Special Report: Education

Bad Things Come in Threes

Why are three of our civic institutions collaborating on such a bad deal for Hamiltonians?

By Graham Crawford
Published February 04, 2012

While there are many good things happening in downtown Hamilton, this piece isn't about any of them.

No, this piece is about the very bad use of nearly $100 million in taxpayer's money. It's also about the combination of bad decisions made, some during in-camera meetings from which the public was excluded, by three of our very local and very public institutions.

Board of Education Building, 100 Main Street West (RTH file photo)
Board of Education Building, 100 Main Street West (RTH file photo)

The institutions are the ones that educate our children, teach our doctors, and lead our city. More commonly, they're known as the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board, McMaster University, and Hamilton City Council. Together, they're about to set a very bad deal in motion. A bad deal that will affect generations of Hamiltonians to come.

This isn't a new deal. In fact, they've been working on it for a few years. But, as with so many things civic, when the details of plans go public, citizens get worried. Based on the details shared so far, citizens should be very worried indeed.

So, what's going on? Well, that depends on who you ask.

Look at the deal from the perspective of the three public institutions

All three of the institutions agree Hamilton's downtown needs to be revitalized. City Council says McMaster University should have a presence downtown to show they're an active partner in this revitalization. Now, under new leadership, McMaster University seems to agree.

The Board of Education says they agree too, it's just that their idea of helping to revitalize downtown Hamilton involves moving their headquarters into a residential neighbourhood on the mountain near a shopping mall.

The Board will sell its headquarters across from City Hall and the land on which it sits, including the parking lot to the north of the HQ, to McMaster University for a proposed family Health Centre. The money the Board receives from the sale will contribute to the funding of their new HQ on the mountain.

Proposed Education Centre site plan
Proposed Education Centre site plan

McMaster is telling City Council they need the City to invest in their new Health Centre; otherwise, the deal is a no-go. To make the deal happen, Hamilton City Council is willing to invest, through a grant ($20 million) and a long term lease ($30 million).

Public Health employees will move from several different locations, the majority from the privately-owned Right House on Gore Park, into McMaster's new centre.

Council has been told the Board of Education jobs we lose to the mountain will be offset by the number of jobs the new medical centre will provide. McMaster will demolish the Board building, erect a new glass building in its place, and maintain the parking lot to the north until such time as a development opportunity may come along. That's the deal. At least at the time of writing.

Oh, one other thing. Board Trustees and senior staffers say that three years ago the Board tried to do a joint venture with McMaster and the City so the Board could stay downtown, but the Minister of Education of the day, Kathleen Wynne, said she would not permit the Board to be in the "development" business.

Kathleen Wynne is a very impressive and very competent leader and still part of the McGuinty Cabinet. Not sure why she, as the Board claims, chose to shut down this creative joint venture that would have contributed to the revitalization of Hamilton's downtown? Wonder if the new Minister of Education, Laurel Broten, has a different view? What I really wonder is why the Ontario Ministry of Education has a view on this deal at all.

Look at the deal from the perspective of Hamilton taxpayers

Already, our municipal tax dollars go to both the Board of Education and to the City of Hamilton. Provincially, and likely federally, some of our tax dollars go to McMaster University. As if that weren't enough, now McMaster wants $50 million of our municipal tax dollars too, in order to help fund their move to the core.

The land on which the Board's HQ sits currently at Main and Bay is land Hamilton taxpayers gave to the Board in the 1960s so they would stay downtown. Now, the Board is going to sell the land we gave them and use the proceeds to leave downtown.

This suggests the Trustees misunderstand the phrase "taking the high road". They seem to think it refers driving up the mountain, and has nothing to do with a taking a moral position.

Neither the Board nor McMaster pay any taxes to the City of Hamilton. So, we pay them, but they won't pay us. Ever.

The Board will demolish their poorly maintained Crestwood School on the mountain and then build a new, 2-storey, $31.6 million HQ on the Crestwood site with 480 parking spots in the middle of an established residential neighbourhood. Just in and out each day, that means approximately 1,000 new vehicular trips in the neighbourhood.

Wonder if the Board has done any traffic studies? Wonder if the homeowners know the impact 1000 new vehicular trips will have on their neighbourhood? And on their kids? Wonder what their Councillor, Scott Duvall, thinks of this?

I know my own Councillor, Jason Farr, along with Ward 1 Councillor Brian McHattie, are trying to keep the Board downtown. Perhaps others are "on board" with them?

Although McMaster could choose to build on the empty parking lot they will own on the corner of King and Bay, they prefer to demolish the existing Board of Education building and replace it with a new glass structure. A structure that replaces all of the current green space in front of the existing building with a glassed-in grand staircase.

As a result, you'll be able to sit on the stairs in a lobby inside the building, but you won't be able to sit on a bench in a park outside the building. A park that already exists. Too many Hamilton Councillors, and our Mayor, call this progress.

The 'Swing Space' Debate

The "Swing Space Debate" is now in the news. Even if this screwy deal goes through as planned, the Board's new HQ won't be ready for at least two years. McMaster wants to start demolishing the Joseph Singer-designed Board of Education building ASAP. That means the Board has to move into temporary space for two years.

As a result of this deal, two buildings get destroyed. Two buildings get built. 350 jobs leave the core. 400 move in. Generally, that's called a wash. At least it would be if weren't for the small matter of $50 million of taxpayer money required to make it all happen.

The Board's solution? Ask City Council to rent space from Yale Properties through a long term lease and then rent the space to the Board for two years. After that? Well, the Board doesn't feel that's their concern. You have to admit, at least the Board is consistent in their short-range, it's-all-about-our-needs thinking.

As a result of this deal, two buildings get destroyed. Two buildings get built. 350 jobs leave the core. 400 move in. Generally, that's called a wash. At least it would be if weren't for the small matter of $50 million of taxpayer money required to make it all happen.

In addition, let's add the issues of fair play, civic heritage, architectural preservation and reuse, environmental leadership, financial stewardship, to name just a few. I suspect you can add to this list.

City Council should be able to as well, but most of them seem to have fallen prey to the shiny. And to the new. And to the short-sighted. And, with apologies, to the stupid.

For those Councillors who are offended by my last comment, I have three words for you to help illustrate my point: Ivor. Wynne. Stadium. Another $50 million dollars of our money. Shiny. New. Short-sighted. And yes, stupid.

As Councillors struggle to cut $16 million from the 2012 budget so our taxes don't go up, perhaps they could rethink this deal while they're at it?

What can you do?

Calling your Councillor will help. So too, will calling your School Board Trustee. And, given claims by Board officials, calling the Minister of Education might be a good idea as well.

Perhaps it's even time to invite Premier Dalton McGuinty to Hamilton for a visit so he can see firsthand the impact the decision made by his Minister of Education has had on downtown Hamilton?

If his schedule permits, maybe he and I can take the bus up to Limeridge mall from downtown, like many citizens will have to do if they have business with the Board, and find our way over to the Board's new site.

Unlike the bad plan described in this article, I'll pay for the coffee and for the bus tickets myself. Won't cost the taxpayers of Hamilton a thing. Now, doesn't that sound like a good plan?

Contacts

Here are email contacts for the HWDSB trustees, City Council, Minister of Education Laurel Broten, Hamilton Centre MPP Andrea Horwath and McMaster University President Patrick Deane:

tim.simmons@hwdsb.on.ca, robert.barlow@hwdsb.on.ca, studenttrustee@hwdsb.on.ca, judith.bishop@hwdsb.on.ca, ray.mulholland@hwdsb.on.ca, todd.white@hwdsb.on.ca, laura.peddle@hwdsb.on.ca, lillian.orban@hwdsb.on.ca, wes.hicks@hwdsb.on.ca, alex.johnstone@hwdsb.on.ca, jessica.brennan@hwdsb.on.ca, karen.turkstra@hwdsb.on.ca, dlcouncil@hamilton.ca, lbroten.mpp@liberal.ola.org, ahorwath-co@ndp.on.ca, presdnt@mcmaster.ca

This article was first published in the February 2012 issue of Urbanicity.

Graham Crawford was raised in Hamilton, moving to Toronto in 1980 where he spent 25 years as the owner of a successful management consulting firm that he sold in 2000. He retired and moved back to Hamilton in 2005 and became involved in heritage and neighbourhood issues. He opened Hamilton HIStory + HERitage on James North in 2007, a multi-media exhibition space (aka a storefront museum) celebrating the lives of the men and women who have helped to shape the City of Hamilton.

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By Too Late (anonymous) | Posted February 04, 2012 at 01:29:54

Thanks Graham, you've nailed it here. Your summary and input are spot on.
However, as I've said before on this topic, we may be a bit late advocating for the Board to stay downtown here. While I firmly believe they should, we, once again, seem to be facing the face saving upshot of a situation that wasn't dealt with pro-actively and logically years ago when it needed to be handled properly. I hope these Hail Mary efforts lead to something but have to wonder why we find ourselves needing to play defense at first and goal once again. The fact that true City-building and downtown preservation/restoration never scores a first down early in the game has me more concerned than what the result of this specific play is. Getting a game plan and sticking with it --- from the atart --- is what we need to change. (Sorry for all the football references here but it is Super Bowl weekend y'know!)

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted February 04, 2012 at 06:38:21

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Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2012-02-04 06:38:33

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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted February 04, 2012 at 08:14:50

"What I really wonder is why the Ontario Ministry of Education has a view on this deal at all."

Maybe they simply saw a surfeit of institutional construction projects as a boon to labour stats while the economy was in a gully. Two new builds with an urban/suburban split makes for a better bullet-point than one urban.

I suspect that the McGuinty government wouldn't have supplied anything but letters of sympathy for Lister if it wasn't designated properly.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted February 04, 2012 at 08:22:03

The only organizations gaining in these deals are the private businesses that throw these structures up. How much of a backroom lobbying presence do these builders and developers have? They seem to have been running the city since I moved here in 1993. As great as 'Code Red' was I would prefer if The Spectator assigned Steve Buist to dig into these relationships. But The Spec is part of the Chamber of Commerce machine now isn't it?

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted February 04, 2012 at 10:56:44 in reply to Comment 73717

The only organizations gaining in these deals are the private businesses that throw these structures up. How much of a backroom lobbying presence do these builders and developers have?

Well... From what I've heard, you can credit many of our 'city problems' to how 'tight' some consultants, developers, contractors and City Staff are.

I'm just sayin'...

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted February 05, 2012 at 04:47:30

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Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2012-02-05 04:48:53

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By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted February 05, 2012 at 11:53:53 in reply to Comment 73721

The fight if any here, should be against what is being proposed in its place by McMaster Univ - who are in a far better position to understand -and- be impressed than the BoEd can ever be, -in-order- to recalibrate their thinking and bring their Liberal Arts College into the core rather than its Medical centre.

I can understand this line of thinking, but I also think what Sigma Cub posted in response is equally valid - social science and humanities do cut across so many other areas of learning (even engineering, though the engineers would never admit it) that it would not make sense to isolate that new building from the rest of the campus.

But I don't agree that putting the medical facility downtown is a mistake, or that it would be "poorly located." In fact, putting it anywhere else would be the error. The largest beneficiaries of that building, beyond the students who will receive their training within, will be the population currently under-served by the health system and unable to access basic care needs. A very visible downtown site, adjacent to main streets and not far from the main transit terminal, within walking distance of a very high density broad demographic of people, is absolutely the correct location and is a fit for one of the biggest Code Red issues.

This is not to say the Board of Education should not be downtown, or that such a core location for it does not also serve to meet another of the Code Red issues. We should have both facilities downtown.

If McMaster is to build new capacity for other faculties downtown, it should be additional to this health care building.

Aside from the Innovation Park lands, which are meant for a specific venture and should remain so (putting the medical building there would have been a mistake, in my opinion), McMaster has very little room to expand in the city. Its main campus is nearly built out, and without replacing any existing buildings, or digging up open space and disturbing the atmosphere of the campus in a major way, the school will likely need to find other land if it wishes to grow within the city. Downtown is probably the prime target for that growth, and easiest to connect to the main campus via better transit regardless of what happens with LRT.

This is not an "either/or" issue in my opinion. An expanded university presence downtown can include medical, arts, social science, and science/tech studies.

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted February 05, 2012 at 12:49:11 in reply to Comment 73732

@Screaming Viking I agree. There are two kinds of thinking that I believe we would do well to see more of as it relates to this deal, and every other one for that matter.

Integrated thinking and implicative thinking.

Integrated - having all of the partners, including investors, institutions, citizens (also the primary investors), etc. genuinely sharing. linking, refining and implementing their ideas to ensure that the best possible solution is reached. The best for the most.

Implicative - ensuring we actually consider the immediate and long term implications of each of the key decisions in this deal/process. What happens if we......? Instead, what if we....? Etc. Making decision on what we want as an outcome versus living with the outcomes we don't consider.

This is not happening now, but could and should. Instead, we have individuals, separate interests, undisclosed positions, secret meetings, missing slides presentation, slow to access reports, and on it goes. Not a good state of affairs.

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted February 06, 2012 at 17:23:13 in reply to Comment 73733

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By DoctorKahuna (registered) | Posted February 07, 2012 at 21:57:47 in reply to Comment 73752

I'm very sure you'll win the next election if you keep calling citizens who disagree with you 'simple unsuspecting folks.'

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By highwater (registered) | Posted February 07, 2012 at 23:09:05 in reply to Comment 73909

You forgot 'buffoons'. And the classic 'blind-followers'.

Comment edited by highwater on 2012-02-07 23:10:07

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted February 08, 2012 at 02:44:31 in reply to Comment 73919

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By highwater (registered) | Posted February 08, 2012 at 11:30:28 in reply to Comment 73926

Ironically, I lob these 'gratuitous one-liners' instead of the scathing critique you truly deserve, out of respect for our former friendship. Believe me, the last thing you want from me is a 'substantive' response.

Comment edited by highwater on 2012-02-08 12:50:53

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By drb (registered) - website | Posted February 07, 2012 at 09:42:17 in reply to Comment 73752

Mahesh, Graham doesn't need to take ownership of the fb page you are referring to. I set it up. The mayor created the title.

And BTW I am not a blind follower. I just view the world a little differently than you, or Graham.

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted February 08, 2012 at 02:57:34 in reply to Comment 73791

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By drb (registered) - website | Posted February 08, 2012 at 12:07:10 in reply to Comment 73927

Thanks for your kind words Mahesh. And thanks for your criticism of my work. I will bear your words of wisdom close to my heart for ever (or at least until the Mayor does something that requires me to sharpen my pencil and draw!)

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted February 07, 2012 at 08:51:19 in reply to Comment 73752

Mahesh are you kidding?

[...]you now shamelessly profess to offer solutions to such poor thinking[...]

I have met you in person and we had a great chat but I feel like you've gone off the deep end in these forums. If anyone is shamelessly professing anything to anyone, it's you. I am getting quite tired of your enormously long diatribes against everyone else's ideas - it is exhausting and is becoming borderline offensive. I don't claim to speak for anyone else, so maybe I'm alone here, but it's gotten to the point now where I can't just ignore it anymore... you've compelled me to reply!

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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted February 05, 2012 at 10:51:17 in reply to Comment 73721

Well, the Ward 1 & 3 councillors were absent the Aug 2011 funding commitment vote, so who knows where they stand.

Regardless of what goes on that lot, the change would likely still require a municipal incentive in the tens of millions, and possibly still involve the demolition of 100 Main East. The thumbnail that the university has discussed so far would be a 104,000 sq ft building with -- stop me if you've heard this one before, non-fans of glass-clad medical centres -- an open-concept, glass-encased first floor lobby -- and enough expanded capacity to allow for 1,275 more students. That's a 5% growth in total student population and around a 15% growth in social sciences/humanities students (if you assume that they'll be the exclusive beneficiaries of that expanded capacity). And it's all hanging on a dollar contribution from a provincial government that, in the sunniest reading, will take spend the next five tears trying to emerge from its monstrous deficit.

http://www.thespec.com/news/ontario/article/650822--liberals-kill-42-million-in-university-research-grants

People get hooked on the Arts part of Liberal Arts, but this isn't exclusively about the arts. It's about social sciences and the humanities, with combined undergrad enrolment predominantly non-humanities (just as, within humanities, enrolment in traditional humanities departments such as Art and language are the odd (wo)man out. This building is envisioned as being a crossroads for campus synergies. WIthout serious transit connectivity to a site 5km east, that synergy would be lost.

"The Wilson Building for Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences will feature a wide range of flexible spaces for teaching, learning, research and performance, all equipped with cutting-edge technology. At least 13,000 students will use the building, *including those from faculties whose education includes courses in the liberal arts.* At 104,000 square feet, the building will create space for 1,275 more students on campus, in keeping with the province's post-secondary attainment goals. The project is to commence in 2012, with construction anticipated to begin in 2013. The building will be located at the main Hamilton campus, at a location close to students studying in the humanities and social sciences, with access to parking to enhance community participation in the activities of the building."

http://dailynews.mcmaster.ca/story.cfm?id=8082

Like the downtown campus, the Wilson Building has been in planning for a long time. This has been public since 2007, the year before Burlington approved city funding for its downtown McMaster health campus.

http://cms.burlington.ca/Page5076.aspx

Maybe Hamilton can learn something from that example.

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By mrjanitor (registered) | Posted February 05, 2012 at 07:21:38 in reply to Comment 73721

I think most would agree the Liberal Arts at Mac would be a wonderful addition to our downtown, most likely a better fit than the current plan as the author clearly states.

I personally disagree with many of the author's positions. I don't agree with the need for "a strong professional voice", our cities are owned by all of the citizens and strong professional voices seem to have caused the mess Hamilton is in today.

" Many 'sound planning' opportunities have been lost on account of this shouting and yelling which usually ends up in petition writing and swarming." I can't respect this vague generalization as the author does not provide any examples. The only one I can recall is the unsound planning of Ivor Wynn stadium, a din of threats and letter writing orchestrated by the Bob Young propaganda machine.

"This has resulted in a community that is often swayed by bad arguments about design and development made by those who shout the loudest and thus are able to attract a large following of blind followers." Once again, IWS2 is the example of what the author is complaining about. I personally don't think people are 'swayed' by those brave enough to express opinions publicly, I think they hear the other stating exactly what they thought and support that person or group. This is hardly "riding the coat tails of others", it is allowing those who are more direct, elegant, brave and informed to be a public voice for what they wish they could express. I don't always see coat tail riding, I see a support system behind a person, helping those in front to push forward with support and quiet hidden power.

Lastly MSC, I think you should provide credit to the author of the article. They deserve recognition for what they wrote. What was the source please.

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By TDR (registered) - website | Posted February 05, 2012 at 08:35:54 in reply to Comment 73722

The author was Mahesh Butani and it was written on the Facebook page for the Ward 3Residents Association.

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By Bahesh Mutani (anonymous) | Posted February 05, 2012 at 10:09:36 in reply to Comment 73723

It's sad that Mahesh can't express his views without showing his obvious bitterness and envy toward his fellow engaged citizens. The idea of a Liberal campus is a good one- but it seems Mahesh merely wants to be a contrarian, and take the opportunity to slag others to make himself feel even better about his own (questionable) intellect.

I find it funny that him and Mytownyhallscreek are always blabbering on about civic engagement, but when a few citizens do become engaged, those citizens suddenly don't have the professional qualifications required to have an opinion, in their eyes. As a bunch of blind fools, we just simply can't attempt to understand their grand vision- so that's why they don't actually try to explain that "vision" effectively. It's hilarious to watch two guys who have accomplished absolutely nothing constantly trolling local blogs, constantly admonishing others for not having the right "vision".

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted February 05, 2012 at 10:39:41 in reply to Comment 73724

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Comment edited by mystoneycreek on 2012-02-05 10:40:19

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By myhallsstoneytowncreek (anonymous) | Posted February 05, 2012 at 11:15:28 in reply to Comment 73726

Blah blah conflation blah blah whinge, blah blah bulwark. Blah blah "hey I wrote a great governance formula on a napkin" blah blah blah "you're all on the wrong track, listen to me, please read my blog so you can be right like I am" blah blah blah. "I don't speak for Mahesh except I post his comments for him and defend his scurrilous bullshit." Blah blah blah. "i've been paying attention for 18 months, aren't I great?" blah blah blah. "Nobody reads my blog so I want to ruin every discussion on all the other blogs just to get attention and satisfy my own ego" blah blah blah.

Now go ahead- waste your day writing an overly long and self-indulgent essay about what's fundamentally wrong about all the wrong wrongness around here. Don't forget to include a few links back to townstoneycreekmyhalls.blogspot.com.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted February 06, 2012 at 10:51:45 in reply to Comment 73729

At the risk of also being singled out here, this is getting a little...personal. Neither Adrian nor Mahesh has a monopoly on self-indulgence here, they simply don't agree with everyone else while they express it, which seems to annoy certain people to no end.

Heaven forbid an actual architect state an opinion on buildings downtown...

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By eyes (anonymous) | Posted February 06, 2012 at 12:53:01 in reply to Comment 73740

Nope, sorry, not buying it. On one hand, Mahesh says trying to do anything about HWDSB's plans is a futile waste of time at this late stage in the process, but on the other hand, out of nowhere he suggests they build a liberal arts campus rather than a health campus. Even more hilarious, he imagines that he has 5000 residents behind him on his idea. And because he doesn't have the traction in the community to push for that idea, he begrudges others for not jumping on board. Mahesh only has himself to blame for not being taken seriously.

I think the wide majority of people who contribute here are open to new ideas and considerations. But when you constantly insult the intelligence and belittle the actions of others in trying to get your point across, you won't convince anyone. If Mahesh really cares about having his viewpoint heard and considered, then he should care enough not to be belligerent and arrogant when trying to express himself. I don't think it's disagreement that people are reacting to, it's the way those disagreements are stated.

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By Borrelli (registered) | Posted February 06, 2012 at 11:42:09 in reply to Comment 73740

Good point, Undustrial.

And whether you agree with them or not, Mahesh and Adrian aren't the only ones speaking "diarrhea from on high" (sorry, that's just too awesome a phrase not to repeat)--they just happen to be among the few people willing to share unorthodox comments with their real names attached.

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By dieties (anonymous) | Posted February 06, 2012 at 11:15:58 in reply to Comment 73740

They are the only ones who deliver their self indulgent verbal diarrhea from "on high" though. Those two should start a congregation - the church of "whingeing activists don't know as well as we do about what's good for the world"

ps: whinge

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted February 06, 2012 at 16:35:13 in reply to Comment 73741

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Comment edited by Mahesh_P_Butani on 2012-02-06 16:46:47

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By DoctorKahuna (registered) | Posted February 08, 2012 at 11:17:03 in reply to Comment 73751

Graham didn't start Dissidents. Check your facts before 're-writing history' :-)

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By anonymous (anonymous) | Posted February 08, 2012 at 12:28:41 in reply to Comment 73974

It doesn't matter who started it...you are all one in the same :-)

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By DoctorKahuna (registered) | Posted February 08, 2012 at 13:28:30 in reply to Comment 73983

If you feel it's wrong for a group of people to question the motives of a mayor who has been publicly dishonest with this city and be vocal about matters that concern us then I would suggest you move somewhere that you might be more comfortable where people are not allowed to speak their own opinions. North Korea sound good?

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By TnT (registered) | Posted February 06, 2012 at 18:38:55 in reply to Comment 73751

Why must you tarnish your good ideas with malice? It seems like fragmentation of people who are all striving for the same goals is the only outcome of this. This saddens me.

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted February 06, 2012 at 20:32:38 in reply to Comment 73756

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Comment edited by Mahesh_P_Butani on 2012-02-06 20:33:37

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted February 07, 2012 at 09:06:36 in reply to Comment 73761

Is this for real? I actually had to go back a few years to some of your old comments to make sure someone hadn't opened a fake account. Come on, Mahesh, this is turning sadly into grade school name calling territory... We may not all agree on the details but I'm pretty sure that just about everyone (save a few trolls) who spends time commenting about these issues has the same fundamental desires for a better future in Hamilton. Are you becoming one of the trolls now? What happened?

Or maybe your recent posts are simply metaphors for the fact that the BoE are acting like spoiled grade school kids as well.. in which case... GENIUS!

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted February 06, 2012 at 19:58:12 in reply to Comment 73756

Why must you tarnish your good ideas with malice?

Because he's an extremely verbose contrarian, and this site often strays a little too close to groupthink for his liking.

I used to feel much the same way when I knew him only online - Mahesh's long posts often stray far from the topic at hand, and he isn't always nice about it. Having met him in person, though, it all makes a lot more sense. Can't say that I always agree, but he offers refreshing and well-researched opinions, and that's important on a site like this. Otherwise it would be far too easy to lapse into the groupthink of which he speaks.

I'd encourage anyone who has doubts to at least meet him in person before you make up your mind. The guy's a walking library, and whatever you may think of his opinions, he's always great company for a cup of coffee.

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By TnT (registered) | Posted February 06, 2012 at 20:53:04 in reply to Comment 73759

Undustrial. I have met Mr Butani on two occasions (though he may not recall) and I've always found his points and opinions to be refreshing and his writing enjoyable. Perhaps I don't have the intellect of an Andrian, Mahesh or yourself, but I think I can manage ok with everything I read. I have only recently been shocked by the personal attacks and divisive language of late. Getting reactions and proving points are important, but do you really think there is blind agreement on this site? Disagreement is not the same as mudslinging and for a city with such a small group of progressives, I a saddened truly by this fighting.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted February 07, 2012 at 03:30:27 in reply to Comment 73762

Perhaps I should have added an addendum for those who have met him in person...that's a whole other story (and I doubt I'll change anyone's mind there at this point).

Quite frankly, this is all getting a wee bit too vitriolic for my tastes, so I'm going to do everyone a favour and not publicly state what I think of anybody. I'm not taking anyone's "side" here, just urging people to chill the fuck out. I don't care to lose any friends over this - Matt, Mahesh or anybody else. A building isn't worth that.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted February 06, 2012 at 21:34:09 in reply to Comment 73762

Mahesh is the worst kind of hypocrite, quick to demean and insinuate and patronize and accuse others of being malicious but even quicker to spew malice himself under the pretence he's just fighting fire with fire. He stirs up conflict and says 'look at all these angry people!' He LOVES all this drama, the best thing is to just ignore him.

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By Zephyr (registered) | Posted February 05, 2012 at 10:24:53

I have a 3 1/2 year old daughter who is to start junior kindergarten in September. I live in the North End. The school in her catchment area, Benetto, languishes near the very bottom of performance of all schools in Ontario. Its also dingy and run-down. I want to send my daughter to French immersion (which will now start in grade 1 instead of kindergarten to save money). So I visited her designated French immersion school, Earl Kitchener, on Friday. It was an interesting, old building but unfortunately run-down with peeling paint, no landscaping, dark and foreboding.

I have decided that I have two options 1. move to a better school district with more well-maintained schools. 2. send her to private school (which will be a huge financial sacrifice for us).

All that to say, my sister's kids who live in Milton go to new-built, state-of-the-art schools. Our downtown Hamilton children have dingy, dark, run-down schools that are not even properly maintained. I know there are a plethora of reasons for the poor performance of Hamilton schools, but environment is extremely important. Is it only suburban kids from wealthier areas that deserve clean, bright schools that they can be proud of?

Why is the Hamilton Board of Education spending my hard-earned dollars on a new state-of-the-art building for themselves, while our children do not have the same? Why does the board even have that many employees? Put the money on the front lines, where it will actually have an impact on the future of this city.

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By Cindy_Currie (registered) | Posted February 09, 2012 at 11:52:39 in reply to Comment 73725

Don't give up on Benetto. The new principal is an incredibly organized and compassionate lady. She was instrumental in bringing in a new sense of pride to our school which resulted in a cleaner and safer school. She is extremely pro-parent engagement and will have Benetto operating as a top grade school in no time.

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By TDR (registered) - website | Posted February 09, 2012 at 21:58:36 in reply to Comment 74083

That's what I was told too. I'm optimistic.

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By Peeling Paint (anonymous) | Posted February 06, 2012 at 10:24:22 in reply to Comment 73725

Don't know about Bennetto but I've had two kids attend three lower city FI schools (one of which you mentioned). In general, their teachers and education have been excellent even if there hasn't been new drywall dust on the library shelves.
Of note is that when I talk to parents in other arguably more affluent school districts they've been amazed by some of the programs available here for our kids (like dedicated art or music classes with instruments and supplies at the schools my kids have attended). This doesn't happen everywhere anymore.
Before you rush to Milton, check out what they have to offer beyond new walls or tech. I, personally, can live with a little peeling paint if the curriculum is broad and the kids are engaged.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted February 05, 2012 at 11:31:54 in reply to Comment 73725

There's several schools in the lower city that have just been built - examples are Prince of Wales, Queen Victoria and another one that escapes me now - and they are clean, bright, modern and safe. I can't speak for all schools downtown/North End but I agree - many schools, and not just those downtown, need refurbishing. But also, rather than wagging your finger at those in other areas like Ancaster, Dundas, the West End, they all have aging schools and there's some that are aging just as poorly as those downtown.

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By TDR (registered) - website | Posted February 05, 2012 at 16:26:43 in reply to Comment 73730

Yes. My daughter is at Dr Davey, which is bright and new. The roads nearby are a hazard, but the school itself is nice. I've heard a lot of complaints about Benetto in particular though, and I think Judith Bishop should be hounded mercilessly on the subject.

If you google HWDSB and out of catchment there are lists of schools accepting kids from out of catchment. If everyone with kids at Benetto try to leave, maybe they'll get the message.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 06, 2012 at 06:41:36 in reply to Comment 73735

If everyone with kids at Benetto try to leave, maybe they'll get the message.

And the message they'll get is: Here's another inner city school we can close.

Sigh.

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted February 07, 2012 at 01:42:50 in reply to Comment 73736

This may help understand school closures. Hamilton is not an exception in what is happening across the province and the country:

School Closings in Ontario. People for Education’s report on accommodation reviews and school closings 2009"

"School closings are on the rise in communities across Ontario. Not since the 1990’s have so many schools been under review or slated for closing."

  • Between 2009 and 2012, 172 schools are closing or recommended to close.

  • A further 163 schools are undergoing Accommodation Reviews for possible closure.

  • Boards will instigate more Accommodation Reviews in the new year.

  • Ontario will have 140,000 fewer students in 2012 than it had in 2002

"Declining enrollment is a phenomena across the country, the result of a decline in the birth rate. Even Canada’s substantial immigration rate does not offset the general aging of our population; proportionally, we have more seniors and fewer young people."

"The funding formula is driving boards to establish larger schools in order to provide appropriate breadth of program. Some boards have, for example, set targets for school sizes of 450 students for elementary schools, and 1200 for secondary schools. These numbers are based primarily on ensuring there are sufficient students in each school to generate funding for a range of staff. In this way boards ensure that schools are “viable.” But these targets for school sizes are often based more on funding than on research. ... Research also shows that students in disadvantaged communities are significantly more successful in both smaller elementary and secondary schools. The optimal size appears to be under 400 students in elementary schools and between 600 and 900 in secondary."

"ONTARIO COMMUNITY HUB PROGRAMS: Ontario does not have a cohesive community school or community hub policy. The province’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, the provincial report on the Roots of Youth Violence, the Ministry of Education’s Report from the Declining Enrolment Working Group and the recent report from the Premier’s Advisor on Early Learning, all call for the establishment of schools as community hubs, but there is no overarching policy or funding to ensure this happens."

Board Totals

Hamilton-Wentworth DSB: (2002/03: 55,076) (2009/10: 48,654) (-11.66%)

Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic DSB: (2002/03: 28,449) (2009/10: 27,458) (-3.48%)

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By TDR (registered) - website | Posted February 06, 2012 at 07:33:10 in reply to Comment 73736

True. Sigh.

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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted February 05, 2012 at 11:05:49 in reply to Comment 73725

Compared to Hamilton, Milton is comparatively small, which in theory allows for more efficient service delivery. More to the point, it has undergone a population explosion -- something like 70% growth between the 2001 census and the 2006 census. During that same period, the population of Hamilton's lower city dropped, while its suburbs boomed, and though the city on the whole did increase in size, it didn't see anything remotely close to the jump that Milton did. My guess is that that the combined effect might explain a thing or two, though obviously not everything.

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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted February 08, 2012 at 13:42:33 in reply to Comment 73728

And Milton's still going gangbusters...

Today's population analysis from StatsCan shows Milton as Canada's hottest census area, with 56.5% growth from 2006 to 2011.

Only four Ontario CMAs grew in that period: Toronto, Ottawa-Gatineau, Kingston and Brantford.

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By Sigma Cub (anonymous) | Posted February 08, 2012 at 13:57:38 in reply to Comment 73999

Clarification: Only four Ontario CMAs bettered their 2001-2006 growth rate. (All Ontario CMAs grew, except Thunder Bay and Windsor.)

FWIW, Hamilton's population grew by 3.1% between 2006 and 2011, and its population now stands at 519,949.

Also: Quebec City is closing fast. In the 2006 Census, its population lagged Hamilton's by 13,417. In 2011, the saved 10,000 off the divide, which now stands at 3,227.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted February 08, 2012 at 13:53:21 in reply to Comment 73999

Milton. The Mississauga of the future.

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By Henry and Joe (anonymous) | Posted February 05, 2012 at 12:55:42

The Milton phenomenon highlights many of the things that are wrong with our provincial growth (or lack thereof) strategy. You can't really blame young families for moving to what is essentially a suburb of Mississauga. Detached and townhouse prices are not affordable for many in Mississauga, and correct me if I'm wrong, but municipal taxes in Milton are the lowest in GTHA. The tax issue notwithstanding, Hamilton is equally affordable, but most gen Y, Zs, lack the skills, contacts, and time to invest in a "fixer-upper" in our beautiful old city. As a result people sign up for what I like to call the 3M plan when they get their first job - Marriage, Mortgage, Milton. Then they immediately demand new schools, libraries, pools, arenas, and please, for the love of God, no more expansion once I move in. For me, Milton is an unthinkable option, but there is appeal for some. To borrow and bastardize the lyricist Morrissey... they are the sons and heirs of a blandness that is criminally vulgar, yet we sleep where they wouldn't dare to drive.

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By arienc (registered) | Posted February 06, 2012 at 12:50:26 in reply to Comment 73734

It's all about affordability. Intuitively, I believe that people want that little piece of land to call their own, and right now, Milton is where that is most affordable, if you can handle being far away from anything non-corporatized and the long commute. Still, the world is full of crashing bores.

And kudos for the Morrissey references. We need more of those on RTH. I still remember his Hamilton Place show in 2000, "It's nice to be out in the suburbs... Or is it?"

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted February 06, 2012 at 07:51:22 in reply to Comment 73734

Agreed. I work in Mississauga but live downtown. I work with a lot of commuters as the only people who live in Mississauga are those who rent. I honestly can't think of anyone on our team of 30+ people who actually own a home or condo in Mississauga because it's just too expensive.

A lot of people live in Milton, Brampton, and Etobicoke as that's where they can afford to live while being close enough to commute in to work.

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted February 06, 2012 at 17:27:48

Please Mahesh,

I don't know what I ever did to you personally to deserve such incessant and inappropriate bitter personal attacks from you. The few times you did come into H+H, I greeted you graciously, as I have done every single time I have ever seen you on the street. For whatever reason, rather than simply disagreeing with my positions and offering your own counterpoints, you stoop to the kind of vitriol I would have guessed was beneath you. I can say honestly I have NEVER written anything of the sort you have chosen to write and to publish about me, although others have done so, including a few on this post.

Why do you hate me so much? Why are you so upset with the fact that I do what you do, share my views, opinions, ideas?

Honestly, I don't care if you agree with a single thing I have to say, but surely you can support my right to say it. Neither of us is a stupid person, although I sense you may disagree with me on this point too. I'm happy to have you be direct in your critique of my positions, but now you have actually made fun of the way I dress, you accuse me of revisionism, and you suggest I'm directing the Dissidents FB page, which not only did I not start nor do I administer, but of which I am only one of over 100 members, all of whom are free to, and most of whom do, offer their own views. I don't have followers, I have friends, and I don't mean of the FB variety. Why are you blaming me for harsh comments made to you by a person you don't even name? These are only the latest in a string of personal attacks against me made by you in your posts on various sites.

I'm not an elected official, nor are you. I'm a citizen, as are you. This, therefore, surely isn't political. For whatever reason you have made this entirely too personal. Perhaps you explain your too evident bitterness through your own words, "So, once again, we are left with no followers... damn!!" I think it might be time for some quiet reflection Mahesh.

If you'd like to talk about this face-to-face, my door at H+H is always open. I mean it. I really don't know what I've done to you. We have never had harsh words. Never.

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted February 08, 2012 at 17:06:44 in reply to Comment 73754

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Comment edited by Mahesh_P_Butani on 2012-02-08 17:07:22

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By A Mirror (anonymous) | Posted February 10, 2012 at 01:57:12 in reply to Comment 74024

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laiZgrIpbcA

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By Comical (anonymous) | Posted February 10, 2012 at 09:56:25 in reply to Comment 74130

Thankfully there are more of us than you think who do not need subtitles to understand where Mahesh is coming from. I see nothing wrong with questioning a small group of inflated egos

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By Cindy_Currie (registered) | Posted February 09, 2012 at 12:06:36 in reply to Comment 74024

Wow! All I got from that little rant by Mahesh is a that he is carrying a great deal of jealous emotion regarding Graham Crawford. So do all immigrants feel that they can write and speak like that because they have a lower tolerance? I really hope that Mahesh doesn't speak for other immigrants - it really doesn't reflect well on them. I've read every post up to this point and it seems that regardless of the issue, Mahesh seems to think it's Graham's fault. I don't even know either man personally but I feel embrassed for Mahesh. I though Graham's white flag post was very well written and respectful but Mahesh was still foaming at the mouth. Very odd.

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By adrian (registered) | Posted February 08, 2012 at 21:09:57 in reply to Comment 74024

It's honestly difficult for me to express how angry this ridiculous, absurd, and frankly libelous comment makes me: not just because it is grossly unfair to someone I have grown to truly respect - someone who does a hell of a lot more for this city than just about anyone I know - but also because it disgusts and infuriates me that a website I love is tarnished by hosting such an absurd, ill-considered and insulting rant.

The feeling is somewhat like the one I get when I get up in the morning, step outside to get my morning paper, and find that an inconsiderate dog owner has allowed their pet to deposit a bowel movement on my lawn. In that case, the irritation I feel is tempered by the thought that the fecal matter may serve as fertilizer.

In your case, the filth you've deposited on the public commons that is Raise the Hammer serves no such beneficial purpose. Although it stinks, it fertilizes nothing.

So please, Mahesh: take your waste somewhere else.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted February 08, 2012 at 17:57:36 in reply to Comment 74024

Graham, please don't dignify this buffoon with a reply.

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By Newt Butani (anonymous) | Posted February 06, 2012 at 18:17:36 in reply to Comment 73754

You are being far too gracious. MB is essentially the Newt Gingrich of Hamilton politics - He'll spew vitriol about plausible issues around downtown renewal but when personally pressed, he'll propose the equivalent of a moon base as the real "thinking man's" solution.

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted February 06, 2012 at 18:43:50

Full disclosure, I was the one who told Mahesh to STFU. It was in a private message after repeated personal attacks against myself and others. That had nothing to do with Graham. I'll admit this is not a mature or gracious way to communicate, and I'll gladly wear that.

Comment edited by MattJelly on 2012-02-06 18:44:14

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted February 08, 2012 at 15:07:36 in reply to Comment 73757

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Comment edited by Mahesh_P_Butani on 2012-02-08 15:27:58

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By mattjelly (registered) - website | Posted February 08, 2012 at 19:03:39 in reply to Comment 74009

For anyone who is seeking clarification, the comments above which Mahesh has taken out of context can be reviewed at the following link:

http://www.sendspace.com/file/q6361u

It's a VERY long discussion and despite how contentious it became, there were some good ideas and arguments put forward by all involved- even Mahesh.

Ward 3 Residents Association is a closed group on facebook, maintained by Paul Tetley. Unfortunately, Mahesh has quoted from that discussion, without providing any way to review that discussion in it's context, for people who do not belong to that group.

Good night.

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By mattjelly (registered) - website | Posted February 08, 2012 at 17:03:27 in reply to Comment 74009

Ellen Morris is a wonderful person, someone I was glad to meet with over coffee immediately after we had a long debate about the nature of Ward 3 Resident's Association's role in property standards issues and multi-residential issues in Ward 3.

If the Ward 3 Residents Association were an open page, people could read all of the discussions that took place, without all of the context removed.

Yes, I was engaged in a long debate that emerged as a result about asking simple questions about how the W3RA operated from a governance perspective- simple requests to see the association constitution and bylaws, which most residents associations usually have. I asked simple questions like "do you have a board", "how do you make decisions" and "do you work with other existing neighbourhood groups within the ward" and "how do you ensure your organization is representative of all of Ward 3's 40,000 residents?"

People took umbrage to those questions, and we had a vigorous debate about the group's intent to shut down multi-unit residential properties in the ward. Those questions are important, as the group wants to immediately effect the living arrangements of people who are caught in the middle of bad situations, bad landlords, and visible neglect.

A few of us expressed caution that the group's frustration in terms of the lack of ongoing and proactive enforcement of property standards and zoning bylaws could possibly unsettle residents- and those residents should at least be invited to meetings, invited to join the discussion. I offered my perspectives from by-law crawl- what works, what doesn't, and what's fair and what's not. I offered my opinions as a citizen of the adjoining ward, which would also be affected by any policy decisions the group is advocating for.

A few of us agreed to disagree in the end- there was a mutual distaste after days of arguing for this kind of conflict. Ellen and I had coffee, and we got to know one another, got to know and respect each other's concerns. We walked away friends. I expressed to the entire group that I was willing to do the same. Mahesh- the invite still stands. Sit down with me and let's be serious. Let's stop this madness- this isn't what Raise the Hammer is for.

And Mahesh- the burden is on you to release publicly the entire discussion for people to read in full, before you make the kind of smears and unfounded allegations that you have here. If you don't open the group and release it, I'll do a screen capture of it and gladly post it.

Nothing that I have ever said to you in public or in private has been in any way related to your background. Ever. And you know that.

Stop subjecting people to this. With all due respect, you have way more to offer than what has been on display in these past few days. Sincerely.

And yes, I am glad Jason Farr represents me at City Hall. He's a good man, and often we can simply agree to disagree and be friends who respect each other.

Be well.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted February 08, 2012 at 17:10:33 in reply to Comment 74022

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By LateToTheParty (anonymous) | Posted February 10, 2012 at 13:35:44 in reply to Comment 74025

Actually, I live in Ward 3 and I'm quite pleased to have Matt on board with our issues. He has the clout behind him to bring our issues to the forefront and hopefully get them solved or at the very least expand the discussion.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted February 10, 2012 at 15:42:40 in reply to Comment 74158

comment from banned user deleted

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted February 08, 2012 at 19:05:20 in reply to Comment 74025

Yes. I'm here, I'm fat, get over it.

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By banned user (anonymous) | Posted February 08, 2012 at 19:22:27 in reply to Comment 74039

comment from banned user deleted

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By confused (anonymous) | Posted February 09, 2012 at 00:30:34 in reply to Comment 74040

This is what confuses me. Matt and a few others seem to have interfered in a neighbourhood group, Mahesh called them out on it and now he is being trashed while Matt stands untarnished?...don't get it.
I am beginning to see what others have called blind followers. Does anyone question Matt behaviour in all of this?

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By z jones (registered) | Posted February 08, 2012 at 17:45:25 in reply to Comment 74025

Oh great, just when this debate couldn't get any stupider, now Allan Taylor decides to make an appearance! Mother Teresa would be saying STFU at this point.

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By Bravo (anonymous) | Posted February 08, 2012 at 15:30:56 in reply to Comment 74009

It's about time someone shed some light on this. Hamilton needs fresh blood

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 06, 2012 at 19:43:25 in reply to Comment 73757

Did he call you fat, by chance??

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted February 06, 2012 at 21:18:07 in reply to Comment 73758

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By highwater (registered) | Posted February 07, 2012 at 12:54:57 in reply to Comment 73763

I don't have blind-followers to the enormous extent that you, Mr. Crawford, Ms. Mary Louise or for that matter even the "Jelly Brothers" have in this city.

One of these things is not like the others...

I can only assume that the back-handed inclusion in this list of a non-entity like myself, was calculated to diminish the stature of Misters Freiburger, Crawford, and Jelly. Gentlemen, I am continually inspired by your energy, creativity, and activism, and am embarrassed that my name has been used as a tool to trivialize your accomplishments. I apologize.

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By TDR (registered) - website | Posted February 07, 2012 at 13:21:24 in reply to Comment 73835

I don't think it's you who should apologise.

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted February 06, 2012 at 23:23:39 in reply to Comment 73763

I stand by my comments.

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By Steve (registered) | Posted February 07, 2012 at 03:03:47

I stopped listening to Mahesh a looonnngggg time ago....he'll attack his grandmother for giving him a kiss for god's sake....pay no attention to the man who lives for attention....

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 08, 2012 at 17:13:10 in reply to Comment 73767

Seriously, while Mahesh's original essay from the facebook page did add to the discourse of this thread (albeit generally with disagreement), his subsequent comments have done nothing but give Ryan more work to do figuring out this site's moderation policy. What a mess.

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted February 08, 2012 at 21:15:51 in reply to Comment 74026

Ryan is free to moderate as he sees fit- In terms of Mahesh's defamation of character towards myself, I'm absolutely fine with his comments not being deleted. I think Mr. Butani's actions speak for themselves, and I think I've been thorough and transparent in defending myself against his attacks.

From this point forward, unless Mahesh takes me up on the offer to communicate sensibly with one another, I'm not going to react to any more of this- I feel I have better things to do right now. If the relentless defamation continues, I will research all of the legal options available to me.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 09, 2012 at 09:52:25 in reply to Comment 74048

Oh, I don't mean moderation for the sake of hurt feelings, I'm talking about how this discussion thread has crashed and burned. Just simply making sure the fires of discussion produce more light than heat.

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted February 09, 2012 at 10:38:57 in reply to Comment 74074

Absolutely.

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted February 07, 2012 at 09:59:35

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted February 07, 2012 at 10:26:37 in reply to Comment 73794

So if you didn't witness someone doing something, then in your mind all they've done is yell, scream and write letters. But if they show you what they've done, then they're only doing it for the glory and not for the good of the city?

I guess it's a good thing for us that you're omnipotent!

Comment edited by seancb on 2012-02-07 10:27:22

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted February 07, 2012 at 11:16:52 in reply to Comment 73801

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted February 07, 2012 at 11:37:24 in reply to Comment 73812

Sorry, who is it that's being verbally abusive? And who is it that's saying so? Is that your real name, Anonymous?

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By AlexWatson (anonymous) | Posted February 07, 2012 at 12:20:29 in reply to Comment 73819

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted February 07, 2012 at 12:41:59 in reply to Comment 73824

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By Cindy_Currie (registered) | Posted February 09, 2012 at 18:30:50 in reply to Comment 73832

Almost as bad as anonymous.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted February 07, 2012 at 12:29:52 in reply to Comment 73824

People disagree all the time here and it doesn't turn into a fight, it's not an accident that all the broohaha follows one person, Mahesh...he doesn't just disagree, he insults, mocks, scorns and belittles all the while acting like some kind of victim when people get mad about it. I didn't like to see some of the sarcastic comments to Mahesh and Mystoneycreek above but they bring it on themselves the way they talk to people, I wish all this silliness would just stop or go back to facebook or something, I don't like reading this stuff on rth.

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By anonymous (anonymous) | Posted February 07, 2012 at 12:55:31 in reply to Comment 73828

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted February 07, 2012 at 14:36:18 in reply to Comment 73836

anonymous You cant be suggesting I have said unkind things to Mahesh in public or in private. I have not, and I post using my real name. As a result, you can in no way suggest I have made this personal. Mahesh has. He doesn't critique my writing, he criticizes me FOR writing. I have not done the same.

As I said in my earlier post, I have always treated Mahesh in a respectful, even gracious, manner. He has chosen not to return the favour. I still don't know why.

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted February 07, 2012 at 15:25:39 in reply to Comment 73847

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By Cindy_Currie (registered) | Posted February 09, 2012 at 18:53:25 in reply to Comment 73851

Your comments are inconsequential as long as you continue to hide behide the Anonymous moniker.

Those of us in the Dissident group don't follow anyone. We are free thinkers that may or may not agree with eachother. We certainly don't sink to petty name calling when we disagree. In this country, we are more tolerant of other people's beliefs and opinions.

I'd just like to add that if you can not be proud of your beliefs by putting your real name behind them...STFU!

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By Truth hurts (anonymous) | Posted February 10, 2012 at 10:01:28 in reply to Comment 74114

Funny how people get all crazy when a little bit of truth is thrown their way.

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted February 07, 2012 at 13:25:41 in reply to Comment 73836

Before any more hysterical allegations start being thrown around here, this is everything that I have written to Mahesh in private messages:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1WUdp...

Only twice have I felt the need to message Mahesh with concerns about his personal attacks, in December and just this past weekend.

Comment edited by MattJelly on 2012-02-07 13:27:00

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted February 07, 2012 at 15:30:47 in reply to Comment 73843

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted February 07, 2012 at 10:10:44 in reply to Comment 73794

Thanks Mahesh.

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By TnT (registered) | Posted February 07, 2012 at 12:18:14

I lose faith sometimes in what is going on in Hamilton. Depressed really. Then I see the enthusiasm of Matt Jelly, Sean, Graham, et al and they restore my resolve to be part of something positive.

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By AlexWatson (anonymous) | Posted February 07, 2012 at 12:28:11

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By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted February 07, 2012 at 12:58:14 in reply to Comment 73826

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted February 07, 2012 at 15:35:16

@anonymous

"I am saying that when you have people do your bidding and hide behind them acting as though you are you not there makes those who question you and your tactics call you out in a more public manner."

People do my bidding? You're not serious. You insult not only me by such a statement, but also every person who forms his or her own opinion and expresses it. This mind control theme is absurd, belittling, and utterly ridiculous. Not only that, but it's a sign of unbridled egoism. Do you actually believe people are sitting around discussing how they're going to get/attack Mahesh? mystoneycreek? Surely not.

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By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted February 07, 2012 at 15:59:35 in reply to Comment 73853

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By H+H (registered) - website | Posted February 07, 2012 at 16:11:58

Thanks Mahesh.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 07, 2012 at 17:28:49

Note: someone just anonymously spammed this article with literally dozens of insulting nonsense comments. In keeping with our policy on anonymous insult spam, I have deleted them.

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By Cindy_Currie (registered) | Posted February 09, 2012 at 18:58:22 in reply to Comment 73888

Does that mean my great reply to anonymous is going to get deleted? I even quoted Matt in there! Bummer. ;)

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By highwater (registered) | Posted February 07, 2012 at 17:46:45 in reply to Comment 73888

Still visible on my end.

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By Say what (anonymous) | Posted February 07, 2012 at 19:04:03

To the writer of this article, I personally think you have missed the boat for a number of reasons. You fail to ask the really hard questions, as to why this is all happening.

Should you not be attacking the big spider and its intriquet(sp) web of lies and deceit, that is pushing many toward the lowest common denominator. How come you are failing to actually politize the issue, since it is types that I deem as the gestapo, who work for the system, who depend on a paycheque, while shafting the masses, which includes middle income taxpayers as well, who for the most part, choice to walk around with blinders, pretending, nothing is really wrong.

It is hard to understand why so many educated people, choice to continue with a system which is so corrupt and disfunctional, yet go along with it, becuase they lack the true vision to dismantle it.

If you ask me, there is too much faith put into academia and their ideology, that has fail the masses since 1995.

Open your eyes! People want change, how ome too many fail to actually stand a line in battle? Can someone please answer the following:

How did a person who did not even have a grade 12 education, become Min of Education and implemented the policies that plague not onoy the poor and unionized workers as well? Gee, one can really see the pwoer of those educators and their unionz, which allowed an inept person, set the stage for what is going on today.

Too much emphasis is put ont those who are edcuated, that they know the answers, whjen so many others can see the truth for what it really is!

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By Annonymous (anonymous) | Posted February 08, 2012 at 17:32:07

AMEN! HALLELUJAH!

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted February 09, 2012 at 09:18:42

Sigh. I miss A Smith.

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By MikeBelmore (registered) | Posted February 10, 2012 at 00:41:38

this entire comments section reads like an act of vandalism against RTH. pity.

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By Jo (registered) | Posted February 28, 2012 at 11:48:35

BTW I just wanted to let you know your numbers are wrong. I work for the HWDSB and 350 people do not work downtown. 350 people work at all admin buildings, which include Ancaster Memorial, Maple Lane (Ancaster), Vincent Massey archives (Upper Gage) and Red Hill Continuing Ed. Also, there are dozens of itinerant staff that come and go out of all five of these buildings. At any given time, there are probably less than 200 people in that building. Here are the numbers straight out of the HWDSB Quick finder: Coordinators/Consultants (46.5), Professionals and paraprofessionals (162.5), Con Ed (8.5), Transportation (4), Board Admin and Governance (130.95). Call the Ed Centre and ask to speak to someone in Corporate Communications for actual numbers. And understand that there are MANY satellite sites and they will all be consolidated into the new Ed Center, wherever it's built.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted February 28, 2012 at 12:04:36 in reply to Comment 74824

So why the need for 480 parking spots?

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By Jo (registered) | Posted February 28, 2012 at 13:21:31 in reply to Comment 74825

Itinerant staff counts for some of that number... I heard that 80+ special ed consultants come and go to the Ed Centre as they don't have office space, but jump school to school. Also, if the Ed Centre moves downtown, Facilities Management (boilermakers, electricians, glass workers, maintenance staff etc.) probably never will as they have MANY large industrial vehicles need to be parked overnight.

Also, I work at the Ancaster Memorial building, and we run training out of this builidng... which means, on any given day, there are 30-100 extra cars in the lot for teachers/principals coming here for a day's inservice or training session. About 50 people work in my building, but there are always dozens more here for meetings and inservices.

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By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted February 28, 2012 at 17:55:40 in reply to Comment 74827

So to me, all of the other elements aside, it appears the next 'question' will be:

'Why is it necessary for ALL of your resources to be in one location?'

This is a discussion I'd love to be witness to. Because it seems to me that even if God showed up to confirm the Board's rationale, it wouldn't pass muster.

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By Jo (registered) | Posted February 29, 2012 at 13:21:13 in reply to Comment 74833

'Why is it necessary for ALL of your resources to be in one location?'

That is a question that is debated constantly around here (in my dept.) One argument is that the satellite sites have very little accountability. I can vouch for this. With so few people in our building, people behave VERY differently than they would if there were suits in the cubes next to them. I think the left hand NEVER knows what the right hand is doing (readers of this blog will agree with me on that) and part of that is the disconnect staff feel from one another on a lot of levels.

Also, I have to run stuff down to the Ed Centre all the time (mileage claims, parts, signatures, etc.) so it would make better sense to be in one building on that front.

Also, the Board pays for property tax and maintenance on five properties when it could pay on one. I think the reason we are out in Ancaster is this buidling was the old "Ed Centre" for the Wentworth County Board of Ed, before amalgamation in '99. This building is sentimental to a lot of people. That's my guess. I never quite understood why we are out here... the schools I maintain are all out on the Stoney Creek mountain, so there is so much more driving involved to come to my desk on days I'm in the office. Tons of us drive for a living for the Board, and it would make sense for us to be more centrally located, and DARE I SAY IT, near the highway. I know that's not what readers of this blog want to hear, I'm just telling you what my job entails, and there are dozens of people in the Board who drive school to school or Board office to school. If you want your computer fixed, I have to come out and do it. If you want broken glass repaired, someone has to come and do it.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted February 29, 2012 at 13:47:30 in reply to Comment 74874

With the exception of the maintenance facility, the idea of consolidation makes perfect sense. The problem arises with the insistence on the inclusion of the yard which essentially precludes a downtown site.

Also, the Board pays for property tax and maintenance on five properties when it could pay on one

Are you sure it pays property tax? I don't believe this is the case.

Tons of us drive for a living for the Board, and it would make sense for us to be more centrally located, and DARE I SAY IT, near the highway. I know that's not what readers of this blog want to hear

How far is the BoE building from the 403? I'd wager it's less than a kilometre further than Crestwood is from the Linc.

Comment edited by highwater on 2012-02-29 13:50:22

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By Frustrated (anonymous) | Posted February 28, 2012 at 14:16:27 in reply to Comment 74827

Why are we getting info from an anonymous staffer on a blog? I appreciate the input, but these details should have been public domain years ago when this process started. Even this original post is almost a month old.

This is why people have grown to distrust the Board. To be clear, I'm not aiming this at you, "Jo", I'm aiming it at the Admin and Trustees who are supposed to be engaging with the public in the open.

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By Jo (registered) | Posted February 29, 2012 at 13:11:36 in reply to Comment 74830

My name is Jo Pavlov, I'm not anonymous. I'm a computer technician with the Board, a friend of Matt Jelly's and I ran for the Green Party in three elections in years gone by. I lived in downtown Hamilton most of my life. I take issue with A LOT of what the Board does, don't get me wrong. But I worked downtown for years and I travel with my job, so I see both sides of the arguement. I don't read Raise the Hammer very often, but my sister does and she told me there was a lot of discussion over here, so I stopped by, a little late to the discussion.

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