Comment 70824

By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted October 24, 2011 at 12:29:46

We deserve better. We don't elect our officials to plan for our communities in a vacuum and treat us like small children when we offer to alleviate the lack of engagement.

I'm loath to get all muddy here, given that over at Town Halls Hamilton, we're attempting to execute our inaugural town hall on November 10th ('An Evening with Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr'), and that I've already had to contend with certain 'players' in the city trying to foment a brand of 'turf mentality'...however, there is something obvious that needs to be said, and I should add that I'd have no problem at all saying it to anyone in any role at any level:

We, the residents of Hamilton, are the employers of all Councillors and the Mayor. In the past, we may not have taken that role as seriously as we might have, and many of us have entirely abrogated our civic and community responsibilities by way of a pretty crap voter turnout tradition, but that doesn't mean that the bottom-line isn't still the bottom-line...that we are the 'employers' and they are the employees.

We own our own local governance, yet we haven't consciously taken stewardship of it. To me that's a shame.

Owning it means, for example, that we have the right to conduct town halls. In fact, it's vital that, in due consideration of the power dynamic that exists...and I'll just refer you to aspects of Paul's article rather than yammer on about them...that town halls are not 'granted' to residents by Councillors.

Let me be perfectly clear here: nobody has a monopoly on town halls. Anyone can gather residents together to talk, to share information, to ask questions, to create dialogue and discourse. At the same time, it's a Councillor's right to decline to appear...within reason. However, it's not up to a Councillor to decide arbitrarily whether or not there's merit to a gathering, if it's something that should or shouldn't be executed. (I tend to think that if you had repeated instances of a Councillor not attending town halls organized by residents, then there would be a reaction to this action. At the next election.)

So having been in touch with various people over the past week about the idea of town halls in this particular ward (don't forget, there's an unfolding situation concerning Mission Services and Mohawk College that you can update yourself on here: and here: ) my reaction is this: get organized and put on a town hall. Put it on, invite your Councillor, invite any and all who you believe would be able to provide input and context...but at the very least, getting residents in a room to express how they're feeling about things, acknowledging commonalities and coming to some kind of agreement as to move forward can be accomplished. And you don't need any "employee's" permission.

Naturally, Town Halls Hamilton will provide whatever assistance we're able.

Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2011-10-24 13:41:00

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