In a shocking upset, today's editorial in the Hamilton Spectator endorses Larry Di Ianni for mayor.
Okay, maybe not so shocking. In a review of the candidates that dismissed Michael Baldasaro, Diane Elms, Steve Leach, Gino Speziale, and Martin Zuliniak in one short paragraph ("...none of them has demonstrated that they have what it takes to be mayor of a major city"), the Spec heaped praise on both Di Ianni and Eisenberger, but tipped to the former because they worry that unlike Di Ianni, Eisenberger won't be effective at "building - and being part of - constructive teams."
Take a moment to let that sink in.
Di Ianni - who sued Red Hill activists and even the federal government for trying to save the valley from the construction crews; forced an airport development plan without allowing the public even to consider an alternative; bullied council with a false alternative between demolishing an historic downtown building or doing nothing; and criticized opponents of a pig slaughterhouse for being in support of "higher taxes and fewer jobs" - is now a "team builder"?
The only mayor in Ontario to plead guilty to violating campaign finance law, after denying doing anything wrong and then accusing his accusor of playing dirty politics, brings "a new sense of businesslike purpose and authentic leadership to local governance" and "has shown a stirking level of statesmanship in representing the city"?
The judge who saw only six of Di Ianni's charges may be satisfied that he "had no intent to defraud or deceive", but the Spec editors were allowed to consider all 41 charges, and know that, for example, a single cheque for $1,000 was recorded as two cheques, one for $750 and one for $250, from different donors. When they scold that "the issue diverted public money, energy, and momentum", they imply that the real villain was the person who brought the charges against Di Ianni.
Granted, Di Ianni has shown a prodigious ability to to build some kinds of "constructive teams" - like the teams who are building the Red Hill Valley Expressway, the huge Summit Park residential development adjacent to the expressway, the new "Meadowlands East" big box complex, the new big box complex at Clappisons Corners, and the team ready to convert 1,200 hectares (3,000 acres) of farmland around the airport into air-transport warehouses.
But "building productive relationships with councillors" and "bridges into a city's many communities"? That's a bit tougher to swallow.
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