Copyright © Graeme MacKay. Please check for MacKay's posting and publication rules by clicking here.
Wednesday December 26, 2007
The Good:
-- He was a bit slow off the mark after last year's
election, but Mayor Fred Eisenberger is growing into
his job after a full year in office. His communication
style has improved, as has his ability to roll with the
political punches. His ideas are often very good,
even if they don't all fly with council.
-- Let's give Eisenberger credit for this idea: The city
will pump $1.5 million into the economic
development department to hire eight new
employees and support the new "jobs and prosperity
collaborative," an advisory group that includes
community leaders across a wide spectrum. The
message is that Hamilton is serious about attracting
new business. It's about time.
-- More than 50 years in the arguing, the Red Hill
Valley Parkway finally opened and instantly became
a key part of our transportation network.
-- Hamilton Street Railway workers did not go on
The Bad:
-- Transit riders will pay more at the farebox.
-- The behaviour of some councillors remains
unacceptable on too many occasions. When pencils
and threats fly, it looks worse than recess time at a
primary school. More importantly, city work is not
getting done. There are too many private
conversations during council debates, too much
wandering around, too little focus. Our councillors
are operating a multimillion-dollar corporation; they
must all be fully engaged, all the time.
-- The first crisis of the new council hit in January,
with a harassment case involving the licensing
department and Ward 3 Councillor Bernie Morelli. An
investigator ruled Morelli harassed a licensing
inspector in a heated confrontation in 2004, but
council decided against following the investigator's
recommendation on sensitivity training for Morelli.
Three licensing managers were fired by city
manager Glen Peace as part of the same complaint.
The Ugly:
-- Despite infusions of infrastructure cash from other
levels of government, too many of our city streets are
in abysmal condition. Garth Street, for example, won
the No. 16 spot on the Canadian Automobile
Association's 20 worst roads in Ontario. This is not a
list we want to be on.
-- The Lister Block remains a decrepit eyesore, a
blight on James Street, despite the province's
coming through with $7 million to help develop the
site. It is well past time to get moving on this project.

Overall, it has been a pretty good year for Hamilton,
despite some areas that still need work. Councillors
and citizens alike must put aside their differences
and work toward a better future for us all.
City had a good year but...
Cartoon Galleries of interest
Click cartoons for commentary