Municipal Election 2010

Don't Just Vote Angry, Vote For Forward-Looking Change

If you are voting for change, make sure you take the time to question your choice on what their plans are for managing the change that is yet to come.

By Daniel Rodrigues
Published October 20, 2010

In an era of discontent and frustration for taxpayers around the Province, it is expected that voter turnout will reach new levels on October 25, when folks young and old will head to the polls to vote for whom they think will be the best to represent their Ward & City.

While candidates vying for change are poking holes in the incumbents' historical positions and many speak of new 'motherhood' platforms, it would appear that absolutely no one is talking about the economy.

I'm not referring to creating jobs or better utilization of brownfields or green space, but rather the existing state of our demand on services, coupled with a decline in tax revenue due to the recent downturn in the economy.

This increased call for services is being progressively felt by the residential tax base, as decreases are being felt in the business tax base.

Regardless of why the business tax base is decreasing, the fact is that it is - which means we need to be vigilant on how our tax dollars are spent for these services.

Service Cuts

In Hamilton, staff spoke about concerns of the 2011 draft when they prepared the 2010 budget. Their claim was that City budgets are always a year behind, and regardless of any uptake in the economy in 2010, gains realized would not be seen until the 2012 budget.

Simply put, a call for no tax increases is a call for service or job cuts, something that may not be unavoidable even with a tax increase.

Certainly inefficiencies can be called into check, minimizing reductions in staff and/or services. However, that will not solve the whole concern.

When we look around the City at some of the projects currently being undertaken, it is important to note that not all that cash to fund the project came from the local pocketbook, but rather Provincial and Federal grant support. That support will not be offered in upcoming years, due to each of those government levels facing larger-than-life deficits as well.

This impact will add further drain to our resources, especially when we are in a desperate need for infrastructure and road work on many of our streets.

The Road Ahead

This particular election has drawn many to look at events which have already occurred, akin to someone slowing down to look at a collision without looking at the road ahead.

If we spend too much time looking at the after-effects of that collision, we just might end up in another collision because we didn't prepare for the future.

Our distraction - and sometimes fascination - with how Council fared in the past has served as a cloud on deciding what is right for tomorrow.

Promises or statements of change are being thrown around like they are on sale, with no challenges of how or when these changes will take place.

White Elephants Looming

Then there are the 'white elephants' that seem to be overlooked.

One example is area rating. Yes, this particular issue is in the hands of a pseudo-quasi-citizen forum, but remember - any recommendation brought forward from this group is not binding by Council.

Former City of Hamilton residents appear blind to the effects of area rating, while those in the former Communities are rallying for their own set of parameters.

Given that this is an issue to be dealt with after the election and depending on the outcome, we could see this decade-old issue remain unchanged for another couple of years.

Are You Voting Angry?

In the recently aired Councillor debates, many took the opportunity to question the incumbent's history.

Yet few took the opportunity to extol why they would be the better alternative: how they would manage the looming budget concerns; how they would move Hamilton forward so that we're not repeating our discontent in 2014; and, how they would manage the ever-changing environment that is not only being realized in Hamilton, but around the Province.

When you vote on October 25, are you voting angry? Or are you voting for the individual who is going to manage the changes that we have not yet realized due to economic impacts?

There is no question that change is needed. Therefore, if you are indeed voting for change, make sure you take the time to question your choice on what their plans are for managing the change that is yet to come.

Dan Rodrigues was born and raised in London, Ontario, where he was an active community member in East London. He moved to Hamilton in late 1996, residing on the East Mountain. He has been married for 27 years, with a son who works with adults with physical and mental disabilities, and a daughter completing her degree in Chemistry at Western University this coming year. He is an active community volunteer, sitting on a number of committees and Boards, as well as coaching soccer. His professional life includes food and beverage industry sales and consulting, building industry sales, human resources consulting, and transportation consulting. Dan's diverse skills inventory allows for fuller discussion and better understanding of individual and community concerns. Currently, Dan is campaigning to be the Ward Six Councillor.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted October 20, 2010 at 10:57:03

Voter turnout will always "reach new levels." It's a question of where those levels are. With advance voting up 20%, it looks like we're bound for better turnout than in the last election – and if increase total 2006 turnout (117,227) by 20% and you end up with a 4.8% increase over the gate numbers for the 2003 contest (125,239). Not sure how much the population of eligible voters has increased since then.

2006 ward turnout in descending order of votes supplied:

Ward 08: 14,051 votes (11.98% of total)
Ward 07: 13,908 votes (11.86% of total)
Ward 06: 10,639 votes (11.86% of total)
Ward 05: 9,135 votes (9.08% of total)
Ward 12: 8,575 votes (7.31% of total)
Ward 01: 8,060 votes (7.31% of total)
Ward 04: 7,940 votes (7.31% of total)
Ward 13: 7,768 votes (6.77% of total)
Ward 11: 7,738 votes (6.60% of total)
Ward 10: 7,705 votes (6.57% of total)
Ward 09: 6,665 votes (5.69% of total)
Ward 15: 6,216 votes (5.30% of total)
Ward 03: 6,139 votes (5.24% of total)
Ward 02: 5,991 votes (5.11% of total)
Ward 14: 4,214 votes (3.59% of total)

Number of Candidates, 2006 vs 2010: 57 vs 70

Ward 01: from 3 to 3
Ward 02: from 4 to 19
Ward 03: from 2 to 6
Ward 04: from 4 to 3
Ward 05: from 2 to 4

Lower city candidates, 2006 vs 2010: 15 vs 35

Ward 06: from 2 to 6
Ward 07: from 8 to 4
Ward 08: from 4 to 4
Ward 09: from 2 to 4
Ward 10: from 3 to 3
Ward 11: from 3 to 3
Ward 12: from 5 to 2
Ward 13: from 4 to 5
Ward 14: from 2 to 1
Ward 15: from 2 to 3

Suburban candidates, 2006 vs 2010: 35 vs 35

Number of wards where number of candidates increased vs 2006: 7.
Number of wards where number of candidates decreased or remained level compared to 2006: 8

Citywide, we've seen a 20% increase in advance voters vs 2006. Coincidentally, there has been a 20% increase in total number of candidates vs 2006. Ward 2 and 3 are responsible for adding 19 voters to the mix – about two-thirds of the city's gross uptick of council candidates. Ward 2 candidates increased by 500% vs 2006. Ward 3 candidates increased by 300% vs 2006. Mayoral candidates increased by 200% vs 2006. Any guesses as to how much of an increase in voter turnout we'll see in the lower city?

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted October 20, 2010 at 11:04:24

Sloppy math.

Rolled the 2006 mayoral candidates into the 2006 body count.

Should read "Number of Candidates, 2006 vs 2010: 50 vs 70," which is a 29% increase in total number of council candidates vs 2006.


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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted October 20, 2010 at 15:22:44

Another glitch. Time for glasses.

Ward 12: 8,575 votes (7.31% of total)
Ward 01: 8,060 votes (6.88% of total)
Ward 04: 7,940 votes (6.77% of total)

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted October 20, 2010 at 21:45:04

I'm fed up, embarrassed and have had enough. I'm voting for Charlie.

http://www.specsappeal.net/charlie.jpg

But seriously folks - there's plenty of good angry candidates which promise forward-looking change as well - from McHattie to Jelly to Michael Baldasaro. Just don't vote for angry candidates who don't.

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By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted October 21, 2010 at 19:12:59

Undustrial, I agree!

(Change I could believe in, but we'll likely have to move to another Ward to get it.)

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