Sports

Open Thread: Letters to Council

By RTH Staff
Published August 09, 2010

With the crucial vote taking place tomorrow (unless it gets delayed - please, please, please do not let this saga continue a day more than it has to!), now is the time to present a hopeful, optimistic, and encouraging vision for Hamilton to City Council.

So please take a moment out of your busy schedule to crank out a letter to City Council.

For your reference, the email addresses of City Councillors and the Mayor are:

bmorelli@hamilton.ca, bbratina@hamilton.ca, bclark@hamilton.ca, bmchattie@hamilton.ca, ccollins@hamilton.ca, dmitchell@hamilton.ca, lferguson@hamilton.ca, mmccarthy@hamilton.ca, mpearson@hamilton.ca, mayorfred@hamilton.ca, rpasuta@hamilton.ca, rpowers@hamilton.ca, smerulla@hamilton.ca, sduvall@hamilton.ca, twhitehead@hamilton.ca, tjackson@hamilton.ca

Once you've written your letter, post it up in this thread as a comment to inspire your fellow letter-writers. We're looking forward to reading them!

26 Comments

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By adrian (registered) | Posted August 09, 2010 at 10:43:57

I'll kick it off with this letter, subject line "a vision for Hamilton":

Dear City Councillors, Mayor Eisenberger,

In the past few weeks I have poured a great deal of time and passion into the Our City, Our Future project, the campaign whose motion has now been supported by well over three thousand Hamiltonians.

The time and energy I have spent on this has been taken away from my work as a partner in a design and web development agency. More significantly, it has been taken away from my family.

Which begs the question: why do I care so much?

I've always loved and been proud of this city, and I've been an engaged citizen of Hamilton for years, writing letters to the editor, volunteering for my local neighbourhood association, and writing scores of blog posts and articles supporting a progressive, urbanist future for this city.

But exactly three years and two days ago, I was given a new reason to care deeply about this community: the birth of my first child, my son Oliver. I'm now the proud father of two children, and I want, more than almost anything, for them to have happy, prosperous futures here in Hamilton.

I have seen so many of my friends - intelligent, educated, highly capable people - move to Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton and other cities over the years, seeking (and finding) more prosperous futures. More poignantly, both of my wife's siblings moved to Ottawa in their early twenties, and now, as they become parents, their children's grandparents (my wife's parents) are a five-hour drive away.

The prospect that my children will need to leave Hamilton in order to reach their full potential is not one that I am willing to tolerate.

The prospect that my grandchildren will live hundreds of kilometers away is one that I dearly hope to avoid.

So to me it is vitally important that this city reinvests in its downtown. That it makes progressive, hopeful, optimistic and educated decisions about its future. It is vitally important to me that all of you listen first and foremost to the city building experts who have recommended a downtown stadium time and time again, and to the thousands of engaged citizens who have made their preference clear.

Not because of money. Not because of a single private interest. But because the future prosperity and happiness of our children depends, in part, on the decision you make tomorrow.

You have the support and encouragement of thousands of citizens on Our City, Our Future, as well as mine.

Sincerely,

Adrian Duyzer - A Proud Hamiltonian

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By Martinus Geleynse (anonymous) | Posted August 09, 2010 at 10:50:19

Dear Hamilton Mayor Eisenberger and Hamilton City Council,

We're only 24 hours away from a massive decision that will go down in Hamilton's history as a defining moment. Your vote will make a strong statement to the other municipalities of Canada, to businesses and investors around the world, to the federal and provincial governments, and most importantly to the citizens you represent at City Hall.
By voting for the east mountain stadium location, you will declare Hamilton as a weak, regressive, sprawl-friendly city. You will state to everyone that Hamilton doesn't have the strength to stand up for its citizens. You will state that Hamilton is ultimately just trying to stay afloat, that we'll settle for what we can get.
By voting for the west harbour stadium location, you will declare Hamilton as a strong, progressive, bold and ambitious city. You will state to everyone that Hamilton is not run by external business interests, and that Hamilton's city council is truly prepared to defend the best interest of its citizens. You will state that Hamilton doesn't need to settle for Toronto's crumbs, but rather we are prepared to take our place as a model of 21st century urban revitalization. You will state to the people of Hamilton that we are worth investing in.

Nothing great has ever been accomplished without controversy or risk. The risks as presented on paper seem daunting, but I assure you: Hamiltonians will rise to the challenge of making a waterfront stadium successful. We have several years before the stadium would open during which to improve our transit infrastructure, increase our residential urban density, and prepare for Pan Am. Look at the progress of the last five years in our downtown. The momentum is incredible, and will only increase! The business case for the West Harbour stadium is solid, and will only improve as Hamilton confidently strides to meet the challenges ahead.

The Hamilton Tiger Cats corporation, Pan Am Hostco, the federal government, and the Province of Ontario have all wagered against us. However, none of them live in our great city. None of them know the excited whispers of Hamiltonians describing the developments taking place in their neighbourhoods. None of them know the vibrancy of an Art Crawl, or the fiery passion of a lifelong Hamiltonian for their city. None of them understand what it is like to find out their neighbourhood has a toxic waste dump beside it. None of them have a lifelong stake in Hamilton. We do.

You are our city council. You are Hamiltonians. You know what this city is, and what it is becoming. You know what an east mountain stadium means, and you know what a west harbour stadium means. You know how to vote on Tuesday.

This is about our city, and our future. Thank-you for representing us.

Sincerely,
-Martinus Geleynse

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By reuben (registered) - website | Posted August 09, 2010 at 11:14:59

Im not the best at writing these types of letters, but here are my own words as a Ward 3 resident:


Please vote for the West Harbour Stadium Location

Hi Bernie, as a resident of your ward, I wanted to encourage you to vote for the West Harbour location for the PanAm stadium.

There has been so much information on the table to digest regarding the debate between the two locations, and after analyzing the data, I have come to the same conclusion as the experts that have studied the case: the West Harbour location is the best place for a stadium for the citizens of Hamilton. I believe this very strongly. I don't want my tax dollars to go towards the construction and maintenance of all the road and service infrastructure needed to build a stadium on the East Mountain. I want the West Harbour brownfield to be cleaned up and developed in a way similar to what the White Star Group has proposed. I want to encourage a livable city that has transportation options that go further than the 'driveway to driveway' experience that is being lauded for the East Mountain site.

Most of all, I want you to make a decision that is in-line with the desires of so many Hamiltonians -- not one that is in line with private interests. Please vote for the West Harbour location.

Thank you.


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By Tybalt (on the road) (anonymous) | Posted August 09, 2010 at 11:17:07

Esteemed Sirs and Mesdames,

I have already spoken to or e-mailed most of you individually about this, but I thought I would reiterate my views and concerns a last time ahead of Tuesday's vote. I will keep my comments very brief.

I think, given the importance of this issue for the city's future, that a vote in favour of building a stadium at the West Harbour is the only feasible choice.

Obviously, the city staff's recommendations and the arguments presented at ourcityourfuture.ca and elsewhere have been important. Even more important, the Board of Governors of the Future Fund have been clear that they, as trustees and stewards of this crucial nest egg, do not see an East Mountain stadium as in the best interests of Future Fund expenditures. That in and of itself MUST be determinative of the city's actions here.

I have a strong belief that the city's vote will be the determining factor behind the eventual acquiescence and participation of Pan Am 2015 Hostco, the Tiger-Cats, and the federal and provincial governments in a successful project to put a permanent stadium at the West Harbour site, along with the necessary transit and infrastructure investments necessary to make it a success. The city is making the biggest contribution here, and you cannot allow the tail to wag the dog on an issue as central to the future of the lower city as this. We have seen a lot of private interests - especially non-Hamilton residents - get involved at the last minute, seeking to extract private profit from this crucial public enterprise. Don't let them scam you.

Vote with the entire city's best interests on Tuesday! Please - vote West Harbour!

Sincerely and with thanks,

(Tybalt)
(Haddon Avenue)
Hamilton

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By janetrymal (registered) | Posted August 09, 2010 at 11:49:11

Tomorrow, you have a chance to forever change the image of our city. For too long, we have been a city of industry, with many people passing through who only see the view along Burlington Street. Tomorrow, we need to commit to becoming a destination, and not another stop along the highway to the Toronto downtown and waterfront or the Niagara Falls downtown. We need to have confidence that others will see in our community, the promise we know is there. You have a big responsibility tomorrow, one that will impact future generations of Hamilton. Do we want to remain smokestacks on the way to Expressways that lead to more Parkways and eventually a big box stadium alone in a field or do we want to be a vibrant, colourful destination, with people wandering, and interacting and spending?

The Hamilton Waterfront and West Harbour will show our city in a new light and be a beacon drawing people to it. They will stay and play. They will eat and shop. They will have a choice of how to get to it: walking, biking, transit or car. They will contribute to a larger sense of community by being amongst other citizens of Hamilton and visitors.

Do the right thing tomorrow and honour your duty as elected representatives: Vote West Harbour.

My vote for you depends on it.

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By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted August 09, 2010 at 11:53:20

While I support the East Mountain location for a stadium and believe the West Habourfront stadium will be a white elephant for the city, I do appreciate reading those posts that are passionate about the city of Hamilton and wish for the best for the city of Hamilton regardless of what happens with the vote by council on this issue.

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By JM (registered) | Posted August 09, 2010 at 12:28:04

Why do people only think the stadium will be a "White Elephant" only at the West Harbour? What about the massive parking lot that would be empty 300 days a year on the East Mountain? What do we call that... next to the white elephant??

Looking forward to hearing what i hope is a FINAL decision tomorrow... let's make an intelligent decision!

JM

(this is not a letter sent to council)

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 09, 2010 at 13:14:41

FYI, RTH has a form already set up for you which makes it very simple to email all of council and the mayor at once:

http://www.raisethehammer.org/article/45...

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By ADN (anonymous) | Posted August 09, 2010 at 13:23:34

done!

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By goin'downtown (registered) | Posted August 09, 2010 at 13:25:19

(rough draft) Dear Elected Officials,

We have had expert speaker after expert speaker; expert testimonial after expert testimonial; study after study - determine that the revitalization of a downtown core is tantamount to vibrant, overall City economic health (not to mention cultural, etc.). Summit after summit has reached out to our citizens to be engaged, and to help us make a City in which citizens want to grow up, in which citizens want to be educated, in which to work, and in which to raise the next generation of our children.

We need sustainability. We need economic viability. We need environmental responsibility. We need responsible transportation methods. We want a City that we are proud to live in, and even show off. We know that this type of city will not only be a great place to live, but will attract investment and employment, and continue the cycle. Here is a brilliant opportunity to connect the dots and change our direction.

I believe that you know who supports a West Harbour Stadium, and why. I believe that you also know the flip-side. Please vote responsibly.

(goin'downtown) Ward 11

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 09, 2010 at 13:30:22

Don't forget our provincial and federal reps!! My letter to David Sweet:

Dear Mr. Sweet,

I live in the west end of downtown Hamilton near the proposed site of our Pan Am Stadium and I would like to voice my support for Hamilton's plans for cleaning up our west harbour lands with the available monies directed to us via the Pan Am games. The Pan Am opportunity was to leave us with a lasting legacy. A massive parking lot that allows a small business owner to make up some of his losses due to a horrible product is not my idea of a great legacy. Cleaning up a toxic brownfield and opening up some of our most precious land to new condo, hotel, restaurant, parkland and business development IS a great legacy. We don't need the TiCats to play at West Harbour in order to gain a legacy out of this project. Various groups have mentioned the possibility of landing a soccer team for Hamilton's West Harbour stadium and we will see much use at the stadium through concerts, community events, world championships, soccer tournaments etc..... 8 Ticat games (which will ALL need to be subsidized by taxpayers anyhow) should not be considered the only legacy worth obtaining. I strongly urge you to support Hamilton City Council and their plans (which the people of Hamilton have long waited for) to breathe life back into this toxic area of our downtown.

I am a lifelong Ticat fan who will not be returning to their product should they succeed in hijacking this public process and public money. Furthermore, I will vote in each of our upcoming elections based on the outcome of this issue. I voted for you in the last election and urge you to support your community and the people who you serve. Political interference will guarantee the loss of my vote in the next election. On the contrary, a strong show of support by you and your government in the face of some provincial backroom dealing will earn you my vote.

Hamilton's leaders are poised to make a great decision for our future. Please support them.

Sincerely

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted August 09, 2010 at 13:33:12

I agree we should make our opinions known to the council. My letter was not as elegant as some of those above but none the less not any less passionate. I will not bore you with the minutia but will share the heart of the message

"Please do not put the stadium in the core. Doing so will mean the death of the Ti-Cats. I know that there is a small very passionate very vocal minority but the populace as a whole does not want to fight to go downtown to see a game. If the stadium is built downtown how long before the nearby residents complain about noise and concerts are forbidden there just like they are at Ivor Wynne Stadium. Please Please Please do not build a stadium downtown."

I really hope saner heads prevail and the stadium is not built downtown.

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By UrbanRenaissance (registered) | Posted August 09, 2010 at 13:34:11

Dear Mayor Eisenberger and City Councillors,

Tomorrow's vote on the location of the Pan Am Stadium will be a crucial moment in Hamilton's history. As the party providing the most money to build this stadium, the City of Hamilton must build it in a location that maximizes the benefit to the city as a whole, not just a sports team. The city's own reports clearly indicate that the East Mountain Stadium will be tens of millions of dollars more expensive, cause traffic gridlock on flood-prone roads, and steal development dollars from other areas of the city that desperately need it. A West Harbour stadium may not be the silver bullet that solves all of our city's problems, but it will certainly be a large step in the right direction. It shows that we don't want a city based around a "driveway-to-driveway" experience, but rather a city that embraces all the natural beauty of the West Harbour and the culture of the surrounding neighbourhoods. Most importantly it is a signal to developers and prospective Hamiltonians that we are not giving up on our downtown and that we are willing to make ambitious, progressive choices to bring our city into the 21st Century.

I urge you to reject the shameless politicking going on behind the scenes in Ottawa and Queen's Park, I urge you to reject Bob Young's hollow threats to move the Ti-Cats, I urge you to reject sprawl and regressive 1960's urban planning, and I urge you to reject the East Mountain stadium site. Your vote for the West Harbour will earn you the continued support of myself and the thousands of other Hamiltonians who signed up at OurCityOurFuture.ca who want to see this city thrive. Thank you for your time, I know you will make the right choice.

Regards,

Ryan Danks - Ward 2

Comment edited by UrbanRenaissance on 2010-08-09 12:35:08

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 09, 2010 at 13:40:56

I know that there is a small very passionate very vocal minority but the populace as a whole does not want to fight to go downtown to see a game.

your passion and opinion is more than welcome, but this statement is flat out untrue.
The list of organizations, agencies, community groups, business groups and sheer number of the overall population is very heavily weighted in favour of the WH.

Nor is this statement true of other cities working hard to bring back their downtowns - Pittsburgh and especially Detroit come to mind as similar NorthEast industrial cities who are fighting back. According to Bob Young, Detroit had it made with their beautiful domed stadium surrounded by acres of parking. Yet their sports teams now play in downtown Detroit surrounded by dense urbanism, not parking.

Oh, and by the way, the Silverdome (and associated 125 acres) was a fantastic investment in 1975 evidently. If the pro-EM folks had numbers like this on their side they'd be screaming them from the Mountain-top. Detroit is just one example of many.

http://detnews.com/article/20091117/METR...

Comment edited by jason on 2010-08-09 12:43:38

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By Keanin (registered) | Posted August 09, 2010 at 13:48:54

Dear Mayor and Councilors,

Last year, after losing my job and home in the US, my family sought refuge in Hamilton where my wife grew up. It was a tumultuous time for my family, but our despair quickly dissipated when I unexpectedly and immediately fell in love with this city. My eyes were opened when I discovered this city's physical beauty, when I started to meet so many of the great people that tirelessly toil to make this city better and when I discovered its myriad real and intangible assets. All these things belie this city's hardscrabble reputation and I was happy to be let in on the secret.

I was confident that, reaching a critical mass of talented people and invigorating ideas, the city was on a path to progressive renewal and reinvention with LRT and a Pan Am Stadium in the West Harbor doing much to help it reach its limitless potential. It took me little time to decide that Hamilton was where I wanted to raise my family, build a career and reputation, and invest my time and money. This community may still have a way to go before it becomes the best place in Canada to raise a child, but now that I have a new job in Hamilton's emerging tech sector and an ideal quality of life residing in one of Hamilton's many beautiful neighborhoods, I tell everyone that I know that Hamilton is already the best place in Canada in which to reinvent yourself.

A Council that would cave in to Bob Young's and the CFL's economic blackmail to build a retro suburban stadium is not one that shares my values or those of the thousands of young professionals, many of whom fled Hamilton upon graduation, that are (or will soon be) looking for the best place in Canada to raise their children. Already, the tremendous grassroots energy that has risen up to confront the powerful, deep-pocketed influence that seems to care little about this city's best interest is refreshing and should be a sign that something positive is afoot in Hamilton.

It hasn't taken me long me to consider myself a proud Hamiltonian and I've surprised my friends, family and colleagues with my brimming advocacy for this city. If we continue down the path we were on, before it was selfishly hijacked by a private interest that amounts to little more than another big box retailer, Hamilton's ascendance won't be a secret much longer.

Please say no to corporate welfare and yes to a thriving community that has its priorities straight.

A proud new Hamiltonian,

Keanin Loomis

Comment edited by Keanin on 2010-08-09 12:49:13

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By holymoly (registered) | Posted August 09, 2010 at 15:05:11

I sent a short, strongly worded email to the mayor and councillors. I sent this longer one to the other government players (before the various parties denied that the Feds had pulled potential funding for West Harbour):


Dear MPPs, Premier McGuinty, MPs, and Prime Minister Harper:

At a time when Government is emphasizing the fiscal benefits of creating a healthier population by investing in work and leisure sites that can be accessed via walking and public transit, the Federal and Provincial Governments have decided that Hamilton, Ontario, must NOT build its planned new stadium at a West Harbour location that is easy to walk to and readily accessible by public transit.

At a time when the toxic "time bomb" of Hamilton's abandoned small-scale industrial sites, in residential areas close to the proposed West Harbour location, is making headlines and drawing attention to the long-standing need for a concentrated clean-up and rehabilitation of the city's core, the Federal and Provincial Governments have decided to pull funding from the West Harbour stadium project -- a project that would include the clean-up of contaminated ground.

Instead, the Federal and Provincial Governments have put their commitment toward the East Mountain site, a site that is vastly more expensive, vastly more difficult to access, and hobbles the potential clean-up and rehabilitation of Hamilton's core. Further, it has been suggested that the East Mountain site has the potential to contribute to increased flooding along the residential Red Hill corridor due to the increase of runoff that results from paving a vast amount of farmland.

I am a Hamilton homeowner as well as a Toronto homeowner. I believe in Hamilton's economic and cultural potential. Its citizens will not stand down in the face of the undemocratic affront delivered by the Federal and Provincial Governments this week. Hamiltonians will not forget that the Governments this week voted against the opportunity for Hamiltonians to safeguard and improve their own health, safety and environmental responsibility.

I do not believe that the Hamilton Ti-Cats or any other private interest group should be afforded concessions that are detrimental to Hamiltonians.

I do believe that the Governments should support the City of Hamilton's decision to move forward in the direction that its Representatives, expert advisors and citizenry have decided is most advantageous -- building the stadium at the West Harbour site.

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By Brian S. (anonymous) | Posted August 09, 2010 at 16:52:09

Mr.Mayor and City Council. Tommorow you make a very important decision for the city of Hamilton. I do not envy you're position, as there will be people upset no matter what is decided. I urge you to vote for the west harbour. I have been to other cities where the stadium is not in the core, and it's terrible. I am a lifelong ti-cat fan and season ticket holder, but am truly appalled at the blackmail tactics of Mr. Young, Mr Mitcell, and Mark Cohon. I let the ti-cats no my position, and it took a second letter to get a response,and even then they didn't want to address their bullying tactics, they wanted me to go to the east mountain website. They profess to speak for ti-cat fans saying that parking is the major issue. I have been a season ticket holder for 30 years and they have my e-mail address but i have never been contacted for my opinion. They Do NOT speak for me. Parking for the west harbour will not be an issue. It will be similar to Ivor Wynne. With parking all around, there is very little traffic congestion, as people are dispersing in all different directions. This is not true in a massive parking lot. When i was at Mohawk racetrack for their May 24 fireworks night it took more than 2 hours to clear the parking lot. Mowhawk had police officers directing traffic at the exits, and about 50 workers directing within the parking lot, so unless the ti-cats have 15 or so exits, it will take forever to get out of there. It's all about charging $30-$40 to park. Talk about you're driveway to driveway experience. I hope that you will choose WEST HARBOUR or refurbish Ivor Wynne. Do not give in to the blackmail!!!!

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted August 09, 2010 at 19:20:42

Here is my letter to the Mayor/Council:

Good Evening,

It’s me again!

Whatever transpires tomorrow there will be unhappy people. It’s an election year. I don’t envy you.

During my entire lifetime I have been a die-hard Ticats/CFL fan. Over the past few years that has changed significantly, but I still recognize the importance of the organization the culture and identity of the City of Hamilton. The fans are an exceptional group of people and I applaud their perseverance, passion and enthusiasm – even during the bleakest of times. Over the years, us fans, and the City have frequently been held hostage by the financial woes of the franchise. We have been continually guilted into supporting the team under the threat of it folding up or moving. Now the threats have once again reared their ugly head over the Pan Am Stadium Controversy – we are once again in danger of losing the team.

The last time I checked the team was not community owned; so exactly how much are we collectively willing to invest in their success? The financial return on that investment is marginal, at best to the residents of this city. Now, to the best of my understanding their only chance at financial viability is to for us to build them a multi-million dollar facility, and hand them the keys or else they are walking. Haven’t we already made many concessions to them? Enough is enough.

There have got to be 450,000 people in Hamilton that are not engaged with the team on any level. Do they have a voice?

Today there was a letter to the Editor in the Hamilton Spectator written by the esteemed, Roger Yachetti. He indicated that the entire identity, recognition and branding of our City was based on the Hamilton Tiger Cats. If that is the case, isn’t that reason enough for us to begin rebuilding, restoring and rebranding Hamilton? This really signifies the true problem with our city and its image; without steel or the Ticats don’t we have anything else to offer?

We have so many more issues in Hamilton that require city building initiatives, including the restoration of the core. Hamilton is an affordable place to own a home, but when is this city going to be sufficiently rebuilt so that there are viable options for white collar employment via the private sector? So many of us have to leave Hamilton and commute elsewhere on a daily basis just to make a decent living.

Today I also received the summer issue of the Ward 3 News. Thank you, Councillor Morelli, for the update on all the positive projects that are currently in progress in our central city. It was refreshing to see so many developments regarding property standards, parks, recreation centres and infrastructure. These are the types of amenities that make a city livable. These are the initiatives we should be continuing to focus on.

My Hamilton has always included the Ticats, but if they are going to resort to negotiating through the media, bullying, blackmailing and making ultimatums then perhaps we are better off to cut our losses and invest in projects that will help make Hamilton a better place for future generations. I have to question if a legacy tenant for a new stadium is worth all this debate and division amongst our citizens.

The most important decision we have to make is how to best utilize the Future Fund.

Best wishes.

Regards,

Andrea Galante

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By CatsFan (anonymous) | Posted August 09, 2010 at 19:23:20

Brian S: I have also heard of other longtime season's ticket holders who didn't receive the TiCats survey. I wonder if they picked who they sent them to by area code? Any address in L8L to L8R gets nixed from the survey mailing list.?

Their goeastmountain data seems hand picked, why not their survey respondants? Even then, the surveys they present don't really demonize West Harbour.

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By Proud Hamiltonian (anonymous) | Posted August 09, 2010 at 19:35:59

Subject: Urban Renewal NOT Suburban Sprawl

I am writing this on behalf of myself and two friends. Each of us, independently at various times over the last 2-7 years, chose to leave Toronto and make downtown Hamilton our home. All three of us are very proud Hamiltonians. We embrace all that Hamilton has to offer, and we are very excited about the future possibilities in store for the city. Our vision and hopes for Hamilton include a revitalized city, with a vibrant downtown and waterfront.

We are thoroughly appalled and disgusted with the bullying and blackmail tactics being exercised by the Hamilton Tiger-Cat organization. Bob Young's August 9th letter to the Mayor was the last straw for us. Shame on the Tiger-Cat organization for refusing to cooperate and collaborate with the City of Hamilton and its citizens on an opportunity of a lifetime. We have sitting in front of us an opportunity to secure significant provincial and federal funding to support an initiative that would revitalize the city and result in a new home for the Tiger-Cat team - a state of the art stadium that would be one of the most beautiful in North America, in a unique and breaathtaking waterfront setting that any other North American city would be hard-pressed to match. The Tiger-Cat organization is being very short-sighted, and has put the short-term financial gain of a few ahead of the potential wide-ranging long-term gains to be realized by many. We will find it difficult, if not impossible, to forgive the Tiger Cat organization for intentionally sabotaging this initiative.

If the Tiger-Cat organization and whatever other private interests that may be involved are so opposed to a West Harbour stadium location, and so keen on an East Mountain stadium, then let them build it. With their own money. Not with Future Fund money and not with Hamilton tax payers’ money.

Karin Treff, Luc Venne and Jacklyn Campbell

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By WH Resident (anonymous) | Posted August 09, 2010 at 20:39:39

No need for a stadium now that the Ti-Cats have withdrawn completely from the City, aparently forever.

May intelligence prevail (along with ALL of the Planning that was accepted by the former council AND community) and may the following take place:

- Amphitheatre and velodrome for West Harbour location

- Forget about a stadium completely (patch up Ivor Wynne for one more year until Ti-Cats leave)

It was an absurd thought to bring a 30,000 seat stadium to this WH area in the first place. It was bad enough when you wanted to put a 15, 000 seat stadium here but a 30,000 seat stadium is inappropriate for this area. If you don't believe me then look at Setting Sail and other initiatives.

Stadiums do NOT build communities or improve the finances of Cities.

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By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted August 09, 2010 at 20:50:25

Dear Members of Council and Mayor Eisenberger.

My name is Gregory J Galante. This is not the first letter I have written to you on this matter.

On Tuesday August 10th you will have a choice to make. To my mind your choices are this.

1) Choose progressive, forward thinking investment of taxpayers money by voting yes to the West Harbour ..... or

2) Choose the regressive, reactionary and fearful option of voting for the East Mountain and cave in to the singular interests of what is essentially a small to medium sized retail business called the Hamilton Tiger Cats.

The rhetoric has been fast and furious and the facts and numbers sometimes hard to come by. I have done some of my own research that I hope you may find helpful in making the right decision for the City of Hamilton, its taxpayers and our future.

Mr Young, his President Mr Mitchell , along with their cabal of business supporters for an East Mountain location have said continuously that the Tiger Cats cannot make money at a West Harbour Stadium, and in fact claim they may lose up to 7 millon dollars per year. They have cited various "experts" in the stadium business, none of which I believe are based in Canada. To date with the current information I have (and I believe you have...or have not) they have yet to produce ANY documentation to support this claim.

Conversely, they claim that, should council acquiesce to their preference to build on the East Mountain, spend what may be up to an additional 50 million dollars (of which no one knows where this will come from), the Tiger Cats may in fact become profitable. Again, not one piece of documentation to my knowledge has been produced to support this claim and in fact City Staff's own report on the East Mountain location indicates that the City may forego upto 5.8 million dollars per year in lost taxation revenues from lost development opportunities at this location.

So, the deal is a sweet heart for Mr Young and the Tiger Cats, but not so good for Hamilton and its taxpayers.

Here are 3 numbers that I think Mr Young, and Mr Mitchell should concentrate on. 33-74-1. 33 wins, 74 losses, 1 tie. That is the Tiger Cats record under Mr Young's tenure as owner. It is singularly the most significant fact as to why the Tiger Cats do not make money. They have stunk. How much more revenue would the team have generated over the last 6 years with a winning record and constant playoff appearances ? How much more revenue is generated by 30000 fans in the stadium every week instead of 21-22000? That is almost a 30% difference in attendance. That represents real cash.

There is absolutely NO REASON WHATSOEVER that Bob Young cannot make money as a tennant playing in a 25-35000 seat stadium at the West Harbour. Not parking, not access, not visibility. This is about control, plain and simple. Mr Young wants it and he is prepared to hold this City's tradition and history with its football team hostage to get it.

I say let him take his ball and go home.

For you our elected representatives to hand over 60 million dollars of taxpayer money to build a stadium where a minority partner who is to become a TENANT says he wants it, and then forfeit all revenue generated by that investment for a period of 10 years is simply irresponsible. Particularly when that partner and tenant has not demonstrated any significant ability to make any money in the last 6 years. What I fear is that after 10 years we would take back over a building that is in need of millions of dollars of repairs.

Hamilton is more than the Hamilton Tiger Cats and Steel Companies. We need to shed the shackles of that image and move forward courageously into the future, building the type of City we, our children and our grandchildren can be proud of. Mr Young can choose to be a part of it or not. During this debate I have noticed a striking contrast to the content and tone of the two positions. Proponents of the West Harbour, in the vast majority to my experienced have expressed themselves positively, speaking to what Hamilton can be as a city. They talk of community, livability, accessibility, sustainability. Essentially quality of life issues. They are also Hamilton Tiger Cat fans. Among them are business icons such as Mark Chamberlain, architects like Bill Curran, activists like Matt Jelly, future business and community leaders like Martinez Geleynese. These are not stupid, narrow minded people with a singlular interest, namely themselves. Rather they recognize that a city can only reach its potential by making the right kind of decisions and investments in itself. They recognize that the era of sprawl is over. The future lies in inbuildng, greening brownfields, public transit, walkable, cycle friendly, pedestrian friendly, cities with vibrant cores. It is simple and easy to find evidence of this all over the world. Mr Young and his "partners" want you to ignore this fact. They want you to cling to the economics of the past. They incredulously talk of a "driveway to driveway" experience. They want you to believe that paving a wheat field and another 50 acres of green space makes good sense in 2010. It is folly. It may benefit a few select businesses but who is kidding who? A stadium on the East Mountain benefits one entity and one only. The Hamilton Tiger Cats. It hold's no legacy benefits, will not be available to the broader community and the offsets like an amphitheater and park that Mr Young are willing to provide are merely scraps.

I implore all of you to support the Mayor and remain resolute and do the right thing, vote West Harbour.

Gregory Galante

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By realfreeenterpriser (registered) | Posted August 09, 2010 at 21:28:03

Mayor Fred Eisenberger and Members of Council,

Each time a municipal council spends public money, even on the most minor things, it’s making an investment in our community. That investment should always be measured by the value that taxpayers receive and whether or not it provides the most benefit for the most people. In short, is it being spent wisely, for the common good and in the public interest? For you, as a Councillor, fulfilling that measure is a public trust. On Tuesday August 10 you will be asked to spend tens of millions of dollars of public money and to choose between two proposed sites for a stadium for Hamilton. The decision you have to make is daunting but it is also defining; defining both of you and your vision and indeed of our city. It will undoubtedly be the most important decision of your political life and it will signal either Hamilton’s coming of age or its regression back to the failed ways of yesterday.

The differences between the two sites are stark-

One rehabilitates a brownfield; the other paves a greenfield.

One promotes various forms of transportation; the other is virtually exclusive to cars.

One will bring an LRT; the other will surely preclude it.

One uses city-owned land, the other takes tax-paying employment land off the map.

One expands our tax base, the other shrinks it.

One brings critical mass to our downtown; the other further sucks the life out of it.

One promotes our waterfront; the other takes people away from it.

One fulfils the intent and purpose of the Future Fund, the other does the polar opposite.

One comes in within budget; the other will cost an extra $50-80 million of public money.

and most importantly

One keeps years of election promises to downtown businesses, the other betrays them.

But if those differences aren’t enough to convince you that the West Harbour site is the one that provides the greatest benefit for the most people and businesses in Hamilton, ask yourself this simple question, which site does the LEAST harm to our city as a whole.

Hamilton is an emerging post-industrial city unlike any other in the Province. We are not Mississauga nor do we want to be. Similar cities in the United States, like Pittsburgh and Cleveland and Baltimore have revitalized themselves by doing precisely what we have an opportunity to do, what YOU have an opportunity to do; build stadia downtown, open up the waterfront and provide public transit. Only a West Harbour location lets you do those things while an east mountain location precludes them and is more expensive to boot.

The Tiger-Cat announcement of late today was as predictable as the sun coming up tomorrow. After being part of the Pan Am “team” and committing to “work with whatever site is chosen”, the Tiger-Cats have double-crossed you, as a Councillor, and us, as a city with a string of last minute threats, ultimatums and political interference, all designed to siphon the most public money into the fewest hands. Don’t let them do that.

The people of Hamilton know that the West Harbour would provide the Tiger-Cats with the newest and best stadium in the league and a site infinitely better than Ivor Wynne. And, unlike a lot of cities, they’re prepared to support that. But they also want as many people and businesses as possible to share in the benefit of such a massive expenditure, that is, essentially, a public subsidy.

They want you to honour your public trust and ensure that public money, their money, is spent wisely, on the common good and in the public interest. Only the West Harbour does that. It’s best for all of us, not just some of us.

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted August 09, 2010 at 22:22:53

realfreeenterpriser, that might be the best one so far. Lots of these are GREAT letters.

And Mr. Meister, for simplicity, directness and not-bashing-everyone-elseness, that might be the best pro-EM post I have seen to date here. Cheers.

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 09, 2010 at 22:36:00

wow...great letters folks. Keep em coming. Council should be well versed in the business of sport, but in case they aren't, keep sending them letters encouraging them to call the Cats bluff on this.

www.fieldofschemes.com - this is the oldest trick in the book: threaten to leave. Remind council that this happens in every sports town from time to time. Only the sucker cities fall for it.

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By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted August 10, 2010 at 02:48:49

I just asked them to vote for the West Harbour sight, because it's what most people want & it's what most of them had agreed to earlier in discussion when they decided that it was the best choice.

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