Politics

Yes, We Realize How Lucky We Are

By Jason Leach
Published November 05, 2007

Please allow me, as a resident of Ward 1, to thank Brian McHattie for putting his job and local citizens first.

I recently attended a public meeting regarding some issues in our neighbourhood and a rep from the city was there making a presentation.

At one point the city worker stopped and mentioned Brian: "I hope you all realize how lucky you all are to have a Councillor like this who understands cities and urban issues."

We all chuckled and said, "we certainly do!"

I can only imagine the sort of nonsense this worker has seen in other ward meetings throughout the city.

As for today's Spec column choosing to hold up our east end Councillors as examples for Mr McHattie to follow, I only have one response. Go check out the east end.

Councillor McHattie could attend all the boring, useless meetings in the world if the people of Ward 1 were content to let our community become another hollowed-out part of urban Hamilton.

We elected him to represent us and work for us. Thank you, Mr. Dreschel, for reassuring us that he is doing a fabulous job and exactly what the local citizens want.

I'd be worried if McHattie was earning praise from the local paper. As long as he isn't, I know he's doing a great job!

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 Frank (registered) | Posted November 05, 2007 at 12:56:38

McHattie does a great job. Wish there were more of his type around.

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By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted November 05, 2007 at 12:58:11

Why is McHattie right to ignore the team player hype?

As a resident of Hamilton, consider Chris Bart's corporate pep-talking points to councilors: To always act as a team; to be dedicated to excellence in everything they do; to provide high-quality services; to act in a fiscally responsible manner; to ensure a prosperous environment; to be an organization that thrives on innovation; and to be a team that is valued and appreciated for its contributions and accomplishments.

Then think about how this enhances your quality of life.

Compare this to things people can do to reduce harm, like restricting diesels, two stroke engines, wood burning, nuisance noise-leaf blowers, pesticides - all things with measurable health detriment, and you can't buy them away at any price.

Which approach enhances your quality of city life - prefabricated talking points or common sense harm reduction? McHattie at least tries to address the latter.

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By timjacobs (anonymous) | Posted November 05, 2007 at 13:36:26

I can't wait until McHattie runs for mayor! He'd be ideal.

P.S. Andrew Dreschel's "columns" are simply brutal--uninformed, extravagantly opinionated, and replete with cliches (in the writing and ideas). He's a hack writer working at a garrison outpost daily newspaper; his professional existence depends on lame criticism to gain notoriety.

Finally, McHattie's absolutely right: a city cannot be operated like a private-sector business. I have come up against this inane corporatization of post-secondary education time and again. The same goes for cities. The business world is about hoarding wealth. Cities are about abundant living for all. Hoarding versus giving. It's bucks versus spirit; the two do not interpenetrate. The very spirit of a city is changed when we try to run it on a bean-counter's model.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted November 05, 2007 at 13:42:00

I spewed my smoked salmon on my Armani suit when I opened the paper this morning. Or was it my Birkenstocks? I can't remember. I'll have to consult Dreschel to see what we West Hamiltonians are wearing this week.

It's as you say, Jason. If Dreadful hates you, you must be doing something right.

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By Locke (registered) | Posted November 05, 2007 at 14:13:42

Does anybody remember when Dreschel (during the election) relayed and supported the intimation that McHattie was spending TOO MUCH time on "the city's big picture"? (McHattie's Sure Thing Could Be A Close Shave: http://www.raisethehammer.org/index.asp?...

Now McHattie is in trouble with Dreschel for not looking at the big picture, but focusing on Ward Issues.

Personally, I want my councillor to work at both (what a concept). Brian's input is needed on the bigger stage of city politics, not just on Ward issues.

I'll give Dreschel some points for suggesting Brian might have been wiser to bring his POV to the meeting. BUT, Dreschel's being completely unfair for shooting darts at Brian for focusing too much and too little on Ward and larger city issues. Come on Dreschel: You can't have it both ways.

BTW: McHattie ran for Mayor in 1997. I know. I voted for him then too.

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By whistley (anonymous) | Posted November 05, 2007 at 15:12:44

Hey Locke, check out Ryan's blog ''Anti-McHattie Hit Piece Cheapens Column'' he makes the same point.

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By Locke (registered) | Posted November 05, 2007 at 16:21:14

I should have trusted Ryan to hit that point too. Unfortunately, I came in by the first link of the email update... and only after ranting did I realize Ryan had already said the same thing better.

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By anonymous (anonymous) | Posted November 07, 2007 at 23:33:35

I think it is great that we have a local politician supporting his constituents. BUT, I also think it is important that they attend such strategic planning sessions. I agree that you can't compare the private sector to the public sector. Public sector ventures are money-losing, if they weren't the private sector would step in to reap the profits. Nonetheless, the Councillor is one of 16 members steering a billion dollar corporation and I believe one must think of the bigger picture as well. His absence along with other Councillors (Dreschel should not have singled him out, that was childish) shows how disfunctional our local government is. We need the politicians to formulate a plan and priorities together and stick with it, everybody must be in or the exercise is pointless. I'll give this to Brian, I do believe he is the sharpest knife in the drawer but I am somewhat disappointed that he blew off the strategy session. I put absolutely no weight in what Merulla and Collins have to say. The two of them together would fill (maybe) a 16th of one of Brian's shoes.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted November 08, 2007 at 13:03:50

Anonymous, what you say is true and I would be in complete agreement with you, if it weren't for the fact that this particular strategy session was an empty exercise in the worst kind of corporatespeak. I applaud McHattie for calling it out for the waste of time that it was, although I doubt he anticipated the reaction.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 08, 2007 at 15:23:32

Also, don't forget that just last October, Dreschel was complaining that McHattie takes too much of a city-wide approach and doesn't pay enough attention to local matters (a nonsense claim, as anyone in Ward 1 can attest).

Incidentally, Dreschel also complained last week that the very session he chides McHattie for not attending "fell under the spell" of its organizer and produced a city objective that looked like the participants were "smoking wacky tabacky or lacing their lunchtime pizzas with special herbs".

Dreschel can't have it both ways: either the session was valuable and constructive or it was pie-in-the-sky and produced only vapid generalizations that are "virtually the same values the city adopted after amalgamation."

Similarly, either McHattie spends too much time "focusing on the city's big picture" or else he spends too much time "working on issues that affect his west Hamilton ward".

Finally, this statement sticks out like a bowtie on a rattlesnake:

"For a leader, honesty means admitting you don't have all the answers, that you're willing to listen to others.

"The least admired leadership characteristic is independence.

"Here's the talking point: Where does McHattie fit into that paradigm?"

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