Municipal Election 2006

Did Eisenberger Already Violate Municipal Elections Act?

By Ryan McGreal
Published September 08, 2006

Fred Eisenberger registered his campaign for Mayor on September 6, 2006. Immediately, according to Andrew Dreschel, the Hamilton Spectator's civic affair's colmunist, he ran into possible legal trouble over a mockup of his campaign website.

According to Dreschel, Eisenberger's saying that the site in question is just a demonstration, and that he asked "lots of people" to "do mockups on potential sites" and "give us samples of what they can do."

Well, maybe. The charge, coming from a staunch supporter of the Larry Di Ianni political machine, is classic muckraking, and there appears to be no independent way of verifying what the demonstration site in question may have contained, since it is not available on the web and does not seem to have been indexed by Google.

However, the problem may be even worse than it appears. A whois domain search on Eisenberger's official campaign website, fredformayor.ca, shows that he registered the website domain name on August 28, 2006, several days before he announced his candidacy.

It costs money to register a domain name, usually around $12-15 for a Canadian (.ca) country domain. Does this mean Eisenberger broke the Municipal Elections Act, which prohibits campaign spending before announcing one's candidacy?

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 Mark-Alan Whittle (anonymous) | Posted September 12, 2006 at 00:02:03

Welcome to the Fred Eisenberger ‘Lame Duck’ election campaign.

I own and registered my lobbying firms domain name (www.streetadvisor.ca) just like ‘Fast Freddy’ Eisenberger did for www.fredformayor.ca, his defunct election campaign web site.

But flogging off the responsibility to abide by the municipal elections act onto some as yet unidentified web developers doesn’t bode well for poor Fred, who seems hell bent on defining other in a lesser light of accountability, for shame.

He hasn’t got a prayer against the DiIanni onslaught at the ballot box.

As his Honor found out, owning up and taking your lumps is much better than unfounded blame assessment onto others, like mayoralty hopeful Fred Eisenberger seems to have done jumping the gun with his web site. LOL.

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By downtowner (registered) | Posted September 13, 2006 at 14:59:28

Hello, his "honour" the mayor spent theree years trying to avoid "owning up" and is only "taking his lumps" now because his stalling and eel-like attempts at wiggling out of public scutiny failed due to Ms Chapman's dogged determination to nail him on it.

Will Hamilton never have a decent mayor?

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By Kevin_ (anonymous) | Posted September 14, 2006 at 16:19:30

That's not true. He admitted to the violations before the charges were even laid. The resolution took so long primarily because council (excluding the mayor and the other implicated councillors) initially voted no to an audit. Then the audit process itself took months. After that, the laying of charges took months more. None of this being under larry's control. When the matter finally came before the court, he plead to the charges. How is that avoiding his "lumps"? If it's the sentence that bothers you, take it up with the judge. He felt the trangressions were made unintentionally.

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By city girl (anonymous) | Posted September 21, 2006 at 10:18:10

I'm sorry - the mayor didn't 'take his lumps" at all! He only plead guilty in court to a couple thousand in illegal contributions. Yet he paid back $26,000 - that to me is an admission of guilt right there. So we only have the full story for a fraction of what was donated. How is that fair to taxpayers???

Ok, so Fred registered his domain a few days early. He spent maybe $15 to secure the site he wanted, and got someone to do a little tinkering. This isn't even on the same scale! I saw the demo site. It was so obviously a moch-up. It had place-holder text, instead of real words. it wasn't connected up. No donations could be made through it. It was a demo, plain and simple. I don't see how registering a domain name is even in the same conversation as 41 charges, and at least $26,000 in illegal campaing contributions.

I don't see what's so fantastic about Larry, that people will turn a blind eye to what he did, yet, nitpick about every little miniscule "mistake" anyone else does. It reminds me of the federal Liberals trying to make the Conservatives look bad in the last election, when THEY were the ones swirling with scandal.

What's wrong with people in this city!?

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By King James (anonymous) | Posted September 21, 2006 at 15:41:48

I think the Eisenberger Website thing is probably an honest mistake. Part of the reason it got as much attention as it did is because of the hypervigilant climate that exists right now with respect to campaign financing. Sloppiness of any sort is now scrutinized.

Also, it was a particularly noteworthy story given the ethics/accountability tone of Eisenberger's campaign platform.

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By King James (anonymous) | Posted September 21, 2006 at 15:44:13

(i.e) people in glass houses...

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By A voter (anonymous) | Posted October 25, 2006 at 00:46:38

Forget a $15 website. Seriously people? Let's vote on who can get the job done for this city and make it better! I think Fred is the most honest and truly cares about the outcome of this city. My biggest issues for the city is polution and poverty. We are a smog haven with the biggest asthma in children rates around. Fred is the best environmental candidate for sure. What is Hamilton known for? Polution and the horrible display of football called the Ti-cats! I feel he wants to truly make a difference and will work hard at it. That's what I want in a mayor. The nice thing is, if he doesn't do that, we can vote in 4 yrs for someone else. I don't trust Di Ianni, and won't vote for someone I don't trust.

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By another voter (anonymous) | Posted October 25, 2006 at 08:39:29

Hey A voter, is Fred really an environmental candidate or is he just being opportunistic? People have been criticising him for not being any different from DiIanni, and suddenly he's against sprawl. I smell a rat. Also, he's close to the Conservative Party and they're not exactly known for their environmental stewardship.

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By King James (anonymous) | Posted October 25, 2006 at 12:18:25

How can you be both anti-sprawl and pro-expressway?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted October 25, 2006 at 13:55:59

During the 2003 election, Marvin Caplan was pro-UN World Biosphere Preserve and pro-expressway (I called him on it, and our correspondence led eventually to his Sep. 15, 2005 opinion piece in RTH). He went down in flames in the polls.

Granted, voters in ward 1 saw little benefit in an expensive expressway on the other side of the city, so the comparison may not be fair.

The short answer is that Eisenberger can be both anti-sprawl and pro-expressway because his campaign is the product of market research, not political philosophy. See the blog I just posted on this matter:

http://www.raisethehammer.org/blog/354

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By citizen (registered) | Posted November 10, 2006 at 22:41:52

I'm getting into this a little late.. but what annoys me is when people can't understand that expressways arn't necessarily pro-sprawl or pro-pollution. Red Hill is and was needed for quite some time. It will route traffic off the QEW/403 on the other side of Hamilton (over probably a shorter distance) that is ultimately headed west/south and will stem the parking lot that often is centenial parkway. It's WORSE for the environment to have cars and trucks idling in traffic.

There are lots of things we can do that would be better for the environment and clogged motorways isn't one of them.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 11, 2006 at 09:30:44

Dear Citizen,

In fact, expressways are necessarily pro-sprawl and pro-pollution. In transportation, supply creates its own demand, so an expressway like Red Hill, which runs from the QEW into an undeveloped area of the city, is 1) opening that area up to new development (like Summit Park) and 2) making it easier for people to drive and hence encouraging more people to do so.

In fact, the family that owns the Summit Park subdivision (DeSantis) were major donors to the 2003 election campaigns of expressway supporters, including Larry Di Ianni, because, as Aldo DeSantis explained, Red Hill was "the lynchpin" that would make Summit Park viable. The following CATCH article from 2004 provides some eye-popping details:

http://www.hamiltoncatch.org/articles/ar...

The second part reflects the fact that people will choose the transportation mode that is the best combination of convenient and affordable. If driving is the most convenient, then people will drive. If transit is the most convenient (as it is in, say Manhattan, where 70% of residents don't own a car), then people will take transit.

Every time we build a new expressway, we make it more convenient to drive and less convenient to take transit, due to the opportunity cost of spending public money on the highway instead of transit. The city sprawls further, density goes down, and all those car-owning people now put additional pressure on the city to make the rest of it as car-friendly as the expressways and their wide-laned adjacent suburbs.

A direct result is the ongoing pressure to keep Main and King as one-way urban expressways, since people who have already invested huge sums in a car want to leverage it as extensively as possible. The fixed costs of owning a car (lease/financing, insurance, regular maintenance) are higher than the variable costs of operating it, so the total per-kilometre cost of driving actually goes down the more you drive.

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By citizen (registered) | Posted November 13, 2006 at 01:01:22

Ryan,

My Girlfriend and probably countless others agree with you. I however think that there is more to it than that.

"In transportation, supply creates its own demand"

Induced demand is real, but the nuances and effects are debatable.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Induced_dem...

Regular Maintenance is variable and not fixed, the more you drive the more regular maintenance you need. Also there is incidental maintenance such as tires, brakes, suspension, bushings, tie rods etc etc that is also variable, but I got your point.

"people will choose the transportation mode that is the best combination of convenient and affordable."

The affordability (as in $$ not time) of driving is also a variable.

The Economist argues that North Americas biggest mistake over the last 20 odd years was letting the price of gas fall after it had spiked. They argue that it we would have been far better off to artificially keep the price of gasoline up by inserting a new/larger tax each time the price of crude dropped back down and the public had become accustomed to the new price.

As far as I know, the price of gas isn't significantly different now than it was 40 years ago when you control for inflation and average wages.

While that's not a Municipal issue, it would be nice to see a Federal government that would be willing to increase the cost of gas a bit.

I know about Summitpark and while Red Hill may have been a deciding factor in their decision to build it, that doesn't mean that the road serves no other purpose.

For instance the road will benefit business logistics in the area, which will make those businesses more competitive. I hope we can agree that that's a good thing.

I think we both agree that Hamiltons public transportation could use a lot of work. I used it for 2 years and it was a colosal annoyance and time eater.. so much so that it wasn't possible for me to continue to use it. While I was saving a lot of money, I was wasting a lot of time, so much so that it didn't make sense to continue to use it. I must explain that I own a house that is constantly being repaired and arranging to have use of a vehicle to get certain jobs done was becoming more than an inconvenience.

I would really like to see the downtown of Hamilton rejuvenated, but I don't think the Red Hill Creek Expressway has done anything to hurt that. Generally, the kind of people who flock to brand new development arn't the type that would be willing to take on fixing up a 100 year old house. As for condo units and the like, there has to be some way to make that kind of development seem more attractive to developers. Maybe the only way to do that would be to halt or slow down green field developments.

Oh and of course a Mayor willing to do that would be nice aswell.

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By quack quack (anonymous) | Posted December 01, 2006 at 12:30:41

"Welcome to the Fred Eisenberger ‘Lame Duck’ election campaign. ... He hasn’t got a prayer against the DiIanni onslaught at the ballot box."

Hey there Mark-Alan Whittle - all that stuff on your face is egg from the ‘Lame Duck’.

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