Comment 61524

By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted March 25, 2011 at 12:49:17

Two wrongs… does make a right for once!

Why this? Why now? Why again?

In most matters of passion there are no rights and wrongs... only massive disconnects from reality.

History still remains the best place for lessons to be learned. Attempts to learn anything from traumatic events that are still fresh in our collective memory can only serve to open up barely healed wounds.

Brevity demands that one leaves bygones be bygones if only to allow sufficient time to filter truths to the surface on its own accord.

It is a fact that major league sports team owners in North America are known to extract often untenable positions from communities. It is also a fact that career politicians approach issues of community building with an equal dose of entitlement and ignorance about urban and economic development issues.

To make heroes or villains on either side of an event gone awry is a foolish exercise which consumes time and distracts attention from more productive endeavours. Attempts such as these, to regurgitate the past, only end up exposing the deeply obsessive fascination for being correct in spite of evidence to the contrary.

As this premature haste in rewriting history shows so clearly - it was never about "Our City, Our Future" – It was always about "My City, My Future", with a collection of voices attempting to represent "Us the people". Was this not what led to the impasse in the first place?

If neighbourhoods like Ward 3 – an integral part of the damaged fabric of our city, somehow scores a win – it should be a cause to celebrate the power of natural systems, which has managed to override human myopia masquerading as human determination.

Common good is achieved from the ability to be brutally honest about facts and evidence – while acknowledging that positions driven by passion are often wrong. Without this ability, we are only left with group think and a false sense of civic engagement.

Transparency used to be a virtue once. In our times, it is only a prop used to promote positions, much as words like richness, diversity or inclusion are used to achieve broad consensus.

Could it be that we are all missing the point and that redeveloping Ward 3 was what Fred had in mind all along – simply because he truly believed that it was the right thing to do for Hamilton to succeed as a city? and WH for him was just a tactical diversion to ensure that real wealth via the PanAm games did get spread equitably in our city?

Seriously, how many of the WH proponents would have fawned over Fred, had he instead come out swinging for Ward 3. He knew that it was simply not sexy enough for the urban sophisticates in our city.

Hey, one never knows what goes on behind the transparent props of our times, after all Fred did get picked up to head a venerable urban institute after an extensive national search. Maybe they knew his capabilities in true community rebuilding, much more than we will ever know – for in the end, Ward 3 and Hamilton are indeed the truly winning outcomes of his position.

True community rebuilding is a very complex affair – which was much simplified by Jane Jacobs, and then unnecessarily complicated by Starbucks – who posed: What comes first? Affluent people, or cool coffee houses?

Mahesh P. Butani

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