Hans Zuriel, Candidate for Ward 7 in Ward 7 By-Election 2016

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Candidate Details (top)

NameZuriel, Hans
ElectionWard 7 By-Election 2016
AreaWard 07
Email zurielward7@gmail.com
Website http://www.zurielward7.com/
BioI am a Hamiltonian, who has been active in the community, making Hamilton a better place.

This is a beautiful city with a rich history, strong culture and great natural landscape. Within the midst of Hamilton is the Central Mountain, Ward 7 a prized community with a thriving spirit of individualism.

Public service has always been my passion and I believe that I have the fresh ideas, knowledge, optimism, energy and work ethic to represent Ward 7 as a City Councilor and to bring the necessary changes to reinvent and reinvigorate our beloved city, Hamilton.

I have watched as City Councilors have lost touch with hard working Hamiltonians. I have decided to run for City Council to be a voice for all those Hamiltonians who are not being heard. It is time Hamilton Councilors work for the people who elect them. I am running to represent those hard working people of Ward 7.

I have realized that Hamilton is a shadow of its former self when I see it lagging behind other cities in Ontario in terms of economic prosperity and modernization. Hamilton needs to bring back high paying jobs through diversifying its economy and there is a lot of work that needs to be done to improve its infrastructure, transportation and public housing. To do this, I will not hesitate to initiate ideas from successful cities across the country and/or around the world to accelerate the urban renewal process in Hamilton. As a Councilor, it will be one of my priorities to ensure that our city regain its former economic position as the main engine of economic growth, renewal and prosperity in Ontario and as the most desirable places to live in.

Finally, Hamilton residents pay one of the highest property tax rates in Ontario while not receiving the premium service which it should entail. Therefore, as Councilor I will fight for low and affordable property taxes while also ensuring that the municipal government delivers service levels that the residents of Ward 7 expect.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zurielward7

Twitter: https://twitter.com/zurielward7

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Responses to Questions (top)

QuestionBrief ResponseFull Response
Will you push for increased transit investment on the Mountain? If so, how will you pay for it? Yes Yes, I will work with Ward 7 residents and local transit experts to identify which aspects of transit are in need for upgrades. I will be pushing for modernized transportation such as an improved bus system with better fuel efficiency, improved capacity and higher frequencies. Furthermore, transit investments need to be done as efficiently as possible so as to stay within the existing budgets. Besides that, City Council needs to collaborate with the private sector and the general public for the provision of public transit. For instance, the municipal government could regulate companies such as Uber and Lyft in order to provide some affordable public transit. However, if additional expenses are necessary in order to improve transit, I will prioritize getting the funds from increased transfer payments from the provincial government instead of burdening local residents with additional fees or taxes.
Will you push for a safe, continuous cycling network in Ward 7 with better connections to the rest of the mountain and the lower city? Yes Yes, I will ensure that throughout my tenure, bicycle lanes continue to be built across the streets in Ward 7 and with better connections with the rest of the city. To achieve this, I will collaborate with other Councillors in Hamilton and urban planners.
Will you encourage the creation and growth of more neighbourhood associations in your ward? Yes Yes, it is important that neighbourhood associations which are beneficial to Ward 7 residents are given the necessary support for their creation and growth. This is primarily done through reducing red-tape for these associations as well as through joint initiatives with the City Council. Besides that, City Council should establish connections with neighbourhood associations such as "Raise the Hammer" which aim to unlock Hamilton's true potential while making a more desirable place to live in.
Will you encourage the city to shift new development away from car-dependant sprawl? Yes Yes, this is primarily done through proper land use planning and zoning to increase urban density. Ward 7 needs more densely populated community centres which will support increased economic activity as well as fostering a stronger sense of community. In addition, as mentioned above, I will push for more efficient means of transportation such as bicycles and improved bus service which reduced the need for cars in case that urban sprawl still occurs. We need to re-evaluate our approach to busing to reduce car-dependent sprawl - an improved bus service with increased frequency and convenience will cause more people to substitute their private transportation with bus rides.
Income inequality is a serious problem in Hamilton, and poverty is increasing in mountain neighbourhoods. What will you do to reduce inequality in Ward 7 and across the city? Yes One of my campaign platforms is to make property taxes more affordable. Currently residents pay the huge majority of property taxes which is driving poverty for those on low or fixed incomes. We need to incent businesses to come to Hamilton which will create new business tax revenues and allow for property taxes to be right sized for residents. I believe the local government currently wastes tax payers' money and do not invest in those from disadvantaged communities. The local government should prioritize job creation for Hamiltonians especially for City Council sanctioned projects such as infrastructure and transportation related jobs.

Lastly, it is important to have local workshops and training programs in order for the poor to have the opportunity to pursue jobs which pay at least living wages. We need to focus on training residents with the skills that are in demand in our region.
Do you support a more vibrant neighbourhood retail destination on Upper Wellington? If so, what do you propose to achieve this? Yes Yes, Upper Wellington has a great potential to be a retail destination as it directly connects with the lower city through Jolley Cut. However, as it is now, while it has a lot of traffic, it is not suitable to accommodate a commercial district as there is a lack of parking space, high speed traffic flow and the sidewalks seems to be lacking in terms of safety to accommodate a high pedestrian traffic. In order to transform Upper Wellington into a vibrant retail destination, Ryan McGreal from Raise the Hammer has some credible ideas. He suggested curbside parking and reducing car lanes from four to two; increased sidewalk protection and safer crosswalks. In addition to those ideas, I would suggest to re-direct some of the traffic from the lower city in Upper Wellington to Upper Wentworth in order to avoid traffic gridlock. Furthermore, traffic islands could be used to increase pedestrian safety both when crossing the road and walking along the sidewalks. If curbside parking is insufficient, multi-storey parking could also be used.

In addition, GO bus depots can be constructed for Hamilton Mountain at Mohawk College and Limeridge Mall to reduce congestion.. The GO bus depots would reduce traffic in Upper Wellington for people travelling outside of Hamilton as they will have an alternative to using the Jolley Cut to access the GO station in the lower city.
How important is it for Council to work with specific goals and targets for each City Department at the beginning of each year? How would you ensure this happened? Yes It is very important that Council have very specific goals and targets for all City Departments at the beginning of each year. It takes tremendous political will to ensure that all staff working at City Hall fulfill their social contract with the residents who employ them.

I will work with communities to establish service level agreements between city and residents. To ensure that the specific goals and target for each City Department are met, I would advocate for monthly reports on service level agreements. To address any service levels not being met, action plans will be employed, i.e. remediation plans.
In your view, what's not happening now in the City of Hamilton that you'd like to see happen? Why? What's not happening now in Ward 7 that you'd like to see happen? Why? What's not happening now at City Hall that you'd like to see happen? Why? Yes I would like to see a City of Hamilton which has a revitalized economy to regain its former position as an important city in the industrial heartland of Ontario. Hamilton is a shadow of its former self and it needs to diversify its economy and to modernize its urban landscape in order to reinvent its economic prosperity.

I would like a Ward 7 with denser community centres and vibrant commercial districts which would attract investors and create many local jobs with at least living wages. Besides that, I long for a Ward 7 community which has reduced income inequality and has poverty eradicated.

I would like to see a culture of accountability in City Hall. I would not tolerate City Hall staffs which stretch laws and standards to their advantage to shield them from inaction. For instance, I understand that City Hall staffs could cite a provincial standard which allow them to ignore a pothole for 30 days and they could avoid reimbursing any damages from that pothole as long they are within that standard.
How will you help to break down barriers between Councillors and the Wards they represent to ensure a more cohesive Council and more balanced decision making? Yes Councillors should go door-to-door to listen to the issues that matters for their Ward residents, not only on the election year. Besides that, an excellent idea is to follow the framework of "Meet-the-People" sessions conducted in Singapore whereby local residents could seek advice and solutions for their bureaucracy related problems. In the context of Ward 7, this could mean that people could attend sessions conducted every week to voice their concerns whether it involves potholes, snow removal, garbage collection, sidewalk safety, local crime concerns, etc.