Municipal Election 2010

Taxes, Economy, Poverty And Jobs More Important Than Stadium

By Adrian Duyzer
Published October 19, 2010

In Eisenberger Stumbles In Race For Mayor I argued that the high number of undecided voters is a failure of his campaign's messaging, but not "because people disagree with him on the best location for the Pan Am Games stadium, or are upset with the way he handled negotiations with the Tiger Cats".

In spite of laying out my reasons for this belief, many commenters disagreed and specifically cited the Pan Am Games stadium as the reason for his tepid support levels.

New poll results released by the Hamilton Spectator today put the issue to rest. Out of 1000 Hamiltonians who were asked an open-ended question on which issues were most important to them, 22.2% said taxes and 14.8% said the economy. Only 6.2% cited the stadium and/or the Pan Am Games as important.

When it comes to messaging, Eisenberger's campaign clearly would have benefited most from a strong focus on job creation, poverty reduction, and taxes.

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

16 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By realitycheck (anonymous) | Posted October 19, 2010 at 15:11:17

Given the low response to it as part of the prioritization question, Eisenberger would also have benefitted by focussing less on LRT.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted October 19, 2010 at 15:12:47

Adrian,

In your opinion would the results have been different if the question was, "What issue and/or optics has most hurt the Fred Eisenburger campaign?" I agree with the poll results as the question is asked, but is that the real question that has chipped away at Eisenburger support?

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By adrian (registered) | Posted October 19, 2010 at 16:19:00

Eisenberger would also have benefitted by focussing less on LRT

I think one of the issues is the apparent failure to educate Hamiltonians that LRT will boost economic development, creating jobs and alleviating poverty.

In your opinion would the results have been different if the question was, "What issue and/or optics has most hurt the Fred Eisenburger campaign?"

I don't think you'd get meaningful responses to that question, because I don't think most people are thinking about it in that way - they're simply developing their impressions of the candidates, and those impressions are, to a huge extent, based on how their campaigns are conducted.

The primary issue people are concerned with, apparently, is the economy. Eisenberger actually has a good record in this regard - incredibly good given the economic storm he had to navigate. So why isn't this turning into at least another five or ten percent support over his rivals?

I think the problem is messaging - for example, look at the list of stuff on the front page of this website: downtown rejuvenation, amateur athletics, wastewater treatment, waterfront renewal, fair trade, etc. Heck, he even has "more beautiful community" in there! All great, sure, and mixed in there are some other things about jobs and prosperity, but it is not a cohesive message by any stretch of the imagination.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By JMorse (registered) | Posted October 19, 2010 at 16:55:12

In my optimistic view, the undecided vote is thoughtfully considering the options. They want to make sure Bob and Larry's platforms are as shallow as they seem, before they go ahead and vote for Fred's more thought out platform. I'll admit I was feeling a bit disheartened about Fred, and that he may not have what's needed to make his plans reality. I was being convinced by the media and buzz that Fred's even temperament was a fault. What I have learned is that the alternatives are not better even if they can get things done, because it's not clear what 'things' are.

It's clear by the today's CHML debate that it's easy for Bob and Larry to take shots while Fred defends his record, which isn't that hard for Fred either. This made Fred look a lot better than the others, and it was obvious. Let's not underestimate the electorate, they voted for the progressive candidate before, why wouldn't they do it again?

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted October 19, 2010 at 18:06:02

yea, based on that CHML debate today, Larry is done. He had zero of value to add to the discussion. All he did was take cheap shots at the other two. Fred has a solid 4 years to draw upon and even Bob had a decent 7 years in Ward 2.
I love how the lower city is completely irrelevant to Larry. When talking of amalgamation or area rating he intentionally spreads false info about who pays the highest taxes in the city. Not once has he mentioned downtown or the inner city. On the Cable 14/Spec debate the other night he mentioned Westdale, the Mountain, Stoney Creek, Flamborough etc... as all paying too much tax thanks to amalgamation and/or area rating.
FACT: the central, inner city pays a higher rate than all of those areas.

No point in letting facts get in the way of a good old fashioned misinformation campaign.

Some of these other candidates need to see the world before running for office. Tony Maronne and one other guy kept going on and on the other night about what a waste of time and money LRT is when the real issue is jobs. LOL.
I wonder what their great plan for more jobs is? Build business parks on the outskirts of town full of banquet halls??
Do some research fellas. LRT is perhaps the greatest job creator that this city will ever see.

It's no wonder some of the powers that be tried to sabotage the stadium issue behind the scenes. They have zero chance of beating Fred based on performance or comparing previous terms in office. Even the stadium might not be enough to unseat him because most of the city realizes that we're being ripped off and that there are far more important things to spend our valuable money on.

Comment edited by jason on 2010-10-19 17:07:03

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By highwater (registered) | Posted October 19, 2010 at 18:30:57

My spider sense is telling me that this has become a two man race between Eisenberger and Bratina. I have a feeling that the Spec will endorse Eisenberger, but that this could backfire. My hope at the moment is that the Spec will decide to sit this one out.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted October 19, 2010 at 18:55:10

A great 15 minute clip that everyone should watch. If you make it to the 15 minute mark you'll be rewarded with a great statement outlining the conditions that need to be attached to any spending of public dollars (stadium came to mind immediately).

How we can have 12 or 13 candidates running for mayor who don't understand the possibilities for LRT is quite baffling.

Enjoy

http://www.tvo.org/TVO/WebObjects/TVO.wo...

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted October 19, 2010 at 19:34:34

I'm new to the LRT discussion, could someone please explain why the extra cost for rail is justified versus a dedicated busline, or BRT. I've heard rail is 3 times the cost at this point, is that an accurate number? Also, could we start with a bus line system/infrastructure to kick start the project cheaply and quickly and then convert it in a phased manner to LRT? Just trying to learn what's up with this initiative.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted October 19, 2010 at 20:05:59

MrJanitor,

Good questions. The main reason justifying the higher upfront cost for the rail line is largely due to the economic development return that comes. Despite some very top notch bus systems that exist around the world, none of them ever show the sort of ROI that is common along an LRT line. Portland's mayor spoke about the $3.5 billion that had been invested along that line in the past 10 years. You simply won't find numbers or investment like that along a bus line.

The two most commonly given reasons for this are: 1. Buses aren't permanent, making it a much bigger risk for the private sector to invest heavily without the permanence that comes with rails. 2. Trains are simply more 'attractive' to the general public. I'm not sure why, but many people will never set foot on a bus, but will gleefully step on a train. Trains move more people because of this, coupled with their permanence.

Finally, despite the higher upfront costs, it has been shown that operating an LRT system on a per capita basis is cheaper than a BRT system.

You can find some great info here:

http://hamiltonlightrail.com/

Comment edited by jason on 2010-10-19 19:06:32

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted October 19, 2010 at 21:37:57

Di Ianni's campaign started strong with very clear, targeted messaging but peaked early. A recent RTH comment put it best in suggesting that people have had enough of all the press releases.

Di Ianni is also widely understood to have very strong negatives among voters, which translates into a low ceiling on how many potential votes he can attract. That explains his careful strategy of playing to the lowest common denominator and targeting specific demographics with populist promises like a tax freeze, an ease on waste diversion rules, and so on.

Team Di Ianni seem to recognize that their campaign momentum has stalled, which might explain his much more aggressively negative messaging lately. He's throwing whatever he can at Eisenberger and hoping some of it sticks. I'm looking at the full-page ad Di Ianni took out in today's Spectator (page A15), and it's just slimy enough to backfire on him.

For one thing, it's designed to look like content, not advertising (it's a four-column layout and has the heading "Voter's Guide: Key Issues for Election of Mayor".

Worse, his comparison of the three candidates' records and platforms is disingenuous to the point of being deliberately misleading. Here's just a single example: Under "Leadership", it says this about Eisenberger: "First person to be investigated by new integrity commissioner and found guilty of breaking Council Code of Conduct." Here's what investigator George Rust-D'Eye actually concluded:

Both the documentation which I have been provided, and my several interviews with each of the Mayor and Mr. [Andrew] Dreschel, lead me to the conclusion that the Mayor has acted consistently throughout in his attempts to protect the interests of the City of Hamilton, to prevent unauthorized leaks of confidential City information to the public, to provide context and background in response to the publication of what he sees to be inaccuration information, and to [rest of sentence redacted].

[...]

I believe that the motives and objectives of Mayor Eisenberger in attempting to deal with unauthorized leaks of information and to correct misinformation, were wholly proper, consistent with the duties of his office, and done in the public interest.


Eisenberger, on the other hand, was slow out of the gate and spent the first couple of weeks merely reacting to Di Ianni's more polished communications strategy. His messaging was weak and I've heard a lot of reports of people trying without success to order lawn signs.

However, his team seems to have gotten their act together more recently and started pushing a stronger message and a clearer platform around the progress he has made so far and his planned next steps. As Adrian points out, voters are very conscious of the economy and this is actually a strength for Eisenberger - he's finally starting to stand more firmly on his record.

Another thing about Eisenberger is that he seems to have very small negatives. He's not charismatic, but he has integrity and sincerity going for him. I can see a lot of currently-undecided voters parking their support behind him for the simple reason that he hasn't alienated them.


Bratina's campaign so far seems to have consisted mainly of waiting for the Spec to call him for a statement on a Di Ianni press release and the inevitable Eisenberger "Fact Check" rebuttal. His platform is vague and his deamalgamation play tries too obviously to stoke disgruntled suburbanites.

His policy record as Ward 2 councillor is pretty solid, but his personal abrasiveness has turned off many ward residents. (There's a reason so many people signed up to run in Ward 2 even before Bratina announced his mayoral campaign.) It's ironic that one of his planks is better council decorum, given that he was at the centre of so many outbursts over the past four years - from throwing pencils to engaging in mutually embarrassing email snipe-a-thons with Sam Merulla in front of local media.


All in all, this election is still Eisenberger's to lose.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By adrian (registered) | Posted October 19, 2010 at 22:35:10

All in all, this election is still Eisenberger's to lose.

In spite of my criticisms of the campaign so far, I tend to still agree with this. Some of the adjustments to the campaign have been much needed and most welcomed - for example, the tag line "Leadership with integrity" has supplanted "Building momentum: clean, green and prosperous", and I think that's a great change. I also agree about Di Ianni's ad today - it was definitely a negative ad, and one that was unfair, and I think most people who read it will agree.

As well, it's important to note that there is a difference between Eisenberger's campaign, and Eisenberger himself. From all accounts I've heard, in debates and on air, he's doing very well. As someone said to me, "The campaign runs best when Eisenberger is in control of his own message." He has a good track record to run on and he knows it. Victory is certainly within his reach.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted October 19, 2010 at 22:43:22

The unfortunate fact of the matter is that disinformation, red herrings and attack ads work on a sizable portion of the uninformed voting public. Hello Stephen Harper.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By Optimistic (anonymous) | Posted October 20, 2010 at 00:09:40

From thespec.com ( tinyurl.com/34ztd9d )...

"Thirty-six per cent of respondents chose attracting jobs as most important, 34.6 per cent picked managing taxes, and 19.1 per cent chose poverty reduction. Light rail and waterfront renewal got the least amount of responses, with 3.8 per cent of voters choosing light rail while 4.5 per cent picked waterfront renewal. "

8-9X more people care about high taxes and a lack of private sector jobs than LRT or waterfront renewal. Go figure.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By Arrghhh!` (anonymous) | Posted October 20, 2010 at 09:05:21

Have you ever considered the fact that Eisenberger is a joke. He talks the talk but hasn't walked the walk. Now we will have to settle for that madman former radio guy who will destroy this town or Larry who has been there before....the ad in the paper was brilliant, if subtly negative....I have spoken to many people who didn't even think it was an ad....they thought it was just the paper doing some comparatives...gotta hand it to them. Sigh

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By Agreement (anonymous) | Posted October 20, 2010 at 09:07:22

Great analysis in this essay. But if you go to the candidate websites, you will find fred's full of rehashed ideas, bob's full of holes and Larry's with the most specifics...don't agree that no one has provided them, therefore.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
[ - ]

By nobrainer (registered) | Posted October 20, 2010 at 10:08:18

For a guy that's trying real hard to convince voters he's 'friendly, likable' and not ruthless or unscrupulous DiIanni sure rubbed me the wrong way with that sneaky ad.

Reply | Permalink | Context

You must be logged in to vote on this comment.
View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

Comment Anonymously
Screen Name
What do you get if you multiply 5 and 1?
Leave This Field Blank
Comment

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds