Opinion

Thank You, Andrew

Mayoralty candidate Mahesh Butani takes Spectator columnist Andrew Dreschel to task for dismissing his candidacy in a single sentence in today's column.

By Mahesh P. Butani
Published May 14, 2010

Editor's Note: this article has been removed. Please see the explanation for doing this.

Mahesh P. Butani is a non-architect, and a developer by default. He is involved in re-developing properties in downtown Hamilton; and has an MA in Arts Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, NYC (1986), and bachelors in Architecture from Bombay, India (1982). Currently he is not an architect in Ontario on account of not having enough Canadian Experience; and does not qualify to teach as he carries too much baggage to fit into the Canadian education system. He refuses to be re-trained to fit in, on a matter of principle, and is a passionate disbeliever of icons and self-regulation of professions in Canada - but still maintains his belief in collective self-organizing behavior; and feels that the large swath of intellectual brownfields across Ontario are far more harmful to the economy than the brownfields left over from deindustrialization - and in response has set up a social network called Metropolitan Hamilton. http://metrohamilton.ning.com/

31 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By highwater (registered) | Posted May 14, 2010 at 13:41:28

Oh you've done it now, Mahesh. You've only begun to feel the wrath of Andrew Dreadful!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By reuben (registered) - website | Posted May 14, 2010 at 13:59:26

this letter comes off a bit whiny and childish i think... a type of retort not too becoming of someone who wants to be mayor.

also: tl;dr

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Jason (registered) | Posted May 14, 2010 at 14:01:56

Hey, if Andrew doesn't like you that puts you one step closer to receiving my vote.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By watcher (anonymous) | Posted May 14, 2010 at 14:10:52

I'm with reuben. The truth hurts, but let's be honest that Mahesh will not be a contender in this election. He has no name recognition beyond a few local blogs and frankly his ramblings suggest he will have trouble connecting with the majority of voters. I'd be surprised if he got more votes than Baldasaro. To suggest he's being minimized because of his race is a bit much to swallow.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By z jones (registered) | Posted May 14, 2010 at 14:43:22

Self fulfilling prophecy. If Mahesh really doesn't have a chance, the media should give him a chance to not have a chance by giving his candidacy as much coverage as the 'star' candidates. Who knows, maybe a lot of people would respond to Mahesh if only they got to hear about him. But when the media just toss him aside in a one liner instead of actually reporting on his campaign, voters never even get a chance to decide whether they like him or not.

At the same time....... Mahesh, you should really listen to people who say your writing is too long and hard to follow. There's a good message in there but you need to get better at communicating clearly and in plain language. You can't control what the media do with your message but you can make it easier for the people that do hear you to figure out what you're talking about.

Comment edited by z jones on 2010-05-14 13:43:53

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By bittergirl (anonymous) | Posted May 14, 2010 at 14:45:20

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted May 14, 2010 at 14:52:20

I think Mahesh represents and cares about a lot of people in this city, that do not necessarily have a voice. It should not be about name recognition, it should be about who has the best vision, the determination to see that all the people in this city are given a fair shake.

People actually have to go and listen, instead of relying on one writers personal view in the spectator.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Kiely (registered) | Posted May 14, 2010 at 16:03:59

At the same time....... Mahesh, you should really listen to people who say your writing is too long and hard to follow. There's a good message in there but you need to get better at communicating clearly and in plain language. - z jones

I have been critical of this in the past as well Z, but I actually thought that Mahesh was attempting to use plain language and be straight forward. No Einstein or long-dead philosopher quotes, no wishy-washy philosophical ramblings, still a little long, but all and all not a bad effort on Mr. Butani's part... relatively speaking.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By confused (anonymous) | Posted May 14, 2010 at 16:15:42

After reading this letter, I went back to read Dreschel's column again. I see a disconnect between the column's content and the tongue-lashing delivered in this letter. To me this sounds like a bit of vanity and a bruised ego were at play here. I can appreciate how Butani may feel off-put by the half-hour interview not materializing into an article focussing on him, but let's face it news is a fickle business and rumblings that DiIanni may launch a rematch against his rival from the 2006 election does makes for big news. So Dreschel decided to go with this item and shelved his interview notes for some future column. After a stinging rebuke like that, complete with an uncalled-for, over-the-top accusation of racism, it would not be surprising if Dreschel moves his Butani interview notes from the shelf to the bin.

There may be some bad history between Dreschel and Butani that goes unsaid in this letter that may in Butani's mind justify this scathing response. For an outside observer such as myselfwatching from the sidelines, this letter does not demonstrate the qualities I would expect to find in a mayoral candidate. Perhaps this is an opportunity for Butani to apply some serious introspection and personal change of his own.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By TooBad (anonymous) | Posted May 14, 2010 at 16:19:25

IMHO, if a person can't take a slight by a hack columnist who's job is to at least partly stir up controversy, then how can one be seriously considered for the position of Mayor?

I had high hopes for a viable mayoral alternative. The hope for this candidate has now vanished. :(

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Kiely (registered) | Posted May 14, 2010 at 16:29:14

his use of the english language and it's Canadian quirks is unacceptable. - bittergirl

Yep everyone knows you can't have any good ideas or abilities if you don't speak good Canadian... sigh

I curry, you curry, we curry. Chicken curry, lamb curry and a hot vindaloo curry. I scurry my curry when I'm in a hurry.

Does everyone think I'm Indian now?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Pedant (anonymous) | Posted May 14, 2010 at 16:35:05

Bittergirl wrote, "his use of the english language and it's [sic] Canadian quirks is unacceptable."

I hereby invoke Muphry's Law.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muphry%27s_law

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted May 14, 2010 at 16:41:00

Silly season has officially begun.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By boohoo (anonymous) | Posted May 14, 2010 at 16:41:20

Looks like somebody needs to call the whambulance.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=whambulance

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By BitesTheDust (anonymous) | Posted May 14, 2010 at 17:51:18

Didn't anyone tell Mahesh that nothing screams fringe candidate like an open, spiteful rant?

I guess not......

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Tybalt (registered) | Posted May 14, 2010 at 20:16:26

"Your aversion to coloured people shines right through here my friend."

I've been reading Dreschel, to my endless detriment, for a long time. There's a lot of things wrong with Andrew Dreschel, but an aversion to people of colour is not one of them. I challenge you, Mahesh, to withdraw the accusation or explain it.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted May 14, 2010 at 21:23:10

Mahesh is facing in Hamilton exactly the same thing all the "other" candidates in Toronto are facing. The media focuses and promotes 4 or 5 candidates on account of their previous political experience, or other connections. Everyone else, no matter how qualified or well intentioned, is shut out of debates, is shut out of the news, is just plain ignored.

This is an issue with politics not only in Hamilton, but everywhere. The media chooses politicians who are taken "seriously" by giving them airtime. It's the same way Wal-Mart convinces you what brand of soap you buy by deciding what gets shelf space in their store. So the people of Hamilton vote for Eisenberger or DiIanni, why? Because they're the only two people the newspapers and television talk about.

Always question, always think, never accept what others say blindly.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Balance (anonymous) | Posted May 14, 2010 at 21:45:00

Any shred of credibility Mahesh had with me is now gone......sorry, but if you're running for office and the top spot you'd better get used to this, and don't whine like a baby after the fact. You've lost my vote especially when playing the race card. Time to withdraw and save further embarrassment.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By bigguy1231 (registered) | Posted May 14, 2010 at 22:51:08

Mahesh,

With tirades like this you will have no chance of ever getting elected to any office let alone the job of Mayor. This is a one newspaper town and whether you like it or not they will make or break your candidacy. To go off on a columnist for that paper for some percieved slight and call the man a racist is only asking for trouble. You might as well withdraw now. They will attack you every chance they get now or even worse they won't mention you at all.

You might want to set your sights a bit lower. Maybe run for council. It's much easier to campaign in a ward of 50 thousand than it would be to run city wide especially with your inexperience in the political arena. A councillor has the same single vote as the mayor. Maybe try running in wards 2 or 3, I hear the local voters aren't very impressed with the representation they are currently getting. Besides that I can't remember a Mayor in my lifetime that didn't first sit on council.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted May 14, 2010 at 23:42:02

Dreschel's pigeonholing ("boutique," "blogger") was far less than professional, as was his dismissive attitude.

I understand why Mr. Butani would be disgruntled and use it as fodder for a public response.

Playing the race card seems to read far more into it than was there, however.... and that seems mostly uncharacteristic of what I know of Mr. Butani so far, though I know of his frustration with the issue of disrespect is certainly justified.

Either way, this remains to be seen whether this will become a repeated theme in his campaign or it was just a one-time thing...

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By OracleOfHamilton (registered) | Posted May 15, 2010 at 00:28:43

There are those who dismiss Mr. Butani's feelings of being singled out by immediately stating he is playing the race card. They doth protest too much, me thinks.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By TnT (registered) | Posted May 15, 2010 at 09:36:40

I think the darker, more frightening menace in the room is the potential return of Larry Diianni. Doesn't that scare anyone else?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Mr. Meister (anonymous) | Posted May 15, 2010 at 12:58:06

You played the race card over that? Being dismissed out of hand in a mayoralty race in which you have absolutely zero chance of winning. I understand the truth can hurt but come on get a grasp of reality. You are a fringe candidate. You have no recognition with the huge majority of voters. You have no political background. You have no experience. You bring precious little to the table except that you are a fresh face with a new approach. Immediately after a columnist dismisses you allege racial discrimination. Now you no longer have a new approach. Now you have nothing going for you.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted May 15, 2010 at 13:46:53

I must agree with comments here that this piece seems to be an over-reaction. Yes, I understand how frustrating it must be to try to make a difference in a city with one newspaper, especially when that newspaper has so much power over public thinking and literally chooses candidates to promote and others to dismiss based on income.

But thicker skin probably is needed to seek out public office IMO.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted May 15, 2010 at 16:11:44

Everbody is running for Mayor.

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/pages/EVERYBODY-FOR-MAYOR/127802793896437

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Peter (anonymous) | Posted May 17, 2010 at 02:48:36

Ouch! A few years ago this rant would have merely irritated a few close friends. Now it's all over the web. Ain't the internet grand!?!

Sorry, man. I do wish you well. We need more competent people running for office. Please, God, we need more!!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Mahesh_P_Butani (registered) - website | Posted May 17, 2010 at 09:58:55

Thanks to all who have taken time to post your valuable comments. They all are much appreciated!

I have sent my response yesterday to the editor of RTH for publishing. It can also be read at: The Hamiltonian.

Thank You!

Comment edited by Mahesh_P_Butani on 2010-05-17 08:59:38

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jonathan dalton (registered) | Posted May 17, 2010 at 12:05:52

I'm glad there's someone in the running who has the balls to call the dominant institutions on their bullshit. I don't read this as taking personal offence to Dreschel's comments. It's an extremely harsh critique of how the Spectator frames election issues.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Brian Norris (anonymous) | Posted May 17, 2010 at 21:32:20

I notice that all the "Negative Naysayers" commenting on Mahesh Butani like to comment anonymously, is that maybe because they are "Friends" of his Target the so called "Journalist". Whenever I see such vitriolic critics of what ever point of "View" any man holds it reminds me how throughout history any one who has dared question the "Status Quo" has had his "Blinkered" opponents who like to bury their heads in the sand like the proverbial ostrich.
Keep up the direct dialogue Mr Butani and ignore their pettiness after all you would not want such reactionary troglodytes on your bandwagon they have nothing of substance to offer.In Canada we still subscribe to Voltaire's
dictum "We may hate what you say but we will defend unto death your right to say it"!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Cityjoe (anonymous) | Posted May 20, 2010 at 23:37:36

It seems like only yesterday that many of us voted for more transparent local government.
Another Election in Hamilton. :(

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By anon (anonymous) | Posted June 02, 2010 at 17:17:47

and what happens when it's anonymously reposted by a commentor?

>This after calling me yesterday and taking up half-hour of my time under the pretext of asking me questions about myself, my background, work in the city and my campaign - when you already had a very good idea of who I was three years ago after having talked to me for over an hour about what I had been doing in this community over years.

>I had a feeling you would pull this, Andrew! The more things change the more things remain the same at the Spec indeed. Your [potentially defamatory statement removed by administrator] shines right through here my friend. You are definitely no Robert Fisk. For sure you are no Joe Kline or even a Doug Saunders.

>I don't know who your heroes in journalism are - or whether you have any - but I sure as hell hope it is not some high school buddies from the Small School of Thought you appear to have attended in your youth.

>It's sad that this is the form of debased journalism you have embraced at a time in your career and this city's life, when prudent change from a self-centered past is what is most needed to rebuild this city from the ashes of your generations self-indulgence.

>But you and your publication have always fancied yourselves to be King Makers, rushing from one novelty to another even if it is repackaged for quick consumption, in order to bring to the masses your intelligent discoveries at the cost of journalist integrity.

>So look around you: have your actions over the last decades given birth to anything of substance in this city which can make your children honestly proud?

>A fractured and polarized community; mismanagement of public affairs; budget deficits; spiraling infrastructure deficits; wayward spending; high taxes; poverty and unemployment at its highest levels; public mistrust of politicians; nepotism, racism and divisiveness; a dying media business; and unaccountability and lack of transparency in municipal affairs are the only true legacy projects built under your watch.

>Your old ways are dead. Look around your news room, the only sound you might possibly hear is that of the wire service and a few gophers running around scurrying partisan favors.

>Your hatred of new forms of communication, new ideas, new immigrants who bring capital and energy and jobs compete with your devious use of a medium that could have been put to use to re-build lives and communities in Hamilton. Is it any wonder that you are left with the dying newspaper industry in the dusk of your career?

>Politics and realpolitik in this city has changed since the last time you looked over your shoulder. As a journalist or a king maker, if you are not aware of that it is time to hang up your typewriter and go fishing.

>Retiring to hand over the reins of public life to those brighter than you, especially when you have nothing of substance to contribute to the next generation, is the ultimate act of of grace and maturity - something many bearing your constitution in Hamilton know so little about.

>The days of manipulating public media to foster divisive politics is something that you at the Spec practically gave birth to in Hamilton, to ensure yourselves a paycheck month after month for decades. They are over.

>Sad as your attempts are to cast me in a mould of your preconceptions and prejudices to marginalize me in the eyes of your readers has only validated my read of the parochialism in Hamilton once again.

>You have only reaffirmed to the people of Hamilton how redundant you and the Spec have become to future of Hamilton - with your purposefully crafted poor words, which you had pre-chosen even before you called me yesterday supposedly to get to know me.

>It is already established beyond doubt that "inquiry" is not something that drove you to wake up every morning through your career as a journalist - so what indeed was your call to me yesterday about?

>This is a rhetorical question for you to take home and discuss with your family, for it may have a bearing on your future endeavors, be they in my insignificant blogger's world, or in the world of novella writer expounding on the "what if's" of your career.

>All the best in your choices what ever they may be. I can only suggest that you look up Time's Swampland blog on politics to get to know how self-respecting real world journalists who truly care for their community continue to put bread on their family table in more honorable ways than what you may be familiar with to date.

>In closing, I would like you and your friends at your paper to realize that I have zero tolerance for the kind of indiscretions that you have displayed here. Times have changed and you have simply failed to keep up with it.

>You may even delude yourself to be some sort of a maverick journalist with a fawning fan club to boot, but I am not impressed with what you and your paper does on most days for the well being of this community.

>From here on, if you or any other journalist at the Spec chooses once again to repeat this kind of indiscretion with me, any other new contenders, or any immigrant, coloured or disadvantaged human being in this city who is tirelessly helping to rebuild from the ground up with little or no help from your types - you will, I assure you be paying an exacting price in the public domain of not just this country but internationally. Make no mistake about that.

>If you do want to make amends under the new direction of Paul Berton, the new editor-in-chief, and you are serious about improving the lives of the people of Hamilton and the new immigrants who have been held hostage to the myopic ways of the old guard (who were given a fair chance to kick the can but ended up messing up for decades), I suggest that you smarten up and start a debate in your newspaper by first respectfully recognizing the new contenders in this election and making earnest attempts to get to know them, their lives and their views.

>I am also quite sure that all the new contenders will be willing to boycott your favorite location for live debates - your sacred self-referential auditorium - in favor of a truly democratic institution which is more representative of the future of Hamilton.

>I want you to know that I am still not writing you off by saying what I have said above. If anything, I am offering you a new chance to reinvent your trite career so that you are around long enough to partake in celebrating the successes of Hamilton - built by the compassion, humanity, intelligence, foresight, determination and resourcefulness of the new blood that you have made a career of second guessing.

>I hope that you use this for some serious introspection and personal change and not a rebuttal, and trust that you will pass on a copy of this to your new boss.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2010-06-06 22:25:36

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds