A Time to Fight

By Jason Leach
Published March 26, 2007

The day after the provincial budget has seen the expected response from City Hall, except perhaps from our Mayor.

I know Fred is still new and his style is certainly to think before reacting, but a time like this is the perfect time for him to get a little ticked off and fight for this city.

I can appreciate him wanting to maintain his ability to work with others and not be seen as another divisive, bickering politician like so many before him, but Freddy boy ­ we got screwed and you need to shout it from the rooftops.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.


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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 26, 2007 at 09:42:20

I'll be honest: after years of politics as a "blood sport" (to quote former Spec honcho Dana Robbins), Eisenberger's calm words and measured tone are a very pleasant change from the calculated insults, threats, and lawsuits of the former mayor and his band of cronies.

I have always believed that in a hierarchical organization, everything comes down to management. The best team in the world will flounder if they're mismanaged, and a bunch of 'incompetents' will perform miracles if they're treated competently.

Hamilton under the jokers in the former council was itself a joke: derided by other municipalities, dismissed by serious investors, and shamefully exploited by property speculators and other hangers-on. Staff are frustrated by the lack of direction and residents are disgusted by the never-ending antics.

The only way that culture is going to change is from the top down, and Mayor Eisenberger is the top. (Council screwed up the Morelli fiasco, but no one really knows what went on behind the closed doors of that in camera session, and Eisenberger is ultimately only one vote.) If he's going to bring some professionalism, decorum, and direction to this city, he needs to start by ensuring he is always professional, decorous, and directed in his own dealings.

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted May 22, 2013 at 23:55:25 in reply to Comment 6022

An email from city solicitor Janice Atwood-Petkovski sent to councillors and senior staff Wednesday night states the city has spent $578,659 on outside lawyers for the case. The suit, filed by former city staffers Randy Charlton, Susan McGrath and Tom Redmond, is still ongoing. They are seeking $7 million in damages.

"I understand that staff and external legal counsel provided a status update of the litigation at a closed session last year," reads Atwood-Petkovski's email, obtained by The Spectator Wednesday.

The lawsuit dates back to 2009, when Charlton, McGrath and Redmond filed a statement of claim in court over their job terminations in January 2007. They argued they were victims of a botched harassment investigation that treated them unfairly.

At the time, the city said they were fired for mistreating taxi inspector Mike Francoeur.

However, the trio alleged the "real perpetrator" of the harassment was Ward 3 Councillor Bernie Morelli because Francoeur had angered one of Morelli's supporters by enforcing taxi bylaws.

They claimed Morelli was alleged to have threatened Francoeur in 2004 in an expletive-filled tirade.


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By jason (registered) | Posted March 26, 2007 at 09:50:32

I agree...but that doesn't mean taking a Liberal MPP's word that the budget was great for Hamilton. If that's true, show us all the numbers. He doesn't need to act like a maniac, but he needs to fight for us.

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By James (registered) | Posted March 26, 2007 at 09:53:49

Ryan, I realize that Eisenberger is new and needs time to grow into his role -But- if he continues to underperform, I hope that you won't continue to be so soft on him. He has yet to accomplish any of his campaign priorities.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 26, 2007 at 10:02:51

James, I appreciate what you're writing, but I'm not sure what he should be doing differently.

Take the anti-idling bylaw. He introduced it right away as promised, but Mitchell and Ferguson, both of whom oppose it dogmatically, have gummed it up in subcommittees.

What can Eisenberger do about this? (I'm not asking rhetorically - I really would like to know.) I don't think yelling at them will change their minds. What options does a mayor have when council is split like it is in our amalgamated wonder-city?

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By tomcooper (anonymous) | Posted March 26, 2007 at 10:36:52

Ryan is probably right.
Mayor Fred is taking a responsible position - he will need to maintain his composure in order to try to salvage something from the situation.
To the province he will look like the voice of reason.
At the same time I think it is incumbent upon other community activists to be quite concerned -even irate - about the situation.

The $5 million deficit will likely put an end to hopes about not hiking HSR fares (no matter how reasoned the position); it will also likely means that other proactive measures - such as the proposed low income tenant tax rebate, lowering multi-residential taxes etc. are lost causes for this 2007 budget.

Will Council be willing to hike property taxes to compensate for the missing $5 million or will they look at service cuts?

I am trying to wrap my head around why the Provincial Liberals would be willing to cause this much potential political unrest in order to save $5 million. My best guess is that they seriously misjudged the response.

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By markwhittle (registered) - website | Posted March 26, 2007 at 14:47:41

Well done Tom, spoken like a true Paul Martin Liberal, like Alderman Bill Kelly was.

Just one question though, are you a Registered Lobbyist with the Province of Ontario as is the Law?

The reason I'm asking is because you were appointed to a number of social service committees, thanks to the efforts of Alderman Kelly, and you receive a salary from McQueston Legal Services that also receives a substantial amount of municipal funding.

As you know, Conflicts of Interest can be real or percieved, so I would appreciate you clearing the air, it's an election year remember Mr. Cooper?

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By adrian (registered) | Posted March 26, 2007 at 15:27:02

Mark Whittle, interesting that you'd bring up being a registered lobbyist. During the election campaign you said "I'm also a registered Lobbyist and freelance political consultant of great renown."


However, according to the lobbyist registration websites for Ontario and Canada:

http://lobbyist.oico.on.ca/ http://www.orl-bdl.gc.ca/epic/site/lobby...

You are not, in fact, a registered lobbyist.

Can you reconcile your previous statement that you are a "registered Lobbyist" with the fact that you do not seem to appear on these lobbyist registries?

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By Hammerhead (registered) | Posted March 26, 2007 at 16:10:34

I agree with you Jason - the Mayor should be less a conciliator and more of a leader. Sometimes when a leader gathers opinion and comment from every available source before making decisions, he becomes somewhat impotent. There is a time for consultation - now is not the time.

Also, - where are the rest of the councillors on this issue? - they should all be on the steps of Queens Park shouting loud and often.

We will only get screwed if we allow ourselves to be screwed.

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By Markwhittle (registered) - website | Posted March 26, 2007 at 16:24:02

No problem filling you in Adrian, obviously you're not one or you would know that when you gain a client and begin working for them you have to register the company, as Tom Cooper is supposed to do.

The reason I don't have any clients listed is because in order to not have a conflict of Interest in the upcoming Provincial Election I have turned down all long term contracts. I don’t even need to work, I’m already retired at 50, sorry to not tell you my whole life story. Try Google; give you ten or so pages of my life in a New York minute.

In other words at this particular time I have no active clients but that could change at any moment, I'm self employed and own a registered company called Street Advisor Canada, where my clients send corporate cheques to the Royal Bank when they are active and receive an invoice for billable hours.

I gather you found Tom's name missing as well, are all his clients inactive too, including McQueston Legal Services, the corporate entity that pays his salary to lobby Council?

Nice try at diverting the debate away from Tom Cooper and focus it on me, lucky for you I don't have anything to hide, as others seem to do in this regard.

And thanks for at least researching before shooting from the lip.

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By A Robot (anonymous) | Posted March 26, 2007 at 23:21:02

You got what, five votes in the municipal election and now you think you're up for MPP? Best of luck to you, sir.

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By adrian (registered) | Posted March 26, 2007 at 23:45:00

Mark Whittle, when were you registered as a lobbyist? Both of those registries let you search inactive lobbyists as well as active lobbyists (i.e. they let you search in the past as well as in the present). If you were a registered lobbyist, then your records should be publicly available like all the other registered lobbyists. Where are yours?

I don't understand where you're coming from with regards to Tom Cooper. Apparently you know something about Mr. Cooper that is not evident to the rest of us.

What evidence do you have that Mr. Cooper is lobbying city council, and what evidence do you have that he is being paid to do so? And what makes you think that you need to register as a lobbyist in order to lobby a municipal government?

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By Markwhittle (registered) - website | Posted March 27, 2007 at 06:00:01

Adrian, I was registered last year when I got my Master Business Licence from the Provincial Government.

As to Mr. Cooper, why not ask him these questions, he gets paid to lobby at city hall because that’s where he spends the bulk of his time.

Read the minutes of the meeting he attends, it’s patently obvious, that’s why we need an Integrity Commissioner.

Look Adrian if you think I'm lying why don't you just simply call the Registrar and ask him, I won't be embarrassed, but you may.

I was recently serves to sit on a Jury Panel, on the sheriff's notice it listed my occupation, Registered Lobbyist. I guess everyone is wrong about me except you.

There's nothing stopping tom Cooper from explaining himself here is there, you expected as much of me without blindly assuming Tom is not Lobbying Council.

He's not a volunteer because McQueston Legal Services pays him to do so. Why on earth do you think they do that, out of the goodness of their hearts?

Come on boy; wake up to the realities we face. Municipalities are creatures of the Province and play by their rules, including the Provincial Lobbyists Act.

Well Tom Cooper ready to come clean yet, or do you expect Adrian to do your dirty work for you trying to make me look bad instead of you, for being a paid Lobbyist, real or percieved?

HAMILTON: Get used to it.

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By intrigant (anonymous) | Posted March 27, 2007 at 09:01:47

I'm no expert Mark-Alan on lobbyists but it seems to me that if you're a registered lobbyist you should show up on some lobbyist registry. But when you're asked, all the 'evidence' you provide is you tell us that
'registered lobbyist' is written on a sherriff's notice.


If you're a registered lobbyist then show us where you're registered. It's your job to prove your case because YOU'RE the one who claimed you're a registered lobbyist and YOU'RE the one who accused that this tomcooper guy is an UNregistered lobbyist.

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By BrianE (anonymous) | Posted March 27, 2007 at 09:21:17

Wow, now I know what it's like to have a conversation hijacked by over zealous political whack-jobs.

You learn something new everyday.

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By tomcooper (anonymous) | Posted March 27, 2007 at 10:22:23

Yikes... I knew I should have picked a username like HulkHogan -- if only to escape having to respond to Mark Alan Whittle's conspiracy theories.

Mark - you really should try to relax more. Maybe try Yoga - or less caffeine.

To answer though - NO, I am not a Registered Lobbyist. I appreciate your concerns though -- let's see if I can help you out - of course a phone call to me might have answered your questions too, but of course that isn't quite as sensational as posting baseless claims in cyberspace.

I work as an employee of Legal Aid Ontario - an arms-length organization funded through the Ministry of the Attorney General. McQuesten Legal & Community Services receives it’s operating funding through Legal Aid Ontario with a mandate to provide legal assistance to low income Hamiltonians (free of charge, to those who qualify). We have a volunteer community board of directors that oversees personnel matters.

Let me be clear, McQuesten does not receive any operating funding from the City of Hamilton.

While I particpate on some committees in my position as Community Development Coordinator at McQuesten, others have been strictly voluntary - such as the Hamilton Historical Board.

I have never received payment for any municipal or advisory committee on which I have participated – Brian McHattie once bought me a ‘fair trade’ coffee, but I’m hoping that won’t land me in the slammer.

While I routinely speak and make presentations to Councillors, City Staff and others about ‘law reform’ initiatives and public education outreach it is not on behalf of ‘specific clients’, but rather because our clinics have identified areas of public policy that are having a detrimental impact on low income Hamiltonians in general.

You can find out about Hamilton’s Community Legal Clinics’ mandate and activities by going to our website at www.hamiltonlegalclinics.ca

Oh, and just to make you happy, I talked to the Registrar herself this morning and confirmed that as a provincial government employee – I am not expected to register. If that policy changes, I will be more than happy to abide by the regulations set forth in the Lobbyists Registration Act.

I hope I have eased your troubled brow Mark.

Wasn't somebody talking about social service downloading at some point?

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By Markwhittle (registered) - website | Posted March 27, 2007 at 13:24:27

Thanks for clearing that up Tom, I'm glad it's ok to get paid by a third party to sit on Committees of Local Councils. I asked a legitimate question, you know that, but I was attacked, my integrity was impugned and the onus was put on me to explain my activities instead of you.

I hope you’re not mad having questions answered about what you do and get paid to do for your employers. I’m sure you have accountability and ethical policies as any other Provincial employee would have.

You have specific duties, what’s the scope and boundaries; they should be well defined since someone other than the rate-payers in Hamilton pay your salary. When Alderman Kelly was on the selection committee he ensured you were appointed to the right committee.

You know the drill, as do I. Why do you think we need an Integrity Commissioner, why do you think Toronto has an Integrity commissioner?

And unlike you, everything I do for the public is volunteer work, I’m retired and live off my extensive investments that pay me an annuity every month like clockwork, geared to inflation.

My client list is private, only paying customers need to be registered, that’s why I wanted you to clear the air, $5 million dollars is a lot of money that can’t properly be explained away unless a line by line accounting is made public, so we can judge for ourselves who did what to whom.

And my questions weren’t baseless at all, and the registrar knows me too, that’s why I have a registration number. The person I know is the director, a guy, not a girl. I’m sure there’s more than one staff given the size of the Registry; there may be a number of Registrars, male and female, but only one director.

And since you are convinced that social services are short $17 million can you please tell me what the “value-added" services cost, the ones that don't receive any funding from the Provincial government to implement.

Nobody seems willing to break out the numbers so that we can judge for ourselves whether this problem is self-induced or not. If we are a magnet for “value-added” social services funded by the Municipality, what are they Tom, you of all people should know given your extensive experience working City Hall to “enhance” social services.

And like I said to Terry Whitehead last night when we had some time to chat openly and eye to eye on the matter, if we are a magnet, why? I think a line by line accounting of the whole $17 million dollar short-fall estimate is in order, don’t you think that’s fair.

Maybe the Province saw something they didn’t like in there so they held back $5 million. It’s the only plausible reason for not buying us off for the upcoming Provincial election. Many alderman feel the same way, but have decided to put up a common front, accept for Mayor-elect Fred Eisenberger, who knows more about it than the rest of us combined.

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By A Robot (anonymous) | Posted March 27, 2007 at 19:33:35

I take that back. You'd make an awesome politician, as long as you promise to stay ridiculous.

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By armchair (anonymous) | Posted March 27, 2007 at 21:35:01

Amalgamation made Hamilton into a house devided, & I'm sure there was method in the madness.
Whatever hurts central Hamilton, helps the 'Burbs & vise versa... It was a set up.
We are so busy fighting amongst ourselves that we can't get organized enough to go up against the Province, or the Fed. Gov.
The Councellors want to get re-elected -Period.If this means hurting Hamilton as a whole, that's exactly the way it will go down. The thing is, when is the last time they Asked their all constituents anything? A term in council isn't a blank cheque that get's cashed next time we go to the polls.
I feel very sorry for Mayor Fred, but I also think he can/will unite this City in some key areas. (if that's not too much to ask from some people at City Hall-?)

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