Candidates describe the five most important actions they would take to improve Hamilton.
By RTH Staff
Published October 20, 2006
I appreciate your interest in candidates' views and I'm happy to respond. I would say, however, that the "top three" or "top five" kind of format has limitations in that so many issues are interconnected: economy, poverty, the environment, sprawl. They all play off each other.
I've often thought Hamilton could use a sort of "senate" where sober second thought could be applied to municipal initiatives. If I were Mayor I'd certainly create one for myself and, in fact, I have a group of individuals from several walks of life with whom I discuss issues. The easily achievable measure though is an integrity commissioner, but not one who is appointed by the Mayor from a list of possible Mayoralty candidates, such as was recently attempted. We need to restore confidence in the political process which frankly is lacking right now in Hamilton.
"Improve Hamilton" means many things to many people. To me it means bringing a measure of civility, cleanliness, prosperity, safety, and other quality of life issues to the Downtown core and adjoining neighbourhoods. To others it may mean big box stores in distant suburbs. To address my vision would require an immediate halt to sprawl development and a five to ten year focus on the older part of the City, including clean-up of brownfields, new greenspace, perhaps a Central Park concept, and a civic pride campaign to counter the negativity directed at the downtown, even among its own residents.
We have to find new ways to treat the inequities that lead to the misery that far too many of our residents endure. Poverty is never acceptable, and levels approaching 20 per cent of the City's population are almost unimaginable. We need to join with other Ontario Municipalities in demanding that the Province does what all the other Canadian provinces do, and that is fund social services.
Hamilton has a truly dedicated, committed group of social workers, agencies, and volunteers who are showing impressive leadership in working with the disadvantaged among us. We have almost exhausted the resources we have to support them. The Province has to do the right thing.
We need a more visible presence of uniformed police officers on our streets, preferably on foot patrol, as well as the implementation of quicker response times to citizens? calls and requests.
Strict enforcement of property standards and by-laws is the cheapest and easiest way to address many, if not most, of the issues that detract from Hamilton's image and lead to the deterioration of neighbourhoods.
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