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 firstname.lastname@example.org – 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 (email@example.com), send a letter via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or contact the two City Councillors on the Library Board: Ward 10’s Maria Pearson (email@example.com), and/or Ward 15’s Judi Partridge (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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.