Queen's Park Braden

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Hamilton is going to hell in a handbasket and the current crop of politicians and a cowed bureaucracy are refusing to do anything about it. The mantra has been a familiar refrain from Ward 14 councillor Dave Braden who, since amalgamation, has been a burr in the saddle of the city's urban politicians and bureaucratic staff as he beats the drum of discontent over the city's crumbling finances. So what's he doing going over the head of city officials to meet with Municipal Affairs representatives?

Over the past two years, Mayor Larry Di Ianni has asked the province to provide Hamilton with about $19.5 million to cover its social service costs. Braden said that isn't nearly enough. "What we need is $50 million. And we can't be nice about (the request)," he said. "We have to be straightforward. The old approach is not working."

Braden says city officials need to be ruthless and demanding with the province. "I don't think we should expect Larry to talk about how bad Hamilton is," he said. "People and the province are getting only one side of the truth. How will the Ministry know if nobody else presents it to them?"

The only way Hamilton can dig itself out of financial quicksand, he adds, is to convince the province to change the provincial tax structure. He suggests pooling all area industrial tax assessments into one pot and having each municipality take its share.

Braden says Hamilton's financial problems can be blamed on the city's entrenched interest groups and mummified politicians, who mutually benefit from the city's financial misery. But Braden's crusade against Hamilton is powered by his own interest groups in Flamborough; he is tied to the anger and frustration evident during a recent Committee to Free Flamborough de-amalgamation rally at the Millgrove Community Centre. "Why keep us (Flamborough) in a relationship where there are no winners?" he asks.

For instance, he is irritated that city staff are pushing to fill the North Glanbrook Industrial Park while ignoring the industrial park in Flamborough where space is available, contributing to his area's economic decline. Yet, he quickly says, this isn't about Flamborough and Hamilton, but about the cultural and economic differences between rural residents and urban Hamilton.

Also contributing to Braden's vituperativeness is his disappointment at how Di Ianni has overseen the city since his 2003 election. Over the last year, the relationship between the mayor and Braden has degenerated into a cold war that could become nastier during next year's election.

So Braden feels justified in meeting with two representatives of Municipal Affairs Minister John Gerretsen's office recently. He accompanied Dennis Noonan, spokesperson for the CFF, and dismissed any notion he shouldn't be talking to Ministry officials about Hamilton's problems. In fact, he believes it is his duty to give the province the "truth" about what is happening in Steeltown. "There is nothing I would say there, that I haven't or wouldn't say to council," he said. Both Braden and Noonan said their presentation prompted the two Ministry representatives to suggest it may be time to conduct an audit on Hamilton's finances - a drastic move, if the province even considers such an enforcement hammer.

"I didn't bring (the audit) up, they did," said Braden. "But if (an audit) leads to asking the tough questions about Hamilton, so be it. Change has to start now."

Kevin Werner is regional reporter for Brabant Newspapers. He can be reached by calling 905-308-7757, ext. 36, or by email at kwerner@brabantnewspapers.com

Queen's Park Braden

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Hamilton is going to hell in a handbasket and the current crop of politicians and a cowed bureaucracy are refusing to do anything about it. The mantra has been a familiar refrain from Ward 14 councillor Dave Braden who, since amalgamation, has been a burr in the saddle of the city's urban politicians and bureaucratic staff as he beats the drum of discontent over the city's crumbling finances. So what's he doing going over the head of city officials to meet with Municipal Affairs representatives?

Over the past two years, Mayor Larry Di Ianni has asked the province to provide Hamilton with about $19.5 million to cover its social service costs. Braden said that isn't nearly enough. "What we need is $50 million. And we can't be nice about (the request)," he said. "We have to be straightforward. The old approach is not working."

Braden says city officials need to be ruthless and demanding with the province. "I don't think we should expect Larry to talk about how bad Hamilton is," he said. "People and the province are getting only one side of the truth. How will the Ministry know if nobody else presents it to them?"

The only way Hamilton can dig itself out of financial quicksand, he adds, is to convince the province to change the provincial tax structure. He suggests pooling all area industrial tax assessments into one pot and having each municipality take its share.

Braden says Hamilton's financial problems can be blamed on the city's entrenched interest groups and mummified politicians, who mutually benefit from the city's financial misery. But Braden's crusade against Hamilton is powered by his own interest groups in Flamborough; he is tied to the anger and frustration evident during a recent Committee to Free Flamborough de-amalgamation rally at the Millgrove Community Centre. "Why keep us (Flamborough) in a relationship where there are no winners?" he asks.

For instance, he is irritated that city staff are pushing to fill the North Glanbrook Industrial Park while ignoring the industrial park in Flamborough where space is available, contributing to his area's economic decline. Yet, he quickly says, this isn't about Flamborough and Hamilton, but about the cultural and economic differences between rural residents and urban Hamilton.

Also contributing to Braden's vituperativeness is his disappointment at how Di Ianni has overseen the city since his 2003 election. Over the last year, the relationship between the mayor and Braden has degenerated into a cold war that could become nastier during next year's election.

So Braden feels justified in meeting with two representatives of Municipal Affairs Minister John Gerretsen's office recently. He accompanied Dennis Noonan, spokesperson for the CFF, and dismissed any notion he shouldn't be talking to Ministry officials about Hamilton's problems. In fact, he believes it is his duty to give the province the "truth" about what is happening in Steeltown. "There is nothing I would say there, that I haven't or wouldn't say to council," he said. Both Braden and Noonan said their presentation prompted the two Ministry representatives to suggest it may be time to conduct an audit on Hamilton's finances - a drastic move, if the province even considers such an enforcement hammer.

"I didn't bring (the audit) up, they did," said Braden. "But if (an audit) leads to asking the tough questions about Hamilton, so be it. Change has to start now."

Kevin Werner is regional reporter for Brabant Newspapers. He can be reached by calling 905-308-7757, ext. 36, or by email at kwerner@brabantnewspapers.com

Queen's Park Braden

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Hamilton is going to hell in a handbasket and the current crop of politicians and a cowed bureaucracy are refusing to do anything about it. The mantra has been a familiar refrain from Ward 14 councillor Dave Braden who, since amalgamation, has been a burr in the saddle of the city's urban politicians and bureaucratic staff as he beats the drum of discontent over the city's crumbling finances. So what's he doing going over the head of city officials to meet with Municipal Affairs representatives?

Over the past two years, Mayor Larry Di Ianni has asked the province to provide Hamilton with about $19.5 million to cover its social service costs. Braden said that isn't nearly enough. "What we need is $50 million. And we can't be nice about (the request)," he said. "We have to be straightforward. The old approach is not working."

Braden says city officials need to be ruthless and demanding with the province. "I don't think we should expect Larry to talk about how bad Hamilton is," he said. "People and the province are getting only one side of the truth. How will the Ministry know if nobody else presents it to them?"

The only way Hamilton can dig itself out of financial quicksand, he adds, is to convince the province to change the provincial tax structure. He suggests pooling all area industrial tax assessments into one pot and having each municipality take its share.

Braden says Hamilton's financial problems can be blamed on the city's entrenched interest groups and mummified politicians, who mutually benefit from the city's financial misery. But Braden's crusade against Hamilton is powered by his own interest groups in Flamborough; he is tied to the anger and frustration evident during a recent Committee to Free Flamborough de-amalgamation rally at the Millgrove Community Centre. "Why keep us (Flamborough) in a relationship where there are no winners?" he asks.

For instance, he is irritated that city staff are pushing to fill the North Glanbrook Industrial Park while ignoring the industrial park in Flamborough where space is available, contributing to his area's economic decline. Yet, he quickly says, this isn't about Flamborough and Hamilton, but about the cultural and economic differences between rural residents and urban Hamilton.

Also contributing to Braden's vituperativeness is his disappointment at how Di Ianni has overseen the city since his 2003 election. Over the last year, the relationship between the mayor and Braden has degenerated into a cold war that could become nastier during next year's election.

So Braden feels justified in meeting with two representatives of Municipal Affairs Minister John Gerretsen's office recently. He accompanied Dennis Noonan, spokesperson for the CFF, and dismissed any notion he shouldn't be talking to Ministry officials about Hamilton's problems. In fact, he believes it is his duty to give the province the "truth" about what is happening in Steeltown. "There is nothing I would say there, that I haven't or wouldn't say to council," he said. Both Braden and Noonan said their presentation prompted the two Ministry representatives to suggest it may be time to conduct an audit on Hamilton's finances - a drastic move, if the province even considers such an enforcement hammer.

"I didn't bring (the audit) up, they did," said Braden. "But if (an audit) leads to asking the tough questions about Hamilton, so be it. Change has to start now."

Kevin Werner is regional reporter for Brabant Newspapers. He can be reached by calling 905-308-7757, ext. 36, or by email at kwerner@brabantnewspapers.com