The entire Pan Am stadium saga has been like watching a classic Grey Cup game. Our G.M., coach, and starting quarterback, Hamilton Mayor, Fred Eisenberger, has done a fine job.
By Kevin Somers
Published September 03, 2010
Like many Hamiltonians, I've never paid as much attention to municipal politics as I have during The Great Stadium Debate of 2010. The decision of where, or if, to build our Field of Dreams will impact everyone in this city for decades and rarely has an issue been so cantankerous, divisive, public, and secretive.
For a billion reasons, I think the West Harbour, close to downtown Hamilton, is the only site worth discussing, but some people reject that notion entirely and claim the stadium should be built on elsewhere, like the East Mountain, or the McMaster Innovation Park, or Confederation Park. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats football team, for example, insist that their very survival depends on everyone driving to a suburban stadium engulfed by parking spots.
I'd argue that type of backwards thinking is why the team and its league are in such a perilous position, but some people don't think I'm even worthy of an opinion. Ron Foxcroft, for one, was on CHML's Bill Kelly show and said West Harbour proponents and / or East Mountain opponents are "unemployed" "activists," who shouldn't have a voice. Foxy went on to admonish Bill, and all the media, for allowing a few of us to be heard. Bill seemed to agree. It was crazy, but the tip of a crazy iceberg.
The entire saga has been like watching a classic Grey Cup game: West vs. East: the lead has changed hands often; it's entirely compelling; I boo and cheer and hope and pray and hypothesize and sermonize; both teams are in it to win it, scrapping and scraping until the last second; I'm on the edge of my seat and it's fascinating.
From the get-go, there's been an abundance of information, misinformation, withholding of information, and dispersing of information regarding where to house the beast and it changes instantly, or faster. (Big props to RTH for coverage, by the way; TSN would be proud.)
In fact, all the data, figures, and statistics are overwhelming and I rely on instincts, experience, and personal observations more than studies and reports. Numbers don't lie, but people presenting them do all the time, so it's mostly propaganda and not worth listening to, in my mind.
Flutie, Gizmo, and Pinball, for example, were statistically too small to play professional football. All one had to do was watch them play once to know those facts were false. (How did cavemen and pioneers survive without consultants and rich dudes telling them what to think?)
Nobody really knows what the best location for the stadium is or how big it should be. There are educated and uneducated guesses, and there are many opinions based on facts, evidence, emotions, or self-serving interests, but no one can see into the future.
One of the funding requirements for building the new stadium is having an "anchor tenant." The Hamilton Tiger-Cats football team won that designation, by default, and have been leveraging it since Pan Am declared, "Game on, Hammertown!"
I imagined the Cats and their owner would be appreciative of tax money helping them build a new facility in a more picturesque part of Hamilton. The West Harbour location, after all, is only a few kilometres straight west from where they've played for decades. It seemed that way at first, as Cat's owner, Bob Young, declared he was willing to go wherever the city deemed most appropriate. Yea!
Seven times. SEVEN TIMES! Hamilton's city council voted in favour of a West Harbour location seven times: seven times. I'm a big West Harbour booster, as are most of my employed friends and family. Hamilton Mayor, Fred Eisenberger, once declared, "It's full steam ahead for the West Harbour." Yea! Things were looking up, but this is Hamilton, home of the Tiger-Cats, and my cynical senses were tingling. I knew a fumble, turnover, or flagrant foul would derail the victory.
Right on cue, just before kick-off, Bob Young announced he was not, in fact, going to play with the city and he'd never set foot(balls) in a West Harbour Stadium. He'd rather leave town, he declared.
"What?! Boo! It's a little late for that, Bob!" I screamed, inaudibly, from cheap seats I could barely afford.
Bob and his team dug in. They had high profile friends calling us clowns, idiots, jokes, unemployed, unwashed, and unworthy. It was as if they expected City Hall and Hamilton citizens to roll over and capitulate, like little kittens before a mighty Tiger Cat.
We had a little more spunk than they expected, I expect, and, until Tuesday, The West Harbour location was still in play. Sadly, the city surrendered to The Cats and has taken WH off the list of potential stadium sites. Boo! In a contracting economy, it seems ridiculous to allow a poorly run, money-losing, subsidized football team with foreign ownership to override domestic democracy, but what do I know.
I also wondered how long professional and amateur football can survive in Hamilton / Canada, at all. Between insurance and equipment, football is prohibitively expensive and, as such, is exclusionary; only thirty-five or forty boys from a high school with hundreds of students can play. People enjoy familiarity and football is up against rugby, soccer, and basketball, which are infinitely less expensive, more inclusive, and increasing in popularity.
It is what it is, however, and I've accepted defeat regarding the West Harbour location, but I'm proud of how my team played. Our G.M., coach, and starting quarterback, Hamilton Mayor, Fred Eisenberger, did a fine job. We live in Ward 1 and our councillor, Brian McHattie, has played impressively, too.
At first, I was a little skeptical of Fred's ability against the opponent; a veritable old boys club bloated with performance-enhancing substances like money, influence, connections, Rogaine, Grecian Formula, and Viagra. Similarly, no one has ever accused Mayor Eisenberger of flamboyancy and I wasn't sure if a quarterback as low-key as he could withstand the barrage of blitzes, stunts, junk, questionable tactics, late hits, and dirty tricks the opponents kept throwing at us.
Over time, however, I realized Fred has his own brand of somnambulant charisma. Like Aikman, Brady, Calvillo, Elway, Mannings (Eli and Peyton), Marino, Montanna, and Moon, Eisenberger is calm, but sees the game well. He's fast on his feet and armed with a precise wit and quick release.
'Unflappable Fred' stood tall in a constantly collapsing pocket. He was sacked, hurried, and knocked down often, but he always got up, huddled with his team, and returned to the line of scrimmage a little smarter and more determined. He's played hard, but fair.
Mayor Eisenberger's leadership, demeanour, and consistency have won me over. The West Harbour Stadium might be dead, but I think Fred did all he could and I'm grateful for his efforts. It was Peyton Manning, but Fred's my man, now.
Last week, I was trying to keep up with the latest stadium developments when it occurred to me - again - to wonder: "What does Eisenberger make of all this?"
I was also curious about his perpetual tranquility. Sometimes, the temptation to tell someone exactly how I feel about their behaviour boils over and I embarrass myself with both barrels. "How does he do that?" I marveled.
On Thursday August 26, at 4:04 pm, curiosity compelled me to send Fred an email requesting an interview. Fred and his staff were prompt, polite, and professional and, the next afternoon, I was in the Mayor's office, picking his brain and taking notes. (City Hall looks great, by the way. "On time and under budget," Fred said, proudly. Good job, everyone.)
As expected, Fred looked tired, but he was friendly and engaging. One of his staff, a pleasant, young man named Eddie Lee, sat unobtrusively through the interview. Given shenanigans and death threats, I expected it. The first thing I said to Fred, after introductions, was, "What's it like being the mayor of Hamilton, right now?"
Without hesitation, Fred said, "It's a privilege." Perfect answer, I thought. It was Friday afternoon and Leonard Cohen was playing quietly in the background. I asked if it was a CD or a random radio song. Fred gave me a peculiar look, but answered. "A CD," he said. Groovy, again, Fred.
His office and desk were tidy and well organized, which is beyond my skills set. I was also impressed because there were no interruptions the entire time: no surreptitious glances at screens or a colleague; no one came in or out; there were no ringing phones or vibrating gizmos; the mayor looked me in the eye, answered all my questions, told stories, and cracked jokes.
His opinion on the stadium's best location and why he feels that way is well documented. I already knew where he stood; I was curious about how he got there and asked about his past.
In 1960, when Fred was seven, he and his family came to Canada from Holland. His father had been here for a year, finding work at International Harvester and getting things ready for the brood. Saying good-bye to family and friends, Fred, his three brothers, sister, and mother, set sail for Canada. "At the time," he said, "we weren't sure if we'd see them again. It wasn't expected."
"Why did your family make the move?" I asked.
"To make a better life," Fred said. "There were more opportunities in Canada."
"Did you speak English?"
"Not a word," replied the Mayor, with a smile.
He recounted how the family moved onto Stanley St. and he went to St. Joe's, which is the school my daughters attend. "I was seven, but they plopped me into Grade 1," Fred said.
Unsure of what was going on, Fred would regularly take off for the security of home. Usually, the nuns caught him before he got there. "Some of them were really quick," he said, making a comical nun-running motion.
To put an end to Fred's nonsense, the school took his brother, who is a year older and was in Grade 2, and dropped him back to Grade 1, to mind Fred.
Disarmed by the immoral decision of the school, I lost my mind and swore in the Mayor's Office, "&^%!" I said. "That must have p!#$ed him off."
"Oh, yeah. It's been fifty years and he still brings it up," Fred replied, shaking his head. "He's forgiven me, but he hasn't forgotten." I didn't say anything, but it's not Fred who will burn in Hell for that; he was 7.
Fred has done well, obviously, and I asked about his siblings. His brothers are all well, too. Sadly, after a year in Canada, Fred's sister, who was only five, died of complications from a surgery to try and remedy her cerebral palsy.
"That must have been awful," I said.
"It was torturous for my parents," Fred said and I could tell it still bothered him, too.
Fred looks fit and I'd heard he was an athlete, so I asked which sports he played growing up. He visibly perked up and said, "All of them: hockey, baseball, football, soccer, water polo..."
Because I thrash awkwardly and inefficiently in water, I quickly become exhausted and, if I can't touch the bottom, drown, so I view all swimmers as extraordinary athletes. "Water polo!?" I exclaimed.
"Oh, yeah," he said and a dreamy look came over him. "I could kick a guy in the nuts..." and his voice trailed off as he feigned blissful reminiscences. Fred was kidding, of course, and we had a good laugh.
"I play a lot of individual sports, too," he said.
Dedication, teamwork, practice, effort, community, commitment, winning, losing, fitness, fitting in.... I think sports are more instructive than school, so I'm glad my mayor is well educated in that regard.
"How do you stay so calm," I asked.
He laughed, gave me another look, and then answered. "I was given advice when I first started in politics, 'Stay calm,'" he said, "Emotions are good, and I certainly get emotional, but you have to have a level head to see the entire picture. I always try to be the calmest guy in the room and I usually am." Cool.
We talked, of course, about the stadium and Fred emphasized the importance of communication, cooperation, and collaboration with all the stakeholders, including the Tiger Cats. I asked about questionable tactics employed by West Harbour opponents and he dismissed the idea immediately. He said there were differences of opinion, but nothing underhanded or nefarious had taken place and he was confident a location suitable to everyone could be found.
Diplomacy is a prerequisite for politics and this dude has it in spades, I thought.
I asked him if his sporting background was the source of the skills and values he brought to the office. He thought, agreed, and then noted his upbringing. "There were six of us in a small house," he said. "We learned to appreciate efficiency and economize. I hate wasted space," he said and then quickly edited himself, "I hate waste."
I told him about my Dutch friend who jokes that two Dutchmen fighting over a penny can stretch it into 10 feet of copper wire. Fred laughed then raised his hands as if to surrender and said, "I know a lot of generous Dutch people." I think he realized another group calling for his head wouldn't be fun, so he repeated himself, "A lot of generous Dutch people," and we moved on.
"What do you read?" I asked.
Another queer look. "Do you mean books?" he asked.
"Obviously, you have to read mayor-stuff," I said and gestured to piles of files.
"I read biographies of world leaders. I'm a political junkie and have been for 30 - 40 years. The book that most stands out most for me is Robert F. Kennedy's Profiles In Courage," which won a Pulitzer Prize for biography in 1957. "I read it when I was 16 and it's the path I've been on since."
Interestingly, Profiles In Courage survived a massive book purge at my house and was sitting on a shelf, waiting for an occasion to be read. It begins:
"This book is about the most admirable of human virtues - courage. "Grace under pressure," Ernest Hemmingway defined it. And these are the stories of pressures experienced by eight United States Senators and the grace with which they endured them - the risks to their careers, the unpopularity of their courses, the defamations of their characters and sometimes, but sadly only sometimes, the vindication of their reputations and their principles."
The stadium fiasco has put Fred in a few crosshairs and several pundits claim his career is dead. I hope not. Once derided as being wishy-washy, Fred is now under fire for being too stubborn in the stadium standoff. At least he took a stand.
Robert Kennedy wrote the foreword to my edition of Profiles of Courage and this quote jumped off the page: "President Kennedy was fond of quoting Dante that 'the hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who, in a time of crisis, maintain their neutrality.'"
I live near Aberdeen and Longwood, which is the most recent proposed stadium site all parties "might" agree to. Tuesday evening, after the West Harbour was eliminated from contention, I was at a local watering hole with friends, all of whom are intelligent, sensible, and employed. They had all favoured a West Harbour location, as well, but none of them were upset by the decision. I was the only one with a tear in his beer.
The others pointed out that Longwood and Aberdeen is a far better stadium site than East Mountain. It might mean a Go Station in the hood, as well. "You could go to Toronto without a coat in January, if your wife drove you to the station," said Jim "the character" Mcheriker, who, despite appearances, is worth listening to on rare occasion.
I was bemoaning the loss of land designated for Innovation Park, as well. The world class comments on RTH keep me coming back and someone wrote that an IP is as much a concept as a place and, as James pointed out, we can always go up; build a sexy, sleek, stunning 20- story, state of the art, sky-scraping masterpiece in Innovation Park, throw out a "Welcome" mat for all innovators, and sell naming rights: win, win, win. Humans have been going up for years, it's hardly innovative.
I also think a failure to get a stadium or the loss of the Cats will mean the end of Mayor Fred and that's not a scenario I'd like to entertain, so I hope a deal is reached for the Longwood / Aberdeen area.
Watching The Hamilton Stadium Show has been entertaining and informative, but I'm sick of it and want it over. There's one silver lining, at least; I know who to vote for in Hamilton's upcoming election: Brian McHattie for Ward 1 and Fred Eisenberger for Mayor.
By nobrainer (registered) | Posted September 03, 2010 at 08:22:59
Nice warm story but extremely biased like most stories about West Harbour
Yes well reality has a well-known West Harbour bias.
You have to learn to comprimise when its not your money or your future at stake
Someone needs to tell Bob that. It's our money and our future he's playing with.
By Brandon (registered) | Posted September 03, 2010 at 08:25:48
"You have to learn to compromise when it's not your money" is an awesome comment considering Bob Young's position. From what I understand, $60 million of that money is ours and the rest of it is federal and provincial, so technically ours too. What's Bob kicking in?
The fact that the council voted seven times for it amply demonstrates that it was a viable target and not a windmill.
My vote goes to stopping any more public funding of the 'Cats.
Comment edited by Brandon on 2010-09-03 07:27:12
By Mark Coakley (anonymous) | Posted September 03, 2010 at 08:25:59
Excellent article. Fred is the best Mayor Hamilton has had in decades. Unlike his fraud-convicted opponent, Fred offers both vision and demonstrated integrity. Hamilton needs Fred.
By frank (registered) | Posted September 03, 2010 at 08:31:10
Very well written Kevin. Great piece.
Jorge, that comment oozes the bias you wrongly claim the article has. And btw it IS our money and future that's at stake - I'm not sure how you can think it isn't! I'd even add reputation to that list as well.
By I wok (anonymous) | Posted September 03, 2010 at 08:32:05
Ron Foxcroft called proponents of WH unemployed activists?
Huh, I didn't know I got fired.
By nobrainer (registered) | Posted September 03, 2010 at 10:43:19
Exactly what he is trying to avoid.
You'd think what he'd be trying to avoid is making big important business decisions without fully knowing the facts. Like picking a stadium location. Or buying a sports team.
By highwater (registered) | Posted September 03, 2010 at 10:43:51
Ok, John. Next time you want some venture capitalists to invest $100m in your pet project and they ask to see your business plan, you just tell them you don't need one because you've "sized up the situation".
By race_to_the_bottom (anonymous) | Posted September 03, 2010 at 10:45:21
"Next time you want some venture capitalists to invest $100m in your pet project and they ask to see your business plan, you just tell them you don't need one because you've "sized up the situation"."
HA! And we're supposed to be the 'unemployed hippies' in this debate.
By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted September 03, 2010 at 10:59:57
Great article. It gives some nice insight into the mayor as a person.
By George (registered) | Posted September 03, 2010 at 11:56:28
Check out article on Hamilton Stadium issues, under "Recent Stuff" at the CFL Database website.
By realfreeenterpriser (registered) | Posted September 03, 2010 at 12:27:43
John said "Bob Young, more than likely, has no such reports. He probably sized up the situation at West Harbour and concluded it will be Ivor Wynne "Mark II". Exactly what he is trying to avoid."
Which begs the question, exactly what is he trying to avoid?
By nobrainer (registered) | Posted September 03, 2010 at 12:44:41
exactly what is he trying to avoid?
At this point? Losing face.
By Brandon (registered) | Posted September 03, 2010 at 12:46:36
He's trying to avoid a situation where other people can generate revenue from the football games instead of themselves.
This is why a 6000 space parking lot is required.
By nobrainer (registered) | Posted September 03, 2010 at 13:03:19
A stadium surrounded on three side by residential housing, a railway marshalling yard across the street, no highway on/off ramp and parking lot next to the stadium.
By nobrainer (registered) | Posted September 03, 2010 at 13:39:50
To make Ti-Cats profitable in this competitive environment entails marketing the team as a regional franchise.
Which has nothing to do with the stadium location, since the WH is easily accessible by car, GO Train, LRT, bus, boat, bike and foot. You think the one-lane in, one-lane out MIP is more accessible? The very fact the Ticats are interested in that spot tells us what we need to know about their reasons for not liking WH.
By Brandon (registered) | Posted September 03, 2010 at 13:46:12
Of course the 'Cats can't make it at West Harbour and they've got the numbers to prove it. Unfortunately they're top secret, burn before reading in face, so secret that they can't release them to the city so that they could suggest any workarounds to the issues.
Right now it's just Bob saying "We won't play there" and stomping his feet.
By seancb (registered) - website | Posted September 03, 2010 at 14:58:02
I just sent a note to the councillors: They need to REQUIRE Bob Young to put his ACTUAL business case, numbers and all, on the table publicly and they need to put a stop to all deliberation until he does so. Only with all the facts will we be able to make the best choice.
Without Bob's information, how will we EVER reach a decision?
It's like a big, sad, expensive game of pin the tail on the donkey.
If I had the skills I'd mock up a political cartoon of bob young spinning the blindfolded council around, only they each have their own pin...and the province is holding the donkey but constantly moving it around...
By bigguy1231 (registered) | Posted September 03, 2010 at 15:18:54
I see the Ticat trolls are out in numbers today. They have been encouraging their bootlickers to come here and disrupt the discussions. I was at the Ticat website last night reading some of their comments, gloating over the fact that they are having an effect here.
They call the pro WH people here lemmings. If they only knew.
By the way excellent article Kevin.
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 03, 2010 at 15:44:31
Best of luck to Mayor Fred come election day. Check out how he's doing at the poll on the CHML site. ;)
By BobInnes (registered) - website | Posted September 03, 2010 at 17:18:59
Please somebody, enter the mayoralty contest on behalf of realistic taxpayers who want NO stadium, PanAm, Aerotropolis or any other costly speculative boondoggle at this time. People who recognize that new debts = future taxes, exacerbating our already uncompetitive situation. Please Ticats, go find a wealthier sugar daddy like Oakville, Burlington, Waterloo, etc. Next week is last chance to avert debt/tax disaster. I will work for your candidacy.
By bigguy1231 (registered) | Posted September 03, 2010 at 17:47:42
Your using the results from an online poll at a Ticat cheerleading site. It's not like there would be any credibility to it. All it tells you is that people who listen to that station don't like Fred. What else would you expect. Are you that nieve. Their online poll about the stadium showed 90% support for the EM site when a scientific poll by a legitimate polling company showed 46%. If this poll is as accurate as their stadium poll then Fred should win easily.
By lettie (registered) | Posted September 03, 2010 at 20:33:52
Maybe if Bob Young came up with more money for a stadium and compromise on a location the Ti Cats would have somewhere nice and new to play.
By Jason (registered) | Posted September 03, 2010 at 22:22:33
CHML poll. Lol If chml was the barometer of life in Hamilton we'd have no transit, bikes would be illegal, downtown would be boarded up, nobody under 60 would be allowed to voice their opinion and sprawl would continue to hagersville.
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 04, 2010 at 00:07:47
The Mayor thought by buying up land at the WH he could force the TigerCats into the WH site no matter what but you can't force businesses where to setup shop, the world doesn't work that way. The Mayor brought this on by himself and most everyone knows this.
By cityfan (registered) | Posted September 04, 2010 at 00:12:15
I've been too busy to comment lately. tonight attended my late friend Mark Graham's Olympic Park renaming ceremony on the West Mountain attended by Mayor Fred and Terry Whitehead.
It's amazing how some people don't appriciate parkland in this city of ours. I guess I'm talking to the CP supporters here (attn. Bob Bratina) Parkland is for future generations to enjoy. It's very important. We have Gore and Victoria and Bayfront Park to name a few gems. Why is CP back on the table I haven't got a clue. Who's stupid idea was this. please let me at 'em.
I've read alot of comments from RTH and all I can say without a dought is that the Pan Am stadium (I emphasize PAN AM stadium!) should go to the WH. By reasons that I can't understand but except is that now WH is second to the MIP site as the compromise. This can also work as location for the PAN AM GAMES! But please PLEASE!!! everyone who cares about this issue stop the council from deciding to build over parkland to put down a stadium/parking lot on the CP lands. This is a huge error in judgement for our great city. We need to perserve our parklands!
Comment edited by cityfan on 2010-09-03 23:18:58
By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted September 04, 2010 at 00:16:48
It's pretty clear what Bob Young's advisers told him (and why we're putting stock in people he's paying is beyond me). There is a few million dollars a year of extra revenues they feel they can make from a site like the East Mountain, with giant paved $20/spot parking farms, retail developments and highway-side naming rights. A site like the West Harbour wouldn't allow the Ti-Cats a stranglehold over stadium-related development.
A West Harbour site wouldn't cost him anything, it just wouldn't give him quite as much for free. He's not entitled to any of these benefits in the first place, and never was.
I hear a lot of griping these days about "welfare bums" and their sense of entitlement. Well, the kind of corporate welfare is the equivalent of tens of thousands of those monthly cheques. And Bob Young was already fabulously wealthy.
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 04, 2010 at 07:41:34
I can appreciate a lot of points here. If the PanAm Stadium is for the PanAm Games only, I don't have a problem with that. That should have been clearly stated in the first place by the province. In that case, there wouldn't have been this confusion as to if it was also mean't to be a stadium to be rented out to the TigerCats or other professional team.
And at this point, I don't have a problem with the prov and feds funding a smaller stadium at the WH with the clear intention it is just for soccer for the PanAms. Not at all. The TigerCats can make their own arrangements wherever for a stadium and perhaps in some way, that could be advantageous for everyone.
I don't buy that Hamilton doesn't need a 6 or 7 thousand seater at the WH because McMaster has one this size. It could still be used in many ways by the community and provide a legacy in that respect and to the soccer community. I'm on board with this.
Yes cityfan, parklands are important no question and agree that we should try and preserve these. Stadiums should go in brownfields or old industrial sites whenever possible IMHO or in an area that was marked for building construction anyways. Nice to see that they have honoured Mark Graham, very nice!
Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-09-04 06:46:36
By Brandon (registered) | Posted September 04, 2010 at 10:09:39
Perhaps you can explain to us why you feel that the taxpayers of Hamilton should pay for Bob Young to make more money?
The $60 million Future Fund is specifically designated for downtown restoration and revitalization.
The $40 million from the Pan Am games requires that it be supported by transit and benefit the city for the long run.
Essentially, we're offering Bob Young a new stadium to play in and he's trying to hijack that money and build his stadium in his ideal location.
I can fully appreciate why he wants it in a different location, but the problem is that the purpose of the money isn't to give the 'Cats everything that they want. If Bob was building his own stadium then he's more than welcome to do what he wants with his money.
But it's not his money.
Why is this essential fact not mentioned in any of the Ti-Cat postings?
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 04, 2010 at 10:33:56
Brandon, first you must realize I'm a sports guy and football is my no. 1 sport to watch and I'm also into the history of sports, I have an honours undergraduate degree in physical education and one of my courses was sports history which had a large Canadian component to it. And so I've studied Canadian sports history a bit and Canadian football in particular.
Now your question is why I feel that the taxpayers of Hamilton should pay for Bob Young to make more money? Well they shouldn't if they don't want to. I don't mind it, my money going for a stadium in a suitable location for the TigerCats because I love the Cats, I'm biased as I say, and I want them to make money and keep the team in Hamilton as I feel, for me, they bring a certain value to the city even if it isn't a lot of value in a monetary sense. That's just me. In the case here in Hamilton, I am willing to live with my tax money going for a stadium as long as the Rheem site gets cleaned up as well.
But I'm not saying I'm right, not at all. As I say, I'm a sports guy and in particular football. So I'm not a good barometer. There's not much money to be made owning a CFL team, BY bought the Cats when they were on their last legs, no one else wanted them. He's from the area and grew up as a Cats fan. He admits he made mistakes running the team, openly admits that, and he is learning.
Public/private partnerships are happening with building sports facilities these days, I think the 4 pad arena on the brow is an example, the expansion of Molson Stadium in Montreal another.
BY doesn't want to play in a WH location because he feels he can't be financially successful there with the team in that location. That is his right to think that and it's the city's right to build a stadium for whomever at the WH if they want. The city doesn't have to give a dime for a stadium for the Cats or any pro team to play in, that I agree on.
Also, I feel in the long run one team for southern Ontario in the CFL is enough. No matter how this works out, I'm in the enviable position of the process turning out for me as a win-win. I win if the Cats stay here and get in a stadium that makes sense with or without FF money, whatever I don't really care to honest. But I win also if the Cats move to Moncton or amalgamate with the Argos whatever, I think this is excellent for the CFL in the long run to have one team, one strong team in a football specific stadium. Hamilton as a city doesn't do much image wise for any sports league, I hate to admit it but the city doesn't have a professional image to it IMHO in a way that leagues want. I can't put my finger on it really, it's too bad because this city has so much to offer especially from a geographical aspect with the trails, restaurants, music, etc. But that's what I think is the case with leagues and how they see Hamilton, the NHL feels that obviously as well. Just maybe has to do with too much of a working class lunch bucket town which is a shame if that's the case. Look at the HGCC, one of the best in the country and we have a great university as well and so much more.
You are right, FF money isn't Bob's and the city doesn't owe him anything to spend this money on a stadium that they would rent out to him. I completely agree.
Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-09-04 09:45:18
By Brandon (registered) | Posted September 04, 2010 at 11:27:41
One more try at this: You've suggested that Council hasn't offered BY any sort of special deals or carrots to make him interested in the WH location. They've been discussing this for two years. If Bob thought he couldn't make money at that location (or any of the other suggested locations) why didn't he veto it at the beginning or even in the middle? All he has done is claim that he's got studies and spoken to experts that have told him it can't work, yet he isn't making any of this information available to Council. In fact, at the last meeting, they were specifically asked if they had this information and were told that it wasn't available!
How can you claim that BY is negotiating in good faith when he won't release this information? Those of us not privy to this look at his other demands and suggest that it's due to the fact that he's trying to control all the revenue streams from the area, which is understandable, but again, IT'S NOT HIS MONEY that's building the stadium.
When you are accepting welfare you have less choices than if you're funding it yourself.
What I don't understand, and you haven't answered yet, is why you and other 'Cats fans are mocking us for insisting that the money be spent as it was designated, which can benefit all of us, instead of just going to help BY make more money?
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 04, 2010 at 11:45:22
Brandon, look, you seem a lot more intelligent that I am on all of this. I do apologize if I was mocking you, that was not called for, I get carried away because I'm biased as well on BY, I really like the guy, probably to a fault I admit. I want him to make money on the TigerCats, might sound weird me saying that but I do want that. I want the TigerCats to be financially successful here in Hamilton, well, anywhere actually.
I don't insist anything about how the money is spent. I'm no politician and I don't have a lot of interest in politics really. If the city doesn't want to spend any money on a stadium, that is their choice, they are the power brokers.
Again though, I'm a sports guy, I don't mind if they spend the FF money on a stadium and keep the Cats happy and in a location the Cats love, might sound shallow for me to say that but that's how I feel.
You need to ask these questions to BY himself or to someone not as biased as me and smarter to be honest.
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 04, 2010 at 12:19:31
I guess JJ you could say like RTH is an opinionated editorial like digital publication blog and has a certain focus and slant to it, which is fine and I like reading the opinions of the writers here. I don't expect from a site like this journalistic rigour as I would from a publication that is more in the mainstream of publications that have been around for decades nor a peer reviewed publication such as an academic journal.
Many of the writers and posters here do not come from a sports minded bias like I do and that's another reason I like reading some of the opinions expressed here.
By Brandon (registered) | Posted September 04, 2010 at 12:25:51
I have no problem with BY making money and I'd like the 'Cats to succeed as well. I suspect the Council wants the 'Cats to be financially viable as well. Why would they want them to fail? They simply don't want them to succeed at the exclusion of everyone else.
JJ: Something to consider: There is $60 million of Future Fund money available if the stadium is built at West Harbour. No other location can truly be considered to be helping downtown. Are BY and these "Stadium experts" putting their own money up for this? That'd be a big NO! If other locations are so much more profitable then build your own stadium with your own money. If you want public money, the end result has to benefit the public. It's not a complicated concept.
By bigguy1231 (registered) | Posted September 04, 2010 at 12:34:17
What Tigercat studies and what Hostco studies. Neither of those groups have done any studies that have been made public so they don't exist. Hostco is not responsible for studying anything other than the facts presented by the city.
Why would Hostco even talk to the Ticats. The Ticats are a private business interest that have no say in the matter let alone providing studies to Hostco.
As for Hostco's supposed objections. How could they object to something that has not been officialy presented to them or at least wasn't until last Tuesday. There hasn't been any new news from them since before then.
It sounds to me that you and the rest of the Ticat trolls are making things up again. Stick to facts presented to council from the groups that actually took part in the process. If the Ticats wanted input they had their chance but failed to present anything.
By kevin (registered) | Posted September 04, 2010 at 13:42:04
JJ, I'm not unemployed and I don't think I'm a reporter. Reporters get paid to report. I like to write and (would) do it for free. Some people like to paint, some like politics, others enjoy watching football. I'm glad RTH will take what I've done and publish it. I'd do it, anyway. I spent years pecking away to an audience of one.
I try to make it clear I'm only sharing my opinions. I was in Lulu's Hamilton office a few years ago and was stunned by the chaos. I was a Ti-Cat fan and wanted to give them my business, but, after 10 mintues, left and never looked back. I went to Sterling Print Solutions and they were great.
Also, the Cats have been poor since Bob Young bought the team.
I'm sorry, but I don't think Bob Young has a Midas touch. I wish he did. Then, I would feel better about putting so much of my money and faith in him.
By the way, can you post or provide links to the "facts" and "studies" you mentioned, please? I won't bother, but I'm sure others here would like to see them.
Comment edited by kevin on 2010-09-04 12:49:49
By F. Ward Cleat (anonymous) | Posted September 04, 2010 at 14:58:56
Ah, the unpublished studies. Not worth the paper they were written on, if they were written at all. If such studies exist wouldn't it have been prudent for BY to make them public to reinforce his business case.
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 04, 2010 at 16:33:35
"If other locations are so much more profitable then build your own stadium with your own money"
Brandon, I think that very well will happen but rest assured it most likely will not be in Hamilton proper.
By Bill (registered) | Posted September 04, 2010 at 17:52:36
Kevin your first line statement in which YOU admit that up to The Stadium Debate you never paid much attention to Municipal Politics somewhat Destroys your Praise of "Dead Head Fred", because if you had you would know this is just another of his Pigheaded Gaffes since he got elected by Default! I was surprised that you did not bequeath him with the Attributes of "Mother Teresa","Ghandi and Martin Luther King" in your Enlightened Endorsements? Please do not insult our Tiger Cats by comparing him to them in Football Parlance as he is more like an "ARGO" player when you look at his record on what he has contributed to the "CATS" future!
By bigguy1231 (registered) | Posted September 04, 2010 at 18:48:55
What gaffe's would you be talking about. If you are going to accuse someone of making gaffe's at least take the time to enlighten us as to what those gaffe's are. By not mentioning what he has done wrong your views can be construed as nothing more than the idle rantings of one of the many trolls who have infested this forum from the Ticat forums. Try thinking for yourself rather than being spoonfed the Ticats talking points, that have no basis in fact and try to play on the emotions of the simple minded masses.
By Brandon (registered) | Posted September 04, 2010 at 18:50:54
Earl, how many team owners actually build their own stadiums? And how many other cities seem willing to shell out the cash these days?
I like the 'Cats and have been a fan, but after this I'm somewhat disenchanted. If BY can't either take the offer or show us why he can't, he can take the 'Cats and try and make it on his own as far as I'm concerned and I hope the city doesn't offer him a dime of assistance in the future.
If he changes his mind I'll be happy to buy season's tickets!
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 04, 2010 at 19:41:46
Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-09-04 18:42:07
By highwater (registered) | Posted September 04, 2010 at 19:57:03
Kevin O'Leary: Let me get this straight. You want me to give you $100 million to build an arena for your roller derby team? Where's your business plan?
HamiltonFan: The team is privately owned. I'm under no obligation to show you my business plan.
K.O.: I'm out.
By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted September 04, 2010 at 20:02:53
35 Wins 74 Losses 1 Tie. That is the biggest reason Bob Young loses money with the Tiger Cats. The team's record during his tenure as owner. They have stunk! But he's too busy having sugar plum fairy dreams about building "Bob World" with Osmington to get a grip on that small fact and worry more about building his brand than building a real estate empire.
Winning breeds success and profitability period. It doesn't matter where the stadium is. Case in point the Detroit Red Wings. They stunk in the early to mid eighties playing in the Joe Louis Arena. Poor attendance, lousy record, poor merchandising, small but vocal fan base. (Sound familiar?) Enter Mike Illitch. A man smart enough to know he didn't know squat about hockey and began hiring people who did. Scouting, drafting, coaching, players all improved and we know what happened. Stanley Cups and perennial playoff appearances. Attendance blossomed, corporate sponsorship, merchandising exploded, regional tv, etc etc. Profitability and franchise worth rise. What didn't change? The Red Wings STILL PLAY AT JOE LOUIS ARENA!
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 04, 2010 at 20:36:26
Guys, it is the way it is, I remember going to games when the TigerCats had winning records and the place was averaging like about 14,000 a game in the 90's. Bob has brought it up a level, we all know that with an air of professionalism this franchise hasn't known in a while.
But he owns the team and can do what the hell he bloody well likes. You have to understand that, he can bite a lease loss tomorrow and move this team to Antarctica or fold the team.
Either the city gets on board with Bob's plan now or good bye TigerCats. And that's not the end of the world for good 'ol Hamilton, some might say it's the beginning, so let the chips fall where they may.
By F. Ward Cleat (anonymous) | Posted September 04, 2010 at 20:50:46
...there is no doubt BY has other choices. He's a wealthy man and his wealth gives him options......now if for some reason we lose the PanAm 15,000 seat funding. Does BY compound (what I think) was a bad decision not accepting WH by relocating his business to another market? Is there a city willing to invest $45-$100 million on a football stadium? Would the CFL allow such a move? Would BY be willing to invest another $25-$50 million or more into something he himself stated was the worst business decision of his life?
I think it is much more likely he would look to sell the team to local interests. If that failed and the CFL agreed, he probably would sell to someone in another market. If that failed he'd probably fold it or look for other options.
The only relocation that makes any sense is Aldershot and that will not be easy.
By George (registered) | Posted September 04, 2010 at 22:26:56
BY, claims to be the caretaker, and as such would not move nor fold the team. As caretaker, he should sell or "leave" the team in Hamilton if he can't make a go of it or if he refuses to play at WH.
Besides, there is no other place for the team to go.
Let another owner, that is willing to play out of WH, take the team over.
By Woggs (anonymous) | Posted September 04, 2010 at 23:20:39
One man's opinion from both sides of the fence:
- This entire debate alienates the suburbs. The Future Fund's objection to supporting a stadium outside the core contradicts its mission to build community. When the city discusses sharing revenues from Flamborough Slots, we're supposed to accept spreading the wealth to the entire city, but when it comes to Hamilton's legacy cash cow, the FF, spending outside downtown is verboten.
- most people get to sporting events by car, and it's a pain whether the stadium has on site parking or not. If the stadium is in a built up area, private lots will be constructed to meet the demand. If it's built in a more remote area, you may be forced to pay the stadium on-site rate. Even if parking is lacking now at WH, I suspect small private lots would pop up to meet demand
- The argument that a WH stadium will spur urban renewal seems rebuffed by the low income housing surrounding Ivor Wynne
By Woggs (anonymous) | Posted September 04, 2010 at 23:28:45
By that last point I mean that if a stadium is such a boost to urban development, the Ivor Wynne district would be a well established commercial district.
By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted September 04, 2010 at 23:29:37
There is NO OTHER MUNICIPALITY in Canada never mind Ontario that is going to shell out 60 plus million dollars and then lobby their province and the feds to build a stadium for a privately owned sports team that plays in an 8 team league and does about $15 million in revenue a year and needs $1.5 million a year in operating subsidies from the municipality to stay afloat. The Tiger Cats are not going anywhere. Period. Should Mr Young be foolish enough to take this game of chicken to the limit and actually pack the moving vans and take them somewhere, he will have immediately devalued his franchise to the point where he will never recover a dime. The Hamilton Tiger Cats are still worth something. The Oshawa Assemblers or the Aldershot Yuppies or the Moncton What Evers are worth squat.
Had Mr Young done a better job of fielding a winning team over the years and filling Ivor Wynne to something better than 65% capacity we likely wouldn't be having this conversation. He would probably be thrilled to be able to play in a brand new facility and still get the sweetheart deal from the city he gets now. While the experience at the stadium has improved greatly since Mr Young's tenure began, the product on the field hasn't. People want to back a winner. The one exception in this area seems to be the Toronto Maple Leafs and the lemmings that continue to support that money grubbing organization. And while there were two memorable season's in 98' 99' with one championship, the team has had a mostly losing record for the last 30 years. People want more than a Labour Day win against the Argo's to hang their hat on. And if Southern Ontario only has one CFL team......? The league will soon fold. Again. The Tiger Cats are not going anywhere.
By Woggs (anonymous) | Posted September 04, 2010 at 23:50:05
I agree with Shemp - the Cats may fold, but they're not moving. Their biggest asset is their aging local fanbase
By bigguy1231 (registered) | Posted September 05, 2010 at 01:08:01
Typical comments from someone who has nothing to back up his, err the Ticats, talking points.
By the way I voted for DiIanni last election and the one before. This election my vote is still up in the air. If Fred sticks to his guns on the WH he will get my vote. If he caves into the pressure by the mindless masses he will not. The same applies to my local councillor.
Comment edited by bigguy1231 on 2010-09-05 00:18:17
By PanAmster (anonymous) | Posted September 05, 2010 at 09:48:48
Hey is this column a campaign conttribution for Fred????
By Brandon (registered) | Posted September 05, 2010 at 10:24:43
When was the last time you tried to get money from someone because you promised them you had a great idea? Your mother may be willing to give you the money, but a bank? Or a city? Good luck with that.
Bob now has access to a $100 million dollar fund to help build a new stadium for his team and he's refusing to deal for reasons he won't share with anyone. You can admire that as a brilliant strategy, I look at it as someone who's playing by rules that work when the economy isn't cash strapped.
If he refuses to play at WH he shouldn't get a dime of public money afterwards.
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 05, 2010 at 10:28:28
Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-09-05 09:51:07
By highwater (registered) | Posted September 05, 2010 at 11:42:45
Well, HamiltonFan, since you obviously know BY so well, could you please ask him why he wants to hurt us by taking away our best chance at the kind of high-paying, high-quality jobs we're going to need if we're not going to limp from year to year requiring more public funds to subsidize us? Because frankly, if I were in Bob's position I wouldn't dream of hurting a city of half a million people like that. Sensitive, moral people just don't do that kind of thing.
If he's as moral as you claim, he'll play at the WH, otherwise we have no choice but to judge him by his actions, and his actions are those of a man willing to put the interests of his small, private business over the best interests of the people of this city who are putting up all the money. And it's not even like we're asking for much in return for our investment. We have no illusions that we're going to get much benefit out of this stadium. All we're asking is that we not be hurt by it. But apparently that's too much to ask of Bob.
Comment edited by highwater on 2010-09-05 10:43:21
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 05, 2010 at 11:51:37
I disagree with your premise sir and to each his own. Remember Bob didn't bring forth Longwood in the first place and was never a site that the TiCats studied, that was the city that did this. So Bob agreed to discuss this with the city as I'm sure he assumed the city didn't have major issues with it as you mention.
Cheers and have a very nice day! I just hope he never agrees to build a stadium at the WH, a horrible site for a stadium and a disservice to the city should a stadium be built there, right almost next to a residential neighbourhood, not considerate at all IMHO.
Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-09-05 11:02:13
By realfreeenterpriser (registered) | Posted September 05, 2010 at 12:14:32
Hamilton Fan said "He would feel, as would I, that he is stealing, if you will, from taxpayers if he were to use all of the $100 mill on a stadium for a site that will see the TigerCats limp from existence year to year and require more public funds to help "subsidize", a favourite word on this site, the team year to year."
"Feeling like he is stealing" hasn't seemed to have had much of an effect in the last 10 years.
If he doesn't buy a stadium at market prices, or if he doesn't pay market rent, or if he doesn't pay the full shot for policing, concessions and the HSR, then he's still being subsidized. What else would you call it?
As to the Tiger-Cats "limping from year to year" at West Harbour; their books would show that. Oh yeah, that's right, no one's seen them.
By highwater (registered) | Posted September 05, 2010 at 12:41:31
HamiltonFan, Bob most certainly did bring forth the Innovation Park site. It was one of the ten locations that they suggested during Fenn's failed arbitration, and he brought it forth again on this very website to bolster his claim that the ticats weren't interested in any downtown sites, although it's quite a stretch to call the Innovation Park downtown.
I agree with you though that they haven't studied it, but then they haven't seriously studied any of the sites they suggested, nor have they studied the WH in enough depth to support their claims about it.
And spare us the crocodile tears over the poor WH residents. The Innovation Park site will hurt this city more than the WH site will, plain and simple. I doubt very much BY would be pretentious enough to describe himself in moral terms as you have, but since you have injected morality into this debate, I am more than happy to go there.
WH is the moral choice because of all the sites on the table, it is the one which will hurt this city the least. Anyone who knowingly supports a site that hurts this city more than WH has no claim to the moral highground.
Comment edited by highwater on 2010-09-05 11:52:08
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 05, 2010 at 12:44:23
Look guys, you can't force a business to operate in a location they don't want to operate from, that is just the way it is. At any rate, I doubt a deal will get done in the short time left and then, as I've said, let all the chips fall where they may.
By Jason (registered) | Posted September 05, 2010 at 15:39:53
What's the Vegas line on HamiltonFan actually being Bob Young?
By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted September 05, 2010 at 16:13:42
"Look guys, you can't force a business to operate in a location they don't want to operate from, that is just the way it is"
And on the other side of the coin a business that depends on substantial subsidies to operate is not in a position to dictate where over $100 million dollars of public money will be spent.
This situation would have been rectified in a much more timely manner had Mr Young been forthcoming with the "reports" done by his "dozens of experts" and a willingness to disclose a business plan and his books in an effort to prove he would "lose millions" of dollars a year at WH. But thats not the game the Tiger Cats are playing is it? They are reverting to the time old tradition of a sports team owner preying on the sentiment in the community for the team and the false panic generated by hinting at relocation. Only this isn't the NFL or even the NHL and there in fact is nowhere for the Tiger Cats to go to.
Council should take a reality pill and realize this and stick to their guns.
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 05, 2010 at 21:34:45
Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-09-05 20:36:27
By JIm (anonymous) | Posted September 05, 2010 at 21:54:50
Kevin Somers: OMG, OMG, I'm in the presence of greatness!
K.S.: I'm in heaven!
By Shempatolla (registered) - website | Posted September 05, 2010 at 23:21:26
The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra has over 25 Corporate sponsors, as well as government funding from The City of Hamilton, the Canada Council for the Arts, The Ontario Arts Council, and the Ontario Trillium Foundation. They also have a substantial membership which supports them through season ticket purchases. I would be willing to bet a pint of beer that the City's contribution is considerably less than what they pay to operate IWS. There is a big difference however between the HPO and the Tiger Cats. The HPO is essentially an arts endowment which provides the city with a musical cultural outlet. The Hamilton Tiger Cats are a privately owned business which is supposed to be self sustaining but which in fact has been perennially sucking on the teet of the taxpayers of this city. As for attendance. The HPO plays before approximately 225000 people per season.
Tell me what Mr Youngs choices are? Name me another stadium in this country where he can play after the 2011 season? There aren't any. None that can sustain a CFL team. Not Quebec City, Not Moncton, Not anywhere in Ontario. Temporary seating in any of the existing university stadiums is a non starter as well. If the WH doesn't fit his business (read real estate development plan) plan, then putting up bleachers in a corn field or on a campus somewhere doesn't either. He played his card, he gambled and lost and now is scrambling to save face.
His team plays in an 8 team league and in the only market currently able to support his franchise. He has nowhere to go that won't cost him even more money than he claims he is losing now. There is no other municipality that will cut him the big piece of cheese he now gets from the City of Hamilton.
He needs to get serious about building his brand and coming to an agreement with the city. Should he be foolish enough to load the trucks and move...... as I said before he will be slitting his own throat. The four hundred and eighty thousand people or so in this community who don't care about the Tiger Cats (If you judge these matters by attendance) will be just fine and so will the city. I'm not prepared as a taxpayer to allow a small retail business whose gross contribution to this city is roughly $65 million a year in economic activity(and who benefits from what can only be described as the sweetest of lease deals) dictate where we will spend over $100 million of taxpayer money.
The Tiger Cats are indeed often the number one draw on TSN CFL coverage. But unlike you I don't correlate that with some kind of publicity boon for the city. The people watching are football fans. Not businesses looking for a place to do business. Nor is it some kind of godsend for the image of the city. TV directors for CFL coverage seem fixated on the flames coming out of the stacks at the steel plants. After 40 years or so of seeing that I'm kind of sick of it and am more inclined to think that that view has done more harm for the image of this city than help.
Sticking only to the facts, the city holds the cards not Mr Young. If he leaves, then he is even stupider than he himself has admitted when it comes to running a professional sports team and in particular a CFL team.
Comment edited by Shempatolla on 2010-09-05 22:27:31
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 06, 2010 at 09:53:38
Game day is here! GO CATS GO! GO CATS GO! GO CATS GO! GO CATS GO! GO CATS GO! GO CATS GO!
Should be a good one, Argos are a lot better than people were predicting, we're going to have to be sharp to win.
It's sold-out or close to being sold-out so it should be fun.
By kevin (registered) | Posted September 06, 2010 at 10:13:41
Enjoy the game, HamiltonFan. I don't always agree with you, but appreciate (some of) your insights - joke - and your enthusiasm for your beloved team.
By HamiltonFan (registered) | Posted September 06, 2010 at 10:22:04
Thanks Kevin. There are a lot of excellent writers and posters on this site and the main thing is they all care about Hamilton one way or another, and that is good for the city. The world would be boring if everyone all had the same opinions on issues or perspectives on issues.
Yes, I can say my beloved team but I know when I've been in the US and people say I'm from Hamilton, at times some have said, the first thing after I say I'm from Hamilton, is 'oh yea, that's where the TigerCats play.' It's sort of neat really but I think you have to be a fan of the team to really get it from the heart and the emotions it raises, the feeling I get when people have said this. I feel fortunate that I am able to enjoy what I believe is a great sport and a great league even if the CFL isn't one of the big American operated major leagues. The league and our Grey Cup trophy are an iconic cultural symbol to me of my country even though I realize a lot of people don't care in the least. Different strokes for different folks.
Comment edited by HamiltonFan on 2010-09-06 09:25:27
By Brandon (registered) | Posted September 06, 2010 at 10:45:28
And this is exactly why we want Bob Young to work with the city instead of taking an adversarial approach!
By F. Ward Cleat (anonymous) | Posted September 06, 2010 at 11:43:05
Eat 'em raw!
By Jorge (anonymous) | Posted September 14, 2010 at 01:18:56
Hope Hamilton grows up and builds a new stadium the other one is
very old . It's funny most arenas don't make money but we still have them . Life is like that. When something is worn out you replace it but not in Hamilton you let it fall apart and rot and go oh my the bad men came and stole our money . Chasing windmills in the Hammer.
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