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:
Claim that the city is "not hearing any kind of clamour from the public" for LRT.
Claim that there is "no solid interest" from developers for LRT.
Claim he doesn't know where infill development would go along the B-Line.
Misrepresent successful LRT systems in other cities similar to Hamilton.
Argue point-by-point against the B-Line LRT in a letter to a neighbourhood association.
Claim that the decision was made on the project manager's own recommendation.
State publicly that LRT is "not a priority" and that it would only make sense "if somehow a million people move to Hamilton over the next five years".
Tell the Province that LRT is not a Council priority.
Claim that the city is still waiting for a "feasibility report" on LRT when that study was completed in 2008 (the current work underway is functional design, detail design and land use planning).
Claim that the province never actually promised to fund LRT in Hamilton.
Claim that LRT could not be built for at least a decade.
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."