Special Report: Education

Opportunities Squandered in Education Centre Decision

It just doesn't feel like this Board of trustees is on the same team as the majority of Hamiltonians who expect all public institutions to collaborate in good decision-making.

By Matt Jelly
Published May 30, 2012

Yesterday, the Hamilton Spectator and CBC Hamilton reported that the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board had rejected a proposal to locate their new $31 Million headquarters in the Cannon Knitting Mills, a brownfield property at Cannon and Mary Streets, adjacent to Beasley Park and Dr. Davey Public School.

The proposal was forwarded by Councillors Brian McHattie and Jason Farr, in a last-ditch effort to convince the Board of Education to remain in the downtown core, rather than move to a new location near Lime Ridge Mall, on the current site of Crestwood School.

As I've stated in previous posts and videos, the Crestwood property is home to seven acres of green space which would be turned into 480 parking spots by the Board.

Crestwood school, designed by Education Centre architect Joe Singer, would be demolished to make way for the new headquarters.

Crestwood Plan: 7 acres of greenspace paved over for parking
Crestwood Plan: 7 acres of greenspace paved over for parking

I believe the School Board and the City had an opportunity to do something truly remarkable - to leverage the significant public investment of building a new HWDSB headquarters to accomplish more than simply building a new building - to remediate a brownfield property adjacent to a park and one of its own schools, and to restore a vacant heritage building.

The Cannon Knitting Mills, built in 1854, needs significant investment in order to clean up contamination on the property left over from industrial dyes that were used when the Knitting Mills was still in operation. With the investment that a $31 million development represents, these contamination issues could have been addressed.

The task force charged with exploring downtown sites was originally intended to report back with its findings on June 18. All of these opportunities have been squandered by the HWDSB's vote to cut the process short by three weeks.

This is exactly how large public investments should be leveraged: achieving several community objectives with one development, killing three birds with one stone, maximizing public investment for optimal public good.

Our need for a new Board of education headquarters could have been married with our urgent development objectives. Instead, the Board will only achieve one objective: building themselves a new headquarters, easily accessible by the highway, conveniently located beside a mall.

Rather than remediate a brownfield, they will pave over a greenfield. Rather than restore a heritage building, they will demolish another school. Rather than locate the Board in an area populated by locally-owned businesses, they will locate the Board in an area virtually dominated by corporate chains. Rather than help to redevelop a serially neglected urban neighbourhood, they'll build the headquarters in a residential neighbourhood, bringing hundreds of cars and trucks into that area on a daily basis.

Ward 7 Councillor Scott Duvall and the Bruleville neighbourhood surrounding Crestwood have expressed concerns about the traffic impacts of this development, but it seems the Board continues to ignore those concerns. The concept for this development included very little in terms of public consultation.

As someone who has tried for quite some time to convince our public institutions to do everything they can to mitigate the environmental legacy of our industrial past, I find it particularly disappointing that the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board does not share those same objectives.

I find it disappointing that they are not willing to work in good faith with other public institutions in order to make sure the capital investments we make deliver the highest return in benefit to the public.

I find it frustrating that our Trustees, many of whom would describe themselves as progressives, do not seem to be motivated to support progressive development in Hamilton. They do not seem to think these broader city-building objectives ought to apply to their narrow institutional ego.

Let's review what has been decided: The HWDSB is treating neighbourhood schools like Coca-Cola bottling plants through consolidation and centralization. They've sentenced their downtown headquarters to needless demolition in order to pay for a new headquarters beside a corporate mall.

They propose to fill a residential neighbourhood with unwanted surface parking and heavy traffic. They've rejected a proposal to revitalize a vacant brownfield property in our neglected urban core.

They've voted to shutter seven high schools and three public schools. They've ignored and dismissed public engagement that in any way runs contrary to these plans, or raises serious questions about how decisions are made.

Considering all of the above, it just doesn't feel like this Board of trustees is on the same team as the majority of Hamiltonians who expect all public institutions to collaborate in good decision-making.

Building a better city seems to be someone else's responsibility.

First published on Matt Jelly's website.

Jelly is a local artist, graphic designer and map maker living in Downtown Hamilton, Ontario in the Central Neighbourhood. Matt is an advocate for built heritage, toxic waste eradication and the revitalization of downtown Hamilton. www.mattjelly.com

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted May 30, 2012 at 13:03:50

Our petition for an administrative review by the Ministry of Education of the Board's decision to close Prince Philip has been submitted:

http://weneed3.com/wp-content/uploads/20...

The facilitator is to be appointed within 30 days.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted May 30, 2012 at 13:31:26 in reply to Comment 77583

please tell me that somebody from WeNeed3 is planning on running for Judith's position in 2014.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted May 30, 2012 at 14:18:09 in reply to Comment 77589

Yes. I can tell you that a very worthy candidate has all but confirmed that she is running. I can also tell you that it isn't me. ;) However I will be throwing all my resources behind her when the time comes.

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted May 30, 2012 at 13:45:44 in reply to Comment 77589

Yes. Or at least, so I am told.

I have a lifetime pledge of never running for public office. I am tempermentally unsuited to it, thanks to a faulty diplomacy gene and a circumspectionectomy I underwent as a child.

However, should no one else step in, I too (along with others) have committed to doing it, and if I do it, I will give every ounce of myself to winning.

We want her out on her ear. The disgust for her is palpable. She's been contacting individual people seeking to rebuild bridges, actually, and most people are having none of it.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted May 30, 2012 at 14:20:59 in reply to Comment 77593

She's been contacting people? Seriously? Wow. Well, that seems to confirm that she is planning on running again. She will be getting virtually no votes west of the 403.

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By Conrad66 (registered) | Posted May 30, 2012 at 13:21:23

I agree with you on this one Matt !

Mac will built a verry nice building in the core and have ALOT of spending money from workers and pls visiting the place i think much more then what the HWDSB DID and for that matter if its to much for some pls parents and kids they can go to the Catholic schools if there not happy with HWDSB

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By Pedro (anonymous) | Posted May 30, 2012 at 14:16:55 in reply to Comment 77585

You mean the Catholic Board that has officially taken a stance against Gay-Straight Alliances?

Home schooling never looked so good.

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted May 30, 2012 at 13:49:39 in reply to Comment 77585

No, Conrad, I cannot send my children to Catholic school. Catholic education at the elementary level is closed to most non-Catholics.

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By slodrive (registered) | Posted May 30, 2012 at 14:37:46

Here's my message to:
tim.simmons@hwdsb.on.ca, alex.johnstone@hwdsb.on.ca, lbroten.mpp@liberal.ola.org cc: McMeekin_Ted-MPP , "Ferguson, Lloyd"

Apologies for the long-windedness...and a shade on the clunky side, but I was pretty pissed as i wrote.

Representatives,

The path you have all chosen for the future of the Hamilton Wentworth District School board is disturbing to say the least. Perhaps first and foremost, was the decision to prematurely dissolve a group investigating all options of retaining the school board head-quarters in downtown Hamilton. As a publicly funded entity, the lack of democratic due-diligence in this situation will leave a lasting effect on the populaces faith in the ability to have their voices heard. If anyone needs an example of why voter turnout is low and political apathy is so rampant, look no further.

As an organization tasked with training future generations, it would be ideal to hold the HWDSB as leaders in progressive thinking - committed to building a better tomorrow. Unfortunately, opting to set the impressive, and internationally recognized, urban revitalization efforts of everyday-citizens back decades flies in the face of anything resembling forward thinking. Rather than investigating the City of Hamilton's offer to revitalize an urban brownfield -- the historic Knitting Mills - the Board, to everyone's amazement, called this "too little, too late".

Now, over $31 million tax payer dollars will go towards the further erosion of downtown Hamilton and fund the paving over 7 acres of green space. $31 million dollars toward delivering a kick to the groin to the many Hamiltonians who have fueled the economic recovery of the city's core. Adding insult to injury to the decision to amalgamate secondary schools in the lower city areas -- where code-red neighbourhoods need more support, not less. Where recovering, revitalized neighbourhoods now, instantly, cannot be considered walkable.

At the very least, a comprehensive public statement should be made by the HWDSB explaining this course of action. Included should be a rationalization for using public funds to the detriment of an urban centre and contributing to pandemic urban sprawl.

Thank you,

(Slodrive) Ancaster, ON

Comment edited by slodrive on 2012-05-30 14:49:18

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By Pifflelfat (anonymous) | Posted May 30, 2012 at 14:41:17

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

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

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By highwater (registered) | Posted May 30, 2012 at 16:37:46 in reply to Comment 77608

I guess there are people out there who disagree with you. I am often asked if I am running, so I thought I should clarify rather than have anyone think I was being coy.

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By BeulahAve (registered) | Posted May 30, 2012 at 14:50:30 in reply to Comment 77608

Judith, is that you?!

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By highwater (registered) | Posted May 30, 2012 at 16:43:53 in reply to Comment 77609

I think it might be my husband. ;)

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted May 30, 2012 at 15:46:03

Judith responded to my email with a form letter that said the Board was worried about securing provincial funding and had to act fast. My response is that there is only one taxpayer, and provincial funds come from the same source as any other public money. Hamilton is turning into a sinkhole of public money that is invested in haste - and I am very afraid we will repent at our leisure.

The Board will rue the Crestwood decision. Cities across North America are revitalizing. The latest generation considers city cores the ideal place to work, live and play - much as Europe always has. At some point, people will look back in astonishment that anyone actually chose to locate a headquarters in the middle of suburbia.

As for running for the Board, I too would step up and run before I let Judith Bishop run unopposed again. I am not particularly well-connected, but I do know how to listen to other people and communicate their ideas. I am still naive enough to believe representative government, while rare, is possible.

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 30, 2012 at 22:38:14 in reply to Comment 77612

Yep...I made this point to someone today. Look at all the public money that we are about to completely waste in this city between this school fiasco and new stadium. Zero city building on the minds of any of our so-called great institutions.

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By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted May 30, 2012 at 22:14:23 in reply to Comment 77612

The latest generation considers city cores the ideal place to work, live and play - much as Europe always has. At some point, people will look back in astonishment that anyone actually chose to locate a headquarters in the middle of suburbia.

E.g., just today... http://www.thespec.com/news/business/art...

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By Tony (anonymous) | Posted May 30, 2012 at 16:08:38

Latest Hamilton Magazine Poll is about the Board of Ed fleeing to the Mountain - so far, the majority don't support the decision (no surprise there, then!)

Vote here: www.hamiltonmagazine.com

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By Rook (anonymous) | Posted May 31, 2012 at 13:59:51 in reply to Comment 77615

I'm not one for push polls but this one seems like its heart is in the right place.

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By Sun Media Corp (anonymous) | Posted May 31, 2012 at 07:39:23 in reply to Comment 77615

Thanx 4 tha luv!

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted May 30, 2012 at 16:45:26

In Montreal, they walked the talk...imagine what people can accomplish here, concerning the HWDSB issue, if we took our concerns to the streets and protested for as long as it takes for common sense and democracy to take hold and resume talks of the HWDSB staying downtown.
Until the words turn into mass action, well they're only words, and petitions, and nothing changes. There is a strong chance that people can change this situation, but writing alone won't do it; until Matt and all those who really want the Board downtown start to 'act out', well there isn't a hope in hell of any change.
A lot of good writers in Hamilton; are there any real activists to help out here and walk the talk? guess we'll see.

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By the truth (anonymous) | Posted May 30, 2012 at 19:27:58 in reply to Comment 77620

There are activists in the community, however I thought I would enter this into the fray. At the Occupy Hamilton meeting a discussion took place regarding two sides, to work from the inside to correct or to demolish a system and build from the ground up.

There was no consensus, people had varying opinions. My view is that everything is wrong and you cannot rebuild or work from the inside of something that is no longer working for the people.

I stand in soldiarity with the students in Montreal, as they are on the front lines and there is draconian policy that has been developed and passed which in my view is part and parcel of a police state.

Seems to me that we are moving backward into a time , lets say 14th and 15th centuries, where those who rose up were killed. Is this what people want, I don't





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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted May 30, 2012 at 19:23:49 in reply to Comment 77620

You sound like someone who'd like my blog. I've posted about both today, along with a whole host of other related issues.

The thing is, us 'activists' can't really do much unless "normal everyday people" stand up too. "Mass action" starts at home. Talk to your friends and neighbours - I'm sure you could get at least as many people together as I could, and I have little doubt you'd be far more suited to organizing wherever you live than I. Do something that gets noticed, and get in touch with others who are doing similar things. By all means - do not wait for us. We're waiting for you.

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted May 31, 2012 at 09:45:44 in reply to Comment 77625

The thing is, us 'activists' can't really do much unless "normal everyday people" stand up too. "Mass action" starts at home.

The real thing is, there are no real activists taking on this issue but there are a number of writers writing about same. My point is until Matt, or someone as passionate as him about this issue, walks the talk of all he writes about and leads the activisim, "normal everyday people" will not be roused and this issue dies on paper/screen. Interesting reads but, so far, no resultant success to force the board to stay downtown.

Montreal's activists walked the talk and didn't wait for everyday normal people at home to start mass action (which does not happen)...whether Arab Spring or Quebec, real activists took to the street and everyone else follows. Non-active activists who write are not activists, merely writers perhaps hoping someone will light the spark. Unfortunately, the fire has been put out by the board, very successfully I might add, and yet not one activist has done anything about it.

Would be interesting to see if one brave soul will set up on the dandelion lawn of the board's building and light the spark...more interesting to see how many people would join an 'occupied lawn' until the board is forced to sit down at the table and find a way to stay downtown. It's such a yawn to hear the chattering and complaining by the very people who won't start the spark. Begs the question, "who really cares if the board stays downtown or not?"

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By CouldaWouldaShoulda (anonymous) | Posted May 31, 2012 at 10:31:09 in reply to Comment 77645

"...no resultant success to force the board to stay downtown."

I think that's a pretty good place to start with this discussion. Because that was never going to happen. And to a certain extent, it never should have been expected to.

We simply do not have the degree of engagement, of energized residents to have been capable of making this happen. (Although I'll admit that if we *had* possessed those attributes, and they had been in place for a long enough time, before all 'this' came to a head, then it never would have unfolded as it has.)

Yes, we've had some great articles here, on The Hamiltonian, yes, Graham Crawford has continued to produce some provocative posters highlighting the anger and frustration of those aligned with the cause, yes, facebook activity has been intriguing, yes, there have been efforts such as 'We Need 3' to increase awareness about school closings and the such, and yes, this all has been covered on 'The O Show', on Laura Babcock's 'Laircast'...but despite all this, the fact is that there simply isn't the infrastructure in place to have been able to marshall the troops and create a real dialogue...even if the cause stood a fighting chance. We aren't even close to taking our rightful place at the local governance table. No matter how good it makes us feel to get caught up in righteous indignation.

And I hate to be a complete drag, but the fact of the matter is that the answer to your question 'Who really cares if the Board stays downtown or not?' is 'Not nearly as many Hamiltonians as you'd like to believe.' (I spend an inordinate amount of my time engaged in 'community activism' -on my own terms- and *I* don't care if they stay downtown.)

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By Borrelli (registered) | Posted May 31, 2012 at 10:15:59 in reply to Comment 77645

Good points, Anonymous. I think the greatest challenge right now in terms of mobilizing residents of the core is biographical availability. There's certainly an 80/20 situation going on wrt activism in Hamilton, in that most of the action appears to be driven by a small group of committed activists.

But there are only so many hours in the day, and for young people raising families, its even more challenging to carve out some time to "walk the talk" as you state.

The amazing protests going on in Montreal are being carried out by a large group of students with more time and energy than someone like me, who is trying to carve out a balance between work, voluntarism, and family.

What we need now is more local organizing, and getting others to help carry the load. As the very wise Undustrial has mentioned:

"Mass action" starts at home. Talk to your friends and neighbours...

And what better way to meet your neighbours than to join your local neighbourhood association or the Hamilton Civic League, or any other host of small groups that need volunteers. Once the networks are strong, it makes broad action more attainable.

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted May 31, 2012 at 10:38:28 in reply to Comment 77649

Actually, the "amazing protests" in Montreal "are being carried out by a large group of students" that include parents, single parents, caretakers of older parents, etc...to claim that Montreal's 100,000-plus group, at one time, had more time and energy than you or anyone else is nonsense. People make time for what they believe in and hire babysitters, rearrange schedules, take a sick day, you name it.

More local organizing? Oh, come now...Matt has been active in garbage collecting as has Ham's Civic League, whose website posts their last 'action' as a City hall Garbage Rally back in March of this year. Can you tell me any other 'activism' that has taken place that does not involve words alone and/or meetings?

Matt knows how to be an activist (WH lands) but I doubt anyone in their right mind would claim 'activist' status for one-off one-day cleaning up garbage or waving garbage bags at a rally at city hall.

I've checked all downtown neighbourhood association sites as well...no spark there.
Matt, someone, needs to take the lead or let it go already. Words do not an activist make.

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By Borrelli (registered) | Posted May 31, 2012 at 11:56:25 in reply to Comment 77652

And though I know I'll regret carrying on a debate with a ghost, but the more I think about it, the more this comment ticks me off:

People make time for what they believe in and hire babysitters, rearrange schedules, take a sick day, you name it.

You make it sound so easy, Anon. Obviously I have no idea where you're from, or your background, but surely you can understand that it's not as simple as you make it out to be.

Try telling the parent working 2 part time jobs and barely making ends meet that they should drop a shift to attend a droning rally or endless occupation. That you would dare judge the commitment of someone who couldn't afford a babysitter or a sick day (not everyone gets paid sick days) is really sad.

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By CouldaWouldaShoulda (anonymous) | Posted May 31, 2012 at 12:15:42 in reply to Comment 77657

"That you would dare judge the commitment of someone who couldn't afford a babysitter or a sick day (not everyone gets paid sick days) is really sad."

'Community Activism: It's Different For Everyone', a town hall topic.

What bothers me about all 'this' is that whoever is reading this site's articles is essentially intrested in activism. (Granted, there my be some voyeurs here, but who knows; maybe they can be 'converted'.)

So the snipping and the spitting just doesn't strike me as a good thing. (the downvoting is bad enough)

I think the goal is go create community engines that allow for- Well, here's how I put it in a recent excerpt of an interview held in 2022 with the (fictional) Chair of the (fictional) Hamilton Federation of Neighbourhood Associations:


McCrawley: So in regards to the question 'What percentage of residents are active in their NAs, and therefore, in HFNA efforts?' the answer is about 65%. This means that we have roughly 65% of residents in each neighbourhood signed up and at least receptive to being engaged.

But of course, I do have to say that there will always be a core of residents who are more energized, who get things started, who are momentum-creators. This is about 15% of our membership. Then you've got those people who will respond to calls to attend meetings, etc. That's about 30%. The rest are those who may not attend meetings that often, but who can be counted on to occasionally come to festivals, to town halls, and regularly signing petitions.

Everyone has a role to play. And we've been fortunate in creating an environment where residents can define that role themselves out of their own 'comfort level'. But I'll tell you this: because of how NAs are encouraged to run their shows, people are constantly going from a passive place to getting more involved. And this happens mostly out of inspiration.


So the goal isn't to guilt someone into contributing, or comparing contributions. It's more having to do with creating situations where it's more likely that more residents will contribute according to their abilities and inclinations.Because although I don't believe in an 'Us vs Them' paradigm, as Hamitonians, we *are* on the same side.

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By Borrelli (registered) | Posted May 31, 2012 at 11:42:44 in reply to Comment 77652

Well, Anon, I would love for you to be the activist role model here, or for you to take the lead, but you don't even identify yourself.

And for you to claim that Montreal's group is 100,000+ and somehow demographically similar is double-nonsense: you say so yourself that one-off one-day events don't earn you activist status, and neither does participating in a huge one-off demonstration on March 21st. The recent protests in Quebec are measured in the hundreds, and sometimes the thousands, so let's get real here: They are led by (paid) student union organizers, and overwhelmingly carried out by students who are on strike and have a lot more time on their hands than someone working 40 hours a week.

What are you really trying to get at? I agree, "Words do not an activist make," but no Hamilton groups have the spark you desire, so why aren't you trying to light the fire rather than anonymously whining online? If you set up the tent at 100 Main, I'm sure people will join you.

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By Degolas (anonymous) | Posted May 31, 2012 at 14:08:17 in reply to Comment 77656

"The recent protests in Quebec are measured in the hundreds, and sometimes the thousands, so let's get real here: They are led by (paid) student union organizers, and overwhelmingly carried out by students who are on strike and have a lot more time on their hands than someone working 40 hours a week."

And let's not forget the city's history of spirited tam-tam culture!

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted May 31, 2012 at 11:56:42 in reply to Comment 77656

If you set up the tent at 100 Main, I'm sure people will join you.

Obligatory link.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2012-05-31 12:00:52

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By CouldWouldaShoulda (anonymous) | Posted May 31, 2012 at 11:02:40 in reply to Comment 77652

Sorry Anonymous, I reject your generalizing...even though I understand where it comes from.

I'm going to come to Matt's defence here. I only have a slim understanding of Matt's endeavours, but I can tell you that he's contributing in sizable ways to the betterment of the city. His involvement with the Central Neighbourhood Association. His radio show. His blog. The continuation of the garbage crawl efforts, his particiopation in food drives at Art Crawls every month...as well as background stuff that he's undoubtedly quite involved with. Matt's not Superman. He can poke and prod and comisserate and nudge and cajole...and maybe even inspire those 'average' residents hs comes in contact with to do some of the same. But I think it's unfair to judge him based on how little authentic activism you seem to think is going on in Hamilton.

Further, while he's still young, I think he's picked up sufficient experience to know that you can't be fighting the fight 24/7/365, and so he's probably migrating to another phase of his 'activism'. One that may, or may not include fighting the fight in another role.

I agree to a certain extent about 'someone needs to take the lead': I happen to believe this is the role of an entrenched system of Neighbourhood Associations. So as far as the rest of the city goes, getting people's mindsets changed, shifting the way they see themselves in the governance process, getting them truly energized...it's a real endeavour. (One that simply does not currently have a central thrust.) The key to attaining critical mass, to overcoming our inertia, as I've said elsewhere already today, is 'simple', but it's not 'easy'.


There are lots of things going on in the background of this city. Seeds being planted, ground being tilled, all that. Have faith. We are at early days of this new stage of this 'increased community/civic engagement' thing, so I respectfully reject entirely your notion of 'letting it go already'.

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By CouldaWouldaShoulda (anonymous) | Posted May 31, 2012 at 10:33:00 in reply to Comment 77649

"There's certainly an 80/20 situation going on wrt activism in Hamilton..."

I'm assuming that you're assuming that out of the available population, 20% are energized, engaged and active?

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By CouldaWouldaShoulda (anonymous) | Posted May 31, 2012 at 20:00:19 in reply to Comment 77651

And after a little Googling, I see that you weren't talking about that at all.

"80% of your benefits come from 20% of your efforts."'

I'd actually like to read an expansion of this as it pertains to Hamilton, what you mean by the statement (maybe an article for RTH?) but for now, I'll continue on my original tack: we have roughly 400,000 Hamiltonians who are capable of activism. (Subtracting from the population those too old and too young. And no, this isn't a scientific effort.)

Given that only about 140,000 out of just over 353,000 potential voters were 'activists' in the last election, how many of that 400,000 figure do you feel can be considered part of ongoing 'activism' in the city?

Ten percent would be 40,000.
Do you believe we have that many people who are active?

Five percent would be 20,000.
Is this still too high a number?

I know what figure I have in mind, but I'm curious as to what others think.

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted May 31, 2012 at 12:07:23 in reply to Comment 77651

I've taken this criticism to heart. And I agree completely. Stay tuned for more details, but please join us in protest on Tuesday June 19th at 100 Main Street West, starting at 5 pm.

For years I've tried to have faith in our institutions, and I've held out hope that democratic engagement on a daily basis can effect change. Yes, I've been far more of a letter-writer than a direct action guy, with one or two exceptions. But I do feel anonymous is right about this. The process has failed us. We have to stand up and fight this, and shit or get off the pot. I don't want to feel that more could have been done and I let hopelessness get the better of me.

Thank you for the feedback. Stay tuned for more information.

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted May 31, 2012 at 13:08:31 in reply to Comment 77659

Matt, I do admire you, and your passion and convictions, a great deal. I voted for you because I believe you would make one heck of a 'term limits' councillor. (your next step would be mpp, naturally ;)

I'm considered a 'senior' when paying at some venues, and am a good Mum and wife too. I work. Some years ago I was an activist for three years straight...and got a lot accomplished. My job, my kid, my husband, family and friends all survived, as did I, the volunteer activist role I undertook which was very time consuming so I gave up work for a while because I could and many others couldn't. The time and effort put in was well worth the end result.

I saw your video of the board building some months back and was moved by it. I called your father and left a message for you because I wanted to tell you that I would gladly join you and 'occupy the lawn' at the board building. I never heard back. I'm still interested if you have my number.

But, please don't wait until June 19...that's far, far too late to be startin' somethin'...after this week's board news, the time to start is now. Laura Babcock is dead on when she spoke of the antics of the those who conduct and change the game so as "to tire out the public." And, sadly, they are winning.

You could be the catalyst Matt...but be quick as a bunny if at all possible. And, a protest is much better started first thing in the morning so as by 5:00 pm it has already gained some traction (bbc hamilton for one would be on it) and by 5 continues to swell.

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted May 31, 2012 at 13:16:23 in reply to Comment 77666

Good points- sorry I missed your call. I don't live with my folks these days, contrary to popular opinion. I'll ask my dad if we received any calls from anonymous. :) Feel free to email me at mattjelly@gmail.com if you ever need to reach me.

I've picked June 19th because that's when the board is hosting a farewell event for 100 Main. It gives some time to coordinate a large protest, bringing together all groups from both the lower city and the mountain. To get the word out as far and wide as possible, we need time. Not just to make a facebook group, but to leaflet and canvass. This is an issue that effects everyone- if it's just a small protest of 100 or less that won't do it.

I appreciate the desire to do a protest ASAP, but in order to do this right, I want time to plan it out. The Ministry has about 3 months before they'll announce what will be funded in terms of the HWDSB's plan.

Let the summer of 2012 begin.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted May 31, 2012 at 18:09:19 in reply to Comment 77668

I'll start spreadin' the word. Thank you for this.

Y'all just witnessed how easy it is to get the ball rolling on something like this. The dirty little secret of activism is that anybody can be an "activist". The practical skills aren't hard to learn - I've seen people of all ages and backgrounds pick them up quickly. Big inspiring social changes don't happen because a few people organize millions, they happen because people everywhere start organizing themselves, and the distinction between "activists" and "everybody else" breaks down.

Not everyone has the time to devote to full-time campouts or the ability to risk arrest. Such roles are only the tip of a much larger iceberg, though, and it's important not to get caught up glamorizing them. For everyone who chains themselves to something or occupies somewhere, there's several others cooking food, giving rides and printing up posters. At the end of the day it's a lot more important to do what you can than fret about what you can't.

Maple Spring? Let's make this the Summer of Steel.

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By Treebeard (anonymous) | Posted May 31, 2012 at 15:32:30 in reply to Comment 77668

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

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

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By Treebeard (anonymous) | Posted May 31, 2012 at 15:34:39 in reply to Comment 77681

Too much yerba mate!

Should read:

"New Moon (29° Gemini)"

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted May 31, 2012 at 13:22:17 in reply to Comment 77668

And I should say, I think this exchange seems to prove that writing a firmly-written but polite letter (or comment on RTH) can sometimes change minds and inspire action.

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[ - ]

By rednic (registered) | Posted May 30, 2012 at 21:17:59

Well on a positive note ...kudos to Farr and McHattie for proposing such a great option. It is refreshing to see some people with vision.

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By CouldaWouldaShoulda (anonymous) | Posted May 31, 2012 at 04:53:47 in reply to Comment 77627

"Well on a positive note ...kudos to Farr and McHattie for proposing such a great option. It is refreshing to see some people with vision."

And for a couple of completely different takes, watch 'The O Show' from this week: http://youtu.be/R3W0T1ynjLE

From about the 10:00 mark, you'll hear some pretty sound observations, especially from Laura Babcock when she opines that is was a 'PR/damaage-control exercise to tire out the public...'

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By Borrelli (registered) | Posted May 31, 2012 at 12:33:08

So the goal isn't to guilt someone into contributing, or comparing contributions. It's more having to do with creating situations where it's more likely that more residents will contribute according to their abilities and inclinations.

Hear hear!

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By lorne (registered) - website | Posted May 31, 2012 at 12:43:33

Matt said: I find it frustrating that our Trustees, many of whom would describe themselves as progressives, do not seem to be motivated to support progressive development in Hamilton. They do not seem to think these broader city-building objectives ought to apply to their narrow institutional ego.

I too am very disappointed with the short-shortsightedness and selfishness of the board decision, but I think your observation about their narrow institutional ego is an apt explanation for their abandonment of the core. While the board says the relocation will not cost taxpayers any money because it will be funded by the sale of existing properties, what it fails to acknowledge because of that ego is the fact that the properties are not owned by the board, but rather the area's taxpayers, who have been clearly left out of the entire process.

The decision is consistent with my own worldview on institutional behavour - the longer an institution exists, the more self-serving and corrupt it becomes.

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 31, 2012 at 23:00:21

Wow...somehow I missed the fact earlier today that last nights vote was 6-5. Makes it even more stunning that the downtown trustee voted for Crestwood. I don't buy their 'fear of the province' for one second. You're telling me the province would have said no to:

  • a cheaper site
  • in Hamilton's poorest neighbourhood, where public funds SHOULD be invested
  • freeing up Crestwood to be sold for a pretty penny to housing developers

I think not....this was all about 'packing our bags'

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By highwater (registered) | Posted June 01, 2012 at 00:33:43 in reply to Comment 77701

You're not the only one who's not buying it.

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