Ned Janjic, Candidate for Ward 2 in Hamilton Municipal Election 2010
Details page for this candidate.
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Candidate Details (top)
|Election||Hamilton Municipal Election 2010|
|Bio||Born in Sudbury, Ontario, 1959. Graduated in political science from McMaster University, 1983. Captain of varsity men's basketball team. Identified the real estate potential of Hamilton and purchased my first Investment properties while studying at McMaster.
Today remain active in Hamilton properties: investing, renovating and managing varied real estate interests from single family homes to multi-unit residential properties to commercial properties.
As a Hamilton businessman, created Boulevard Billiards, operated the former Copper Lounge, established a number of commercial ventures in the city.
Married to Gerda, partner of 30 years. Two-step children Paul and Carla.
Current address: Hamilton's historic Rockcastle.
Passion: politics, real estate and ethnic foods.
Recreation: Restoration of my Rockcastle (time permitting). Exploring Hamilton's waterfront and local network of parks and hiking trails with our Old English Sheepdog, Joey.
Responses to Questions (top)
|Question||Brief Response||Full Response|
|Should we spend the Future Fund to build a Pan Am / Ticat stadium on the CP Rail Yard lands? Why or why not?||No||Council is now looking at the CP Rail Yard lands and current members have extended the process another two months, pending departmental reports. I cannot offer an informed opinion on the location until these reports have come in.
However, the Future Fund should not be touched for the construction of the Pan Am stadium. Originally, the Pan Am stadium was to be paid for by all levels of government in addition to private sector funding. If there is not sufficient funding by all parties, the city of Hamilton should review its commitment.
Future Fund monies should be used for infrastructure repairs (6,000 homes flooding after each rainfall) and for the clean-up the industrial 'brownfields' to revitalize these lands. We cannot reasonably expect new companies to move into our city and assume responsibility for the clean-up of these brownfields when there are 'shovel ready' land available in other locations.
|Is Hamilton doing enough to support and encourage new investment in our older neighbourhoods? If not, what should the City be doing?||No||No, in fact the city is hampering new investment through its inflexible and time-consuming by-law enforcement methods.
From personal experience, when I opened up a billiard hall/night club in my own commercial property, the procedures took over 18 months. Building a business is tough enough, yet when you are forced to wait for approval from a myriad of uncoordinated governments departments, plus the regular expenses of rent or a mortgage and utilities, it's enough to deter anyone from setting up in the downtown neighborhoods. I have personally witnessed people run out of resources before a project in the downtown core nears completion. On top of all this, financial institutions stay clear of investments in older neighborhoods for these reasons.
The city has attempted some half-hearted projects to attract investment to the downtown neighborhoods, but none have addressed the underlying structural and institutional obstacles that deter the sort of investors who would finance ventures without government subsidies.
Because small business growth is the cornerstone of my campaign, I am compelled to share an additional personal experience to further reinforce my point. I must also underscore the fact that other municipalities have been more responsive to the needs of both residents and businesses and are doing a better job of harmonizing their procedures and standards.
In my personal residence (Hamilton's historic Rockcastle) I've been subjected to so many bureaucratic obstacles that I understand why there is so little interest in the ownership and restoration of such wonderful properties, of which Hamilton has so many. Rockcastle is 180 years old and I have to comply with the same rules and regulations as the modern apartment buildings next door, yet numerous historical boards have put liens against my property to force me to maintain the building's original condition. This is absurd, because you cannot possibly comply with all of the contradictory standards. Furthermore, Ward 2 -where I live-has many beautiful, older buildings that have fallen into disrepair because banks are reluctant finance such properties
So, when someone from the artistic community invests in a property (renting or owning) and wants to perhaps live on-site as well, I understand the administrative hurdles. Likewise, I understand the frustrations of small businesses and homeowners that are exposed to additional financial risk due to time- consuming and inflexible regulations.
|For your campaign, will you be accepting donations from corporations or unions? If so, why? If not, why not?||Yes||I would gladly welcome any help I could get from donors.|
|The City of Hamilton has committed to doubling transit ridership by 2020. Do you support this goal? If so, how would you realize it?||Yes||Of course, I support this goal. Right now our transit system is perceived as a 'last resort' means of transportation. People should not have to make excuses for taking public transit. We've got to change that mindset to reduce the number of vehicles on our roads and make our core more of a destination, as it is in many other cities.|
|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?||Yes||Yes, absolutely.
The more employment land available the better. The airport is a great asset and its potential should be maximized. It is an important area for Hamilton's future growth. This will benefit our tax base and help create much needed jobs and investment we are looking for. Quite frankly, I cannot see any reasonable opposition to the proposal.
|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||LRT in our city would be fantastic, and especially beneficial to Ward 2. It would drastically change the face of our community. The benefits would be significant.
Unfortunately, the Pan Am stadium issue has dominated the political landscape. We cannot allow vital infrastructure projects to be hijacked by high profile single-issue politics. The transportation system is the backbone of our future growth and prosperity.
We as a city council should forcefully lobby with a unified voice to higher levels of government to ensure the LRT becomes a reality.
|Do you believe that poverty is the most critical issue facing Hamilton today? If so, please outline your solutions. If not, please explain your reasons.||Yes||Yes, absolutely. I observe reluctance on the part of people in authority to realistically deal with the social issues (such as mental health and poverty) of the downtown core. We need to accept the reality of poverty in the core and start addressing it head on. Poverty, when concentrated-as it is in Hamilton's core-is corrosive, it only spreads and grows. Poverty impacts us all, it affects our collective quality of life, it undermines our sense of security and-on the bottom line-it diminishes our property values.
Hamilton absorbs an unfair burden of social service costs.When social service costs were downloaded from the province, it was never intended to benefit some communities more and saddle others with huge debts. I believe social service costs must be shared by the wider community.
The Greater Hamilton Area and the Province must enter into their own social service arrangement, recognizing Hamilton's unique situation. Social services-especially those dealing with children-must be more fully integrated.
|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||Absolutely, all regular financial reports should be posted on the city's website. The most effective, timely and cost-efficient way to disseminate information to the public is through the internet and all reports generated by the City should be made available.|
|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?||No||I fully support anything that can enhance physical fitness and reduce pollution. However, my primary concern with respect to bike paths is safety, as many children and young people are the most likely users. I would like to see a network of bike paths through green spaces and parks where safety can be ensured.
I remain, nonetheless, somewhat skeptical about the safety of cyclists in traffic on many of our existing urban streets and on our main thoroughfares. I recognize the trend toward increased bicycle usage in densely populated European cities, but am not convinced that given our climate and the design of our city that Hamilton will ever become an Amsterdam, for instance.
I would like to see a less ambitious (more realistic) plan that could perhaps be implemented around Mohawk College and McMaster University, and where possible along dedicated bike paths through green spaces. I would limit bike lanes along existing side-streets linking green spaces and/or bike trails
My secondary concerns are how the bike lanes in the core of the city could affect the flow of traffic and how the potential loss of parking spaces in some instances could impact street-level commercial establishments. I do not believe these have been satisfactorily addressed.
As it currently stands, the Master Cycling Plan is neither a practical nor a desirable solution for the city of Hamilton.
|Will your term change people's first impression of Hamilton, and make that first impression more attractive to visitors, students, commuters and newcomers? If so, how?||Yes||I don't really care about the external impression of our community to others. My concerns are with the quality of life of our citizens. Once our own self-image of our community improves, others will change their first impressions of Hamilton.|
|Many observers argue that Council meetings could be more respectful and professional. Do you agree? If so, what will you do to change this?||Maybe||Spirited discussions and emotional debates are what democracy is all about. I have not found the council meetings to be particularly disrespectful or unprofessional. However, I have on occasion found the topic of discussion to be petty and often times drawn out.
There have been clashes of character between members of council, which perhaps could be reduced through established guidelines for debates.
For the most part, council runs efficiently, but appears to be sidelined by technical issues and problems that may be better addressed by support staff, which deals with these issues on a regular basis. Members of council should not hesitate to take a firm stand on the issues. Being on council sometimes means making tough decisions.