Municipal Election 2006

Shocking! Spec Endorses Di Ianni

By Ryan McGreal
Published November 11, 2006

In a shocking upset, today's editorial in the Hamilton Spectator endorses Larry Di Ianni for mayor.

Okay, maybe not so shocking. In a review of the candidates that dismissed Michael Baldasaro, Diane Elms, Steve Leach, Gino Speziale, and Martin Zuliniak in one short paragraph ("...none of them has demonstrated that they have what it takes to be mayor of a major city"), the Spec heaped praise on both Di Ianni and Eisenberger, but tipped to the former because they worry that unlike Di Ianni, Eisenberger won't be effective at "building - and being part of - constructive teams."

Take a moment to let that sink in.

Di Ianni - who sued Red Hill activists and even the federal government for trying to save the valley from the construction crews; forced an airport development plan without allowing the public even to consider an alternative; bullied council with a false alternative between demolishing an historic downtown building or doing nothing; and criticized opponents of a pig slaughterhouse for being in support of "higher taxes and fewer jobs" - is now a "team builder"?

The only mayor in Ontario to plead guilty to violating campaign finance law, after denying doing anything wrong and then accusing his accusor of playing dirty politics, brings "a new sense of businesslike purpose and authentic leadership to local governance" and "has shown a stirking level of statesmanship in representing the city"?

Really?

The judge who saw only six of Di Ianni's charges may be satisfied that he "had no intent to defraud or deceive", but the Spec editors were allowed to consider all 41 charges, and know that, for example, a single cheque for $1,000 was recorded as two cheques, one for $750 and one for $250, from different donors. When they scold that "the issue diverted public money, energy, and momentum", they imply that the real villain was the person who brought the charges against Di Ianni.

Granted, Di Ianni has shown a prodigious ability to to build some kinds of "constructive teams" - like the teams who are building the Red Hill Valley Expressway, the huge Summit Park residential development adjacent to the expressway, the new "Meadowlands East" big box complex, the new big box complex at Clappisons Corners, and the team ready to convert 1,200 hectares (3,000 acres) of farmland around the airport into air-transport warehouses.

But "building productive relationships with councillors" and "bridges into a city's many communities"? That's a bit tougher to swallow.

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 jason (registered) | Posted November 11, 2006 at 11:47:46

the spec has been telling us who to vote for since the election began...why did they feel the need to do it again today??? must be a slow news day. yea, how do they know if Fred is a good team builder?? he certainly can't be any worse than what we've seen on council the past 3 years.

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By D. Shields (registered) | Posted November 12, 2006 at 06:10:54

Shocking is Right! Since when does a newspaper that isn't photocopied in somebody's basement do this kind of thing? Why are we supposed to care who the Spec. endorses? Why would they go out of their way to cheese people off. (will those ad. $$$ matter if enough people stop reading it?)

About all they did say in the way of endorsing Mr. D. was 'a team player' & 'experience'. They also gave the experience nod to Eisenberger so..?

Next term, maybe they could start printing the local political news in the Sports section, & just be done with it, since they clearly see these people as 'Team Hamilton'. This whole endorsement thing was bush league.

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By Locke (registered) | Posted November 12, 2006 at 12:15:37

And here I thought I had simply missed the endorsement already. ;)

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By Mal (anonymous) | Posted November 14, 2006 at 00:29:07

What this city needs is a good second mainstream newspaper source. Take a city like our friends down the QE, who have a selection of newspapers to choose from. Seems to me that the saying "variety is the spice of life" comes in to play here. Samples of opinions from different sources certainly helps one form a much better and educated opinion/decision on matters that count.

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By Mark (registered) | Posted November 21, 2006 at 04:25:37

Di Ianni is a criminal and I think we can all be glad he's out of office.

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By King James (anonymous) | Posted November 21, 2006 at 17:18:17

Sure am. I'm about as happy as I was when that criminal Paul Martin was kicked out of office......oh right.

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