people I've talked to assumed it was a newspaper report comparing the candidates, and not a paid advertisement by one of the candidates. I'm just astonished that the Spec agreed to publish it in a format so likely to mislead readers.

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted October 20, 2010 at 22:29:02

The full page DiIanni advertisement in the Hamilton Spectator has a similar "stealth" quality to the "Gore Park Tiger" advertisement by the Tiger-Cats in the Hamilton Spectator earlier this year. It must be a coincidence.

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By Meagan (anonymous) | Posted October 21, 2010 at 07:50:33

Hi Pxtl, Yes, I'm new, and I already love Hamilton. I'm not apathetic, though. I've known of Hamilton's core problems for years. It's what GTAers love to dog Hamilton about. I moved here in spite of the turned-up noses and insults from even complete strangers when they overhear that I've moved here. Yes, they comment without being invited into the conversation. It boils my blood, so I guess I am attached to Hamilton and its future. Don't dog my town, people. :)

What I see is a sense of futility among some, and I don't believe council is doing what it can. Firstly, let's revisit the property standards bylaws. They should not continue to allow business to board up their windows, allow irregular use of storefronts as homes, and should limit the number of consignment and second-hand stores. If they can attract business with tax incentives and actually putting money into the business stretches such as what Main east and King east, they will see the return. I have read on this site on a few occasions how these stretches are not unlike certain parts of very successful neighbourhoods of Toronto. Knowing the areas of which they refer, I wholeheartedly agree. I remember the wastelands of St.Clair Avenue West, Dundas West in the Junction and Annex, and Bloor West Village.

I looked into BIAs for these areas, but because I am a resident and not a business owner, there is only so much I can do. I would love to see more cooperation between council and BIAs for many areas of Hamilton. Each can have their unique identity, and it's through the implementation of business communities, the support of businesses willing to take the "leap of faith" by council that we can slowly rebuild. Issues a kin to what the Pearl went through cannot be repeated. We need to learn from them. I believe that nothing short of an aggressive campaign to attract business and rebuild each neighbourhood's business element will work.

You know, I wasn't even this active and interested in municipal politics when I was a Torontonian! We've got a special thing here with Hamilton, and I truly believe that our current fate is a result of missed opportunities.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted October 21, 2010 at 08:16:22

@Meagan "I truly believe that our current fate is a result of missed opportunities."

If you were any more correct you'd be wrong.

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By Meagan (anonymous) | Posted October 21, 2010 at 08:50:01

Hi Fred, curious as to why you believe so? None of those in my new Hamilton circle are particularly interested in municipal politics, so only through dialogue can ideas and opinions expand, refine, and change if need be. I am always looking for more perspective!

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted October 21, 2010 at 09:33:43

I don't mean it to sound discouraging. I certainly applaud your pasion for the city and municipal politics in particular; fresh eyes are as vital to Hamilton's civic reawakening as fresh blood. What I was getting at is that, as you start to dig deeper into the back story of the political decision-making of the city, I think you'll start to detect a chronic pattern of mid-C20 thinking, missed opportunities, misguided largesse and wavering when the moment called for decisiveness.

One book that frequently when conversation turns to this direction is the candid peek behind the scenes of Hamilton at the beginning of its industrial decline in the begging-for-a-second-edition Their Town: The Mafia, The Media and the Party Machine (Lorimer, 1979, edited by Bill Freeman and Marsha Hewitt): http://goo.gl/RuHt

Other worthwhile primers woth keeping your eyes peeled for include...

John Weaver's Housing the North American City (MQUP, 1991): http://goo.gl/SXIa

Downtown Hamilton: the Heart of It All (Fountain Foundation, 1995)

Bill Freeman's Hamilton: A People's History (Lorimer, 2006): http://goo.gl/Y1nA

And if after all of that you'd like the historical equivalent of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, allow me to suggest the ever-delightful Pardon My Lunch Bucket, an anniversary publication issued by the city in in 1973 which features tantalizing Peter Max-like glimpses of the future -- jet-powered monorail, hydrofoil ferries and waterfront highrises that resemble inverted pyramids. Alan Parsons would be right at home.

I would also recommend spending a lazy afternoon getting your bearings in the Hamilton Public Library's Local History & Archives Department: http://goo.gl/AOjL . The staff tends to be a bit cloistered, but they know their stuff, and if you're genuinely interested you can work your way into their good graces.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted October 21, 2010 at 09:59:06

Apologies for the burps in typos 'n' syntax. Morning coffee was a little over-strength.

Forgot another great whole-wheat read related to the above: Fisher/Smith's By Design: The Role of the Engineer in the History of the Hamilton Burlington Area (Seldon Griffin Graphics, 2001/Hamilton Engineering Interface, 2004). A generally apolitical history of the area's infrastructure builds, it's another entry point for understanding the forces that have shaped the city.

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By meagan (anonymous) | Posted October 21, 2010 at 10:42:29

Hey Fred, thanks truly. I'm going to research these titles today and see where I can pick some of them up. I haven't been to the library yet, but I believe they might still have my card there waiting for me to pick up (I requested one, sheesh it's got to be over a year now).

I have my opinions, but I'll be honest, I'm not a numbers person. I live in the heart of Ward 3. I love my house. I like my neighbours. I hate King Street East and the boarded up (but otherwise decent looking) building that stares straight at me every morning as I travel north on Fairleigh South to head off to work. I want the boards GONE or, at the very least, some proper hoarding installed. The city can at least improve its by-laws concerning eye-sores like that. It damages the value of my property. I did complain about how sick and tired we were of being accosted by prostitutes on King. Not more than a month later, all of them were gone and we witnessed a raid at one of the rub n' tugs. But, oh le sigh, they're back now, likely because Barton/Cannon residents complained and they migrated back to our neck of the woods. Perhaps I ought to call again about the boarded up building.

When you wrote "wavering when the moment called for decisiveness" I found myself almost jumping out of my chair and pointing to the screen, yelling "yes, this! THIS!". I can see the waivering and indecisiveness. It's very apparent, even to the casual onlooker.

However, being a Ward 3 resident, I can't be casual about it. I've really fallen in love with Hamilton. I've always rooted for the underdog, and I want to see all of those who have called Hamilton a "hole" eat crow some day. I'll even concoct a rather inventive recipe and serve it up buffet-style for them.

Again, thanks for the resources.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted October 21, 2010 at 11:01:05

Happy to oblige, Meagan. Again, immensely pleased that you're taking such an interest.

I'll reframe my recommendation of Pardon My Lunch Bucket, however. Although the historical content is sandblasted and sanitized, and the predictive coda is borderline hilarious, it's not all sweetness and light.

Often overlooked in the rush to flip through to the future is the most poignant thing about Pardon My Lunch Bucket. Namely, the brutally faux-folksy, blithely sexist and heartbreakingly naive discussion about civic identity that opens the book. (Remember that this book was printed the year the Stelco Tower opened, and four years before the AGH arrived at its present location.)

From the introduction (sic):

"Now you were asking about Hamilton? Well, you see, a few years back this town had what you might call a bad case of inferiority complex. A real bad case. It was always 'Toronto's doing this, Buffalo's doing that and we're doing nothin'.

"You know, things like that. Down-in-the-dumps talk. Well, all of a sudden some of the boys downtown and the boys at city hall got talking and decided they were sick and tired of wearing Toronto's hand-me-downs.

"There was nothing wrong with the city that a new spirit and a few new buildings wouldn't cure... say a new downtown core... somewhere where the people could go and shop and look around, a place where they could take their friends from out of town with a little pride.

"And some new housing to get rid of those old decaying buildings in the north end, an urban renewal project, something that would perk up the people of the area yet would cause very little relocation.

"The city already had acres and acres of gardens and parks... things that the citizens knew about but that the casual visitor seldom saw. And they're going to get more. Before you know it, this'll be the finest city for taking your family out for a stroll in the whole of Canada.

"Now with this Lloyd Jackson Square project, the tall buildings, the pedestrian malls, separating pedestrians from all the traffic and such, the new stores and expanded old ones, well Hamilton is putting on a new face.

"Did you know this city has the same growth rate as Montreal's – 28 per cent every 10 years – one of the highest in the land? And it's got Boris Brott and the Hamilton Philharmonic, and the art gallery and McMaster out in the west end.

"Sure we've still got pollution but they're spending $75,000,000 on cleaning it up. Why one of these days, you'll be able to swim out in the old bay.

"The old Hamilton, the grimy old town, is disappearing. What you're seeing now is new money coming in, new people from abroad settling and bringing their cultures with them – and getting us interested in them as well.

"The people are slowly changing their ideas about the old town. A few years back, they'd admit they were from Hamilton all right, but only if you pressed them. Kind of apologetic-like. But not now. That attitude is changing to one of pride, the kind of elated feeling you get like when everyone gathers around for a big celebration, like that one a few years ago for Canada's centennial and the one they're having for Hamilton's 125th birthday.

"People are getting out and taking a second look at their town, rediscovering it if you will, finding places and things they never knew existed. A lot has changed in the last few years and all for the better."

~

You can practically play connect-the-dots between that passage and the virtues extolled in the wave of “Hamilton renaissance” ink that arrived 30 years later. Crushing on so many levels.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted October 21, 2010 at 11:25:38

What always struck me about Pardon My Lunch Bucket was the contempt in which the author held anything old and established. He spoke almost gleefully of "cutting away the rot of the Victorian age" in his breathless introduction to the mega-block that would replace it.

That contempt for history, for established building forms, for existing unplanned self-organized urbanism, is at the heart of what went so horribly awry in the postwar "renewal" obsession. To this day, the best antidote to this kind of megalomaniacal thinking is still Jane Jacobs' The Death and Life of Great American Cities.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted October 21, 2010 at 11:59:51

I'm certainly not recommending it as anything but a party-line counterpoint to more critical histories like Freeman's. Certainly valuable when it comes to illustrating the mindset of "city builders" of the era.

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By harriet (registered) | Posted October 21, 2010 at 15:32:59

It's unfortunate that the writer of the article headlined "Eisenberger stumbles in race for mayor" is relying solely on a public opinion poll which is nothing more than a snapshot in time. I also hope the writer does a follow up story now that we are merely a few days away from election day. Fred Eisenberger may be perceived by many as bland and subdued but Fred is the only candidate for mayor who actually has a plan with a vision AND a road map on how to achieve that plan.

Fred did not turn the stadium issue into a sideshow debacle - Bob Young, Scott Mitchell and Eric Cunningham (who by the way is advising the Larry campaign) did that all by themselves!

Fred has stuck to his guns and in so doing, has put his political future on the line -- not for his own good, but for the good of the taxpayers of Hamilton. Even though his heart is in the West Harbour, he's willing to find solutions - not just for the stadium - for many other priorities, including modern public tranist, jobs and prosperity (which includes economic development and poverty reduction) and making Hamilton a livable community for everyone no matter where they live in this great, big amalgamated city! I challenge anyone on this blog who wants to be an educated voter to go to Fred's web site and check out his plans -- some of you will be surprised and some of you will just nod your heads. Fred's the man for Hamilton. I may not agree with everything Fred says or does, but he is definitely the clear choice for Mayor of Hamilton. He has already stated publicly this time around and back in the 2006 campaign that he is not interested in going beyond a second term. I say, let Fred take the city forward and get the rest of our priorities accomplished.

Bob is a great guy, but he doesn't have a plan. Bob also wants to be mayor so he can bring back decorum to council. Well, good luck with that. Until the provincial government includes measures in the Municipal Act to toughen up the Mayor's chair and to elect councillors/aldermen by the whole city vs. ward-by-ward, NO mayor will achieve success in implementing decorum. That is a personal choice by each elected representative. It's not up to the mayor.

As for Larry, definitely not my idea of a contemporary mayor. He is not my style (too arrogant, too negative, and slightly smarmy) but I have looked at his plan and it seems to me that Larry is ready to gut municipal services and layoff a bunch of city employees (who, by the way, pick up your garbage and plough snow off your streets) with his zero tax increase in the first two years. Larry doesn't say how he's going to pay for it (ask the Finance guys - they'll tell you it'll be through hack n slash measures) and Larry doesn't tell us what will be in store for years 3 and 4. Well, you can bet your last dime that tax hikes 5 to 10 per cent will be how he'll pay for his two-year zero tax hike. I also don't trust Larry Di Ianni. He may be a good listener, and have a good sense of humour, but I cannot trust him - and believe me, that trust factor has nothing to do with his Elections Act No-nos. He's been getting a free ride in the mainstream media thanks to the Spectator and Ms Reilly (I never thought I'd say this, but I cannot wait until Nicole McIntyre returns from mat-leave!) Let's face it, Reilly's getting the so-called "inside scoop" from Eisenberger's former campaign manager and ex-staffer so she cannot possibly be reporting in a fair and balanced manner - otherwise, Larry would be on the receiving end of a smack-down every day in the Spec! The point is, Larry lost the 2006 municipal election, he lost again when he ran in his own neighbourhood in the federal election, and then was told by the big party boys in Ottawa, "No thanks, Larry -- we've already got Hamilton East-Stoney Creek covered next time 'round." Larry needs a job; Larry can't stand to be on the sidelines; Larry is arrogant and Larry is not my idea of a modern leader. Thank you to RTH for allowing ordinary citizens to express their views - I appreciate this opportunity. Many thanks, HS

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By pdben (registered) | Posted October 24, 2010 at 14:15:14

I admit to being a friend of Tone Marrone, but the guy has the best platform by far. Don't dismiss him merely because he is an athlete and actor with a tough exterior. Honestly, I swear, he is more intelligent than any of the top three candidates. And he has the biggest heart of almost anyone I know.

Check out his platform on his website before you decide, and you'll be amazed at his potential.

http://www.vote4tone4mayor.ca/platform.p...

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