Municipal Election 2014

Mayoral Candidates Say Hamilton Needs To Supercharge Economic Growth

From their discussion, it seems as though Eisenberger and McHattie are the leading contenders for achieving the economic development Hamilton needs in order to be a place where people want to live and work.

By Meghan Greaves
Published September 22, 2014

At an event where the three leading mayoral candidates are scheduled to talk about some of the most pressing issues surrounding an election, one would think that there would be some bickering and blunt jabs involved. However, this was not the case last week when Brad Clark, Fred Eisenberger, and Brian McHattie attended the Hamilton Business Leaders' Mayoral Candidates Breakfast Forum.

Some may even say that the discussion was uneventful since the candidates took a rather unanimous stance on the majority of the topics that broadcaster, Bill Kelly, presented.

Over 300 business leaders from the Hamilton community listened intently as each candidate answered questions on a variety of different topics. From taxes, to funding, to employee policies, to affordable housing, Kelly touched on many issues that would usually be able to start up a heated debate.

Each candidate shone and flubbed in certain areas. Clark was assertive with his factual responses and what seemed to be textbook answers from the binder he read from. Eisenberger was confident with his strong stances and ability to get in the odd dig at Clark. McHattie was definitive in what he wanted to accomplish even though he seemed to be slightly on the quieter side than his opponents.

The only time there was a significant variance in opinion was when it came to the highly popular topic of the proposed LRT system. This is likely where Eisenberger and McHattie started to win over the attendees.

Clark no longer supports the LRT system since he's no longer confident it would have a "significant ROI" (return on investment).

Up until the LRT topic was presented, all three candidates did a great job appealing to their business-oriented audience by emphasizing the importance of making Hamilton's economic development a priority: fixing and building infrastructure to support job creation, creating job opportunities, creating better paying jobs, attracting businesses outside of Hamilton to open shop, driving revenue, attracting residents, improving transportation, and eliminating the red tape.

All agreed that in order to improve Hamilton's tax imbalance that we need to attract residential, commercial, and industrial taxes to the city through supercharging economic development.

All agreed that there needs to be policies, processes, and people put in place so that workers with concerns or complaints have the ability to come forward and have their voices heard without retaliation.

All agreed that Hamilton's wards should be reviewed and possibly changed with the current population disproportions so that each area of Hamilton is successfully represented.

All agreed that implementing a municipal land transfer tax would be taking a huge step backwards in regards to keeping housing affordable in Hamilton.

All agreed that there is currently a structural problem between councillors and this needs to be addressed so that Hamilton can create a common vision and work together to achieve it.

All agreed that the arts and culture sector is an important area to focus on and include in economic development plans.

Although each candidate had relatively common responses to the questions, there were some answers that seemed deceptive. For instance, Clark's attempt to show his support for "supercharging" Hamilton's economic growth was filled with contradictions.

He brought up the challenges Hamilton would face as a city to move forward, highlighted the lengthy timelines for certain projects that were essential to Hamilton's growth, and suggested that Hamilton would not see the ROI or benefits of its economic investments until way down the road.

By bringing up the challenges Hamilton would have moving forward is where I believe Clark lost the attention of the audience and put the ball in Eisenberger's and McHattie's courts. If I'm being honest, Clark lost my attention after the fifth time he said "the challenge with that is..."

Eisenberger and McHattie upheld confident and surefire ways for Hamilton to start feeling and seeing changes on Oct 28, the new mayor's first day. This is what I believe Hamilton needs in order achieve the success, prosperity, and change citizens want: a mayor who doesn't sit idle and is ready to start making decisions.

Eisenberger is ready to get to work. He wants to get the right issues on the table and have the right decisions made. He knows where the opportunities are to make Hamilton a city we can be proud of. As he said, "he'll get to work the very first day".

McHattie believes that Hamilton has the right to demand greatness and have changes made in time so we can actually experience them. He wants to "move things faster, not slow things down".

All in all, the candidates were professional and courteous of each other, which was refreshing. That said, from their discussion it seems as though Eisenberger and McHattie are the leading contenders for achieving the economic development Hamilton needs in order to be a place where people want to live and work.

Meghan Greaves is a Content and Marketing Strategist in Hamilton. She recently completed her studies at Conestoga College and the University of Guelph where she earned a marketing diploma and degree.

9 Comments

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By ItJustIs (registered) | Posted September 22, 2014 at 14:26:25

Non-event.

Fluff piece.

Was reminded of this Star article: http://www.thestar.com/news/city_hall/to...

Leadership? Which seems to be the gist of this article? Hmm... How about this:

“Exuberance also unites members of a group by inducing a synchronous emotional state: it rouses community to act together and to realize its best and common interests. Passionate leadership at the community or national level, for example, binds us together in essential ways. 'Passions are the only orators which always persuade,' said La Rochefoucauld. 'They are like an act of nature, the rules of which are infallible, and the simplest man who has some passion always persuades better than the most eloquent who has none.' In times of adversity, inspired leadership offers energy and hope to where little or none exist, gives a belief in the future to those who have lost it, and provides a unifying spirit to a splintered populace.”

Regarding Roosevelt and Churchill during WWII: "Both men were able to draw upon an innate capacity for joy and energy, both found delight in difficult work, and both knew from experience that hardship could be overcome. Both had an infectious wit and optimism, and both ‘conspicuously shared an uncommon love of Life’.”

From ‘Exuberance: The Passion for Life'

So; where's our Naheed Nenshi...?

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 22, 2014 at 14:35:10

Glad I wasn't the only one who noticed Clark had a million reasons for doing nothing, while at the same time promising that doing nothing will somehow kick our economy into a world-class jobs machine.

I thought Brian and Fred did well. Fred seems a little gun-shy, perhaps after losing his job to the Ticats last time? Brian clearly knows where he wants Hamilton to go and seems confident in explaining why/how he will take us there.

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By MeghanGreaves (registered) | Posted September 22, 2014 at 16:23:51

Agreed!

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted September 22, 2014 at 20:24:02 in reply to Comment 104710

Me too. I'm leaning towards voting for Brian. We'll see what happens between now and election day.

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By scrap (anonymous) | Posted September 23, 2014 at 17:00:41

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

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By Kevin (registered) | Posted September 27, 2014 at 10:11:28 in reply to Comment 104775

A young person is sufficiently brave and industrious enough to write and publish a piece and you log on specifically to insult.

Theodore Roosevelt:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

By the way, your first sentence is incomplete and lacks a question mark. Your second sentence is, also, incomplete, you missed a comma, and spelled “whatsoever” wrong. In your third, and, final, sentence, you, again, missed a comma.

You’re welcome, "critical thinker what so ever.”

Comment edited by Kevin on 2014-09-27 10:13:02

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted September 23, 2014 at 20:59:07 in reply to Comment 104775

Clark's attempt to show his support for "supercharging" Hamilton's economic growth was filled with contradictions.

Too bad that's not a "real" opinion.

Comment edited by KevinLove on 2014-09-23 20:59:56

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 23, 2014 at 22:41:35

Here's a great quote from Clark in this article. We're too broke to afford an $800k bike lane, but he's fine with multiple billions of $ for gas stations and warehouses by the airport and a freeway through Niagara farmland to Pelham?? Is there really that many people traveling to Pelham everyday to require a new highway?

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/n...

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By Ms Me (anonymous) | Posted September 26, 2014 at 08:44:26

I find Mchattie hard to believe. This import to Hamilton has no idea how to satisfy a community especially Hamilton. Would all the McHattie puppets please list his accomplishments in Ward one during his terms?

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