Light Rail

In Letter, Mayor Warns About 'Advocacy Groups'

By RTH Staff
Published August 04, 2011

When a constituent wrote to Mayor Bob Bratina to recommend a recent RTH article on urbanism in Vancouver as an interesting read, the Mayor wrote a reply in which he also copied Nicholas Kevlahan, the author of the referenced article.

Here is the text of the Mayor's response, as received by Kevlahan:

During the time I was downtown Councillor property values and new commercial tax assessment steadily increased. In fact there were only two Wards that showed property values increasing above the average of the entire City. One of them is Ward 2. New commercial taxes in the core over the past 5 years have increased by over a million dollars. We will likely do at least the same between now and 2015.

I have visited Vancouver and every other major Canadian City at least once every year over twenty years as a football broadcaster and watched all of those cities develop through that era. I also rode their transit systems as I still do and watched the LRT's being implemented in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.

I became acquainted with former Vancouver Mayor, now Senator Larry Campbell... born in Brantford, went to Westmount high school here and worked at Stelco. His warning to me several years ago about advocacy groups has certainly come to pass. [emphasis added]

Mr. Kevlahan apparently is unaware that the rejection of the proposed LRT for Hamilton was led by the Durand neighbourhood association.

Finally, the LRT group headed by Jill Stephen continues to function, carrying out its mandated work. Nothing has changed except for the admonition regarding unnecessary work.

The LRT furor is a straw dog whose sound and fury signifies nothing.

Kevlahan has served for years on the board of the Durand Neighbourhood Association (DNA), and was also a founding member of Hamilton Light Rail, a citizens' advocacy group promoting light rail in Hamilton.

He was also a volunteer with the city's Rapid Transit Citizens Advisory Committee (RTCAC) until his recent resignation after City Manager Chris Murray directed staff to suspend all non-essential work on LRT planning and focus instead on all-day GO service.

Kevlahan wrote the following response to the Mayor:

I strongly object to the tone of your message, and the implication that engaged citizens ('advocacy groups' like the DNA and HLR) are somehow a threat to the City. I shouldn't need to remind you that a central part of the City's official vision is to encourage citizen engagement, which is essential to a functioning democracy.

I would also like to remind you that you personally supported the LRT advocacy efforts of HLR yourself when you were councillor by mc'ing our big public meeting and inviting me personally several times to speak on your radio show. Obviously, your views about the importance of citizen engagement and a full public airing of strategic issues has changed since you became mayor. [link to event notice added]

As far as I know the DNA has never opposed LRT. The system offered to Hamilton in the early 1980s was an elevated system, like the one in Vancouver, and I can understand why the DNA would have been concerned about its effect on neighbourhoods. I don't know how you could watch an LRT being implemented in Vancouver, since they don't have one!

What is being proposed for Hamilton is a street-level system that integrates well into neighbourhoods. The DNA has officially supported the current proposal since 2008, along with a wide array of other groups and citizens, because of its economic development potential, the high-level rapid transit it would bring to the overcrowded King/Main routes (which carry 13,000 passengers a day already), and its environmental and financial sustainability.

I also disagree with your interpretation of the state of LRT planning in the City. I was a member of the City's RTCAC, a group of 20 citizens who generously volunteered their time to help the City plan the best possible LRT system. As late as June we were all asked whether we would be willing to continue to serve another year to continue our valuable work. A month later a surprise announcement from the City Manager essentially killed this work by saying the City would not continue any work on its own beyond the end of the $3 million grant from Metrolinx.

The Rapid Transit team will be reduced to one person, and the planning work will essentially stop. The Metrolinx grant was to aid the city in its LRT planning, which had begun well before grant was made. There is no reason the City couldn't continue its own planning efforts, or ask Metrolinx for more money. The fact that this strategic decision was made by a bureaucrat is a worrying precedent, as has been pointed out by Councillor Ferguson and the media.

Taken together with your unrelentingly negative comments about the B-line LRT project and the associated land use planning, anyone interested in this project could only assume that you and the city manager are killing the LRT project by starving it of resources.

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted August 04, 2011 at 14:43:02

The trend continues. The more Bratina says, the more frustrated it makes me to think that he is our mayor and the less (if that's possible) confidence I have in him.

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By George (registered) | Posted August 04, 2011 at 14:53:42 in reply to Comment 67350

Yes, SpaceMonkey, "frustration" is exactly what I felt reading the mayor's words.

From where is he getting his info? Who, if anyone, is advising him? What the heck is going on here?

The gall!

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By mrgrande (registered) | Posted August 04, 2011 at 15:27:45

Two weeks ago, he was saying that there's no clamour for LRT.

Now he's saying "The LRT furor is a straw dog whose sound and fury signifies nothing." So there is a clamour, but it doesn't mean anything.

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By Vod_Kann (registered) | Posted August 04, 2011 at 19:35:08 in reply to Comment 67357

You miss the last part. I think he meant to say "There's no clamour for LRT from Vrancor"

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By Synxer (registered) | Posted August 05, 2011 at 11:21:12 in reply to Comment 67397

And I don't know why. To me, Vrancor could benefit greatly as LRT is picking up and dropping off all around the areas where Vrancor plans to build. As a developer, Vrancor would see immediate and great benefits to LRT. What the heck?

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted August 04, 2011 at 15:49:21

No where in that letter does the descriptor "mayoral" come to mind. More like "autocrat".

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 04, 2011 at 16:47:12

The sad thing is that those who voted for Mayor Bratina...specifically the demographic he appeals most to (I'm not going to insult your intelligence by painting a picture)...probably love him all the more for 'playing tough'. After all, they elected him on faith, yes? Not on a platform of any substance. So if he says something, then Bob Bratina wouldn't lie, right?

How differently do you suppose things would look right now had he not run...and it had been (primarily) a race between DiIanni and Eisenberger last October?

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-08-04 16:47:43

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2011 at 08:51:29 in reply to Comment 67376

How differently things would look in Toronto if Ford had not run. The taxes would be growing like crazy.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted August 04, 2011 at 17:10:02

Is there any process for kicking a mayor out of office in Hamilton? Would a petition of some kind do it?

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2011 at 08:50:11 in reply to Comment 67382

Because the population and the process is wrong and YOU know better.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 04, 2011 at 17:23:52 in reply to Comment 67382

Is there any process for kicking a mayor out of office in Hamilton? Would a petition of some kind do it?

1) Probably.

2) No.

Come on, guys. When we go down this path, then we're not doing ourselves any favours. At all.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted August 05, 2011 at 09:52:42 in reply to Comment 67385

Well, at least they're getting what they voted for...de-amalgamation is still one of his priorities, right?

No? Oh...

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted August 05, 2011 at 09:16:31 in reply to Comment 67385

Agreed, I am no fan of BB, but this would just be a fuster cluck of epic proportions and simply add more division to a city already entrenched in division.

The next four years may very well become the "Bratina Black Hole", but that is what the people voted for. Perhaps we can learn from our mistake and next time we won't elect a known professional mouthpiece for a mayor.

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2011 at 08:53:16 in reply to Comment 67436

Maybe they will and someone else will win the next mayoral election. Or maybe he will win another term or two or three...

Only time will tell.

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By drb (registered) - website | Posted August 04, 2011 at 17:46:04

The Mayor has only 2 staffers in his office, an appointments secretary and Peggy Chapman. If anyone on council needs more staff it's this Mayor. He needs a minder or two. Maybe a lawyer, at the rate he's going he'll need one. He needs someone to read his outgoing drafts to check for impolite or impertinent comments. For CHML appearances he needs a script and a minder to make sure he sticks to it.

He is picking fights where they aren't needed. He is walking dangerously close to slandering citizens, advocates, journalists, bloggers... well just about anyone who asks a question that he doesn't want to answer. I don't mind it if he tussles with political rivals in chambers, but in dealing with the public (even if he doesn't agree with their point) he should handle his office with more dignity.

It's time for Bob Bratina to act like a mayor, because his grace period is up.

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By theOther (registered) | Posted August 07, 2011 at 19:55:54 in reply to Comment 67386

Or perhaps he needs a minder for his minder.

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted August 04, 2011 at 21:35:43 in reply to Comment 67386

Totally agree. Instead of a $10,000 photo-op he should have put that money toward hiring someone to help protect his, and this city's, image. Seems to me optics and building logical arguments are not his strong suit. A clear press release or press conference would probably have been sufficient. Bill Kelly politics are not professional.

Comment edited by GrapeApe on 2011-08-04 21:36:13

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By Lollapalloza (anonymous) | Posted August 04, 2011 at 17:54:56

If Bratina hadn't run? Well he ran so get used to his impishness, capriciousness, rudeness, intolerance, ambiguities, outright untruths, delusions of grandeur and chest-puffing. That's what you got when he was elected.

Almost anybody else of the 20 who ran would have been a better choice, even the half crazed and totally amazed who were on that ballot.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 04, 2011 at 19:00:48 in reply to Comment 67387

Almost anybody else of the 20 who ran would have been a better choice, even the half crazed and totally amazed who were on that ballot.

Uh, no.

No, no, nononononononononononono.

By a long shot.

But here's the thing: If we want the next three years to feel better than right now feels, we're going to have to do something. And that 'something' is going to be a divergence from the status quo.

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted August 04, 2011 at 21:38:27 in reply to Comment 67393

Agreed. We have to be a part of the process. Fighting the mayor would be wasted energy. Influence through the rules of the game will pay bigger dividends.

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By mike_sak (registered) | Posted August 04, 2011 at 18:18:10

every week living in this city makes me want to move out of it ever faster.

I'm soon to be finishing my graduate degree, and looking to invest in a place of my own (and get a real job). But these past few months have really made me question if Hamilton will be the right place for me.

sad really. bratina is crushing the hope young people my age have in this city.

Comment edited by mike_sak on 2011-08-04 18:24:51

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted August 04, 2011 at 22:38:44 in reply to Comment 67390

Don't rush into investing in your own place. Real estate prices up here (Canada) may not be continuing their current trend for much longer.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted August 04, 2011 at 22:57:40 in reply to Comment 67411

There are lots of other ways to invest in a city besides buying a home. That's why we need to attract more mike saks.

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted August 04, 2011 at 21:50:42 in reply to Comment 67390

It's not just you Mike. Hamilton would attract far more talent for its goal of being an innovation hub if people were attracted to what the city offers. With cities like Waterloo, London, Toronto all competing for similar talent, how can Hamilton compete...

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By Grom (anonymous) | Posted August 04, 2011 at 20:26:23 in reply to Comment 67390

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By mike_sak (registered) | Posted August 04, 2011 at 22:34:39 in reply to Comment 67401

why yes grom, I completed my undergrad degree in the "shite" humanities program at mcmaster; majored in history.

that "shite" degree got me into a grad school in the US, where i am presently studying urban planning...ironic.

Comment edited by mike_sak on 2011-08-04 23:33:09

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By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted August 07, 2011 at 09:06:57 in reply to Comment 67410

IF you are presently studying at a grad school in the U.S. then I assume that you need to live someplace in the U.S. Yet in your first post you led us to believe that you live here in Hamilton. Strange.

I live in Westdale and have many interactions with the students from Mac. From Labour Day weekend through the first 3 weeks of school I anticipate calling the police about those students behaviour in the neighbourhood of 20 to 30 times. That is not just me that goes for most of my neighbours as well. The university will pay for extra police officers to patrol our streets and minimize the damages that those students will do to our city. Every year it gets worse and worse. Mac students bring little positive influence to the city except for the bars they frequent.

Go ahead and threaten to leave, just do not expect the vast majority of people who live around the university to stop you. In fact if you need a little help, like booking a flight or need a map let us know we can help.

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By Grom (anonymous) | Posted August 05, 2011 at 19:45:45 in reply to Comment 67410

insult spam deleted

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted August 04, 2011 at 22:41:45 in reply to Comment 67410

What? No English 101 in that humanities degree? I'm just teasing you man(because my English is far from perfect), but did you type that out on a phone?

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By Vod_Kann (registered) | Posted August 04, 2011 at 19:40:00 in reply to Comment 67390

To borrow a line from "The American President":

you don't fight the fights you can win? You fight the fights that need fighting!

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted August 04, 2011 at 19:15:58 in reply to Comment 67390

mike

Wow. What a post. I can't argue with your concerns. All I can do is hope that your continued engagement will help change not only your questioning of whether Hamilton is the place for you, but also will help to change Hamilton.

Like you, I'm committed to improving this city, but I have to admit that sometimes the frustration simply gets to me.

What's really shocking is the madness we see from the civic throne.

Using a 30-year old example of a failed attempt at a monorail (yes Simpson's fans, one was really proposed for Hamilton) as a clumsy attempt to belittle a citizen of obvious integrity and intelligence is unconscionable.

The crazy thing is Bratina puts it in writing for the history books.

In the past, his words earned him a living as a broadcaster. Now his words will cost him his job as mayor. The question is how soon?

Comment edited by H+H on 2011-08-04 19:50:54

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 04, 2011 at 19:23:46 in reply to Comment 67394

Now his words will cost him his job as mayor. The question is how soon?

In just over three years' time. In 2014.

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted August 04, 2011 at 18:32:34

Notice of Public Information Centres for Transit Project Assessment Process Hamilton B-Line Rapid Transit Project

The City of Hamilton has developed a plan for the introduction of Rapid Transit (RT) in the B-Line corridor over 13.78 kilometres between McMaster University and Eastgate Square. The objective of this work is to enhance transit service over the next 25 years and beyond by introducing high frequency RT service using Light Rail Transit (LRT). In addition to terminus stops at McMaster and Eastgate, line stop will be strategically located along the route for access by walking, cycling and north-south bus routes.

This map identifies the study boundary of the project: B-Line Map

This project is being implemented in accordance with Ontario Regulation 231/08, Transit Projects and Greater Toronto Transportation Authority Undertakings (Transit Projects Regulation) of the Environmental Assessment Act. As part of the Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP), an Environmental Project Report is being prepared and will be available for public review by fall of this year. All information produced in association with this project is available on the City’s Rapid Transit website: www.hamiltonrapidtransit.ca.

When & Where

Citizens of Hamilton (including the public, agencies and other interested persons) are encouraged to participate actively in the Transit Project Assessment Process and are welcome to either attend Public Information Centres (PICs) or contact RT staff directly with your comments and/or questions. PICs are planned for the following dates:

Monday, August 15, 2011 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM Sackville Hill Senior’s Centre 780 Upper Wentworth Street, Hamilton

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM The Grand Olympia Hospitality & Convention Centre 660 Barton Street, Stoney Creek

Wednesday, August 17, 2011 12:00 PM (noon) – 8:00 PM Hamilton Convention Centre, Albion Room 1 Summers Lane, Hamilton

Thursday, August 18, 2011 12:00 PM (noon) – 8:00 PM Hamilton Convention Centre, Albion Room 1 Summers Lane, Hamilton

If you have project-related questions or would like to be added to our project mailing list, please contact rapidtransit@hamilton.ca.

Accessibility For individuals with accessibility requirements, please contact Justin Readman at 905-546-2424 extension 1473 no later than August 12th. Advance requests are highly encouraged to enable us to meet your needs.

Under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Environmental Assessment Act, unless otherwise stated in the submission, any personal information such as name, address, telephone number and property location included in a submission will become part of the public record files for this matter and will be released, if requested, to any person.

Notice first issued August 5, 2011 in the Hamilton Spectator.

On behalf of the City of Hamilton's Rapid Transit Team thank you for your continued support.

Copyright © 2011, City of Hamilton, All rights reserved. City of Hamilton Public Works, Rapid Transit 77 James Street North, Suite 400 Hamilton, ON L8R 2K3

Comment edited by Mahesh_P_Butani on 2011-08-04 18:44:20

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 04, 2011 at 18:37:55

I strongly object to the tone of your message, and the implication that engaged citizens ('advocacy groups' like the DNA and HLR) are somehow a threat to the City.

They are a threat to the city and the status quo. Hence the negative attitude. Vancouver's mayor should be thankful that his advocacy groups were powerful enough to affect change before the future of their city was handed over to a small group only interested in their own bank accounts.
Trust me, nobody would know about Vancouvers mayor if Vancouver looked like....well....nevermind

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By Vod_Kann (registered) | Posted August 04, 2011 at 19:32:51

Let's see if he hits all of his usual speech characteristics....

-name dropping CHECK! "I became acquainted with former Vancouver Mayor, now Senator Larry Campbell"

-adding a local connection even though it has nothing to do with the conversation CHECK! "born in Brantford, went to Westmount high school here and worked at Stelco."

-condescending attitude towards civic engagement CHECK! "His warning to me several years ago about advocacy groups has certainly come to pass."

-Some form of "Everyones wrong and I'm right!" statement CHECK! "Mr. Kevlahan apparently is unaware that the rejection of the proposed LRT for Hamilton was led by the Durand neighbourhood association."

-Frank Drebin impression http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NNOrp_83... CHECK! "The LRT furor is a straw dog whose sound and fury signifies nothing."

Comment edited by Vod_Kann on 2011-08-04 19:33:58

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By Grom (anonymous) | Posted August 04, 2011 at 20:33:07

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By SpaceMonkey (registered) | Posted August 04, 2011 at 22:44:34 in reply to Comment 67402

Grom, most of your posts are too "trollish" for my liking, but that one did make me giggle out loud just a bit.

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By Grom (anonymous) | Posted August 06, 2011 at 12:09:01 in reply to Comment 67414

insult spam deleted

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By WRCU2 (registered) - website | Posted August 04, 2011 at 22:39:48

My favourite line..."you and the city manager are killing the LRT project by starving IT of resources." [unambiguous emphasis added]

Cheers!

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 05, 2011 at 06:39:43

As usual, here's my take on this 'Bratina Letter' development:

http://mystoneycreek.blogspot.com/2011/0...

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By hi there. (anonymous) | Posted August 05, 2011 at 09:43:47

This guy clearly is in need of a clinical assessment. Claiming credit for commercial developments that happened downtown in his single undistinguished term on council(as opposed to say the Mayor of the day or perhaps his predecessor in Ward 2 or maybe even the small business owners who have risked their own capital) is delusional. But of course now that Bratina is Mayor anything good downtown will only be because of his efforts...Starting to sound a lot like Alexander "I'm in control now" Haig.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted August 05, 2011 at 11:56:38 in reply to Comment 67439

"Starting to sound a lot like Alexander "I'm in control now" Haig."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIN7iSyrPl4

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted August 05, 2011 at 10:03:33 in reply to Comment 67439

hi there

I'm afraid the role of Alexander "I'm in control now" Haig has already been filled by Chris Murray.

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted August 05, 2011 at 09:58:54

Here are a few paragraphs from the website of the Cleveland Clinic, one of the world's most respected medical centres, on Paranoid Personality Disorder.

Paranoid personality disorder (PPD) is one of a group of conditions called eccentric personality disorders. People with these disorders often appear odd or peculiar. People with PPD also suffer from paranoia, an unrelenting mistrust and suspicion of others, even when there is no reason to be suspicious. This disorder usually begins by early adulthood and appears to be more common in men than in women.

People with PPD are always on guard, believing that others are constantly trying to demean, harm, or threaten them. These generally unfounded beliefs, as well as their habits of blame and distrust, might interfere with their ability to form close relationships. People with this disorder: - Doubt the commitment, loyalty, or trustworthiness of others, believing others are using or deceiving them - Are reluctant to confide in others or reveal personal information due to a fear that the information will be used against them - Are unforgiving and hold grudges - Are hypersensitive and take criticism poorly - Read hidden meanings in the innocent remarks or casual looks of others - Perceive attacks on their character that are not apparent to others; they generally react with anger and are quick to retaliate - Have recurrent suspicions, without reason, that their spouses or lovers are being unfaithful - Are generally cold and distant in their relationships with others, and might become controlling and jealous - Cannot see their role in problems or conflicts, believing they are always right Have difficulty relaxing - Are hostile, stubborn, and argumentative

Interesting, don't you think?

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 11, 2011 at 08:04:15 in reply to Comment 67442

I meant to post this earlier:

http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2011/0...

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By Akbar (anonymous) | Posted August 05, 2011 at 16:12:15 in reply to Comment 67442

insult spam deleted

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By Me 109 (anonymous) | Posted August 05, 2011 at 16:22:57 in reply to Comment 67506

insult spam deleted

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By hi there (anonymous) | Posted August 05, 2011 at 10:17:08

Wow H&H,I think you just saved the Mayor a trip to W5th and Fennell.

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By ward2 (anonymous) | Posted August 05, 2011 at 10:17:13

Current NDP Provincial Leader - Andrea Howarth was in the Ward 2 seat before Bob and deserves a lot of credit for her tireless advocacy and support for downtown. She fought for this place when others wrote it off...

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted August 05, 2011 at 10:20:10

From the Metrolinx 2011-2012 Business Plan:
"Two-way all-day service on limited service corridors with priority on the Barrie, Stouffville and Milton corridors"

So...not sure how we're doing to be pushing for two-way all-day rail service to Hamilton when their priority is not even the Lakeshore West corridor...

Anyone know what the city staff are doing to "work on bringing all-day GO train service to Hamilton"?

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By DoctorKahuna (registered) | Posted August 05, 2011 at 11:36:30

So Bratina cancelled the light rail and his excuse is something someone said 30 years ago about a monorail?

I've accumulated quite a few grey hairs since he's been in office....

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted August 05, 2011 at 11:39:32

Sorry Bob, but answering to "advocacy groups" is part of your job as mayor.

I'm certainly not ready to diagnose Bratina with any clinical disorders, but his actions recently certainly haven't been rational. It's the kind of "I'm the mayor, I am Hamilton" logic befitting a king. His shock and confusion at opposition seems almost a bad impression of Qadaffi. In strictly non-psychiatric terms, I suspect that being Mayor has "gone to his head".

In general, it makes me wonder if there's a group of psychological conditions specific (or endemic) to power. Gaining that kind of position changes the way you interact with nearly everyone around you, and that's bound to have consequences for the psyche. If power is a factor, that might help to explain why certain individuals seem to get far "crazier" as they move up the ladder, say from councillor to mayor...

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By DoctorKahuna (registered) | Posted August 05, 2011 at 16:26:28 in reply to Comment 67466

My mother says he's showing early signs of dementia

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted August 05, 2011 at 11:59:00 in reply to Comment 67466

Ghadaffi comparison is a borderline Godwinning of the discussion.

But either way, after going to a public meeting or two, I can totally understand the disdain for public discourse that occurs in our elected representatives.

In person, there is no downvote. In person, the only people who can afford to get there are either extremely passionate, or have a buttload of time on their hands.

And you know who are always extremely passionate and have lots of time on their hands? People with mental problems.

So, simply put, public offices (like any customer service job) involves spending a lot of time trying to be nice to crazy folks.

The sane folks are just one small voice in the din.

Deal with this enough times and you'll quickly develop the attitude that the public isn't worth consulting... even when it is.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2011-08-05 11:59:58

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted August 05, 2011 at 13:37:53 in reply to Comment 67473

Nobody said it was going to be easy. Nor is it about whether the public is "worth" consulting with. It's his job, and not an easy job to get.

It isn't the public's job to change for politicians. Nor is it our job to sugar-coat our arguments for the sake of their comfort and fragile egos. Politics isn't "nice".

And yes, there are an enormous number of "crazy" people who speak up in these debates. Crazy people are part of the public too. Public engagement doesn't mean you get to pick and choose who gets to speak. And while I don't care to listen to rants about chemtrails, far too many sound arguments have been rejected in the past because the people advocating them were depicted as "crazy", or "having too much time on their hands".

The reason I'm so passionate about this is because it has a very profound negative impact on democracy. When Rob Ford decides he doesn't feel like dealing with "advocacy groups", he gains a small bit of comfort at the expense of the voices of thousands of people. And those people don't have the option of simply dismissing what Rob Ford has to say.

P.S. Rob Ford isn't too "Godwin", is he? I'll agree, the Qadaffi remark was totally over-the-top (and definitely strays into Godwin territory). There is one area, though, where Godwin's law becomes somewhat blurry, and that's discussions of the connection between madness and power. Sadly, the correlation tends to hold up very well in extremes, with unbelievably horrific consequences.

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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted August 09, 2011 at 09:03:34 in reply to Comment 67485

"When Rob Ford decides he doesn't feel like dealing with "advocacy groups", he gains a small bit of comfort at the expense of the voices of thousands of people. And those people don't have the option of simply dismissing what Rob Ford has to say."

I had been led to believe that Hamilton’s mayor was an enlightened antithesis of Toronto’s! ;)

http://twitter.com/#!/MargaretAtwood/status/99117209674203137

http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1036404--scorn-in-toronto-acclaim-in-hamilton

http://www.metronews.ca/toronto/local/article/938233--hammer-drops-on-ford-s-scorn

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted August 05, 2011 at 13:08:22 in reply to Comment 67473

Deal with this enough times and you'll quickly develop the attitude that the public isn't worth consulting... even when it is.

Which only means we need to change our paradigm.

Simple...but admittedly not easy.

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