Comment 30393

By jason (registered) | Posted April 23, 2009 at 07:35:53

You're absolutely right, but at the end of the day it still seems to me that even if poorer neighbourhoods organize and get more involved, the political machine will still roll over them with little fear of repercussions.
I think of the huge public garden/farm in south-central LA that was having amazing benefits to the neighbourhood, yet was bulldozed by city council in order to allow an industrial developer to build a warehouse. They were as organized as any group, but they have no political leverage in terms of money or campaign funding. Look at how long downtown Hamilton residents and BIA's have been opposing transport trucks using our neighbourhoods as highways. Yet not a single change has taken place. In Westdale, Mac starts running construction trucks through the neighbourhood and it only took a couple of months for the local authorities to respond and get the trucks out of there. The new biofuel plant that was built on a harbourfront site that used to house ball diamonds and a park for local residents is another example. Imagine trying to bulldoze Churchill Park or the HAAA grounds for a factory?? Would never happen. Grassroots organization seems to be the way to go in poor neighbourhoods. Waiting for the government to show up will take forever. Hamilton's Keith neighbourhood is a great example of this. Granted, they had some heavy hitters on board with their community centre project, but they were able to save the building and get a new bus route added to their neighbourhood after a great community organization and support.

And of course, this isn't always true 100% across the board. I look at how Councilor Bratina has fought hard for the new Beasley rec centre and school, as well as for the North End Health Centre. There are certainly politicians out there who 'get it' but by and large, the system doesn't.

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