Politics

Bratina Reflects on His Legacy

Accomplishments include obstructing the city's LRT plan and, um, bringing back the CP Holiday Train.

By Ryan McGreal
Published November 12, 2014

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Courtesy of The Hamiltonian, Bob Bratina shares his assessment of his term as mayor.

The man who is famously "not a champion of very much in life" reviews his legacy: obstructing the light rail transit plan he had supported before the election; taking credit for the GO station that had already been confirmed under the previous mayor; getting the Ticats to agree to build a new stadium in the same failed location as the old one; bringing back the CP Holiday Train (I'm not making this up); and running a bare-bones mayor's office.

Oh, and he blames the media and LRT advocates for the low voter turnout in last month's election. Again, I'm not making this up.

December 1, 2014 can't come fast enough.

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 Steve (registered) | Posted November 12, 2014 at 13:59:05

I don't think the location of Ivor Wynne was failed.

In light of an alternative site for the building a new field that location choice may be failed, but Ivor Wynne dutifully served the city for decades.

Come December 1st, get ready for more consternation on the LRT as Mayor Eisenberger dithers and works to set up a citizen's panel and watch as the change of the Aerotropolis/AEGD to residential zoning is championed (and completed) by his backroom staff.

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By Fake Name (anonymous) | Posted November 14, 2014 at 13:09:28 in reply to Comment 106149

> In light of an alternative site for the building a new field that location choice may be failed, but Ivor Wynne dutifully served the city for decades.

The team was a money pit and it failed to build up any ancillary economic activity in the surrounding neighborhood other than lawn parking. 150 million to upgrade that failure seems ludicrous.

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By jeffzuk (registered) | Posted November 12, 2014 at 14:12:22

Well, at least it's clear he reads Raise The Hammer.

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By enough (anonymous) | Posted November 12, 2014 at 14:50:47

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 MattM (registered) | Posted November 12, 2014 at 20:36:58 in reply to Comment 106156

Some of them actually have, and some may have even been elected in the recent election. So uh, yeah.

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By Enoughsenough (anonymous) | Posted November 12, 2014 at 15:04:02 in reply to Comment 106156

Seriously speaking, I think folks from the RTH crowd should run for office. I would vote for someone like Ryan in a heartbeat. BTW, I hope Brian McHattie is not down and out of politics altogether. I hope he runs for mayor again.

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By adrian (registered) | Posted November 12, 2014 at 21:47:11 in reply to Comment 106158

If you review the list of RTH authors at http://raisethehammer.org/authors/ you'll find many successful and unsuccessful candidates for various positions in the City, including school trustee, councillor, and mayor.

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By BoBra (anonymous) | Posted November 13, 2014 at 10:59:52

Bratina will likely go down as one of the worst Mayors in the city's history.

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By bvbborussia (registered) | Posted November 13, 2014 at 19:57:14

A wholly unimpressive individual. I look forward to the more "exhaustive" list of accomplishments he'd like to take credit for.

It is interesting how he glossed over the period the between him "solving the stadium fiasco" and next weekends playoff game. Are we to assume that everything went swimmingly in between? I understand that a lot of the problems related to the stadium predate his involvement and he can't be blamed for all that went wrong but at the same time I would not define this project as a success by any reasonable measure.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted November 14, 2014 at 12:57:55 in reply to Comment 106207

To be fair, the project not going well should be laid at the feet of Infrastructure Ontario who are in charge of supervising the construction and not the Mayor.

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By bvbborussia (registered) | Posted November 14, 2014 at 17:55:40 in reply to Comment 106225

After all that's gone wrong, regardless of who is to blame you cannot claim the project as a success. We blew an opportunity to make a splash.

We got a stadium, that's true. But to claim that any fiasco was solved is a lie.

Like Ryan said, if the stadium was built in the West Harbour a lot of construction delays could have been avoided. They have botched this project and rushed to completion. Expect the cracks to show in the near future.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted November 15, 2014 at 22:16:57 in reply to Comment 106232

An unimpressive argument. Really, I don't know how you can state that construction delays would have been avoided. At least not with a streight face.

Would the subcontractor who went bankrupt, not gone bankrupt? Would last winter been millder, or shorter? Would the inevitable delays associated to any construction project disappeared?

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 16, 2014 at 00:14:38 in reply to Comment 106238

it wouldn't have mattered. It could have been delayed for 5 years and the Cats would have had Ivor Wynne to play in the entire time.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted November 16, 2014 at 13:59:02 in reply to Comment 106239

That's a separate topic/argument from issues concerning the stadium build. That is a usage issue, not a construction one.

Also, not guaranteed as it was never determined what the next use was going to be for the Ivor Wynne site, nor a timeline on the demolition, or use.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 16, 2014 at 10:25:13 in reply to Comment 106239

In addition, they could have started work on the new stadium right away instead of waiting until the end of the next football season.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted November 16, 2014 at 14:00:24 in reply to Comment 106240

Only if they decided on that location. Disagreement on West Harbour could have easily dragged on long enough that nothing was built.

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By bvbborussia (registered) | Posted November 17, 2014 at 14:26:58 in reply to Comment 106243

@Steve - This stadium project was a mess from start to finish. Would you not acknowledge that? From planning to execution it was the perfect example of how not to go about a project of this type. As I've said, I don't blame Mayor Bratina for all that went wrong as too many things were out of his hands and beyond his control.

What I take exception with is his claim that he solved the stadium fiasco. As has been said, alot of valuable time was spent waiting for the season to end and destroying Ivor Wynne. Neither of these factors would have been at play had they built at the west harbour.

He cannot sit back and take credit for this project's completion while at the same time distancing himself from all the setbacks. For me, it's one or the other.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted November 17, 2014 at 16:14:50 in reply to Comment 106256

@bvbborussia I agree the overall project was full of issues, but I'm not the one looking to ignore, or change, your original time frame "between him "solving the stadium fiasco" and next weekends playoff game."

I'll go back to my original comment framed by your start and end period, which was as follows - To be fair, the project not going well should be laid at the feet of Infrastructure Ontario who are in charge of supervising the construction and not the Mayor.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 14, 2014 at 19:42:47 in reply to Comment 106232

maybe I shouldn't always except the worst from our local institutions and city hall, but is it not reasonable for anyone to ask the question surrounding complete silence from the Cats on the months' long delays to the stadium? After all, they are to receive $1 million per GAME missed. Kinda convenient that they ended up "missing" the entire season, yet still getting temporary occupancy permits all season.

Comment edited by jason on 2014-11-14 19:43:19

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 14, 2014 at 13:02:18 in reply to Comment 106225

If the new stadium went in the West Harbour as planned all along, the old stadium could remain in use while the new one was being constructed. There wouldn't be a panic to get it done, with all the ancillary problems that accompany project crisis management.

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By Sally Jesse (anonymous) | Posted November 14, 2014 at 12:45:00

I bet that by comparison to other Hamilton mayors, history will view Bratina as a good mayor. This is a reason to be worried and disappointed.

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By Oskee Wee Wee (anonymous) | Posted November 16, 2014 at 11:49:35

Save your breath. You will never convince the slack jawed Ti-cat faithful that the Ivor Wynnne rebuild was a lost opportunity.

Like Bratina supporters and LRT opponents they are impervious to logic and reason. For some strange reason this sub-set of Hamiltonians delight in the decay of their own city.

Strange.

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By Holy Mackinaw (anonymous) | Posted November 17, 2014 at 11:52:19 in reply to Comment 106241

So you choose to use the Tiger Cat chant as your screen name to take a shot at Tiger Cat fans.

Keep staying classy!

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted November 16, 2014 at 15:27:18 in reply to Comment 106241

I've talked to ti-cat fans who loathe the IW rebuild... but they wanted the East Mountain.

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By Poindexter (anonymous) | Posted November 21, 2014 at 23:05:14

Mayor Bratina quoted in The Hamiltonian: "[I] have now completed the four year term with the City of Hamilton in a true renaissance. Everything you can measure is moving on the right path, and everywhere you look you see progress." If the self-congratulatory mayor means Hamilton looks post-medieval, then he's correct.

What a pathological lack of insight into how his term in office degraded Ward 3. The meth lab raid at 803 Cannon St. E. is the tip of the iceberg. Ward 3 is now the poster child for urban blight, with our crowning carbuncle, Tim Hortons Field. 23% unemployment and no infrastructure to support the stadium.

And let's remember his stellar performance during the urban chicken debate. Niagara Falls, Guelph, and Brantford all allow urban poultry as part of their food security plan. But Hamilton has no food security plan -- almost all its food is trucked in with just-in-time delivery. No emergency back-up supplies. Clever management. Roll on, December 1.

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By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted November 23, 2014 at 12:53:29

Bratina's milquetoast exterior seems in contrast with his self reported legacy which can only mean narcissism. Every narcissist I've ever met is superficially charming and likeable.

I have never seen these two characteristics in one person before. Bizarre to say the least, perhaps an indication of more serious mental illness or early dementia.

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