Craig Hermanson debunks the claim in a recent Spectator column that Brian McHattie has not paid enough attention to local residents.
By Letter to the Editor
Published November 08, 2006
The November 6, 2006 Hamilton Spectator column by Andrew Dreschel (McHattie's sure thing could be a close shave) goaded me to step into the election debate instead of quietly sitting behind LockeStreet.com.
The greatest source of my irritation was a quote from Tony Greco, which seemed to imply Brian McHattie has been MIA on neighbourhood issues. That's not True.
I agree with Dreschel on one thing, though: Tony is a genuinely nice guy. I enjoy visiting with him when I'm on the street or getting my haircut. As Nice as Tony is, I support Brian, who I believe has done an outstanding job representing our area and worked tremendously hard on a multitude of city issues affecting us all.
I know first-hand that Brian has been there on community issues, listened hard to constituents and held innumerable community meetings on the former CIBC building, infrastructure, community safety and business area development.
In April 2006, I contacted Brian about holding a meeting to discuss community views on the ongoing development of Locke Street. Brian's response was a visioning session held in March on this subject, followed by a second meeting in May regarding the format of a proposed expansion of the West Town Bar and Grill.
Brian sought out the community's vision for Locke Street, listened carefully to resident and business concerns, and has continued to work hard to mediate a solution. In the process, Brian shared with us his vision for the neighbourhood and community business development, and helped inform us on the issues.
While Brian has been accused in Dreschel's column of possibly ignoring constituent concerns, there were in fact so many meetings in Kirkendall I was only able to make it to a small portion of them.
Ironically, I don't recall seeing Tony at those meetings I attended, although as he is a leader of the Locke Street BIA agenda, I made sure Tony received personal invitations to the meetings I helped arrange.
Whatever the reason, Tony was absent from those community meetings while Brian politely and respectfully handled political hot potatoes.
The other item in Mr. Dreschel's column to raise my ire was the implication that Brian has wasted his time on the city's big picture at the expense of ward concerns. This is so inward-looking it boggles the mind. Since when did it serve our interests as residents of the city to ignore our next-door neighbours downtown?
When residents in more urban wards have to subsidize sprawl development and the annual ongoing cost to service each new suburban home is more than we can collect in taxes from these properties, how could it be in our interest for our councillor to ignore this issue?
Each time Brian acts as a member of the Board of Directors for the City of Hamilton, he does so on our behalf. I'll thank Brian with my vote on November 13.
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