Municipal Election 2006

Anybody But Di Ianni?

By Ryan McGreal
Published October 03, 2006

This election just got a whole lot less interesting.

According to an article by Nicole McIntyre in today's Hamilton Spectator, Dave Braden dropped out of the mayoral race because he's afraid he would lead Larry Di Ianni to victory again by splitting the anti-Di Ianni vote with Fred Eisenberger.

Braden is quoted as saying, "Larry as a person might be fine. Larry as a politician is everything I don't want to be."

I was disappointed that Braden has turned this into an "Anybody But Di Ianni" campaign, which certainly isn't going to bring out the public in droves.

Hamilton needs candidates to vote for, not simply to vote against, and Eisenberger is barely an alternative to Di Ianni. So far, their platforms are so similar that Eisenberger is trying to distinguish himself principally by claiming that he has more integrity.

Braden actually stood for a distinct, coherent set of principles and policy goals that offered an alternative to Di Ianni's set of principles and policy goals. Between them, Hamilton voters had a real choice.

Eisenberger's integrity play is already backfiring. Di Ianni's campaign struck back with charges of improprieties around Eisenberger's campaign website and accusations that Eisenberger stole Di Ianni's safe communities platform. The Glass Houses rule is in full effect in this campaign cycle.

If Eisenberger has nothing to offer but an already-questionable claim to integrity, then why should voters bother switching at all?

Agree with him or not, at least Di Ianni has a visible track record with some accomplishments on the issues around which he has defined his mayoralty: the Red Hill Expressway, the Aerotropolis, the Hamilton Harbour clean-up, and downtown revitalization.

A vigorous debate over the city's future would only benefit everyone, regardless of one's political beliefs. Now, in place of that debate, we'll be subjected to another month of sniping and bickering around the margins.

The best we can hope for in the coming weeeks is that one of the other candidates - Michael Baldasaro, Diane Elms, Steve Leach, Gino Speziale, or Martin S. Zuliniak - will step forward into the breach with some coherent ideas about what Hamilton needs.

Otherwise, with the elimination of a real alternative vision for Hamilton, voters will be the real losers in this election.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.


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By King James (anonymous) | Posted October 03, 2006 at 09:57:01

Ryan, I agree completely. I'm not the least bit convinced that Eisenberger would be a better (or even very different) mayor than DiIanni. So far, all we have seen from him have been blunders.

You're point about the 'anybody but DiIanni' thing is also dead-on. Maybe that's good enough for Braden, but I'm actually looking for good-governance.

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By sean (registered) | Posted October 03, 2006 at 11:38:21

I think this campaign website "issue" is a little intense. The internet is known for being full of sheisters who want to jump on domain names. Perhaps he was (rightfully) securing his domain name before announcing his candidacy to avoid his opponents (who seem to be intent on playing dirty politics) registering every possible meaningful domain so that he'd be stuck with something so obscure no one would remember it (or associate it with him). I mean, we are talking about a domain name with no actual informatino posted onto it, just a barebones layout with placeholder text. Talking about his platform is one thing, but to jump on the guy for registering a domain name is a little pathetic of the media and the opponents. Don't buy into Di Ianni's goonery.

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By King James (anonymous) | Posted October 03, 2006 at 12:06:58

I'm not the least bit perturbed by the website thing. It's over. The fact that Eisenberger's only platform announcement thus far appears to be a carbon copy of DiIanni's is far more disturbing. I don't see how this makes him a viable alternative. Not to mention his ties with the CPC.

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By not Di Ianni (anonymous) | Posted October 05, 2006 at 13:08:20

I cannot believe it. People in Hamilton are so easily cowed that they are willing to embrace the Di Ianni nightmare again!!! Have we learned nothing from the past three years?????? While Eisenberger may not be Much different, HE IS DIFFERENT! He is not so entrenched as Di Ianni and therefore an opportunity is there to reign in his inevitable excess. Di Ianni has emeshed himself with the developers through his political life and now is virtually unstoppable, his fiingers are too tightly laced with these corporations as well as his fellow longtime counsilors. We need to shake this city up! Wake up to all the corruption and make some steps forward. Staying with Di Ianni with another 4 years is a nightmare I would not wish on my greatest enemy. This is exactly what Di Ianni wants, Braden backed out in a rather cowardly act just like the NDP too often melts in the face of being a true alternative. If we cannot take a big step, lets take a little one, but by no means should we take no step at all! WE are not going to get droves out of this town anyway, the movement should have started months ago. Di Ianni does have a track record, a bad one. So unless you want your children to be pig slaughterers or minimum wage earners at the airotropolis, if you want to continue to choke on the fumes of Di Ianni's "progress" by all means vote for him. But do not say you were not warned when the city sinks into further decay. I will also ad that we will no longer have even Braden's vote at all in Council and are set to have the owner of Dufferin construction come onto council, and you still think we can survive another term with Di Ianni? So much for progress!

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By A thought (anonymous) | Posted October 05, 2006 at 16:47:24

In the face of no real choice for mayor on election day, perhaps greater attention should be placed on the ward races.

Wards 7, 12, 13, 15 have no incumbent -this is a golden opportunity to elect progressive candidates. Also, ward 8 looks to be a tight race. Without a supportive council, the power of mayor is diminished considerably.

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By not Di Ianni (anonymous) | Posted October 06, 2006 at 01:23:35

You are still underestimating our current Mayor. While new faces in the wards can be great, it can just as easily be loaded with Di Ianni supporters or those to afraid to stand up to him. I have seen good men fail at council because of the atmosphere and the thick clique of established counsilors. But Di Ianni is a major threat that people still seem to fail to realise which is why history seems doomed to repeat itself. There was a group going to bring out candidates, what happened? Anyone so geared for change should still be pressing no matter how many names are on the ballot. But all I see here is yet more resignation to face yet another term of high debt costly and destructive projects and no voice for the majority. We already have that thanks to Harper, do we really need Harper Light ion City Council? I will stop now so as not to bore you by repeating myself but I hope you will consider what I say.

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