Commentary

Derision Towards Poor Taints Connaught Debate

There are legitimate reasons to be opposed to the Connaught proposal, but they are getting lost among unacceptable attitudes towards economically disadvantaged people.

By Adrian Duyzer
Published September 16, 2009

The debate on Raise the Hammer over the proposed Connaught redevelopment has gotten ugly.

There are legitimate reasons to be opposed to the Connaught proposal, but they are getting lost among unacceptable attitudes towards economically disadvantaged people.

I never thought I would see the day when Raise the Hammer published an article with a line like "I can live with a few skanks kicking around here and there." I was dismayed by the chorus of approval in the comments that followed.

Skanks, losers, downtown denizens, misfits?

How about: sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, neighbours, citizens. People. Human beings.

I'm not religious, but the Bible says it best: "What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?"

What shall it profit Hamilton if it keeps the Connaught and loses its own soul?

Poor people - more accurately, people who happen to be poor right now - are not the problem. Their economic situation is a symptom.

This city has suffered and is still suffering, mostly because of massive structural changes in the global economy and in manufacturing in particular. Bad leadership and bad decisions haven't helped. For whatever reasons, other cities' stars have grown brighter while Hamilton's dimmed, and this has hurt a lot of people.

What people in Hamilton really need is hope and opportunity, but they are given so little of that. Unlike the working poor of generations past, who had a much better chance of becoming middle class citizens by landing decent jobs and working their way up, Hamilton's working poor are stuck with few options. Try reaching for the middle class on the wages of a WalMart or dollar store employee.

Meanwhile, the people lucky enough to be middle class are spending all of their money in those same discount retailers, advancing the demolition of Canadian manufacturing by purchasing nothing but goods made in China and the destruction of Canadian retail by purchasing nothing but goods at the absolute lowest price - all the while looking down on the "misfits" staffing the cash registers.

Although the city is pursuing some initiatives that might improve Hamilton's prospects, like LRT and the economic cluster strategy, we continue to make many of the same bad decisions we've made for years: strip malls, greenfield development and sprawl on the outskirts, decaying infrastructure and a surfeit of parking lots downtown.

Many of Raise the Hammer's readers think that putting more affordable housing downtown is one of those mistakes, bad for the city and for the people it is intended to help. If you're one of these readers, I understand your frustration, but it is important to remember that these are problems of leadership and planning. They are not the fault of poor people.

Simply put, opposition to this plan does not need to incorporate disrespect towards others. Women are not skanks. People on welfare are not losers. There are major class overtones to this debate that are utterly unacceptable.

First comes hope, then opportunity, then business and investment, then profit and more investment, and then finally the vibrant, sustained, energetic revitalization of our downtown. Hope does not flourish in an atmosphere of contempt (political campaigns don't either).

I walked to the core with my two-year-old today. We went and got a couple of slices of pizza at the little place at the corner of King & James (not the Gino's, the other place that's been there forever), then took them over to Gore Park to eat.

We sat on a park bench together and ate, watching the fountain, the pigeons, and the people hanging around the park. It's clear that I earn more than most of the people who seem to be sitting in Gore Park at any given time. But who cares? The only attention we got was smiles and laughter as he chased pigeons. It was enjoyable.

As we were leaving, we passed a small table set up by the statue, where a few volunteers from Food not Bombs were serving food. They looked as scruffy as the scruffiest of folks in the park. "Hey," one of them said to me, "we've got some food here if you're hungry."

It looked tasty, but we'd already eaten. It was a meaningful gesture, though, and I realized that of all the many parks I've ever been in, I can't seem to recall any others where someone offered to feed me.

There's a simple word for what I was seeing: love.

That's all I'm looking for here.

Adrian Duyzer is an entrepreneur, business owner, and Associate Editor of Raise the Hammer. He lives in downtown Hamilton with his family. On Twitter: adriandz

77 Comments

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By beaslyfireworkstechnican (registered) | Posted September 17, 2009 at 01:09:23

Three quick maps. Feel free to interpret, do keep in mind how they differ from our recent conversations about "the core"...

25 Largest Social Housing Locations (excluding seniors exclusive housing) http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/display/geo...

All Multi-Unit Social Housing Locations (excluding seniors exclusive housing) http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/display/geo...

All Multi-Unit Social Housing Locations (including seniors exclusive housing) http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/display/125...

[data originally from the city's housing pdf, but email me and i'll send you the excel file we built]

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 17, 2009 at 01:21:13

Bravo, Adrian. Thank you for injecting some desperately-needed compassion and clear thinking into the issue.

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By beaslyfireworkstechnican (registered) | Posted September 17, 2009 at 01:25:35

ps, the data might not be perfect but its about seeing the larger trends.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted September 17, 2009 at 03:10:32

Adrian: This a great piece and I, for one am glad that you wrote. I don't feel so alone in my opinions.

People have to understand that the policies imposed the the harris government which striped people down so far and even today, the amounts received are not even liveable. Even if you found some work, you were penalized 100%, it may now be 50% or soon to be. People think that they get all these benefits but believe that don't, one must go through many channels. Coverage usually a bit better for the children but the parents, no.

The thing to remember is that it could happen to anyone, if you lose your job and just cannot find work, you could get sick and not have access to benefits.

Top that all off with temp work, our walmart jobs, wages have decreased across the board for many, many workers struggle, they have no beneftis and no pensions, no cahnce to save for retirement.

Anyways, Food no Bombs does some great food, it was real good at the anarchist bookfare a couple months back.

It should be noted that many who collect welfare are illerate, they still hold their heads up high.

Anyways, if you know someone who is having problems with welfare, they can contact the Peer to Peer mentoring at First Pilgrams United Church located on Main St just before Wellington, headed east.

lynn.p2p@gmail.com or call 905-524-0326.

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By Michelle Martin (registered) - website | Posted September 17, 2009 at 06:51:33

""I can live with a few skanks kicking around here and there." I read that other article too quickly-- a line like that doesn't belong anywhere in this debate.

Thanks for pointing it out, Adrian-- it needed to be said.

My own concern, having been (in another city) a support worker for intellectually handicapped individuals who were independent enough to live on their own in similar apartments, has always been about the suitability of the location itself for some who would definitely do better elsewhere. Let people who can make the choice to live downtown in complete freedom and who have the wherewithal to avoid the pitfalls surrounding the Connaught be the pioneers here. Give people who need a decent place to live somewhere that's already nice.

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By Jason (registered) | Posted September 17, 2009 at 07:26:36

Good piece Adrian. Although I must say, I've read the hundreds of comments posted on this issue and I think everyone has done a remarkable job keeping the focus on the proper issues: lack of vision at the city, another free developer handout and the dangers of ghettoization. I'm not sure you can take a single line from the thousands that have been written here in the past week and accuse everyone of blaming the poor. I haven't heard anyone blame them for this.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted September 17, 2009 at 07:47:21

Hi Jason, Reg made several completely unnecessary comments in his piece, which were mostly accepted in silence and then completed by this gem:

"But then again, you know what? I'm special. Who else puts up with this crap? Me and the few other special people who choose to live downtown are here for the 'bones' of the core, the moderate convenience and the hope that one day it will all come together."

As I had mentioned previously, I have no context for Reg, so maybe he's hilarious, and I missed a big meta joke, but to me, he comes off despising the people that live around him and can't wait for the day the inane, the insane, the skanks and the losers are gone, which apparently is all but him and a few other special people.

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 17, 2009 at 08:10:54

JonC, yea you gotta know Reg to get some of the one-liners in that piece. Knowing him like I do I found myself laughing at most of them. Don't confuse him with someone who has a hate-on for folks other than himself.
And at the end of the day, when you take his entire piece and look at what point he's making - it's the same one the rest of us are making - "if downtown is for everyone, where's the rest of everyone?"

Like me, and many others he wants a better balance downtown.

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By UrbanRenaissance (registered) | Posted September 17, 2009 at 08:17:34

beaslyfireworkstechnican, I'm curious where you got the data for the housing locations. Was it the pdf that I mentioned in this post? http://raisethehammer.org/blog.asp?id=15...

If so kudos to you, thats a lot of data that needed to be entered by hand. (If I hadn't been at work I might have given it a shot.)

JonC wrote:

"As I had mentioned previously, I have no context for Reg, so maybe he's hilarious, and I missed a big meta joke, but to me, he comes off despising the people that live around him and can't wait for the day the inane, the insane, the skanks and the losers are gone, which apparently is all but him and a few other special people."

I read the very same thing and thought he was just being a sarcastic wise-ass by using the same labels that outsiders would use. If he was being serious however that is unacceptable as this debate isn't about the people, but rather the policy. But I suppose that's the danger inherent in online debates which lack the non-verbal cues we all rely on for effective communication.

Aside from a few comments I was impressed with the level of civility in the posts this issue generated.

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By beaslyfireworkstechnican (registered) | Posted September 17, 2009 at 09:11:34

UrbanRenaissance

The data is from an undated document called "City Owned Housing Developments", available at www.myhamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/EB3E8A55-E9D1-413C-BACC-C139839CEFC2/0/ProjectListing.pdf

There is a slight difference in the dataset that we have (we have listed 6127 units total vs the number 6234 on the city's site) but, some other things we found:

  1. WHO IS HOUSED

Families 50% Seniors 41% Singles 9%

2 HOW THEY ARE HOUSED

Apartment 63 % Row / Townhouse 26 % Semidetached Hoe 4.5 % Single Family Home 4.8 %

  1. SENIORS HOUSING

Seniors Only - 65% Seniors + Singles - 30% Singles, Seniors and Families - 5%

One last methodological point, we cant just break this down as say "X Ward has all the Y people!". As talk of "mixture" needs to talk into account not just "units per ward", but also "units per ward population".

Of course, all of that works under the idea that we can assuming that

a)a proper "mix" (specific to our city) is a simple (and non-complex) knowable and rational judgment we can understand.

b)that people in social housing have less ability to contribute to this city and their role as citizens.

I would argue that both assumptions are false, and do very little to move us towards a compassionate and mutual city.

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By Tammany (anonymous) | Posted September 17, 2009 at 09:27:36

No one is BLAMING poor people at all. Get off the high horse.

This whole issue is about the tragic lack of vision and want of transparency in the decision making process.

To borrow John Costonis's terminology, the Connaught is an Icon (as opposed to an Alien), one of the very few we have left in this town. It is something which contributes to a "sense of self in a place." And a cabal of opportunistic developers, corrupt bureaucrats and cynical politicians are trying to rob us of it.

I for one am glad that people reacted to the proposal with such violence. It means that there's some hope for change in this town.

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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted September 17, 2009 at 10:04:18

I'd find Proverbs a bit more pointed on the topic of derision toward the poor:

17:5 - "He who mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker." 29:28 - "The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern."

And then you have the multiplicity of verses in there directing people to be generous, share their income, consider their plans, forgive debts and don't charge high interest or co-sign with anyone else.

ALL of that said... It's not derisive or mocking to understand reality of what it means to need all economic grouops. Without the rich, middle-income and moderately poor using their money, it's impossible to help the truly poor, whether you're talking about taxes or nonprofits or religious groups.

As I said before, no one group has a monopoly on character, or is inherently any better or worse. Often wealth provides camouflage to big problems . But it's willful myopia to think that certain problems do not attack certain economic groups more, or that being poor involves special virtue.

You can very well be poor and have the character of Mother Teresa and the artistic ability of Picasso, but that won't keep downtown businesses going. I'm intelligent enough to acknowledge that reality about myself and the economic contribution I can make, and I'd hope other people are also picking up on that point.

It doesn't matter that I give about fifteen percent of what I make away, because I also make 'squat.' Without people richer than me giving their money (and time) away as well, a lot of nonprofits that help poor people would have to shut down. It doesn't matter (much) that I spend downtown, because my spending power is also pretty much squat. Without people richer than me spending their money downtown, not a lot of businesses are kept going.

All that to say... discussion about how the city works and how to improve can acknowledge economic realities - and the need for all groups of people in every situation.

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By Reg Beaudry (anonymous) | Posted September 17, 2009 at 10:38:41

Adrian writes with regard to my article:

"Simply put, opposition to this plan does not need to incorporate disrespect towards others. Women are not skanks. People on welfare are not losers"

Hold on a second my friend, I never once said that women were skanks and people on welfare were losers. That's your interpretation my friend. Perhaps you need to dig a little deeper into your soul to find out why you came to that conclusion. I wrote skanks and losers. Period.

Just for clarification, partial definition of 'skank', as it has evolved, means a person who has little respect for him or herself and others around them. So lets say you spit on a business man downtown just for sh*ts and giggles, (true story) that's a pretty 'skanky' thing to do. You can be black, white, gay, straight, male or female, or whatever, it doesn't matter. It's skanky. :o

I am not against poor people, I'm against concentration of a single group of individuals. If we are to be inclusive, then were are the 'creative class' for example. The opposite to this situation is Burlington. I'm not big on that city for the exact same reasons. It's all concentrated on one group of people. It's not mixed.

And downtown Hamilton is mixed, which is great, but the scale has tipped over, to the point that many, many people do not want to be a part of it. It's business at this point. And so, much like a downtown cop on the beat, you tend to get a little jaded and frustrated. Have you ever spoken to a downtown cop? Out of all the many cops I know, I know of one who lives downtown, a super cool guy, but he in fact is 'special' for the reason he's bucking the trend where most of his colleagues get the hell out of dodge the moment their shift is over.

And believe it or not, I'm not a bad person, :). Sarcastic, yes (and for the record, my article was tongue in cheek, glad most people got that) but far from evil. I mean, (and this is kinda funny lol) I was awarded the 'student of the year award for displaying the most christian like attitudes' back at St. Annes in a yes, mixed urban setting (please stop laughing, lol). Rich, pour, white, black, you name it, it was all there and I have nothing but fond memories of it. I've reafirmed on many occastions that it indeed takes a village to raise a child. But if the village is all down and out, who are the rest going to learn from? Santa Claus?

If I really felt the way you think I feel, would I really be living and loving in Hamilton, let alone downtown Hamilton. For God's sakes, I put my money were my mouth was and opened up a business right smack in the middle of the city. My second to be exact and I'm working on a third as we speak.

The thing is, we all need to live together but we don't have to be in the same living room. An art gallery, a coffee shop, a condo, a geared to income building, an ethnic restaurant, etc etc, all in a wonderful urban setting, but we don't have to be in one big mall type building and have us all bleed from one person to the next.

Anyhow Adrian, I think we met once at the market. You seem like a great guy and I think it's great that you've embarrassed urban living. Keep it up. I mean it.

:)

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 17, 2009 at 10:44:44

he's "embarrassed" urban living??? LOL. gotta love the inability to edit comments on here eh?

I'd like to see the ragtag group of kids you went to school with if you won the 'most Christlike attitude award' WOW!! LOL

I'm sure everyone agrees with me that we totally appreciate guys like you Reg. Putting your money where your mouth is take a lot of guts in this city. It's easy for those of us who live on the periphery of downtown to hang around downtown here and there and then head back to the quiet retreat of Strathcona or the SW. You're in middle of it all, in 'the belly of the beast' as another downtown dwelling friend of mine says, and we are grateful for guys like you trying to make a difference.

Cheers

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By Tammany (anonymous) | Posted September 17, 2009 at 10:51:40

I'm glad Reg responded.

The sanctimony of this article article is just too much to bear. "Unacceptable attitudes"? Come on. I feel like I'm at a meeting of the corporate diversity council.

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By synxer (registered) | Posted September 17, 2009 at 11:20:12

I smell a little political grandstanding.

I didn't really get a sense that people on RTH were belittling the poor. Of course, there were some exceptions. Not enough to justify this sort of 'sit in the corner for 10 minutes' timeout overtone.

People are venting their frustrations. This is what RTH is for.

The bleeding hearts have their place. The world wouldn't be as sound without these mentalities. But behind all goodwill, including humanitarian aid, there is a plan, a scheme, a methodology to fixing the problem. Rooms where people don't get spiraled into woes, or the degrade of contributions by soe. And instead look at it systematically and progressively. A few comments aside, I felt that here at RTH.

As I've mentioned before, I come from a pretty impoverished background. For 19 years of my life, I was very close the poorest of poor. My family was known to Food Banks, "geared-to-income-housing", shelters, etc. With all experiences in life, you're granted to speak on those experiences educated and informed. As such, I feel I can speak not for the people, but the end result.

The end result in the Connaught being converted to "mixed" (more probable: most low-income) housing is salt on a wound.

For some, that might spell out "hate" towards the poor. I don't think it does. I think it actually spells out the opposite.

We don't want poor people. Does that mean the entity of the poor person? Or the problem behind the poverty? I think on RTH it is relatively clear which is which.

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By Wemi (anonymous) | Posted September 17, 2009 at 11:22:01

Let's face it, the word skank is a term used towards women, not men. I find it offensive and find it interesting that the writer cannot accept responsibility for it. It's an incredibly oppressive word and I don't believe for a minute that it was meant to describe men and women, or just people who have "little respect for him or herself and others". I am much more intelligent than that and so are your other readers.

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By frank (registered) | Posted September 17, 2009 at 11:49:14

Wemi, regardless of your personal interpretation of the word, Reg is right in using it if he chooses to. It's complete definition includes "used especially of a woman or girl" however, strictly speaking, it can be used as both. The term "slut" would've been what you're equating "skank" to.

Whatever happened to calling a spade a spade anyway? When did it become a stick with a wide steel blade at the end? If the author chooses to use a certain term, it's not you're job to judge him based on your personal interpretation of the word.

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By Reg Beaudry (anonymous) | Posted September 17, 2009 at 11:52:37

LOL, god I need an editor. I meant to say EMBRACED, not embarrassed. That's funny. Sorry Adrian and Thanks Jason.

And Wemi, not sure what rock you're living under but the definition of 'skank' has indeed changed greatly. I guess being 'gay' means you're happy all the time...

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted September 17, 2009 at 12:14:09

I agree with your point Adrian. I've never felt threatened or unsafe downtown, and some of those "poor losers" are much more friendly and helpful than the citizens in Ancaster who are liable to run you over if you get between them and their morning Latte.

I agree with you that legitimate reasons are getting confused with more biased derision against the poor.

There is nothing wrong with the working poor. There may be something wrong with concentrating the working poor in one location of the city. We see it in the challenges that the schools in the Barton St. East neighbourhood face, we see it in US cities and their inner city schools and neighbourhoods. Not only is it not good for the neighbourhood, but it's not good for the people themselves, especially the children, to be concentrated in such low income neighbourhoods.

There should not be barriers and divisions in neighbourhoods separating the "wealthy" from the "poor". The most livable cities, in my opinion, are those that provide for a vibrant community that is diverse in every sense of the word: Income, race, age, nationality, etc.

It can happen in Hamilton. One only has to look at the art crawls on James St. North and the wide variety of people in attendance to know what a truly diverse and integrated city can look like!

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By Publius Ovidius Naso (anonymous) | Posted September 17, 2009 at 12:36:15

I was on my way back to Rome last night, deeply happy that Adrian and Ryan started to douse the illogical fires lit by Jason, Reg and Tammany. I ended up missing my flight as I stopped to watch the Beasely Firefighter Tech's (BFT) heroic attempts late into the night to fight the backdraft - by logically ventilating the issues with facts.

Ready to leave again this morning, I caught the smoke still emanating from the many fires in Hamilton, and have decided to hang for a bit longer to see how this plays out.

BFT's approach if supported by Adrian and Ryan totally - will curtail the damage done to this platform, and lead to the proper re-framing of issues and questions - and the discovery a clear path on which Reg's "rest of everyone" will be able to walk with a clean conscience to begin populating a multi-class society in the core.

Almost forgot to mention, that I did receive a text message from Santa who is still in Portland. He was peeved that Jason still does not get the reasons as to why he had to leave Hamilton for the coast. He can't wait to return with the Christmas gift for Jason - but will wait until Jason sorts out the meanings of class, mass and density - as he feels it will just way be too expensive for him to gift three segregated LRT lines for the different classes that exist in Jason, Reg and Tammany's minds.

I did ask him how he felt about the other two, and - with Reg he was still just plain pissed for desecrating the gifts of 'seeing' that he had given him in the past; and with Tammny, well, he counter posed with - but can he play music and create art with the same passion he has for class?? He signed off by alluding to Richard Florida and his vain attempts to broaden the definition of his Creative Class thing - just to push his book sales and consulting gigs, and further enlightened me on the damage that this has done to the "true artists" who now have to mingle with potty-mouth bartenders and lawyers - who are beginning to jive to "movin' on up, To the east side…" - without them ever having to cut their teeth or even an ear or two on the altar of excellence in the arts, for earning the privilege of being in the creative class!!

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By beaslyfireworkstechnician (anonymous) | Posted September 17, 2009 at 12:37:19

>If the author chooses to use a certain term, it's not you're job to >judge him based on your personal interpretation of the word.

hold up.

i thought the main goal of the internet was judgement.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 17, 2009 at 12:41:27

Yeah. Where's the fun if we can't make wild assumptions and jump to conclusions?

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By beaslyfireworkstechnician (anonymous) | Posted September 17, 2009 at 13:03:59

AND

Pheasent Plucker (20 auguasta)
tonight
7pm

be there, everyone's too interesting/judgmental/opinionated to be doing other things.

find the person you disagree with most, and buy them a beer.



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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 17, 2009 at 13:11:21

How late do you think you'll be there? I'm gonna try to make it, but it won't be much before 9.

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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted September 17, 2009 at 13:39:51

if you're going later and people are staying, i'd like to catch the end of this if possible, but can't get there till around 9 if my other thing finishes early. (and it would be nice to recognize at least one face :P)

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By reuben (registered) - website | Posted September 17, 2009 at 13:41:55

i might be there, but it wont be until about 8 or 9 either.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted September 17, 2009 at 13:44:41

Hey Publius please grind your personal axe somewhere else, I'm still choking from all the dust coming off of your last comment. So you don't like Reg, take it up with Reg and stop using this issue as an excuse to "Publiusly" attack him.

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By Sasky (anonymous) | Posted September 17, 2009 at 17:16:14

>>Let's face it, the word skank is a term used towards women, not men. I find it offensive and find it interesting that the writer cannot accept responsibility for it.

Hear hear! The only reason the internet is a place where any idiot can say what they want with zero consequences is because people let them. If you want to be taken as credible, avoid the incindiary rhetoric. And getting pedantic on the meaning of the word skank doesn't demonstrate intelligence, only an inability to own up to what comes out of your mouth/fingers/whatever.

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By rusty (registered) - website | Posted September 17, 2009 at 17:35:42

Curious that we are now discussing the discussion instead of the issue that inspired it...

The Connaught is going to be affordable housing! Isn't anyone mad about that? Or has the old Hamilton lethargy 'this always happens to us...we deserve it' attitude taken over already?

It's sad that Hamilton council cannot use their powers to create some demand for high end housing/retail/services/employment that the Hammer so sorely needs. Every town needs money and, by entension, people who have money. This has never been a discussion castigating the poor, it's been about injecting something that Hamilton needs very badly - cash.

So sad that the only major developments in Hamilton right now relate to matters other than that.

We need to stop apologizing for ourselves and start thinking about where we go from here.

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 17, 2009 at 18:21:54

don't worry Rusty. There is a lot happening downtown right now other than construction of subsidized housing.
For example:

http://www.thespec.com/News/BreakingNews...

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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted September 17, 2009 at 18:40:24

The above-mentioned project is interesting to see go up right by my work.

On the one hand, I think it'll be a good thing to have in the neighbourhood, like the methadone clinic. I've talked to people who are going to work there when it's done. I'm fully supportive of that project, although I wish it was designed better.. way better.

And the fact that over two dozen bylaws are broken/given a variance to get the project in place is a bit concerning. And I do sympathize with the businesses who have been there 30, 40, 50 years and are not likely to see any increase in clientele.

Some will though (haircuts and food) --- but not the financial planners or places that sell $600 suits. However, I don't believe that this shelter will necessarily detract from their business either, because they're destination businesses people come from quite far to get to.

There's also a couple 10 and 12 unit buildings being fixed up on the opposite side of the street - trees going in and such. Stuff's coming along on that stretch -- If we finally get our pond/waterfall out front of where I work to obscure the parking lot and asphalt, I'll feel like we're contributing a bit more to the streetwall. However, the person who's donating it hasn't had a very good year business-wise (recession = people cutting back on landscaping/ponds) and may not be able to afford to till next year.

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By Mahesh P. Butani -- http://www.metroHami (anonymous) | Posted September 17, 2009 at 19:12:21

Rusty/ Ben Bull:


>>> It's sad that Hamilton council cannot use their powers to create some demand for high end housing/retail/services/employment that the Hammer so sorely needs.

How does one create demand for anything?

The pat answer is always: Branding, Promotion, Advertising, maybe a website upgrade with a lot of cool flash or even a flash-drive... All that has already been done to a degree - with incremental results.

Fixing up the downtown -- is the other pat answer. Added to this mix most recently is: the insidious notion of cherry-picking 'class' to quickly dress up the downtown window for attracting beautiful people with money!

Cities are not formed, shaped, molded or crafted that way.

Cities are essentially "emergent patterns of complex systems"**.

------
** "Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software" - is perfect book to start understanding how what we have taken for granted - really happens.

"Indeed, traditional cities—like the ones that sprouted across Europe between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries—are rarely built with any aim at all: they just happen. There are exceptions of course: imperial cities, such as St. Petersburg or Washington, D.C., laid out by master planners in the image of the state. But organic cities—Florence or Istanbul or downtown Manhattan—are more an imprint of collective behavior than the work of master planners. They are the sum of thousands of local interactions: clustering, sharing, crowding, trading—all the disparate activities that coalesce into the totality of urban living. (p. 109) "
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If we want meaningful understanding to emerge in our community with respect to our city's growth problems - we do need to stop shooting from the hips and start making a serious attempt to read, listen and talk more intelligently.

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By Jelly (anonymous) | Posted September 17, 2009 at 19:19:38

I'm glad you wrote this, Adrian. I'm glad I'm not the only one who was put off by the tone of Reg's article. I've known Reg for a few years, and I respect his efforts to support the core. I even think he hit on some great points in some parts of the article, especially pointing out that many of the people who are charged with making decisions that affect the core choose to live elsewhere. Unfortunately, the good points made were overshadowed by some pretty cynical attitudes about the core, and an assumption that unelected 'special people' have any right to decide who should and shouldn't live in the downtown core.

I get all the points made about concentration of social housing and social services in the core, and to an extent I agree with those points. Also, I don't think the consortium deserves a penny from the city to go ahead with this project or any other. As someone who would agree with almost all the main points made against the development, I found the article riddled with some real contempt for those with less financial means and less education- sarcastic or not. Not all readers have the advantage of understanding your particular sense of humor, and if I were a casual observer, I'd be so turned off by the language used in this diatribe that I would probably end up not supporting any part of your point of view.

And go pour your own goddamn wine...

;)

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By beaslyfireworkstechnican (registered) | Posted September 17, 2009 at 22:51:13

Nice job on ANGRY DRINKS everyone!

Beers, shots, nachos, awkward introductions and listening. (where were you A Smith? you'd drink for free!)

See you all THURS NOV 19, same place, same time.

[it's not really about being part of this city till be listen to those we disagree with]

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By joe cool (anonymous) | Posted September 17, 2009 at 23:29:05

please stop un-cooling the last cool bar in the city

oops too late

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted September 18, 2009 at 01:35:59

It was great to meet all those who showed up tonight. Everyone who did show up was so passionate and wonderful. It was a great experience, thanks so much beasley for suggesting this meet up.

Actully some things, perceptions were cleared up. It seems to me that those who did show up are very passionate about our city and the people who live here.

It was great to meet those and I hope that we can meet up again and enjoy each others company.

I learned something tonight and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to talk to others.

If things are to move forward, well then we all have to meet face to face and discuss the issues as we feel about things.

Grassroots means to get together and collectively work together to achieve an end.

Love and peace to all

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By joe idiot (anonymous) | Posted September 18, 2009 at 01:36:00

>joe cool

geez, if you're going to troll, don't half-ass it.

the internet = serious business

feel free to join the group next time if you're not too busy in your parents basement, k?

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By Taxman (registered) | Posted September 18, 2009 at 07:43:53

I agree, angry drinks were well done! So well done in fact that they convinced me, a lurker, to create an account.

It was great meeting everyone! I would definitely do it again.

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By Michelle Martin (registered) - website | Posted September 18, 2009 at 08:15:10

Sounds like ANGRY DRINKS were a lot of fun-- sorry to have missed it. Glad to hear there's another one planned.

RTH has one of the most polite comboxes around, really. Even the trolls are pretty polite, compared (no Godwin's Law stuff here).

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 18, 2009 at 08:32:42

I'm also sorry for not being able to drop in - I've been burning the candle at both ends lately and had fallen asleep by about 9:00 PM. However, I've already marked the next ANGRY DRINKS on my calendar - thanks again, Beasley, for organizing it!

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By Tammany (anonymous) | Posted September 18, 2009 at 09:42:42

I wish I could have made it. I will be there next time, no question.

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By A sign of the times ... (anonymous) | Posted September 18, 2009 at 10:49:07

grassroots -- Blaming the Harris Goverment for today's problems is laughable. Harris did something that every other politician is afraid to do - reward hard working individuals with lower taxes and peanilize those who take advantage of the system. Nobody wants to be on welfare, but people should be encouraged to get off of it as quickly as possible. There are families who have been on welfare of generations, literally. I would much rather have Harris in power, rather than the current goof ball who will be making the poor poorer with the new HST.

Yes, I shop at Future Shop and Ikea. Yes, the vast majority of the electronics and furniture I own are made in China. That being said, socia1ist, union-friendly goons are the ones to blame. Their high wages, generous benefits and pensions are to blame. Look at US Steel Canada, Railcar, GM, Chrysler and to a lesser extent Ford. I have absolutely no sympathy for those who got laid off after milking their employers for years.

Food Not Bombs is run by a bunch of pot smoking Commies. These idiots are so high on weed, they don't even know the nonsense they're spewing. If they got their heads out of their asses, they'd know that the force being used in Afghanistan is preventing another 9/11.

As for the plans for the Connaught... The only way Hamilton is going to get the Downtown Core up and running again is to get the riff-raff out. The Core needs people who have income to support downtown business ...... not welfare scabs who buy pop, chips and pizza at the corner store.

For the record, I am self-employed, I work 7 days a week and break my back to pay my bills. I'm not rich by any means. If I can do it, so can everyone else.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 18, 2009 at 11:55:23

Grassroots wrote:

Actully some things, perceptions were cleared up. It seems to me that those who did show up are very passionate about our city and the people who live here.

Right back atcha. It was great fun. I have to admit, I was a little ambivalent about going. I was afraid it would be a bit of a group hug thing to 'heal' some imagined rift (sorry, Beasely ;D), but it was a hoot. So glad I made the effort, and so glad the rest of you did too.

And so glad we've drawn you out into the sunlight, taxman. Looking forward to your trenchant commentary! :)

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted September 18, 2009 at 12:51:39

Sign of the times:

The Harris government lowered the provincial tax rates but the municipal tax rates started to soar, so what savings did you really get?

I see that you are self-employed, so I have ask this question: What if you got sick with a serious illness and could not work. What would you do then? One does not get on ODSP right away, it takes years, so in the meantime, you are left with welfare to support you. So if you are a single person, can you live on $572.00 per month? Do you think that would be fair?

The current system does little to help people to move forward. You would have to experience it to know about the system. You cannot lump all those accessing the services into one big lump. Many who are on the system cannot write, read or have a hard time doing simple math. Maybe the problem lies that they have had learning disabilities, that were not caught? I mean it is pretty hard today to find work without Grade 12.

Whatever you personal feelings are about unions, that fact remains that the labour movement brought forth things like number of hours one works, health and safety, benefits and pensions for when you retire. If you are employing people are you abiding by legislated labour laws under employment standards, Occupational Health and Safety Act, or some other legislation beyond OH&S, as there are other regulatory bodies that the act itself refers too.

You blame the unions but no blame on those at the top of the corporate structure which have caused many problems we are experiencing today. How come all those big banks and so on have been bailed out? Is that not a form of welfare? Or do you think that this type of welfare is acceptable? I do not think it is right to move jobs from here to other countries where labour rights are non existant. The corporate world wants free trade, open borders but when it comes to standardizing labour rights globally well they have a problem with that. This way they can exploit workers across the globe and you buy into this scenerio. It says alot about who you are.

And as far as you comment about Afghanistan preventing another 9/11, that is a joke. You may believe the official story but I do not. Those from Food not Bombs are trying to help those who are struggling which is more than what you are doing because you only look out for yourself and not the community at large.

Oh and by the way, I did not vote for McQuinty. I agree with you that the HST is going to put more strains on all people.

One of the causes of the french revolution was that the country was bankrupt, they sent an army to the US as a way to get back at the british. There was a couple of bad growing seasons and those at that bottom were really struggling. So King Louis taxed the flour in order to raise money to pay the bills for sending troops across the ocean, bread was the mainstay of the people at the bottom and now they could not afford even to buy flour, so they were starving. Thus the people started to get angry and history has been recorded.

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By A sign of the times ... (anonymous) | Posted September 18, 2009 at 15:41:56

grassroots --

Regarding municipal property taxes "soaring," that is nonsense. Hamilton has been and probably always will be one of the highest taxed cities in Ontario. Why? Because this city is broken. You and I are paying for those with addiction and God bless 'em, those who don't feel like workin'. Gore Park and the Downtown Core is FULL of them. Why do you think Burlington's property taxes are so low?

If I got sick, I have this thing called a Rainy Day Fund. I live within my means, on a very tight budget. I save every penny possible. I also have critical illness insurance - something everyone should have. As far as mentally and physically disabled persons; I believe strongly that their welfare payments are too low and need to be increased immediately. I however feel that too many people who "don't feel like working" are receiving payments and those scammers should be put on a "Work for Welfare" program. There are families in this city who have been on welfare for generations, literally!

As for those who are illeterate, can't do math or simple problem solving, too bad. Unless they have a mental or physical handicapt, I have no sympathy to those who made poor decisions in their early years. They chose not to finish high school and must live with their decision.

Yes, the so called "Labour Movement" did bring forward some very good policies in their early years. However, they got greedy. I will never forget how hostile the employees of US Steel Canada were against management. Always fighting, never happy, blah blah blah ... give me a break. If Dofasco is haveing a tough quarter, they switch to 3 or 4 days work weeks. Yes, it's painful, but the employees there atleast understand economic conditions. Come on, can you actually listen to Ken Lewenza without wanting to puke? He's a Communist!

I like how you assume that I favour bank bailouts. I would like to remind you that Canada had no bank, insurance or corporate bailouts. Unless you consider lower corprate taxes to keep people employed a bailout... which you probably do. The Canadian/Provincial Goverment was forced to bail out the unionized auto industry because the United States did so.

As for the fight against terrorism, lets agree to disagree. You can't fight terrorism with flowers. I don't know what will need to happen to western civilization to make you realize this. Canadians and other NATO Countires are in Afghanistan to help women and children go to school, work and yes, be treated like human beings.

I only look out for myself? Wow. You are so wrong my friend. If you only knew how much I give to various charities - which is my choice and not the Goverment.

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By birdie (registered) | Posted September 18, 2009 at 16:19:07

@Reg sometimes it's not what you say it's how you say it. Compassion and sensitivity = good.

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By WRCU2 (registered) - website | Posted September 19, 2009 at 08:21:44

I am always too late for the really great threads. I suppose that's because I wait for the RTH head's up email notifications rather than lurk here daily.

Generally speaking the Connaught approval was part of an all or nothing package deal: "The city's lawyer advised council it should either reject or accept all six projects and cautioned against singling out the Connaught." http://thespec.com/News/Local/article/63...

This is a major blow to a city core which lacks sufficient hotel rooms for things like big conventions. Oh well, more water under the bridge. There were some very interesting currents from virtually everyone here including Ben Bull aka rusty who cautioned against "discussing the discussion" and Mahesh P. Bhutani who suggested "start making a serious attempt to read, listen and talk more intelligently."

I am personally delighted to hear about, yet sorry I missed, the ANGRY DRINKS meet up. It is wonderful when we can acquaint a warm body, with the hot and cold words so often spoken here.

For the record, I'd like to share my thoughts on affordability through the words in a book titled, "The Amish of Canada" by Orland Gingerich, Conrad Press, 1972; Chapter 8 - Issues of Church and State, pgs. 132 & 133:

"The fact that the Amish do not accept government hand- outs, or welfare payments, and do take care of there own members' needs, was no doubt a factor in the government's decision to exempt them from the Canada Pension Plan.

Another aspect of the Amish protest against the welfare state is what we might term their work ethic. They believe it is wrong to get something not worked for. They also tend to look at the welfare system as undermining personal respon- sibility and encouraging laziness and graft. In the simple rural life-style of the Amish, older people do not need a pension. They live with their children, although usually in a separate part of the house. They usually have some income from the farm which they owned and their children are now paying for. Family allowance is looked upon as a government device to claim the lives of the children, especially sons, in the event of war. Since none of these government aids is compulsory they pose no problem. The Amish simply do not apply for them.

Probably the greatest current threat of the welfare prog- ram is the fact that it threatens to rob the church of expressing its traditional brotherhood concept in a practical way. What long range effects this will have remains to be seen."

I think we "English" can see that now, plain as day. We have allowed ourselves to accumulate a lot of bagg- age through a generational welfare system, a lax work ethic and our separation from the God who created us, in pursuit of complex, self-serving, pleasure seeking life-styles as though our own "Rumspringa" was meant to last a lifetime. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devil%2...

Now look at us, we will be seeing the conversion of a once grand edifice risen into a brick and mortar tent city. And much like modern medicine, applying an entirely new affordable housing industry around the treatment of symptoms, instead of plying upon the cures. Calling a spade a spade it's another shovel full of curse.

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By D. Shields (registered) | Posted September 19, 2009 at 11:58:42

I'm going to post this a 2nd. time. The original was in The Mad Connaught thread. My original post for some reason did not appear.

Nobody is going to buy deluxe accomodation in downtown Hamilton. If you've got $300,000.00 to spend on a condo, why would you plonk that kind of money in Hamilton? I don't care what you build they ain't gonna come, or not in sufficient numbers to fill the core. What Hamilton has going for it is Affordabilty. What Is It about that that some people don't seem to understand?

Companies move here for cheap labour, & cheap buildings & overhead. They don't come here for Dundurn Castle, Hess St., or the AGH.

Downtown Hamilton is poor, as are most city cores, but most city cores have some diversity in income. Hamilton doesn't as much because it has focused all it's energy & money in Urban Sprawl.(& "You gits what you pays for.")

There are a lot efforts going on to pigeon-hole "The Poor". A lot of older people who thought they had enough $$ to retire comfortably will not, thanks to our recent & ongoing recession. These people may need assistance to be properly housed. Single family support mothers with their kids make up a great %age of the poor, as do seniors (mostly elderly women who are the Poorest of the Poor.) & persons with handicaps & chronic illness.

(No, OHIP doesn't pay for everything! Get sick & find this out! You might also what to find out what the wait times are for DARTS, & if most people that clearly need it can even qualify for it. I guess this means a bigger investment in DARTS, or maybe just worse service?)

I find it very distasteful that Some people think that women with their children, elderly people, formerly middle class retirees, & a few people with diabetes, or in wheelchairs or walkers will somehow destroy the "Tone" of a downtown that has already seen better days. (& it not likely going to see it's former ?Glory? ever again, thank to the folks we keep electing.)

You don't have anything remotely resembling adequate public transit in your 'Burbs. You don't have hospital facilities & not much in the way of outpatient clinics either. We are creating a generation of Mall Rats. (public transit that only goes to The Mall.)

There are not not a lot of things for people to do, esp. with kids. Suburban anywhere means long walks for groceries, stores, libraries, doctors & dentists. Are you asking people with low incomes to buy cars, or just wait @ bus stops for hours, take cab$$, or hike home with a week's worth of food? You are asking these folks to pay more out of pocket to simply live. (& YEAH... many things cost more in the 'burbs! Sports & Rec., the movies, & some food items. )

Some of "The Poor' have addiction problems. (So do some of the very rich!) I think many of the people who are righting/ranting about "The Poor" have no idea whom they are talking about. They want to lump everyone in the same category with the homeless, the street people & the substance addicts. I'd also like to note that these people who want "The Poor" deported from downtown, want them deported to a suburb Far Away from Them.

I live in the Suburbs & I know what is & isn't available here. I'm aware of how much more money it costs to live here than in Hamilton. Why would anybody expect "The Poor" to pay more to live, & function? If this attitude isn't dumping on your fellow humans, I don't know what is. : (

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted September 19, 2009 at 21:23:17

Adrian >> What people in Hamilton really need is hope and opportunity, but they are given so little of that.

James 4:2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.

>> For whatever reasons, other cities' stars have grown brighter while Hamilton's dimmed, and this has hurt a lot of people.

This city was built by people with a vision. They planted thoughts/seeds of success and prosperity and attracted millions of dollars in investment. Today, the mindset of Hamilton is one of mediocrity and sin. We have replaced our dreams for the safety of government handouts, stolen from people who do follow their dreams.

To bring us back to out roots as creators of our own destiny, let's brainstorm and come up with some ideas to make Hamilton the best city in the world. Then, all we will have to do is take the steps to get there. These ideas can include the types of businesses you want, the types of jobs/wages, neighbourhoods, buildings, attractions, anything that you feel is good.

If enough people can plant the seeds of these positive ideas on the universe, it won't be long before the universe gives in and gives us what we demand from it. Reality is nothing but what we tell it to be. Let's start demanding more.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted September 20, 2009 at 12:57:32

D Shields: The problem lies in that many people do not understand the makeup of all those that struggle, as you have pointed out. Labels are easy to throw around.

There are many out there in the community who some would deem as the "undesirables", who are very active, volunteering, by getting on committees and such in an effort to bring the voices of all those who struggle to the forefront.

There are so many things we need to look at and WRCU2 has brought up a very valid point that we are creating an affordable housing industry, which goes along with the poverty industry, the temp industry and so on, which for the most part does little to actually move people away from the poverty cycle, in fact, in most cases they contribute. Here is only one example

http://www.thestar.com/news/ontario/article/698100

There are many problems in this city but people need to get involved, particpate, lend their voice. Communication does not only mean talking but listening as well.

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By joejoe (anonymous) | Posted September 20, 2009 at 16:45:24

If there's one industry Hamilton has invested in with great success, it's the poverty industry...

To D Shield's comment - I'm at a loss as to why anyone who has been reading these threads believes the contributors are 'dumping on the poor'. The point has been made time and again - low income ghettos do not serve anyone well, least of all people with little money.

Yes downtown has good access to social services and yes the suburbs are not well connected. But that's no reason for us to maintain the status quo. You get what you build for and right now downtown Hamilton services one main industry - the poverty industry. Ask yourself - is this good for people in poverty? Is this good for Hamilton?

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted September 20, 2009 at 23:40:30

Grassroots, assuming that you believe a job is better than a handout, what types of jobs would you like to see for the people of Hamilton?

Give me an idea of the type of wages, working conditions, and opportunities these jobs would have. Where would they be located and how many people would they employ?


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By A sign of the times ... (anonymous) | Posted September 21, 2009 at 01:11:10

My heart goes out to all the business owners in the downtown core. Not only are they batteling with the recession and high unemployment, they will soon be fighting with even more slow moving scooters, bums and scum. I'm sorry, but I can't go downtown to eat. My appretite mysteriously disappears as soon as I get out of my car. A good diet, yes, but definately not a place I would take my friends or family out to for a night of fun.

The city should charge admission to Gore Park.

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By frank (registered) | Posted September 21, 2009 at 13:23:46

WRCU2, subscribe via RSS and you'll get the links as soon as the article is posted...

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By D. Shields (registered) | Posted September 21, 2009 at 23:49:03

Quote, "If there's one industry Hamilton has invested in with great success, it's the poverty industry..."

I think we all know that there Is a Poverty Industry, much of it Government generated. We assisted single Moms on welfare in the '80s, got them ready & confident enough to return to school, only to have their welfare workers tell them. 'It was the biggest mistake of their lives to get out of The System. & - If you won't think of yourself, then think of your children.' The Poor are a 'Market just like any other.

Hamilton has marketed itself on CHEAP for decades, esp. after the heavy industry was in decline. Who are it's residents to argue with Hamilton's current marketing gimmick? If you work in Hamilton for a company with branch offices throughout Ontario or Canada you probably earn substantially less than your counterparts in the other offices. Cuz "That's the we like it -uh hu8h uh huh." How Do you get a middle class, let alone an upper middle class, to buy those condos @ The Connaught with the stainless steel appliances ;-) (that we don't make anymore) unless you import your condo buyers? From Where?

Quote: "To D Shield's comment - I'm at a loss as to why anyone who has been reading these threads believes the contributors are 'dumping on the poor'. The point has been made time and again - low income ghettos do not serve anyone well, least of all people with little money."

Well, here's a quote from 2 inches up the thread: "My heart goes out to all the business owners in the downtown core. Not only are they batteling with the recession and high unemployment, they will soon be fighting with even more slow moving scooters, bums and scum. I'm sorry, but I can't go downtown to eat. My appretite mysteriously disappears as soon as I get out of my car. A good diet, yes, but definately not a place I would take my friends or family out to for a night of fun.

The city should charge admission to Gore Park.


You don't find the words Scum,& Bum. offensive? I don't know these people, & I suggest the author doesn't either. Personally, I worry more about those scooters that do zero to 60 in 5 seconds. :-) As long as people won't eat or shop downtown, might I suggest they are doing their part in bankrupting the business owners that they pretend to sympathize with?

Mixed housing is the best solution-Always. Do you think that walled enclaves for the rich make any more sense? But I guess you think that it doesn't cost you money so it's O.K...? I does cost you money.

Right now @ Jarvis & Shuter in Toronto, The Salvation Army are building an 8 story, 1/2 block long high rise for men in difficulty. To the East are Ontario housing bldgs., 1 block East & immediately to the South of the Sally Ann high rise are many luxury condo's & apartments. It's not important that planners don't see a problem with it. Maybe the important thing is the people who are buying/renting the luxury units don't have a problem with it.

Quote: "Yes downtown has good access to social services and yes the suburbs are not well connected. But that's no reason for us to maintain the status quo. You get what you build for and right now downtown Hamilton services one main industry - the poverty industry. Ask yourself - is this good for people in poverty? Is this good for Hamilton?"

No it's not, but do you think that City Hall, or Government on any level is going to listen any harder once people are shunted out to the burbs. How many debates have we had here about Public Transit & LRT? (I'm assuming most of the people here are neither poor not homeless. :-) Public transit still sux, & it costs more. We still don't have LRT., not even in the construction phase.

(Why Why Why do people always see "The Poor" as great consumers of social services? Many people are Simply Poor, not mixed up, not doped up, & not alcholics. Their kids are fine. This is another stereotype that needs to get nipped in the bud. Stop playing the blame game! If you raised 3 kids on your own on waitress wages & educated them, chances are you are poor, but that doesn't make you an addict, scum or a bum! I can't help it if the only poor you Choose to notice are ranting on a corner.)

'Relocation' will serve one purpose however, to get concentrations of the poor out of the City core. These folks will no longer be able to vote as a block for people who Might be able to instigate change & help them. More than social services, there are no more hospitals outside the downtown core. If you want to admit that a sizable number of the poor are also the sick ( Most Stats seem to confirm that)where are these people to go for treatment & how are they to get there?

Heavy industry Always brings with it chronic illness. These might explain the number of scooters downtown. If these people got sick working to build this City, who are you to tell them to 'Get Out & take your scooter with you'?

Given the choice between passing some guy carrying on a conversation with himself on the sidewalk at night, or walking near Hess St. after dark, avoiding a bunch of middle class drunks...? Give me the the harmless monologue geezer any day. I'm not going to get any trouble from him.

(P.S. Some of the people who actually live in the Hess St. area are not so happy about it's transition to 'The Entertainment District'. They don't care how much money it makes for other people. They don't like cleaning up the barf, blood, garbage, feces & urine on their properties. Some of those suburban middle class drunks act worse than the stereotypical Homeless. But, if we see the home owners & tenants there as poor ( at least relative to us) then who really cares what they think, either? It's a slippery slope indeed!)

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By D. Shields (registered) | Posted September 22, 2009 at 01:05:18

P.S. When you assume your position as Distinguished Research Chair at the University of Waterloo, Stephen Hawking, don't you dare come to Downtown Hamilton. They don't want you, or your scooter here. :P

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By zookeeper (registered) | Posted September 22, 2009 at 08:27:36

@D Shields, Given the massive downvotig of "By A sign of the times" comment, it's fair to say that their opinions aren't reflective of what most people here believe. Also it's obvious they're just trolling.

Instead of gratifying their comment with a response however well written, it's better to just reply with the down arrow and move on.

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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted September 22, 2009 at 16:45:12

I'm a little frustrated by the sweeping generalizations on both sides here.

Sure, there's hardworking poor people who have built this city and people legitimately disabled, and many seniors in scooters. I'd agree with the sentiment that I'd prefer them near me than another middle-class drunk.

But there's also lots of people who I really don't want to be around who don't provide any real contribution to the city. Just a few here... - People like the guy who gets on the bus with me in the morning, and gets off to beg downtown. It's not just Toronto where people leave their nice homes to beg with "homeless" signs. Not acceptable. - The drug dealers and their hangers-on. just... no. - And people who just plain don't wanna work and figure they'll hang out in a free, pleasant environment. (And I know how tempting/easy that lifestyle seems when it's all around you. I was talking recently to someone in my extended family who's finding it hard to motivate themselves. All their friends are finding backdoors into disability or welfare or insurance payouts, and some have become quite comfortable doing it for years. But it doesn't make it right. My family member needs to separate themselves from those people. If you can work, you should.)

This broad-brush stereotyping of the "all poor are virtuous" or the "all poor are despicable" has to stop though. There's both types of poor people in Gore Park.

But you can't separate out both types in any meaningful way. You can't sift through people and make "deserving" and "not deserving" groups. The only solution is to make sure that all of our poor have homes all around the city, so that there isn't a critical mass of self-perpetuating patterns or need concentrated in one area or building.

So that those who deserve a better environment and better surroundings can have it, and those who need a better environment to lift them out of negative patterns can be gifted with it - and even if they don't take advantage of it, they're not the predominant influence in that setting.

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By A sign of the times ... (anonymous) | Posted September 22, 2009 at 21:51:31

I'm not surprised most people on this left-wing nut job site disagree with me. Continue what you've been doing wrong for the last 25 years ... we'll see where the Downtown Core is in another 5 years. I'm sure you also disagree with forceably removing the homeless off the streets during severe weather.

Tough love hurts, but is absolutely necessary to fix the downtown mess.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted September 22, 2009 at 22:43:34

I think a big part of Hamilton's problem is our belief system. We have been told so many times that we are "working class", Toronto's ugly cousin, that we adopt policies that align with this image of our community.

What if Hamilton started acting like we were the richest community in Canada. First of all, we wouldn't go overboard selling ourselves to the rest of Canada, because we wouldn't have to. Furthermore, a wealthy city doesn't worry about getting it's fair share of tax money, because they have more than they need. In fact, the opposite is true of wealthy communities, they raise money for people in other communities.

People say that we can't "afford" to lower tax rates because our property values are lower, well of course they are. Until we have the confidence to lower them, because we think bad things will happen, our fear will keep this city poor.

Rich people don't worry about spending money, because they don't fear being poor. What if we stopped fearing being poor? What if the people of Hamilton quit worrying and just enjoyed sharing our wealth with others.

Is it possible that by acting like a rich community long enough, we will eventually become what we believe?

www.ezinearticles.com/?Act-As-the-Person-You-Want-to-Be-and-It-Will-Happen&id=1946009

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted September 23, 2009 at 11:06:49

I'm sure you also disagree with forceably removing the homeless off the streets during severe weather.

Another point of view:

http://ccapvancouver.wordpress.com/2009/...

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By A sign of the times ... (anonymous) | Posted September 23, 2009 at 11:35:41

grassroots,

Perhaps you'd like to open your home to the over-flow? I hardly think the street would be a better option when temperatures hover around the -20C mark.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted September 23, 2009 at 11:45:00

A sign of the times: Did you even read the article? There are health and safety risks at the shelters.

Nobody wants anybody freezing in out in the streets.

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By synxer (registered) | Posted September 23, 2009 at 11:50:46

Is A Smith starting to make some sense? Or am I losing my mind?

Who knows, A Smith, if lowering taxes would have that effect. I don't know much about the end result. It sounds viable -- but I think there is some truth to what you're saying about the attitude aspect of Hamiltonians. We're very self-degrading at times :(

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 23, 2009 at 12:12:01

Is A Smith starting to make some sense?

Only in the sense that a broken watch sometimes gives you the right time.

ALL of the evidence from great cities all around the world tells us that great cities are places with excellent public and private amenities and a very high quality of life. This is what attracts the most productive people, as well as the businesses and investors that leverage their productivity to generate value.

No great city ever competed on price. In fact the opposite is true: great cities charge a very large premium to live and do business there, because the urban competitive advantages - the density, scale, association, and extension - outweigh the higher cost of doing business.

There is almost surely an important role to play in reducing the friction that goes along with investing in Hamilton, but that has as much to do with:

  • Establishing clear, simple, consistent rules;

  • Removing unreasonable regulatory and financial barriers to investment (like the ridiculous cash-in-lieu-of-parklands charge for infill development);

  • Establishing a firm urban boundary so that cheap rezoned farmland stops artificially undercutting infill development;

  • De-politicizing the approvals process (right now, too much city business is conducted in backrooms in a conflict-of-interest haze of entanglements);

  • Ensuring that high quality public services like transit support economic growth;

  • Working closely with our university and college to encourage new business development in Hamilton;

and so on as it has to do with tax rates per se.

Also, as many on this site have pointed out, Hamilton already offers pretty generous reductions in business taxes to encourage investment. That by itself doesn't seem to be sufficient to overcome all the other disincentives for businesses to start or locate here.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 23, 2009 at 12:24:37

Ryan wrote:

Establishing clear, simple, consistent rules; and enforcing them.

Fixed it for you.

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By synxer (registered) | Posted September 23, 2009 at 12:35:04

Ryan, thanks for bringing the other side to the table. Surely A Smith can see the logic in your response.

This one in particular, "Removing unreasonable regulatory and financial barriers to investment (like the ridiculous cash-in-lieu-of-parklands charge for infill development);" is a major fumbling on the city. Especially since it tends to push away green developments, in my experience.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted September 23, 2009 at 16:27:08

Ryan >> ALL of the evidence from great cities all around the world tells us that great cities are places with excellent public and private amenities and a very high quality of life.

The primary thing that all great cities have in common is that they pay more in taxes than they get back from the government. Great cities don't rely on handouts, they give the handouts.

>> No great city ever competed on price. In fact the opposite is true: great cities charge a very large premium to live and do business there

I am not arguing for lower property values or lower tax payments, just lower tax RATES. Because lower tax rates decrease the tax rate on wealth, people invest more. More investment increases assessment and ultimately drives tax revenue higher than before.

The fact that Hamilton currently has so many run down and vacant buildings is a symptom that people can't make money investing in Hamilton real estate. If you allow investors to grow their wealth by lowering tax rates, they will plow much of that money right back into the city. They will do this, not because they are nice, but because low tax rates increase their return on capital.

>> Hamilton already offers pretty generous reductions in business taxes to encourage investment. That by itself doesn't seem to be sufficient to overcome all the other disincentives for businesses to start or locate here.

If Hamilton wants to be more like Toronto, why not copy what they are doing. They have low residential tax rates, we should copy that. They are net contributors to the province, we should copy that. They have more transit than we do, we should copy that.

Rather than simply focus on the transit part, which is what you are suggesting, or the tax and contribution part, which is what I like to push, why not do it all equally? That way we will cover all of the bases and we will still make great progress.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted September 23, 2009 at 22:38:57

A Smith: You call for lower tax rates but only on the home owner side, the residential side, not on the commercial side, so how does that help those at the bottom, when we know that the decrease in tax rates will mean lower money coming in and those who will suffer the most is at the bottom.

Those who pay rent pay a higher amount of taxes then the home owners.

It is those who are the poorest who would suffer under your thinking.

But then what do you care, really?

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By D. Shields (registered) | Posted September 26, 2009 at 18:45:50

I must be doing/saying something right. I had a near intentional miss with a car (people laughing while they drive their car @ you is kind of a tip off) & got multiple stink eyes @ the plaza. Since I haven't had enough of the usual stuff.... "Let's open a geared to income housing unit in ANCASTER!! : D If it's good enough for Dundas..? : P Maybe this will help out some of those people here who keep deferring their city taxes? (See today's Spec. Terry Cooke's article "Hamilton: a tax free, free-loan haven".)

Oh yeah... I guess Mr. Lincoln Alexander might not be too happy about some of the above rhetoric either. He drives a scooter.

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By D. Shields (registered) | Posted September 26, 2009 at 20:50:04

Meredith said: "But there's also lots of people who I really don't want to be around who don't provide any real contribution to the city. "

There's good & bad everywhere. Here are some of the Up Towners that I don't want to be around:

People who routinely use their outlandish huge vehicles as weapons against other cars, cyclists, & pedestrians, as well as animals. (see above comment) People who drive like kamikazi pilots in the Timmy lots. (esp. annoying if you aren't going to Timmys!) Another poster alluded to this. The Dog Hater who has his house surrounded with "No Dogs Allowed" signs who thinks he bought the whole street when he bought his house & seems to have surveillance cameras so that he can harrange dog walkers. People who will take up not 1 but 2 Handicapped parking spaces by parking sideways with a vehicle without a Handicapped sticker. People who block city streets to park @ a new coffee bar. People to decide the world is their recycle bin & throw their fast food cups & wrappers all over. People who throw cans & bottles at you (sometimes full & they hurt!) from passing vehicles. People who dump several 24 cases of beer bottles out of their vehicle in such way that they all break in a parking lot. People who vandalize the ITMs at the same bank every long weekend. People who set fire to the same church 3 times (church is located behind the bank!) The bald hairdresser who smashed into my parked car, & was so incensed that I reported the accident, she waited until my car got out of the body shop & smashed it again. People who use passive aggressive tactics & hide behind them. These people are "paragons of manners & class". Like the guy/gals who get into the gas bar on a very very busy day, fills up the car, takes his/her time paying & then proceeds to squeegee every window, & mirror @ sssllloooow speed over & over & over again until somebody flips out on him/her. Then of course 'paragon' takes the moral high ground & calls 'oafish behaviour', or something worse depending on the size of the antagonist.

Welcome to my world! :D

Meredith, I'll trade you 2 beggars, 3 welfare Artistes, 3 dudes on scooter, 5 geezer mumblers, & several drug dealers (Oh Wait, we already have enough of those!)for 6 paragons of virtue & manners, any day of the week. I can avoid all of the people you have mentioned to some degree. I'm pretty much unavoidably stuck with the Jackasses & The Attitude.

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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted September 27, 2009 at 00:05:01

Jackass or no, the guy who doesn't want to work are providing next to no economic contribution to the city, and the guy who parks his car across two parking spaces is probably at least dropping coffee and lunch money in the city.

The point is, there's good and bad EVERYWHERE, and it's not any "better" to have a drug dealer loitering around me than the moron who threw a McDonalds' bag out of his SUV window on the highway in front of me a few weeks ago - in fact, it's worse, because at least the SUV guy has to buy gas near where he lives.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted September 27, 2009 at 15:03:18

Is it not written in the bible "that the love of money is the root of all evil?"

Did not Jesus reach out to those who were considered the dregs of society? You know brotherly love, acceptance, understanding.

Just because someone has money does not mean they're the good people and vice versa that those who have nothing are the bad ones.

HOw many rich and powerful people are behind drug dealing?

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By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted September 27, 2009 at 15:25:22

I'm really, really not interested in refuting prooftexting. Unless you see the whole picture and the totality of what's written, you can pull any line out and use it to prove a point. One must take the whole context.

Generosity is a principle anyone money can practice, but it only has efficacy if the rich practice it as well, and there's a great deal about avoiding greed, being generous, and providing for others - addressed to the "haves." And let's not forget the many areas regarding laziness leading to poverty and that those able (but not willing) to work shouldn't be expecting to eat either. There's lots of complicated situations, and it's silly to reduce it to a black-and-white "poor good, rich bad" or vice versa.

Yes, the poor should be provded for. But it takes the wealthy and the employed to do that. You can't feed people if no one has any bread.

My point has always been that the poor and the rich are morally EQUAL. NEITHER the poor NOR the rich are inherently better. (sorry about the caps lock, but I can't bold the important parts).

There is no inherent moral goodness to being poor, unless you're talking about the very few who uncomplainingly hold to a vow of voluntary poverty. Neither is there any great virtue in being rich, although there may be accompanying character traits that helped people get there.

There are generally different problems that face different economic classes - of course, with exceptions in every case. That's not an opinion, that's statistically demonstrated over and over.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted September 27, 2009 at 15:37:01

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted September 28, 2009 at 05:15:11

Grassroots >> Did not Jesus reach out to those who were considered the dregs of society?

Jesus did NOT tell poor people to take money from rich people. This is what he did say...

Matthew 17:18-20

18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment.

19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, "Why couldn't we drive it out?"

20 He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.

Did you get that? Jesus is telling us that we succeed or fail by how strong our FAITH is. Therefore, if we believe that we have abundance, we do. If we believe that money is in short supply and that we need to take it from others, we actually create poverty in our life.

As far as the Connaught proposal goes, I believe that this is but a first step in making the downtown a livelier and more fun place to live. Throw in lots of great jobs, lower tax rates, higher disposable incomes and downtown Hamilton will be something the city can be proud of.

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