- Twitter is currently flying the fail whale
The Spec: Councillor Sorry for Pushing Journalist
Apologies are great, but unless they come with an acknowledgement and admission of wrongdoing they’re just empty words delivered because they’re expected. By the language used in the attached Spec article, I don’t see an acknowledgement. I see a politician trying to downplay the ugly truth. I trust Joey’s account of the incident, and I would trust the witnesses to back him up, should it have come to that.
I’m glad Joey has accepted Ferguson’s apology, but I can’t.
Joey has made it his singular mission to stream meetings at City Hall for everyone to see, while Ferguson has displayed a pattern of disdain for transparency, as if it gets in the way of his job. As chair of the (now defunct) Accountability and Transparency Subcommittee, he slowed down and watered down any attempt to establish a proper lobbyist registry. He would suggest that the committee fulfilled its mandate, but in the end they have taken years to produce a very weak procedure that will do nothing to clean up the image of City Hall or stop any potential corruption, should it exist.
Joey has been accurately reporting on this sub-committee and streaming its meetings, and I feel Ferguson’s frustration with this coverage came to a head last night when he pushed Joey around.
I don’t accept that this incident was simply the result of fatigue or frustration after a long meeting. I would suggest that Ferguson should seek some anger management training, and perhaps a refresher on workplace bullying.
A free and honest media is a cornerstone of democracy. Members of the media should never feel hesitant to report the truth lest they be harmed physically. If Ferguson doesn’t understand that, then he should not be Chair of the Police Services Board, nor should he be a Hamilton City Councillor.
Full Disclosure: I consider Joey a friend, and I have also volunteered my time to ensure meetings are streamed when he cannot be there. While I am at City Hall on Joey’s behalf I take great care to faithfully record meetings, as he always does. I value his work and his role at City Hall. That said, I wrote this on my own behalf, as member of the public who values transparency, and opposes the apparent culture of bullying and intimidation that persists in some dark corners at City Hall. We deserve better.
I’m not going to make any of my own resolutions because I wouldn’t follow them anyway. I’m not going to join a gym, I’m sure as hell not going to go ‘screen free’, and chocolate and bacon will continue to be consumed in excessive quantities, maybe even together.
What’s left? I’m going to make a list of changes I think other people should make. This may seem arrogant, but “Stop being so arrogant” wasn’t on my 2013 list of resolutions, and I surely would have broken it by now had I bothered to include it anyway. So here it is..
- Don’t drink and drive — an easy one. Hamilton Police pulled over 400 drunk people off the road last year during RIDE programs. That’s appalling. If you drink and drive, you’re a world-class asshole and you’re putting other people at risk.
- Similar to #1: Learn to drive. 2013 Must have been the year of the rolling stop. I’ve nearly had my foot run over countless times because some jerk decided my legs were less important than his trip to Burger King. Red always means stop, and stop always means STOP YOUR FUCKING CAR. Clear?
- Vote – but be informed about it first. We have an election coming up in 300 days (as of this post). You have sufficient warning. There’s lots of time to learn about the issues, learn about candidates for Councillor, Mayor and School Board Trustee, and understand why I’m telling you to NOT vote for anyone currently on the school board unless you’ve given it some SERIOUS thought. That bunch of people are a collective disaster. There are 1 or 2 good eggs, it’s your job to sort out which ones (Hint: it’s definitely NOT Tim Simmons)
- Don’t read the comment sections on newspaper websites. Just don’t. They’re just cesspools of cranky, angry people, or paid lobbyists. Treat every anonymous comment with a grain of salt.
- Stop fucking swearing, this isn’t a truck stop.
- Treat people better. Don’t make sweeping generalities about groups of people that may paint them in an unfair light. For example, don’t assume that all people in truck stops swear a lot, that would just be stupid.
- When you’re making up a list of things, don’t include bogus things just for the sake of filling out the list and making it seem longer and more significant. That’s cheap.
- When you encounter bigotry and prejudice, don’t just ignore it. Point it out. Let’s fix it. Sometimes people make mistakes (I sure do), so give them a chance, but don’t give them two. This is basically an extension of #6, but you can’t call me on it, because I just finished telling you that I make mistakes.
- Do something good for your city. Express pride, do things, make things. Being down on Hamilton helps NOBODY. More and more people are finding good reasons to be really proud of Hamilton and creating new reasons to be proud. We need more and more of that and we need fewer selfish people trying to hold us back. Point out problems, sure, but DO SOMETHING to fix them. Stop whining.
- Laugh more. Some of you need to lighten up. Happy New Year.