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Clark, Whitehead Debate 'Citizens' Jury' for Area Rating

By Ryan McGreal
Published November 19, 2009

Yesterday, Mayor Fred Eisenberger announced that he plans to put forward a motion, seconded by Councillor Brad Clark, to establish a randomly-selected 'Citizen's Jury' to study area rating and provide recommendations to Council and staff.

In response, Councillor Terry Whitehead expressed concern that this measure might result in a decision not being made before the end of Council's mandate in 2010 - a commitment that Council unanimously made in 2008.

In an email to Council, Clark replied, "Surely we can work out a time schedule that allows for the citizen engagement, which will help all of us while maintaing the direction of the original motion."

He asserted that belief that area rating "is the most serious issue that this council will deal with" and reminded his fellow Councillors that the 2008 motion "stated that we will engage the citizens."

He added, "Candidly, we have not always done such a stellar job on that front."

Whitehead, in turn, replied to Clark in an email in which he copied the local news media. He reiterated his concern, "The only thing this council has control of is making the decision this term. Putting off the decision for another council has been the story for the last two terms. It is time we make the decision."

He added that he would support a ten-year phase-in of an area rating reform, noting that "the vast majority" of his ward residents would also support a phase-in, "with the understanding that the decision would be finally made this term of council."

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 Duh (anonymous) | Posted November 19, 2009 at 16:17:00

"He added, "Candidly, we have not always done such a stellar job on that front."" Understatement of the decade?

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 19, 2009 at 17:07:31

LOL. so true

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By Dele (anonymous) | Posted November 21, 2009 at 18:19:42

Is it just me or is Whitehead a annoying?

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