Municipal Election 2010

Di Ianni and 'Grassroots' Campaigning

By Ryan McGreal
Published July 27, 2010

Someone needs to explain to Larry Di Ianni what "grassroots" means.

The former mayor formally launched his new campaign yesterday in a lunchtime press conference, but the Spectator announced his campaign two days earlier, and Monday morning's paper already had a front-page article and an editorial on the announcement.

One of Di Ianni's major political weaknesses has been the widely-held perception that he's more interested in representing the corporate interests of his backers than the public interest of Hamilton's residents - hence his new folksy campaign, complete with a vegetable garden and a Vespa scooter.

Yet the special backstage pass he provided for the daily paper - a paper that strongly endorsed him when he was still mayor - suggests the old Larry is alive and well.

In his defence, Di Ianni has announced that he will not be accepting corporate or union donations. This is a break from his previous mayoralty run in 2006, during which he said he agreed with the concept in principle, but "you don't change the rules midstream."

However, as Di Ianni pointed out in a 2009 interview with Cal Di Falco, eliminating corporate and union funding "doesn't necessarily improve the system.

Tell me what is the difference between accepting a donation from Mrs. X president of ABC company from her personal account or Mrs. X, President of ABC from her business account?

RTH has contacted all the registered candidates for mayor to ask them whether they will accept corporate and union donations and to explain why or why not. So far, Michael Baldasaro, Mahesh P. Butani, Di Ianni and Andrew Haines have responded, and all have committed to rejecting corporate and union donations.

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.

11 Comments

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By d.knox (registered) | Posted July 27, 2010 at 19:52:17

Sigh. I guess it was the shock that land developers saw their charges increased, not to cover costs albeit, but INCREASED!!!! in HAMILTON!!!! What the Devil?????? TIme to get someone back at City Hall who knows that developers in Hamilton don't have to pay. Sheeesh!

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By JimmyS (registered) | Posted July 27, 2010 at 20:13:55

I love how he won't reveal which Pan Am site he prefers. Wait for a site to be chosen and then blast the city and current mayor for the outcome. Now THAT'S leadership!

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By goin'downtown (registered) | Posted July 27, 2010 at 20:39:49

"If it's good for Hamilton, I'll support it. If it's not good for Hamilton, I will not support it. I don't care who the individual or the group that are making the requests are. Everything is going to go through that filter."

The filter that the RHV Parkway went through?

Comment edited by goin'downtown on 2010-07-27 19:41:34

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By JimmyS (registered) | Posted July 27, 2010 at 21:05:43

"If it's good for Hamilton, I'll support it. If it's not good for Hamilton, I will not support it. I don't care who the individual or the group that are making the requests are. Everything is going to go through that filter."

Yea, that campaign motto lasted about 11 minutes until someone asked him to state his preference for the Pan Am stadium. I think career politicians are probably worse liars than lawyers.

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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted July 27, 2010 at 21:34:32

I remember back when I posted a comment on Hallmarks about the grassroots, he did not know what that meant.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted July 28, 2010 at 01:25:45

As much as I'm no fan of DiIanni, the fact that he's taking this "grassroots" approach is indicative of a very major shift in this city's traditional politics. And if it sets the bar unofficially at a much more community-based point, it is a positive sign.

The real question now is whether any of these career politicians can actually compete on even ground with Michael Baldasaro.

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By Zealot (anonymous) | Posted July 28, 2010 at 08:37:14

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted July 28, 2010 at 09:07:03

As much as I'm no fan of DiIanni, the fact that he's taking this "grassroots" approach is indicative of a very major shift in this city's traditional politics. And if it sets the bar unofficially at a much more community-based point, it is a positive sign. - Undustrial

Or the word is being co-opted by people who have no real idea what it even means beyond the fact it is the "in thing to be"… and that would be a shame.

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted July 28, 2010 at 17:48:13

Zealot, Di Ianni has been a career politician since 1982.

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted July 29, 2010 at 11:41:26

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By Go Hamilton (anonymous) | Posted July 29, 2010 at 15:25:19

Di Ianni told everyone ahead of time. What is surprising you?

And why is anything remotely friendly to Di Anni grayed out? Censorship?

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