this blog entry has been updated
It is being reported by the friendly local urban printing press that the new immigrants needed to grow the population and the economy are leaving Hamilton, and a disproportionate number of refugees are replacing them. This reports ends with a timid call for: "a need to move it up some notches and be a more welcome community".
Meanwhile, the politically astute suburban printing press is calling all weed smokers to run for Mayor.
The author of this 'open casting call' was once upon a time the chair of the 'The Hamilton Media Advisory Council' - an organization created with much hope to be on the bleeding edge of social reform. He is now relegated to writing "tales from the crypt". Hence his deep cynicism wrapped in sugary humor, to mask any lapse caused by his lack of curiosity for the new, a malaise that could have made the media advisory council of any other city cringe in horror!
What is highlighted in both of these calls is a new reality that is slowly but surely changing the political landscape of an embattled city that eats its own to fuel its growth: Something most definitely needs to be done.
Is it an earnest call for a new strong leadership to stem the tide that seems to be washing away all hopes of progress in our city? Or is it just a jaded call attempting a public buy-in of the freshly re-branded old leadership?
Will we ever know the intent? Are we even supposed to know the intent?
In such times, when an incumbent is being goaded and bullied in broad daylight into submission by the very keepers of the community conscience - and tired old acts are being re-branded as the tough savior of the community - it is imperative that such "tough guy acts" who are the beneficiary of this coronation by media-fiat show moral courage to step forward and directly engage with the community on critical issues that are effecting their lives.
The beauty of coronation by media-fiat is that it gives the one who is coronated a protective screen of silence, from behind which the "tough guy act" can project a shadow puppet show of growth and possibilities to enthrall the masses.
So, the call here to the coronated is to step out from behind the gossamer skirt of our friendly local printing press and begin to directly engage with the people in the market place - or be held guilty of silently watching our republic lose its gravitas.
Some down here in the marketplace call this the true measure of the notion: testing the waters.
So, will the real Larry step up please, and opine on:
How does he intend to stop the heavy truck traffic from eating up the progress made in the core?
How does he intend to reverse the flow of thousands of highly educated and experienced immigrants that this city is already losing on account of the direct acts of omission by the local printing press and the suits on the Bay?
How does he intend to reduce business and property taxes and cut wasteful expenditure at City Hall?
How does he hope to renegotiate the suburban sprawl to bring prosperity to the lower city?
How does he plan to bring in foreign direct (private sector) investments to trigger a real economy - and not settle for project-specific provincial handouts to shadow dance local growth?
How will he create nearly fifty thousand high quality jobs that are most urgently needed in our lower city?
These don't add up to ten tough questions. They are only a small beginning towards trying to verify the real experience behind the 'tough guy act' that has being projected to the masses by the friendly printing press.
The soon-to-come real ten tough questions will be about deeper community concerns such as:
How does the real Larry intend to build bridges with an entire generation that has once again been marginalized by the Chamber Growth Orchestra at its private economic summit?
How does the 'real Larry' intends to address poverty alleviation, social inclusion, climate change and sustainability in our city - while the 'other Larry' continues to be powered by the turbo charged Growth-by-any-means-necessary engine?
The printing press usually shies away from such utterly nonsensical questions. This is quite understandable given the cost of ink in our times - and as affirmed eloquently in question four by the politically astute suburban printing press:
The media is a reflection of the public appetite for information. If we didn't present information in a way that matched the public's desires, we wouldn't be in business.
The last time the public desire in Hamilton was polled by the printing press, the public indeed asked for a circus and not an opera.
However even an authentic "tough guy act" grapples with issues of experience, honour and means adopted to bring prosperity to the city - and would never let any frivolous questions go unanswered. Or will it?
Note: This article is filed by the other Mahesh P. Butani, a boutique developer and blogger. The real Mahesh P. Butani is a declared candidate for the mayoral election, and his political platform will be showcased on his soon-to-be-launched campaign website, in a fairly concise manner, which hopefully matches the public's real desires. In the meanwhile, readers here are earnestly requested not to turn the above questions back onto the other Butani, who is just a blogger.
Update - edit for spelling. Thanks to this commenter for pointing out the error. Mea culpa - Ed.
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