TPR Newsletter for December 30, 2018

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View this edition in its original format, with images, on our MailChimp page. (This version is primarily for web indexing)

A quick note on format, you’ll notice that the TPR newsletter now includes how you can get involved, and who to contact with your thoughts at the end of local summaries.

The mission of The Public Record is informing to empower Hamiltonians, I hope the quick links to get engaged help you make your voice heard to our civic leaders.

TPR Press Club: New Years Day

Join us from 11am to 3pm on Tuesday January 1, 2019 at our office, 126 Catharine Street North, in Downtown Hamilton for coffee and conversation on New Years Day, chat with your fellow Hamiltonians, and kick off the New Year with some of Hamilton’s best coffee served in pour-over fashion by Durand Coffee.

The Public Record’s office will be open from 11am to 3pm for our regular Press Club. On a personal note, I’m very interested in hearing your thoughts on what coverage you like from The Public Record, and more importantly, what you want to see improved in 2019.

Your feedback is especially important as The Public Record will run a survey in January, the questions will be informed by our discussions on Tuesday.

I read all your emails, and respond as much as I can. Let me know your thoughts: joey@thepublicrecord.ca

– Joey

Council Voting Tracker
New with this term of Council, The Public Record is capturing all votes and attendance for Council meetings in spreadsheet format. You can follow votes on our Council Tracker page here:
https://www.thepublicrecord.ca/hamilton-city-council-information/hamilton-city-council-video-and-voting-records/This is an ongoing project, please let me know what questions you have that this data can solve.
Local Briefing

Have Your Say on Legal Cannabis Retail

City Council is struggling to make a decision. (Okay, that’s not news, but work with me here)

Hamilton City Council has to decide by January 22, 2019 if Hamilton will allow for legal cannabis retail within our city limits. If Hamilton chooses to “opt-out” of legal retail sales, Hamiltonians will be required by law to order their cannabis online or drive to other communities to purchase in cities allowing for legal retails.

(Yes, I know illegal operations will continue to flourish if Council votes against allowing legal operations, but again work with me here)

What’s at Stake: Millions of dollars in provincial and federal excise tax sharing with municipalities. If Hamilton City Council votes against allowing legal cannabis retail, Hamilton will get none of the excise tax funding. (Other municipalities with legal retail will get Hamilton’s share)

Council Thinks: A faction of Councillors think if they say no, they’ll be able to strong-arm the Province into giving Hamilton a special deal. (Cause telling Queen’s Park that the HSR should run the LRT worked out great for us, and who can forget out special Pan Am deal with saw Milton get the velodrome and Hamilton being left with a leaky stadium?)

Have Your Say: City Hall is running an online survey polling Hamiltonians on legal cannabis retail. Anyone can fill out the survey, multiple times.

Really have your say, write an email to Council and submit it to the City Clerk via email prior to January 9, 2019. Correspondence to Council is received at clerk@hamilton.ca – make sure to state the email is for inclusion on the City Council agenda.


Mayor Eisenberger Year End CHCH Interview and LRT

Mayor Fred Eisenberger sat down with CHCH News last Sunday for a live five minute interview, discussing Light Rail Transit, Cannabis Retail, Affordable Housing, Poverty Reduction, and the new Council. I summarize the interview on The Public Record here.

Of Special Note: Mayor Eisenberger dodged the question of what to expect in a pending Council vote on the LRT maintenance and operating agreement . Asked multiple times, Eisenberger deflected by stating what matters if the “green light” from Premier in recent comments, and stating he has a mandate following the October municipal election.

What’s Next: At present, it is not clear if there are enough Councillors in favour of LRT for approval of the maintenance and operating agreement. The operating agreement has been repeatedly delayed, and City staff are not stating when it is expected to arrive in front of Council for a decision.

Library Board Review Lending of Video Games, Collection of Graphic Novels

The Hamilton Public Library has a new collections director, who is arriving from Ottawa and they will be  quickly introduced to Hamilton politics. The Hamilton Public Library is reviewing if it will continue to stock video games and graphic novels (comics) for lending, the outgoing collections director told the Library Board in December.

Craig Campbell of Hamilton Community News reports. 

Matters Because: There are many arguments for the library lending video games, similar to stocking movies and other forms of entertainment. Social inclusion is a significant argument with the economic divides which exist in Hamilton.

The best argument I’ve heard in favour of libraries having video games, in 2008 when I was about to write a column against McMaster University’s adding video games to its library collections, is that libraries are the in the business of information preservation and knowledge sharing – video games are a modern art-form, little different from motion pictures and fiction novels.

As for graphic novels, comics are enjoying a resurgence as a literary form, with comics journalism being an increasingly popular and effective means of telling difficult stories. The Princeton University Press publishes philosophy books in comic form.

What’s Next / Have Your Say: The Library Board will debate the issue at their January 16, 2019 meeting. You can request to delegate to the Library Board by emailing the Chief Librarian’s Office (khartog@hpl.ca), send a letter via email (khartog@hpl.ca), or contact the two City Councillors on the Library Board: Ward 10’s Maria Pearson (maria.pearson@hamilton.ca), and/or Ward 15’s Judi Partridge (judi.partridge@hamilton.ca).

Context: The review comes only a few months after Interim City Manager Mike Zegarac directed the Library that he expected them to make cuts in the 2019 library budget. The Library Board rejected Zegarac’s request for cuts, voting to maintain the same level of service in 2019 as they’ve offered in 2019.

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 91 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.

The Instagram Edition
Follow Joey Coleman on Instagram for Photo-by-Photo Coverage of City Hall and Hamilton
New for the 2018-2022 term of Council, Joey is using Instagram and uploading photos during meeting, including many first looks at planning files, and a look at what is happening every day at City Hall. Follow along on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/joeycolemanca/
Informative ReadsEdmonton Council Votes to Build “A City for the next generation” instead of Tax Cuts for Today

We’re continuing to build a city that people are going to want to live in. Not a kind of a bargain basement city, but a city for the next generation”

These are the words of Edmonton Mayor Don Iverson after Edmonton Council approved a four year budget which will increase property taxes by 2.6 per cent for each of the next four years – including the year of the next municipal election in 2021.

Iverson is quoted by The Edmonton Journal as saying the City of Edmonton is focused on transit, affordable housing, and addressing climate change. 

Phoenix LRT 10 Years After Construction

Jon Talton, a columnist who covered Phoenix’s LRT debate a decade ago writes about how the LRT has changed Phoenix, what is next for mass transit in Phoenix, and looks back at the debate prior to LRT construction in Phoenix in a 10-point question and answer format.

The discussion of reasons for opposition will read familiarly to Hamiltonians. 

A ‘unique’ opportunity for investors spells mass eviction for tenants

This Los Angeles Times headline and story is the reality for many Hamiltonians as large Real Estate Investment Trusts continue to buy-up Hamilton’s apartment buildings from local companies who’ve in many cases neglected buildings for decades.

The “unique” opportunity to get a run-down building at a reduced cost, make cosmetic renovations, and profit from above guideline rent increases that pressure out long-term rent controlled tenants, is attracting REITs into Hamilton.

The Hamilton Spectator’s Teviah Moro is doing a great job covering Hamilton’s rental housing problems, I strongly encourage you to follow his coverage.

The LA Times piece, which is from August, is one of the best written informative pieces on rental housing displacement I read in 2018. Take a read of it.

Your Tattoo Doesn’t Belong to You

An interesting read from the New York Times about how tattoo copyrights belong to the tattoo artist, and not the owner of the tattoo. This is causing problems for video game developers seeking to create ultra-realistic avatars of professional athletes

Newsletter top photo: Ward 9 Councillor Brad Clark takes a photograph of the seven women on the new City Council during activities prior to the December 3, 2018 inauguration meeting.

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