TPR Email Edition for May 22, 2018: Hamilton LRT Project Facing Public Opinion Challenges

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The Fastest Backtrack

The past week was interesting as both Mayor Fred Eisenberger and Hamilton Centre MPP Andrea Horwath sought to take popular positions that turned out to be unpopular, and both had to quickly backtrack their comments.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger‘s first week of his re-election campaign is marked by an A, but not the good kind. In what can be described as Only in Hamilton, Mayor Eisenberger declared the anarchist A symbol to be hate speech after the City of Hamilton issued an order under the Property Standards stating the political symbol was a hate symbol. After his position was widely criticized, Mayor Eisenberger quickly backtracked, blaming front-line staff for his retracted statements.

MPP, and Ontario NDP Leader, Andrea Horwath reportedly stated Thursday to The Hamilton Spectator that City Council can choose to cancel the LRT project and spend the $1-Billion on other local transit projects. The online uproar was quick and loud. Early the next morning, Horwath issued a carefully and strongly worded statement “Should Ontario people elect me to serve as premier … Hamilton is getting an LRT, and there will be no more delays”

I’ve written a column on Horwath’s LRT statement could represent a response to shifting public opinion against the LRT as City Hall mismanagement of the HSR, and Hamilton’s rising rental costs are combining to build new opposition to the project

Provincial Debates!

I interrupt my regular coverage of municipal affairs to inform you that you can watch the provincial debates that were broadcast last week on Cable 14, they are free to view on Cable 14’s website. Kudos to moderator Mike Fortune for forcing some of the candidates to behave themselves when they chose to get into mud flinging instead of debating the issues that matter to Hamiltonians.

Spoiler alert: the candidates regularly read off the talking points of their various parties, so if you’ve heard the party platforms, for the most part you’ve heard your local candidates.

Partridge & Skelly Debate Who is More Corrupt

During the Flamborough-Glanbrook provincial election debate Ward 7 Councillor – running for the Progressive Conservative party – Donna Skelly tried to corner Ward 15 Councillor – running for the Liberal Party – Judi Partridge on the LRT. Both have voted against LRT at City Council, but Partridge is now running for the pro-LRT Liberal Party.

Both Partridge and Skelly argued that they both favour improving the HSR over LRT (both voted for the 2017 HSR cuts that caused the HSR Transit Crisis). Skelly repeated the PC promise to give Hamilton City Council $1-Billion for whatever the Council chooses to spend it on. Partridge stated the money was never going to City Council, it was going to Metrolinx, and the Council had the opportunity to choose other transit options, and Council voted for LRT.

What followed was Partridge and Skelly excusing each others parties of being more corrupt, “I think you sold your soul to the devil”, Partridge said to Skelly. The exchange escalated to a crescendo. Skelly “Judi, you’re being very disrespectful” Partridge “No, you’re being very disrespectful, you laid the groundwork for it, hon!” Skelly “Hon?” Partridge: “Yeap”

Full video of their debate is on Cable 14 here: https://cable14now.com/video-on-demand/video/?videoId=3157

New on The Public Record


Public Opinion Shifting Against The LRT Project

Hamilton’s LRT project is looking to be facing a crisis of public confidence, with even Mayor Fred Eisenberger seeking to not talk about the project in his re-election campaign. Long-time project supporter Ward 12 Councillor Lloyd Ferguson is willing to reconsider if Council can use the money for other projects, and last week Hamilton Centre MPP Andrea Horwath stated Council can use the LRT money for other transit projects.

In my latest Coleman’s Note, I write why the LRT project is facing serious risk as the HSR Transit Crisis and rising housing prices are turning public opinion against LRT.

Full Story on The Public Record

Preparing for a Lame Duck Council

Under new Municipal Elections rules, Hamilton City Council could become Lame Duck on July 27 and restricted from making any major spending decisions until the new Council Term in December.

I look at what City Hall needs to do before July 27

Full Story on The Public Record

Today from The Election Desk

The latest updates from The Public Record’s municipal election desk, visit our website for the latest updates, calendar of debates, and more.

Mayor Eisenberger Officially Registers for Re-Election

Mayor Fred Eisenberger officially registered on Monday for re-election; issuing a press statement to selected media. Eisenberger is not releasing his statement to the public, and there is no video of his media scrum. Bill Kelly, who has access to a recording of the scrum, wrote that Mayor Eisenberger “mused that the proposed LRT probably won’t be the key issue in the upcoming municipal election” and Kelly says it will be.

What could become an issue post-election is Mayor Eisenberger using his official Mayor’s Office /MayorFredEisenberger Facebook page for his re-election announcement. This follows a $30,000 spend on delivering 230,000 flyers promoting the Mayor’s now-election campaign accounts that was paid for using City of Hamilton funds.

Until someone files a complaint against a municipal candidate, and the Ontario Courts rule on an

The flyer, which Mayor Eisenberger says is in no way related to the election, and just happened to be produced for the first time in an election year, promotes the achievements of Mayor Eisenberger. The front cover (above) features Eisenberger’s name five times.

The domain Fred2018.ca was registered last year, it is not presently active. Eisenberger’s 2014 campaign used Fred2014.ca as the campaign domain.

New Candidates and Campaigning Updates

With the provincial election receiving nearly almost all political energy and attention, which should expect not to see many new municipal candidate registrations until after June 18th.

This past week the following candidates registered:

  • Fred Eisenberger for re-election as Mayor
  • Doug Conley for re-election as Ward 9 City Councillor
  • Anthony Simpson for Ward 8 City Councillor

Of note, television broadcaster Steve Ruddick – who ran for the Liberal Party in 2007 – was at City Hall on Monday where he left with a candidate package after looking intently at the new Ward 14 map.

Ward 2 Council candidate Cameron Kroetsch launched his campaign website, with including a lengthy list of supporters, including 2010 runner-up Matt Jelly and 2014 runner-up Terri Wallis. Both Jelly and Wallis live in Ward 2. Incumbent Jason Farr is not yet registered, he is running his primary initiative of each year Participatory Budgeting until June 28. It is not likely he’ll register until after this initiative is complete. (Nicole Smith launched her website earlier in May.) Kroetsch also sent out a campaign newsletter last week.

 

Candidate Promises to Make Dundas Its Own Ward Again

Ward 13 City Council candidate John Mykytyshyn says he’ll “work tirelessly to have Dundas have its own ward again”
Is this promise something he can do, or just pandering? The Public Record dives deep into the issue to find out how to implement the promise.

Ward Polling Division Maps now on The Public Record

I’m sure at least a few of you will have an interest in seeing the new polling divisions in great detail. Now on The Public Record for viewing and download.

Note that voting locations are scheduled to be released on September 4th, and that polling divisions usually share voting locations.

Join The Public Record’s Coverage: Send Us What the Candidates are Sending You!

Be part of The Public Record’s Election Team, send up photos and scans of candidate materials, screencap Facebook ads that you see in your social media feed, and help all Hamiltonians know what the candiates are staying. Email them to electiondesk@thepublicrecord.ca, we’ll post all candidate materials to our website.

THE PUBLIC RECORD PRESS CLUB

The Public Record is an independent reader-funded local news outlet serving Hamiltonians, and made possible by our Press Club members.

Join 25 fellow Hamiltonians as Press Club members and help both sustain and grow the future of local journalism right here in Hamilton.
Click here to learn more and sign up.

Next Press Club Event

The Public Record Live with the Graham Crawford Show
followed by the first TPR municipal election panel
Thursday June 14, 2018 from 6:30pm to 9:00pm
Corktown Pub, 175 Young Street, Downtown Hamilton

Hamilton News Briefs


The Future of Copps, Hamilton Place, and Convention Centre

The behind the scenes lobbying by private companies seeking to secure long term contracts to manage Hamilton’s publicly owned entertainment facilities is spilling into the public with both sides speaking to The Spectator’s Andrew Dreschel in the hopes of improving their positions.

On one hand, we have Carmen’s Group – Carmen’s already runs the Convention Centre – partnering with Oak View Group, on the other hand, SMG is looking to bid again. They bid in 2013, partnering with Supercrawl Productions.

Current private manager Spectra won in 2013, and Council can renew their contract for another five years.

Here’s where it gets even more interesting, under the current contract Council has until August 3rd to let Spectra know if there is a renewal or if the City will open competitive bids. However, the real deadline for Council to decide could be the first week of July. If less than 12 members of Council choose to seek re-election, Council will become “Lame Duck” on July 27, and under Section 275 of the Municipal Act, restricted from approving any new spending or contracts with values greater than $50,000. I explain the Lame Duck provisions on The Public Record here.


Hamilton Tory Nomination Scandal in The Globe and Mail

In an absolutely stunning, and heavily researched report, The Globe and Mail reports of the Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas Tory nomination meeting “Behind the scenes, The Globe has learned, a printer was cranking out fake Rogers utility bills and Scotiabank statements in a classroom, according to multiple sources.”

The printing was creating alleged fake identifications for nomination voters, and was found out when officials became suspicious of similiarites in the alleged fake documents.

This comes days after a Tory candidate resigned following the revelation that information on 60,000 407ETR customers was stolen.

Mayor Eisenberger Makes Election Year Promise of HSR Event Service

Mayor Fred Eisenberger is promising that he “will work to ensure” Hamilton’s public transit agency, the Hamilton Street Railway, provides service to major events starting this summer.

This follows City Hall failing to plan for the Dundas Victoria Day fireworks by not providing HSR service.

Twitter user Bradley Vinette brought this to the City’s attention on May 15, without response. On May 18, he tweeted again, with the City responding they would not be providing service, except for an hourly regular service.

After HSR riders called out this position, City Hall scrambled and announced at the last minute that bus service will be provided.

Get Engaged

May 24
Public Consultation on Corktown Plaza Development. Slate Asset Management is holding a public meeting seeking community feedback and ideas on their planned mix use commercial and residential rental development. The meeting is 7pm at the Church of the Ascension, 64 Forest Avenue (at John Street South) in the Corktown neighbourhood. Invite Email

*new* May 29
McMaster Students Union Provincial Election Debate. The riding of Hamilton West Ancaster Dundas is one of the most contested local races with areas that consistently swing with provincial trends. The MSU debate is on campus at McMaster University’s Student Centre. Details

*new* May 29
John/Rebecca Park Public Information Session. The City of Hamilton is holding a PIC to unveil a new concept plan for the new Downtown Hamilton park, which is now funded for construction in 2019. The PIC is 6 to 8pm, at the Beasley Community Centre, 145 Wilson Street.

*new* June 2
Inaugural AGM of Hamilton Transit Riders’ Union. TA group of HSR riders is trying to form an advocacy organization to effect change in how the HSR is operated, and lobby Council on how the HSR is funded. Details

June 12
HWDSB Meeting on new North (Scott Park Site) Secondary School. The public school board is inviting the public to a meeting at Prince of Wales Elementary School to discuss the new school and proposed programs. Details

Duly Noted

Hamilton Urban Core Health Centre Has a New Home. HUC will move to 430 Cannon Street East at some point in the near future. HUC is the proposed interim site of Hamilton’s first Safe Injection Site, it is not known when HUC will move, or what the SIS will relocate.

Hamilton is Home to Canada’s Least Happy Neighbourhood. Research published by the National Bureau of Economic Research this week finds Hamilton has Canada’s least happy neighbourhood., The Globe and Mail reports. The academic paper is behind a paywall, so we can’t see exactly why this is.
I’m working to obtain the data, as it helps inform an issues based discussion of what our City Hall needs to do in the next four years to improve Hamilton.

UAVs and Collision Reconstruction. a 79-page document published by the US National Institute of Justice looks at the challenges and benefits of using current drone technologies for collision investigations. There is much hope that UAV technology will advance with robotics to enable quicker evidence collection and shorter road closures.

 

Municipalities Must Maintain Bike Lanes During Winter. The Provincial government updated Ontario Regulation 239/02 “Minimum Maintenance Standards for Municipal Highways” and municipalities are now required to maintain and clear bike lanes during winter. The standards are in the chart above.

Credit to Toronto law firm Borden Ladner Gervais for writing on this change.

Shout Outs

James Hutton of Barton Street Battalion fame on being hired by the Hamilton Premier League soccer club as their 2nd full time employee in the role of account manager driving season ticket sales and deposits.

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