Special Report: Walkable Streets

More Correspondence With Councillor Whitehead

Councillor Terry Whitehead doubles down on his claim that downtown transit activists are trying to hijack the city's transportation plans.

By Ryan McGreal
Published February 23, 2015

Last Friday, I sent an open letter to Ward 8 Councillor Terry Whitehead, asking him to apologize for his divisive comments about downtown urbanists advocating for safer, more inclusive streets.

Councillor Whitehead sent me the following reply:

"Sometimes you only see what you want to see" . That is the case here! Special interest groups that try to stack the deck is not something out of the norm. Anyone wanting to protect the process from such activity is to be expected. My reference to the quite majority was also considering those who do not take to twitter but actively show up to meetings. My description of whom they are is accurate and how they describe themselves. Your leap to suggesting activist are unemployed is unfortunate, divisive and is misrepresenting my comments . Nothing wrong with being an activist. It is one of the mechanisms that hold decision makers feet to the fire. Let's also acknowledge they in many cases do not represent the majority view.

I know after 30 years in the public sector, hosting community meetings that people will not come if the meeting is dominated by special interest. I have far greater success at Westcliffe mall with individual engagement. What I have learned was to identify and limit the engagement of those who would dominate to ensure I have a more wholesome response to issues. There is no question judging from "some" of the social media responses, that there are " activist" and they only focused on narrow issues . It is also clear that they are not respectful of other points of view. This is a transportation study that is comprehensive and will look at all modes of transportation and how it can be integrated into a plan that addresses all needs. This is not public transit study. People who minds are already made up are not helpful in moving forward.

We have a clean canvass and must see this as an opportunity to paint our future. That means all who participate should remain open minded to different approaches and solutions to meet transportation needs now into the future.

Respectfully,

Terry Whitehead

In response, I sent him the following reply:

Dear Terry,

Thank you for your reply. As always, I appreciate your willingness to discuss and debate issues.

I agree completely that it is important to make sure everyone's voice is heard, and that there is sometimes a potential for public meetings to be dominated by a few overbearing people such that others don't feel comfortable contributing.

If that was what you had said at the GIC meeting, I would be right with you.

But that's not what you said. You said you don't want downtown urbanists to "hijack" the Transportation Master Plan process.

You also negatively stereotyped engaged citizens by saying that other people are not engaged because "they're raising families and they're employed."

A lot of people are upset with your comments, including some of your own Ward 8 constituents. They're not upset because they 'heard what they wanted to hear'. They're upset because they heard what you said.

People who advocate for their neighbourhood streets to be safer, more inclusive and more humane are not some kind of "narrow" or "special interest".

It is extremely unfortunate that you dismiss the community advocates and neighbourhood associations who struggle for safer, more inclusive streets as "special interests" who want to "hijack" the city's transportation plans.

These are universal values that everyone shares. They are already reflected in the City's Vision and detailed in the City's Transportation Master Plan, which is currently under review.

It is the very definition of a broad public interest to advocate a transportation system based on complete, accessible streets that provide more choice for everyone.

It is what literally every single planning and transportation expert who has come to Hamilton has been telling us for years.

Very few people would want their own street to be a racetrack of dangerous speeding automobile traffic. But by your definition, anyone who cares enough to advocate for safer streets in their community is automatically labeled a "special interest" and summarily dismissed.

This directly violates the City's Vision to be "The best place in Canada to engage citizens" by devaluing the contributions of precisely those citizens who become engaged.

Then you compound your derogation of civic engagement by applying the label specifically to engaged citizens in the lower city, who have had to contend with the trauma of multi-lane one-way thoroughfares for more than half a century and counting.

Every time you do this, you forcibly drive the wedge of resentment and divisiveness deeper into a diverse community already struggling to unify and align its citywide interests.

Hamilton needs better from its leaders. As a City Councillor, you have a vital role to play in helping to overcome Hamilton's historic rifts and fostering the mutual understanding and respect this city needs to have a real chance at progress after decades of stagnation.

Please, set down the wedge. Hamilton needs your help to come together.

Respectfully, Ryan McGreal

In turn, Councillor Whitehead sent me the following reply:

Thank Ryan for your thoughtful comments. I have plenty of downtown residents have written me and say they feel suffocated by transit activists views. ‎They have indicated that there is no room for decent amongst them and they are ridiculed for their differing positions.. I will be requesting these authors to allow me to forward their letters to the press .It is clear that even people in the lower city are concerned about the vocal few. That is the essence of most of the contact my office has received over the past weeks.

You also find your self in a leadership role as publisher of raise the hammer. Please use this power and influence responsibly.

I look forward to meeting you sharing these letters and trust we can come to a understanding on how best we together can move this great city forward.

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 DrAwesomesauce (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 08:37:56

'...suffocated by transit activists views.' Just bizarre...

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By H1 (anonymous) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 09:50:33 in reply to Comment 109535

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 16:20:59 in reply to Comment 109543

Decent, dissent, whatever ....

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By Ty Webb (anonymous) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 09:00:52

‎"They have indicated that there is no room for decent amongst them and they are ridiculed for their differing positions." Decent?

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By RobF (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 17:11:46 in reply to Comment 109536

We all make typos in email, etc. Let's stick to the real issue and not belittle an obvious editing error. I do this all the time ... email can't be edited, unlike a RTH comment :)

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By illiterate (anonymous) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 17:38:33 in reply to Comment 109590

If it was just a typo no problem, but TW's writing is always a tossed salad of barely coherent thoughts, incorrect word choices, fancy words used wrongly, oddball punctuation etc. Is it too much to ask that a City Councilor not be illiterate?

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By RobF (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 20:34:39 in reply to Comment 109594

I'm literate. I still need to edit my work, and even then I'm glad when a copy-editor finds mistakes I've missed. Email and Tweets are a bit different ... they are sent out faster and with less care. They still have typos and copy-edits. I don't hold TW to a standard I can't meet. Neither should you. His gaps in logic and malapropisms are a different matter. Fire away on those.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 20:45:33 in reply to Comment 109621

Tweets, yes. An email to a constituent, particularly one that he is copying and pasting and sending out to numerous constituents? No.

It's no coincidence that he is as careless in his writing as he is in his thinking. The two are linked as I just pointed out in this other comment.

Comment edited by highwater on 2015-02-23 20:46:39

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted February 24, 2015 at 18:27:22 in reply to Comment 109624

Maybe he is super busy and would prefer to respond to all his constituents, with spelling mistakes, rather than only responding to some of them but with proper editing.

The point of grammar and spelling is so that we can all understand eachother --- I don't think there is any confusion about what Whitehead is saying in his emails, other than maybe some confusion as to how he could think that his position is valid.

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 10:20:38 in reply to Comment 109536

I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt here and assume he meant "dissent".

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By Stephen (anonymous) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 09:33:45 in reply to Comment 109536

"My reference to the quite majority..." Quite what majority?

"My description of whom they are is accurate..." Most people use 'who' in place of 'whom.' It's rare to see the opposite error.

Oh, well.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 23, 2015 at 10:20:00 in reply to Comment 109541

It's a fairly common form of hypercorrection.

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By Stephen (anonymous) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 11:19:36 in reply to Comment 109549

I can't grasp that: for better or worse, it's now probably acceptable to never use 'whom' in any circumstances, even when it's called for. Why would anyone use it gratuitously?

Actually, the wikipedia article you linked to gave me some clues.

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By fmurray (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 09:05:28

Ryan, I hope you can meet with Terry Whitehead to find out if there is any truth to his statement about having letters from these "suffocated" residents. I have my doubts.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 10:23:19 in reply to Comment 109538

Even if there are, is he suggesting he is now speaking for this poor, marginalized minority of Ward 2 residents? If you speak out for marginalized transit users in his ward, you're a hijacker, but apparently it's a-ok for him to white knight for downtowners who serve his anti-transit, anti-complete streets agenda.

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By bikehounds (anonymous) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 18:57:02 in reply to Comment 109551

Not only that, but why is it a vocal minority when a crowd fills council chambers but a silent majority when a few people write letters?

Could it be because the entire thing is framed form his preconceived viewpoint which is guided at least partially by his corporate donors?

He is beyond hope. All we can do now is start getting ready for 2018. I'm confident his reign is coming to an end. Even his own constituents can't understand where he's coming from any more.

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By walter (anonymous) | Posted February 24, 2015 at 01:00:42 in reply to Comment 109608

Very well put.

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By not a language master (anonymous) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 09:20:01

My god! Content aside, will someone (hello staff person)please proof read his comments? He cannot spell and does not know how to put a complete sentence together.

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By m (anonymous) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 09:54:38 in reply to Comment 109539

And yet, sadly, he is a decision maker in a major Canadian city.

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By H1 (anonymous) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 09:52:50 in reply to Comment 109539

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By bikehounds (anonymous) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 19:00:44 in reply to Comment 109544

Would you accept this level of communication from the prime minister? A provincial minister? An urban planner or an architect? How about a traffic engineer? Or the city manager, or any city staffer responsible for generating reports that this man votes on?

No.

So why should we accept if from one of the 16 decision makers in our city?

He doesn't have time to proofread his own letters. He doesn't have time to take a first hand look at transit. He doesn't have time to read reports. What exactly is he doing with his time?

There are myriad valid points to counter his "argument" if you can call it that. THe problem is it's not even an argument. It's just inane blather of misspelled buzzwords.

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 21:07:45 in reply to Comment 109609

"Would you accept this level of communication from the prime minister? A provincial minister?"

Or an assistant to the Deputy PM?
Or an assistant to the provincial government's caucus chair?
Or chief of staff of the Mayor of Hamilton?

"Beginning with running his own business, Whitehead moved into the political arena in 1990 as an Assistant to then MPP and future Mayoral contender David Christopherson. From 1995 to 2000, Whitehead was the Chief of Staff for Hamilton's then Mayor Bob Morrow. After Morrow's loss in the 2000 Hamilton Municipal Election, Whitehead became the special assistant to Sheila Copps.... Whitehead entered the Ward 8 Council race in 2003, running against seven other candidates to fill the void that retiring Frank D'Amico created. On election night, Whitehead beat out his closest challenger Jamie West by 319 votes to secure 27.13% and a seat on council."

mtv.com/artists/terry-whitehead/biography/

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By Dylan (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 19:25:22 in reply to Comment 109609

You don't know the context in which he's writing. Is he on a mobile device with autocorrect? Is he a practiced texter?

I've also know a lot of very intelligent, educated, and competent people that make similar errors, engineers in particular actually, since you mentioned it.

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By bikehounds (anonymous) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 20:23:21 in reply to Comment 109613

When talking to the press? I don't think so. It shows a lack of respect for the reader frankly. This is not a few typos. It's barely legible in parts.

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By buster (anonymous) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 09:22:49

Can we request to see ALL the emails his office has been getting on this issue through freedom of information?

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By Ernernnermerse (anonymous) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 15:42:51 in reply to Comment 109540

You can request them, but because they come from a private citizen, FOI staff have to get permission from each of the people who have sent the emails before they're made public. It's a long process and then of course you'd have to pay for it.

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By JoeyColeman (registered) - website | Posted February 23, 2015 at 16:24:12 in reply to Comment 109574

The City of Hamilton does not keep emails, they are automatically deleted after 21 days unless the Councillors specifically marks the email to be kept.

This ensures no records are available via Freedom of Information.

A simple FOI request for emails will return a bill in the hundreds of dollars.

A novel idea, and in other cities, you may get records. In Hamilton, we have the worst municipal freedom of information office in Canada - a point of pride for City Council.

Our FOI office is so bad, Newspapers Canada couldn't even give it an F in the most recent FOI audit.

Yes, F is for Failure, H is for Hamilton.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 23, 2015 at 16:41:16 in reply to Comment 109578

The City of Hamilton does not keep emails, they are automatically deleted after 21 days unless the Councillors specifically marks the email to be kept.

That is utterly insane. I have never even heard of any organization with such a deliberately destructive data-retention policy. Any technical justification for this would have been somewhat anachronistic 2 decades ago... today it's completely indefensible.

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By Rimshot (anonymous) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 16:55:25 in reply to Comment 109583

On the plus side, councilllors can celebrate Groundhog Day 69 times per council term.

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By bikehounds (anonymous) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 19:01:44 in reply to Comment 109586

+1

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By kevlahan (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 10:43:44 in reply to Comment 109540

That's an important point. At the Council meeting on the bus lane alone, pro-bus lane letters out-numbered anti-bus lane letters by over 3:1 according to the Mayor.

Ward 2 has about 35,000 residents. I'm sure there are some people who don't support complete streets and transit, but in my experience of 15 years being a member of the DNA and attend their meetings (7 as a member of the board) they are in a tiny minority.

If, for example Mr Whitehead received 150 emails supporting complete streets and 5 opposed which complained about feeling drowned out, what does that say? Simply quoting the 5 emails that support your view without revealing that the vast majority do not would be highly misleading. Don't forget that the candidate who won the Ward 2 seat campaigned explicitly on strong support for complete streets!

I'm sure that if your views are in a small minority, it might be intimidating but you might also try to understand why almost all your neighbours and your neighbourhood association have been so consistent in supporting things like complete streets and two-way conversions (over many decades). And the fact that the fight has been so difficult, despite deep community support, might explain why some people become slightly strident!

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2015-02-23 10:45:53

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By bikehounds (anonymous) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 19:03:52 in reply to Comment 109559

150 = vocal minority, 5 = silent majority

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 09:43:53

Why are we paying this guy a salary if a few emailers and seniors at Westfliffe Mall are the ones making his decisions??

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By Stever (anonymous) | Posted February 24, 2015 at 09:52:14 in reply to Comment 109542

He makes his decisions for other reasons and only uses the emailers and seniors at the Mall for appearances sake.

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By H1 (anonymous) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 09:54:08 in reply to Comment 109542

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By bikehounds (anonymous) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 19:04:25 in reply to Comment 109545

snore. your lies are boring.

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By myrcurial (registered) - website | Posted February 23, 2015 at 09:59:02

This sort of 'popularity contest winner' reminds me too much of senior prom...

What would it really take to increase voter participation?

Is it time for residents (as opposed to citizens) to gain a municipal vote?

Can the voting period run for 48 hours? What about mail-in votes?

Can you put the ballot in with the property tax notice?

Something? Anything? Bueller?

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By ItJustIs (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 10:36:12 in reply to Comment 109547

Sure. First, an informed opinion about Councillors, engagement, and the obligations of residents:

"I'm inclined to think elections are overrated. If you vote for a candidate once every four years but don't get involved in the meantime, it doesn’t really matter much who you vote for. Once politicians get inside the bubble, it's impossible to keep any kind of perspective without ongoing, substantive interaction with 'regular voters' for grounding. Which is why it's so important for citizens to: a) elect councillors who will allow themselves to be engaged, and b) keep up their end of that engagement between elections.

As well:

-Election turnout is a red herring. Because...

-...over 90% of the time, incumbents get returned. No matter the turnout percentage.

-Informed balloting (that is, citizens who have taken the time to come up with their choice, and not merely voting according to 'name recognition', something that, as of the 2006 municipal election was running at about 60%) will only get you so far. (Please see previous point.)

So, given all this, what's the answer?

Changing the landscape so that participation on the part of residents isn't limited to voting. Until this happens, until Hamiltonians are authentically involved, until we're players at the governance table along with the other three participants (Council, City Staff and Developers), nothing will change. I'll bet a kajillion dollars. And how would this happen? A good question, one I can certainly chime in on, but for starters, please keep in mind Einstein's Definition of 'Insanity': 'Repeating the same behaviour over and over and over again, expecting a different outcome.' So the first step is to acknowledge that what's been done so far (on our end), doesn't work. And that in itself is a huge challenge involving cutting away the high dudgeon, applying a little humility, and actually *listening', instead of constantly declaiming your truths, while denigrating those of others. ('Sometimes it's not enough to be right.')

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 16:25:13 in reply to Comment 109556

I wonder what your comment means in light of the fact that it is already "greyed out." Maybe repeating the same behavior over and over again . . .

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 10:28:53

"Special interest groups that try to stack the deck is not something out of the norm."

For evidence of same, simply compare the donor lists for the members of the Public Works Committee, and connect the dots.

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By Rimshot (anonymous) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 10:33:59

Clr Whitehead: "...even people in the lower city are concerned about the vocal few. That is the essence of most of the contact my office has received over the past weeks."

Ironically, these concerned callers have now joined the ranks of "the vocal few."

Whither the "quite majority"?

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 15:08:43 in reply to Comment 109555

the 'quite majority' apparently saw Terry's name on the ballot last year and couldn't bring themselves to vote. 65% of his ward in fact.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 23, 2015 at 15:09:56 in reply to Comment 109571

He did run functionally unopposed.

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By Stever (anonymous) | Posted February 24, 2015 at 09:53:26 in reply to Comment 109572

He'd win even if functionally opposed. The benefit of incumbency weighs heavy in Hamilton.

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By UrbanMom (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 10:39:55

I, a Ward 2 resident, emailed Terry (and CC'ed Jason Farr) to tell him I was disappointed in his habit of stereotyping a)activists and b) downtown residents and c)transit users.

He replied by c&p'ing the first quoted email to Ryan.

I replied again saying that I wasn't a part of that conversation and didn't understand what that commentary was about but that I was still a self-employed downtowner with kids and a husband employed in Toronto, I didn't use Twitter and I tried to be involved in community issues that are important to me and my family.

He responded by scraping my work phone number out of my signature, calling me after 9pm and ranting for 5 minutes straight. The rant was essentially, an ad lib of the above emails sent to Ryan. I was more than a little alarmed that a person not my councilor was calling me late at night to harangue me.

Is anyone else worried that Mr Whitehead has a substance abuse problem?!

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted February 24, 2015 at 00:06:07 in reply to Comment 109557

In a way it shows he is willing to bring it. He won't hide behind email - he'll just call you up. Pretty funny actually. His grammar is a nightmare but the more I learn about this guy the more I want to know! Still don't agree with his views on LRT though.

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 10:40:11

you have been told a number of times your just choose not to comprehend

twitter.com/terrywhitehead/status/555922987145510912

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 10:46:30

Again with the one-on-one (n= ~1) stats. We should instead be starting a #ThrowCouncilOnAStatsCourse

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By History (anonymous) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 10:53:36

How can Whitehead, Collins et al not be concerned re: the legacy they will leave behind.

History will judge them all as clowns who stubbornly clung to an outdated paradigm while the rest of North America just cruised on by. One day we will all have to embrace alternative forms of transportation since the space for roads is finite.

Wouldn't you rather be judged as a progressive visionary (granted we're decades behind the curve already) rather than a luddite.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 20:07:26 in reply to Comment 109562

The same can probably be said of previous councils, who did all nature of harebrained things, such as cutting down all the old growth trees in Gore Park for no reason (not this past year, but decades ago), failure to follow through on the RHVP, decisions to pass on free LRT, to pass on building a subway system, destruction of old city hall, etc.

Do you know any of the names of council from then? Doubtful. Will we remember the names from council that decided to do 2-way conversions, clean up our brownfields? Pass on the bus lane? Rebuild the Lister Block? Support art crawls and supercrawl? Probably not too.

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By Kevin (registered) | Posted February 24, 2015 at 00:02:58 in reply to Comment 109617

You suck. You're tough and rude on the Internet.

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By Truthbtold (anonymous) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 19:32:31 in reply to Comment 109562

Its the very nature of tyrants to be short-sighted.

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By MikeBelmore (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 12:56:57

welp.

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By MikeBelmore (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 13:05:14

For those interested in a more comprehensive look at the man, the mind, and the malapropisms, may I recommend http://whiteheadswordsalad.tumblr.com/

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By Larry diwhitehead (anonymous) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 15:45:49

I know about all the commies and anarkest who run underground Hamilton, like YOU, you people, its you whos wrekin evrything in this city that could be excelunt except..It's your fault. & I'm not going to take it anymore

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By RobF (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 17:24:32

You also find your self in a leadership role as publisher of raise the hammer. Please use this power and influence responsibly.

Delicious irony coming from TW. I hope he wasn't near a mirror when he wrote that beauty.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 17:51:09

This kind of stuff really leaves you to wonder sometimes about Clr. Whitehead.

We moved from ward 2 to ward 8 in the summer. We've met Terry on 2 occasions - once at the Rolston summer block party at the rec centre and again at the neighbourhood action plan meeting he attended with Wes Hicks during the election campaign. Terry seemed very sincere - it really felt like he believes he is working for the best interests of his constituents and the city. It came off that he wanted to go to bat for the mountain residents because nobody else would.

But, it leaves one scratching their head as to why he lets himself get drawn into these Twitter fights, email rants, and so forth. It does come off as unprofessional and a misuse of city technology when he's getting into these dust-ups using his work phone (my guess is that it is coming from there, and not a personal phone - and if it is a personal device, shame on you for using it during work hours).

Our household relies on public transit but also on personal transit. We understand the value of both, but we also have been on both sides of the fence in ward 2 and now in ward 8. We don't agree with a lot of the vision that the urbanist activists have but we appreciate their passion. But, we also realize that it's a symbiotic relationship with public and private transit.

And no, I haven't emailed Clr. Whitehead to express my, is happiness the right word? for his passion on fighting what he thinks is the good fight.

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By Kevin (registered) | Posted February 24, 2015 at 00:04:23 in reply to Comment 109601

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted February 24, 2015 at 13:01:59 in reply to Comment 109634

This forum needs a moderator.

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 18:15:48 in reply to Comment 109601

FYI, there are no urban activists. There are residents in neighbourhoods who are trying to improve their horrendous quality of life. No different than you looking to do the same in your neighbourhood.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 20:00:30 in reply to Comment 109605

urban activists != urbanist activists, imho.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 20:33:22 in reply to Comment 109616

Then I guess that makes the people white knuckling the status quo suburban activists.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 20:40:55 in reply to Comment 109620

Guess what you like, just putting my opinion out there. What's yours?

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By highwater (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 20:49:10 in reply to Comment 109623

Isn't it obvious? Terry et al are the new Red Hill activists, standing athwart progress screaming "stop!"

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 23, 2015 at 21:31:50 in reply to Comment 109625

I've said it before I'll say it again: the B-line LRT is to old lower-city Hamilton what the RHVP was to Stoney Creek/East Mountain.

The only difference is that RHVP activists were trying to save pristine natural landscape, while B-line haters are trying to save two lanes of car-traffic.

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 22:32:02 in reply to Comment 109630

totally agree. Folks who supported RHVP were considered up and up, employed, good standing citizens of Hamilton. Those in support of LRT are whiny, urbanist bums.

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By Dylan (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 18:53:40

Some of you need to stop criticizing the man's grammar and spelling on a public forum and just be happy that the councillor took the time to respond. Do you really want him wasting his time, or the time of city staff, proofreading all of his casual correspondence?

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By terry? (anonymous) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 21:07:43 in reply to Comment 109607

Well, he finds the time to challenge others to IQ test challenges on twitter. I somehow doubt that his poor language conventions are the result of time restraints.

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By Agreed (anonymous) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 19:35:34 in reply to Comment 109607

Yeah, screw his screwed up spelling n grammer, focus on the screwed up argumints in stead.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 20:39:52 in reply to Comment 109615

Sorry, the two don't separate out that neatly. As George Orwell said: "Language becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier to have foolish thoughts."

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By Dylan (registered) | Posted February 24, 2015 at 07:11:52 in reply to Comment 109622

I don't necessarily disagree, but I also don't think belittling the man's language skills accomplishes anything except antagonism. Debate his competency with those in ward 8 during his next campaign, but until then we have to work with the guy.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted February 23, 2015 at 23:49:40

Well, now that RTH has basically started a little fight with this guy we can be guaranteed that his final decision has been made. That's one No vote for LRT. I agree with most that was said in these letters but it shouldn't have been directed towards this councilor. Information is helpful but no one wants to be told how stupid they are. And if anyone's response to this is going to be 'well HE started it' please, just don't...

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 24, 2015 at 10:03:03 in reply to Comment 109632

doesn't take a genius to go back through articles and conversations and find out who constantly criticizes and belittles others. When people are mocked and called names by an elected official, they better push back.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted February 24, 2015 at 12:59:45 in reply to Comment 109649

No, they don't have to push back. They can decide to take the high road. They can continue to disseminate information that supports their position without targeting anyone specifically. This transit issue has been framed as a battle and when an issue is framed as such both sides just become all the more entrenched in their positions.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 24, 2015 at 13:08:58 in reply to Comment 109662

After four decades of taking the high road and not getting anywhere, the air starts to get a little thin.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted February 24, 2015 at 16:03:46 in reply to Comment 109664

I know it's easy for me to pontificate because I haven't invested so much time and energy into this cause. I think this site does/can do a lot of good but I worry that it is emotions that are being hijacked here and that will only cloud the important issues. Cooler heads will always prevail.

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 24, 2015 at 14:54:14 in reply to Comment 109664

This

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 24, 2015 at 00:24:38 in reply to Comment 109632

RTH and urbanists have been butting heads with cclr Whitehead for many years. This is hardly new, and nothing has changed.

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By LeeEdwardMcIlmoyle (registered) - website | Posted February 24, 2015 at 09:56:01

I won't debate Cllr Whitehead's challenged linguistic skills. What I will debate is his grasp of the very principles he seeks to lecture us about. He expects everyone who criticizes his decisions (i.e. his work performance) to somehow adhere to some ethical standard that he himself misses by a long chalk much of the time. His divisive stance on LRT notwithstanding, he historically and very publicly debates any issue that doesn't suit his narrow 'mandate' to make his constituents' traffic concerns the model for city planning, and when he doesn't get support from vocal activists, he demeans their level of engagement with spurious claims and cast aspersions about their level of integrity, which is what he's saying when he mumbles about unemployed people with no children.

He's basically saying we are all rootless transients who have no sweat equity, no 'skin in the game', and should all be ignored summarily. His ignorance is only matched by his arrogance. I think it's high time someone with a better grasp of the issues of Ward 8 actually applied some of this 'vocal minority' treatment (that we're reputed to dish out so unjustly) to his ward directly, and tell him precisely where he's gone wrong in his ward, because so long as he is able to keep reframing the debate away from his own performance and toward questioning our integrity, he'll never be silent, never concede his ignorance, and never back down.

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By JayRobb (registered) | Posted February 24, 2015 at 10:05:56

Before the next installment of Letters to Terry, why not ask Councillor Whitehead for an informal one-on-one meeting and an off-the-record conversation that could let some air out of the balloon and maybe lead to some common ground?

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By question (anonymous) | Posted February 24, 2015 at 10:40:53 in reply to Comment 109650

Do you know Terry? Because what you are describing is not possible. I have tried. I wonder why you are such a Whitehead apologist? It's embarassing.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted February 24, 2015 at 19:55:15 in reply to Comment 109652

I don't understand. It's OK to attack him, but you're an apologist if you ask for an even-keel approach. It's great if you don't like the man, or his policies or thoughts, but a nightmare if you're looking for an unbiased view.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 24, 2015 at 14:47:08 in reply to Comment 109652

Iirc, Mr. Robb works PR or Marketing at Mohawk, so I would imagine he works with cclr Whitehead frequently in a professional capacity.

In a more amicable scenario I imagine Councilor Whitehead is perfectly wonderful to work with - and obviously Mohawk is an incredible asset to Ward 8.

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By jayrobb (registered) | Posted February 24, 2015 at 15:31:53 in reply to Comment 109666

Right you are. I work in PR / Comms for Mohawk. Actually just had Councillor Whitehead through for an afternoon tour of Mohawk's Fennell Campus. The President has taken the majority of Council and Mayor Eisenberger on tours and we've had very productive and amicable conversations. Lots of shared interests and common ground.

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By Stever (anonymous) | Posted February 24, 2015 at 16:38:54 in reply to Comment 109671

Did you tell him that transit was important to Mohawk students and Mohawk?

I ask, because a) I think it is (don't you?) and b) the fact he relies on such informal one-to-one interaction to gauge the mood of Ward 8 and to make informed decisions.

Please note, I'm 100% serious.

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By jayrobb (registered) | Posted February 24, 2015 at 17:37:26 in reply to Comment 109677

Yes. Transit use by students was one of the first things Councillor Whitehead asked about. More frequent buses running north / south up & down the escarpment during peak times would benefit students at the Fennell campus, along with improved HSR service across the Mountain where we have a significant number of students living with family or on their own. Councillor Whitehead was pleased to hear about the strong uptake on Mohawk's HSR student transit pass and asked about plans for a new transit hub at the corner of Fennell and West 5th (slated to open in Fall 2015.

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 24, 2015 at 20:46:37 in reply to Comment 109678

how on earth West 5th was rebuilt with such wasted roadspace is mind-boggling. Should have bus lanes and bike lanes. Traffic only warrants 3 lanes of roadway, and we get 6 lanes worth of asphalt with 5 mega wide lanes and an empty painted off section in the middle.
Apparently Hamilton is filthy rich to be producing waste of this magnitude.

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted February 24, 2015 at 20:36:06 in reply to Comment 109678

"Councillor Whitehead... asked about plans for a new transit hub at the corner of Fennell and West 5th"

Also outlined in Public Works Committee report PW11036 (May 16, 2011)

hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/AF997EA1-313D-4BD9-9B71-66730DC1F2EF/0/May16EDRMS_n169153_v1_8_2__PW11036.pdf

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By Silent Majority (anonymous) | Posted February 24, 2015 at 10:43:04

I'm a quiet, working mom, in a two-car family, but would be very pleased to see better transit options.
I am so grateful that people like Ryan champion positive change for this city that I love, in the face of such ignorance and blatant self-interest, so that I don't have to. For every activist, there are many many "silent majority" of people who sigh a relief for those out there speaking up on our behalf.

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 24, 2015 at 15:42:30 in reply to Comment 109653

please send this as an email to the Mayor and all councillors. The more people they hear from, the better. In theory.....

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 24, 2015 at 16:14:51 in reply to Comment 109673

Four or five emails is a "public outcry" if it's something trivial that council can get behind without controversy. But if it's an initiative that challenges the status quo - even if it's small and inexpensive, even if Council has already approved it - then 84 letters are not enough to get anyone's attention.

The double standard is breathtaking.

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted February 24, 2015 at 11:15:18 in reply to Comment 109653

This has always been very frustrating, the way the uninformed and unintelligent just assume that they speak for everyone. Invocation of a Silent Majority is a major fallacy, by definition you don't know what they think, that's what silent means. And the real truth often surprises them. Thank you for sharing your comment!

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By Whitehead, his buddy J Robb, IQ (anonymous) | Posted February 24, 2015 at 15:21:06

Oh heavens, T Whitehead, J Robb [Mohawk's man] & IQ tests all in the same thread: used to be said, Don't get into a spitting contest with a skunk. My old uncle said, Don't get into a pissing contest with a skunk. For years Whitehead has been a truth-fudging cheerleader. And Terry was once told to study for an IQ test: "How do you spell that?" he asked.

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By Stever (anonymous) | Posted February 24, 2015 at 16:34:44 in reply to Comment 109669

With an 'E', silly.

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By dsafire (registered) - website | Posted February 24, 2015 at 15:27:50

Does anyone have contacts with the Neighborhood Action Plan team for Rolston? I'd like to hear what they have to say on transit (and on their Councilor) as the people who actually live there.

They dont appear to have published their strategy through the Neighborhood Development Strategy office yet.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted February 24, 2015 at 20:00:45 in reply to Comment 109670

You're in luck: I'm on the NAP for Rolston and Yeoville (yes, we're including them in our NAP since the natural boundary for the neighbourhood is Upper James and not West 5th).

Transit is something that hasn't really been talked about yet; we're still in our operational definition stage. We're the last NAP of the 11 to get off the ground, and it really only kicked off in the fall.

It's been brought up a few times (transit) but we are relatively well-served, although it'd be nice to see more buses along Limeridge during peak hours. Mohawk is already pretty good.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted February 24, 2015 at 20:13:47 in reply to Comment 109692

We're trying to connect with NA's and NAP team members such as yourself for a speaker series I'm helping organize. If you're interested, please get in touch with our esteemed editor and ask him for my email. Thx.

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By Vocal Minor (anonymous) | Posted February 26, 2015 at 13:58:39

hamiltonnews.com/news/hamilton-councillors-propose-to-allow-tobogganing-on-city-property/

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By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted February 28, 2015 at 10:46:15 in reply to Comment 109750

“With all due respect to our risk management folks, if we were to listen to them entirely, we probably wouldn’t get up in the morning. There is risk and there is reward. Let’s put the fun back into winter.”

Nice, wonderful news! A litigious family that lacks personal responsibility should not have been successful in permanently ruining winter for the city's youth. Good on those working to work something out and correct the situation. "Best place to raise a child" has no meaning when outdoor spaces are so heavily restricted.

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