Municipal Election 2010

Ask RTH: Questions for Candidates

By RTH Staff
Published September 17, 2010

With our new Election Coverage website, we plan to ask our prospective municipal leaders important questions that will help voters decide who to elect.

We've certainly got some questions we'd like to ask, but we're also pretty sure RTH readers have some great questions as well.

So what do you want to know? Please post your question suggestions in the comments - one suggestion per comment - and then vote for the questions you most want the candidates to answer. We'll make a point of asking the highest-voted questions (as long as they're not ridiculous, of course).

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted September 17, 2010 at 13:08:54

First!

OK, here goes: Light rail, yes or no? If yes, then why? If not, then why not?

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted September 17, 2010 at 13:16:12

@Mayor Fred, only because every else is going to be pillorying him on this subject and he should clear the air with it first:

"Why did you allow so many other sites taken off the table without a thorough study before settling on West Harbour?"

Bratina's going to give him hell for not pushing for study on things like the Confed. Park site. He needs to clear the air on that one.

Also "do you think this stadium debacle is endangering the B-line LRT?".

Also "what about the concerns about King Street's width for the LRT project? Parts of King street are only 4 lanes wide if you knock the curbs back to bare sidewalk - with street-side parking, what does that leave for the street car and traffic?"

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2010-09-17 12:16:39

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By amAlilyday (registered) | Posted September 17, 2010 at 13:28:37

What will you do to ensure council meetings are always a respectful exchange of a variety of points of view even when the pespectives are passionate and the meetings are long?

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By TB (registered) - website | Posted September 17, 2010 at 16:27:53

Will you pursue the possibility that Frank Gehry is interested in a WH development project?

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 17, 2010 at 16:37:34

my question:

bikes and bike lanes are by far the cheapest modes of transportation infrastructure a city can invest in. We have a great plan, but it's proposed to be dragged out over 20 years even though the total cost to implement the entire thing is the same cost to repave 10km of roadway.

  • Will you move cycling infrastructure to a higher priority and actively pursue a bike sharing program as well as other safety initiatives such as coloured bike lanes, bike "superhighways", bike boxes, mountain access bike lanes and two-way bike lanes on our wide, one-way freeways downtown?

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 17, 2010 at 17:09:45

That's a great question TB, if only so we can weed out all the ones who say "Who's Frank Gehry?"

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By hopeful (registered) | Posted September 17, 2010 at 17:13:35

How do believe the inequities that result from area rating should be addressed and will you promise to take concrete action on this issue in the next term if elected?

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By Policy Hack (anonymous) | Posted September 17, 2010 at 18:46:50

The Confederation Park option as a site for the stadium was dead in the water the moment it was raised. Confed. Park is a rarity among North American cities - a space in which the general public of a municipal jurisdiction can actually access their own waterfront. The land is low, narrow, and not sufficiently large enough on which to build even a "small" stadium (as if there is such a thing as a "small" stadium, as some have claimed). Further, to try to build it there anyway would send a signal to moneyed developers and those supporting the park supposedly as a stadium site, but are in fact more interested in profiting from acquiring the land, that the city is prepared to offer the land for purchase and development. There can be little doubt that high priced housing and/or condos would be the result. A park which currently attracts many thousands of people per year, almost year round, would no longer be available for recreational purposes, opportunities for exercise, or as a natural setting that provides a myriad of stress-relieving health benefits for its users. Building the stadium at Confed. Park would be counter-intuitive - a poor example of progressive and inclusive public policy, and a public relations nightmare for the current council, who would then have to try to explain why the public funds and the greater public interest was handed over to private business interests.

We went through this once before in 1989 when a consortium of investors secretly tried to push a deal through the city to build a large hotel development on the park. The council got wind of it and duly told the media, at which point developers backed away in anger, knowing that, the moment their proposal became public, it was as good as finished(1). Let's not go back to that - that park, as is, remains an example of effective public policy that serves the public interest on a variety of levels. Leave it alone - there are other options that are far more effective as potential sites for a stadium - and the council know this, which is why Confed park is off the table as a stadium site.

(1) See Robert Fick: The Zero Option - Urban Renewal and the Clearance of the Van Wagner's Beach Community, Hamilton Ontario, 1958-1963. M.A. Thesis, McMaster University: Available at Special Collections, Hamilton Public Library.

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By adrian (registered) | Posted September 17, 2010 at 21:01:57

Do you support area rating?

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By adrian (registered) | Posted September 17, 2010 at 21:06:38

Do you believe that the mayor ought to have only one vote?

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By adrian (registered) | Posted September 17, 2010 at 21:10:08

What three critical goals will you aim to accomplish in your first year of office? How will you accomplish them?

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By realfreeenterpriser (registered) | Posted September 17, 2010 at 23:16:45

If elected, would you move and/or support a request to the Province to amend the Municipal Act so as to limit the length of service of members of Hamilton City Council to a total of two four year terms or eight years as a Councillor and a further total of two four year terms or eight years as Mayor?

If no, would you move and/or support ANY limit on the length of service of Councillors and/or the Mayor?

Comment edited by realfreeenterpriser on 2010-09-17 22:30:16

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By Tartan Triton (anonymous) | Posted September 18, 2010 at 06:13:22

Will you pledge to spare the citizenry the mortifying spectacle of publicly petitioning to have the globe-dominating pop act du jour play Copps Coliseum?*

*Unless it is Justin Bieber and you are intending to smother him with a pillow decorated with an iron-on of his own face



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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted September 18, 2010 at 09:59:14

If elected, how do you plan to address global problems like climate change and peak oil on the local level?

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By Bike Free (anonymous) | Posted September 18, 2010 at 16:15:20

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By Bike Free (anonymous) | Posted September 18, 2010 at 16:24:52

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By Bike Free (anonymous) | Posted September 18, 2010 at 16:31:02

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By Tybalt (registered) | Posted September 18, 2010 at 17:28:14

Hmm, I could believe the international scientific consensus, or I could take my talking points from a guy sitting in his basement in Edmonton. Tough call, that.

Sorry, everyone, for responding to the troll. I'll add a question for the candidates to keep things marginally on topic:

  1. Name one civic project you would like to see begun or completed, to improve the health and welfare of people downtown.

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By Bike Free (anonymous) | Posted September 18, 2010 at 19:02:02

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By realfreeenterpriser (registered) | Posted September 19, 2010 at 09:01:27

Hopeful asked "How do [you] believe the inequities that result from area rating should be addressed and will you promise to take concrete action on this issue in the next term if elected?"

This question needs to specify which "inequities" it's addressing.

The principal underpinning area rating is that citizens shouldn't be taxed for services they can't, as opposed to don't, receive. Unfortunately, the lines delineating the different area rates are based generally on the borders of the former municipalities making up the new city of Hamilton rather than the actual level of service a household receives. This results, as I understand it, in voters in Ward 8 paying higher taxes for fire service than those paid by their neighbours across the road in Ancaster despite the fact the fire trucks come from the same station.

On the other hand, rural areas of the city have traditionally ran their ball parks, community halls, etcetera with volunteers, receive significantly slower response times from emergency service providers and have no streetlights and sidewalks.

Compounding the above is the "inequity" inherrent in the fact that municipal taxes, regardless of how service levels are charged, are then calculated based on assessed value (in effect, a wealth tax on unliquidatable wealth). This is especially troubling in an amalgamated city such as Hamilton where both assessed values and service levels vary significantly from one part of the city to another and is most punishing to the rural/suburban elderly trying to live out their days in a home that steadily increases in value simply because of where it is.

Perhaps a more fitting question would be "how do you propose to address varying levels of municipal service in the City?"

Comment edited by realfreeenterpriser on 2010-09-19 08:03:20

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By M. Desnoyers (anonymous) | Posted September 19, 2010 at 11:51:58

It would seem that in general this council has lost the confidence of the people that elected them 4 years ago. This council on October 13 will be voting on the PanAm stadium and the Aerotropolis which combined will directly cost or risk $450 Million dollars of taxpayer money. These issues will be decided less than 2 weeks from the election!!

Should these be election issues and should this council now declare themselves to be "Lame Duck" and leave the decision to the newly elected council?

M. Desnoyers

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By RenaissanceWatcher (registered) | Posted September 19, 2010 at 12:30:32

Two preliminary questions for each of the candidates running for councillor positions: 1. Do you live in the ward in which you are running for council? 2. If so, how long have you lived in the ward?

Comment edited by RenaissanceWatcher on 2010-09-19 11:30:56

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By lol (registered) | Posted September 22, 2010 at 21:50:33

When elected how will you deal with the waste of lives thathat blog on RTH?

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