Media

DiFalco interviews Di Ianni

By Ryan McGreal
Published August 17, 2009

Cal DiFalco, public-sector business transformation planner, independent musician and fellow local affairs opinionista, has centralized his commentary on a new blog.

DiFalco has been a denizen of the local ecosystem of blog comments (on RTH, the Spectator's Hall Marks blog, and elsewhere), in addition to occasional op-eds in the Spectator, so it should be interesting to see his takes on various local issues consolidated in one location - complete with room for reader comments.

His latest post is an interview with former Mayor Larry Di Ianni, in which he asks Di Ianni about his political aspirations and regrets, the functionality of the current City Council, the role of Joanna Chapman in the last election, the fallout from "tapegate" (yes, I hate myself a bit for using that name), the role of corporate and union donations in political campaigns, and more.

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 Really? (registered) | Posted August 17, 2009 at 11:37:48

Just like most Politicians, I'm sure Mr DiFalco has good intentions. However, so did DiIanni. His intentions were to make his developer friends rich! Good for THEM!

Mr DiFalco claims he supports Light Rail; but clearly doesn't fully understand Light Rail as his vision is surely reflects his mentor's of Light Rail Vehicles zipping down the middle of Expressways getting Suburban dwellers from their Winona homes to their GO Commuter Parking Lots, all while not having to deal with looking at trashy Hamiltonians along the way.

Wrong!

Light Rail is proven over and over to enhance street-life by running LRVs down already-used streets (preferrably in dedicated lanes for rapid transit purposes), integrating Pedestrians, Personal Vehicles, and Light Rail Vehicles into everyday streetlife activities.

I just pray that if he's serious about getting his name into the local political arena, Mr DiFalco needs to take the issues on this site SERIOUSLY!! Funny enough; I don't think he does :( Wait, that's sad, not funny at all.

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By Yes, Really! (anonymous) | Posted August 17, 2009 at 11:55:22

Well Really?, I hope you feel better after getting that rant off your chest...... but what does it have to do with the DiIanni interview??

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By JonC (registered) | Posted August 17, 2009 at 13:00:25

Calling the interview 10 tough questions, without mentioning http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2... isn't really accurate. Framing the fifth question as "You lost the election by a very narrow margin. How much of that would you attribute to the Joanna Chapman complaint" not only doesn't clarify what the complaint was, or that he ended up pleading guilty but framing the matter as a complaint, sounds as though it may or may not have merit. In fact bringing Chapman's name into the question is totally unnecessary. How about this rewording: "You lost the election by a very narrow margin. How much of that would you attribute to accepting illegal donations and how do you feel about it today?" It's a much different question. Then in question 8 allows Di Ianni to throw in a comment about mayors should be able to accept larger contributions from constituents than councillors, which may be arguable, except the logic of the increased costs of campaigning across a larger geographic area should be offset by being able to fund raise from a larger geographic area. I don't know if this was a back and forth or send ten questions and get ten responses, but it comes off as a couple of free passes on his transgressions.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted August 17, 2009 at 13:01:42

It was an interview with a currupt Mayor --the only Mayor in Ontario's history to be charged with violations relating to the money he accepted as campaign donations from the very same people he built a Highway for...

WHO CARES ABOUT THE INTERVIEW!

Anyone that associates with a person like that, or Captain Waterfall, needs to be watched very carefully! Hence my warning!

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By Really? (registered) | Posted August 17, 2009 at 13:24:19

Thanks for that old CBC link, JonC! This is my favourite part in that CBC article:

"The mayor has repeatedly said the violations were honest mistakes and said he hopes to bring a speedy resolution to the matter." ... "The mayor also faces seven counts of failing to properly record names of donors and seven more of not correcting the mistakes once noticed."

Yep... sounds like an honest mistake to me!

Lets concentrate on the TRUE Larry DiIanni, not the '10 Tough Questions' DiIanni! TOUGH? Really!?

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 17, 2009 at 15:54:06

He lost the election because most people still have fantasies of honest politicians and didn't feel he fit the bill after being convicted of wrong-doing in the previous election. He DIDN'T lose the election because of Ms Chapman. As far as I can tell, she wasn't the one who broke the rules regarding campaign donations.

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 17, 2009 at 16:09:26

DiIanni is bang on the money with this question:

  1. What is Hamilton doing right? What is Hamilton doing wrong?

Hamilton has many assets and lots of challenges. I like the light rail initiative, but we are being shut out by the Feds on funding it. The Mayors getting kicked out of Metrolinx was a real shame. I would not have allowed that to happen without a very public fight. The sitting Mayors rolled over on this one and that is a shame. Having said that, the province is moving in the right direction on public transportation. The Feds are nowhere to be seen.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 17, 2009 at 16:20:21

Is that correct? I thought the feds had already committed to matching funds for the Metrolinx rapid transit projects.

As for the replacement of the Metrolinx board, I'm inclined to think that it was a good idea to take the parochialism and risk-aversion of local elected officials out of the mix; but instead of replacing them with transportation planners and urban policy experts, the province seems to have made the Metrolinx board into a lounge for patronage appointees.

Related:

http://raisethehammer.org/blog/1379 http://raisethehammer.org/blog/1475

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted August 17, 2009 at 17:09:10

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 17, 2009 at 18:55:13

yea, I wish we were more like China. You can't beat thousands of innocent killings every year.

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By Cal DiFalco (registered) - website | Posted August 17, 2009 at 19:47:25

To "Really?"

I don't know what axe you have to grind with me. I know that you have been posting some very disturbing and "spun" notions of what you think I believe or don't believe.

It's clear that you have some sort of agenda. While I respect the fact that using a screen name is fairly commonplace on blogs, when you are attacking someone, one would think that you would at the very least, reveal who you are.

I have a lot of respect for those who have strong opinions and are not afraid to defend them openly. I can't respect someone who attacks someone else while hiding in the dark.

Thanks to the others for your comments. I don't agree with everything that has been said, but I am listening and appreciate the feedback.

Take care

Cal

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By JonC (registered) | Posted August 17, 2009 at 21:25:15

Hey Cal, Just on the format, was it a back and forth or did you draft questions and get the answers back all at once? Just curious about the dynamic.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted August 17, 2009 at 22:34:50

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted August 17, 2009 at 23:22:04

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted August 18, 2009 at 00:19:33

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By cal difalco (registered) - website | Posted August 18, 2009 at 07:59:05

Hi Jon

In answer to your question: I Email 11 questions to the guest.
They are allowed to pass on 1 Question of their choosing and answer the remaining 10. Email respsonses are fine and a chance to meet is offered, while not essential.

I do not reveal which question was passed on and I display their responses verbatim.

Larry was comfortable going Forward with his email reply.Just to be clear, I have no allegiance to Larry, Fred, chris ecklund or any others. I am driven by what is best for the people of Hamilton and I assess everyone's performance through that lens on a case by case basis. I think the people I speak to understand that and respect it

Cal

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 18, 2009 at 08:11:22

ASmith said: The great thing about the China story is that it shows the superiority of markets in creating real wealth versus government planning.

Yes, because as we all know, China's government does a great job of just staying out of the way and letting the people live their lives.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted August 18, 2009 at 11:34:45

Thanks Cal, I know that makes for a more challenging interview (for the interviewer). The ability to follow up is removed and if questions are a little too pressing, the interviewee can just not mail back. I do stand by my previous comments on the Chapman question, but I can see how you may have to frame it that way to receive any sort of response. It also puts the onus on the interviewee to expand on a topic fully enough (the responses I was more interested in were the more expansive answers). I was going to cross post the below to your blog, but it looks like that isn't a possibility.

The one item I think mayor Di Ianni could do some self-reflection on would be "Only my detractors thought I was being heavy handed". One typically wouldn't have their supporters calling them heavy-handed. "There were community groups and individuals who criticized me for [driving agendas] but only because they disagreed with the agenda of support for jobs and businesses in my estimation". While job creation is certainly an important responsibility for mayors, that agenda does need to be weighed against other competing agendas, and all parties weigh the agendas differently. The heavy handedness is a result of being unwilling to review one's own weightings, and that goes for parties strongly affiliated with any agenda.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 18, 2009 at 12:15:54

In Cal's defence, Di Ianni is the consummate politician: very smooth at pushing is own interpretations and connotations regardless of how the question is worded.

http://raisethehammer.org/article/131

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted August 18, 2009 at 16:55:55

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By cal difalco (registered) - website | Posted August 18, 2009 at 17:55:11

Hi Jon

I may have to rethink the 10 tough questions thing and rename it 10 questions. I recently sent someone 10 very tough questions. Very pointed and very raw. That person then declined to proceed. So I am not sure how tough I can make the questions and still get participants. In terms of the Chapman thing, for clarity, I used the word "complaint" in the dictionary meaning of the word- which is agnostic to merit. On another note, my. blog is finally been set up to receive comments. I could not figure out how to allow comments for a post already made though, so I don't think you can enter a comment on that particular post, but there is another topic up that may be of interest. Now- if only I can figure out how to reduce the size of my picture on the blog :-)

Take care

Cal

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By JonC (registered) | Posted August 18, 2009 at 18:08:51

Thanks for the response. All fair points. For the picture you can probably create a new picture that is either a shrunken version of the full picture or just a head shot, but link that to the original photo.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted August 18, 2009 at 21:03:57

Cal, if you want to get answers to "tough" questions, your best bet is to do the interview face-to-face. That way, if they refuse to answer a question, you can quote their refusal (e.g. "No comment") in the interview itself. Whether they decide to respond or not, they're saying something about it...

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By Cal DiFalco (registered) - website | Posted August 18, 2009 at 22:11:41

Ryan:

I agree. For me, it's a time issue. I simply don't have time to do the face to face, record the interview, transcribe it etc. But I take your point. While the format I am using doesn't allow for the back and forth , nor does it allow for spontaneous dialogue (which is often times very telling), it provides some insight as to how the guest is choosing to respond. It also invites commentary on the blog, which is always good.

I suppose I could publish the names of who was approached and declined, and the list of questions I had intended to ask, however, that doesn't seem fair or proper.

Hosting a blog is a little new to me, so I imagine I'll refine my approach as I go along. Thanks for your continued support and advice Ryan. Much appreciated. I finally figured out how to size down my blog pic. One step at a time... ;-)

Cal

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By Cal DiFalco (registered) - website | Posted August 18, 2009 at 22:13:55

By the way, my blog is now accepting posts under the Di Ianni interview, if anyone is interested in doing so.

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By Blog Critic (anonymous) | Posted August 18, 2009 at 22:58:35

Your blog stinks

sincerely,

BC

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