Editorial

I'm Kind Of With Merulla on This One

Those ideas that really can transform the city are coming not from the usual suspects but from the grassroots.

By Ryan McGreal
Published May 05, 2009

When I read yesterday's Spectator article on the upcoming Economic Summit, I started a personal countdown until receiving a press release from Councillor Sam Merulla, who was quoted saying, "Ideologically, I can't support it." His reasoning is that the event amounts to political lobbying by corporate special interests.

Yet it took until today's editorial, titled "Snubbing an Opportunity", for Merulla to pipe up. On behalf of the Spec editorial board, editor Howard Elliot started:

For new disturbing evidence that too many members of Hamilton City Council just don't get it, look no further than the revelation that up to half of them won't be attending this week's economic summit co-organized by the local chamber of commerce and the Jobs Prosperity Collaborative.

He added:

Merulla's comment is silly. Even if you argue the chamber is a special interest, and that's debatable, you can't make the same argument about the Jobs Prosperity Collaborative, or other co-sponsors which include Mohawk College, McMaster University, the province, City of Hamilton and numerous local businesses.

If there's a special interest at work here, it's that all the stakeholders have a special interest in seeing Hamilton's economic prospects improve. The fact that the councillor is ideologically opposed to an event with that goal says more about him than the organizers.

That proved too much for Merulla to resist. He released the following response to local media:

I have no intention of attending the Economic Summit this week for the following reasons:

1) The Economic Summit is a private, invitation-only, for profit event that is not open to the community/public, which snubs access to opportunity.

2) The agenda lacks social justice and environmental sustainability issues.

3) The nearly $400 price of a ticket is ludicrous and the nearly $250 gift to Council members in the two-tier pricing system breaches the maximum allowable amount a council member may receive as a gift as outlined in the Council Code of Conduct guidelines.

4) The Economic Summit should be hosted by City Council, it should be free to attend and most importantly open to the public. At present this meeting is the epitome of an event formulated by exclusion.

5) Without providing the opportunity to all community stakeholders The Hamilton Spectator is endorsing the snubbing of the community by preventing access to opportunity. Without all community stakeholders invited and involved this event is not representative of this community and incomplete.

6) Only together with all stakeholders in this community can we work toward a solution, not just words of a select few who are fortunate to be invited or fortunate to afford to pay nearly $400 for the summit.

7) Based on the selective nature of this for-profit private event, this event is incapable of being a collaborative effort.

8) Which begs the question [sic]: why would the Hamilton Spectator endorse an event that snubs the very people they claim to be a voice for in our community?

It's hard to argue with any of this. The price of admission is daunting and the closed nature of the event belies its claim to cast the net wide and engage the community (for the record, Raise the Hammer did not receive an invitation). From the outside, this looks like exactly the same kind of top-down, interested, boys' club approach that has held this city captive for decades.

Boys' Club Approach

The Jobs Prosperity Collaborative, which grew out of the old Hamilton Civic Coalition and came under loose municipal oversight, was supposed to break the city out of the old-school, Chamber of Commerce / Home Builders Association death grip and infuse new and inclusive thinking into the city's economic planning strategy.

Clearly, this hasn't happened. It seems no one really listened to the words of Richard Florida, last year's keynote speaker, who warned civic leaders to open the city's planning up and engage the larger community.

Some five years ago, I originally joined the project that would become Raise the Hammer with the firm belief that the real ideas and momentum for change can only come from outside the nexus of comfortable municipal leaders who benefit from the status quo.

My experience since then has only reinforced this belief. Those ideas that really can transform the city are coming not from the usual suspects but from the grassroots.

We will work our way out of the city's long funk not through more ivory tower summits but through deeper and broader civic engagement - real participation, not more patronizing "public consultation" on middling policies developed from the top down.

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 East Ender (anonymous) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 09:56:37

Regardless, he should still be attending a meeting about the economic future of his City.

His absense suggests to me that he has no interest on the economic future of my City. Unless of course his vision for the future of Hamilton's economy lies in Centre Mall'esq developments (that being big box parking lots "spurred" by a highway built 3kms away).

The longer the East End (well, Ward 4 anyway) is represented by this JOKE of a "representative", the more 'Centre Mall'-like developments will take over the neighbourhood... all in the name of Merulla's Economic Action Plan!

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By JonC (registered) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 10:30:47

There is another article today. http://www.thespec.com/News/Local/articl... 0 MPs and 1 MPP are attending.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 11:24:31

Re: Merulla

"Even a stopped clock is right twice a day"

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 13:32:12

East Ender >> the more 'Centre Mall'-like developments will take over the neighbourhood.

Centre Mall is owned by the Government of Canada, thorough the CPP Investment Board.

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By hunter (anonymous) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 15:25:10

Merulla isn't going because it isn't his party. That's easy to see.

I suspect the invite criteria is based on the ready and able Capability of the invitees to make decisions and actions that will improve Hamilton's economy. It doesn't matter that the 'people' without means or power won't be there telling them how they should do it. The city councillors should be there on behalf of the people, at least to see what is going on. A summit is a meeting of powerful people. The councillors are powerful because they have their constituents, some informed by sites like raisethehammer, behind them.

It seems like the 'exclusionary' nature of the summit is based on efficiency, not arrogance. Councillors are available and accessible to everyone and they should be at the summit to represent the people their views. That's an efficient way to operate. Not to invite half a million people to come down to the summit and share their ideas. If representing their constituents is too much of a burden for councillors like Merulla, then get the hell out of office.

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By jason (registered) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 16:51:32

'Environmental sustainability' issues???

This is the same guy who bent over backwards for the Centre Maul, and refused to ensure that the development would face Barton St or be slightly better than the Meadowlands in any way.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 17:04:29

I am going to add my two cents. I agree with Mr Merulla, that the Chamber Commerce, as a fee paying organization, puts its own agenda before that of the people, the workers. These agenda's have nothing to with social justice. In fact when Mr Duncan came to Hamilton some time back, it was reported in the spec all the cutbacks this group was calling for. Those cutbacks that affect those at the bottom of the income scale.

I find it sort of hilarious knowing that a local temp company owner has a loud voice around issues of economic development. My own experiences with this company are somewhat questionable. Under employment standards, a worker is entitled to 30 minute meal break after five hours not six. Under Occuaptional Health and Safety Act, workers must be oriented in all health and safety issues in the workplace. I asked a question about what emergency procedures would be, plus my complaint about the mealbreaks. My reward, was to be terminated. So if the temp company is my employer why and where was the enforcement of my rights? Why was I was terminated for trying to stand up for my rights. In this company's particular website, one see the words, we are in compliance with the Ministry of Labour, but in my experience, where was the compliance on meal breaks, where was the compliance on the health and safety issue. As a worker who was struggling what right did they have to ignore legislated law? Why was the client company not cited? I have heard many other stories for temp workers about this company, yet they have a voice but the workers do not? Yes it is clear in my mind who is dicating policies in this regard. Bill 139 is a start, these workers need more protection from the unscruplous dealings between the temp companies and their clients. Temp companies do not create jobs, they just make a living manipulating and/or impeding the rights of workers.

Where are the voices from the grassroots, those that speak for the marginalized, the working poor and those trying to find work in our ever changing economic climate. In looking at the list of the member of the Jobs Prosperity Collaberative , it is filled with CEO types from various business, government and the not for profit sector that are not necessarily looking out for the interests of the people, the workers and families that struggle and very often apply the oppressive policies of Ontario Works. But what the hell, they earn their big dollars, while having the money and the were for all to influence the policy makers, which mostly stomp on the rights of those that are the most oppressed. If there is to be progress, then the voices of the people need to be heard, a part of the process.

The people need to tell their stories about some of these organziations, let us clear the air, let the dirty linen hang out in the open.

Let the voices of the people be heard. Where is the social justice? All this does is reconfirm the words "money talks and bullshit walks".

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 17:32:40

Grassroots >> Under employment standards, a worker is entitled to 30 minute meal break after five hours not six....Why was I was terminated for trying to stand up for my rights.

You sound like more trouble than your worth, that's why. I understand your desire to understand safety procedures, but worrying about when you get your meal break is immature and childish.

>> Temp companies do not create jobs, they just make a living manipulating and/or impeding the rights of workers.

Then why not start your own temp agency? You can run it the way you want and put the other companies out of business.

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By Studiously Avoiding (anonymous) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 17:50:20

>worrying about when you get your meal break is immature and childish.

Spoken like someone that doesn't have to worry about when he gets his meal break.

>Then why not start your own temp agency? You can run it the way you want and put the other companies out of business.

When the problem is that temp agencies compete by cutting corners on mandatory employee benefits, your "solution" is insulting as well as unhelpful.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 17:58:47

A Smith: Under Employment Standards, there is legislated law around meals. Too bad if disagree with that particular portion of the law.

What I would like to open is a workers center that would actually help workers get access to justice and not what what we currently have which only focuses on resume and interviwing, they do not help you with issues of enforcement of labour rights and in fact many will ignore those issues you have even if they have to do with health and safety issues.

I am a good worker, dedicated, hard working, it is not my fault that there are many bad employers. We have laws for a reason, too bad in many cases they are not enforced. Too bad if you don't like the fact that I stand up for myself and others.

I suggest you go into have your say in the spec on human rights abuses and read the comments. Get enlightened.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 18:39:30

Grassroots > I am a good worker, dedicated, hard working

And yet employers still fire you. That's weird.

>> Too bad if you don't like the fact that I stand up for myself and others.

I don't care if you stand up for yourself, it just seems to me that you are shooting yourself in the foot by insisting on employers follow every single detail of the government's rules. In life, sometimes you have to give a little to get a lot, however, you don't seem willing to give anything, only take. How is that working for you?

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 19:12:54

A Smith: How do you figure that idiot. Oh but in your world I am suppose to tolerate abuse, unfairness, inequatity in the workplace. You are the type like so many others before you, the bully, the mouth. I have given lots more then you ever have in your lifetime, you moron.

Stand in front of me and I'll tell you exatly how it is. Coward.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 20:12:41

Grassroots, there is a difference between tolerating abuse and being flexible when it comes to when you eat and other trivial things. I agree 100% that you have a right to know about things like health and safety and you should not work at tasks that you feel may endanger your health. But other than that, work is supposed to be hard, that's why it's called work.

However, by insisting that employers do this and do that, do you think this makes them like you on a personal level? I tried to get along with my employers and to the extent that this was possible, it made life a lot better for everyone. Some bosses are a#$holes and there is no pleasing them, but most of the time this is not the case.

You seem like a good person, if not in the greatest mood today, so why not try giving employers the benefit of the doubt. Assume they are not against you from the get go and see if you can't enjoy the natural flow of work. By making life easy for your employer, they will enjoy having you around and naturally want to help you in return.



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By reuben (registered) - website | Posted May 05, 2009 at 20:15:32

You seem like a good person, if not in the greatest mood today, so why not try giving employers the benefit of the doubt. Assume they are not against you from the get go and see if you can't enjoy the natural flow of work. By making life easy for your employer, they will enjoy having you around and naturally want to help you in return.

advice that would work well in your relationship with the government as well, A Smith.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 20:47:29

A Smith: Am I in a great mood, no I am not, but then you have not been just through what I have been through I doubt you'd be in a good mood either.

For most of my working years, meals have not been a priority but in the example I gave above after standing operating a machine after six hours, it was a bit much. even when I worked at a fast food place, they understood the value of meal breaks.

My employer was beating the crap out of someone in their office, how would you feel hearing someone crying do not hit me? How would you rate a manager or owner that is kicking the shoes of an employee across the office screaming that they hate them? How would you feel that almost on a daily basis you are berated, insulted, intimidated, your workday is like living on egg shells. And their wrath and anger turns on you for following their instructions. And in following their instructions another worker does not do what they are suppose to and takes the work home and at home is the former employee whose shoes were kicked across office.

You call health and safety and WSIB as you this type of abuse is intolerable. Bill 168 which covers this type of abuse has only passed the first reading. You have Health and safety, WSIB telling you yes it is a health and safety issue but the law is not there yet.

There is a breaking point when your employer is standing right in front of your face, nose to nose, screaming, as an employee, you have not done anything really wrong. Am I suppose to wait till they actually hit me because to be honest I felt that the employer was almost ready to do so, and given that the employer was whacking someone else the day before, tell me what would you do?

You give your all, you even hold your pay because money is tight, you buy your own supplies as needed, you give your heart and soul, even taking courses that would eventually help the company in the long run.

Plase explain to me what you would do?

Oh well even though I could not have them cited them under section 50 or 25 of occuaptional health and safety act, they did receive a few written orders on section 8. How many times do you have to complain about someone'e behavior before something is done? Who is standing up for my rights? I will have to fight for EI but in the meantime, who knows with the job market as it is, I could end up in the streets as welfare is not to support myself and pay my obligations.

Which of these overpaid bureaucrats, politicians and so on are standing up for me?

You got a job?

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By FenceSitter (anonymous) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 20:57:56

Does anybody know why Bernie Morelli did not attend?

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By Frustrated Ward 3 Resident (anonymous) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 21:35:42

Bernie Morelli has pretty much phoned in his membership on Council for at least the past two terms that I have lived in his ward. I have no idea why he keeps getting re-elected - it's not like he does, well, ANYTHING.

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By Con Black (anonymous) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 22:04:35

hunter >> It seems like the 'exclusionary' nature of the summit is based on efficiency, not arrogance. Councillors are available and accessible to everyone and they should be at the summit to represent the people their views. That's an efficient way to operate.

Just like the way communism is more 'efficient' than the free market? That worked well didn't it?

Same thing with ideas. Good ideas stand on their own, they are not popularity contests; a single great idea from some Joe on the street can easily beat a popular one in the bidness crowd. Failure to listen to this Joe can be nothing other than arrogance.

The reason the free market outperforms the communist model is exactly the same reason that the people's ideas will outperform those of the elites.

hunter >> Not to invite half a million people to come down to the summit and share their ideas. If representing their constituents is too much of a burden for councillors like Merulla, then get the hell out of office.

The really good ideas will come from some of those half million and NOT the old boys. If councilors could mine that expertise and represent those ideas without their own agendas that would be good. Unfortunately, can you give an example of a councilor who does that? Didn't think so. So simply attending doesn't represent constituents.

Merulla may be a childish pain in the ass, but based on ability he is pretty much the last one who should 'get the hell out of office'.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 22:30:28

If councilors could mine that expertise and represent those ideas without their own agendas that would be good. Unfortunately, can you give an example of a councilor who does that? Didn't think so.

McHattie often does this.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 05, 2009 at 22:37:30

Grassroots >> My employer was beating the crap out of someone in their office, how would you feel hearing someone crying do not hit me?

I would be motivated to take that person's head and press it into the floor, while asking them if they wanted to stop their behaviour or continue being treated like a little girl. Evil never has to be tolerated and should never be tolerated. To tolerate evil, even if this includes putting your body on the line is to allow it to win.

In my experience, if you do what you know in your heart is right and good, God will give you all the resources you need to take care of any situation, regardless of the circumstances.

I was on the bus one day and 6 young men thought it would be fun to try and stare me down. At first I was a little taken aback, because I don't look for trouble. However, after the initial adrenaline response, I felt an amazing confidence and righteous indignation fall over me. At this point I smiled and stared at each one of them until they looked away. They did, one by one. They were cowards and when presented with someone who stood their ground, they folded like a house of cards because they lacked faith.

>> Am I suppose to wait till they actually hit me

No, quit and ask God to show you a job where you will be treated with the respect that you deserve. He knows exactly what your needs are, so if you trust that he will take care of you, he will. All that it requires is faith. You don't have to do anything you don't want, only that which makes you feel positive and fulfilled.

Stop relying on the government to protect you, only God can do that.



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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted May 05, 2009 at 23:03:46

Whoa, tangent. And a scary one.

To find a new job may take a little more... a lot of hard work for one.

Sure, I'm a person of faith myself, but it takes a lot more than passively waiting for opportunities to fall from the sky, magically provided, and only waiting for jobs that make one feel "positive and fulfilled"? If that`s the case, many of us have sure been screwing things up with all this hard work and education and doing crappy jobs that make us feel negative and tired ;)

Because the times I've done cleaning and roofing and landscaping and regrouting tile and making coffee sure weren't done based on what I "want" to do or their fulfilling nature, but because they were honest work to pay the bills.

Work is work, not play. "Positive and fulfilled" aren't really part of the equation much of the time, especially when we're taking what we can get until something better comes along that can fit into the positive, fulfilling, and even enjoyable categories - but not everyone gets that. A lot of us do what we have to do and find our joy in other things.

It's pretty dangerous to say that God gives the resources to "take care" of any situation. Sometimes what we need to do is stay and make things right. But sometimes we need to have the smarts to just leave, and not think we're there to fix it.

Anyways...

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By reuben (registered) - website | Posted May 05, 2009 at 23:25:26

Stop relying on the government to protect you, only God can do that.

can't God work through the government system?

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By Sick of Sam (anonymous) | Posted May 06, 2009 at 00:16:20

Sam Merulla only speaks of environmental sustainability issues that are a concern. The last time I checked, sustainability in today's world refers to Sustainable Development, with environmental sustainability issues being just one leg in a three-legged stool. There are also Social and Economic issues. When the stool is equally balanced, it is the making of a great community. The focus of the summit was the Economic leg of the stool, but if Sam had attended, he could have brought forward his concerns of "environmental sustainability issues", and the Social ones as well, of course being those of his constituents.

Sam Merulla does occasionally come up with an idea worth exploring - an economic summit, with all constituents invited. This could be a summit for the small business community and their clients. It might be a good idea. However, there is nothing to say that free enterprise with lots of money can't hold an economic summit with all important people invited. I guess Sam Merulla is not important enough to them, so he was not invited. His past comments and actions have done nothing to support the business community nor the City of Hamilton as a whole. Only to his constituents does he look good. To Sam, it is all about looking good, in more ways than one. Unfortunately, the majority of Ward 4 voters can't see past his great hair and style, and his raw raw I will protect the people attitude. And he does maintain his budget well. He just saved the city $400 by not attending the summit.

I hope voters in Ward 4 are better informed in the future and vote somebody in that is concerned about the City of Hamilton as a whole. If Merulla could only get it, he would be an all right councilor. First though, I suggest he read the City of Hamilton's Sustainable Development Plan. He then might understand that there are three issues of sustainability - Environmental, Social and Economic.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted May 06, 2009 at 08:11:03

From today's Spectator:


Hamilton city councillors who paid a reduced fee to attend today's Hamilton Economic Summit are in violation of the city's code of conduct, according to the city's lawyer.

In a confidential e-mail sent yesterday to council, Peter Barkwell said the code of conduct prohibits the acceptance of gifts or benefits worth more than $100.

The full price for summit attendance is $395, but councillors were offered a fee of $150 and senior managers were asked to pay $200.

Barkwell advised councillors to pay the full fee or at least enough to comply with the code.

http://www.thespec.com/article/561000

I wonder if the Spectator editors will issue an apology for calling Merulla's comment "selly", given that the city lawyer agrees with him.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted May 06, 2009 at 09:59:58

As each day passes more bull. If there is a code of conduct, then it should be followed. This is the danger when we are reading the words from the represenative of the chamber, that it is not gift but something else. They have the means, the ways to influence the policy makers which may not look out for the best intrests of the people.

The chamber has ignored the voices of the people and to be honest somehow it is not right that business owners, who may violate workers rights to be having a say, yet those voices of the workers are not heard.

As far as some the not for profits, there is one in particular, that has no interests in the rights workers either. They use oppressive rules of Ontario Works, which have denied workers their rights. You get no information about employers in accordance to Occupational Health and Safety, so in my example if an employer has more then 5 fulltime employees they must have a workers rep or if they have more then twnty full time employees, that they must have a joint health and safety committee. The objective is to get you off the system and they could care less if employment standards are complied with. In the meantime Mr Executive Director or CEO who makes the big bucks on the backs of those that are marginalized is somehow seen as the good guy.

If the people, the grassroots cannot tell their stories, the truth, then what is the point? How is this community to move forward?

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 06, 2009 at 14:32:07

Grassroots >> If the people, the grassroots cannot tell their stories, the truth, then what is the point?

There is no point to what you're saying at all, I agree 100%.

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By Mark Coakley (anonymous) | Posted May 07, 2009 at 08:38:16

I applaud Sam Merulla for his stand. His criticisms of the "summit" are bang on. He should be proud of the elitist and anti-democratic attacks on him from Hamilton's dull, biassed daily newspaper; they are a badge of honour.

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted May 07, 2009 at 10:17:15

A Smith, Your best post, no point to what he is saying so you agree 100%.

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By WRCU2 (registered) - website | Posted May 07, 2009 at 20:03:54

I am in Ward 4 and I am involved in the "Center Maul" redevelopment. I like Sam because he listens to his constituents. He doesn't say much when we talk to him but he always listens.

Sam was with the workers who marched through our streets in protest of job losses. Sam knows things, because he listens well. He's not just another pretty face with great hair and a wardrobe.

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By volterwd (anonymous) | Posted May 08, 2009 at 17:58:44

Asmith are you so dense to assume that if you are fired you are an undedicated employee?

So people that live in 3rd world countries who are fired (or maybe even intimidated with violence) for standing up for their rights when there is clear exploitation and lack of safety are also undedicated employees?

Perhaps your stance should be that maybe he's being a dick about it. Because otherwise you come off as a callous loser who enjoys the exploitation of people who weren't born into privelage.

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By Oh Really? (anonymous) | Posted May 09, 2009 at 13:31:09

WCRU said: "Sam knows things, because he listens well. He's not just another pretty face with great hair and a wardrobe."

Are you being sarcastic - because it's really hard to tell...

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted May 10, 2009 at 21:44:43

A Smith: I going to try to not upset thoes who follow a religious faith. I am thankful that the one lady actually tried address this issue.

You go on about god, what the heck does that mean, really come on now. I have seen that you spout sections of the bible , but to me that means nothing in the big scheme of things.

Have you watched the movie Zeitgeist, because you should. I am not trying to upset those those follow religious practices and believe but please do not cite things in my mind that go against the human reality.

Under the name of religion, many injustices have been done under the guise of religion. The age of spanish inquistion is only one tragedy. The current practices of watering boarding is another. But in your world , these practices are ok, justified as they follow religious practises for the government authorities.

You are a puppet in the big scheme of things eschewing your propaganda on the views of our current world of views that have nothing to do with the reality of things.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted May 10, 2009 at 22:56:31

Grassroots >> You go on about god, what the heck does that mean, really come on now.

If you do not believe that God exists, that's okay. It just means that your hope in this world (government, mankind) is still alive and well. At some point in time, when all of your options are gone and all you have left is complete hopelessness, that's when he will show himself to you.

>> I am not trying to upset those those follow religious practices and believe but please do not cite things in my mind that go against the human reality.

You sound skeptical and I think that's a great thing, it shows me you think and that you care about getting things right and not blindly following what other people say.

>> Under the name of religion, many injustices have been done

I agree 100%. I personally don't go to church and am still confused by how religion and God actually relate to one another. What I do know, is that speaking to God directly has brought me valuable insight in my own life and may be a good start for those who don't trust religion. For example, if you are confused about something, just ask God for direction and see if that helps. It can't hurt.

>> You are a puppet in the big scheme of things eschewing your propaganda on the views of our current world of views that have nothing to do with the reality of things

Your sense of reality is based on what you see and hear, nothing more. Just for fun, if you are so certain of how things really are, explain what existed before time began, or what exists beyond this universe. No human knows these things and yet we carry on as if reality is real, even though we are all floating on a big blue ball, surrounded by other balls, in the middle of nothing, without any idea of why we are even here. 99.99999% of life is a mystery and yet you are certain that you know the reality of things. That's pretty damn arrogant.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted May 10, 2009 at 23:13:56

A Smith writes" No human knows these things and yet we carry on as if reality is real, even though we are all floating on a big blue ball, surrounded by other balls, in the middle of nothing, without any idea of why we are even here. 99.99999% of life is a mystery and yet you are certain that you know the reality of things. That's pretty damn arrogant.

Do I know the future, no I do not, I guess maybe my view is what you say. I look at history, the battles, what is justice.

I see hyprocrisy in things, a lack of real justice.

I am but one person, what can I do in the big scheme of things, but I am a voice, as you have made vocal your views and opinion on issues.

You are too busy, creating enemies.

you have no real vision.

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By Whoza (anonymous) | Posted May 11, 2009 at 10:56:19

Mr. Smith & Grassroots seem to have diverted this discussion from the performance of Councillor Merulla to a debate on the performance of God. Will Councillor Merulla feel flattered by the comparison?

I'm with Mr. Merulla's definition of the Chamber to a special interst group. Was the Hamilton District Labour Council invited to the conference? How about members of various BIAs throughout the city? Representatives of the unemployed, the poor, the not-for-profit sector? I don't know, but all these are groups with economic intersts.

Ryan points out that Hamilton has a long history of influence resting in the hands of a few powerful business people. My sense is that this process has not saved Hamilton from economic decline. The greatest consequence of last year's conference, so far as I can tell, was to apply the name of "squelchers" to those people who were less than gleeful at every pronouncement of folks likely to be invited to these conferences. But this is a natural consequence of a public that seeks leadership instead of representation.

No problem with the Chamber of Commerce holding such an event, but the assumption that public representatives are obliged to attend and heed their advice because this is THE economic conference of the year, puts the cart before the horse. Nevertheless it is not Councillor Merulla's place to wait for more representative groups to hold economic conferences before he deigns to attend. Special interests will hold conferences to determine and advance their own interests. Nothing wrong with that. City Council should seek out and listen to the voices of many such organizations. To ignore one such group, whether business, labour, the poor or any other stakeholder, merely makes Council captive to other special interests. Do I correctly recall a past post from Mr. Merulla in which he dismissed RTH contributors' concerns with Centre Mall buildings turning their backs to Barton Street?

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By wow (anonymous) | Posted January 28, 2011 at 19:39:22

Seems like Merulla has been proven right on so many issues. History has indeed been kind to Sam. Glad to see he has the balls to continue to fight despite all of the morons like those critical of him
on this site and elsewhere.

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