As Monday's election approaches a number of progressive groups in Hamilton are coming out in support of Fred Eisenberger for Mayor.
Community Action Network (CAN) recently endorsed Eisenberger for supporting more of their principles of good government and quality of life than the other candidates.
Citizens Against Pig Slaughterhouse (CAPS) supports him because of his support for brownfields reinvestment, his promise to plan growth more deliberately, his refusal to accept corporate or union donations, and his record of community service.
Raise the Hammer is not endorsing candidates, but we have tried our best to present the candidates' views and goals in their own words while at the same time articulating our own views and goals. We have been unable to do this with Eisenberger, because he has not responded to any of our requests for information.
So I found myself wondering what to make of a candidate, indeed the only "high profile" opposition to the incumbent, who claims to support urban revitalization, sustainable development, and grassroots democracy but won't respond to information requests from an authentic grassroots community group that's actually dedicated to urban revitalization and sustainable development.
Yesterday I sent one last request to Eisenberger, and he responded this morning. For the benefit of RTH readers trying to decide who to support on election day, Eisenberger had the following to say (edited slightly for clarity):
I apologize for not responding sooner. As you may appreciate, our campaign has been tremendously busy and the fact that we are only accepting donations from individuals has meant a whole lot more effort with less resources.
Your web-based magazine plays a vital role in helping to inform Hamiltonians about revitalization and sustainable development. In a city that has few mainstream media sources, Raise the Hammer helps to balance and expand debate on many issues important to Hamilton. I commend you for your continued efforts.
Many of our campaign policy positions are in line with your magazine's philosophy. Specifically, a commitment to ending sprawl-type urban development that not only costs the city economically, but also is working at odds with revitalization efforts in the downtown. Through initiatives such as the true adoption of Smart Growth principles and improving public transportation, such as Bus Rapid Transit, we can create a more liveable community with cleaner air.
There are some good news stories in Hamilton such as the redevelopment of the waterfront and the booming arts scene. These need to be embraced and encouraged as part of a broader city renaissance. At the same time, we have a tremendous level of poverty and we need to ensure that any economic development plans provide opportunities for all Hamiltonians to prosper. Essentially, we need to become more sustainable as a city socially as well as environmentally.
Equally important is restoring accountability and integrity to local government. Until there is openness and transparency, where all citizens feel they have a true say in how Hamilton operates, we cannot have a constructive debate on how we want to move forward as a city.
This is only a snap-shot of our campaign and I invite you to look at our full campaign platform posted at www.fredformayor.ca.
In addition, we understand the value (and power) the web has in communicating and promoting progressive ideas. That is why we have endeavoured to have a comprehensive website and we have released a campaign video on YouTube to help promote the fact that we are an alternative to the status quo for Hamiltonians.
Thank you for posting a link to the video on your website. I appreciate that you have not chosen to endorse candidates, but hope that you will consider endorsing some of our policy ideas and help get the word out that there are alternatives to the status quo.
So there you have it. Whatever else you do on Monday, learn the issues, study the candidates, and get out and vote for the candidates who seem most likely to represent your interests and serve with integrity.
And remember: after the election is over, the real challenge of democratic engagement begins!
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