Thursday, 9 October 2014

Saying Yes - Part 1

So, I was out canvassing up near University Plaza today when I heard a loud squeal and a bang. I turned around to see a big red SUV coming right for me on the Osler/South Street sidewalk. I high-tailed it out of there and happily everything came to a rest without hitting me. I, along with some other witnesses, rushed over to the vehicles involved and made sure the drivers were OK. Someone called 911 and I started picking up the bigger bits of debris from all over the road. The ambulance arrived and took control of the situation. It was a mess but it could have been so much worse!

Yes, this car is facing the wrong way on Osler.
 Anyhow, as I've mentioned, I'm learning that as a candidate, putting yourself up for office leads to an inbox packed with surveys and questionnaires. I really like taking the time to answer the questions for a few reasons. First of all, I've staked my run on a promise of responsiveness and it would be fairly disingenuous of me to ignore people that are looking for my opinions and ideas. Secondly, they often force me to do some research and learn about things that aren't necessarily among my priorities.

For whatever reason, I've been finding the questionnaires quite easy to answer recently. So much so that I've taken to starting my answers with the word Yes. I think it's a good sign since a lot of the best things that have ever happened to me have come from me starting a sentence with Yes.

I don't know how many of the results of these surveys will make it to the public so over the next few posts, I'll reprint the questions and answers here in full. I encourage you to think about how you might answer these questions yourself. It's a great exercise!

Today, we'll begin with a questionnaire from the Raise the Hammer website. They have already made my answer part of my candidate profile (link: but it's a great way to start this series.

* Do you support the city's plan to build an east-west light rail transit (LRT) line with full capital funding from the Province?

Yes. I have openly supported LRT throughout my campaign. Based on the evidence I have seen, it is a vital key to the economic development of Hamilton and the renewal of the core. This is of great importance to Dundas as it is the most sustainable way to reduce our extremely high tax burden.

* Do you support converting more of Hamilton's one-way thoroughfares into complete, two-way streets that support walking, cycling and transit?

Yes. One-way streets are few and far between in Dundas and I believe we are a model neighbourhood when it comes to walkability. While there are still several areas of concern, traffic along King Street is generally well behaved and people feel safe on foot. Motorists generally drive too quickly along the major one-way streets in Hamilton and it leads to far too many injuries and close calls.

* The City's Cycling Master Plan is up for review. Do you support improving the plan to speed the installation of cycling facilities and provide more high-quality protected infrastructure like the new Cannon Street cycle track?

Yes. As Vice-Chair of the Hamilton Cycling Committee this issue is of prime importance to me. I fully support the Cycling Master Plan and intend on advocating for its adoption throughout Hamilton.

* The Province plans to allow municipalities to use ranked ballots in future elections. If so, will you vote to adopt ranked ballots in Hamilton?

Yes. Ranked ballots are a concept worth exploring, especially in municipal elections where the number of candidates in a ward can mean that a Councillor could be elected with as little as 10% support. Ranked ballots would ensure that the eventual winner would represent the broadest possible range of interests.

* Do you support an expanded role for Hamilton to provide more affordable housing? If so, what should Hamilton do?

Yes. In addition to the city's 10 year Housing and Homelessness Action Plan, we need to advocate more forcefully both at the Provincial and Federal levels for more action on poverty reduction. In addition, we need to implement inclusionary zoning to promote greater diversity in all our neighbourhoods.

* Do you support implementing a Vision Zero for Hamilton, with a goal of eliminating all pedestrian and cyclist deaths on our streets? If so, what specific actions would you take to implement this policy, and if not, why?

Yes. I am proud to be the first municipal candidate in Hamilton to have taken the Active Communities pledge and I will hold myself to fulfilling their initiatives. These simple changes are key to reducing not only the number of deaths on our streets but preventing hundreds of costly injuries as well.

* Do you believe City Hall should be more accessible to Hamilton residents? If so, what steps would you take to achieve this?

Yes. I stand for transparency, accountability and equity. I have also pledged a 100% open door policy as Councillor. I will maintain the current Councillor's office in Dundas and will continue to consult a new and improved Dundas Community Council. Furthermore, I plan to have a special resident's panel on responsible development in Dundas and I will publish a regular news letter outlining specific municipal and local issues.

* The Province has shelved a proposal to build a mid-peninsula highway from Niagara Falls or Fort Erie around Hamilton to connect with Hwy 401 or 407 north of Burlington. Do you agree with the Province's decision to put its development on hold?

Yes. I agree that the mid-peninsula highway should be reviewed more thoroughly and I also believe that in light of the recent closure of the Burlington Skyway due to an unfortunate accident that we think seriously about an alternative route to the QEW. As a major trade route in our region, it would be wise to look at some form of redundancy both as a safeguard against the type of closure we suffered but also as a way to ease volume on the QEW, which can be a very dangerous stretch of highway through Hamilton.

* Do you support the use of participatory budgeting to allow ward residents to propose and vote on local capital projects?

Yes. Dundas has a long history of community consultation through our Community Council and I see participatory budgeting as a natural extension of our strong civic engagement. 

* Do you believe Hamilton should do more to protect and enhance its built heritage?

Yes. I believe we are on the right track with our Heritage Registry and Downtown Built Heritage Pilot Project and would support a greater use of both in Dundas. We are in a fantastic position to the see the blending of old and new buildings across the city and it will be one of our great advantages in attracting newcomers and desirable businesses in the future.

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