Editorial

Raise the Hammer Response to Mayor's Accusation

Mayor Bratina has accused RTH of publishing "false and defamatory material" against him and his staff. This is my response as editor, after careful investigation of the story behind the accusation.

By Ryan McGreal
Published January 28, 2011

The bizarre matter of Joey Coleman's Sunday, January 23 blog entry about Mayor Bob Bratina's schedule came to my attention on Wednesday morning, when I received an email from Mayor Bob Bratina in reply to my letter to Council of that morning.

The Mayor's reply read in full:

I'll respond if you remove the false and defamatory material against me and my staff that you allowed to be published.

I was surprised and taken aback by this. I replied:

To what material are you referring?

Mayor Bratina replied:

You should read your own blogsite.

I replied:

If you can refer to specific instances in which you feel a false and defamatory statement was published, I'll be happy to investigate them.

By way of a reply, Bratina forwarded a chain of emails between Joey Coleman and Peggy Chapman, Bratina's Chief of Staff, to me, and wrote:

You may want to give my chief of staff a call. Frankly this is not good use of my time dealing with journalism of dubious legitimacy.

The accusation was related to Joey Coleman's blog entry in which he wrote that the Mayor's office had made a "mistake" to request the Monday, January 24 General Issues Committee (GIC) meeting on a date that the Mayor was scheduled to be in Regina to attend the Big City Mayors Conference.

I immediately called Ms. Chapman, and she told me the following:

After the call, I promptly removed the two paragraphs at issue from the blog entry and added an explanatory note. Then I followed up with Coleman to get more details about the timeline of events and the communications that were made between Coleman and Chapman.

Friday Phone Call

Coleman and Chapman both confirm that they spoke on the phone on Friday.

Coleman states that the call took place just before 5:00 PM, and that they discussed whether Coleman would be able to set up a two-way live stream so that Mayor Bratina could join the meeting from Regina, as well as whether it would be possible to use Skype to do this. According to Coleman, Chapman asked him to send her the URL for his live stream and he emailed it to her during the call.

Chapman disputed this in an email response to me, claiming she spoke to Coleman "long before 5pm Friday" and that "the trip was canceled before" their call. She did not state whether she had discussed a two-way feed at the call, writing that she was "not sure what the other things have to do with" the issue.

As it turns out, the original email I received from Mayor Bratina was a forwarded chain of emails between Chapman and Coleman. The first message in the chain is from Chapman to Coleman asking him to phone her, and it is date-stamped Friday, January 21, 2011 4:53 PM.

The next email is a reply from Coleman, date-stamped Friday, January 21, 2011 5:00 PM, and includes a link to Coleman's live stream URL. This is consistent with Coleman's account of the time line and the nature of their conversation.

I have sent three follow-up emails to Chapman since early yesterday morning asking for clarification with respect to the conversation, but she has not responded as of this writing.

Conclusion

Given the information at hand, it seems reasonable for Coleman to have concluded that Mayor Bratina was still planning to go to Regina, as of Coleman's phone conversation with Chapman on Friday.

Coleman wrote the piece on Saturday, and I published it on Sunday. As far as I can tell, at some time between Coleman's conversation with Chapman on Friday and my publication of the piece on Sunday, the Mayor canceled the trip to Regina.

RTH is committed to providing information that is factually accurate and treats information fairly, to the very best of our abilities. As editor, I take the allegation of publishing "defamatory" content very seriously - especially when the allegation comes from the Mayor himself.

In this matter, and to the best of my knowledge and judgment, I believe Coleman made a good-faith attempt to do his journalistic due diligence and ensure that his information was correct, and that he practiced responsible communication in reporting the news as he understood it.

Coleman wrote that a mistake was made by Mayor Bratina's office. He never specified that the error was made by a member of the administrative staff.

What follows is a full statement by Joey Coleman on the matter, including a detailed background and a timeline of events.


Statement By Joey Coleman

Mayor Bob Bratina and the Office of the Mayor of Hamilton is taking issue with a blog post I wrote on Saturday which was published Sunday.

Due to the accusation by the Mayor that I have written "false and defamatory material against [him] and [his] staff" and the publication of this accusation, I'm forced to publicly respond.

The post in dispute is titled, Council Needs Concrete Goals to Overcome Personality Conflicts.

I reported that the Mayor was scheduled to be in Regina Monday, noted that he is operating a small office with only one staff member holding previous service at City Hall, that the Mayor requested a rescheduling of the meeting due to the conflict with the event in Regina and that a mistake was made in the existence of the scheduling conflict.

The Mayor's attendance in Regina was canceled after 5:00pm Friday, when his Chief of Staff told me he was going to Regina and publication on Sunday.

By the time the information was published on Sunday, it was incorrect. The Mayor was in fact not going to Regina.

I apologize for this error.

Accusation

I do have to respond to the accusation of defamation: an error is not defamation.

The chief magistrate's decision to raise this matter to the level of defamation caused me some concern. After all, defamatory libel is an indictable offence under the Criminal Code. More commonly, it is dealt with as a civil matter under the Libel and Slander Act - but is still against the law.

I must treat the statement with the seriousness and respect owning to the office of which it originates - the Office of the Mayor of Hamilton.

On Sunday evening, Mayor Bratina's Chief of Staff Peggy Chapman expressed concerns about the writing (about which more below).

On Monday, Mayor Bratina stood up at Council and during his first opportunity to speak, publicly accused me of journalistic misconduct.

On Wednesday morning, the Hamilton Spectator's Andrew Dreschel referred to Bratina's speech against me in his role as Mayor in front of the media cameras and Council by writing the following:

You sensed the leadership vacuum almost immediately after city manager Chris Murray and Roberto Rossini, general manager of finance, wrapped up their presentations.

That's when Mayor Bob Bratina came roaring out the gate but only to remind folks that it's actually 'Brian Timmis' stadium not 'Timmins.'

After that brief history lesson, Bratina then praised staff for all their hard work and peevishly sniped at blogger Joey Coleman for suggesting he wasn't going to be at that day's meeting.

Bratina then sat back and said he looked forward to hearing councillors' questions.

Not exactly a mayoral moment.

Later that morning, Mayor Bratina wrote in an email to RTH editor Ryan McGreal that my writing included "false and defamatory material against [him] and [his] staff."

I have investigated further in this matter. First, I provide a timeline of the events that have transpired since the publication on Sunday. Second, I provide the timeline and information used in writing the article. Lastly, I will add the information that I've learned since starting my follow-up investigation on Sunday.

Sunday

Soon after the piece was published, the Mayor's Chief of Staff Peggy Chapman requested to speak by phone. We spoke around 9 p.m. Sunday night.

She expressed concerns with numerous points in the article and accused me of personally attacking the Mayor's scheduling assistant by claiming that a "mistake" had been made in the Mayor being double-booked.

I wrote that the Mayor had called the meeting on Monday and had asked Council to reschedule to Thursday, January 27 due to the scheduling conflict caused by his planned attendance in Regina.

Ms. Chapman asked for me to disclose my sources for this information. I told her I had spoken to City staff and Councillors, but would not be disclosing those emails to the Mayor's office.

She expressed concerns that I was receiving poor information and that I should have called her before publishing on Sunday. In fact, I had spoken to her Friday at 4:55 PM.

The conversation between Ms. Chapman and me on Sunday evening ended with her requesting that I publicly apologize to the Mayor's scheduling assistant and that I immediately retract the post.

I responded that I would review my information and my methods of gathering that information, and would consider the request of the Office of The Mayor for a public apology.

We reached an agreement that I would contact her as soon as I completed my review and would inform her if I would be issuing a public apology, the conditions of which were not set.

No timeline was discussed for the completion of this process.

Monday

I work every weekday morning until at least noon, and Monday was no exception. I rushed directly from my place of employment to City Hall with just enough time to set up all the gears, cables, and cords to provide a live video stream of the meeting.

I did not have an opportunity to speak with any city staff or councillors prior to the meeting - everyone was hectically preparing for the 1:00 PM Special General Issues Committee meeting. I did not have time during the business hours preceding the meeting to complete my review.

Unknown to me, Mayor Bratina was expecting some action on my part prior to the 1:00 PM meeting.

No timeline had been provided by the Mayor's Office as to a deadline to their request, and I had no knowledge that the consequence of failing to meet this deadline would be what followed - his use of his Mayoral position to speak against me in front of City Council, those in attendance at City Hall, and those watching the live video stream.

I was balancing the audio on the live stream when he made his statements about me and did not hear it. According to city councillors I spoke with and the published accounts in the Spectator, Mayor Bratina accused me of spreading false information about his then-canceled trip to Regina.

Following the conclusion of the meeting, around 6:00 PM, I went to the Mayor's office to speak with Peggy Chapman about the matter. She had someone else in her office, she asked if I wanted something, I told her I would come back at a later time prior to Council on Wednesday when she was not busy.

I left City Hall thereafter.

I believe that the Mayor's had settled the matter with his public snipe at me and was reviewing my journalistic process but it was not my top priority - I was trying to arrange a live stream for Wednesday.

Wednesday

Wednesday morning, I awoke to read Mr. Dreschel's column, quoted above, which made mention of the matter.

Soon thereafter, Mayor Bratina sent an email to RTH editor Ryan McGreal, in which Bratina wrote that my writing was "false and defamatory material against me and my staff."

Mr. McGreal contacted me, and in light of the serious accusation by the chief magistrate, took down the portions of my writing which Mayor Bratina and Ms. Chapman were contesting and for which they were demanding an public apology.

McGreal rightly provided full disclosure of the accusations by Mayor Bratina and Ms. Chapman. Like me, he recognized the seriousness of the accusation by the chief magistrate and the fact the courts must take an accusation from the holder of this office with the utmost seriousness.

Ryan McGreal added a note to the article which read in part:

This blog entry originally noted that the Mayor "runs a small office" and stated that staff made a "mistake" in scheduling the special GIC meeting on a date when the Mayor would be unavailable. Mayor Bratina contacted RTH by email today and called this statement "false and defamatory".

According to Peggy Chapman, Mayor Bratina's Chief of Staff, the Mayor had already decided before January 23 that he would attend the GIC instead of the Big City Mayors Caucus.

Chapman stated in a phone conversation with RTH that it was not a "mistake" on anyone's part to schedule the GIC for January 24, and that the Mayor did not need to be in attendance at the meeting. "The Mayor hasn't said much within the GICs. He's letting everyone else deal with it and not demanding to speak - it's not agenda driven in that way."

It was after City staff and some other councillors recommended the Mayor attend the GIC that he changed his plans. Chapman added that the Big City Mayors Caucus would not have enough mayors in attendance to achieve quorum for policy making, so there was less value in Mayor Bratina attending.

Chapman also argued that the staff working in the Mayor's office are non-political and that she, as Chief of Staff, decides where the Mayor goes and what he does. She took strong objection to the suggestion that an office staffer had made a "mistake".

I have edited this blog entry to remove the two paragraphs in question pending further investigation.

Background

On January 17, the Hamilton Spectator reported on Twitter that the Special General Issues Committee scheduled for January 24 (the meeting that occurred Monday) had been rescheduled for January 27.

The next day, I checked the City website and noticed the meeting remained on the schedule for January 24. I contacted the Deputy Clerk asking for confirmation of the cancellation. The response was the City was determining if the date of the meeting could change.

Later that day, January 18, I replied, asking:

I'm not aware of any section of the City's procedural bylaw which enables the cancellation or rescheduling of a meeting after public notice is issued.

I'm planning to write an explainer regarding the City's procedural bylaw in regards to meetings to help explain why there is a debate regarding rescheduling the meeting.

As it is a special meeting of a committee, the procedural bylaw is not as definitive as to who can call a special meeting of a committee.

Could you clarify who requested the special GIC meeting for next week?

The City Clerk wrote in response:

If you go to section 3.4 of the Procedural By-law, you will note the Mayor may at any time summon a special meeting of Council.....the request out to members of Council at the moment is to reschedule the Jan 24th date to Jan. 27th for a scheduling conflict.

Rescheduling the date of a meeting happens on occasion....this is not uncommon. The motion passed at Council was about giving staff direct to prepare a report. When staff direction is provided we try to be inclusive by indicating which committee and when. It is not uncommon for a date to be changed...it may be because more time is required to complete the report, or if other scheduling conflicts arise.

Section 3.4 goes further to establish that members of Council will be provided with 48 hours notice of the calling of the meeting. Therefore, there is enough time to see if the 27th date works.

Members of Council informed me that the request for rescheduling came from the Mayor's office as he had a scheduling conflict due to the Big City Mayors Caucus in Regina.

Combined with the statement of the City Clerk, this information is verified.

Dispute

The Mayor's office dispute this version of events.

A few members of Council informed me - on the condition of anonymity because the discussions were only by email and they were not authorized to disclose to the public the content - that they were unwilling to consent to an accommodation of the Mayor's schedule.

I continued to monitor the situation and planned to write if the meeting was rescheduled.

On Friday, January 21, I emailed the City Clerk and Deputy Clerk at 8:59 AM asking when they agenda would be posted for Monday's special. They responded the reports would be posted by 9:00 AM Monday.

Later Friday, at 4:53 p.m., I received an email from Ms. Chapman with the subject line "Can you give me a call Joey?" and her signature block as the body.

I called Ms. Chapman as requested. She enquired whether I would be providing a live video stream of Monday's meeting and asked how the Mayor would be able to view it from Regina as he would be attending the Big City Mayors' Caucus.

Ms. Chapman further enquired if it were possible to arrange a two-way feed so that the Mayor could be seen at Council from Regina. I advised that it would not be my place to arrange such a set-up and noted that the City has a computer for the projector in Council Chambers and it would be possible for it to be used if city staff could arrange. The discussion then turned to whether Skype would be a solution for what the Mayor's office was considering.

During the conversation, at 5:00 PM, I emailed Ms. Chapman the link for the live video stream.

The conversation ended with Ms. Chapman noting that it was great that the Mayor would be able to watch the meeting online from Regina.

This is the timeline which led to writing the blog post on Saturday, which was published on Sunday. Where the dispute arises is when, between 5:00 PM on Friday and publication on Sunday, the Mayor decided to cancel his trip to Regina.

More Details

Since Sunday night, I've learned the following:

I emailed the City Clerk on Wednesday morning in regards to the matter of scheduling the dates. I asked:

[The Mayor's Office] claims that he did not request the GIC meeting on the 24th. He says that city staff made that request to him.

[The Mayor's Office] claims that it was not his request to reschedule the GIC meeting from the 24th to the 27th, that it was the request of city staff.

Is this true, were the meetings scheduled solely at the request of city staff and was the email asking to reschedule at the request of city staff as well?

As of this writing, I have yet to receive a response. This is not unexpected. The City Clerk may be consulting the City Solicitor in light of the accusation by the Mayor that I have published "false and defamatory material against [him] and [his] staff."

A 'Mistake'?

In terms of whether there was a "mistake" made by the Mayor's office - and I will note that I stated "his office" in the original blog post - it is clear that there were a misunderstanding about his scheduling.

Merriam-Webster defines mistake (noun) as "1: : a wrong judgment : misunderstanding"

An astute student of politics knows that it is important for leaders to be seen leading. Both the stadium debate and Big City Mayor's meetings are events at which the Mayor should be leading.

Councillors state the Mayor called the meeting for January 24, which conflicted with the Big City Mayor's meeting.

It is quite possible that the Mayor's office intended this double-booking to occur and he did not intend to be at the General Issues Committee meeting regarding the stadium. If, as according to City Councillors, he requested a rescheduling of the meeting, this seems unlikely.

I wrote, "Bob Bratina is running a small office of only three staff, only one of whom has previous experience at City Hall, as administrative assistant to former Ward 15 Councillor Margaret McCarthy."

The following line of my post stated "The scheduling of a special GIC meeting when the Mayor is unavailable is a mistake his office should not have made."

In terms of the size of his office being "small," this is an expression of opinion and can very easily be relative. I compared his office, which started with three staff, to the offices of Mayors Eisenberger and Di Ianni. Both of the previous mayors each had a staff of eight individuals.

Compared to a staff of eight, it is accurate to state that a staff of three is "small."

I have observed the work of Ms. Chapman since the Mayor took office, as she is the individual responsible for media relations in the Mayor's Office. She works long hours and handles many files. She is a dedicated public servant.

My noting that the Mayor is running a small office and that only one of them has previous City Hall experience was meant to convey that the office is still growing and the double-booking is a mistake that is completely understandable.

In terms of the overall tone of the article, it was critical of Council for not rescheduling as requested by the Mayor.

Councillors I've spoken to have professionally and privately expressed their disagreement with my statement that "[t]hese personality clashes are now showing in how Council is being conducted and conducting themselves." We had discussions, they've expressed their viewpoints, and I've expressed mine. This civil exchange of ideas is how a democracy functions.

I honestly believed this matter had ended Monday after the Mayor publicly sniped at me. I stated that I was not pursing the matter further and would not be engaging in a tit-for-tat. I remain committed to this goal.

I bear no ill will towards the Mayor or any member of his staff. I wish them nothing but the best.

Due to the serious nature of the accusations, I must repeat: Nothing published was defamatory and I strongly dispute the published statement by the Mayor that it was.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

269 Comments

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 11:13:47

yea, this is going to be a productive 4 years.....

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By woody10 (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 11:25:34

Unbelievable, or should I say believable? I didn't vote for him is all I have to say.

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By mrgrande (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 11:28:54

I can't believe he responded to a request for more information with "You should read your own blogsite." It's offensive, and makes him look bad. He seems to have some level of contempt for all members of the media. Anyone remember when he walked out of a Spectator interview shortly after being elected?

Edit - Now that you've removed it, will he (has he) respond?

Comment edited by mrgrande on 2011-01-28 11:31:36

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 11:32:44

Hahaha, well inadvertantly we learn that the mayor does read RTH :) Hi BoBra! (ducks the death glare)

Comment edited by GrapeApe on 2011-01-28 11:33:03

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By MattM (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 11:34:22

Get your pencil shield ready.

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By synxer (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 11:36:14

I feel like as a city, we "almost had it" with Eisenberger and now we're screwed for 4 years...again.

My thoughts before election: Eisenberger > Bratina > Larry DiIanni > Baldasaro

My thoughts now: Eisenberger > Larry DiIanni > Baldasaro > Bratina

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By MattM (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 11:37:11

Says a lot when you gotta put Larry DiIanni in front of him.

Damn.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 11:40:19 in reply to Comment 58557

I'm not at that point. Not by a mile.
Fred was the first good mayor we've had in YEARS. Hopefully it's not many more years until we find someone else with a great vision for our city, but yea, it kinda sucks once you've experienced 4 years with someone who really had a plan and vision to do something great in Hamilton, to go back to the usual crap.

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By EARLY DAYS4 (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 11:54:34

These early days do not show much promise with this new Mayor.

Yes, guess we're back to the old crap again...

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By drb (registered) - website | Posted January 28, 2011 at 11:57:58

@Joey, First, thanks for your hard work, it's been invaluable.

I think that all dealings with the mayor and his office will have to be recorded and on the record. As we have seen and heard this mayor will dispute/deny statements that he has made in public and on the record. Any information conveyed in the "background" (ie: phonecalls) will leave room for denial. Do you think the mayor will go after Dreschel for writing about the $10 million investor comment? City legal staff will have their hands full if the mayor continues to act in this fashion.

http://www.thespec.com/opinion/columns/a...

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 13:35:45 in reply to Comment 58560

wow...I didn't realize Bob denied the $10 million investment comment. To be clear (I was watching online) he said "$10-$20 million".

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 12:04:14

My personal opinion and one I would think many share:

Bratina got caught double booking and was willing to ditch the GIC meeting for Regina. He got called out on it and realized how horrible the public optics were on it. He was forced to reschedule and is angry that he has egg on his face and would no matter if he now stayed OR went to Regina. Bob is now trying to make Joey and Ryan pay a professional cost for catching him in the act.

One, Mayor Bob's lashing out at Joey and Ryan shows how powerful sites such as RTH and blogs have become (I don't care what you think about this mystoneycreek, your "decision makers aren't influenced by internet discussion boards" theory has been proven wrong over the last year... can't wait for the screeching sound of your rebuttal).

Two, Mayor Bob is not the type of high quality individual who will stand up and admit a mistake or judgment error. Bob will slash and burn everything around him before ever humbling himself, such is his ego.

Three, if the rancor I see in chambers between some councilors and Bratina continues then basically council will operate without a real mayor.

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By H Mag (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 12:12:36

As printed in Jan's H Mag:

"I gave up reading blogs some time ago. Had I paid attention to them I would never have run for public office, and had they been right I would have ended up dead last." - Bob Bratina responding to a citizen's email.

Maybe we need to encourage all our politicians to start reading "blogs" before the next election...

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By PeterF (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 12:12:54

Part of the job as mayor is to act mayoral. He represents us collectively whether we voted for him or not. He could have just easily explained it away as a misunderstanding with the time it took for him to take a snipe at Joey. If he is spending his time and effort on insignificant things like this, then the next 4 years are going to be a complete disaster.

Stuff like this happened to Fred. I do not recall this type of behaviour from him.

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By drb (registered) - website | Posted January 28, 2011 at 12:23:53 in reply to Comment 58564

Can the mayor and his chief-of-staff change the culture of his office from one of knee-jerk denial and counter accusation, to one of self-reflection and reasonable response.

So far none of his behaviour bodes well.

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By rednic (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 12:15:53

too bad he didn't goto regina it would have been 1 less vote cast for craziness !

Dont worry guys suing people for libel has pretty much bankrupt conrad black. Any Lawyer would tell bob not mortgage the house on the outcome of this one !

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 12:18:55

I guess what I'm most confused about is, Joey's article actually kind of came down on council to get better at cooperating with Bob, how he'd see that as an attack I can't figure...

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 28, 2011 at 13:01:50 in reply to Comment 58568

Because he takes everything far too personally. If he could just "let it slide" more often than not, he would be a much happier person.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 13:39:02 in reply to Comment 58581

I agree. I mean he almost lost it yesterday when one person clapped in the gallery. Can you imagine the gong show it will become in there if he ever has meetings like Fred and Larry both did where the gallery is packed with people cheering, yelling, booing etc..... I'm going to show up wearing my Jimmy Hart jacket and mega-phone to join in on the festivities.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 22:52:00 in reply to Comment 58597

This motivates me to attend council meetings. I'd like to applaud anything said by anyone that goes against Bratina's direction.

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By Mando (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 14:58:43 in reply to Comment 58597

lol...that was funny .. The ensuing conversation where I was seated was about the thickness of his skin or there lack of it.

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By whitehorse (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 12:21:49

By jason (registered) Posted January 28, 2011

Fred was the first good mayor we've had in YEARS. Hopefully it's not many more years until we find someone else with a great vision for our city, but yea, it kinda sucks once you've experienced 4 years with someone who really had a plan and vision to do something great in Hamilton, to go back to the usual crap.

I am totally agree with you Jason! I am glad that I did not vote for BoBra!

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 12:26:54

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

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By Zot (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 12:44:17

So, in my opinion, it looks like "Bob the Blob" is trying to beat out "Larry DiMeanie" for the title of "Most Ego-maniacal Asshat in Hamilton Politics". He still has some catching up to do, but he does have 4 more years...



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By jason (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 13:40:15 in reply to Comment 58574

that's not entirely true. He has 3 years, 10 and a half months left.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 12:46:13

Since these reply buttons don't seem to be working in IE 8 (I click them and nothing at all happens) I'll do this the old way.

MrGrande said: "...Anyone remember when he walked out of a Spectator interview shortly after being elected?"

Yes, he first limited the spectator to only asking the exact same questions that they had asked Fred Eisenberger. I think he got to question two before he challenged them on their question, and then delivered a brief response. If memory serves me right he walked out on question three.

For being a former media personality, he sure doesn't seem to "play well" with the media.

*****

As for this particular incident, I really don't know what to make of the timeline, or what was said during the call. However I don't see what motive Joey might have for misrepresenting a conversation over what was essentially a scheduling issue.

Perhaps if we had some evidence of when exactly the mayor's meeting in Regina was cancelled it might help illuminate whether there was a misunderstanding between the two parties. Such evidence is unlikely to be presented from the mayor's office. So what we're left with is the suspicion that it was a misunderstanding, as Joey's version of events, at least, seems to be substantiated by the e-mail timeline.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 28, 2011 at 12:49:17 in reply to Comment 58575

Since these reply buttons don't seem to be working in IE 8 (I click them and nothing at all happens) I'll do this the old way.

I tested in IE6 and IE8, and it should work. Did you try reloading the page a couple of times? Sometimes the browser stores a local copy of the javascript and stylesheet file and doesn't fetch the newest version from the server until you reload.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 28, 2011 at 13:03:07 in reply to Comment 58576

Hold shift while pressing the refresh button.

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By mattjelly (registered) - website | Posted January 28, 2011 at 12:49:26

This is disappointing. In a City with a 20% poverty rate, a gigantic infrastructure deficit, a looming provincial downloading crisis, a still-polluted Randle Reef and widespread toxic contamination, our Mayor and his small staff are more concerned with arguing semantics with local journalists and bloggers, going even further to describe Raise the Hammer as "journalism of dubious legitimacy". That insult is particularly absurd, considering that Peggy Chapman, Bob's Chief of Staff, is a former producer for right-wing talk radio extremists Roy Green and Charles Adler, and former editor and reporter for the Bay Observer, which seemed to transform into the Ti-Cats PR department during the height of the Stadium debate.

I'd like to remind Bob and Peggy that people like Joey and sites like Raise the Hammer are run by volunteers who try as best they can to inform and engage the public on a number of civic issues, and they do it often without seeing a dime of profit. Joey has been providing a service to the public for months now by broadcasting meetings live to the public- taking hours and hours out of his schedule to do so, and paying for the costs out of his own pocket. Ryan and RTH's contributors often provide more insight and in-depth coverage of the issues than any other news outlet in the City, including just about all of Peggy and Bob's former employers.

Even if you disagree with the perceived slant from either Joey or Raise the Hammer, these are engaged citizens trying to advance Hamilton, to promote engagement and facilitate meaningful discussions- as unpaid volunteers. This is something any Mayor worth our votes should celebrate, rather than belittle. Instead, Bob and Peggy seem to be threatened by the level of engagement that both Joey and RTH seek to promote. Maybe they'd both rather live in a talk radio echo chamber, where objectionable views can be silenced by hanging up the phone and moving on to the next caller? I hope they both remember who they work for- and I don't mean the Ti-Cats or Vrancor.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 12:54:25

Ryan, I did do a ctrl+refresh to get the newest copy of the page. It's still not working. When I mouse over the reply button the pointer becomes a "hand" witha pointing finger, but it doesn't display a url in the corner, and clicking it has no effect.

I'll test it out on my home computer at some point in the future, and I'll put a response in your "threading" column so as not to mess this up any further.

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted January 28, 2011 at 12:56:17

As a Ward 2 resident, I've experienced, along with many other Ward 2 residents, then-Councillor Bob Bratina's rants and imagined slights. To say he is thin-skinned is to state the obvious. Prior to becoming Mayor, an accomplishment for which I congratulated him, Bratina's snipes were limited to Ward 2 residents. Now he has a whole new audience to offend.

Bob Bratina needs to remember he is now a leader of all citizens, not a broadcaster to those who chose to tune in. The third element of the city's stated Vision, a Vision he helped craft, states, "To be the best place in Canada to engage citizens." We're engaged. We listen. We observe. We comment.

In my view, it is Mayor Bratina who should apologize for shouting out an apparently groundless complaint about a private citizen on the floor of our Council Chambers. In my opinion, it was uncalled for, unprofessional, and unseemly for the Mayor of this city to do so.

As for Ms. Chapman, may I suggest you just post a copy of the confirmation of the cancelled airline ticket with the time stamp on it to prove your point that the cancellation was made long before you spoke with Joey Coleman? Also, may I suggest you post something in writing, as has Mr. Coleman, stating your version of the facts? That's a pretty easy thing to do. Having said that, I think the pettiness demonstrated by the Mayor and members of his staff is simply appalling. If this is how it begins, based on a basic scheduling mix-up, just imagine how it will end.

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By whitehorse (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 13:08:03

By H+H (anonymous) Posted January 28, 2011 at 12:56:17

...Bob Bratina needs to remember he is now a leader of all citizens, not a broadcaster to those who chose to tune in. The third element of the city's stated Vision, a Vision he helped craft, states, "To be the best place in Canada to engage citizens." We're engaged. We listen. We observe. We comment.

In my view, it is Mayor Bratina who should apologize for shouting out an apparently groundless complaint about a private citizen on the floor of our Council Chambers. In my opinion, it was uncalled for, unprofessional, and unseemly for the Mayor of this city to do so...

+++++++++++++

Yeah! You hit the nail right on its head H+H! Thanks!!!

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By whitehorse (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 13:13:42

Matt Jelly quote:

...Even if you disagree with the perceived slant from either Joey or Raise the Hammer, these are engaged citizens trying to advance Hamilton, to promote engagement and facilitate meaningful discussions- as unpaid volunteers. This is something any Mayor worth our votes should celebrate, rather than belittle. Instead, Bob and Peggy seem to be threatened by the level of engagement that both Joey and RTH seek to promote. Maybe they'd both rather live in a talk radio echo chamber, where objectionable views can be silenced by hanging up the phone and moving on to the next caller? I hope they both remember who they work for- and I don't mean the Ti-Cats or Vrancor.

++++++

@ Matt: - Yes, I really hope that the Mayor remember well Who he work for! So please do not satisfy a few of his chosen ones ...hehehe ,...

Comment edited by whitehorse on 2011-01-28 13:13:56

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By anon (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 13:16:07

Mayor Bob is just annoyed that he had to cancel his trip out of the city. The only reason I became aware of it is because the Mayor used Council time to address it (and was then quoted by Andrew Dreschel). By accusing Ryan of something that he cannot even prove, he has now drawn even more attention to this rather trival issue.

I agree with earlier posts, focusing on this was petty and unproductive and confirms character flaws that I had hoped he would overcome once he acquired the title of Mayor. As much fun as I have making fun of certain Hamilton politicians, I wish I could laugh at something that didn't have direct consequences for my city and my well-being. (BeulahAve.)

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted January 28, 2011 at 13:23:18

The worst part is that this could be handled so much better. You really can't blame the mayor for double-booking - I imagine this Regina thing was planned long in advance, and any sane person would have assumed we wouldn't be quite so far behind the 8-ball with the stadium at this point.

But once again, Bratina's quick temper and quicker mouth got the better of him.

Being able to talk first and think second might be good for keeping up in the witty and wacky world of talk radio, but in the mayor's office there's something to be said for a quiet moment of reflection.

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By Amy Kenny (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 13:25:59

Withholding mayoral response until the news paints you in your preferred light is perhaps not the most democratic stance to take.

For the most part, I feel like Bob has his heart in the right place when it comes to the city, but he really needs to check himself sometimes. Step one? Hire a personal PR manager to administer lessons regarding appropriate vs. inappropriate response.

Think before speaking = appropriate. Knee-jerk emotional outburst = not so hot a plan.

His October Spec Q&A with Emma Reilly came off as petulant and sarcastic, his personal attacks on Matt Jelly this year were vicious and rude, and his response to this story is (I think) mildly hysterical and immature.

This isn't student council. Please tone down the drama.

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By jonathan dalton (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 13:32:55

Well if Bob and Matt Jelly can kiss and make up, anything is possible.

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By geoff's two cents (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 13:33:11

Well said, mattjelly.

One glimmer of hope here: It's pretty evident from Bob's reply that he and his staff do read RTH, whatever he said about it being of "dubious legitimacy." Well done!

Comment edited by geoff's two cents on 2011-01-28 13:33:43

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted January 28, 2011 at 13:37:31

Considering our constant mocking of his relationship with the Ticats, the Vranich family, his temper, his indecisiveness... yeah, the only reason I'm actually surprised to learn that he really doesn't like us is that I'd figured a self-proclaimed Luddite of his age really wouldn't notice what the blogosphere says about him.

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By UrbanRenaissance (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 13:39:11

What a ridiculous spectacle. At worst, Joey Coleman made an honest mistake which was subsequently corrected. I would think our mayor would have better uses for his time than making childish jabs at a dedicated journalist and one of the best news sources in the city.

Also, did anyone else chuckle when the word "blogsite" was used?

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 13:43:54 in reply to Comment 58598

What's so funny about 'blogsite'??

....now where the heck did I put the converter for this VCR??

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 13:46:17

(sigh)

The mayor is digging his hole even deeper.

How can is man be a politicain when he seems to be so overly sensitive, by this story and his "death glare" at the gallery.

It embarrasses me as a Hamiltonian. I'm saddened by it too.

Hopefullt he'll learn. It's early in his mayoral tenure.

Ryan, and Joey, if anything,the mayor's attempt at discrediting this "blogsite" is having the exact oppsoite effect. RTH counts.

Kudos to you two for the professionalism you exude!

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By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted January 28, 2011 at 13:46:45

Personally after the last few months my preference for mayor now tallies like this

  1. Fred

  2. Mike Baldasaro

  3. The Dancing Guy who walks down King St.

  4. Not Bob

  5. Not Larry.

Jeezuss this is going to be a long 4 years. Is there any provision in the Municipal Charter for recall?

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 14:13:46 in reply to Comment 58602

Nice to see you back Shemp, haven't seen you around. Hope you were busy with your business.

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By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted January 28, 2011 at 14:20:16 in reply to Comment 58607

Thanks mrjanitor.

Not so lucky. Had a pretty serious fire in my house. Everyone is ok. Just a pain arranging accomodations, dealing with insurance etc. while still having to go to work run a business and be a dad.

Things will be ok.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 11:05:44 in reply to Comment 58611

So sorry Shemp, that's horrible. Our old neighbors on Gibson Ave. had a fire 1 1/2 years ago and lost everything. It was truly traumatic experience for them, I hope the best for you. Do you guys need any help?

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By z jones (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 23:22:22 in reply to Comment 58611

Really sorry to hear that! Glad to hear everyone is OK - I hope the insurance co. doesn't try to screw you.

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By PeterF (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 13:54:43 in reply to Comment 58602

When I heard Arnold Schwarzenegger was in TO last week, I thought he was there to teach us how to do a recall election. And maybe Fred could have said "Hamilton, I'll be back"

Comment edited by PeterF on 2011-01-28 13:55:06

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By goin'downtown (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 13:47:07

(disappointed sigh)

Despite Ryan's perfectly appropriate actions and the astute weigh-ins here, I was going to just say something like "what a colossal waste of time for everyone" but in the same breath realized...very telling...

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By PeterF (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 14:02:06

The ironic thing about this is that the original article had only 8 comments. He took an insignifcant event and made it main stream by his actions.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 23:18:02 in reply to Comment 58605

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By Harrison (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 14:06:53

Congratulations to Joey & Ryan for showing professionalism and grace under pressure over the incident with the Mayor and his Chief of Staff. Frankly, I am appalled by this lack of poor judgement on the part of Mr. Bratina & Ms. Chapman, especially the latter, who was notorious for taking cheap shots at our former mayor & his staff when she worked as a reporter for the Bay Observer. Joey's integrity should not be in question - he is a fair, hard-working journalist & our community is fortunate to have him where he is. To indicate that the mayor's staff is "not political" is untrue. Is it not an accurate assumption here, that the mayor made a decision to clean house after he won the election because he did not want anyone who had worked for the former mayor on his new staff? And is it not a fair assumption that his new chief is lacking in experience in municipal government? Regardless, these two individuals are being paid by taxpayers. The Mayor was elected & must hold himself to a very high standard of decorum, behaving at all times with integrity, professionalism, & dignity. The last several weeks have proven otherwise. Respectfully, the mayor & his top advisor would be doing themselves a big favour if they would remember that they must be accountable & will be held to a higher standard of accountability & integrity because they are public servants.

Comment edited by Harrison on 2011-01-28 14:18:15

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 28, 2011 at 14:15:53 in reply to Comment 58606

One point of clarification: Peggy Chapman said that her own position is "quasi-political" but that her administrative staff are "non-political".

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By Harrison (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 14:22:11 in reply to Comment 58608

Since amalgamation, (and evidently, with only a few exceptions) anyone employed in the office of an elected city official is considered "political staff". Check it out.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 28, 2011 at 14:28:03 in reply to Comment 58615

That's very interesting. Do you have a link to a reference for this?

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By Harrison (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 14:56:28 in reply to Comment 58617

Unfortunately, this is like searching for a needle in a hay stack -- have not yet found the appropriate link. This info can likely be confirmed by the office of the City Clerk and I would assume the city's HR people, although the latter would likely not comment on "personnel" matters. I presume this can also be confirmed by former Mayors Wade, DiIanni & Eisenberger.

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 14:19:15

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Comment edited by hammy on 2011-01-28 14:22:30

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By RightSaidFred (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 14:20:50 in reply to Comment 58610

hammy, don't give yourself any more stress, go back to listening to 'Hometown Radio' and feel good about yourself again.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 14:20:34

The shrillest sound in the world is that of a professional media reporter, pundit or personality being challenged for their actions and words. That unfortunately is the situation we have with Bratina and Chapman.

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By Bobby1 (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 14:22:08

Seems to me the only professionals in this whole story is RTH. Mayor Bob, has a huge thin skin and huge temper! At some point we'll have to admit we made a 4 year mistake! Just look at the way daily he changes his line drawn in the sand! I'm so embarrassed to live in Hamilton! Joey should sue the Mayor for slander just to bring this issue to the for front! I know, can't fight City Hall and their Free legal representation!

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By Clyde Cope (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 14:38:56

Joey - please continue with your great civic reporting. You have been my eyes and ears on City Hall events and without you I wouldn't be half as informed. It appears that the Mayor's lack of control over his temper has fostered this. Holding a strong light on City Hall activities is great for democracy. Bratina's tempest in a teapot just goes to show that he isn't an omnipotent ruler.

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By Langstaff (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 14:43:52

Working on getting a link...not much luck so far!

The decision was made by the first council of the newly-amalgamated city which decided to hire staff members of their own choosing. This information is stored in City Clerk's office and is likely accessible to the public. I presume the city's hr division would also be able to verify this.

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By PerryMason (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 14:53:48

"Joey should sue the Mayor for slander just to bring this issue to the for front! I know, can't fight City Hall and their Free legal representation!"

Joey has a very good case against Bob. The mayor used a public forum to denigrate a citizen and call into question his professional abilities. This could work against this citizen in gaining employment in this same field. The weight of the Mayor's words are always taken seriously. It seems to me that Joey has a very good legal position from which to launch a lawsuit.

As for the mayor's legal status. If he is sued for erring while in his role, the city will pay. If he is sued for being stupid or intemperate or libelllous, he is on his own.

Sue Joey. Sue.

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 21:39:19 in reply to Comment 58623

I very much doubt that a court action is the way to settle this, and the habit of hiring lawyers (at our ungodly rates) to settle such matters is a reprehensible custom. I hope Joey gets an apology, but I hope he doesn't feel the need to wring one out via a lawsuit.

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 14:59:26

As serious an accusation this is against Joey, I am curious if the mayor considered how much more serious it would be if he was held accountable for slander... At the very very very least it would be expected that the mayor himself publicly (streamed from council and in print) apologize for the statements. Or like PerryMason said "Sue Joey. Sue."

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By MattM (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 15:05:50

I don't think legal action is necessary but an apology is definitely warranted.

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By Part Dieux (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 15:11:38

""Maybe we need to encourage all our politicians to start reading "blogs" before the next election...""

Hear, hear, Mr. Speaker! Who are they to ignore the 300!

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By Part Dieux (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 15:13:00

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 28, 2011 at 15:19:13

Joey's integrity should not be in question - he is a fair, hard-working journalist & our community is fortunate to have him where he is.

Hear, hear.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2011-01-28 16:05:56

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 15:31:00 in reply to Comment 58633

Completely agree. It's a real commentary about their character when a citizen (Joey, RTH, etc) feel compelled to do this on their own time and provide us the benefit. I keep asking myself why aren't the paid people doing this stuff - why can't I find an equally engaging article in the Spec?

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 15:29:41

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 21:40:46 in reply to Comment 58634

And when exactly, O Wise One, did you warn this? At any rate, I think the facts demonstrated above are all on the side of RTH's reporting...

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 15:41:51 in reply to Comment 58668

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By z jones (registered) | Posted February 04, 2011 at 20:27:26 in reply to Comment 58710

Hey Allan, if RTH is so irrelevant then why are you so obsessed with it that you keep commenting here anonymously after you got banned for being abusive?

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By drb (registered) - website | Posted February 04, 2011 at 12:59:43 in reply to Comment 58710

I knew "nabobs of negativity" sounded familiar. Hi Allan Taylor.

http://www.thespec.com/opinion/letters/a...

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted February 04, 2011 at 19:41:45 in reply to Comment 59271

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 23:49:09 in reply to Comment 58710

I take it then from your unwillingness to answer my question, that you did not in fact "warn us" of anything.

As for council dealing with important stuff, great. Perhaps the mayor and council can leave the media alone and get on with their work, rather than wasting everyone's time fighting with them and making stuff up. That would be great!

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By say what (anonymous) | Posted February 04, 2011 at 19:42:49 in reply to Comment 58834

I don't really care to look it up, you can if you like. I know you'll find it if you have hours to look

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By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 15:33:13

"I could've sworn that gas can was full of ice water..."

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 15:52:41

BoBra is a poor sort of a mini-autocrat. Hard to work up a fight against a guy who is so good at hurting himself.

This exchange makes him look like such a pitiful figure that I can't even muster up any righteous indignation.

I hope they end up building that Senior's Centre for Morelli's ward, perhaps he and the mayor can retire there in 4 years and dodder about together.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 28, 2011 at 16:04:10

In my opinion, this could have been avoided had the mayors office contacted Joey to say that the mayor no longer needed the live video feed in Regina, and that he would now be attending the Monday emergency GIC meeting. Not that Joey wouldn't have been there anyway doing the feeds as he has done for some time now, but either way, the article likely wouldn't have been published.

The real question here in my mind is, was Mr. Bratina calling out Joey called for?

You know, as someone who truly does care about this Pan Am Stadium outcome, when I heard the mayor was not going to be able to attend I was dissapointed. In understanding that he has other issues at stake with regards to our city, but I felt that seeing as though this was a very important issue, that his attendance was invaluable in these final days leading up to our February 1st deadline. I didn't hold it against him though. I knew we had a couple of more meetings beofre the Feb. 1st deadline.

When the mayor walked into council chambers Monday afternoon, I was pleasantly surprised. 'He decided to change his plans. Good on him', I thought to myself.

I like that Mayor Bob is standing up for the Cats and pointing out things like the correct pronounciation of Brian Timmis and his little historical interlude of Brian Timmis himself. There is nothing wrong with civic pride, but he could certainly use to choose his words a little differently as well, rather than pointing out the 'follies' of another. As another poster pointed out above, many of us hold Joey in high regards and appreciate his keen eye on the goings on in our city, and the work, pride, and dedication he puts into 'bringing us the news'.

To say that one of 'our' goals through this process is to not lose the Cats (I know the exact wording is readily available but it's not important), is not entirely true. It's something we would 'like' to not see happen, but that want cannot come before what's best. I certainly don't want to lose the Cats either, but there has to be a point where wanting to save them or not, you have to step up and say 'Whoah. You guys(Cats brass) are going too far.'

I't nice to have a couple of voices for the Cats at the council table who understand their importance to thousands of residents of this city and to fans across the nation but on the other hand, I strongly feel the Mayor should be standing up for his team members with a statement of understanding directed at them, acknowledging their frustation with some of the Cats tactics.

I was out of town checking in on yesterday's council proceedings from a meeting in Montreal and subsequently in airports along my path home, so I missed the meat of the talks, but Scott Mitchell's statement about moving to Ottawa was way out of line. It's one thing to say the team would 'likely' move and Ottawa perhaps could be an option which if that scenerio was to play out, would be as early as 2013, but his statement came as more of a threat. 'Yes. We would very likely leave.' That's all that had to be said.

If the mayor did challenge that statement during the open GIC or in camera discussions then my appoligies, but I would think that if he did I would have read about that by now.

It's okay for our Mayor to be 'for' the Cats and the Ivor Wynne plan, but his colleagues do not deserve to be treated like they have been through all of this. 'I am on your side (Cats) and will fight to make this work, but if the threats and unethical hard-ball continue, I will be forced to choose the side of the men and woman who sit around this council table with me who have had enough, to change my position of support for preserving the 141-year history of the franchise that you are currently the leaders of, and I will discontinue any further support for a 15,000 seat stadium in Hamilton.'

Or something to that affect.

The Cats have value for me as a citizen of this city as does Ivor Wynne and this plan to refurbish it. I strongly believe in this proposal to allocate some serious cash into this area of our city, but we SERIOUSLY need to end this debate on a high note. If everything comes together over the course of the weekend, the people of this city need to walk into this next phase of planning and construciton with a good taste in their mouths.

We cannot afford to just move forward on Monday. We have to move forward together. It's up to Bob Young and our Mayor to make that happen - as leaders. No one else. Scott Mitchell needs to step aside for obvious reasons these next two days and Bob Young needs to step up and speak.

Council has taken enough heat. If Mayor Bob and the Caretaker want this passed on Monday, they both need to be leaders these next few days and show all of us (especially the council members who hold the fate of ALL of this in whether they sit or stand when the final motion is requested), why this is something we should embrace and move forward with - together.


I will quickly add that my meeting in Montreal was on St. Catharines St in downtown Montreal when council commenced, and the final vote must have happened shortly before our plane decended into Toronto around 6pm or so. Just to give you an idea of how long that meeting was. I had a 4.5 hour meeting, drove to Montreal airport, and flew over 500km's back to Toronto in the time it took to hold that special GIC. Phew! Any longer and I would have made it back to Hamilton for that final vote.

I thank folks like EmmaattheSpec, Joey Coleman and Mark Masters and so many others who were there providing live feeds and twitter updates. Not to mention you all sitting around (for some 3 hours was it?), while council went in camera. Your services are very valuable to me. Being able to follow important city issues such as this from afar, I strongly believe makes it easier for more people to be civicly involved. That is the most important thing that has come out of this whole process from my viewpoint.

So thank-you.

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By amsterdam (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 16:05:38

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 21:46:46 in reply to Comment 58639

Hey hotshot, listen. I've been doing this a long time, elsewhere, this citizen journalism thing. (Also the real journalism thing too... I'd say every one of the ten or fifteen largest media organizations in the country, English or French, has published my work.)

I looked through the above and really didn't find a description of the faulty process. Where was the process mistake?

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By jonathan dalton (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 16:27:42

RTH may be an amateur journalistic site, but as I'm aware Joey Coleman is a professional journalist who has worked at several major Canadian media outlets including the Spectator. If you read his account of the events it should be clear that he was reporting on verified facts that were correct at the time they were reported to him and had every reason to believe were correct at the time of publishing.

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By amsterdam (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 16:31:03 in reply to Comment 58640

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 17:16:09 in reply to Comment 58641

it still would never have made it into any credible newspaper.

Such as?

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By amsterdam (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 18:33:31 in reply to Comment 58649

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 19:42:19 in reply to Comment 58652

Nice try amsterdam, but no. You suggested that Joey's honest mistake never would have made it into a 'credible' newspaper, and I posted a link that illustrates the absurdity of your assertion that such a thing as a credible newspaper exists.

Nor was the link about 'a wrongful article' that made it into the NYT as if by accident, but in fact a series of articles that had an enormous influence on public support for the Iraq war, that turned out have been based on unvetted sources, journalistic malpractise, and a failure of editorial oversight that goes far, far beyond 'flawed'. Not only that, but the articles in question were being printed at the same time that the NYT was being rocked by the Jayson Blair scandal.

The lapses in integrity on the part of professional journalists and editors that took place at the NYT in the first half of the last decade, did permanent damage to the very idea of a 'credible' newspaper. Your suggestion that a relatively minor, honest mistake like Joey's wouldn't have happened at such an institution is laughable.

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By amsterdam (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 21:25:52 in reply to Comment 58660

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 22:05:39 in reply to Comment 58666

it's not the relatively minor, honest part of JC's post that bothers me. It's the fact that the post was a lazy, erroneous, and meanspirited mess.

It was nothing of the sort.

That would never happen at a credible newspaper.

I guess you've never read one of Andrew Dreschel's columns.

I'm not saying mistakes don't happen, or even that systemic mistakes can happen via organizational problems.

Actually that's exactly what you said.

But by saying there is no such thing as a credible newspaper you're saying that there is no difference between such lapses and the carte blanche you get here.

It is quite clear from this article that you get anything but 'carte blanche' here, and that Ryan takes the credibility of this site very seriously.

According to you it makes no difference that amateurs make mistakes because professionals make mistakes too.

I said no such thing. I was merely providing evidence to disprove your absurd claim that professionals don't make mistakes. They do. And often they make far more egregious mistakes that have much greater consequences because of their professional status. But hey, you just keep shaking your fist at those darn bloggers! Let's party like it's 1999!

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By amsterdam (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 23:12:06 in reply to Comment 58670

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By z jones (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 23:15:42 in reply to Comment 58674

Thank you Peggy, we get that you're not a big fan of RTH.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 16:37:10

it still would never have made it into any credible newspaper

haha...have you read a newspaper in the past 20 years??

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By MediaWatch (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 16:40:04

It is interesting that 'journalist media' is given the same importance as MSM in the eyes of so many. Turn on your television sets and see what is happening in Egypt to understand the power of the media.

In this case we have a mayor with a thin skin. No one should be surprised, calling out an amateur blogger/media person. All of us should be disappointed by that. And a MS newspaper making it news by alluding to it. The two media worlds collide!

And a chief of staff whose job is to 'tamp' down negative stories instead gives it 'legs' by her questionable accounting of the facts. In other political jurisdicitons, she wouldn't last so long.

And meanwhile, all this is a distraction. The fact that council still made NO decision other than to pay 44% of an unknown number isn't given the play it should!!

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 16:41:55

amsterdam,

I can't say that I fully agree with your assessment of the blog post in question. However I must agree that you make a very valid and relevant point about citizen journalists and some of the pitfalls that may lie in the path forward in the evolution of e-journalism.

Maybe it's time to have an on-line course or legal recommendations for citizen journalists here on RTH. I can see how the risks can be surprising; not properly citing copyrighted material, protection of sources, libel and slander laws... I'm sure this is an incomplete list. What is the legal difference between an op-ed piece and an article?

I think Bratina hopes to send a little chill down the spine of Hamilton's blogging community. I think he has only angered them but there may be a lesson embedded in his attack as well.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 17:10:51 in reply to Comment 58645

I think Bratina hopes to send a little chill down the spine of Hamilton's blogging community. I think he has only angered them but there may be a lesson embedded in his attack as well.

A lesson for whom? Ryan and Joey responded to Bratina's unwarranted accusation with gravity, dignity, and professionalism, which only served to cast Bratina and Chapman's buffoonery into high relief. There's a lesson here alright. Let's hope the Mayor and his Chief of Staff learn it.

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By Part Dieux (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 17:01:21

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 18:13:17

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Comment edited by hammy on 2011-01-28 18:14:50

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 18:14:32

@amsterdam -- I think the power of new media is more than amply demonstrated by the events in Egypt... I am comforted by the fact that information cannot be controlled by elite gatekeepers anymore. Let us all have information and make our own conclusions. I just ask for accuracy. Judging from the events outlined above, it seems to me that the fault lay in Bratina's office for not clarifying things after speaking to Joey.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 18:40:01

the fault lay in Bratina's office for not clarifying things after speaking to Joey.

whaddya mean? Bratina said "go read your own blogsite". How is that not clarifying things??

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By BoBra (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 18:59:16

Why all the fuss about this incident - I guess you didn't read BoBra's election slogan, "Yes I Can"

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 19:08:19 in reply to Comment 58654

I thought it was 'platform shmatform'?

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By drb (registered) - website | Posted January 28, 2011 at 19:12:00 in reply to Comment 58655

I thought it was "I never said I can."

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By Part Dieux (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 19:29:45

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By Emptor (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 20:08:39 in reply to Comment 58658

You and hammy can do the same thing I do when your fearless leader and bill Kelly are on the radio; change the station.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 20:12:26

Highwater,

A lesson for whom? Ryan and Joey responded to Bratina's unwarranted accusation with gravity, dignity, and professionalism, which only served to cast Bratina and Chapman's buffoonery into high relief. There's a lesson here alright. Let's hope the Mayor and his Chief of Staff learn it.

You completely missed my point.

The lesson is that sites like RTH have growing power in the public eye and the people who blog and write articles can expect vigorous counter-attacks in the future from those in the traditional power establishment. Those who participate in adding content to a site like RTH need to continue to do so but also need to be educated in how to express an opinion while removing any chance of legal repercussions from those they critique.

I really have no clue as to what you thought I meant by this:

I think Bratina hopes to send a little chill down the spine of Hamilton's blogging community. I think he has only angered them but there may be a lesson embedded in his attack as well.

...considering I wrote this before the quote you cherry picked:

Maybe it's time to have an on-line course or legal recommendations for citizen journalists here on RTH. I can see how the risks can be surprising; not properly citing copyrighted material, protection of sources, libel and slander laws... I'm sure this is an incomplete list.

Does it make sense now?

Comment edited by mrjanitor on 2011-01-28 20:13:09

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By Part Dieux (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 21:14:25

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 23:29:24

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Comment edited by hammy on 2011-01-28 23:32:19

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By kevin (registered) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 00:00:47

Hammy, you rote ‘right’ rather than ‘write.’ You have no write to right comments on this 'blogsite' because you are barely-literate.

Joey, you're doing awesome work, my man. Keep it up.

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By Odds (anonymous) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 00:13:40

Another explanation for the Mayor and his staff's behaviour could be that they are in way over their heads with the job - I mean, he didn't expect to win, had no platform, had no experience running an organization. This isn't to excuse his actions, but it could explain things.

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 00:27:46

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Comment edited by hammy on 2011-01-29 00:36:11

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By kevin (registered) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 00:49:14

Don't come grovelling with excuses, big mouth. You'd be obnoxious in any language.

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By kevin (registered) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 01:03:42

Hammy, writing is a craft that requires thought and hard work. The bile you vomit onto this site is disgraceful. You’re lazy.

I hate to stereotype, Hammy, but I like to stereotype, too. Everyone likes to stereotype. You stereotype all the time: “the rth crowd” are mindless, elitist sheep. Fair enough.

Here’s some random stereotyping: Boyo supporters are more obnoxious and less intelligent than any other demographic, outside Sarah Palin’s fans. They’re almost exclusively white, overindulged, over-compensated, over-weight, baby booming men, who love golf and the status quo.

Please explain this, Hammy: Boyo fan, “Boyo is a wonderful, open, kind-hearted man. He’s self-deprecating, engaging, witting, and charming. He bought the Cats to save them. He’s a benevolent, generous philanthropist, who is losing millions to save our city’s icon.”

Same guy, next breath, “Boyo is a businessman. He’s supposed to be a greedy, profit-driven reptile, who screws his improvised hometown to further enrich himself. Good for him. That’s what he does. That’s why he’s a billionaire and you’re not, loser.”

Comment edited by kevin on 2011-01-29 01:32:29

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By improvethehammer (registered) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 14:02:19 in reply to Comment 58686

How did this post get 10 votes?

Everyone please re-read the voting system

Now ask the questions:

  • Did this post contribute meaningfully to the conversation?
  • Was this researched? (Perhaps it was well-argued)
  • Was it needlessly inflammatory, seeking to provoke an emotional reaction from others?

IMHO it was off-topic. It also did an ad-hominem attack on another member of the board ("You're lazy")


begin rant

Guys, let's please, please, please, please use the voting system effectively.

Do me a favour. Sometime this week -- up vote a comment that you personally disagree with, but is well researched, and adds value to the debate. And sometime this week, down vote a comment that you personally agree with, but that uses inflammatory language, or is rehashing an opinion said 1000 times before without any facts to back it up.

I apologize for picking on this post in particular. But I've seen countless examples where one person says no more than "I think position A" and the next post says "I disagree with position A" and one gets 10 upvotes, the other gets 10 downvotes. And these are right after each other.

ends rant


Comment edited by improvethehammer on 2011-01-29 14:05:52

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 29, 2011 at 14:26:47 in reply to Comment 58704

Improvethehammer, I agree with you, mainly insofar as I try to discourage people from feeding trolls by responding to them.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-01-29 14:27:11

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By improvethehammer (registered) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 14:52:11 in reply to Comment 58706

Trolls are bad. Feeding the trolls just as bad -- and probably worse because the people posting should know better.

But Ryan, just don't say it! Down vote with a vengeance! There are lots of posts in this thread alone that have +10 scores that deserve to be a 1 at best.

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 03:35:38

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Comment edited by hammy on 2011-01-29 04:00:41

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted January 29, 2011 at 04:02:26

It isn't like Joey took some fact out of context - he was organizing a video conference between the Mayor, Monday, in Sask., and council. If that doesn't give reasonable grounds to believe somebody's going to be in Sask. on Monday, what does?

If they mayor had simply opted to stay behind to be at the meeting, I would have applauded his choice. But by turning it all into a snipe at Joey and "bloggers"/citizen journalists in general, I have to doubt his motives. I do agree with the mayor - Joey has very poor choice in sources. Clearly, the mayor's office is not a reliable source.

All of this suggests that Bob is, to put it bluntly, spoiling for a rumble. And I wont deny him his indulgence. He can use terms like defamatory all he wants - there's not a hair's chance they'll stand up in court. All it will accomplish is to shine a brighter and more critical light on himself, and that's fine by me.

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 04:28:14

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By JonC (registered) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 08:12:17

"That's when Mayor Bob Bratina came roaring out the gate but only to remind folks that it's actually 'Brian Timmis' stadium not 'Timmins.'"

I believe he means Brian Timmis parking lot.

Seriously, is he trying to remind people his 'plan' involves knocking it down?

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 12:20:32 in reply to Comment 58691

LOL. I found that weird too. He's telling everyone to pronounce the name of the guy properly because he was such a great Hamiltonian....I'm sure he'd be proud to hear that his namesake stadium is being leveled for a parking lot.

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By Trolly troll a tron (anonymous) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 09:19:13

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By misterque (registered) - website | Posted January 29, 2011 at 13:16:17

Time for T-Shirt? Button? Tattoo?

Dubious Journalism Trumps Political Chicanery.

Dubious Journalists For Freedom.

A Dubious Journalist Is Better That A Dubious Mayor.

Hoot A Dubious Journalist Today!

Dubious Journalists Don't Spout Shit About Imaginary $20 Million Dollar Investments On The Record And Then Deny It. (okay maybe this can't be a button).

Can You Play Dubious Journalism On Your Saxophone?

P.S. Can we just change Hammy's screen name to Spammy? Hammy says English is his second language. Unfortunately I could not find a Google Translator for Neanderthal.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 13:18:40

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 13:50:15 in reply to Comment 58699

it's pretty tough to do less than 'platform schmatform'.

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By michel (registered) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 13:24:55

Wow! A lot of tempestuous 'ink' in this Ti-Cat's teapot. Wonder if next, Mayor Bob will want to sue us bloggers from unkindly comments.

At this rate I predict Mayor Bob, dry tinder as he seems to be, will self-destruct by spontaneous combustion within 6 months.

Sad to say, but I don't thing Mayor Fred will ever want to be with us again as a leader, given the vile bile he received from so many while he was running the show, all of which he accepted in good gentlemanly stride.

All in all, looks like 4 years of much TALK, little long-term VISION, no ACTION. I'm getting older faster than things are happening!

Comment edited by michel on 2011-01-29 13:25:54

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By Troll Monitor (anonymous) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 14:15:33

Commenters of RTH. Please remember not to feed the trolls, as it encourages others to feed them and creates a messy forum.

I enjoy reading the comments, when I don't have to sift rebuttals to verbal excrement.

Thank you!

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By Do It (anonymous) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 15:15:21

I think if enough pressure is put on Bratina he just may quit his job! Keep up the pressure, guys (and gals)!

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By Historical (anonymous) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 15:19:33

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By observer (anonymous) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 16:38:25

Criticize Bratina's and Chapman's responses if you like--and I'm not sure why Coleman needed to make a somewhat gratuitous comment in the first place about the "mayor's office" size and experience: we know about that. BUT do not, I beseech you all, add Larry's name as a [choke-aghh] better choice than Fred or Bob. Remember Larry's repugnant comments in his Ecklund-now-taken-down "blog" about the challenge to his 2003 campaign donations--that the city should have done--and his volcanic ad hominems re CATCH's essential ground-breaking work over 7 1/2 years that some RTH-ers may not be aware of. Larry's opinion of himself is exceeded by: I'll let you all imaginatively fill that in. The man according to himself was faultless, brilliant beyond the sun...it was to gag. Leave Larry out of this.

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By bob lee (anonymous) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 16:55:47 in reply to Comment 58711

excellent point. I would also have encouraged people here not to destroy the goodwill they could have had with about as progressive a mayor as they come, based on his past council voting record - far moreso than Eisenberger - except that ship appears to have sailed

Here's a little glimpse, courtesy of CATCH (http://www.hamiltoncatch.org/view_article.php?id=837)

Aerotropolis expansion: Bratina against, Eisenberger for

phase out area rating for transit: Bratina for, Eisenberger against

bus fare increases: Bratina against, Eisenberger for

to reject a staff recommendation to veto the city plan and allow a drive-thru in Binbrook: Bratina for, Eisenberger against

Allow a Wal-Mart on greenfield lands in Winona designated for industrial: Bratina against, Eisenberger for

I'm not even cherry picking here. Someone go through their respective voting records and tell me I'm wrong. Seems people around here think the world revolves around a stadium at the west harbour.

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By Fraser J (anonymous) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 17:29:12

You go that right -- however as a WH supportor (cause it's the only place that makes sense, we don't need to hash out why) I was NEVER a fan of Fred. He was at times rather cold, uncompromising, uncooperative, unapproachable. He really was an island unto himself and made it often very clear to staffers, admin, fellow councilors and collegues alike that he was a closed door.

His voting record is not exactly stellar, no.

Bob or Fred? Hmmmm... tough one, but guess I'd take Fred for his experience over Bob any day... but I don't think he really enjoyed being Mayor. I didn't like him as Mayor. I don't think many truthfully did. This is gonna be a hellish 4 yrs, isn't it?

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 17:32:51

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By Fraser J (anonymous) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 17:54:00

My critique of Fred, very similar issues abound in the BoobBra. Except BoobBra has a temper, is self-righteous, self-important, self-centred, self entitled. He is narrow minded, speaks without thinking and appears often irrational. This, this makes for a scary upcoming 4 yrs as BoobBra puts himself on a pedestal so high even he cannot reach himself.

People are gonna seriously regret what is happening... as we look back 15-25 yrs from now. BoobBra has single handidly killed our city building future potential.

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By Fraser J (anonymous) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 18:20:35

Council needs to say on Monday, NO. We will not destroy the true city building potential we are on the cusp of realizing - all for one money losing, game losing bloody football team. Its like a nightmare.

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 18:34:08

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Comment edited by hammy on 2011-01-29 18:34:27

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 20:55:10 in reply to Comment 58719

Actually iw can still be rejected by council in favor of a smaller scalable wh (mentioned by troop himself). In fact, our council's approval of iws2 has the potential to be rejected by the PanAm. Where will we all be then?

Comment edited by GrapeApe on 2011-01-29 21:00:40

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By Fraser J (anonymous) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 18:37:45

45 mil minus penalty. Ok. I'm good with that.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 21:19:55

How is investing in a stadium in a Code Red area in Ward 3 NOT considered "city building"?

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 23:33:40 in reply to Comment 58725

it's been there, landlocked, towering over people's homes for 80 years. If that's city building, then where are the results? That ward would benefit HUGELY from a new, mixed-use residential/commercial complex, neighbourhood park space, new main street to serve local residents with some basic shops and services. Not half a new stadium.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 21:48:26 in reply to Comment 58737

You're talking about WH right?

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 21:29:40 in reply to Comment 58725

Read the article about ROI. I think it lays out all the points.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 21:50:11

I asked for people's reasons. Not what I should go read. Ward 3 is the poorest in the City, if WH City Builds then so does a new IVW

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 22:01:57 in reply to Comment 58727

Well Trey, the fact is that the ROI article makes the points about wh vs iw in very coherent article. I doubt many will dispute that both are welcome investment, but wh offers more potential for spin off development and return for the city as a whole. It's not about ward 2 vs ward 3.

I should add - there is also the consideration that the city cannot afford the currently proposed IWS refurb. the smaller west harbour is within reach financially.

Comment edited by GrapeApe on 2011-01-29 22:14:29

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By mb (registered) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 22:05:29

A very good friend of mine...

told me something the other day...

I'd like to pass onto you, cuz I believe what's said to be true...

He said we're here for a good time...not a long time... so have a good time, the sun can't shine everyday

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By mb (registered) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 22:08:15

They’re almost exclusively white, overindulged, over-compensated, over-weight, baby booming men, who love golf and the status quo.

Ok... racial crap going on here. Please don't bring race into this debate. Or age.

I'm not a baby boomer and I support Boyo.

Comment edited by mb on 2011-01-29 22:12:47

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 23:07:40 in reply to Comment 58730

I'm not a baby boomer and I support Boyo.

What does this mean, exactly?

That you think he was done wrong by the evil plots of Fred Eisenberger?

That you think he's misunderstood by those of us who think he's trying to gain as much as possible from this at the expense of the maximum benefit to the city?

That you think he can do no wrong?

Forgive the sarcasm, but declaring yourself a supporter usually means that you will refuse to see the possibility that he has done wrong.

For me, personally, I don't consider myself to be anti-BY, pro-WH or any other such designation.

As I see it, the WH location simply provides the most growth potential by spurring surrounding investments and will benefit the existing businesses downtown by bringing crowds there on a semi-regular basis.

BY has tried, by suggesting the EM and Longwood locations, to get the stadium built in an area with negligible support facilities, allowing him to build them and thus capitalize on them. There's nothing wrong with wanting that, I just object to it based on the fact that it's a huge chunk of public money that should go to benefit the public as much as possible, not primarily BY.

No one has yet been able to suggest a good reason why all this public money should go to build BY's personal fortune. Care to take a stab at it?

Comment edited by Brandon on 2011-01-29 23:08:17

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 22:34:22

Can I have a link to that ROI article?

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By Link (anonymous) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 22:49:12

http://www.raisethehammer.org/article/1292/roi:_not_just_the_french_word_for_king

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By Yipee (anonymous) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 23:11:31

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 00:54:14 in reply to Comment 58734

It has nothing to do with east vs west, north vs south. It's about the fact that council is about to spend very nearly every nickel on refurbishing a stadium that presents minimal opportunity to generate spin off business or additional tax revenue. When the FF is gone, there is nothing else for city building, nothing. There are no guarantees with WH, but it has the right elements for success for everyone. If WH or IWS generate spin off that creates tax revenue then we all win. If cats stay and IW2 results in statusquo then we are all screwed, east, west, north, and south.

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By bob (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 09:54:26 in reply to Comment 58741

I'm curious, where is all this perceived ancillary development at the WH going to go? Please don't answer with 'venetian cap'.

Those of us who have been forced into supporting WH only as an alternative to EM should be happy that this will give the WH a chance to live up to its potential, without a useless stadium or velodrome taking up the space. The return on investment idea is good but it doesn't depend on a stadium. There are other ways to remediate a brownfield.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 30, 2011 at 09:57:40 in reply to Comment 58746

The problem is, with this kind of money being pumped into the IWS location, where will the WH remediation funding come from? Unfortunately, without a pan-am tie in, WH remediation is not "sexy" enough to attract funding from the private sector nor the higher levels of government.

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By bob (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 10:14:21 in reply to Comment 58747

Private public partnership. Tax breaks. Development charges reduction. A workable brownfield remediation program.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 11:10:29 in reply to Comment 58750

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By mb (registered) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 23:22:09 in reply to Comment 58734

here, here!

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 23:15:08

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 00:44:49 in reply to Comment 58735

Ham, I have been following events quite closely. City staff confirmed a 15000 WH is still an option. Should council reject IWS then a smaller WH with velodrome is still possible. I must admit, very unlikely as I feel council have lost perspective. I also think the iw reno is well beyond hamilton's means.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 29, 2011 at 23:36:20

I LOL at this stupid notion of 'city building' at IW. The stadium will be exactly where it's been all these years. There will only be one difference. Brian Timmis will be demolished for a parking lot. Only in Hamilton would we call that 'city building'. I might move to Ward 3 and enjoy the good life once they get that fantastic new half a stadium and parking lot over former green space. Nothing says urban revival like a parking lot sitting empty for 355 days a year.

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By Woody10 (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 00:09:51

Unfortunately hammy is right. But I also believe IW will be rejected by Hostco because they want little or nothing to do with Hamilton. I have believed all along the neighboring cities were USED for the bid process and our money to pay for that bid. Then, as we've seen , everything (as much as possible) is being drawn back to Toronto. It's all very sad and frustrating.

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 12:45:21 in reply to Comment 58739

The track and field games were pulled back to Toronto because the 'Cats said they'd remove the track as soon as the games were done. Not much of a legacy there, is there?

They've also said that Hamilton has first dibs on the money even if we only approve a 5-6k seat stadium.

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By Woody10 (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 22:35:05 in reply to Comment 58767

No they didn't, they said we would go into the pool with the other two. Which means, IMO, that it's a done deal for mr. And mrs. Sauga.

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By Mark-Alan Whittle (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 09:30:05

The Valodrome will be built on the West Harbour lands, the Future Fund will be wound up to do it. The Provincial government will fork over the $25 million to save the hides of the two local Provincial members of Parliament. Four years from now, during the next municipal election, the Mayor and Incumbents will be cutting the ribbon on the new east end Pan-Am stadium and a west end Valodrome and training facility. Taxes will not have to be raised to do it. I love Hamilton.

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 10:10:04 in reply to Comment 58744

If you really believe this then Hamilton is in trouble.

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By drb (registered) - website | Posted January 30, 2011 at 13:00:17 in reply to Comment 58749

I don't know how to read M-A's post. Is it a sarcastic take on the whole process? Or is there an opinion in his prediction?

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By mb (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 09:50:54

Gotta love how everyone here believes the very future of this city depends on where this stadium is built.

If that is indeed true, we're in worse trouble than we thought.

Comment edited by mb on 2011-01-30 09:51:10

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 12:51:28 in reply to Comment 58745

The future of the city is far from being dependent on it. That being said, there's a huge chunk of federal and provincial money coming and and we're trying to figure out the best way to leverage that money into creating the maximum benefit for the city as possible.

Why is this a problem for some people?

Is there room around IWS for significant investment? Not that I'm aware of. In fact, the IWS improvement involves the removal of existing facilities to create parking.

WH has plenty of parking downtown available and there are groups that own land around the stadium site who just need a commitment from the city that the stadium will go there and they'll start building condos and other things.

Sigh.

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By mgmt (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 13:11:02 in reply to Comment 58769

"there are groups that own land around the stadium site who just need a commitment from the city that the stadium will go there and they'll start building condos and other things."

what land are you talking about?

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 17:53:14 in reply to Comment 58772

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By lands (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 13:24:47 in reply to Comment 58772

All of the Whitestar land

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By TWA (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 11:32:33 in reply to Comment 58745

Truer words have not been seen on this board in a loooooooong time.

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By OCOF (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 10:21:07

The Longest Yard - Seizing the Pan Am Opportunity

http://ourcityourfuture.ca/posts/73-the-longest-yard-seizing-the-pan-am-opportunity
Posted January 29, 2011

The majority of Councillors, with the assistance of the provincial government, and encouragement of the Tiger Cat organization, are about to make a decision on the location of a stadium that will impact every person in this City for the next 50 years.

It's a decision that will see over $150 million, an amount equivalent to 15% of the City's annual budget ($1.1 billion), spent to rebuild half a stadium.

We recommend that this investment not be made in the Ivor Wynne precinct.

The original intent of the stadium was to provide a legacy for amateur sport from the Pan Am games and, from a municipal perspective, was an opportunity to advance several local, regional, and provincial economic development and growth planning objectives all at once.

Hamilton has tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure investments and development plans linked to the West Harbour location - everything from parkland development to the east, to transit node development immediately adjacent to the proposed site, to the millions of dollars of downtown investment as part of the area known as the Urban Growth Centre for the region. All of these plans and investments are part of a greater strategy of revitalization and the Pan Am stadium was a once-in-a-generation opportunity to tie these initiatives together and create critical mass for renewal.

Unfortunately, this focus has been lost through a remarkably difficult debate about stadium location. For many, the prime focus on the Pan Am Games and on the goals of the City of Hamilton became secondary to satisfying the constantly changing needs of the Tiger Cat organization, which ranged from a driveway-to-driveway experience, to naming rights, to parking, and more.

As a result, Hamilton lost the opportunity to play host to track and field, one of the Pan Am Games premier events, as it was not compatible with football according to the Tiger-Cat organization.

We are about to lose an existing, and very well used, 5,000 seat community stadium, Brian Timmis field, to provide parking for the Tiger Cats at the Ivor Wynne site.

We are about to spend all of our money on rebuilding half a stadium, with only enough money left to repair the north stands, already 40 years old.

With the latest proposal on the table to renovate Ivor Wynne stadium, the Ticats have dropped all their previous "roadblocks" to making this Pan Am opportunity what it was always meant to be for Hamilton. However, we don't have a comprehensive infrastructure and renewal plan for the city tied to the Ivor Wynne site. That opportunity still resides at the West Harbour. Hamilton does not have two urban growth centres identified by the province. We have one that is linked to the West Harbour. We don't have an unlimited Future Fund. We have one that will be virtually drained through this decision.

The Ivor Wynne proposal was offered up and accepted because it was cheaper, not because it was better. Now it's not even cheaper.

If we are going to empty our Future Fund to pay for this stadium, we should use it where it will do the most good. Further, the city is being asked to lock in their contribution to 44% of the stadium costs, even as these cost rise over the coming months and years. We could end up investing significantly more than our Future Fund, all to provide a renovated Ivor Wynne with limited spin-off potential. We could be left further in debt, still pondering what might have been if we had committed ourselves to realizing the West Harbour vision that thousands of Hamiltonians have voiced support for.We would be left standing in the position we find ourselves today: a city of unrealized potential. This doesn't have to be the case.

The province is being asked to provide more money to fill a funding gap for a full size stadium. Given the importance of this 50-year decision, we should focus on what will bring the most benefit to Hamilton. Simply put, for our massive Future Fund investment, a full stadium at the West Harbour is better than half a stadium at Ivor Wynne and any provincial money should go towards fulfilling that goal.

If this gap cannot be closed with provincial help, then we still have an approved alternative in the a smaller scalable stadium at the West Harbour that would still allow us to achieve community redevelopment goals within the funding envelope of our Future Fund.

Even at this late hour, it's still our choice to make. Many City Councillors do not think this is a good deal. They are right. Please tell your Councillor and MPP you support a wiser, more informed, and lasting decision.

City Council votes on Monday. Your voice is needed now.

Click here to email Mayor Bratina, all city councillors, and the City Manager.

If you have a problem with that link, or you want to email the mayor or councillors individually, click here for their email addresses.

Because the Ivor Wynne plan depends on additional financing from the provincial level, you may want to email Ted McMeekin and Sophia Aggelonitis from the governing Liberal Party of Ontario, as well as Andrea Horwath and Paul Miller. If that link doesn't work for you, here are their email addresses: ahorwath-qp@ndp.on.ca,pmiller-qp@ndp.on.ca,saggelonitis.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org,tmcmeekin.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

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By bob lee (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 10:41:03 in reply to Comment 58751

extraordinarily polarizing and shortsighted.

When IW is selected nearly unanimously tomorrow you folks will have a decision on your hands:

1. complain that our city is going down the drain, your dreams are not being met, city staff and council are deluded and inept, or:

2. wake up to the fact that the same old stadium we've always had is going to be rebuilt and look great, that the world will not have ended for the city plan or west harbour, that money will have stayed in downtown.

One choice will set this website further into the mode of singleminded, uncompromising complaining that seems to be becoming the norm. The other is able to see past the ideal and consider that in sum, all things considered, this is a victory for the city. No greenfield is being built on, no suburban or Burlington stadium, no park is paved over, no high value employment lands used up.

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 16:36:34 in reply to Comment 58752

A Pyrrhic victory, but a victory none-the-less, as for the price of half a stadium we drain the future fund, leave the west harbour location undeveloped and flatten Brian Timmis for more parking.

Three cheers for mediocrity!

All to assuage the pride of a man who made the mistake of saying "We'll never play there" and hasn't had the courage to walk it back.

It's not too late Bob....

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By Trolls (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 11:22:01

Don't bother feeding Troll, I mean Trey!
He once posted in SkyscraperPage advising a potential new Hamiltonian to stay away from the city and not move here.
He's a bonafied squelcher!

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By Province (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 11:23:48

No new money for Ticats stadium: opposition critic

http://sports.nationalpost.com/2011/01/29/no-new-money-for-ticats-stadium-opposition-critic/

Ontario’s official opposition wants Premier Dalton McGuinty to turn down the city of Hamilton’s request for more money to help rebuild Ivor Wynne Stadium.

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By drb (registered) - website | Posted January 30, 2011 at 11:43:40 in reply to Comment 58756

Yeah, politics and pro-sports make for strange bed-fellows. If the provincial funding increase comes through I would hope that everyone who has been sitting with their fingers crossed for IW2 remembers who buttered their bread and has the guts to back it up with a Liberal sign on their front lawn in October.

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By Screwed? (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 11:28:44

Very appropriate:

http://www.thespec.com/opinion/cartoons/article/479291--editorial-cartoon

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By Mitchell (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 11:39:47

Comment from the Caretaker over at ticats.ca:


I can personally assure all the Ticat faithful that not only is Scott MItchell not a "bad guy" but he is the very definition of a good guy. He is astoundingly and consistently honest, intelligent and forthright.

He has been single-handedly responsible for the Ticats improved performance on the field in recent seasons, and, assuming a new stadium eventually gets built in Hamilton, he will deserve much of the credit.

It is his honesty and forthrightness that have raised concerns but without honesty our society cannot function. When Scott is asked a direct question, he gives a direct answer, whether or not that is the answer his questioner wants to hear. To simply say that the Tiger-Cats cannot pay their bills in Hamilton playing in a falling down, 1950's era stadium, with wooden benches, limited parking, ancient bathrooms, an awful (by modern standards) night-time atmosphere, and other limitations is not a "threat" - it is simply stating the obvious.

The Ticats have been on the verge of bankruptcy for the last 40 years and went bankrupt in 2003.

Thanks to the voters of Hamilton, the Mayor and City Council, and the Province and the Feds, all that may be behind us soon - and if it is, Scott will deserve a large share of the credit, despite the Spec's and others attempts to criticize him.

Cheers, Bob.

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By adam2 (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 11:56:36

Anyone remember Lloyd Ferguson threatening to sue for libel for the poster that criticized his decision to go against heritage standards at city hall?

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By Fraser J (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 12:01:04

BY in damage control. Guess the Caretaker isn't exactly the expert in this field, is he? Too little, too late. From this Ti-Cat fan I say BY would be able to salvage some respect by removing Mitchell from his post. 'Nough said.

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By Fraser J (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 12:09:15

Pink Flamingo's!!! Loved that poster.

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By yippee (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 13:05:03

I know Trey and he is a good person. I also know that RTH'rs are disappointed that their preferred project at WH is not coming to pass. Get over it. I know that many are disappointed in BroBrat for not sticking to the WH site...but then again he hasn't stuck to any site at all, but has been all over the map. Get over it.

I know that people are upset that Fred lost. Get over it. I know that at least 45,000 people are upset that Larry lost. Get over it.

The fact of the matter is we are where we are and we need to make lemonade out of the lemons we have grown or been given.

I see that the opposition Tories don't want the Libs to give more money to Hamilton. They are posturing. Andrea is being very silent on this issue. She is posturing. The truth of the matter is the Libs have extended a generous hand to our city. They too are posturing, but at least it has helped us.

All of us...let's get over this and fight about something else. It just isn't worth the energy any more.

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By mb (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 16:08:18

Media conference scheduled for 5:00 today. Aggelonitis and McMeekin to make announcement.

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/articl...

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By MediaWatch (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 16:53:39

Here it is in a nutshell:

1. The Province has been watching things unfold for some time now.
2. The Province knew that Hamilton would find a solution.
3. The hard-working reps (Sophia/Ted) insisted that the games stay
stay in Hamilton.
4. The funding gap is a real game-stopper.
5. Hostco with the Feds and the province's money have already given
a considerable contribution.
6. Sophia and Ted came and wanted more done for the city.
7. Here it is: sum....short of $25M but not too short of it.
8. Now go out and get more from the Ticats and maybe a bit more
from the city.
9. Get it done.
10 Acknowledge Fred's work too. And Bob's. All helped.

p.s....vote for us.

West Harbour? This will be a question. The answer? Today's announcement is about the stadium. We are keenly aware of the West Harbour's strategic importance and once the city signals what it wants done there, the province will assist as it always has. Hamilton is a priority for this government.

p.p.s....vote for us.

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By awesome (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 17:22:02

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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted January 30, 2011 at 17:38:11 in reply to Comment 58783

What would your assessment be? This site's important enough for the Mayor to reply to and and important for you to comment on, but not important enough to thoroughly respond to accusations of defamation?

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By CaptainKCaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 17:30:37

If the province can find so much extra money for an ill conceived project like this, they'd better step up for LRT funding, something that can really make a transformational impact on this city that needs one so badly.

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 17:30:49

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By Guillermo (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 18:11:33

Regardless of you feel about the stadium, the province has been there for the city. What about the Feds? When are we going to wake up and realize that electing NDP federally helps if you want to have a protest rally downtown but that's about it.

Where are the federal reps? out of town? holidaying. Their election is coming too you know.

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By drb (registered) - website | Posted January 30, 2011 at 18:28:41 in reply to Comment 58788

Maybe the provincial Libs could do Hamilton a real economic favour and up-load the social service costs that the Harris regime dumped on us.

Are you really suggesting that all of our votes are for sale using our own money?

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 18:22:04

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Comment edited by hammy on 2011-01-30 18:22:29

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 18:25:55

The readers of and contributors to the Raise The Hammer website are not a single issue interest group. Some are young, some are old. Some are business people, some are not. Some are Tiger-Cat season ticket holders, some are not. A common thread is that most of us are Hamilton taxpayers. Hamilton taxpayers have the right to ask questions and/or complain when questions and/or complaints are justified.

The stadium costs and the risks of building a stadium for a CFL football team are both justifiable concerns.

a) Stadium Costs

On January 11, 2011, Mayor Bratina and Bob Young held a national press conference to announce the Ivor Wynne Stadium refurbishment proposal at an estimated cost of $115 Million.

On January 24, 2011, a city staff report estimated the Ivor Wynne Stadium refurbishment cost at $156.5 Million based on figures from Infrastructure Ontario.

It is unreasonable for Mayor Bratina or Bob Young to expect taxpayers to be comfortable with a $41.5 Million discrepancy (36%) in these figures.

Mayor Bratina has a duty to explain to the Hamilton taxpayer at tomorrow’s meeting how he and Mr. Young arrived at the estimate of $115 Million to refurbish Ivor Wynne Stadium three weeks ago. Did they obtain that figure from a consultant? If so, who provided the estimate?

Mayor Bratina keeps saying that he thinks the estimate from Infrastructure Ontario is too high. If he has concrete proof of this, he should present it at the city council meeting tomorrow.

b) Risks

So far, the City of Hamilton has received from Bob Young a three year guarantee on a 20 year lease for a refurbished Ivor Wynne Stadium that should have a life span of about 40 to 50 years. What happens if the Tiger-Cats continue to lose money after year four of the lease (i.e. 2018)? Will the Tiger-Cat owner fold the team? Will he threaten to move the team if the City of Hamilton doesn't reduce his rent? What happens if Toronto gets an NFL franchise in year 10 of the lease? What happens if the Tiger-Cat owner passes away? All of these risks need to be addressed.

One only needs to look at the Glendale, Arizona hockey arena scenario to get an example of a municipality sinking under the weight of a massive capital investment for a professional sports team. Glendale paid $175 Million to build a hockey arena for the Phoenix Coyotes in 2003 and the team signed a 30 year lease. Glendale, which was the largest creditor at the Coyotes' bankruptcy proceedings in 2009, eventually had to agree to a shorter lease with the NHL plus set up a line of credit to pay the NHL the amount of $25 Million to cover the league's losses in taking over ownership the team. Glendale most recently took the desperate step of agreeing to pay $100 Million to prospective buyer Matthew Hulsizer as part as his payment to purchase the Coyote franchise from the NHL plus $97 Million over five years to Hulsizer to operate the arena. Media reports indicate that Glendale is having trouble raising the money to pay Hulsizer. Yesterday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman acknowledged that time is running out for Glendale. So much for their original 30 year lease.

The Hamilton situation is somewhat different than the Glendale scenario in a few respects:

First, there has been a much deeper history and brand loyalty for Tiger-Cat football in Hamilton than there has been for Coyotes' hockey in Glendale. However, it remains to be seen whether the actions of the current Tiger-Cat owner and president during the Pan Am stadium issue over the past ten months will have an impact on future Tiger-Cat brand loyalty.

Second, Hamilton is required to pay part of the stadium refurbishment cost in an amount to be determined tomorrow whereas Glendale had to pay the entire cost of constructing their arena.

Third, a Toronto NFL franchise would challenge the continued existence of the CFL, the Argos and Tiger-Cats over the long term whereas franchises in the NHL face no similar challenge. In other words, there is a risk as to whether the CFL itself will continue to operate in southern Ontario throughout the 20 year lease and/or throughout the life span of the refurbished stadium.

In addition to these risks, there are risks that the City of Hamilton will be assuming. The risk to its city building plans is the largest risk.

i) while the Ivor Wynne Stadium is situated in a venerable, working class area, the stadium is surrounded on three sides by residential housing. There is no room for economic growth in the immediate vicinity of the stadium. In fact, there has negligible economic growth in that area throughout the life span of the old stadium. How will the city overcome that obstacle and at what cost?

ii) concentrating city Pan Am spending on the Ivor Wynne Stadium refurbishment project could result in the loss of the permanent velodrome and perhaps even the temporary velodrome.

iii) concentrating city Pan Am spending on the Ivor Wynne Stadium project could result in no monies remaining to remediate the west harbour brownfield lands for whatever purpose they are eventually used for. How long is the city, and the west harbour area residents, prepared to wait to remediate and reuse the west harbour brownfield lands.

One hopes that Hamilton city council can make a decision tomorrow which minimizes the cost and risks and maximizes the benefits for the Hamilton taxpayers.

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2011-01-30 19:30:17

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By improvethehammer (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 22:48:26 in reply to Comment 58790

The plan all along was to build a city-owned stadium with a 20,000+ capacity -- at West Harbour, at East Mountain, at Confederation Park, at MIP, wherever. If the Ticats 5 years from now (or even tomorrow), then we'd have a city owned stadium without a major tenant.

With respect to point (a), the costs. The good news is even if the costs are inflated (and I think almost everyone agrees that they are) that the total costs are covered. And, it is a cheaper site than any of the other sites looked at (unless you count building a scaled down stadium). So from a cost perspective, this is a definite win.

With respect to point (b), the risk of the Ticats folding -- the stadium is suitable for soccer, football, lacrosse, etc. So if the Ticats fold -- we can look for another anchor tenant. The point is we have a facility built to replace aging Ivor Wynne, WITH NO MORTGAGE. And as long as the Ticats are a tenant, they are paying the bulk of the ongoing costs.

So IWS2 minimizes cost (it is the cheapest site we've looked at) and it minimizes risk (the Ticats have agreed to a lease, and it means $600,000- $1 million dollars a year to the city for upkeep of the facility).

The velodrome funding is an interesting one. Because the budget given for the velodrome by HostCo is just as out of whack as the stadium budget. There will be a shortfall. Probably a comparable shortfall as the stadium (percentage-wise). Let's see what clever things the council can do there.

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 18:31:15 in reply to Comment 58790

Well said. We are spending the Future Fund for the sole purpose of keeping the Ticats in Hamilton; with the pretense that renovating Ivor Wynne will somehow make them profitable after decades of losses.

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By Trolly troll a tron (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 18:48:38 in reply to Comment 58792

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By mb (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 18:58:03

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Comment edited by mb on 2011-01-30 18:58:21

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By rednic (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 18:58:27

I cannot believe that the tiecats were given a seat at the table ( read in specs article) for sundays morning .. and NO ONE forced their hand to make a meaningful contribution ...

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By RickCordeiro (registered) - website | Posted January 30, 2011 at 19:03:19

I don't have a whole lot to add to this discussion except to say I almost never post here but I do visit the site often and read the articles.

Thanks to Ryan McGreal for keeping people like myself informed on what's going on around town in Hamilton. Keep up the great work!

Cheers!

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By Trolly troll a tron (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 19:08:25 in reply to Comment 58796

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 19:06:37

What about the Feds?

How do you like our new library and market? And Ottawa is contributing to Ontario's PanAm Games. I don't know the exact number but they are putting money in the envelope. Probably based on a formula similar to BC's Olympics.

Anyway this will be finally over tomo and we can move on to what WH should be used for. Condos apparently to that ROI article and mixed commercial. I'd like to see Setting Sail, im glad that a gigantic stadium is not going to impose over the WH. Higher pop density will help downtown more than a stadium would've. I hope the conversation keeps going about WH and developing it and the brownfields.

TreyS a Ward3 resident (living in a poor, undeserving 100-year-old-inner-city neighbourhood, in a city where some people only consider investments in Wards 1 and 2 as city-building).

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 31, 2011 at 08:21:25 in reply to Comment 58797

in a city where some people only consider investments in Wards 1 and 2 as city-building

TreyS, I'm getting tired of this strawman.

I don't see any city-building benefit to spending $150 million in public money to refurbish an existing stadium that has done nothing to catalyze business investment in 80 years it has already been there, when the only change this time around is to demolish an adjacent community stadium to provide 1,500 surface parking spaces.

Ivor Wynne was originally built on a suburban greenfield, and it is entirely landlocked by single-family residential housing and schools. There is simply no critical mass or free space for spinoff development.

The best thing for the neighbourhood would be to remove the stadium and use the land - clean, non-contaminated land in the heart of an urban neighbourhood - and use it for a dense, mixed-use commercial centre.

The differences with WH, as numerous observers have pointed out repeatedly, are:

  • The neighbourhood is mixed residential, commercial and industrial;

  • The proposed site is a contaminated brownfield that no private developer will touch due to the financial risks associated with remediation.

  • Remediating the brownfield would unlock all of the properties adjacent to it, which are now depressed in economic value due to their being located next to a brownfield.

  • The location has tremendous potential for dense, mixed use development and increased value.

  • A number of serious developers have expressed serious interest in investing there.

Please stop claiming that people who support the WH don't see a value to investing in Ward 3. It's disingenuous and it turns what should be a sober discussion of opportunities and risks into an emotional sideshow.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-01-31 08:22:56

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 21:09:23 in reply to Comment 58845

Ryan

Maybe IVW hasn't done much for the area in the last 30 years. But it did wonderful for Barton Street for its first 45 years since construction. Back when Barton had street-cars and a thriving commercial strip, IVW was a part of that. So was the Barton Forum.

IVW neighbourhood is just as mixed and probably more than WH. From Canada's heaviest dirtiest industry to King/Sherman/Gage $750k homes. It's probably Canada's most diverse urban areas... Ward 3... Where millionaires live side-by-side with $10crack prostitutes.

Let these private investors develop WH. I hope they do. But it's been about a decade plus now that we created Bayfront Park and last hosted the Royal Bank Aquafest. The Sheila Copps Marine Discovery Center recently failed.. so now what with that building?

Bring on the WH development, that's what I say, same goes for any part of Ward 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. The stadium was not right for WH and you know it. The original Setting Sail plan is what's right. But with the empty Marine Discovery Center in question will caution any private investors

The question and fuzzy line was always this, is this stadium more for sports, or is its existence more for city development. ? Well let me say this, the latter can't exist if the former fails. This stadium first has to succeed as a sports venue before it can succeed as any kind of city-building investment.

So it's obvious that the stadium needs to be a successful sports and entertainment venue FIRST before it can contribute to any type of City Building.

The location issue was confused by a chicken and egg argument. A white-elephant would've done nothing for city-building. But a successful entertainment/sports venue has a chance to city build.

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By bob (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 10:43:54 in reply to Comment 58845

"The neighbourhood is mixed residential, commercial and industrial;"

Barton and Tiffany? I don't see a big difference from IWS

"The proposed site is a contaminated brownfield that no private developer will touch due to the financial risks associated with remediation."

So is IWS post-mothballing, not for remediation but for lack of neighbourhood prestige

"Remediating the brownfield would unlock all of the properties adjacent to it, which are now depressed in economic value due to their being located next to a brownfield."

that can happen without a stadium

"The location has tremendous potential for dense, mixed use development and increased value."

yes, moreso without a stadium. With a stadium the only opportunity for development is via a 'Venetian cap.' The WH is much more hemmed in than IWS.

"A number of serious developers have expressed serious interest in investing there."

Exactly. They'll be there anyway.

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By improvethehammer (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 22:33:07 in reply to Comment 58797

+1

Great post Trey!

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 19:14:45 in reply to Comment 58797

Except that the Future Fund is being sucked up by renovating half of IWS.

The stadium at WH would provide a draw to bring people to the area and make the condo developments more attractive. Private funds won't develop there unless the area is cleaned up through public investment, for which we have, err, had the Future Fund.

Also, please explain to me how it's city building to replace Brian Timmis with parking...

Bob Young thanks you for this bit of corporate welfare though.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 23:19:27 in reply to Comment 58801

Brandon >> Private funds won't develop there unless the area is cleaned up through public investment,

That's why City Hall should use cleaning up industrial sites as an opportunity to add more debt to the credit card. Seriously.

Brain Mulroney told Stephen Harper recently that he should be transformational rather than transactional. In other words, be either hot or cold. I am starting to see the merits in that outlook.

Under the eight years Mulroney was in office, real GDP averaged 2.24% a year. Under "prudent" Harper, GDP has averaged only 1.14%. The seventies, which Conservatives hate, because Trudeau wasted money on big government schemes, real GDP averaged 4.14% per year.

Even Mike Harris was transformational. He did it in the opposite way of Trudeau, by freezing spending, but the results were equally as positive for economic growth.

For the years 1985-1996, interest payments on government debt never fell below 9% of GDP. During this time period, GDP averaged 2.44% a year. In 2008, interest payments were only 4.06% of GDP.

If the Rheem site needs to be cleaned up, the city should just spend the money and get it done already. We used to fund massive wars with debt and our economy grew much faster than today.

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 19:09:43 in reply to Comment 58797

I am a Ward 3 resident I fail to see how this expenditure is going to enhance my life in anyway.

The most recent discussion had the City cutting and running on the WH lands and selling them to recoup the money spent.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 30, 2011 at 20:44:46 in reply to Comment 58799

Why doesn't the City pay for advertisements during CFL games while our city and the stadium are recieving national exposure. Highlight what is good about Barton St, touch on it's history, talk about the refurbishment of our historic Wrigley ... north. Show businesses across this nation and locally of course, what we could do with Barton St. This is perhaps our largest and last opportunity, to selll this part of our city and allow it to flourish as it once did - a place to shop. I have seen some beautiful artwork and some great books along James St N that showcase some of Barton's St's history.

How nice it would be to show some pride for what we have. Ivor Wynne is the greatest place to watch a game now. That experience added to the dynamics of game day along Balsam Ave N. ... Man alive that is $150M some odd dollars being spent in my backyard. Not to mention the rebirth of Ottawa St and a much needed cleanup at the old Centre Mall grounds. Give us back a healthy Kenilworth Ave again as well and this area will once again be the beautiful place it once was.

How about the GO station stop off of Gage. Is there perhaps more land surrounding it for greater parking opportunities. Could the GO @Gage actually be worth considering for our major east/west toronto/niagra full-day service stop? That would certainly clean up north of Barton and if we could work with the factories along Burlington St to model their frontages after for instance, the businesses and factories along Harverster by the Appleby GO? Could this be an opportunity to clean up 2 of our major gateway's to downtown (Burlington and Barton)?

Wouldn't it be nice for people to want to continue past Ward 3 to downtown? There is no access to downtown from Niagara without doing a loop at the Junction. Let's bring them through our city. Just because that exit has factories, doesn't mean we couldn't hold businesses more accountable to keep their yards clean and throw up some much needed greenery. Wasn't Burlinton St voted worst road in Canada or something? Good opportunity to pave it for #Toronto2015.

But those are just a few of my pluses. I am sure some locals have some thoughts as well. $150M+ is better than $0.

Is this a lot of money. For sure it is, but that money was going to be spent somewhere in Hamilton either way for a stadium and there wasn't really a lot any of us could do about that. So, the fact that a Code Red neighborhood is going to be getting this much money being spent within it, I think that's an okay thing.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2011-01-30 20:49:21

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By mb (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 19:13:46

a city where some people only consider investments in Wards 1 and 2 as city-building

Great quote, Trey

And just for the record, I do hope the WH gets refurbished. I just never thought a stadium was the solution.

Comment edited by mb on 2011-01-30 19:15:31

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 19:39:27

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Comment edited by hammy on 2011-01-30 19:40:54

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 19:47:26

Brandon we have no idea what the architects will plan. This Brian Timmis as a parking lot rumour is going like viral on steroids thru the WH support groups.

It still has to go thru RFP and architects' visions, so what gives? Where does this Brian Timmis parking lot come from? Do I have to buy Mr. Leach a coffee... lol... to say stop spreading rumours?

I think we'll be very proud of what the architects plan, they have lots of money to do a wonderful stadium and it will city build at Gage and Barton just as much as it would've at Bay and York.

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 09:09:39 in reply to Comment 58803

Fingers crossed that they can make the most of a bad selection.

Please explain to me where the 826 remaining parking spots that the 'Cats need are going to go?

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By Mando (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 21:56:50 in reply to Comment 58803

Check page 26...At the last meeting this was presented to council they did say that the ti-cat support facility was eliminated. http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/A25A74C5-8B4E-47C7-8F9F-5E2DE6D4C89B/0/Jan24Item71.pdf

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 19:54:10

There has been no site-plan made for IVW, just like we never saw a site plan for WH. Because we never knew what we were building at WH. 5k, 6K, scalable, 15k, 20k, 25k were all floated for a WH stadium.

So before we start saying Brian Timmis is going to be a parking lot, I think we should reserve our judgement until we know for sure. BTW I've lived here 96% of my life and have never seen Brian Timmis, it's that field hidden behind that horrid looking 10' wooden fence on Faloney Way right? Ya, we need to keep that gem.

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By scb (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 20:14:09

Yes there is a preliminary site plan and yes it clearly shows surface parking on BT and yes, they have been talking about 1500 additional parking spots as part of this plan since the instant it was brought forward.

so please stop pretending like it's a rumour.

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By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted January 30, 2011 at 20:27:31

Hey Trey.

I've lived here 96% of my life and have never seen Brian Timmis, it's that field hidden behind that horrid looking 10' wooden fence on Faloney Way right? Ya, we need to keep that gem.

Well said man. I agree with you 200%. Just walked my pooch by it tonight as they were doing the press conference who knows where, and I will look forward to actually seeing our stadium.

As for Brian Timmis Stadium. Can I ask where it would have went if they turned that area into a seniors villiage / community centre? Not sure a 5,000 seast soccer stadium with a big 10' wooden fence around it would have fit the site plans.

It was likely going to be moved either way - West Harbor or otherwise, so I think the BTS conversation is a moot point. Money is set in the budget to relocate BTS to the tune of $2.4m I believe it is. It's not like local kids could walk in there and kick the ball around so I believe it's not a very community accessible stadium like a park is.

By the way, here is a dwg of an early plan for the Ivor Wynne/Scott Park grounds. Page 26 of 95. It will be a parking lot. Was to have the Ti-Cats offices as well, but $18M is a lot of extra dough.

Comment edited by lawrence on 2011-01-30 20:29:42

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 20:35:37

If I were the cats I would buy a couple of properties beside the stadium for say a couple of hundred thous.
Get the properties rezoned and build a couple of nice offices for say, 1.5 mil total.

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 21:42:35

This is how cavalierly and foolishly my tax dollars are spent? The only thing McGuinty will get from me is a vote to kick him out.

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By goin'downtown (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 21:44:39

@Lawrence, thank you, BTW, for being such a devoted, civilized Hamiltonian. Many smiley faces to you! Earlier in the day I was looking at the report quite a bit and can't for the life of me see the 1500 parking spaces that the Cats are requiring anywhere onsite or nearby, for that matter. I haven't had the time to go and scope out the area to become more familiar; do you see any potential plots suitable for Ticat parking? And Parkview denotes "future opportunity" - like you mentioned in an earlier comment - guess it's going to be toast (hope the Board can re-create the facilities and programs elsewhere - what a success story). That would be a great place to locate the Football Hall of Fame (tourism $ injection), and for the Ticats to invest in administration offices. Also loved the link on your website regarding "the greenest building is the one already standing." Lots of great info! Furthermore...sensing that IWS2 is a go...I also spent some time toodling around the Ticat website. Lots of community involvement, that's for sure. Yeah, it's to drum up sales and fan loyalty, but it's still great, nonetheless (loooove the breakfast/fitness talks to the rug rats). Now we need our greatest municipal minds to capitalize the rest of the Pan Am opportunity at the WH and put that expropriated land to good use (VELODROME), ensure that a GO station does in fact land 500m away from IWS, and find ways to ensure that there IS some community-building for Code Red issues built into the IWS2-precinct. IMHO, retaining a CFL team without having to foot the entire bill for a new stadium (keeping Hamilton's name top-of-mind), jumpstarting dev't at the WH, and addressing the much-needed community-building needs of Ward 3 would be the HFF monies put to good use. And, "No greenfield is being built on, no suburban or Burlington stadium, no park is paved over, no high value employment lands used up" as mentioned above by Bob Lee really is quite an amazing feat.

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 21:46:51

Someone needs to tell the province and city when the only thing your "negotiating partner" bring to the table is threats, that's not negotiation, its extortion.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 30, 2011 at 21:57:07

This is lunacy. 150 million - ker plunk!

The provincial government is going to take a 22 million dollar dump in ward 3 and meanwhile hamilton has to cover most of the rest of the province's social service costs all on our own.

Meanwhile LRT is "too expensive".

the toil of the many goes to the fortunate few....

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 22:03:39

This has made me sad. All the letters sent, dreams dreamed...for this? The province has been involved from the start and it wasn't our decision to make.

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By goin'downtown (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 22:13:00

@Zephyr, I couldn't agree more that powers outside of our little hamlet were always in charge of this pre-determined endeavour - millionnaires, province, feds, developers. I'm sure my puny little mind couldn't even conceive of the back-scratching, palm-greasing, lunch lobbying backroom deals that go on in "big business", e.g. $200-million transactions. I do think the Pan Am Games are an amazing opportunity for Hamilton for myriad reasons (as probably discussed myriad times on RTH), and that we came away relatively unscathed - no urban sprawl dev't. I'm getting a little sick of the "making lemonade from lemons" analogy of late, but I think that's what we really have to do now. I know just in my life alone there's been some really crappy setbacks that have carved out new opportunities and experiences.

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By mobrule (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 22:30:31

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 22:39:39

@goin'downtown...

Thanks for trying to cheer me up. But a bad decision can't be changed by optimism- I think your gut tells you that :)

Nevertheless when I watch people in Egypt dying for the chance at freedom and civil rights I can't help but gain a little perspective. My life is pretty d$%n good overall. I had the chance to become a little more engaged in this community, as did many others, and I hope people continue to be.

But in closing, this will be one time in my life when I truly relish the chance to say "I told you so." I predict attendance at the new stadium will be down due the goodwill-slash-and-burning the Ti-Cats have done to impose their will on this city.

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By mb (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 22:41:00

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By mb (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 22:45:18

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By KP (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 07:11:06 in reply to Comment 58824

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 08:03:52 in reply to Comment 58840

Nope, we just vote down trolls who call us "kiddies".

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By mb (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 22:48:30

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Comment edited by mb on 2011-01-30 22:49:14

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 23:39:39

Even with the provinical injection, how far past 45M are we now? And where will that money come from?

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By Psychiatrist (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2011 at 23:40:16

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 01:04:11

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Comment edited by hammy on 2011-01-31 01:05:47

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By Woody10 (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 01:42:08

Ivor wynne, done deal wether we like it or not. Happy we get something out of the feds and province for once, so now lets move on. What about the pool at mac? Any more info on that?

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 07:26:36

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By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 07:28:29

Didn't Dalton try this pre-election sugar daddy routine previously with the Lister Block (underlined by a huge "Thanks Dalton" banner on the King William facade)? This announcement will probably bring little positive uplift for McMeekin and Aggelonitis, given the suburban/rural antipathy toward the Pan Am Stadium, but it's doubtless seen as a potential lever by which the Grits can make inroads in Hamilton Centre/Hamilton East. Time will tell what they will reap.

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By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 08:35:53 in reply to Comment 58842

BTW, unintentionally funny comment from Aggelonitis the front page story in today's Spec:

“It was Hamilton at its best. There was a lot of good will at the table.

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 07:39:19

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 31, 2011 at 08:52:44

Stadium built. Pan Am Games coming. Taxpayers not to be robbed.

You do realize that all of this money - almost every dollar of it - is taxpayer money. And the only real beneficiary is the tiger cat organization...

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted January 31, 2011 at 09:28:50

Minister Aggelonitis does not know the difference between being a leader and being a cheerleader. "A lot of goodwill around the table." You must be kidding me! Not only is there no goodwill, this whole thing has been decided based on ill will. And panic. And pandering. Logic left the building after the first act.

The provincial Liberals pour money into a location that will have absolutely no positive impact on economic development in the area, other than the construction jobs during the rebuild of half the stadium. Why would it? It hasn't had any measurable uplift in the past 50 years. This will change nothing, except mess up a key component of Hamilton's future.

On CHML only minutes ago, Ted McMeekin, Sophia Aggelonitis and Bob Bratina talked about coming in under budget so leftover money will be "put to great use by the City", as declared by Mayor Bratina. How about on budget in the West harbour? Just a thought.

Comment edited by H+H on 2011-01-31 10:32:40

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By HHH (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 15:00:40 in reply to Comment 58849

How about on budget in the West harbour? Just a thought.

How about on the rest of the city, we are one city afterall, not just downtown

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 23:34:07 in reply to Comment 58919

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 31, 2011 at 09:33:43

I am not impressed with this debacle. Starting with the way it was handled - meddling behind the scenes and undermining our democracy, and following through to a conclusion which will see 150 million dollars - over 99% of which is public money - being used to prop up a failing private sports franchise.

This is unacceptable.

Hamilton is suffocating under public service costs downloaded to us.

Hamilton is drowning in toxic brownfields that all levels of government continue to neglect to find funding to clean up nor to hold the original polluters responsible.

Hamilton is looking at a 130 million dollar LRT project which will likely fail due to lack of political will to find funding, meanwhile of ALL of the uses of a hundred million, this should be at the top of the list.

We work too hard in this city to see our municipal, provincial and federal taxes be thrown at a bunch of elite "businessmen" to play their games with.

This is irresponsible spending. And with tax time right around the corner.

Shameful.

How does this benefit the average taxpaying Hamiltonian?

200 million dollars in hundred dollar bills

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 31, 2011 at 10:05:41

150 million dollars is a blanket of 20 dollar bills which covers 10 CFL football fields.

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By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 20:45:30

Just when I thought it was safe to go outside without my lawyer repellent!
Ack!!

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 20:53:47

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By z jones (registered) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 20:55:24 in reply to Comment 58967

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2011 at 23:30:59

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By Woody10 (registered) | Posted February 01, 2011 at 00:09:20

Hammy, if you actually conversed with a bit more class, I don't think you would get down voted quite as often. You sometimes make valid points but ruin it by throwing in some irrelevant crass remark. Just my opinion. I await your down vote.

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted February 01, 2011 at 08:06:27

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Comment edited by hammy on 2011-02-01 08:11:10

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted February 01, 2011 at 08:12:50 in reply to Comment 58991

The only childish thing is your language. Start talking like a grownup and you might get taken seriously.

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted February 01, 2011 at 08:15:26

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Comment edited by hammy on 2011-02-01 08:29:47

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted February 01, 2011 at 08:42:39

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Comment edited by hammy on 2011-02-01 08:44:51

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By highwater (registered) | Posted February 01, 2011 at 09:09:23 in reply to Comment 58998

Desperate troll is desperate. Please do not feed. It's for his own good.

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By Hehehe (anonymous) | Posted February 01, 2011 at 16:27:45 in reply to Comment 59002

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By PeterF (registered) | Posted February 01, 2011 at 12:32:44 in reply to Comment 59002

Agreed,Keep ignoring him, this is quite funny like watching a hamster on it's wheel. Running but never gets any where.

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By drb (registered) - website | Posted February 03, 2011 at 13:41:11

And now this little gem.

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/articl...

Bobra apparently believes that the rules governing municipal politicians simply do not apply to him. He calls a citizen who pointed out his wayward behaviour "some anonymous complainer" and that "the story here is their identity and motives."

Whitehead called it a "rookie mistake". How long has BB been on council?

Bobra's M.O.? Deny, then attack the messenger. BB needs to add one more member to his staff; a personal ethics advisor.

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted February 05, 2011 at 01:41:58

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By h1n1 (anonymous) | Posted February 05, 2011 at 16:14:02 in reply to Comment 59291

Are you missing a gene that allows you to make coherent, rational arguements or statements. What is the best plan that won, the one that was hatched in desperation?? You gloat over the fact that the TCs will play out of IWS. WOW!!! What nonsense!!!

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted February 05, 2011 at 16:24:10

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By h1n1 (anonymous) | Posted February 05, 2011 at 17:59:22 in reply to Comment 59330

I haven't lost anything, nor will I, so by definition, I cannot be a loser. Go to the ticat nation website. You might be able to have a primative discourse with others there. Even though they will tear you apart because you cannot put a cohesive arguement together. Do everyone a favour. Please state your opinion with facts as best you can, no BS comments, just pure facts. IWS what a massive failure. You will follow BY anywhere. Good luck to you and your city. This is what happens when you let a sports team trump city needs.

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted February 05, 2011 at 20:59:55

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By h1n1 (anonymous) | Posted February 05, 2011 at 21:45:32

Wow, what a comeback. Must have taken you a while to think of that. Does your brain hurt? Now I fully understand why you are a lemming. I am sad for you because you cannot think for yourself.

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted February 05, 2011 at 23:47:57

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Comment edited by hammy on 2011-02-05 23:49:32

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By Woody10 (registered) | Posted February 06, 2011 at 16:15:30 in reply to Comment 59340

Problem is, and I apologize for actually replying to this, west harbor wasn't wrong, it just wasn't what the cats wanted. Does that make it wrong?? Everyone was happy with it as a site until BY forced the change at the last minute, that has got us to this point. Losers yes, because we allowed the change to happen.

How long until you graduate from middle school Hammy? Just curious.

Comment edited by Woody10 on 2011-02-06 16:17:14

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By h1n1 (anonymous) | Posted February 06, 2011 at 10:08:53 in reply to Comment 59340

Wingnut,I do not live in the city and do not care about where the stadium goes. Love your line about the groupies next project with someone elses money. Just like your TC's using YOUR tax money, next they will hike up your ticket prices and then go broke. Lemmings are cute but stupid. I have read through the RTH boards, the more posts you make the dumber you sound. When you post make references to actual statistics. You make absolutely no sense at all. You should have stayed in school and maybe the majority of your city would not have to take care of you. I know understand why someone like Bratina got in as mayor.

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted February 06, 2011 at 13:45:44

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By hammy (anonymous) | Posted February 07, 2011 at 12:55:38

Woody no need to apologize, your comments are always welcome right guys??

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