Special Report: Walkable Streets

A Conversation with Councillor Morelli

Ward 3 Councillor Bernie Morelli talks about improving walkability, building an integrated and connected transportation system, and dealing with speeding traffic and the challenges of an inner city ward.

By Ryan McGreal
Published May 25, 2012

RTH contacted Bernie Morelli, councillor for Ward 3, to talk about walkability and neighbourhood issues. In a telephone interview, Morelli said walkability is "absolutely a part of the picture" as the lower city continues its transformation.

He said he has seen and experienced a shift in attitudes about walkability. "I'm part of the demographic that's finding it hard to walk, but more people are trying to do so, and we're trying to make it happen. It's very much a need that is evolving out of the demographics" in the lower city.

Morelli's ward is crisscrossed with paired one-way streets but he believes two-way streets have potential, noting that our one-way thoroughfares were built for an industrial economy that has changed over the past several decades.

The city is conducting a class environmental assessment on two-way conversion of Wentworth Street south of Main. "People have been killed at Sanford and Main, and you've got the turnoff at Wentworth on Delaware to Sanford. With consideration of the change in traffic flows and the intensity of traffic flows, a return to two-ways can occur."

Talking about opposition to two-way conversion, Morelli noted, "Way back when I was approached about the Barton Street islands, the only people who quote-unquote 'bitched' about that were people trying to rush home to Ancaster to their estates. There was quite a bit of fear initially."

Morelli said the biggest concerns he hears from his constituents continue to be dealing with the negative impacts of prostitution and crime, speeding automobile traffic, and absentee landlords allowing too many people to live in unmaintained buildings.

"In terms of the area rating money, most of the requests I've had are looking for things like speed bumps - speeding traffic is a major issue for inner city wards."

Policing is also a challenge. "Take the area from Gage to Ottawa and Lawrence to Main. Just to cover that area [with police coverage] would be very costly but we've got to find ways to cope with those issues."

He also detailed problems with irresponsible landlords. "We're still dealing immensely with absentee landlords. Not all are bad, but most are - that's my experience and opinion." He adds, "We're moving in the right direction. We've asked staff to see if we can licence these guys moving forward."

Morelli noted that the word "intensification" is confusing because it's used to connote different things. "The word 'intensification' is like the word 'cancer' - we tend to categorize them all together when they're not all the same. You've got to dig a little bit deeper, but unfortunately we give one word to everything."

Some intensification can work well, Morelli says. "You can have intensification where it seems to work quite well because there's a lifestyle associated with it." However, "A lot of the inner city is 40-foot lots, 30-foot lots, and you have lots of people living in the same house. The kids are growing up but they're not moving out, and you've got four cars parked on a 30-foot lawn. Not to mention the load on infrastructure, like water and sewer."

Morelli repeatedly stressed the importance of better integrated transit in Hamilton and across the GTA. "I'm driving a smaller car today - that's another part of the evolution. People are driving less and public transportation is becoming more important."

He pointed to bike lane construction projects in his ward and emphasized the need to build continuous networks that link people to destinations. "If we make sure we focus on integration and viability, we can make it work."

But he also stressed, "You can't just superimpose European templates on North American society. You need to recognize that transportation is the major item that's going to bring all this together, and we need a system that's consistent with meeting the needs of North American society."

That doesn't mean staying with the status quo. "There's no question about transportation in my mind: if we don't do it, we're in big trouble. It's gonna happen, it's gotta happen."

Morelli sees a shift in attitudes already underway. "The whole concept of transportation - these new transit passes, people are learning how to use them, because that's where it's going. Transportation fits that mode. People are being raised with it. Even now when I go to Toronto, I jump on the GO Train. Talk about walkability - spend some time in the Toronto harbourfront! I wish I could get the same enthusiasm around the east harbour in Hamilton."

According to Morelli, the east Harbour is a big part of why Hamilton has an image problem. "Our biggest problem is image, and the major place where people see our image is when you come over the east end of the [Burlington Skyway] bridge. Why aren't we doing something down there? That's one of my war cries around the table. They've done a great job from Winona and the east end over to the pedestrian bridge across the highway," but the city needs to extend that into the industrial waterfront.

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.

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By Double Semi Otics (anonymous) | Posted May 25, 2012 at 14:10:59

"The word 'intensification' is like the word 'cancer' - we tend to categorize them all together when they're not all the same. You've got to dig a little bit deeper, but unfortunately we give one word to everything."

Hint, Clr Morelli: In future, I would suggest you swap "the word 'art'" for "the word 'cancer'".

Far less passive-aggressive incendiary, way more more self-aware hip and zeitgeisty.

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By Frank Lee (anonymous) | Posted May 26, 2012 at 08:48:42 in reply to Comment 77307

I think both analogies are flawed, but the mask does seem to slip. Google suggests that breast cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer and thyroid cancer rank among the "good cancers". I can imagine better ways to sell the citizenry on the merits of intensification.

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By More Elli (anonymous) | Posted May 25, 2012 at 14:30:07

Nice to see cllr Morelli talking to online media. Sounds like he 'gets it' on those one way streets. Especially with speeding traffic one of the biggest complaints he gets.

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By ward 3 resident (anonymous) | Posted May 25, 2012 at 14:40:22 in reply to Comment 77309

Wish he did get it but sadly he doesn't interact with residents well and tends to be good at political blather the really doesn't match his actions. We need a new voice here but as you can see as long as he helps with the absentee owner and drug problems in the better off parts of the ward he'll get re-elected. Particularly troubling is the Barton Street reference. Those street scape changes have done nothing to aid the area and in fact its worse now than prior to them IMO

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By MattM (registered) | Posted May 25, 2012 at 14:42:11

Kinda surprised by his very insightful and progressive opinions and replies. I'd like to see how my councilor, Merulla, would stand on the same issues.

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By mrgrande (registered) | Posted May 25, 2012 at 14:43:21

He pointed to bike lane construction projects in his ward and emphasized the need to build continuous networks that link people to destinations. "If we make sure we focus on integration and viability, we can make it work."

I must be confused. I was under the impression that

a) Councillors could veto bike lanes (under Changing Gears) in their wards, and
b) Morelli was one of the Councillors.

Am I mistaken?

Comment edited by mrgrande on 2012-05-25 14:43:28

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 25, 2012 at 14:51:10

Who kidnapped Clr Morelli and replaced him with this guy??
Wow....you mean, some of them actually do respond to a changing culture and develop new ideas about things? I'm stunned to hear him talk of bike lanes, two-way streets and speed humps. Good stuff.
Thx for posting.

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By DrAwesomesauce (registered) | Posted May 25, 2012 at 19:56:31 in reply to Comment 77315

He's preaching to the choir though, isn't he?

Morelli's a savvy individual and as somebody's already mentioned, he's very good at talking the talk.

Ward 3 definitely needs some new blood. Don't be fooled.

Comment edited by DrAwesomesauce on 2012-05-25 19:58:11

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 25, 2012 at 14:58:47

comment from banned user deleted

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted May 25, 2012 at 15:01:32

I have to be honest, I'm surprised not only by the fact that Councillor Morelli agreed to be interviewed, but also by the quality of his comments. He is not my Councillor. I don't have the same direct connection (or lack of same based on comments expressed by people I respect), but for the moment I will take him at his word.

The topic of two-way conversion is current. Councillor Morelli's comments seem just as current. We won't have to wait long to see if Bernie will put his actions where his mouth is. I'm hopeful he will. Thanks Ryan and Bernie.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted May 25, 2012 at 18:23:00

Sorry, but I for one don't buy it.

A smaller car?? In February I saw him driving a new big Cadillac, a different colour one than what I remember him driving before, but still a new big-ass Cadillac. I wouldn't be surprised if the biggest Cadillac you can buy today is smaller than the biggest one you could buy a few years ago. Ta da, a smaller car. Still the biggest in the Caddy line, but smaller than before and no lying needed.

Ryan, I hope you will share the which bike lane construction projects he was talking about because I'm wracking my brain trying to think of one besides Lawrence south of Gage Park which is years old. Are there others being constructed? If so, where?

Two way conversion, please read between the lines "industrial economy". Talk of north - south streets, like 200m of Wentworth. Don't get your hopes up he will support conversion of Cannon, Wilson, King or Main. He's talking north - south streets, which I agree are an important to convert, but hardly city rejuvenating. Ta da, he tells the audience what they want to hear, but not really what they want. Well, he's a really good magician.

Finally, I'm glad he feels a great job was done from Winona east to the pedestrian bridge, he should now because I've heard he lives overlooking one of the marinas in that stretch. If true, too bad he didn't feel the need to invest his money and where he lives in his ward.

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By Malex (anonymous) | Posted May 28, 2012 at 10:32:52 in reply to Comment 77326

Morelli lives on London Street, which is just East of Ottawa...lovely house too. Shame it's not in his ward (barely!)...

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By Malex (anonymous) | Posted May 29, 2012 at 10:57:08 in reply to Comment 77392

lol - so my post regarding the fact that Morelli lives on London Street is downvoted?

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By lakeside (registered) | Posted May 25, 2012 at 23:27:31

Things _are_ happening in the east harbour.

LaFarge's slag piles have been moved to, I believe, pier 22, thus removing the drive-by 'moonscape' at the very end of the harbour, beside the QEW.

The construction of Windermere Basin Park continues where the old sediment basin for the Red Hill Creek has been capped with clean fill and is being turned into a naturalized area. Some of the latest work involves a link connecting the park with existing bicycle lanes and the new bridge over the QEW.

Across the new channel from there is more filling and grading of the land. It looks like more park space is being created there too, but it may be just for gazing at and to create a buffer to the adjacent heavy industry.

Then there's the pedestrian and cycle bridge itself, connecting East Hamilton to the waterfront at Confederation Park, including the Breezeway Trail, for the first time in several decades.

Not as appetite-inducing as the two new restaurants in the former Discovery Centre at Pier 8 but there's definitely change occurring in the east harbour.

Soon we will have bookends.

Comment edited by lakeside on 2012-05-25 23:29:18

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By CouldaWouldaShoiulda (anonymous) | Posted May 26, 2012 at 04:58:19

Intriguing.

A councillor makes the time to deal with what is, despite its place in the 'liveability' formula, an inarguably soft issue, and provides an 'interview'. But...but...

Well, let's flash back to last autumn.

And the Mission Services 'situation' on Wentworth Street North. And the questionable discharge of property by Mohawk College. And the débacle that was the unfolding of this handover/project, the pretty crap PR execution, the Cathy Wever dearth of community communication, the Hub missteps, and all kinds of concerned citizens who couldn't get straight answers as to 'What's actually going in that facility?', to work being performed without the correct permits having been issued...

...a situation that got so bad that this was created: http://www.scribd.com/doc/69825555/Good-Neighbour-Community-Contract

The need to be heard, for genuine, unbiased communiciation to be created was so critical that I was contacted by residents wanting to put on a town hall, to bring the issue out into the light, to get community dialogue going, and to bring Councillor Morelli into the mix.

I think it's fair to say that whatever answers the local residents (and when you get a chance, you should check out this neighbourhood just south of Barton; it's revitalizing itself, thankyouverymuch) got, they got on their own, without much ('any'?) help from their representative at 71 Main Street West.

So here's my impression, having had all manner of conversations with Ward 3 residents, committed residents who believe in their communities and are pretty inspiring in their desire to improve their streets, where they're raising their children, where they're living their lives: while I'm glad that Ryan was able to grab Councillor Morelli's attention to add to the ongoing dialogue about 'Walkable Streets', which clearly has no 'down side' (it's not like a developer and the City is going to be going head-to-head over this), it might also be nice to see the same degree of attention paid to instances where visceral elments of 'community' are front-and-centre. (Please, no tomatoes thrown over the inference drawn that I'm not considering walkability a visceral issue. Surely you have better things to do with your fruits...)

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By Gary Santucci (anonymous) | Posted May 26, 2012 at 08:24:53

Ramblings on the ramblings of Councilor Morelli

Talking about opposition to two-way conversion, Morelli noted, "Way back when I was approached about the Barton Street islands, the only people who quote-unquote 'bitched' about that were people trying to rush home to Ancaster to their estates. There was quite a bit of fear initially."

Let's continue with the failed vision!

http://www.thespec.com/opinion/article/278749--the-barton-street-boondoggle

Morelli said the biggest concerns he hears from his constituents continue to be dealing with the negative impacts of prostitution and crime, speeding automobile traffic, and absentee landlords allowing too many people to live in unmaintained buildings.

Let's continue with the failed vision!

http://www.thehamiltonian.net/2012/05/whose-line-is-it-anyway.html

"People have been killed at Sanford and Main, and you've got the turnoff at Wentworth on Delaware to Sanford. With consideration of the change in traffic flows and the intensity of traffic flows, a return to two-ways can occur."

Let's continue with the failed vision!

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/730174--slain-james-bajkor-an-innocent-bystander-police

"The word 'intensification' is like the word 'cancer' - we tend to categorize them all together when they're not all the same. You've got to dig a little bit deeper, but unfortunately we give one word to everything."

Let's continue with the same failed vision!

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/716078--mission-services-gets-200-000-from-u-s-steel-s-broken-promises-fund

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/729816--life-after-oxy-addiction-services-see-a-rise-in-client-numbers


Policing is also a challenge. "Take the area from Gage to Ottawa and Lawrence to Main. Just to cover that area [with police coverage] would be very costly but we've got to find ways to cope with those issues."

What about Gage to Wellington and Main to Barton? I guess he forgot.

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/730276--hamilton-police-hunt-two-in-street-robbery

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/730859--man-seriously-wounded-in-emerald-st-stabbing

Well anyway I just made an appointment with my doctor to get checked out for "intensification" , however I am relieved that he supports bikes, two ways and transit. I am also encouraged to learn from Mr. Morelli that "these new transit passes, people are learning how to use them."

Mr Morelli also states "Our biggest problem is image, and the major place where people see our image is when you come over the east end of the [Burlington Skyway] bridge. Why aren't we doing something down there? That's one of my war cries around the table."

Finally, maybe the Councillor for ward 3 could wage a little war in the ward he represents not in the ward where he lives.

Gary Santucci


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By Frank Lee (anonymous) | Posted May 26, 2012 at 08:36:49

Not sure I understand the amazement at the ability of a 21-year municipal councillor to work the room.

Words are easy. Deeds are the meaningful measure of a politician's character, values and worth. If the community is content to mistake one for the other, they merely give credence to the old Mencken maxim about democracy being the theory that common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.

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By ViennaCafe (registered) | Posted May 26, 2012 at 08:37:53

"The word 'intensification' is like the word 'cancer' - we tend to categorize them all together when they're not all the same. You've got to dig a little bit deeper, but unfortunately we give one word to everything."

There is a good cancer? Or is the implication that while all intensification is necessarily bad, it isn't necessarily fatal?

Doctor: "I think you should have a seat."

City: "Why? What is it?"

Doctor: "I'm afraid it's very serious."

City: "Tell me, Doc. I can take it."

Doctor: "I'm afraid you have an advanced stage of ... intensification."

City:

Doctor: "Many cities survive these things, today. Some arterial rebuilds and widenings. Another regional shopping centre or two. Incentives for greenfield development ... it doesn't have to be fatal."

City:

Doctor: "Can I get you anything? Would you like me to call someone?

City: "I'm going to fight this. Do you remember the golden miles? Boy, those were the days. Know what would be nice? A new strip with big box stores, fast food joints, and nondescript strip malls stretching for miles and surrounded by warrens of subdivisions with nothing but snout houses. That's what I need."

Doctor: "That's the spirit. And it's not all bad news. The school board plans to close most inner-city schools so you already have a good start towards beating intensification."

City: "Thanks, Doc. So when do we start the zoning changes?"

Comment edited by ViennaCafe on 2012-05-26 08:39:07

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By Frank Lee (anonymous) | Posted May 26, 2012 at 09:16:45 in reply to Comment 77338

He missed a golden opportunity to compound the awkwardness by adding, with a wink, that "You can't lump them all together."

You could go at this Family Feud style, looking for the most popular responses to "Urban intensification is a lot like". One hundred people surveyed. Top 10 answers on the board.

So let's have it, board...

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By rednic (registered) | Posted May 26, 2012 at 09:22:55

"Policing is also a challenge. "Take the area from Gage to Ottawa and Lawrence to Main. Just to cover that area [with police coverage] would be very costly but we've got to find ways to cope with those issues."

Policing may or may not be challenge .. (Morelli would know he's on the Police Board) but i really doubt that area mentioned one of richer,less dense, and i assume crime free area's of the ward is the one most in need of policing. (half of it is park) this is simply posturing for his most likely voters.

Is the plan to leave the rest ward open to the type of action that was seen on Milton St last weekend ?

I've watched enough to see the Police here resemble a poorly programmed version of vice city . Where theres a glitch that every patrol car is followed inch for inch turn for turn by a second patrol car.

SPLIT UP ! you have radios in your cars. Call for help if you feel the need for backup. There you go twice as much area covered by the police force with no budget increase and no loss of safety to officers.

If you wanted to eliminate some crime look around. I see a lot spa's,'shiatsu palours' etc in ward 3. I see a lot of street prostitution too. Legalize brothels. Bring it inside. Regulate it. Tax it. Protect the workers. Get it off the street. It's been going on for a long time. It will never be 'stamped out'. It will never be a 'desirable' business but it can be safer for everyone(sellers,buyers , and the innocent bystanders)

The word 'intensification' is like the word 'cancer' . I assume that he's referring to cancer the illness as opposed to Zodiac sign. I don't know of a lot of cancers with 'Positive' outcomes. For the most part surviving is a positive outcome , sometimes that moves up the scale to surviving in tact. If your talking about the Zodiac sign; I personally have never had a positive outcome (but it must happen i suppose). At this point the only kind of intensification people would put in ward 3 would be more structures like the one on Sanford between Cannon and Barton (high rise low income housing).

Ward3 needs rejuvenation not intensification. Calming the streets will help. Why not offer 'tax holidays' to buildings which are reconverted to ground floor commercial? Maybe even tax benefits / grants to stores that sell 'Healthy Food'. Extend the Facade improvement programs to cover the commercial in ward 3. Why does it stop at Wellington (correct me if I'm wrong)?

Do something really smart with the Westinghouse tower Sanford north of Barton. This building is one of kind. Think mixed use community center & combined tech/arts / trades incubation center. sign up animators from Sheridan, geeks from McMaster tradesmen (people) from Mohawk. Give them space to 'build stuff'. I duck when i say this but .. I don't foresee huge industrial companies banging down the door to set up shop North of Barton. Rejuvenation is going to come on a small startup basis. The space is there for companies for grow (almost) infinitely. So its better to make plans.

Finally how about thinking outside the box ..the weird /different /non conforming/ is not necessarily bad. Not every one needs parking for their venture.The implication of every zoning decision couldn't for seen 20 -30 years ago. Turn a blind eye , cut red tape spend the time enforcing the 'safety code' not the 'zoning code' i.e. overcrowded housing, unattended industrial storage. This is what began the change at King West and Spadina in Toronto. Theres No reason it couldn't work at King East and Spadina in Hamilton, Maybe if we acted really fast it could happen at King East and Steven as well before one of bright lights of ward leaves..

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By TnT (registered) | Posted May 26, 2012 at 10:09:39

Good for Mr Morelli. I think he never recovered from the crushing collapse of the art investment along Barton in 1991. It must get very depressing to be in the most ignored Ward in the city.

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By DollHouse (anonymous) | Posted May 26, 2012 at 18:35:39 in reply to Comment 77343

Don’t take that grim a view. There are lots of great things in Ward 3. Travel off the main streets and you will see amazing side streets. It is just a smear campaign.

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted May 26, 2012 at 11:47:57

Much has happened to Ward 3 during Councillor Morelli’s 21 year stewardship:

-the growth in the number of crack cocaine houses in Ward 3

-the increase of prostitution in Ward 3. For instance, one church in Ward 3 which hosts Brownies and Girl Guide meetings also has a drop-in centre for prostitutes.

-the increase in crime

-the presence of the Hells Angels clubhouse

-the saturation of halfway houses

-the vast increase in the number of dilapidated storefronts along King, Cannon and Barton Streets

-the poor condition of the main roads

-the reduction in the number of public secondary schools in Ward 3 or near the boundary between Warde 3 and Ward 4 from three in 1991 to zero by 2014

-the increase in the number of overnight flights from John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport with flight paths over the so-called lower city including Ward 3

-the black dust that periodically rains down on the homes, cars and residents in the north end of Ward 3

-the loss of the Festival of Friends at Gage Park

-the lack of public consultation with Ivor Wynne Stadium neighbourhood residents before deciding to rebuild the stadium there, demolish Brian Timmis Field and Parkview School and convert the space into stadium parking lots, hold more concerts at the stadium, etc.

In Ward 3, the issue of walkability is more than changing one way streets into two way streets though it may be worth giving that a try. It is the ability to walk to the corner store and back home without any apprehension of being stabbed, mugged or propositioned.

Ward 3 has not received enough care and attention from its own councillor or from the rest of the City of Hamilton for decades. Perhaps it is karma that the world is coming to Ward 3 for 48 Pan Am soccer games over an eight to ten day span in 2015. People and media from across Canada and 41 other Pan Am countries will get to experience first-hand the extent to which Ward 3 has been neglected unless a great deal of restorative work is accomplished by the City of Hamilton, the Hamilton Police Service, that Hamilton Wentworth District School Board and the local business community between now and then.

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2012-05-26 11:51:35

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 26, 2012 at 22:23:26 in reply to Comment 77344

Ouch. worst part is, I can't argue with any of that.

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By DollHouse (anonymous) | Posted May 26, 2012 at 18:32:43

I think it is a bit unfair, more than a bit really, to lay all of the above blame at the feet of Morelli. He has steered a ship that has faced one of the greatest industrial collapses in the city. I think many of the seniors and older ethnic groups are happy with Mr. Morelli since they represent the “old neighbourhood” that really is the gem of Ward 3. Not the idealistic suburbs that drives out poor and old that is the gentrification goal of a small group of T.O. carpet baggers who’ve recently moved into the southern end of the ward. Nobody is perfect, but voters have proven time and again if you call Bernie, He Responds. Without Mr. Morelli things could be drastically worse.

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By CouldaWouldaShoulda (anonymous) | Posted May 27, 2012 at 07:27:49 in reply to Comment 77353

Sorry, I'll confess to being a little riled-up here...

"I think many of the seniors and older ethnic groups are happy with Mr. Morelli since they represent the “old neighbourhood” that really is the gem of Ward 3."

Wonderful. Nothing against them at all, but putting them on this pedestal: does this mean we're going to freeze time, so that this dynamic remains forever? Because that's the only way it'll be valid.

"Not the idealistic suburbs that drives out poor and old that is the gentrification goal of a small group of T.O. carpet baggers who’ve recently moved into the southern end of the ward."

Oh...my. How reminiscent is this of the 'back in the day' racisim and prejudice? On this count alone, I submit that this city needs a lengthy series of town halls to 'edumacate' the clearly-unwashed about the realities of urban living...if only from the point-of-view that 'Above all other factors, Change is the only constant in Life.'

"Nobody is perfect, but voters have proven time and again if you call Bernie, He Responds."

Damn, this is maybe the part that riles me the most. Here's my view, and anyone is certainly free to take issue with how I see things:

A councillor's job capabilties should NOT be decided by how well he or she deals with complaints. Or being an issue-rectifier. Or being an ad hoc therapist. (Which is why this has come to pass: http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/716063--city-eyes-mediation-service-to-resolve-feuds-between-neighbours )

Yes, the councillor's office should be fielding and responding to enquiries. But I'm a little tired of hearing this celebration marched out ("My councillor always gets back to me when I have a question!") as if acting as Ward Problem Solver is the job's primary goal. (Anyone wondering just what a councillor's job actually entails according to the Municipal Act, look here: http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page5030.aspx )

Council, as led by the mayor, is charged with both management of the city, and its *leadership*. The former certaily includes looking after complaints, ensuring that the proper resources are made available to residents...but the latter has to do with skills such as being able to inspire, being able to generate and focus community confidence and enthusiasm, as well as executing the city's 'vision'.

Leadership, in its most basic definition, is 'taking a group of people from one place, to another.' And seemingly, in this modern, fuckled-up world of ours, this has gotten lost. It seems that 'leadership' has been redefined as 'dotting all the 'i's, crossing all the 't's, answering constituent phone calls, playing nice in Council Chambers, providing the appropriate sound bites for media, yadda, yadda, areyoufriggin'kiddingme? yadda.

So; as my rant's moemntum is about to run out, allow me to offer up this challenge to both Councillor Morelli and to RTH Editor Ryan McGreal:

Ryan, please conduct another interview with the councillor, with the topic being 'Our city's declared vision, '"To be the best city in Canada to raise a child, promote innovation, engage citizens and provide diverse economic opportunities.": please discuss your views on it, to the same extent you have regarding 'walkability'. At length, please talk about the lengths to which you've gone to ensure its implementation, and how you see your leadership role in the endevour, towards the betterment of a struggling ward within a re-inventing-itself Hamilton.'

Pleaseandthankyou.

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By rednic (registered) | Posted May 28, 2012 at 07:55:24 in reply to Comment 77362

no need for another interview, everyone knows that parking lots for pro sports team are far more important than schools or amateur playing fields to a child's development. For crying out loud these kids now have an opportunity to earn 10 dollars an hour 16 days a year selling parking spots. This is progress!

These are not bad decisions. They are criminal decisions.

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By CouldaWouldaShoulda (anonymous) | Posted May 26, 2012 at 20:23:35 in reply to Comment 77353

"Without Mr. Morelli things could be drastically worse."

Really?

*Really*?!?

Well. As Ryan believes in going down the 'evidence-based' path, can we have some please? Evidence for your conjecture?

Understanding of course that unless you've got access to some kind of 'alternative timeline viewer', that it would all be apologist-based in stance, so pretty biased. So I'm going to suggest this: Seeing as you can't provide proof where 'things could be drastically worse', how about giving us a rundown of those instances where having Councillor Morelli around *prevented* some other less-qualified, less talented person from things going 'drastically worse'. Surely that's not too much to ask.

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By DollHouse (anonymous) | Posted May 27, 2012 at 18:05:03 in reply to Comment 77355

Here is a link to just a few of Mr. Morellis achievements and goals:

http://www.berniemorelli.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=20&Itemid=37

Ethnic and working poor do make up the majority of Ward 3 and as such that is the important majority. Just because you work a high paying job for a Toronto IT department doesn't mean you have the rights to dictate how the ward should be run. 21 years in office and not one election came close to outsing him, makes me think he has the backing of the majority.

He is making progressive changes here. If not for him things like art venues, backpackers hostels, the conversion of old industrial factories into adpative reuse, Ottawa Street renewing wouldn't be in place today.

Give a little credit where it is due.

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By backpacker (anonymous) | Posted May 28, 2012 at 08:33:28 in reply to Comment 77369

> If not for him things like art venues, backpackers hostels, the conversion of old industrial factories into adpative reuse, Ottawa Street renewing wouldn't be in place today.

I sure hope this is someone taking the mickey and not someone who actually believes what they're writing. Ask Tanya and Tim Ritchie about Bernies support for backpackers hostels. http://raisethehammer.org/blog/2146/hamilton%27s_only_backpacker_hostel_shut_down

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By TnT (registered) | Posted May 28, 2012 at 13:23:44 in reply to Comment 77383

I'm a little surprised at that comment too, and a little afraid to get into an online debate about it. I don't have evidence one way or another to comment on any support we've received from Mr Morelli. Though he may be a silent patron of ours behind the scenes, but I'm not sure about that.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted May 26, 2012 at 20:35:03

comment from banned user deleted

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By CouldaWouldaShoulda (anonymous) | Posted May 27, 2012 at 05:25:44

Just a little visual context, all in one place:

Here's a photo album I made almost two years ago of the Barton Village BIA.
http://tinyurl.com/7lsrtbr

I'm not posting this as a finger-pointing gesture at Councillor Morelli. He's not 'responsible' for the demise of one of the formerly most vibrant business sections in Hamilton; this situation has some fundamental contributing factors that go beyond his participation or lack-thereof. However, what bothers me is the dearth of discussion. I'm not talking about EcDev meetings, or Chamber meetings or BIA meetings. I'm talking about the relative silence from we, the people. About how we can have a section of the city that's been left fallow...in the same way that King Street East has been left fallow for decades, window-dressing and lip-service-paid notwithstanding...while we focus on peripheral development.

In the dictionary, next to the phrase 'broken record' there's a photo of me, but regardless: Unless we, the people muster our voices and demand our place at the table of governance, we're fuckled. Yes, getting 'more qualified, better blessed people' in office helps, but I'll continually go back to Ryan's admonition about the need for strong, consistent citizen participation...because, after all, I'm a broken record. : )

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By DrAwesomesauce (registered) | Posted May 27, 2012 at 21:22:11 in reply to Comment 77361

Barton's got good bones and could thrive again some day...

That said, when the anchor of the neighbourhood is a shop called 'Balloons and More' you've got serious issues.

The City and Morelli have really let down residents of this ward. Someone with vision and a massive pair of b*lls needs to take over what he's failed at so abjectly.

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By Barton Wandering (anonymous) | Posted May 27, 2012 at 18:18:36 in reply to Comment 77361

Your picture tour of Barton street seems to paint a nice vision. I saw bakeries, seamstress, grocery store, bars, restaurants and plenty of room for development. That old school was particularly intriguing. Is that Sanford that they are talking about demolishing? It seems with a little investment we could have our own little Young Street happening there. Any chance of the street cars coming back? :)

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By CouldWouldaShoulda (anonymous) | Posted May 28, 2012 at 08:31:33 in reply to Comment 77370

re: Sanford school... I'm told that the residents want a full-blown rec centre more than they want 'adaptive re-use' for this wonderful building. That's why it's coming down.

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By WRCU2 (registered) | Posted May 27, 2012 at 09:30:18 in reply to Comment 77361

I keep reading over and over and over and over and again, that we're fuckled by Mr. M Adrian Brassington man!

Are we fuckled as a city or just dragging our knuckles in ward 3? Have we already forgotten the chuckles from Andrew Dreschel's story?

When asked if they had consulted their constituents about which projects should be bankrolled, some of them sounded like fiefdom-owning grandees scattering coins to fanny bumpers.

Bernie Morelli took the Let-them-eat-cake award. He says he’ll speak to his community once he settles on his projects.

As a constituent I feel I am well served and well met in Hamilton. What the heck, just yesterday I spoke with Paul Miller and Wayne Marston, we were speaking about austerity budgets and the thrill of our community gardens. I do feel as though we're fuckled, but what's really our problem? I dunno, I'll leave politics to the professionals when they seem to know what they're doin' like my alderman, an intense-sensation, Sam Merulla.

Comment edited by WRCU2 on 2012-05-27 10:54:15

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 27, 2012 at 09:12:13

Ward 3 is getting crushed over at the Ivor Wynne discussion on SSP. Again, can't disagree:

http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthre...

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted May 28, 2012 at 23:09:19 in reply to Comment 77363

Paul Wilson's column on the cbc hamilton site today recalls the original enthusiasm for the west harbour Pan Am stadium plan in the "Our City, Our Future" campaign: http://www.cbc.ca/hamilton/talk/story/20...

Hamilton had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to leverage the Pan Am Games into something transformative. Instead, it has settled for something repetitive. Preparing Ward 3 to adequately host the Pan Am soccer events will be a huge challenge and time is ticking fast.

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2012-05-28 23:12:13

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted May 27, 2012 at 10:39:00

I think it's great that Bernie has chosen to participate in this forum but find myself kind of shocked and skeptical at the sentiments (platitudes?) expressed. Since many of us who have dealt with him on issues in Ward 3 in the past have seen words not met with actions --- or actions endorsed that were completely counter to what we'd been assured would happen --- I suspect I'm not the only one.
I wish we had something similar to the Guelph Civic League's voting report cards (http://docs.google.com/file/d/0B7qrOjqn6xcGMDE5MmI3MzEtOTNhNC00Nzg5LWI2Y2EtMmU5OWM0YTFkZTY0/edit?hl=en_US&pli=1 for example) to compare Bernie's statements here to his council voting track record. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt but, once bitten, twice shy...
Despite the criticisms here, I hope this piece in RTH is the beginning of new more open and forthright relationship between Bernie and his ward's residents. Thanks to Bernie for participating and to Ryan for providing the forum!

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By CouldaWouldaShoulda (anonymous) | Posted May 28, 2012 at 08:36:50 in reply to Comment 77365

Regarding the Guelph Civic League and its focus on voting...

I'm very aware of what they accomplished when they began their efforts. They determined a 'Set of Core Values' after canvassing the community, and as a result, they got a whole slew of incumbents voted out.

The issue I have with 'seeing how someone votes' is that taking that voting record and comparing it to the agreed-to community values is...well, a subjective process. And I'm not so sure the average resident...you know, the 60% that doesn't vote...is capable 'as it currently stands' of being able to discern whether or not a councillor has done right by their constituents...without going deeper.

I know that the Hamilton Civic League is moving forward with a similar initiative, but I'm hoping we don't end up fooling ourselves that this sums up the kind of engagement we need on a community level. It's a good tool, a piece of the puzzle, but to paraphrase the man from Stratford, "It's hardly the be-all and end-all."

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By Gary Santucci (anonymous) | Posted May 27, 2012 at 19:22:55

Dollhouse said: "21 years in office and not one election came close to outsing him, makes me think he has the backing of the majority."

The Facts:

Morelli won the 2010 election with 44.4% of the vote. 65.6% of voters in ward 3 voted for other candidates.


Bob BLACK 373 5.23%
Mark DiMILLO 723 10.13%
Sean GIBSON 976 13.68%
Wilamina McGRIMMOND 156 2.19%
Bernie MORELLI 3186 44.66%
Paul TETLEY 1720 24.11%

Total Population 2006 39,910

Voter Turnout
Ward 3 Hamilton

2006

Total Registered Voters - 23,913
Total Votes Cast - 6,368
% turnout - 26.6%

2010

Total Registered Voters - 23,670
Total Votes Cast - 7,329
% turnout - 31.0%

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By CaptainKirk (anonymous) | Posted May 27, 2012 at 20:40:25

Wow!

69% of ward 3 voters did not vote!

16,341 out of 23,670 did not vote!

Disgraceful!

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By Gary Santucci (anonymous) | Posted May 27, 2012 at 22:11:06

Dollhouse said; "Ethnic and working poor do make up the majority of Ward 3 and as such that is the important majority."

The Facts do not support this statement

Ward 3

38,970 Total population by language spoken most often at home

English 33,030 84.8%
French 1,800 0.5%
Non-official languages 4,965 12.7%
Multiple responses 790 2.0%

Non visible minority population 86.4%
Visible minority population 13.6%

Ward 3 Household Income (2005-2006)

under 10k 4.6%
10k to 30k 21.4%
30k to 60k 28.7%
60k to 100k 25.3%
over 100k 21.0%

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By rednic (registered) | Posted May 28, 2012 at 08:02:07

Dollhouse said; 'He is making progressive changes here. If not for him things like art venues, backpackers hostels, the conversion of old industrial factories into adaptive reuse'

well i'll bite..

Gary, Tara Hows it going with your endeavors. Have things changed? Have the attack dogs been called off?

Since I'm a carpet bagger from toronto who owns an old warehouse building Im gonna shut my trap before i out my self and the attack dogs are unleashed on me ...

But please G & T respond because nothing would make me happier if this quote is correct.

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By Gary Santucci (anonymous) | Posted May 28, 2012 at 08:16:58

Rednic

We are now entering year seven in our zoning struggle. Our next court date is in August. The Judge will rule on our motion to have our legal non-conforming status recognized or not. During our recent court appearance that lasted over three hours, the City had two prosecutors and eight by-law officers present. Just to remind everyone the actual charge is "illegal use, defined as live performance theatre and art gallery with sale to the public". Finally, we don't receive public funding of any kind and now pay close to $20,000 commercial and residential taxes annually on the buildings we own in what we now call the Pearl District.

Gary Santucci

The Pearl Company Arts Centre
Adaptive Reuse project
Ward 3

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By rednic (registered) | Posted May 28, 2012 at 10:32:31 in reply to Comment 77381

Well i wouldn't call that support from you local councilor, Dollhouse must have been talking about a different art venue / adaptive reuse in ward 3. Perhaps the one on barton?

Dollhouse could you be specific about the support offered by Morelli to adaptive reuse and arts enterprises? or perhaps do the honest thing and retract your statement as shameless del serving gobblitity gook.

Gary; very generous of you to fund both sides of this court battle Kakfa would be proud.

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By A break (anonymous) | Posted May 28, 2012 at 08:59:42

That is laughable. Mr Santucci, you can't seriously give credit to Bernie for assisting you in any way!

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By Today (anonymous) | Posted May 28, 2012 at 09:28:18

Really enjoy attending events at the Pearl Company Gary. A great venue and thanks for investing in a part of Hamilton that some people just seem to want to write off as doomed for ever.

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By TnT (registered) | Posted May 28, 2012 at 13:17:09

I find a real kindred spirit in Mr Santucci and his Pearl Distric. I like to think of him as a pioneer in Ward 3 along the same ilk as Jeremy Freiburger for arts advancement. His line in the sand vs outdated bylaws is an inspiration to others. All of the details are a bit fuzzy, but how his case turns out and possible OMB appeal will radically change things. For better or worse. My understanding is Bratina and Morelli have spearheaded some political support for this.

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By anon (anonymous) | Posted May 28, 2012 at 16:07:48

Steve (anonymous) Finally, I'm glad he feels a great job was done from Winona east to the pedestrian bridge, he should now because I've heard he lives overlooking one of the marinas in that stretch. If true, too bad he didn't feel the need to invest his money and where he lives in his ward.
Malex (anonymous) Morelli lives on London Street
Malex, Steve is right. I double "Karma Hill Dog Park" (see Dollhouse reference to Mr. Morellis (SIC) achievements) dare you to ask him for government issued proof of address.

Dollhouse "It is just a smear campaign." Hmmm, and I thought one in public office earns their reputation. How about taxi-gate?

" Without Mr. Morelli things could be drastically worse." Oh really? I suppose perhaps with Genghis Khan... Attila the Hun...Stalin... Given the wealth of possibilities, you might be right. (not)

"Just because you work a high paying job for a Toronto IT department doesn't mean you have the rights to dictate how the ward should be run." Still sharpening and grinding this axe are you? Sounds like sour grapes from an underachiever.

By backpacker (anonymous) I sure hope this is someone taking the mickey and not someone who actually believes what they're writing.
Sadly backpacker, they believe it.

Gary Santucci, shame on you for clouding the issues and arguments with cold hard facts


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By Malex (anonymous) | Posted May 29, 2012 at 11:00:55 in reply to Comment 77413

Erm, I live down the street from him...so yeah, he lives on London Street, not by some bloody marina near Winona!

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By Gary Santucci (anonymous) | Posted May 28, 2012 at 16:22:09

Hello TNT

Thanks for kind words. I think that you are referring to the motion passed by council just prior to the election. The info can be found in the link on RTH.

https://raisethehammer.org/article/1200/

However the original motion that was presented to us was quite different. It somehow morphed into the one that council actually passed. We still had to continue to defend against the original two charges of illegal use that had already been laid. The original motion is as follows;

Whereas the City has identified "healthy neighbourhoods" as a strategic priority;
And Whereas the City Manager has initiated a strategy to create healthy neighbourhoods;
And whereas the Pearl Company is universally acknowledged as a community and cultural asset, and
an innovative reuse of a heritage industrial building;
And whereas the existence of the Pearl Company operation is now threatened by bureaucratic process:
Therefore be it resolved that staff investigate the creation of a special policy to address the reuse of
heritage industrial buildings for community building projects and urban regeneration;
And that any and all actions being taken by the City against the Pearl Company with regard to zoning
matters and related costs be suspended until staff reports to Committee on the aforementioned special
policy.

Gary Santucci

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By TnT (registered) | Posted May 28, 2012 at 19:21:00

Mr Santucci,

That sounds very reasonable, but why did it have to come after so much pulling of teeth? It must be hard to comprehend why you were so persecuted by this. It really angers me, and I have never even been in The Pearl Company.

Tim

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By Gary Santucci (anonymous) | Posted May 29, 2012 at 12:05:17

Both Malex and Steve are correct; Councillor Morelli maintains two residences, one on London Street Ward 4 and one in Winona opposite the Newport Marina Ward 11


Audit and Finance Committee meeting January 18 2010

Check out Item 6.1 Newport Marina

http://www.hamilton.ca/CityDepartments/CorporateServices/Clerks/AgendaMinutes/AuditFinanceandAdministration/2012/January18AuditFinanceandAdministrationCommitteeAgenda.htm

http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/EF73A916-2DF4-4515-9B2F-D92E2082816D/0/Jan18EDRMS_n259316_v1_Minutes.pdf

http://hamilton.siretechnologies.com/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=194&doctype=AGENDA

At 5:41 of the video record Councillor Morelli declares a conflict of interest as he owns property adjacent to the Newport Marina as they are about to receive a $ 250.000.00 tax break

4. Treasurers’ Write-Off of Taxes Proposal for Newport Marina, Under Section
354 of the Municipal Act, 2001 (FCS12006) (Ward 11) (Item 8.1)
(Johnson/Powers)
That taxes in the amount of $260,209 be written off, under Section 354 of the
Municipal Act, 2001 for 239 properties, known as the Newport Marina, upon sale
of the marina to new owners; currently intended to be known as the Newport
Yacht Club – Stoney Creek, subject to the following conditions, namely:
(i) That all the subject properties be merged and consolidated into a single
ownership with a single Property Identification Number (PIN); and,
(ii) That the new owner of the subject lands agree, in a form satisfactory to
the City Solicitor, to indemnify and hold harmless the City from any liability
or damages to the City arising in any way as a result of the
implementation of this recommendation.
AMENDMENT CARRIED
MOTION AS AMENDED CARRIED

Just the Facts. I guess the question could be; Is is it really any of our business anyway?

Gary Santucci

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By Malex (anonymous) | Posted May 29, 2012 at 12:50:24

Hey, you learn something new everyday! Guess he lives by that bloody marina after all, lol...

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By Steve (registered) | Posted May 29, 2012 at 23:20:59

Whoa, so the rumours are confirmed. There it is the smoking gun. Years of rumours now confirmed, very telling. Thanks for the info Gary!

Now we understand why Morelli thinks that area Winona to the pedestrian bridge is such a great area and the east harbour deserves more attention, lets get back to finding those bike lane construction projects in Ward 3... lol

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