- 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.
As of Yesterday (December 29th) the HSR has renumbered several bus routes to “provide more consistency”. Along with a handful of other major routes, the 5, 5A, 5C, 5E, and 52 in particular will now all appear as the 5. Their respective route titles, Delaware-Stoney Creek, Delaware-Rosedale, West Hamilton, Delaware-Greenhill and Dundas, will all change to “Delaware”, and the only differentiating factor on the signs will be relegated to the 2nd line, which is typically displayed in a smaller font (see example below). While they all now share the same central route along Delaware Ave. (thumbs up on that), each one still eventually branches off for its eastern or western leg, ending at a different terminus. A passenger heading to the Meadowlands in Ancaster (formerly the 52), does not want to board a Dundas-bound bus, for example. Any HSR routes that formerly used an appended letter to differentiate route variations, have dropped that useful letter. The 1, 10, 34, 41, and 55 are also similarly affected.
Now, In order to determine exactly which bus is approaching your stop, you will need to rely on the smallest text on the sign. Since, presumably, you’re already standing at the “5 Delware” stop, the largest characters on the bus sign are basically irrelevant to you, and it’s really only those smallest letters on the quickly approaching bus that really matter. This will likely result in missed buses, drivers stopping their buses for confused passengers, and angry passengers being left out in the cold (genius move making confusing changes in the cold winter months, by the way). So who really benefits from this change in a real-world setting? This is already proving unpopular with users and drivers alike.
It seems more like this solves some technical problem for somebody at the HSR, and they’re trying to pass it off as some kind of service enhancement. It makes you wonder what the folks at the CNIB would have to say, since their office is located at Queenston and Parkdale, served by at least a couple of these routes.
A peek at @mattjelly’s latest handywork. Come visit us at Makers Market on Saturday, 10a-4pm, 252 James N. #hamont
I have been watching the site selection process for the new North Secondary School with increasing frustration and disbelief. So far the results of your decisions include the shuttering of 3 schools, the demolition of 3 buildings, a long commute for many of your students, and a particularly confusing transition period for the kids at Parkview. For all this, your best solution seems to be to shoehorn a mega-school into a property that will be barely adequate on day one, with parking 200 metres away, and a football field that will likely require bus tickets to reach.
Do you really believe this plan will serve the students of today? What does it mean for the students of tomorrow, especially if Hamilton’s recent urban intensification trend continues to take hold? What will a long commute mean for dropout rates? What happens in 10-15 years when you’re out of room to expand and properties to sell or build on? For all this expense, upheaval and demolition, surely we can do better.
While retaining all of our current secondary schools would be my first preference, and should be Plan A, I believe it’s time for the Board to reconsider Sir John A Macdonald as a proper location for the new North School. There is more than adequate space for a school, a football field and whatever amenities you would require. There is ample transit, room to expand, and the Board already owns the property. While I’m sure your staff have suggested that the sale of the land is required to fund your plans, you should be asking yourself: If the downtown land is suddenly so valuable, and people are once again moving into the core, is this the right time to abandon it by denying it a proper secondary school?
If things really are this bad that you’re willing to resort to such desperate measures, why is the board not SCREAMING at the Province for failing to provide adequate funding? Why are you not being advocates for Hamilton instead of simply capitulating to the wishes and warnings of your staff? If you’re wondering why City Council has been so unsupportive, it’s because you’ve created an indefensible situation that they want no part of. If you stopped this process, made a stand, and asked them to support you in lobbying the Ministry for funds to keep schools OPEN, both in the North and South ARC areas, I don’t doubt you’d find a more willing ally.
There is still time to fix this mess, please do so.
Ward 1 Resident.
Edit: I encourage everyone to send their own thoughts to the school board. Here are their emails: