Light Rail

The Exoneration of Mayor Bratina

By Ryan McGreal
Published January 06, 2012

In an interview just published in The Hamiltonian, Mayor Bob Bratina repeats the claim that last year's crisis over the city's Light Rail Transit plan was a "false controversy" based on "misinformation" that "was disseminated almost non-stop from June to December" in local media, specifically the Hamilton Spectator.

This sentiment is echoed by Mayor Bratina's supporters, who insist that he is just doing his job and waiting for the LRT planning process to unfold, and that LRT advocates are being hysterical and/or malicious.

The facts simply do not support this contention. Someone who is just being neutral and following a process does not:

This is not how you follow a process in good faith. This is how you undermine, damage, delay and ultimately sabotage a process. No amount of back-pedalling, name-calling or water-carrying can change the reality of what occurred and what has followed as a result.

Back to the Hamiltonian interview: asked whether he would have done anything differently in the past year, Mayor Bratina replied, 'No, not at all."

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal.

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2012 at 16:54:03

Look, I'm glad we have a diverse set of sources from which to receive and through which to offer information and views. But, to call this questionnaire that features write-whatever-you-want mail in answers an "interview" is a bit rich. That's not The Hamiltonian's fault as I think it's harder to do a real interview and write a story about it, or to transcribe a real interview, than to simply accept and publish prepared answers to a set of fairly generic questions with no back and forth or follow-up. One caution to The Hamiltonian, be careful of being accused of becoming the on-line text version of CHML.

Having said that, it's worth reading Bob's answers, bearing in mind that he had all the time in the world to write whatever he wanted. Not misquoted. Not tongue-tied. No pressure.

The fact that he says he would not do anything differently is pretty remarkable. All lessons have already been learned. No mistakes are possible. Now, back to my long term vision of pumpkin patches, farm animals and children. Surely he's kidding.

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 06, 2012 at 19:54:39 in reply to Comment 72799

ya I was a bit confused by that short term and long term vision answer. I live downtown and I must say, pumpkin patches aren't something that comes up too often at public meetings when discussing our future, economy, quality of life, vision etc.....

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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted January 07, 2012 at 21:53:00 in reply to Comment 72811

Exception being the Godot-like wail, "How Long, Great Pumpkin, How Long?"

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted January 06, 2012 at 17:08:33

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted January 07, 2012 at 19:56:40 in reply to Comment 72800

Are you being obtuse for the sake of being obtuse Mahesh?

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted January 07, 2012 at 20:06:32 in reply to Comment 72833

No.

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By Kiely (registered) | Posted January 08, 2012 at 05:04:59 in reply to Comment 72834

Well, that was my kind excuse for your post.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted January 06, 2012 at 17:58:47 in reply to Comment 72800

Don't do it Ryan!! IT'S A TRAP!!

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By Woody10 (registered) | Posted January 06, 2012 at 17:32:03

Wonder what he thinks about the Waterloo "cost benefit analysis"?

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By Nox (anonymous) | Posted January 07, 2012 at 11:56:53

Does anyone ever question how the Mayor's work as a board member of GO Transit enters into this equation? Because it seems to me that it's entirely germane.

Also (and I'm sure it's been said before), the province promised us GO Train service years ago. They were already working on a implementation schedule, one with inherent limitations (eg. corridor expansion, electrification). The City can no more accelerate the roll-out of all-day GO Train service than they can make the sun rise earlier in the day. Moreover, we bring almost nothing to the table, investment-wise, so we are obligated to wait on the largesse of the province. And that province is about to eviscerate most of its ministries' budgets (save healthcare and education) by about a third per over the next few years.

http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/Ontario+fiscal+reckoning/5954945/story.html

Any transit improvements anywhere in Ontario, whether you're talking about BRT, LRT or all-day GO, will be impacted by that unavoidable fact.

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By Nox (anonymous) | Posted January 07, 2012 at 12:17:52 in reply to Comment 72828

...and it begins.

http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1111885--university-research-grants-scrapped-by-liberals?bn=1

To be fair, that tuition grant program wasn't going to pay for itself.

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By Nox (anonymous) | Posted January 10, 2012 at 07:38:31 in reply to Comment 72829

Now up to $66 million cut from funding and loan programs for universities and hospitals.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/education/universitynews/ontario-universities-hospitals-in-shock-after-66-million-funding-cut/article2296894/

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By Nox (anonymous) | Posted January 09, 2012 at 16:41:38 in reply to Comment 72829

http://www.therecord.com/iphone/opinion/article/650836

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By DrAwesomesauce (registered) | Posted January 07, 2012 at 22:12:23

Wow...just wow wow wowwwwwwwwwwww!

What is with that vision for Hamilton? He really doesn't get it, does he?

How many more years is it?

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By jason (registered) | Posted January 08, 2012 at 14:43:39 in reply to Comment 72839

someone from out of town reading that would assume that Hamilton was a beautiful little farming hamlet from Road to Avonlea.

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted January 09, 2012 at 00:13:48 in reply to Comment 72843

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Comment edited by Mahesh_P_Butani on 2012-01-09 00:15:27

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted January 09, 2012 at 10:37:47 in reply to Comment 72845

It would seem that his vision could best be achieved by encouraging both density and transit.

Would you disagree with that?

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted January 08, 2012 at 22:12:51 in reply to Comment 72843

Maybe we can start a "mayor swap" with a small rural town?

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted January 09, 2012 at 12:24:49

With all due respect, this debate is as much about what Bob chose to write about (and how he wrote about it) as it is about what he chose not to include. I realize that it would have been inappropriate for him to have written 5,000 words in response to the vision question, but the manipulative text he did submit is what has caused people to comment in, clearly what seems to some to be, a harsh and critical manner.

The so-called "catch-phrase" to which Bob refers (Best place to raise a child), is one quarter of our city's Vision statement. Whether we love the statement or not, it is the Vision we are all supposedly committed to achieving. If it's not the right vision, then let's change it. Catch phrases, slogans, etc. are for ad campaigns, not touchstones to assist people in making critical decisions and in developing inspiring plans.

I know when I'm being pandered to. When you have declared yourself to be incapable of learning (I would change nothing), it's a little difficult for me to listen to treacly nostalgia, especially when it's written so poorly. Of course we don't want to destroy our agricultural land. Of course we love children, rich and poor alike. Of course animals, and pumpkin patches and horsey rides are all cute. I'm looking for a sense that our mayor has a grasp of issues and opportunities and a vision for where Hamilton not only can go, but needs to go in the future. I expect him to be able to articulate, inspire us towards, and help us realize that vision. If his current writings are working for you, please stay engaged and help make it happen. As for me, I like my visions a little more compelling and my leaders a little more capable.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted January 11, 2012 at 18:41:40 in reply to Comment 72853

And Fred had a great vision? The campaign slogan you refer to came out under Fred's watch. And of course campaign slogans are meant to translate into reality, why does advertising bother then? If not to?

Just because a vision doesn't match yours, that doesn't mean it's not a vision.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted January 11, 2012 at 07:09:33 in reply to Comment 72853

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted January 10, 2012 at 08:34:16 in reply to Comment 72853

Very well put.

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By Mathematricks (anonymous) | Posted January 09, 2012 at 19:37:50

"unemployement rate of 6.5 per cent against an Ontario average of over 8 per cent"

StatsCan, Jan 6 2012: "In Ontario, employment edged up by 16,000, bringing growth since December 2010 to 1.4% (+91,000). The unemployment rate in the province was 7.7% in December, down 0.2 percentage points from a month earlier."

http://www.statcan.gc.ca/subjects-sujets/labour-travail/lfs-epa/lfs-epa-eng.htm

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted January 12, 2012 at 10:01:30

The strategic vision to which I refer was authored by Council and the Senior Management Team at an off-site session facilitated by Professor Chris Bart from McMaster. It's not now, nor was it ever, a campaign slogan. Fred didn't own it, although he helped author it.

I didn't say the vision (To be the best place in Canada to raise a child, promote innovation, engage citizens, and provide diverse economic opportunities) was a bad vision. I support it. What's bad about it is that we're not using it.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted January 12, 2012 at 11:27:52

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By Bobby1 (anonymous) | Posted January 12, 2012 at 11:58:44

Re:TreyS comments! Love the assertion that commenter's on RTH,CBC,Globe & Spec aren't intellectual enough for Trey & an embarrassment to Hamilton. Strange comments from him, as he obviously is reading the blogs (that are beneath him) in order to develope his opinion. I'm sure that in Trey's mind he is absolutely right in all his opinions and that those opinions are much superior to anyone elses!

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By D. Shields (registered) | Posted January 25, 2012 at 00:48:59

Quick! Somebody write an opera!

http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1119...

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