Howard Rabb, Candidate for Ward 7 in Ward 7 By-Election 2016
Details page for this candidate.
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Candidate Details (top)
|Election||Ward 7 By-Election 2016|
|Bio||Who is Howard?
Howard launched a campaign during the summer of 2014 for the Federal Liberal Nomination in the riding of Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas which encompasses much of the West Hamilton Mountain. After the nomination process was completed he was approached by Ward 8 Councillor Terry Whitehead and offered a position working in his office. Together Howard and the Councillor worked closely on files ranging from Public Transportation, Audit and Finance Issues, Canada Post, and Police Services.
During his time at City Hall Howard built relationships and friendships all across the organization. He also learned that getting things done at City Hall meant working hand in hand with other Councillors and City Staff.
Howard has worked in many great industries over the past fifteen years. Starting at the ground floor he worked in retail rising to become one of the top salespeople in the company before moving on to management.
After leaving retail, he joined Canada's growing high-tech industry working as the Operations Manager for the North American arm of an international software and services company.
His appointment as operations manager saved the Canadian division saving jobs as well as protecting the investments made from Canadian firms using their product.
After five consecutive years of profits Howard decided to leave the company and begin focusing on public service.
"I have always had to closely watch the bottom line, and ensure our company or customers were always getting value for money. As a Councillor I will do the same!"
— Howard Rabb
A NATIVE OF HAMILTON
Howard grew up in Dundas prior to amalgamation. After amalgamation in his 20s he moved to Guelph where he met his future wife Alexsis. They stayed in Guelph for three years before moving to Toronto for a short time to be closer to Alexsis' work.
The pair moved back to Hamilton where they have been living and working for over eight years.
Responses to Questions (top)
|Question||Brief Response||Full Response|
|Will you push for increased transit investment on the Mountain? If so, how will you pay for it?||Yes||Yes. Currently more than 700 people a week are left behind on the Upper James route by buses that are full. The Mohawk and Fennell routes are also very crowded and frequently leave people behind. During my canvassing I've met many people that have had this happen to them.
In order to expand transit services on the mountain we need two things. More buses, and a place to store them. Our current facility is full (technically over capacity) and we need more space. I would push to see the Wentworth facility re-opened so that some buses servicing the lower city could be relocated there. This would save money on both fuel and staff time as we wouldn't need to deadhead so many busses back up to the top of Upper James every single day.
This will extend the life of both facilities (and our buses) and allow us to expand NOW, and not wait several years while a new storage facility is built.
|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||Any time road work is planned the City looks at how to safely integrate cycling, and how to further expand our cycling network. One of my biggest concerns is how people get up and down the mountain. I am disappointed that the cycling manager has pushed back any work on improving safety on the accesses to at least next year.|
|Will you encourage the creation and growth of more neighbourhood associations in your ward?||Yes||YES. This is a huge yes for me. Working for Councillor Whitehead I was pleased to participate in between 20 and 30 community meetings a year. These meetings held in every neighbourhood in ward 8 as well as our drop ins at Westcliffe Mall helped us stay connected to the residents. From these meetings that we would facilitate neighbourhood and parks associations were born.
Ward 8 has many very active and healthy neighbourhood groups and parks associations. These groups maintain regular communication with the Councillor's office and hold events all year in their communities that foster togetherness, and a senses of community.
This is something that I find lacking in ward 7. I want to take the best practices I learned working in ward 8 and apply those to creating more community meetings and helping to create more neighbourhood and parks associations. This is one of my top priorities on the constituency side.
The first thing I do will be to locate a site that we can hold a monthly drop-in. We used Westcliffe mall in ward 8. I foresee something similar for ward 7 possibly in one of the larger grocery stores.
|Will you encourage the city to shift new development away from car-dependant sprawl?||Yes||The City is already moving in this direction. We are constrained on where we can go through the urban boundary and the days of simply growing out are over. We need to now focus on working with developers to help them intensify our population along our nodes and corridors. Only through this intensification will we hit our growth targets and grow city revenues that will ultimately lower the tax burden across the city.
Intensification along our corridors will make transit more efficient by placing more people closer to our existing transit lines. We need to work at the same time at developing the BLAST network so that when new buildings are built along these corridors we give people a viable transit option.
I am not going to go to war with car users however. We built this city around the car and we can't just undo that over night. We need to work carefully and thoughtfully on this. The first step is to make sure people have alternatives to their cars and to make sure that HSR is that alternative. We need to help get people from the mountain to the GO stations downtown, and need to plan on how we are going to get them from the East mountain, down to the new GO station at Centennial when it opens.
|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||There are a few things we can do to address this growing problem. What we CAN do it make sure that we continue a policy of inclusionary zoning. Social housing units should be located in most areas of the city. Creating a ghetto will not help anyone and will simply exacerbate the problem. We need to work with developers to include units in multi-res properties that include rent geared to income units as well as low income units.
We also need to make sure that we are encouraging the construction of supportive housing. Properties like the Perkins Centre in ward 4 are a wonderful example of how effective this type of housing can be. I am pleased to see a second location is opening up but I do have a concern that it is located directly across the street. I want to make sure that future projects are built in other areas of the city including Ancaster to ensure that we are not placing all of our supportive housing in the same place. People who grow up in Dundas, Ancaster, Stoney Creek or the Mountain, who require supportive housing should not have to move downtown to receive this type of service (unless they want to of course) we should make sure it is available throughout the city.
Residential Care facilities are not allowed in Ancaster for some reason. This is a holdover from the pre-amalgamation days, and it is something I look forward to fixing with Council.
|Do you support a more vibrant neighbourhood retail destination on Upper Wellington? If so, what do you propose to achieve this?||Yes||We can look to Locke St, James St, and now Ottawa St to name a few (in the lower city) as great examples of how people will congregate and shop in their local communities. These examples show us that if we create the right conditions, businesses and customers will move into an area and transform it.
I would like to see some emphasis placed on the section of Upper Wellington between Queensdale and Brucedale initially. I believe this area has the beginnings of what could become a vibrant district. I also believe we need to continue to support the businesses on Concession.
|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||I come from the private sector. Everything you do requires goals and targets. Whether it's a sales target, a goal of how much you want to grow your advertising by, or a target for how many customer support issues you want to resolve. Perhaps you want to lower wait and hold times. All of these require goals and targets.
The goals and targets tell you if you are actually making any progress. In my own experience I had years where I exceeded my targets, and years where I didn't. By looking at these outcomes and analyzing what happened, you can start to see why they happened. You can then course correct, and set a new target for the next year.
If you don't do this however, you never have any sense for how you are doing. Are you getting better? Worse, staying the same? Are you losing ground to a competitor? This data is the lifeblood of a business, and it should be the lifeblood of our city government.
|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 want to see the creation of an independant auditor general. This office would look at every area in the organization and help us learn whether or not we are getting value for our dollars.|
|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||During the time I worked at City Hall I did not see a lot of "barriers". Instead what I saw was a 16 people working together to find solutions to problems. There are issues that are shared by wards 14 and 15 that are not necessarily shared by downtown but that does not mean those Councillors have erected barriers around themselves and refuse to work with anyone else. In fact, I saw people disagree harshly on one topic and be on the same page as each other on the very next agenda item.
It's important that we separate the job from our personal feelings so that we can continue to do our jobs. We do this in the private sector, and need to do it in government as well.
One thing that I will do (that is actually already done now) is take a tour of the other wards with the ward Councillor. This is something many of the Councillors do to help other Councillors know what is going on in their ward, and what improvements they'd like to make. It's also a great way to get to know someone a little better that you might not be as close to. When you spend half a day getting a tour from them and the other half giving a tour to them you really get to see things from a new perspective.