Comment 41856

By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted June 10, 2010 at 18:26:47

Larry or not..Here he Comes. (from this week's Ancaster, Dundas etc. News)

Mark Cripps gets the scoop on Larry D.'s possible mayoralty run, & at the same time smooths over some scandal, & slings a little 'stuff' in Mayor Fred's direction.

It’s been said before, I know. It probably almost sounds redundant. But in Hamilton, every municipal election is the most important ever for the city.

The problem is, as it stands today, the race for mayor is boiling down to a thoroughbred versus a pack of 100-1 underdogs.

With all due respect to the fine, but relatively unknown citizens who have put their names forward as candidates for mayor, Fred Eisenberger is the clear favourite to win a second term.

I believe the race could become a fair contest, if, as rumoured, former Mayor Larry Di Ianni throws his name into the mix.

I spoke with Di Ianni this week, and he confirmed serious discussions are taking place on whether he will challenge Eisenberger in the municipal election October 25.

“I’m looking at it,” he said. “I haven’t made a final decision, but there appears to be good support out there. I’d like to give it another shot if there is winnability.”

Crucial for Di Ianni, he said, are the following components for his final decision –desire, message, team and financing. He already has strong name recognition. He also has a proven track record of success.

“As soon as I get enough data back, I will make a decision. I expect that to happen sooner rather than later.”

The fact that I am encouraging Di Ianni to run is not a reflection of any specific opinion of Eisenberger’s tenure. Our current mayor is an extremely likeable guy.

I just believe a good race will help flush out the critical issues that need to be discussed and debated in an election campaign.

Eisenberger has been a visionary on the environmental front, bringing forth important initiatives like the green and clean city and energy efficiency. He is also responsible for establishing the code of conduct for councillors and the implementation of an integrity commissioner.

During Di Ianni’s tenure, the city realized the completion of the much-needed Red Hill Valley Parkway. He was also a key driver in the Lister Block redevelopment, city hall renovations, new farmers market and the development of airport lands.

A big difference between the two men, however, is highlighted by how they deal with council. Di Ianni was a strong consensus builder, and a person who values advice. Eisenberger is a visionary bulldozer. A case can be made that both tactics can be effective, however, I would suggest consensus building is critical when you have a council make-up like the one we have in Hamilton.

During the last campaign, too much, in my opinion, was made of a campaign financing error by Di Ianni. A group of citizens, many of which opposed the Red Hill Valley Parkway, hammered relentlessly on Di Ianni over the fact he was charged under the Municipal Act.

Catch a break Di Ianni, while admitting his mistake and atoning for the error, couldn’t seem to catch a break for his penance.

Now that he has served a four-year sentence away from politics, I believe most fair-minded citizens would be willing to forgive and forget. I’m sure there are still those who want another pound of flesh. You have to question their true motives beyond the veil of accountability.

Dysfunction and integrity breaches have not escaped Eisenberger. He was reprimanded for having an off-the-record conversation about a personnel matter with a local reporter. He had a falling out with his campaign manager and chief of staff. He is still facing potential ramifications over a wrongful dismissal suit involving another former staffer.

The Pan Am Games fiasco could prove to be the biggest failure of Eisenberger’s tenure. He also flip-flopped on a promise to protect area rating, and judging by the cat calls aimed in his direction from citizens lined up to watch the recent Flag Day parade in Stoney Creek, the meter issue could haunt the mayor more than he appreciates. I hope those loonies are worth it.

I want a good race for mayor. I’m not placing any bets, but may the best horse win.

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