Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Cleaning Out the Spam Filter

Depending on how you arrived at this blog, you may or may not know that I also have a campaign website (marcrisdale.ca). Like any pet, it needs regular maintenance. Every couple of days I clean out the comment bin, which inevitably contains a lot of offers for discount luxury goods - usually Air Jordans or Louis Vuitton handbags.

Normally, there are less than ten in there. Imagine my joy this morning when I found 81 comments waiting for moderation. You tend to get in a bit of a zone when you start banishing these things to the spam bin. I do my best to be careful not to trash any actual comments - good thing too because today, there was a gem in there!

I read the following from one of your blog posts:
” I think it’s really important for a candidate for council for Dundas to understand the City beyond the reaches of our town. Dundas is part of Hamilton and our concillor (sic) has a duty to understand the City in its entirety. Ideas that benefit Hamilton will ultimately benefit Dundas.”
This was indeed refreshing, because it represents an evolution beyond the tired Dundas-is-hard-done-by with amalgamation mantra. I also cycle, am fluently bilingual (I teach French at the local high school), and if you can articulate a coherent vision for transit in the whole region, you may very well have my vote.
I know you support LRT, but I am sensing, as with many other candidates, that your support might be qualified. As such, what is your vision for transit and please feel free to address ALL modes of transit, including LRT, buses, bikes and cars. You need not limit yourself to 100 words ; )"
Wow, right? I like this comment for so many reasons. Not to devolve into flattery, but it's intelligent, articulate and it demonstrates a keen awareness of the issues I'm trying to raise. I'll save you the trip to the comments section and include my 295 word reply below: 
"I believe that to thrive, we need to embrace true multi-modal transportation solutions. As vice-chair of the Hamilton Cycling Committee, I’ve been privileged to see the evolution of Hamilton to a more bike-friendly city and I’m proud to have advised city staff on a number of the most recent enhancement projects. I am a big believer in Complete Streets and was the first municipal candidate in Hamilton to take the Active Communities pledge (a initiative of the Share the Road campaign), which will hold me to account on a number of important livability issues.
While I do support LRT, you are correct that it is qualified. We need clarity from the Province on what they mean by capital funding since there are a number of ancillary infrastructure improvements that will be needed in its implementation. Furthermore, we need to have Council’s full support if we move ahead, which includes a commitment to follow the Rapid Ready transit plan developed by city staff. A decision this big is not the place for half-measures or lack of vision. Ultimately, whether we go with LRT or BRT is not that important. What is important is that we implement the most sensible rapid transit solution possible in preparation for the growth we know is coming.
Finally, with regards to cars, many people see the sort of initiatives outlined above as a “war on cars” but I don’t see it that way at all. As an automotive engineer, it would be silly of me to wage such a war. What interests me is finding the best possible balance between all modes of transport to get us all where we need to go in a safe and timely manner.
Thanks for the great comment (and for finding my typo)!

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