Letting Council Off the Hook

By Jason Leach
Published April 01, 2005

Yesterday, we posted a blog regarding Hamilton's receipt of new provincial money via the gas tax rebate.

Although we're happy, as taxpayers, to pay less taxes (or at least see our increases reduced), we have to stop and think about what we are really getting for this extra one or two hundred bucks over the course of the year.

I see it more as a curse than a blessing because now it's as though the province has come along and patted city council on the back for being completely mismanaged and wasteful for years, if not decades.

We pour money into city-killing suburban sprawl and then run crying to the province for a bailout. The province should have said to council, "We'll start caring about Hamilton once you start."

As citizens concerned with the health and well-being of our city, we would have rather paid the extra money in a tax increase and had our city council face the wrath of the citizenry for their very unwise management of our tax dollars.

Now council has been let off the hook again and can parade around on local newscasts patting themselves on the back for saving you and me some money.

The fact is, they're wasting our money every day of every year. Until the citizens of Hamilton demand a change (which by the way, means getting off your duff and voting for a change) we aren't going to see this city prosper, turn the corner, rise from the ashes - pick your metaphor - for a long, long time.

Maybe we're glad that Dalton and his crew saved us a few bucks this year, but in doing so, they've let our "leadership" team off the hook. That means more of the same in our city: pollution-spewing sprawl, rotten transit, impossible cycling infrastructure (unless you enjoy being run down by speeding transports) less business development, more big box nonsense.

Our crumbling city - literally! - will continue to fall down on our sidewalks while we all walk (or drive) back to the election polls in two years and stupidly vote them all back in.

Such is life in good old Hamilton.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.


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