Introduction, overview, and brief history of Raise the Hammer.
By Ryan McGreal
Published December 14, 2004
Raise the Hammer is a group of Hamilton, Ontario citizens who believe in our city's potential and are willing to get involved in making the city a more vibrant, livable, and attractive place to live and work.
We are non-partisan and our members come from diverse political backgrounds. Our common interest is revitalizing our city, a goal that benefits everyone.
Raise the Hammer is dedicated to providing a variety of views and approaches to the goal of making Hamilton a great city. Towards that end, we encourage readers to contribute feedback, letters to the editor, and article submissions. Please feel free to contact us with your comments and ideas.
Back in 2003, Ben Bull, a Leeds native who had moved to Hamilton via Toronto, wrote a letter to the Hamilton Spectator entitled, "Hamilton is dying and I can't bear to watch". Little did he know how much controversy his cry of the heart would generate.
Sensing the rich life that pulsed just beneath Hamilton's cadaverous skin, Ben and his wife decided to postpone leaving, and at the same time, Ben connected with three other Hamiltonians who shared both his concerns and his desire to make a difference.
Ben, Sohail Bhatti, Charlene Dobson, and Jason Leach formed the Green Berets, appearing regularly on CHML with Roy Green to discuss urban issues. Between radio exposure and contacts with other citizens who had made public statements, the Green Berets grew in membership and decided to branch out into other media. Around this time, Sohail and Charlene moved on to other projects.
Because it was no longer identified exclusively with Roy Green, the group decided to adopt a new name: something that reflected its passion for Hamilton and its political interest in revitalizing the downtown core and encouraging sustainable development in the periphery.
Raise the Hammer was born early in 2004. The web site, designed by Trevor Shaw and developed by Ryan McGreal, went live in December, 2004. In January 2005 we added the Hammerblog to post shorter articles between issues.
From inauspicious beginnings, the site has grown steadily and now attracts several thousand page views per day. The site went through a full redesign in April 2006 and has been tweaked incrementally several times since then.
Another major redesign (of the back-end rather than the layout) was completed in 2009, and the site now runs entirely on open source software.
In early 2009, we changed the site so that articles are published now regularly throughout the month rather than in discrete issues at periodic intervals.
Please see our submission guidelines before submitting letters or articles.
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We want to hear from you. We hope you will share your observations, suggestions, and recommendations on what we're doing. We promise to get extra-excited if you agree to contribute articles, especially in areas that we currently under-represent.
Most of all, we urge you to get involved. Learn about the issues affecting your neighbourhood, your city, your country, and the world, and start thinking of ways you can make a difference. Join a local organization (or form one if one doesn't exist). Contact your elected representatives. Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper. Launch blogs and websites. Meet with people in your community and start building relationships. Resist apathy. Expose corruption. Celebrate successes and enjoy victories.
Finally, let the evidence lead your investigations and let your conscience guide your responses. Remember the Benny Hill Rule: When you ASSUME, you make an ASS out of U and ME.
We sincerely hope that this is the first time a user agreement has ever referenced Benny Hill. Thank you for your time and interest.