Tilting at windmills

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Flamborough councillor Dave Braden's quest to "suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles" is being met with head-shaking and eye-rolling within city hall. But Braden's political destiny may lie in what has become, in his view, a crusade to "tell the truth" about Hamilton's financial and political future.

During the first full day of council's 2006 budget deliberations, in true Dave Braden fashion, he found proof for his theories that Hamilton is in financial quicksand. City staff told councillors that Hamilton's infrastructure is underfunded by about $86 million. Yet Corporate Finance General Manager Joe Rinaldo reiterated that Hamilton remains in a "strong financial position." The best indicator of the city's situation, he said, is the AA credit rating Hamilton receives from Standard & Poor's.

Stoney Creek councillor Phil Bruckler takes Braden's comments in stride. "Every year (the budget) is a struggle," he said. "If we weren't making progress then I would be concerned." Other councillors take a more jaundiced position to Braden's outburst. Hamilton councillor Sam Merulla points the finger at past city and regional councillors for Hamilton's current infrastructure mess. Blame should also be directed at councillors such as Braden, who as a former Hamilton-Wentworth Regional councillor did nothing to help the city's sorry situation, he said.

Mayor Larry Di Ianni, who over the past year has parried and slashed with his suburban nemesis, was uncharacteristically calm during Braden's latest shots. He said he planned to talk to Braden privately during a subsequent budget meeting. But any encounter must have left a foul taste because later in the afternoon on a CHML talk show, Di Ianni defended the city's finances and condemned Braden's trip to Queen's Park to meet with representatives of the Municipal Affairs Minister. Soon after, Braden refused to apologize for his actions, saying he is trying to "tell the truth" to residents about Hamilton's economic situation.

There has been some speculation about Braden's future as a councillor. When asked on air during the talk show about running for mayor against Di Ianni, Braden deflected the question. Asked previously about his future, Braden refused to comment whether he would challenge Di Ianni in 2006. It doesn't take a McMaster professor to figure out that Braden has been active in a little bear-baiting recently, taking on Di Ianni's chief of staff Mario Joannette over attending in camera meetings, fanning the flames of de-amalgamation and generally being a burr in Di Ianni's saddle.

A look at Braden's last Ward 14 election result should give the Flamborough businessman pause; Braden believed he had lost the election to Don Robertson, and only a last-second win at a few polls secured a 185-ballot victory.

A run for mayor, which would definitely be quixotic, would place Braden in the same position as Dave Christopherson. Hamilton's left-leaning community is desperately trying to land a popular candidate to run against Di Ianni. While Braden, or even Hamilton councillor Bob Bratina, could fill the bill, the end result would be a morally-satisfying loss.

Martyrdom may be in the political winds for Braden, if he so cares to preach the "truth" to sooth the hunger that some Hamiltonians seem to have for tilting at windmills.

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

Tilting at windmills

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Flamborough councillor Dave Braden's quest to "suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles" is being met with head-shaking and eye-rolling within city hall. But Braden's political destiny may lie in what has become, in his view, a crusade to "tell the truth" about Hamilton's financial and political future.

During the first full day of council's 2006 budget deliberations, in true Dave Braden fashion, he found proof for his theories that Hamilton is in financial quicksand. City staff told councillors that Hamilton's infrastructure is underfunded by about $86 million. Yet Corporate Finance General Manager Joe Rinaldo reiterated that Hamilton remains in a "strong financial position." The best indicator of the city's situation, he said, is the AA credit rating Hamilton receives from Standard & Poor's.

Stoney Creek councillor Phil Bruckler takes Braden's comments in stride. "Every year (the budget) is a struggle," he said. "If we weren't making progress then I would be concerned." Other councillors take a more jaundiced position to Braden's outburst. Hamilton councillor Sam Merulla points the finger at past city and regional councillors for Hamilton's current infrastructure mess. Blame should also be directed at councillors such as Braden, who as a former Hamilton-Wentworth Regional councillor did nothing to help the city's sorry situation, he said.

Mayor Larry Di Ianni, who over the past year has parried and slashed with his suburban nemesis, was uncharacteristically calm during Braden's latest shots. He said he planned to talk to Braden privately during a subsequent budget meeting. But any encounter must have left a foul taste because later in the afternoon on a CHML talk show, Di Ianni defended the city's finances and condemned Braden's trip to Queen's Park to meet with representatives of the Municipal Affairs Minister. Soon after, Braden refused to apologize for his actions, saying he is trying to "tell the truth" to residents about Hamilton's economic situation.

There has been some speculation about Braden's future as a councillor. When asked on air during the talk show about running for mayor against Di Ianni, Braden deflected the question. Asked previously about his future, Braden refused to comment whether he would challenge Di Ianni in 2006. It doesn't take a McMaster professor to figure out that Braden has been active in a little bear-baiting recently, taking on Di Ianni's chief of staff Mario Joannette over attending in camera meetings, fanning the flames of de-amalgamation and generally being a burr in Di Ianni's saddle.

A look at Braden's last Ward 14 election result should give the Flamborough businessman pause; Braden believed he had lost the election to Don Robertson, and only a last-second win at a few polls secured a 185-ballot victory.

A run for mayor, which would definitely be quixotic, would place Braden in the same position as Dave Christopherson. Hamilton's left-leaning community is desperately trying to land a popular candidate to run against Di Ianni. While Braden, or even Hamilton councillor Bob Bratina, could fill the bill, the end result would be a morally-satisfying loss.

Martyrdom may be in the political winds for Braden, if he so cares to preach the "truth" to sooth the hunger that some Hamiltonians seem to have for tilting at windmills.

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

Tilting at windmills

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

Flamborough councillor Dave Braden's quest to "suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles" is being met with head-shaking and eye-rolling within city hall. But Braden's political destiny may lie in what has become, in his view, a crusade to "tell the truth" about Hamilton's financial and political future.

During the first full day of council's 2006 budget deliberations, in true Dave Braden fashion, he found proof for his theories that Hamilton is in financial quicksand. City staff told councillors that Hamilton's infrastructure is underfunded by about $86 million. Yet Corporate Finance General Manager Joe Rinaldo reiterated that Hamilton remains in a "strong financial position." The best indicator of the city's situation, he said, is the AA credit rating Hamilton receives from Standard & Poor's.

Stoney Creek councillor Phil Bruckler takes Braden's comments in stride. "Every year (the budget) is a struggle," he said. "If we weren't making progress then I would be concerned." Other councillors take a more jaundiced position to Braden's outburst. Hamilton councillor Sam Merulla points the finger at past city and regional councillors for Hamilton's current infrastructure mess. Blame should also be directed at councillors such as Braden, who as a former Hamilton-Wentworth Regional councillor did nothing to help the city's sorry situation, he said.

Mayor Larry Di Ianni, who over the past year has parried and slashed with his suburban nemesis, was uncharacteristically calm during Braden's latest shots. He said he planned to talk to Braden privately during a subsequent budget meeting. But any encounter must have left a foul taste because later in the afternoon on a CHML talk show, Di Ianni defended the city's finances and condemned Braden's trip to Queen's Park to meet with representatives of the Municipal Affairs Minister. Soon after, Braden refused to apologize for his actions, saying he is trying to "tell the truth" to residents about Hamilton's economic situation.

There has been some speculation about Braden's future as a councillor. When asked on air during the talk show about running for mayor against Di Ianni, Braden deflected the question. Asked previously about his future, Braden refused to comment whether he would challenge Di Ianni in 2006. It doesn't take a McMaster professor to figure out that Braden has been active in a little bear-baiting recently, taking on Di Ianni's chief of staff Mario Joannette over attending in camera meetings, fanning the flames of de-amalgamation and generally being a burr in Di Ianni's saddle.

A look at Braden's last Ward 14 election result should give the Flamborough businessman pause; Braden believed he had lost the election to Don Robertson, and only a last-second win at a few polls secured a 185-ballot victory.

A run for mayor, which would definitely be quixotic, would place Braden in the same position as Dave Christopherson. Hamilton's left-leaning community is desperately trying to land a popular candidate to run against Di Ianni. While Braden, or even Hamilton councillor Bob Bratina, could fill the bill, the end result would be a morally-satisfying loss.

Martyrdom may be in the political winds for Braden, if he so cares to preach the "truth" to sooth the hunger that some Hamiltonians seem to have for tilting at windmills.

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