Elections

Sam Merulla, Candidate for Ward 4 in Hamilton Municipal Election 2010

Details page for this candidate.

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Candidate Details (top)

NameMerulla, Sam
ElectionHamilton Municipal Election 2010
AreaWard 04
PartyN/A
Votes6787
Email sam.merulla@cogeco.ca
Website (no website listed)
Home905-312-8956
Business
Fax
BioSam Merulla was elected in November of 2000 as City Councillor for Ward 4 in the newly amalgamated City of Hamilton. He is strongly committed to the citizens of East Hamilton. He actively serves as a member of the following City Committees:

* Committee of the Whole
* Board of Health
* Emergency and Community Services; and
* Public Works

Councillor Merulla has also taken on the role as Services Coordinator for PATH Employment Services/Human Resource Development Canada. He is also an active participant on several committees dedicated to people with disabilities such as the Hamilton-Wentworth Training Board for the Labour Partner Group for Persons with Disabilities, the HRDC Employment Expo Committee and the Hamilton-Wentworth Service Providers Committee. In addition, he sat on D.A.R.T.S. (Disabled and Aged Regional Transit System) Board of Directors as Vice Chairman from 1997-2003.Coucillor Merulla has also held capacities as Addictions Cousellor for the Ministry of Health, Brant Addictions Assessment Services and Educational Assistant for the Hamilton Catholic School Board.

Councillor Merulla's political and advocacy experience is strong having held such positions as Advisor to the Official Opposition Whip and Management Board Critic of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Executive Senior Advisor to Hamilton East MPP, Environment Critic and Community and Social Services Critic, (Ontario Government, Legislative Assembly of Ontario Queen's Park office.

Councillor Merulla resides in Ward 4 with his wife Corinne and their two daughters, Alexa and Sabrina.

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Responses to Questions (top)

QuestionBrief ResponseFull Response
For your campaign, will you be accepting donations from corporations or unions? If so, why? If not, why not? Yes Yes I will be accepting donations from legal donors including corporations, unions and individuals, because it is legal and permitted.
Do you support Hamilton's LRT proposal? If so, what will you do to ensure Hamilton's success in building LRT? If not, why do you oppose it? Yes I strongly support LRT and will continue to focus my efforts and energy on issues that matter by continuing to aggressively lobby the province to implement the funding strategy for LRT rather than fruitless endeavours i.e. stadiums that have consumed this city far too long. I will also continue to steer this council in a direction conducive to our city's needs rather than meaningless wants.
Is Hamilton doing enough to support and encourage new investment in our older neighbourhoods? If not, what should the City be doing? No As you know, I have always been very concerned about wasteful spending at city hall and creating an environment conducive to increasing assessment growth. I believe there are workable solutions available that will enhance governing based on our needs rather than wants. I would like to see our City of Hamilton attract and retain business in a sustainable manner.

We need to continue to find a balance between greenfield and brownfield developments in an attempt to provide a diverse environment of opportunity through employment lands.

The most significant motivation in my seeking office has always been my desire to help anyone who needs it. I have been in public service for twenty years from working with people with disabilities to substance abusers and troubled youth to serving the great people of Hamilton East, Ward 4, and as a whole, the City of Hamilton and there is no better feeling then advocating change and seeing it legislated.

My focus has been and will continue to be eliminating the one billion dollar deficit in hard infrastructure (i.e. Woodward Wastewater Treatment Plant, roads, sewers and bridges). Continue to pursue successful redevelopment of East end neighbourhoods through infill/brownfield developments (i.e. Lowe's at Barton and Woodward, Princess Auto on Barton, Seniors Centre at Main and Cope, Greyfield developments on Ottawa St and Kenilworth, Barton, King and Main Streets).

Furthermore I am focused in continuing to create a climate of investment such as Ward 4's The Centre on Barton, Crown Point Medical Arts building on Kenilworth, redevelopment of the old Derby Tavern to Rexall Pharmacy and the future Native Cultural Centre on Kenilworth. Lastly, I am very proud of the future park development at Rennie/Brampton Streets (Rennie St. End Use) and the creation of a new pedestrian/cycling bridge which will allow Ward 4 residents to safely connect to the city's waterfront.

City Council must focus on emerging problems (i.e. the need to increase industrial and commercial investments; thereby, increasing tax revenues without impacting residential taxes or front line services). We must be far more aggressive in uploading the tens of millions of dollars that the Province of Ontario downloaded to the City of Hamilton in terms of mandated programs and services without the necessary funding which deems it NOT revenue neutral and has cost the municipal tax payer in Hamilton $1 billion over the past decade or $146 million dollars, which impacts our operating budget.

The successful conclusion to the downloading crisis will allow council to function in a manner conducive to focusing in our needs and actually put the city in a position to assess a tax decrease of nearly 25 percent. We must determine who does what and who pays for what in our relationship with Ontario. We must do this in consultation AMO and FCM thereby renegotiating our agreements with Ontario to ensure a progressive form of taxation at the municipal level rather than the regressive nature that exists presently.
Should we spend the Future Fund to build a Pan Am / Ticat stadium on the CP Rail Yard lands? Why or why not? No Many thanks for taking the time to provide me with your input. From my perspective the foundation of the problem is that the Toronto Pan Am games bid has been fueled by emotion and based on wants rather than needs of our community. The original purpose was to create a legacy for amateur sport and provide a new stadium for the Ti Cats. My contention has always been that if the Ti- Cats cannot afford the old stadium how would they afford a new stadium? Well the answer was provided by the Ti Cats with the East Mountain proposal and now Longwood which changed the original purpose to simply creating a legacy for the Ti- Cats and a potential professional soccer team in partnership with a private developer(s). This relationship with the developer(s) is what in essence allows the Ti- Cats to become sustainable but only leveraging public dollars and with a capital deficit of approx 120 million which benefits the Ti- Cats and developer(s) but not the local taxpayer.

Therefore the issue of sustainability is only realistically addressed at Ivor Wynne and the business challenge of the Ti-Cats is to fill the nearly 30 thousand seats available to them at a publicly subsidized Ivor Wynne. The issue of a new stadium is not the answer to the Ti- Cats sustainability. The issue of sustainability is addressed in providing a product on the field that creates a demand for tickets and the necessary revenue to become and remain sustainable. Therefore a renovated Ivor Wynne and a sold out stadium for all Ti- Cat home games is the answer and the most prudent initiative for all to pursue which is not what some people want but I believe that is what they need.

I believe we need to focus on priorities that matter e.g. Manufacturing Jobs, 2 billion dollar infrastructure deficit , 146 million dollar provincial downloading crisis and 20 percent poverty rate. My position has always been the same and that is the fact the Pan Am games and stadium is the mother of all unfocused priorities. I've attached the proceeding comments for your perusal surrounding this fiasco I had written during the summer months:

Bottom line is a vote for West Harbour is a vote for Ivor Wynne due to the criterion that money will only be allocated to a site with a long term tenant. Keep in mind West Harbour has a capital deficit of approximate 50 million dollars and millions more in operating thereby creating an environment of an ultimatum from the Province and the Feds due to the preceding criterion.

A vote for the urban sprawl option on the East Mountain is a vote for a stadium that is underfunded by approximately 120 million dollars deeming it unaffordable to the taxpayer but with a tenant.

Therefore the only viable option left is the renovation of Ivor Wynne which can accommodate soccer and a sustainable tenant that has played at Ivor Wynne since 1930. Anything but Ivor Wynn is a pie in the ski option and a travesty to the hard working people of the City of Hamilton. This unmitigated disaster could have been prevented had my request for due diligence been pursued back in February of 2009. Although I didn't support such a unmitigated ill prepared initiative at least we would have known then what we've confirmed now that this unfocused priority will victimize the taxpayers of this city.
Some cities have committed recently to publishing their public data in an open format that citizens can directly access. Should Hamilton pledge to become an "open source city"? Why or why not? Yes
Council is poised to vote on the Airport Employment Growth District, a 3,000 acre plan to expand the urban boundary around Hamilton International Airport for employment lands. Do you support this plan? Why or why not? Maybe Undecided and I am still in the process of researching the issue in depth.

Having said this I believe Hamilton has lost too many manufacturing jobs. As you know I have always been very concerned about wasteful spending at city hall and creating an environment conducive to increasing assessment growth. I believe there are workable solutions available that will enhance governing based on our needs rather than wants. I would like to see our City of Hamilton attract and retain business in a sustainable manner.

We are attracting employment such as Canada Bread but more must be done to aggressively and proactively promote Hamilton as a leader in providing opportunity. We need to continue to find ways to balance greenfield and brownfield developments in an attempt to provide a diverse environment of opportunity i.e employment lands.

My focus has been and will continue to be eliminating the one billion dollar deficit in hard infrastructure (i.e. Woodward Wastewater Treatment Plant, roads, sewers and bridges). Continue to pursue successful redevelopment of East end neighbourhoods through infill/brownfield developments (i.e. Lowe's at Barton and Woodward, Princess Auto on Barton, Seniors Centre at Main and Cope, Greyfield developments on Ottawa St and Kenilworth, Barton, King and Main Streets).

Furthermore I am focused in continuing to create a climate of investment such as Ward 4's The Centre on Barton, Crown Point Medical Arts building on Kenilworth, redevelopment of the old Derby Tavern to Rexall Pharmacy and the future Native Cultural Centre on Kenilworth. Lastly, I am very proud of the future park development at Rennie/Brampton Streets (Rennie St. End Use) and the creation of a new pedestrian/cycling bridge which will allow Ward 4 residents to safely connect to the city's waterfront.
Many observers argue that Council meetings could be more respectful and professional. Do you agree? If so, what will you do to change this? No The definition of dysfunction is to be inconsistent and unpredictable and representative democracy can be inconsistent and unpredictable, which leads to discourse and passionate discussions. Therefore the alternative is unrepresentative and undemocratic.
Hamilton's Cycling Master Plan has Council approval. However, the implementation timeline is very long and ward councillors can block individual bike lane projects. Do you support accelerating the completion of a continuous bicycle network and other initiatives like a bike sharing program and better access up and down the Escarpment? Why or why not? Yes I do support it incrementally with full public consultation such as the
Woodward redevelopment I strongly supported.