Here’s the plan: No Games, new council
The Hamilton Spectator
August 24, 2010
We’ve heard it time and time again. Hamilton can’t finish. For years, endless frivolous debate has kept us from getting the job done and moving forward.
City Hall renovations vs. a rebuild, the Red Hill Valley Parkway, Maple Leaf’s pork plant, the Lister Block and now a Pan Am legacy. And that’s just in the last few years.
Yes, there have been successes but obviously inner issues of the past are still stunting growth and a common vision at City Hall.
I am not here to take sides in the Great Stadium Debate as both the Hamilton Tiger Cats and city council are guilty of self-interest and unable to work together at the expense of the citizens.
Whether the stadium is built here, there or at all, whether the Ticats leave the city or not, the citizenry is watching very closely. Closer than they have watched in decades.
Simply put: To date, no matter what side you’re on, the parties involved have failed to take advantage of the windfall that Hamilton was awarded with the Pan Am Games. They have failed to get the job done. Instead our image is tarnished again as “Loserville”.
After years of Hamiltonians watching their post-Second World War powerhouse dither away opportunity and vision, the Great Stadium Debate will be a pivotal point in Hamilton’s history. It signals a time of change from people fed up with the status quo. Hamiltonian’s are tired of losing and embarrassment.
Yes, there is still time to take advantage of the Pan Am legacy. And here’s hoping both sides realize it’s their names that will go down in history as either winning or losing for the city.
But if this fails and we lose everything - the Ticats, the Pan Am stadium and money - the only thing that will give Hamilton back its credibility will be a headline in the Hamilton Spectator after the election that reads “Clean Sweep of City Hall: A Fresh Start for Hamilton”
Again, I am not implying this is all city council’s fault; you can vote with your season’s tickets as well. The Ticats are a shrewd business and can be as hard-nosed as required.
But we need bodies that know how to deal with such negotiators and can provide a win/win scenario for the taxpayer and business - not alienate.
So it is in that spirit I have come up with the citizens “Plan B”. If the Pan Am games initiative fails, so does city council. We need new blood.
With voter turn out for the last municipal election at 37% we really have no one but ourselves to blame for our city hall woes.
Remember this date and vote: The municipal election is Monday October 25th 2010.
Tony Fallis, manager of elections for the city of Hamilton said on CHML, “People don’t realize how important municipal politics is and how it affects their lives. The value of a signal vote is enormous.”
That lack of understanding, plus the fact that city politics is not party driven, results in people being less interested. Fallis notes, though, that this year has been an eye-opener for many eligible voters.
If you want to do more than vote, volunteer or even run for office.
You can find the candidate information guide details at www.hamilton.ca/election2010 or at city hall.
It’s quite simple to get started. Fallis suggests getting a copy of the Municipal Elections Act from the internet to familiarize yourself with what is expected.
You must be a Canadian citizen, 18 years of age, a resident of Hamilton, although you do not have to live in the ward you run in. Plus $100. to be a candidate for councilor or school trustee and $200. if you’re running for mayor.
The hard part is raising money and getting your name out. The guide will help as will a candidates’ information session that the province is holding at City Hall September 20, from 7 to 9pm, explaining how to run from a candidate’s perspective.
Fallis also suggests the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Municipal World websites for more info on running. He adds you can start at any level. What’s important is to get involved and get your name out there. The nomination deadline is September 10 at 2pm.
What’s the biggest challenge for a new candidate? The incumbent. They are already top of voters’ minds.
But in Hamilton’s case in this election, that may be more of a detriment.
Good luck – and, at least, vote!
The Scott Thompson Show airs weekdays 4-6pm on News/Talk 900 CHML.
Visit his website at www.ScottThompsonTalk.com