Editorial

Local Media Access at City Hall: A Joint Statement

We are asking that Council and Staff develop a formal policy on media relations which is fair, clear, and does not allow political staff to unduly influence the free flow of information at City Hall.

By RTH Staff
Published May 31, 2011

We, the undersigned, call on the City of Hamilton and the Mayor's Office to adopt a policy of openness and transparency that recognizes the right of ordinary Hamiltonians to access information and speak to local officials, in the spirit of democracy and civic engagement that is one of the hallmarks of this city.


We represent a number of local independent media entities, whether as media professionals, citizen journalists, independent bloggers or as engaged citizens.

Recently, statements were made in local press regarding the relationship between City Hall and media, and how the current policies may change in terms of how people in media access City Hall. These statements were made largely by Peggy Chapman (a member of the Mayor's political staff), who states she is working closely with the City Manager's office to revise and develop these policies.

While we recognize the city's interest in developing a comprehensive media policy, we have concerns about its purpose and objectives. A media policy should be geared toward ensuring citizens and the media have access to information that ought to be public and transparent.

It should be seen as a concern that political staff would have influence on the development of that framework- it is not hard to imagine how policies could be developed that would result in influencing how information is gathered by media, and how that information is accessed.

What I'm trying to bring in is a press gallery. What that means, and it's going to bother a few people... is I will recognize you and give you as much access to the mayor, as need be, or information that I have - and especially at council, if you have a boss. If you're a journalist that has a boss that I can complain to, if I think that information is incorrect. If you don't have that, it's, you know- how do we control, um, the information? I don't mean control like I want to control what's being said, but my first priority is the public. I would hope in media your first priority is the information to the public too. But that's not my responsibility. My responsibility is information coming from City Hall, to the public. And how do we get that?

-- Peggy Chapman on The Bill Kelly Show, CHML, Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The statements above by Ms. Chapman seem to suggest that at Hamilton's City Hall, private media companies will be given preference over citizens who are engaged as independent media, perhaps simply because there is a perception that one group is more responsible than the other.

In making these statements, Ms. Chapman is making an implied accusation that independent media are less accountable than media owned by private companies. In fact, many citizen journalists are far less legally protected than media professionals who can access legal services at no cost to themselves, but rather the private companies they work for.

We believe firmly that any attempt to restrict access of the media to City Hall, whether professional or independent, would result in restricting the flow of open and transparent information to the general public, and inappropriately give political staff the unilateral ability to pick and choose who has access to information.

In the absence of a formal procedural framework, access to media seats in City Council chambers has been a confusing issue. Some media outlets have gained access to the resource of a media desk when others have not, or have been dissuaded by the City clerks department to access those seats.

We are asking that Council and Staff develop a formal policy on media relations which is fair, clear, and does not allow political staff to unduly influence the free flow of information at City Hall. We would also ask council to make this dialogue public, by council and by civil servants who can be held accountable by the public. We believe that this issue should not be handled by political staff, who may be motivated to develop these policies in a way that is favourable to their employer rather than in the interest of informing the public.

We would like to request that the City Manager's office, and/or the Mayor's office publicly respond to these concerns promptly, offer clarity on what our rights are as engaged citizens and independent media and how those rights will be protected going forward, should any new policy be enacted at City Hall.

Sincerely,

Joey Coleman
Journalist http://www.joeycoleman.ca

Teresa DiFalco
Publisher, The Hamiltonian http://www.thehamiltonian.net

Adrian Duyzer
Associate Editor, Raise the Hammer http://www.raisethehammer.org

Martinus Geleynse
Editor and Publisher, Urbanicity http://www.urbanicity.ca

Matt Jelly
Blogger http://www.mattjelly.com

Dave Kuruc
Publisher, H Magazine http://www.hmag.ca

Ryan McGreal
Editor, Raise the Hammer http://www.raisethehammer.org

James Tennant
Program Director, CFMU 93.3 FM http://cfmu.msumcmaster.ca/

Matt Thompson
Community Organizer


Additional signatories:


If you would like to add your name or your organization's name to this statement, please email us: hamont.mediapolicy@gmail.com.

Please include your name, title and/or contact information.

This statement will be submitted for official correspondence to council at the next regular meeting of Hamilton City Council on Wednesday June 15th, 2011.

89 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By JasonAAllen (registered) - website | Posted May 31, 2011 at 13:36:52

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win - Mahatma Gandhi.

Thanks for fighting the good fight - although to be fair, it's not as if Ms. Chapman is getting her marching orders from anybody other than Mr. B himself. He has demonstrated his animosity to the Media on countless occasions, so any attempt to limit the Media in general, should come as a surprise to no one.

Let's see if our duly elected Mayor is capable of seeing beyond his own ego and self interest, and doing the right thing.

Permalink | Context

By Siren Bang (anonymous) | Posted June 05, 2011 at 19:24:23 in reply to Comment 64305

"It is actually good when the enemy fights us – not bad: In my opinion, whether as individuals, political parties, soldiers, or as students it is a bad sign if the enemy has not already formed a front against us. It shows that we are hidden under the same cover as them. There is nothing wrong when the enemy attacks us, it is proof that a clear distinction has been made between ourselves and the enemy. It is much better having an enemy that confronts us, devalues us or attempts to paint us in the darkest possible colours. It is proof that a clear dividing line has been drawn with the enemy – in fact it shows that our struggle is scoring splendid results already." – Mao Tse Tung

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted May 31, 2011 at 13:48:19

it's not as if Ms. Chapman is getting her marching orders from anybody other than Mr. B himself

What does he care? He doesn't even read these blogsites.

Permalink | Context

By John Neary (registered) | Posted May 31, 2011 at 13:54:57 in reply to Comment 64307

I was sad to see that Bob's Blogsite was not a signator...

Permalink | Context

By JoeyColeman (registered) - website | Posted May 31, 2011 at 14:57:46 in reply to Comment 64308

The thought crossed my mind.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By drb (registered) - website | Posted May 31, 2011 at 13:59:54

One thing that strikes me about Chapman's statement is how passive she sees her relationship with media.

"I would hope in media your first priority is the information to the public too. But that's not my responsibility. My responsibility is information coming from City Hall, to the public. And how do we get that?"

She implies the information comes from City Hall and is transcribed by the press with no critical analysis. I suppose that speaks volumes about the state of journalism where MSM outlets are more than willing to publish press releases as news stories. Control is the driving factor with this regime, but real journalism is a two-way street.

Fear of an increasingly engaged citizenry is causing a circling of the wagons at the Mayor's office.

Permalink | Context

By JoeyColeman (registered) - website | Posted May 31, 2011 at 15:03:52 in reply to Comment 64309

The MSM only has so much time and limited resources to cover everything.

I, a member of the MSM, fully support independent reporting because it compliments my work and adds to public understanding.

Her political reporting knowledge comes from being a staffer in the Mike Harris gov.

Her thoughts on how the MSM works are not reflective of the hard work members of the press put in every day.

Permalink | Context

By drb (registered) - website | Posted May 31, 2011 at 15:25:28 in reply to Comment 64325

My statement wasn't meant as a blanket condemnation of MSM, as I understand the financial pressures that most news services are under. But when politicians and corporations take advantage of the situation to craft and release their message as third party vetted "news" stories it drags down the legitimacy of the press.

I know there are excellent reporters working in MSM. I read them every day.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Zephyr (registered) | Posted May 31, 2011 at 14:15:38

Once again SO impressed by the efforts of the editors of this website, as well as Matt Jelly & Martinus Gelensye. Whenever I am tempted to give up on this city (and it happens), I am freshly inspired by your efforts to give a voice to the many progressive residents of this city who believe in representative, good governance. The lack of good governance has held back the incredible potential of this city for generations, and people like you, the watchdogs, will ensure that our representative start to actually represent. Good work!

Permalink | Context

By JoeyColeman (registered) - website | Posted May 31, 2011 at 14:58:23 in reply to Comment 64312

Agreed. Matt Jelly really stepped up in the discussions which lead to this statement.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Wemi (anonymous) | Posted May 31, 2011 at 14:22:12

This is outrageous. Good luck!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By JVRudnick (registered) - website | Posted May 31, 2011 at 14:45:11

Again, like many Hamiltonians, I too will be watching this issue raise itself and see what the answers from City Hall will be....and what they won't be too!

As a blogger with a wide Canadian readership, I wonder sometimes about the ability of elected officials and their staff in their thinking about what it is they "will" want to release and what it is they "want" to hide...

This is an issue I believe that will not just go away....and judging by the signors of the letter above, I'd think that the ball is now in City Hall's court....lets see what develops, shall we?

:-|

Jim Rudnick www.canuckseo.com jrudnick@kkti.com

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Oh, Peggy (anonymous) | Posted May 31, 2011 at 14:45:12

What are they so afraid of? It's not bloggers who are making them look foolish, they're doing a good enough job on their own. By going on CHML and making a statement like that, all they're doing is reinforcing why we despirately need independent/citizen journalists, bloggers and the like. Drawing a line in the sand like this just makes the issue even bigger. They will inevitably have to face the public on this one and they will quickly find that the public gets really cranky when they think their rightful access to information is being stepped on.

Thanks to all of those who are standing up for us on this. It's greatly appreciated.

Permalink | Context

By jason (registered) | Posted May 31, 2011 at 21:50:01 in reply to Comment 64316

with these new rules, will CHML still be allowed to have all of the host blogs on their website?? Are bloggers allowed into city hall if they work for outlets who will be sure to slant and taint the info the public receives? Will the Spec still be allowed to use twitter and blogs??

Permalink | Context

By highwater (registered) | Posted June 01, 2011 at 09:22:07 in reply to Comment 64351

Yes. Because they have bosses to whom Pegs can complain, and deep pockets should she wish to sue. I mean what's the point of suing a penniless citizen journalist unless it's just to spread fear and intimidation? Oh wait...

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Blogger (anonymous) | Posted May 31, 2011 at 14:52:12

Let me tell you the wave of power coming from so called "new" media is something more raw and more powerful than anything else the old gaurd can imagine. OpenFile is pegged (pun intended) to outstrip the print media sooner than you can imagine.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By control top (anonymous) | Posted May 31, 2011 at 14:53:47

Chapman said it best herself; "If you don't have that, it's, you know- how do we control, um, the information?" That's the real answer, it's all about control with these people, even when they follow their gaffe by saying "my first priority is the public."

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted May 31, 2011 at 14:56:18

Peggy Chapman and Bob Bratina have just proven themselves to be media dinosaurs. If Peggy isn't happy about what you've just published about Bob Bratina she wants to have the power to threaten your lively-hood. Citizen Journalists drive control freaks like Peggy and Bob absolutely nuts, people who write for free have no fear and can't be controlled through force. Gaining control of information access through fear is what Peggy is trying to achieve. Everyone who has ever written for this site please band together to fight Peggy Chapman's fear based media control.

For what it's worth I've e-mailed my name and information to the initiative, I hope others do to.

Comment edited by mrjanitor on 2011-05-31 14:59:16

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By DanielRodrigues (registered) - website | Posted May 31, 2011 at 15:01:04

While I might be accused of wearing my skinny jeans with the following comment, out of fear I might be flip-flopping on the issue...I'm merely seeking some clarity on the issue, and I appreciate your patience in educating me :)

Perhaps where I am confused is what constitutes "media" as it relates to the issue of access to items earmarked for the "press" (as in the "press gallery" that Ms. Chapman refers to in her comment). The undersigned letter to City Hall includes signatures from bloggers. While I too am a blogger (more of a hobby than a career), I have never considered myself as "media". If there are issues that I want to blog about, I go a huntin' for the information just like any other citizen. I don't use my website as a status seat above those who do not.

Now for the tear in my skinny jeans: I find it incomprehensible that the City would issue any information to the "press", which wasn't as easily available to the general public. (Navigating the City's Website is not exactly an easy task). The perception (real or implied) that City Hall is creating a hierarchy with respects to access to information is insulting to all Hamiltonians. Also, respect must be given to those Hamiltonians who give of their time (read: volunteer) to educate and inform others via either personal blog sites or interest-group sites. To harbour indifference based on whether one has a boss or not, is insulting.

The City has the resources to challenge bloggers and journalists alike in situations when questionable reporting occurs. Whether it be through legal or direct contact, misrepresentation of facts can be fixed. The question comes down to whether the City trusts it's decisions, and can be open to criticism. The City also needs to trust those who utilize social media to educate others...and again, take action if something is posted inaccurately.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Resign Now (anonymous) | Posted May 31, 2011 at 15:19:52

Peggy should resign immediately.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted May 31, 2011 at 15:45:51

It will be interesting to see if the The Spectator reports on this and if they do what spin it will be given.

Permalink | Context

By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted May 31, 2011 at 17:09:50 in reply to Comment 64329

Permalink | Context

By z jones (registered) | Posted May 31, 2011 at 17:24:46 in reply to Comment 64335

Date: Wed May 25 2011.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By OctopusArmy (anonymous) | Posted May 31, 2011 at 15:51:34

An interesting question about what constitutes media. I think we're all media - The Spec to CFMU to RTH to person in basement with no readership beyond his/her friends.

At the same time, I don't think any of us have any illusions. My stations doesn't have hundreds of thousands of listeners like some do. Most blogs don't have hundreds of thousands of readers like some newspapers do. Hell, you'd think City Hall would consider some of us completely irrelevant but because our audience is a/ small and b/ largely consists of the choir we're preaching to.

However...when the like-minded have outlets like blogs and indie newspapers and indie stations...the truth can come spilling into the mainstream eventually. Is that what they're afraid of?

(which reminds me, what's next, insisting the Spec shut down its comments section?)

Jamie @ CFMU





Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted May 31, 2011 at 16:19:56

I find all of this fascinating. This period of time...where social media and the means to both 'broadcast' it as well as receive it are expanding into some truly awesome areas...will be looked back upon as a watershed interlude.

When you inform the political process with all this, you don't just get open data and the such...I believe you're going to get a slow paradigm shift towards an entirely different way of 'doing business'.

I'm also a bit dismayed that many of those who have chosen to serve the public just don't seem to 'get' how the workaday world has changed. And although I'm loath to say it, from my personal experience with politicians, it is very much a generational thing.

People here and elsewhere often go on about 'the old boys' network'. Well, from my point-of-view, the network we're witnessing here, the one that will find itself as useful as a buggy-whip sooner than they think, is perhaps an equally frustrating one.

Hats off to all those who are striving to make the most of what we currently have...while understanding that we're capable of having -and doing- much, much better.

'Illegitimi non carborundum'

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By What is the truth (anonymous) | Posted May 31, 2011 at 16:26:29

Well, I do know that Ms Chapman is with the Bay Observer, which is basically an on-line blog of sorts.

She seems to hob nob with the status quo, however, the questions people fail to ask, are the really hard questions, which the answers cannot not be scripted.

Why do people have trouble even going through Freedom of Information, and get blacked out items, if we are trully a democratic society, which I do not really believe we are.

Why should this Ms Chapman being setting anything? What makes her an expert? Can anybody answer that?

One would have to check under the surface to find the real truth but in doing that, one could ran up against a gaunlet, if you know what I mean.





Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Mike Belmore (anonymous) | Posted May 31, 2011 at 16:58:29

Will there be any organized event, action or opportunity to show support for the 15th meeting? I for one, would definitely attend/lend a hand. This one is too asinine to let slide.

I get my local news from a variety of sources, both indy and MSM. The indy stuff often proves to be 1) more relevant to the issues of citizenship and community that I care about; 2) better researched and more analytical/critical in its approach. I value that greatly, and I'm willing to fight to protect and enhance it.

On the brightside, I predict the fallout from this will further legitimize and entrench indy media in the Hammer.

Permalink | Context

By JoeyColeman (registered) - website | Posted May 31, 2011 at 17:07:33 in reply to Comment 64333

We're going to await a response from the city before taking our next steps.

There are plans to take more action if needed.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By PlatformSmatform (anonymous) | Posted May 31, 2011 at 17:59:07

This speaks VOLUMES about that state of affairs at City Hall. I can completely understand the need to control the message as there is no vision from our local government at the moment. Think about what has happened in the last six months. The Pam Am opportunity lost, LRT is effectively "on the shelf", new GO trains are some distant goal, Gore Park funding axed, City employees are about to strike. Progress has come to a grinding halt. The biggest issue is whether to build a sewage incinerator! And now this. God forbid we have actual issues to debate. Instead we get plans to close down the avenues for debate. I guess this is what Bratina meant when he said "Platform Smatform".

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Art Brut (anonymous) | Posted May 31, 2011 at 18:15:12

CITY OF HAMILTON VISION

1. To be the best place in Canada to infantilize public discourse.
2. To be the best place in Canada to proscribe information.
3. To be the best place in Canada to enrage citizens.
4. To be the best place in Canada to divide reduced economic opportunities.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Nord Blanc (anonymous) | Posted May 31, 2011 at 18:19:27

May I suggest an amendment?

CITY OF HAMILTON VISION

1. To be the best place in Canada to infantilize public discourse.
2. To be the best place in Canada to proscribe information.
3. To be the best place in Canada to enrage citizens.
4. To be the best place in Canada to provide reduced democratic opportunities.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted May 31, 2011 at 19:01:31

I don't understand Peggy's logic. If she is concerned solely about the citizens getting the correct information, why does it matter if she tells the information to someone who doesn't have a boss? People with or without bosses can make things up, tell lies etc whether they are given the correct information or not. To me, it would seem logical, that if someone wants the public to know the correct information, they should tell that information to as many people as possible who are willing to hear it. If someone wants to spread a lie about something at city hall, they can do that with or without the correct information. I just don't get it.

Permalink | Context

By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted June 04, 2011 at 13:31:23 in reply to Comment 64342

http://youtu.be/4KoKWf6pLs8

Permalink | Context

By JoeyColeman (registered) - website | Posted May 31, 2011 at 19:35:18 in reply to Comment 64342

Insert plug for open data - no need for bloggers, journalists, or anyone else when people can get the information for themselves.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted May 31, 2011 at 19:04:51

Ryan and Joey,

What about hiring each other to be each other's bosses? You can pay each other the same salary, thus negating the cost. Of course, you'd agree to both be the most relaxed bosses imaginable, and allow your employee to do what ever they want. Maybe that would work?

Comment edited by SpaceMonkey on 2011-05-31 19:05:16

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By tenni (anonymous) | Posted May 31, 2011 at 19:16:31

hmm I basically agree with the request for council to look at this and define the semantics. I found the article struggling with language. Professional, independent media, etc. Exolain your language so that others may know what they plan on doing fits or doesn't fit.


What I am reading from Chapman is a request for accountability from media sources. Who may she complain to if she disagrees with how the blog, etc. has written. Dave and Martinus should be able to step forward with their process for accountability. What structure exists within the Raise the Hammer structure for her to complain to? Now,in Matt's case, I would like to hear him reply about accountability but it seems to me that both Dave and Martinus have a lot of personal control on what is published.

Good to bring this forward though.

Permalink | Context

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted May 31, 2011 at 21:56:52 in reply to Comment 64345

Having a boss does not make a journalist accountable, for the reason that accountability does not flow out of authority. It flows out of openness, transparency and being directly and visibly answerable to the public.

The accountability on Raise the Hammer is baked into how the site is designed: anyone can check our facts and our citations. More important, anyone can call out any errors they find right on the page where they find it. Thenceforth, anyone who reads that page can see the challenge as well, right in place.

That's not really true of print - challenges and corrections must necessarily come in subsequent issues and are still subject to editorial oversight before publication - and it's certainly not true of radio, where there is no running transcript of what is said and no real way to refer directly to problematic statements.

In any case, when it comes to this website and anything published on it, the buck stops with me, the editor. I take our credibility very seriously because I believe strongly in the value of independent, public, community-based media.

I will investigate any claim or accusation of unfair or inaccurate or inappropriate content, and will make whatever changes are necessary to put things right - and will note any changes right there on the article for all to see.

Peggy Chapman knows this. When Mayor Bratina accused RTH of publishing "defamatory" content in January, I investigated thoroughly. What I found was that the evidence ran decidedly against Chapman's account of what happened.

When I pointed this out to her and asked for clarification on her version of events, she flatly refused to discuss the matter further and has refused to communicate with RTH ever since.

So I have to conclude:

  • It is fair to expect the media - all the media - to be accountable to the public to set the record straight. We have been and remain committed to that.

  • It is likewise fair to expect that the city's media policy ensures Council and staff are also accountable to the public. (I believe Chapman's conduct with respect to the incident in January reflects poorly on her office and does not demonstrate the level of accountability that she apparently expects from the media.)

  • It is not fair or evidence-based to assume, at a policy level, that independent media are by definition less accountable than corporate media.

Finally, to be successful, the city's media policy must be inspired and leavened by the public interest, not by political motivations.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-05-31 21:59:20

Permalink | Context

By TnT (registered) | Posted June 02, 2011 at 00:15:05 in reply to Comment 64352

Am I right is saying that sites like this are prime examples of so called "new media" that are not the edited (filtered? slanted?) works of commercial, corporate news? It is an organic thing where info is put out and anyone can add/detract from it. I'm sure there are flaws, but the openness and freedom of it can't be denied.

Permalink | Context

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted June 02, 2011 at 09:30:05 in reply to Comment 64440

To be clear, articles and blog entries posted on this site are edited and filtered before publication, although our principles reflect the values of the volunteers who created, administer and write for the site.

However, we are happy to publish any well-written, well-argued essay that meets our submission guidelines and is somehow connected to the site's mandate. Part of our agenda is to promote open public discourse, and that entails a respectful discussion of competing ideas and arguments.

Permalink | Context

By tenni (anonymous) | Posted May 31, 2011 at 23:20:26 in reply to Comment 64352

Ok..well that was quite the trail to follow. From what I could determine, the mayor never clarified what he found defamatory? He was to be at one meeting while also being out of town at another meeting?

However, there seems to be a problem that was not resolved to Chapman's satisfaction.

I hope that council is able to move into this millennium in determining media and what constitutes reliable, viable media.

Permalink | Context

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted May 31, 2011 at 23:38:58 in reply to Comment 64357

the mayor never clarified what he found defamatory?

Mayor Bratina referred me to Chapman, who said they took issue with the claim that the Mayor's office had made a "mistake" in scheduling the GIC on the same date as the Mayors Conference. She said that she had spoken to Joey early on Friday and that she had already cancelled the trip to Regina by that time.

The email chain forwarded to me by the Mayor strongly indicates that the phone conversation actually took place just before 5 PM and that Coleman and Chapman had discussed Coleman's liveblog.

When I asked Chapman whether she had asked Coleman if he could set up a Skype connection for the Mayor, she refrained from answering the question, writing, "It wasn't part of the story."

She similarly refused to reply to me when I asked about the time stamps on the email forwarded to me from the Mayor.

Chapman also argued that Coleman had identified an administrative staffer in the mayor's office as the source of the mistake; but Coleman's article only identified the Mayor's office and not any individual employee as having double-scheduled the Mayor.

Chapman also argued that the double-booking was not a "mistake", because the Mayor did not actually need to be in attendance at the special meeting he had called to present his IWS rebuild proposal to the members of council.

Despite his not needing to be there, the Mayor did try to reschedule the meeting to another day, but a majority of councillors did not agree to reschedule it.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2011-05-31 23:45:37

Permalink | Context

By tenni (anonymous) | Posted June 01, 2011 at 09:31:44 in reply to Comment 64359

Ok. This is difficult to follow and I nave no interest in acting as an adjudicator. Whag I am interested in is the RTH position. It seems that your organization has taken a decision that the use of the word "mistake" was appropriate for Coleman to use? Did you publish a clarification stating the Mayor's office's position on the use of the word "mistake"?

Permalink | Context

By JoeyColeman (registered) - website | Posted June 01, 2011 at 09:40:47 in reply to Comment 64366

I'm covered politics both at Queen's Park and on Parliament Hill.

The mayor's office called the special GIC meeting for Jan 27th.

Shortly thereafter, they realized the Mayor's schedule had a prior committment.

They emailed City Council requesting the meeting be rescheduled due to the Mayor's scheduling conflict.

The mistake was a scheduling one - the Mayor was double booked and called a meeting at a time he was not available.

I wrote this was a mistake that should not have happened but City Council should've accomodated the Mayor and rescheduled the meeting - instead personality differences got in the way and the meeting was not changed.

This is a correct and accurate assessment of the situation.

The Mayor's office offered different stories:

1) that they intended to have the scheduling conflict and it was not a mistake.

2) the Mayor did not have to be at the meeting

3) The Mayor never requested the rescheduling, it was city staff. (A statement denied by city staff)

Permalink | Context

By tenni (anonymous) | Posted June 01, 2011 at 09:33:02 in reply to Comment 64366

gawd...my typos...lol Damn laptop font size and older eyes.

Permalink | Context

By JoeyColeman (registered) - website | Posted May 31, 2011 at 23:25:18 in reply to Comment 64357

Simply put, Ms. Chapman wanted to rewrite history and we refused to change the facts to reflect that were now at war with Eurasia.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Come Now.... (anonymous) | Posted May 31, 2011 at 19:25:54

I think this whole thing is ridiculous and proves how far out of her league Chapman truly is. This looks very poorly on Bratina. If Peggy needs someone to "complain to", she is in the wrong line of work and doesn't understand the dynamics of political theatre.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By BillDunphy (registered) - website | Posted May 31, 2011 at 20:05:05

Very interesting discussion - and timely. It comes as we see many of our public institutions retreating in fear from openness. We have a police chief who routinely refuses to answer questions from the media, a school board that believes elected representatives should be allowed to say nothing negative ever and that staff are the official spokesmen, and now this. However, I believe these issues are more nuanced, less absolute, than is sometimes recognized. Some of the issues raised in this joint statement arise from our public institutions' understandable inability to adjust to a swiftly changing,deeply disrupted information ecosystem (if you'll forgive the horrible phrase). Some of the concerns undoubtedly stem from the fact the policy is still not written, consultations still undone, and thus the policy can be seen to be as bad or as good as you wish, depending on how much you want to extrapolate or infer from the few public comments made so far. And some of the issues stem from assumptions about the political motivations involved. Fair enough. Reading the joint statement, however, I am concerned, not about the divide between Mainstream Media and Individual Journalists, but the divide between Media/Journalists and The Public.THAT is the most important battle, I think. Public information needs to be public for all. And available in a useful, affordable and timely manner. Period. Please take care to draw a distinction between that critical principle and the question of timely access to staff. Elected officials are free to snub you or I or CH - at their peril. They are accountable at election time and they have the freedom to be smart or stupid in choosing how available to make themselves. It is up to each one of us to convince them that it's worth it to give us their time. Public officials are a different matter,I believe. They are staff, public employees, and while it might be nice to say, "I pay taxes, you work for me, dagnabit!" I think we have to recognize that there is a public benefit in ensuring that their time is used efficiently and sensibly. (You and I are not the only ones paying taxes.) So the question of access to public officials (not public information) is not so absolutist, I believe. Should city manager Chris Murray have the right to shield himself from any specific call for his time and attention that comes from the public? (And we are all simply the public, not media and public...) I'd say the answer is yes. I can't imagine a public institution that could function otherwise. Note this about access to individuals, access to their time and acccess to their opinions - NOT access to public information. I have long argued - long before the web was built - that the media has NO special rights, should be given NO special status in the eyes of the law, as compared to the rights of the individual. I still believe that to be true. I apologize for the lengthy comment - these are issues very near and dear - and thank you for raising and hosting this discussion, it's valuable. Oh. And one small correction - Very little of the mainstream media are private companies these days. We are private sector, but public companies. That is a meaningful difference, I believe.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By myrcurial (registered) - website | Posted May 31, 2011 at 21:20:02

This is ambitious stuff. But hey, Hamilton is The Ambitious City. Perhaps this is as Hamiltonian as it's possible to be.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By G. (anonymous) | Posted May 31, 2011 at 22:45:25

http://www.thehamiltonian.net/2011/05/those-pesky-media-types.html

another interesting read

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By DanJelly (registered) | Posted May 31, 2011 at 22:53:39

This is going to sound pretty extreme, but as I read the transcript of Ms. Chapman's statement I'm reminded of the early days of the portable printing press as the technology spread across the world. In some places, these devices were illegal. Authorities would smash presses and arrest anyone found with one. Now, I'm not saying that Bratina is that kind of tyrant, but this very clumsy reaction to new media is born from the same close-minded, control-oriented sentiment that is found in some of the darker pages of our history books. All this is doing is amplifying a sense of mistrust between Bratina and the citizens he has been charged with serving. Simply put, it will backfire.

I have a blog, and on any given day (or month, heh) I might choose to post something that particular politicians may not enjoy. If I were to post something blatantly untrue, my personal credibility would take a hit, and if it were serious enough I might even be sued. If my employer caught wind, they may decide that I am an embarrassment to their company and their customers and they even may decide to fire me. Most of what I post is very obviously opinion. Some of it is very satirical in nature. In order to be effective, even the most sarcastic and unflattering things I post MUST have a strong element of truthfulness to them, otherwise I just look like a petty blowhard. It's not in my interest to mis-quote or bend the truth to make a point. Giving bloggers greater access isn't going to lead to chaos, it's going to lead to a greater variety of coverage, and more transparency. Why is that so scary?

Permalink | Context

By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted May 31, 2011 at 23:55:49 in reply to Comment 64356

And everyone knows I'M the petty blowhard of our family. Dan is the responsible brother.

Permalink | Context

By DanJelly (registered) | Posted June 01, 2011 at 00:34:09 in reply to Comment 64360

Responsible? Stop ruining my street cred. I spent a good 15 minutes building it up.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Mitchell (anonymous) | Posted June 01, 2011 at 00:11:22

We need to stop this constant spreading of misinformation.... by restricting access to the source of the truth.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted June 01, 2011 at 00:30:11

When I look down the list of names above, I see some of the most important and influential people and organizations in Hamilton independent media. A bunch that do or have produced widely circulated print versions, and one has a radio station. This isn't just about small-time bloggers, this is about anyone but The Spec, CH and CHML.

Permalink | Context

By JoeyColeman (registered) - website | Posted June 01, 2011 at 00:55:05 in reply to Comment 64362

The focus of this letter were those threatened by this new policy.

You have a Spec writer, expressing his own opinion, supporting the letter in the comments above.

This is not a Spec/CH separate from us thing.

Permalink | Context

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted June 01, 2011 at 11:28:49 in reply to Comment 64364

I will recognize you and give you as much access to the mayor, as need be, or information that I have - and especially at council, if you have a boss. If you're a journalist that has a boss that I can complain to, if I think that information is incorrect. If you don't have that, it's, you know- how do we control, um, the information?

Kinda sounds like it is.

There are fundamental differences between how big corporate media outlets like the Spec operate, and small community-based publications. Chapman would rather deal with larger ones, for fairly obvious reasons.

Indpendent media has grown enormously in this town over the last decade. A very large part of this was a very conscious effort to break the one-horse-town media monopoloy presented by the Spec and others. It's grown to the point where it can't be ignored by the Mayor's office.

It's a horrible response, and not likely to make many friends anywhere. Both the established media and other councillors will no doubt side with the public on this one, winning points at the expense of Bratina and Chapman. Can't say I'm sorry for 'em, either.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Mogadon Megalodon (anonymous) | Posted June 01, 2011 at 09:56:12

Four year, two weeks ago:

"Most people probably don't realize the current code of conduct expressly forbids councillors from disclosing or releasing verbal or written confidential information.

It particularly stresses the need to protect confidentiality around personnel matters, information about suppliers, matters relating to legal affairs, items under negotiation, and prices in contract tenders.

That's pretty standard stuff for municipalities. Burlington, for instance, makes similar demands on its council members, expressly ordering them to hold in "strict confidence" all information concerning matters dealt with in camera.

But Hamilton council, of course, is notorious for leaking like a sieve. It's been that way for years, regardless of who's in the mayor's chair or sitting round the council table.

No doubt it's the result of the aggressive way politics are played in this town, with councillors manoeuvering for advantage, settling scores, or simply believing they're serving the public interest by sharing eyes-only material.

Regardless, this is one violation of the code of conduct that neither the media nor public ever gripes about.

Reporters count on these transgressions to break stories or confirm rumours. The reading public relies on them to stay ahead of the curve."

http://www.thespec.com/opinion/article/226207--are-city-hall-leaks-an-endangered-species

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By MediaWatch (anonymous) | Posted June 01, 2011 at 10:39:22

I would think that some of the signatories have huge conflict of interest, in the financial sense. Bill Dunphy works for the Spec and is the point reporter on alternative media/open data, so one should judge his interest accordingly. Similarly, the professor from Mac has made it his business to comment on events at city hall and uses this info as part of his bona fides in poli-sci, so he has a vested interest. Matt Jelly wants to get elected provincially or locally so it is in his interest to puff up his credentials, as for the others they are all wannabes in the political sphere. CATCH (aka Don McLean) pushes his personal agenda via cherry picking council items, The Hamiltonian just copies/rewrites Spectator articles and claims legitimacy falsely. Raise the Hammer is the forum for discontentment as well as some interesting writing, but has a closed loop of followers, and CFMU...well, it is a university broadcasting medium with the limitations that implies.

Peggy Chapman who worked for the Harris government has her own issues. Under what conditions did she leave employment? She also ran and lost for a council seat, then 'worked' at the radio station as a producer/cum partner of on air personnel; and lately as a reporter for the Bay Observer....a marginal paper with even more peripheral circulation...this is the best gig she will ever have and is loving the power and spotlight.

She does have a boss who thinks that he should lead form the middle, 'bossing/schmossing' isn't his style. Where is the parade going? Finger in air...ah blowing that way...that's where I'll be.

An interesting dynamic.

Permalink | Context

By inconceivable? (anonymous) | Posted June 01, 2011 at 10:58:17 in reply to Comment 64374

"huge conflict of interest"

You keep using that phrase. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Permalink | Context

By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted June 01, 2011 at 10:54:30 in reply to Comment 64374

Bill Dunphy isn't listed as a signatory and he makes it clear at the bottom of his post that he's speaking on his own behalf, not the Spec.

Why don't you post using your own name, "Mediawatch", so we can assess your "conflict of interest" as well, if you're comfortable passing that judgement on others?

As for me, sure- I probably want to be elected to office someday. But there are no elections I'm going to be running in for years to come. Am I not allowed to have opinions until then? Am I not allowed to involve myself in issues when I see fit?

If this is a conflict of interest as you put it, it's not one that I'm making any secret of- or any direct profit from.

Permalink | Context

By TroyM (anonymous) | Posted June 01, 2011 at 13:04:17 in reply to Comment 64377

Voters love a fence sitter.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By MediaWatch (anonymous) | Posted June 01, 2011 at 11:00:30

With apologies to Mr. Dunphy...he is not a signatory, but the comment stands nevertheless, he does have something to gain re: his employment, not that that is bad by the way. As for my identity, my real name is "Umpartial"

Permalink | Context

By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted June 01, 2011 at 11:02:55 in reply to Comment 64380

Let's see your birth certificate.

Permalink | Context

By kendall (registered) - website | Posted June 02, 2011 at 11:03:44 in reply to Comment 64382

Matt, I don't want have a hide behind a PC verbal spat with you, I'm more of a one on one kind of guy. You wear your heart on your sleeve as do I, but why are you getting into a childish taunting match with a troll? You are taking a great article and diminishing it to the level of the Spec comment forum at times. Deep breaths, let it go.

Permalink | Context

By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted June 03, 2011 at 17:20:04 in reply to Comment 64456

That's fair, kendall. I know it takes away from the discussion- that's why I wish people had better things to argue than making bogus claims about me and engaging in personal attacks. As much as I don't like to engage these trolls, I do deserve the right to defend myself from baseless attacks on my character, as I see fit. I'll try to exercise more discretion in the future.

Permalink | Context

By Grom (anonymous) | Posted June 02, 2011 at 17:29:14 in reply to Comment 64456

Cause that's his MO. He's going to segue on to the "oh yeah? well my dad's a cowboy" gambit next. After that, von Clausewitz's favorite tactic of yelling "I know you are but what am I?"

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Grom (anonymous) | Posted June 01, 2011 at 11:48:08

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.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Grom (anonymous) | Posted June 01, 2011 at 12:06:46

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.

Permalink | Context

By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted June 01, 2011 at 13:30:50 in reply to Comment 64388

I said probably because the next election I would consider running in won't be until 2014- and I'm not making a decision on that until the time comes- there are many factors involved in that.

As for your cheap comment about the nature of my employment, I don't feel the need to respond to a comment that says more about you than it does about me. Thanks.

I'm sure you'd post with your real name if you weren't likely insecure about your own lack of accomplishments in the community and a laughable need to drag others down. :)

Have a nice day.

Permalink | Context

By Grom (anonymous) | Posted June 01, 2011 at 21:23:29 in reply to Comment 64395

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.

Permalink | Context

By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted June 02, 2011 at 03:10:23 in reply to Comment 64426

Exactly.

And if you already knew those things were there, you should have reported it to the Ministry or the City, or done something about it. That's all I did, and I'm just some shmuck.

Permalink | Context

By Grom (anonymous) | Posted June 02, 2011 at 07:23:06 in reply to Comment 64442

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.

Permalink | Context

By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted June 02, 2011 at 09:33:48 in reply to Comment 64446

Well bub- if there's something in the community you feel is a genuine danger, that governments have ignored for 20+ years, go run and tell an adult just like I did. Your analogy is pretty bunk though.

Don't be a jealous mofo. Go out and do your own thing and I'll do mine. I've never claimed to have done anything amazing or significant- a lot of people just seem to back me up on this stuff. I'm sorry that gets into your ass a bit.

You're not willing to put your name to your own words, I can only imagine how ashamed you must be of your own actions- or probable lack of action.

Comment edited by MattJelly on 2011-06-02 09:36:29

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By bob lee (anonymous) | Posted June 01, 2011 at 12:41:14

holy moly I cannot imagine a way that the Mayor's office could more effectively shoot themselves in the foot. In one fell swoop they have alienated and greatly enlarged the publicity received my a number of alternative media personalities - how many people have ever heard of "urbanicity" or Joey Coleman before this - forced the Spec to distance themselves, since otherwise they would be complicit in media control - and made themselves look like third grade politburo incompetents. Chapman's media landscape appears to be the Bay observer and the Bill Kelly show. Remember when Bob Bratina would post on RTH and SSP?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By the truth (anonymous) | Posted June 01, 2011 at 16:01:37

Hey Matt: You know lots of work, which is volunteer adds value to the community, it is too bad that many do not consider on the ground activism as real work.

Do profits add value? Considering the toxic waste they leave behind and our leaders fail to clean up.

Permalink | Context

By Grom (anonymous) | Posted June 01, 2011 at 21:10:50 in reply to Comment 64410

Nice haiku.

Permalink | Context

By mattjelly (registered) - website | Posted June 01, 2011 at 20:05:18 in reply to Comment 64410

Thank you- I just don't get it when people attack me for the nature of my employment. Am I broke? Do I make a living in unconventional ways? Sure- but that's nobody's business but my own.

Anonymous commenters on the spec's website have gone further on several occasions and claimed that I'm on social assistance, which is not the case- those services should be reserved for those who need them.

What's frustrating to me, considering I haven't cost the public a dime (I haven't even access grant funding as an artist) is that the lack of cash in my bank account has been the subject of ridicule directed towards me over the past year, instead of those same commenters arguing issues on the merits of the issues alone. I've learned over the years that it's inappropriate to attack someone personally when you have political differences- I've learned that the hard way.

Sometimes, it makes me feel like I shouldn't live the semi-public life that I do, that I shouldn't stick my neck out when I know I'm just going to get a whole boatload of insults hurled at me for speaking out. Sometimes these things seriously do get to me- as much as I like to tell myself I have a thick skin.

But if I gave into that feeling even for a second and allowed that to change who I am and what I do, the people making these statements would get what they want- to shut me down and make me not want to be outspoken on issues.

It's hard, but I have to remind myself of this time and time again.

Permalink | Context

By jimbovideo (anonymous) | Posted June 03, 2011 at 05:45:06 in reply to Comment 64416

Matt...I think that you have respect from many for what you do as a community sensitive guy. You are a bit unorthodox and we do not always agree but I respect you as do others. You place yourself publicly in a place where you are questioning views and unfortunately that places you in a position to be questioned.

Have you ever considered that by applying and getting grants for artists that is getting acknowledgment from your artistic peers? It is not all about resisting da man (power structure).

You care about your community and we know it.

Permalink | Context

By Kiely (registered) | Posted June 02, 2011 at 09:26:15 in reply to Comment 64416

Don't let'em bring you down Matt, you have demonstrated time and again your passion and love for this city.

Speak your truth, take action on what you feel is right and let the haters hate.

Permalink | Context

By Tree (anonymous) | Posted June 02, 2011 at 07:47:04 in reply to Comment 64416

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWqB-6ANG4c&feature=related

Permalink | Context

By jason (registered) | Posted June 01, 2011 at 22:19:39 in reply to Comment 64416

Keep up the great work Matt. At your young age you've already done far more good than those mouthy Spec commenters will ever do. Don't let a tiny group of ignorant web trolls get you down. You've got supporters and citizens who really appreciate your dedication to our city all over the place. Cheers

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Looky Here (anonymous) | Posted June 01, 2011 at 20:41:48

Well...looky here

http://www.thehamiltonian.net/2010/05/clr-bob-bratina-on-harbourfront-stadium.html

http://www.thehamiltonian.net/2010/09/mayoral-candidate-bob-bratina.html

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By The truth (anonymous) | Posted June 01, 2011 at 21:21:14

Don't worry Matt, you have many supporters in the community. I really appreciate the work you do.

It should not be about how much money you have in the bank, it should be about what you contribute to the community as a whole.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Tree (anonymous) | Posted June 02, 2011 at 07:42:29

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.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By H+H (registered) - website | Posted June 02, 2011 at 09:08:05

Well Tree, I guess RTH can count you as a reader and you haven't signed the list.

Also, let me add Grom and Mediwatch.

That's 3. Do you think there's a possibility some people read and don't post?

Do you think all 15,000 (soon to be 30,000) copies of Urbanicity were tossed without opening?

Do you think the fact that HMag has been published for several years, funded by paid advertisements, is a fluke?

Does the fact that the Hamiltonian adds new content daily somehow makes it irrelevant?

Citizen engagement is citizen engagement, whether the numbers are in the hundreds or in the tens of thousands.

But you already know that because you invest your own time reading and commenting on a site you say has no audience other than itself.

Comment edited by H+H on 2011-06-02 09:08:57

Permalink | Context

By lawrence (registered) - website | Posted June 03, 2011 at 10:17:31 in reply to Comment 64452

:) Graham. Sounds like some folks had yellow milk in their Corn Flakes that morning.

Permalink | Context

By Tree (anonymous) | Posted June 02, 2011 at 16:48:45 in reply to Comment 64452

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.

Permalink | Context

By Grom (anonymous) | Posted June 02, 2011 at 17:45:15 in reply to Comment 64469

Yeah, finally we have two papers in this city that less that one tenth of one percent of the population can relate to. If you could find a way to make insulation out of the print copies, or maybe send them to Africa to make... I dunno .. pirate hats out of them or something, then you'd have something. "Hey N!abasi, I don't know who the f--k the Junior Boys are, but these hats sure are a riot, eh?"

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted June 30, 2011 at 08:33:12

In symbolically related news:


Hamilton’s business leaders say a lack of political support is hobbling efforts to revive the city’s economy.

In a meeting with The Spectator’s editorial board Wednesday, members of the business lobby complained they’re not getting the support they need from city council on crucial issues such as the light rail transit proposal, all-day GO service and efforts to attract new employers.

“We just don’t appear to have any champions,” said Doug Duke, executive officer of the Hamilton-Halton Home Builders’ Association. “We have to act like a city that deserves these things and right now we don’t have the political will to go and get them.”

Hamilton Business Leaders brings together the heads of the Chamber of Commerce, home builders, realtors’ association and airport to push a jobs and prosperity agenda for the city. They argue city councillors should use that lens in looking at every decision they make.

“There appears to be a real disconnect between the business leadership and council right now,” said Ross Godsoe, CEO of the Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington. “We just don’t see these issues being championed by city leadership.

“It’s a tough job for us to even get a meeting with the mayor now,” he added.

The last time the business group met with Mayor Bob Bratina was in November, just after the municipal election. They’re not scheduled to get together again until July 21.

http://www.thespec.com/news/business/article/555635--business-group-says-politicians-dropping-the-ball-on-city-growth

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds