2013 State of the City

The text of Mayor Bob Bratina's third state of the city address.

By Bob Bratina
Published January 30, 2013

This is my third State of the City Address, and as with the first two we are presenting in different areas of Hamilton to reflect on and reinforce the strength, heritage and importance of every part of our City.

It is appropriate that Stoney Creek is our venue today because of its importance to the economic well-being of our community. I want to thank today's program sponsor, Kubes, whose success has derived from the very things I want to talk to you about today.

Kubes Steel offers a range of custom roll form services for structural steel sections, metal sheet, tube, angle, pipe and beams. Their expertise has made them a leader in architectural exposed structural steel projects throughout North America.

Kubes Steel is the result of over 3 decades of investment in founder Joe Kubes' vision which is a vision that we at the City of Hamilton would do well to emulate: to be the best at what we do by investment in plant, equipment, training, technology and most importantly, people. So thank you again for helping make today possible and inspiring a vision for Hamilton.

I have great news today about the progress we've made with our economy especially the diversity that has resulted in the lowest unemployment rate among major Ontario cities - 5.9 per cent against a provincial average of about 8 per cent. The best evidence of that diversity is in Stoney Creek along Barton Street and the QEW Arvin Avenue, Seaman Street and the surrounding employment district.

When people talk about the steel industry in Hamilton they sometimes think that the much lower number of employees they see at ArcelorMittal Dofasco and at US Steel are a sign of the steel industry in decline. But a lot of those jobs have simply moved East to Stoney Creek and elsewhere in Hamilton.

It's in this part of the city that the Steel Service Centres and a lot of the finishing and value add operation take place in Companies like KUBES steel and all of the machine shops and engineering firms that service the steel industry.

Some of the decline in steel industry employment was due to contracting out of many functions that were once in house. So I am happy to be in Stoney Creek for those reasons and also because it is home to many of our most successful risk takers and business people.

21st Century Vision

I'm here today to talk to you about a 21st century vision for Hamilton. We are 12 full years into the 21st century but in many ways we continue to operate in a culture and framework that dates to the 1990's.

While the city and its economy are firmly progressing into the century, it's important that our institutions like municipal government, are not still be operating as if it were the 1990s. So we will review the accomplishments of 2012, and look at how to provide a more open form of government, one that uses technology to better engage its citizens.

2012 was a banner year statistically but was also important because in April of 2012 my colleagues on council approved a strategic plan to carry us through to 2015. Out of that plan came a number of strategic objectives that allow us to measure how we have done.

So the first of these strategic objectives was to continue to grow the non-residential tax base....and did we ever do that!...2012 was the biggest year by far in the issuing of new building permits" a billion and a half dollars in new permits, of which residential made up less than half.

New commercial real estate hit its highest number ever "as did industrial. Just to put it in perspective last year's total building permits is TRIPLE what we achieved at the beginning of this century.

And when we are talking commercial and industrial expansion, we are also talking about taxation revenue that is coming from sources other than the homeowner. And with commercial and industrial construction we get permanent jobs once those facilities are built.

So it's all good and reflects the wisdom of assembling employment lands and building the infrastructure that is now attracting new business.

Downtown Core

Another strategic priority is to promote economic opportunities with a focus on Hamilton's downtown core, all downtown areas and waterfronts - and look at the difference a year makes in our downtown: the construction of the McMaster Medical School and Clinic at Bay and Main is now underway.

All sixteen stories of the new Hilton Hotel across the street are up, the external cladding is now being applied and sometime later this year, perhaps in late summer, the hotel will be ready to take its first guests.

The old federal building residential project is taking shape quickly at Main and Caroline, and between the hotel on Bay and the Condos at Caroline you can see a third structure going up, a 25 story condominium building rising from the ground.

The new taxes generated by these projects will be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and along with that, hundreds of new jobs to service the hotel.

By May, the downtown will finally get its long-awaited full service grocery store, the Nations gourmet supermarket in Jackson square. Urban planners have been telling us for years that a food store is a sign that a downtown has reached a critical mass when it comes to attracting people to live downtown.

The developers of the Royal Connaught have just acknowledged the new reality downtown by announcing their long awaited plan to bring the old hotel back to life as a mixed residential commercial operation. Once again, new jobs and new tax revenues.

Taxes on the site right now would be in the range of 20 thousand dollars. Taxes on comparable built-up sites are on the quarter to half a million dollars, so you can see why one of my priorities both as Councillor and Mayor has been to bring downtown properties to a much higher standard of utilization: such as the Staybridge Suites, the Caroline Place Seniors residence, the Simpson and Wigle law offices at 1 Hunter Street across from the GO station, McIlwraithe school at 50 Murray Street, and so many others.

It makes a huge difference in the ability of the Downtown Core to carry its share of the city tax burden.

Since becoming the downtown Councillor in 2004 it has been my contention that rather than being a drain on our resources and a detriment to our reputation, that the core should be a tax generator for the community and a place to live in, visit and enjoy, rather than avoid.

Tax revenues from various downtown projects are spreading all across our communities to your benefit whether you live here in Stoney Creek or in Flamborough or in Glanbrook.

In my brief time on Council we have seen assessment growth on core properties increase by almost 2 million dollars, with hundreds of thousands of dollars more rising beneath those tower cranes you see in all parts of the old City.


Improving the City's transportation system is another important strategic objective.

Council's unanimous support for all-day two-way GO Train service at a new station at James Street North is now becoming a reality.

In June we will hear the Metrolinx funding strategy for $36 Billion dollars of public transit initiatives throughout the GTA and Hamilton. The issue for council is not whether or when we will get LRT. A comprehensive transit plan is coming forward soon that will provide options for solving today's challenges and addressing future needs.

My concern as Mayor is signing on to a series of measures that will provide funds for the so-called Big Move with no guarantees that our timelines or priorities will align with those of Metrolinx.

Hamilton taxpayers would likely want assurance that money generated in Hamilton should only be applied to our transit and infrastructure requirements. The gamble we take is that should our place be down on the list of Metrolinx priorities, anything could happen in the future including change of Government and change of policy.

I've made a rough estimate that should a one percent levy be added to Provincial retail sales tax, our contribution would be roughly one hundred million dollars. I believe we should ensure that most of that money is spent on Hamilton priorities. I would also give consideration to involving the public in the decision making process.


Currently there are calls for a casino referendum, which involves outside money coming in by way of private investment. In this case it will be the public's money funding large and expensive projects.

This is done regularly in American cities with regard to major public investments such as LRT. Sometime prior to the March Break Hamiltonians should have a good idea of what is in store regarding a Casino.

Council continues to support the sustainability of racing at Flamborough as a component of our Agriculture Action Plan which was passed in 2007. However we also know that there is interest by developers in locating a facility downtown or possibly other areas of the City.

Council will have to weigh the benefits against the risks and negative outcomes from things such as gambling addiction.

Among the benefits of an entertainment-based casino-hotel development is the enhancement to the City as a destination of choice for those planning events such as conventions.

It's difficult for me as mayor to discourage a comprehensive and well-designed development opportunity on the basis that the downtown is a marginalized area in which the needy are at risk because of the proximity of gambling.

In fact, it exists today in the core and throughout every neighbourhood where convenience stores sell lottery tickets and instant lottery products such as scratch and win. Hopefully when the time arrives we will have adequate information to make a proper decision.


I want to return to the comment I made at the beginning of this talk about the need for better use of technology in communicating with our taxpayers. As I said we are 12 years into the millennium, but in some ways we still operate with a 1990's model when we provide information to our constituents.

We are aware that the city website is not user-friendly and I am pleased that our staff are working on a model not only to fix what's not working on the current site but also to leapfrog into a website accessible by people who use mobile devices. Even with our current website, fully 30% access it with a smart phone or a tablet.

But it's not just about how people access the site; more importantly its about the kinds of information they can get. I look at the so-called "open data "models that progressive governments are starting to embrace and say: why not here in Hamilton?

I don't want to get into the details of the recent setback we experienced with the Our Hamilton project, except to say that whatever went wrong with execution, the concept was and is a solid one - to try to engage with our citizens across as many platforms as possible to find out how we can deliver better service to them.

That kind of process must continue if we are going to succeed in another of our strategic objectives, that being to "improve the City's approach to engaging and informing citizens and stakeholders."

A good example of this approach is the recent casino forum. I look forward to an opportunity to discuss with stakeholders across our community how we can improve the two-way flow of information through open data and any other mechanism that takes advantage of our digital capabilities.

But I would add this caveat: as we move towards open data, those of us in government have to recognize that with open data comes the surrender of some of the power dynamic that you get when information is controlled. Open data is only as good as our willingness to trust the people who elect us and who pay the bills.

Recent Terminations

The public has a right to be upset and concerned about the recent terminations of city workers who allegedly disregarded their responsibilities as city employees. Failure to carry out work assignments by employees means wasted taxpayers money when little or no value is produced for the City and its residents.

The City Manager stated this morning that the situation is precedent setting, but many of us feel it actually has given us the opportunity to review and repair the kind of culture that may exist in which such behaviour occurs.

We also have to do a better job measuring our productivity, especially on a per capita basis. The City Manager recently told us it would take several days to determine how many employees actually arrived for work on any given day.

The investigation was significantly aided by information collected through the GPS devices attached to certain city vehicles. This is further evidence that the City of Hamilton has to take advantage of technologies that are now available to monitor performance and ensure productivity.

Although government settings are more difficult to monitor than private industry, there are 21st Century solutions available to help provide accountability to the people who pay our salaries.

It's my hope that Council will insist on a full and complete investigation to ensure that those employees who are properly carrying out their duties with a true commitment to public service are not tarnished by the transgressions of a few. However, it is important to remember that even terminated employees have certain rights which can be violated by careless public statements.

I regularly interact with City employees, often for instance having lunch at the cafeteria at the Wentworth Street North City Yard. I can tell you that they are every bit as upset about the alleged actions as any of us.

Government Relations

Developing productive relations with senior governments is an important strategic objective, and this is an area where we have worked particularly hard. I think it is fair to say that our relationship with both the federal government and the province of Ontario is the best since amalgamation.

Just two weeks ago, I was at the Hamilton airport thanking a Conservative federal Minister and a Liberal provincial minister for providing us with $8 million to increase our cargo capabilities at the airport.

Just ahead of that event, we had the announcement that the Province and the Feds had come up with their share of the funding for the Randle Reef remediation, a huge environmental project that we've finally landed.

This new approach to government relations is happening at the staff level as well. Just before Christmas, a meeting was convened between senior staff in Hamilton, Niagara, Kitchener, Halton and Peel to discuss a transportation vision for the future, and I can tell you that the move captured the attention of the province.

I expect to see that inter-regional approach to issues of regional concern to become more common at the political as well as the staff level. For Instance I recently joined with fellow big city mayors to present a united front to the federal government around the need for infrastructure and transit funding.

Higher Education

One of the most encouraging signs I have seen in our renaissance in Hamilton, and I don't think that is too strong a word.... is the increasingly close working relationship that has developed between the municipality and its centres of higher education.

When McMaster University developed its innovation centre on Longwood Road, it represented more than simply a shift in geography to a campus closer to the city core. It marked a growing integration of the interests of the university with the social and economic needs of the community.

The establishment of the McMaster medical centre will take that integration to another level.

Mohawk College continues to develop programs that are attuned to the economy of the city and Region, and continues to be engaged in the betterment of the community beyond the economic field. And through their investment in physical expansion Mohawk, McMaster and Redeemer are making significant direct contributions to the local economy.

Our educational institutions are second to none in Canada, which leads me to the thought that the best place to raise a child is the best place to educate a child, which is the acknowledged pathway to success.


Education is one of the pillars, but education without a strong economic environment will not complete the job. And when it comes to the economy look at what others are saying about Hamilton.

To start, Site Selection Magazine out of Atlanta, GA ranked Hamilton as the top investment metro in Canada. As well, for the second straight time, the Real Estate Investment Network of Calgary ranked Hamilton as the best place to invest in Ontario.


In summary, I believe that to paraphrase Sir Wilfred Laurier who said the 20th century belonged to Canada, the 21st century belongs to Hamilton.

It was a century ago that Hamilton became the Ambitious City with its focus on steel and manufacturing. Now a hundred years later, Hamilton is home to one of the most diverse economies in Canada.

In order to sustain this momentum, we as a municipal government need to provide ourselves with up-to-date strategies, technology and innovation that will allow us to be a global leader among cities.

Technology today allows those of us in government to engage the public more widely and in greater depth than ever before.

The greatest asset of a city is its residents. In the words of Shakespeare, what is the city but the people? True, the people are the city. I thank you for this opportunity.

First published on Mayor Bob Bratina's website.

Bob Bratina is the Mayor of Hamilton, Ontario.


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By me, me and me! (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2013 at 07:03:50

Thanks for posting this, and changing things up!

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 30, 2013 at 09:18:00

As expected, it's a little rosier than our reality but it's nice to see that he didn't ignore some of the negative stuff that we need to work on. We really are in the midst of some very positive change, hopefully we can take it to the next level.

I find the casino sales pitch in the middle quite disconcerting. There's this obsession with casino supporters that the only negative impact is related to gambling addiction (or morals).

The problem is, there's no net economic benefit. It's the worst of both worlds. I've done the research, I've read the numbers straight from the OLG reports and the end result will be Hamilton money being funneled out of Hamilton.

Unfortunately it looks like the mayor has been taken in by the sales pitch by the OLG and the prospective casino/hotel operators, who coincidentally are the only ones in a casino deal who stand to make any money. Their basic sales pitch is: Jobs, Money, Development, Tourism.

Jobs: The "jobs created" would mostly be moved from Flamborough, and even if we considered every casino job as if it were newly created, they represent a drop in the bucket when it comes to citywide employment. We'd be better off paying a college or university to put a satellite campus downtown if we wanted to bring quality jobs here.

Money: We are being offered a kickback of less than one percent of our annual budget. Over 95% of the money that people lose at a downtown casino will be sent out of Hamilton to the OLG, who will send a large chunk of that to a U.S. based private operator. This is essentially a "sin tax" that Hamiltonians will pay to an American private company. In order to generate the kickback that the OLG promises us, 87 million dollars a year need to be lost at the slots (and that doesn't count the money lost at table games - the OLG and U.S. operator get to keep 100% of the losses from those!). So what we'll see is over $100,000,000 being sent up to the OLG in order to "earn" our 5 million dollar kickback.

Development: Other cities have proven that additional economic spinoff is generally absent near casinos. The only development this will attract will be the construction of the casino itself along with the attached hotel. Then these facilities will compete with our existing hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues. Casinos are built to keep patrons inside by providing all sorts of services. This has been shown to have minimal positive impact to the surrounding area (and sometimes a negative impact). Just ask the mayor of Brantford. He has been clear that, while the kickback money was put to good use by them, there has been no development or economic spinoff from their casino aside from the kickback they get from the OLG.

Tourism: Local casinos simply don't attract tourists - tourists only go to casinos in cities that are already tourist destinations. We will be competing with the two biggest tourist destinations in Ontario: Toronto and Niagara Falls. American gambling tourism is down almost 90% over the past 10 years. There will be no influx of tourists due to a casino.

The OLG's official mandate is to create more Ontario gamblers. It's in their strategic review. So we can be sure that the majority of the 90 million of gambling losses required for the casino to "earn" us our 5 million kickback will come from local Hamiltonians - and a portion of these will be new gamblers that the OLG creates through advertisement and through placement of casinos closer to residents' homes. These new gamblers will be losing money at a casino that they otherwise could have spent locally.

Over 95% of every dollar lost by gamblers in a Hamilton casino will leave the city. This is not good economics.

There are two possibilities here:

1. Mayor Bratina does not understand the facts surrounding the OLG plan


2. Mayor Bratina understands but does not care

Either one of these is unacceptable.

The picture is even more dismal on the provincial level. The OLG originally opened casinos in border towns in order to capture American gambling losses as our own. Casinos aren't an industry. They don't produce things. I wouldn't say they are a great long-term economic idea. But at least the border town model made economic sense as it meant cash flowing into Ontario from another region.

But now the Americans have their own border casinos. The OLG says "Over the past 10 years, the profits from gaming facilities close to the U.S. border have dropped from $800 million in 2001 to $100 million in 2011.".

The new OLG plan is to create more Ontario gamblers and to open more Ontario casinos closer to where high concentrations of Ontarians live. Then hire U.S. based operators to run the casinos and take a cut.

This is terrible economics. The OLG is going to turn casinos from a revenue generator for Ontario into a huge expense at the provincial level.

We may not have direct control over this at a provincial level, but we still have the opportunity to say no locally, and refuse to create more gamblers here so that we can feed a struggling provincial body and their American helpers with our money.

Let's keep our money here so that we can put it to good use.

Comment edited by seancb on 2013-01-30 09:20:52

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By LindsayG (registered) | Posted January 31, 2013 at 14:40:06 in reply to Comment 85677

You've made a very strong argument here, Sean. I think this would be great as an Op-Ed piece for the Spectator.

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By Conrad66 (registered) | Posted January 30, 2013 at 09:58:32 in reply to Comment 85677

Sean i respect your views ... but have you done resserch in Casinos in Vanacouver and Montreal witch are tow citys in Canada

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 30, 2013 at 10:26:50 in reply to Comment 85679

I have researched those and many others. Sadly, it is very difficult to find facts about spinoff developments because most resources are prepared by casino lobbyists before casinos are put in, so are biased. Then once the casino is in, nobody is willing to do the detailed studies required to determine the effect of casinos versus other external effects on a city. THe casino pros and cons just become part of the overall view of a city.

That being said, I think it makes more sense to look at casinos in Southern Ontario to get a feel for what will happen here. Vancouver and Montreal are already tourist destinations. We are not. The effect of casinos there will be vastly different than the effects here.

Windsor's casino has been doing poorly because of a huge reduction in tourists from the U.S. and Brantford's casino has not generated spinoff development. Niagara does OK but not as well as it used to since the U.S. casinos opened, but Niagara's only real industry is tourism generated by a natural wonder of the world, so this pre-existing tourism industry feeds their casino. All local results point to future failure in Hamilton.

The OLG numbers speak for themselves: if a casino attracts only local gamblers then it will drain money from our local economy.

The only way a casino makes economic sense anywhere is if it is able to take money from gamblers who are bringing it in from somewhere else.

Show me some evidence that a Hamilton casino will attract enough tourism and development that it's worth sending over $90,000,000 local dollars away every year.

If you disagree with my analysis, I look forward to your presentation of the evidence you've found to disprove it. Don't ask me to look up the data to make your invalid point for you.

Even if three was a slight chance of a casino success here (which my research tells me there isn't), would it be worth the gamble? According to the mayor, we are doing fairly well overall. Why risk all of this?

Comment edited by seancb on 2013-01-30 10:32:54

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By Conrad66 (registered) | Posted January 30, 2013 at 10:40:30 in reply to Comment 85680

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 seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 30, 2013 at 10:43:46 in reply to Comment 85682

I thought you were actually interested in the information I researched. Sorry to have answered you.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 30, 2013 at 09:42:40

ugh, referendums. Not a fan of them at all. We elect politicians to lead us, get educated and make proper decisions. Leaving LRT or any large project up to citizens to vote on usually leads to people casting their vote based on "that story I heard on the radio one day that with LRT we won't be able to drive anywhere anymore"....
Don't pass the buck - make your decisions and let us vote you back in, or out, based on those decisions.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted January 31, 2013 at 11:04:33 in reply to Comment 85678

A referendum is little more than a "rumour of choice." The idea behind the mechanism, ever since its first modern manifestations two centuries ago under Napoleon, has been to replace democracy with the sensation of democracy. That is: to replace the slow, complex, eternally unclear continuity of democracy, and all the awkwardness of citizen participation, with something clear and fast which allows those in power to impose their agenda. Through an apparently simple question with a one-syllable answer, those who ask can get a blank cheque from the citizenry; that is, if they choose their moment well and come up with a winning question.

-- John Ralston Saul

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted January 31, 2013 at 06:11:54 in reply to Comment 85678

Yeah, democracy sucks, right? Democracies, such as the one we live in and every single person within our great country should be willing to stand up for, is excellent.

Seeing as a true democracy is governance by the people, why should they (being US) have a say in how we run our city?

Referendums are something we should have more of. It gets the citizenry engaged in what their government is doing, and puts a finger to the pulse of what the people want. Right now we have a mayor who was elected on a platform of nothing, and doesn't really stand for anything. So it's not so much about our mayor as it is about getting what the citizens want.

Remember the old addage? You get the government you deserve. So if Hamilton's citizens don't agree with you, get out there and educate them. Have a public campaign. Get your name and agenda on the news. But I see it's much easier and safer to do it from a blog.

Stop trolling.

Comment edited by DowntownInHamilton on 2013-01-31 06:29:00

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By AlHuizenga (registered) | Posted January 31, 2013 at 10:45:23 in reply to Comment 85690

From Wikipedia:

In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

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By Troll_Poison (registered) | Posted January 31, 2013 at 10:13:09 in reply to Comment 85690

This just in:

Anonymous Troll calls a legitimate comment by an actual person with a real identity "trolling". Continues to not understand much of anything.

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By Troll Poison (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2013 at 22:45:29 in reply to Comment 85693


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By SCRAP (anonymous) | Posted January 30, 2013 at 10:30:07

It is nice the our Mayor tries to paint such a rosy picture.

On the ground level, those who are the most marginalized, are seeing things as rosy. Since the elimnation of the discretionary benefits, I know a few people who need new glasses and maybe having the vision checked.


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By Voice Of Fire (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2013 at 07:25:29

Lets say yes to a referendum,why?because that is democracy at its finest.Readers would kindly take note of the mess our council makes in order to keep their campaign funders happy.This needs to stop and a referendum is the only way to know and serve the wishes of the majority.Of course there is opposition to the will of the majority.All of those self serving interest groups have our local politicos thinking they are vote getting by caveing in to them and it does not work for the benefit of the city.Lets put the casino,LRT,two way streets,WFT,arts funding to hobbyists,subsidized housing those pretenders in the arts community and a couple of other issues all on the same referendum.Lets see the will of the people prevail instead of the loudest crybaby minority sucking the life out of the already overburdened taxpayers.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted January 31, 2013 at 10:33:45

"New commercial real estate hit its highest number ever "as did industrial. Just to put it in perspective last year's total building permits is TRIPLE what we achieved at the beginning of this century."

And what has Hamilton done since the beginning of this century?
- more competitive business tax rates
- completed RHVP
- Opened Red Hill Industrial Park

Keep it up! Let's get the Mount Hope Industrial Park serviced so we can continue this momentum. And while we are at it DITCH THE CASINO!

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted January 31, 2013 at 22:12:37

Meanwhile, former Mayor Larry DiIanni had an opinion piece titled "Reimagining Copps Coliseum" in the Hamilton Spectator today pushing for the three levels of government and private interests to get behind his idea to remove the 17,500 seats in the arena, raise the existing ground level ice rink to the second floor to create a 5,000 seat arena for the Bulldogs, and build new retail space on the ground floor including a supermarket and possibly a Mohawk College or YMCA presence. His concept includes holding larger concert events at the new Ivor Wynne Stadium. http://www.thespec.com/opinion/columns/a...

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By Crony Streak (anonymous) | Posted February 01, 2013 at 09:16:56

I fed Hizonner's SOTC address through a snark filter to save busy forumers further work and worry.

21st Century Vision
Being a mayor is a bit like being an oracle. You have to make statements constantly, but you don't want to be too specific, in case someone mistakes your opinions for a trial balloon. So when I talk about "the wisdom of assembling employment lands and building the infrastructure that is now attracting new business," you have no way of knowing whether I'm talking about the Red Hill Business Park, the Ancaster Business Park or the AEGD. That sense of mystery keeps our economy fresh.

Downtown Core
A derelict dead zone prior to the 2004 byelection, Downtown Hamilton is starting to pull its weight and pay its fair share. One day soon it may move out of the basement and get a place of its own.

LRT is going to cost a bundle, but don't worry, a new retail tax will take care of that. As long as most of the money from the tax is spent in Hamilton, I'd be pretty happy. Although I might also put it to a referendum (watch for a decision on that in time for a deadline athat we're lobbying to have extended).

I know, I know. Again with the referendum. I hear your calls for a city-wide casino vote, but this is a case where council knows best. It's a little too complicated to get into right now, but I have it on good authority that it's a sure thing. Plus, there are lotto kiosks on every corner, so it's not like you guys aren't already gambling. I bet you are.

Nothing will make the blogosphere clam up faster than a shout-out to open data, so there you go. Although we'll ask you to trust us when we say that it is being held up indefinitely because of some internal conflicts that we are looking into. In the meantime, we'll maintain tried-and-true outreach mechanisms like consultants, charettes and call-in shows. Also we're sprucing up our website to include more white space.

Recent Terminations
We've promoted our downsizing of a large department in a way that makes us look proactive, though their budget will still increase as fast as the HPS, we may still get sued and no management will ever be held accountable. (Do you know what a golden parachute costs these days?)

Government Relations
Tri-level government investment and inter-regional cooperation has been going on for decades but Ontario is an old place so it's still technically a trend. Fact!

Higher Education
Despite my 2009 quip about McMaster being "an unwieldy leviathan ruining everything around it," I now embrace the wholesome value of a ribbon-cutting photo op during an election cycle. That and they have terrific hors d'ouevres at their functions. I did my best with the buffet here today, but Mac are the masters.

I'm pleased to announce that the volume of puffy media profiles has led to the creation of two full-time regurgitative positions clipping newspapers and magazines and posting exclamatory links to social media. #SpamOnt

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