Municipal Election 2010

One Hit Wonders in Hamilton Politics

At a time where we need a constant leader at the helm, we've somehow managed to keep weeding out the contenders in hopes of finding the right person for the job.

By Daniel Rodrigues
Published November 05, 2010

Generally when you hear the term "One Hit Wonder", one thinks of music tunes like "Sugar, Sugar" by The Archies or "Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba. In Hamilton, we seem to have found our own term for "One Hit Wonder" in our Mayor.

Since amalgamation, Hamilton has had four Municipal elections, bringing in four different mayors, all while keeping the proverbial 'knights of the round table' intact (spare a couple of change-ups spattered around the room).

The explanations for the change-ups appear plausible:

Bob Wade

Bob Wade defeated Hamilton's longest-serving Mayor, Bob Morrow, to become the Mayor of the newly amalgamated supercity.

As the explanation goes, if the Province was going to force the five smaller towns into the larger city, than there had better be a leader from one of suburban communities to quell the anger that resonated from the former towns.

Meanwhile, Provincial leaders were hoping that Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy" would make a revival in the Steel City.

Larry Di Ianni

Prior to the 2003 election, Mayor Wade made no secret of stating that he would not seek re-election, putting another suburbanite in the Big Chair with Larry Di Ianni.

Di Ianni won comfortably over lower-city challenger David Christopherson. While it appeared that Hamilton may have found some legs to move forward, Di Ianni was called out on some of his campaign contributions. Suddenly the citizens were talking about his campaign, and not about moving the City forward.

Perhaps sensing Hamilton's unease, Wayne Wonder hit number 11 on the Billboard rankings with his song "No Letting Go".

Fred Eisenberger

In 2006, it was safe to say that Di Ianni underestimated the fallout of his previous campaign mistakes as he was eked out of office by a margin of 452 votes to another suburbanite in Fred Eisenberger.

While many opinionators reasoned that Mayor Fred didn't win, but rather Di Ianni lost, it was clear that Hamilton's progress hit a severe roadblock. Eisenberger operated by consensus, and as such was left standing alone and exposed when his Council members refused to stand at his side.

With the Province adding another year to Municipal terms of Council, the citizens of Hamilton grew uneasy over continued job losses, rising taxes, and an apparent lack of leadership. The latter issue bringing a multitude of split-votes, and sometimes a circus-like atmosphere in the conduct of business matters.

Daniel Powter probably summed up the next four years with his number one hit "Bad Day".

Bob Bratina

With a host of suburbanites occupying the Mayoral seat, the 2010 election was lining up to be a re-match between Di Ianni and Eisenberger. Neither candidate appeared to have overwhelming support to weigh the scales in either direction, so the anticipation was that this was going to be a two-way dogfight right down to the final count.

Enter Ward 2 Councillor Bob Bratina, a morning radio host/downtown Councillor who threw his name in the hat with a relaxed and bizarre campaign platform.

With another 12 mayoral wannabes on the ballot, Bratina took a commanding lead early on the poll results, not once relinquishing his lead, finishing over 12,000 votes ahead of Di Ianni. Eisenberger never got close, finishing a distant third.

Not known as a "team" player, Bratina now finds himself in the pole position to lead the "team" forward. There appears to be more questions than sighs of relief, and only time will tell if Mayor-elect Bratina can not only bring consensus around the Council Chambers, but also return for a second term.

One can only hope that Jump 'N the Saddle Band will not be playing their one hit wonder "The Curly Shuffle" at the December 1st inauguration meeting in honour of Mayor-Elect Bratina's clarinet-playing abilities!

Looking for a String of Hits

Hamilton is in a precarious position, with costs in infrastructure mounting, more jobs being lost than gained, and a decision on where we will be in the next 20-years.

At a time where we need a constant leader at the helm, we've somehow managed to keep weeding out the contenders in hopes of finding the right person for the job. Will Bratina be that guy? That will be up to him to decide.

Dan Rodrigues was born and raised in London, Ontario, where he was an active community member in East London. He moved to Hamilton in late 1996, residing on the East Mountain. He has been married for 27 years, with a son who works with adults with physical and mental disabilities, and a daughter completing her degree in Chemistry at Western University this coming year. He is an active community volunteer, sitting on a number of committees and Boards, as well as coaching soccer. His professional life includes food and beverage industry sales and consulting, building industry sales, human resources consulting, and transportation consulting. Dan's diverse skills inventory allows for fuller discussion and better understanding of individual and community concerns. Currently, Dan is campaigning to be the Ward Six Councillor.


View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By LOL (registered) | Posted November 05, 2010 at 10:59:17

Too funny, but hey...Dan...what have you ever been elected to? Maybe the 1968 hit by Vanilla Fudge is for you..."You Keep me (us?) Hanging On"

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted November 05, 2010 at 11:47:31

Every time we roll the dice between these ridiculous options, we get one step closer to what we all know is coming - the political dynasty of Michael Baldasaro. Could he really do any worse? And why do our constantly failing politicians need to keep tempting fate?

When elections become about name recognition rather than policy, this is what we get - radio hosts, stadium announcers and career politicians.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By LOL (registered) | Posted November 08, 2010 at 10:37:00

Undustrial said: "When elections become about name recognition rather than policy, this is what we get - radio hosts, stadium announcers and career politicians."

But then again I dont recall seeing your name on the ballot either, Mr. Undustrial...tell us if you had the courage that Baldassaro has had for the past decade or so!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By bobinnes (registered) - website | Posted November 08, 2010 at 20:31:59

Interesting article but it fails to address the issues it raises. If a two hit mayor is better then the best must be Morrow? Don't think so. McCallion? Maybe, although we see what happens when nepotism creeps in. But i will support the idea that two terms is reasonable given that the mayor only has one vote so if progress is made in the first then ok for another term. Probably two is the optimum limit for mayor if not in music. (Comparing the two is poor methodology - which is why we are having our problem in the first place, imo.)

Methinks though the real issue is that councilors get returned ad nauseum. They should be limited to one term as per Athenian Democracy and chosen by sortition.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Paul (registered) | Posted November 11, 2010 at 00:06:29

Perhaps it is just a slow evolution towards finding a mayor that actually represents the people? The last few certainly did not represent me! The current one has not taken power yet so I will not jump on the speculation bandwagon that seems to be filled with negative assumptions especially in the Spectator. I also think Di Ianni lost for far more than his illegal campaign donations.

On the other hand the last two at least were rife with divisive issues and that may have helped sunk each of them. Hopefully the Bratina will learn from that or maybe it will be Baldassaro in 2014!! :)

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By hammy (anonymous) | Posted January 14, 2011 at 21:00:01

Eisenburger paid the ultimate price for not listening to the people.
No more soup for you Fred.

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

There are no upcoming events right now.
Why not post one?

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools