Nancy Fiorentino, Candidate for Ward 9 in Hamilton Municipal Election 2010

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Candidate Details (top)

NameFiorentino, Nancy
ElectionHamilton Municipal Election 2010
AreaWard 09
Email nancy@myward9.ca
Website http://www.myward9.ca
BioNancy has lived in Hamilton since immigrating to Canada in 1986. She attended
St. Jean de Brebeuf Secondary School, followed by McMaster University where she completed her degree in Political Science. Nancy has worked in the public sector for several municipalities across Southern Ontario, and has experience and knowledge working directly with community residents, politicians, and the public and private sector.

Nancy has lived in Ward 9 for over 16 years. She presently continues to reside here with her husband Tony and daughter Sophia.

Nancy has been passionate about politics from a very young age. Having witnessed first-hand the devastation that political instability can bring, Nancy wants to contribute to our city by using her knowledge and experience of municipal government and politics to bring about positive change.

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Responses to Questions (top)

QuestionBrief ResponseFull Response
Many observers argue that Council meetings could be more respectful and professional. Do you agree? If so, what will you do to change this? Yes I do agree that Council meetings could be more respectful and professional. If elected, I will review the current code of conduct policy and the procedural by-law to ensure that they clearly stipulate the decorum for proceedings and to further ensure that there is a form of restitution in the policy for those that are continously rude and/or disruptive.

Many municipalities currently require that the 'rude' councillor apologize to not only the person that has been insulted or disrespected, but also to all present in the Chamber. They also go an extra step and enable the Mayor and Clerk to adjourn the meeting should things get out of hand or ask the member that is being disruptive or rude to leave the room and not participate in the discussions. This then places pressure on the councillor to be more respectful or face media and public scruitny for not representing their constituents well if they are unable to participate in the meetings.

Another way to ensure that councillors are respectful is to change the standing committee meeting times to the evening to enable more public to be present and also to have all meetings broadcast perhaps in a web based form through the City's website. If the councillor is continuosly rude and unprofessional, then the public will see it and can decide themselves if they want that sort of representation on council.

I personally will not tolerate any rude, disrespectful, or unprofessional behaviour towards anyone on Council. I will call them on their behaviour through the Clerk and the Mayor to ensure that professionalism is maintained. Such behaviour would not be tolerated at any other place of employment and this is no different.
Is Hamilton doing enough to support and encourage new investment in our older neighbourhoods? If not, what should the City be doing? No Hamilton is not doing enough to support and encourage new investment in our older neighbourhoods. We must encourage investment in older neighbourhoods by providing more and better incentives and reasons for developers to assist in the process so that we can attract businesses and residents to those areas. We must create a beautification program that focuses heavily in these areas and to clean up the brownfield sites, to create sustainable infill development and to attract people and money!

Older neighbourhoods are valued heavily in other municipalities and are considered a great asset. Hamilton must do the same. We need to revitalize the older neighbourhoods and promote their significance and contribution to the greater city. They have great history and a lot to offer and cannot be neglected.
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? No Although I support the expansion of transit services and increased ridership on transit and note the many benefits of transit services to the residents, businesses, and the environment, I do not support Hamilton's LRT proposal at this time for the following reasons:

a) The capital expenditure for the LRT is very costly and will burden the taxpayer significantly. I do not believe or even remotely see in the future that the other levels of government will pay or assist in paying for Hamilton's LRT. With a capital cost of over $300 million dollars for a LRT line from McMaster University to Eastgate Mall, it truly is false hope to think that the Province will assist and then set a precedent to assist other municipalities with similar requests.

b) We have an aging infrastructure that needs to be addressed first! What is the sense of putting down LRT lines (assuming that we can afford it) only to tear it down to fix roads or sewers (etc) in the near future. Not only will this cost the taxpayer more because we are doing things twice, but it will also disrupt commuters, transit services, and local businesses twice (or more) and until construction has been completed. Let's get the aging infrastructure that we all depend on up to at least minimum standards first, if not much better than that, and then we can talk LRT.

c) A common misconception regarding the LRT is that it will eliminate the use of bus services. This is not the case. The LRT being proposed, is only for the main roads and routes in core areas. Transit services are still required in suburban areas that will feed into the LRT line. Therefore the cost of the LRT is not justified at the end of the day when it only is proposed in specific core areas of the City and not other core areas, and also it creates an added cost for transit feeds into the main line.

d) There are transit alternatives to the option of LRT that require further review. Alternatives such as a Bus Rapid Transit service with a dedicated bus lane will enable an increase in the frequency of bus service per routes, and will also cost the City of Hamilton less than 1/3 of the cost of an LRT line. It will enable immediate action (in the short term) to take place to advance the interest of the transit user and assist local businesses in getting the customers to them. It will also enable the current transit buses to be used to their fullest capabilities. If money is to be requested or spent, then why not for added services to areas that are currently under serviced rather than using more money to simply place LRT only in core areas. We cannot forget about the quickly developing new areas of the City who do not have transit services at all.

e) Timing. The LRT proposal will take many years to be fully implemented. We need to increase transit usage and ridership NOW! The LRT is not a short term solution and does not benefit the transit user in the immediate future.
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 I do support increasing transit ridership. There are many ways to achieve this goal including but not limited to:

- reviewing current ridership trends on all routes and determining which routes are successful and which are not and why
- assessing the demographics and the needs of the community in relation to service routes, transit fares, accessibility, and so forth
- the marketing and advertising of transit
- examining the frequency of stops that take place on average per route and assessing if the frequency of stops is contributing to a longer ride thus discouraging ridership. If so, one easy remedy is to add additional service to the popular route
- time of travel. Assessing the duration of time between pick-ups

In general, to increase ridership you need a transit service that is convenient, efficient, and priced fairly.
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 The City of Hamilton needs to be open, transparent, and accountable to its residents and taxpayers. Let's begin by revising the City of Hamilton's website by making it more user friendly and accessible to all. Public information such as meeting agendas and minutes, public consultation meetings for Planning matters or other matters, and so forth need to be easily accessible and readily available. The user needs to be able to access the information quickly and efficiently, and that is not the case presently.

Furthermore, a thorough review of the public notice policy needs to take place and revisions need to be made to enable active engagement from the public in all decisions made. Having public engagement enables the public to review the required documentation or reports and provide feedback. This is what an open and transparent process is about! Furthermore, all and any budget documentation should be publicly posted and made accessible.

Finally, committee and council meetings that go in-camera should be questioned each time they do so to ensure that they are abiding by the Municipal Act. It is imperative that councillors sitting on Council pose this question to the Clerk each time it is suggested that they go in-camera to ensure that it is being done according to legislation and to enable open and transparent governance.

If elected, I will not tolerate any in-camera sessions unless they are for the reasons stipulated in the Municipal Act and they are thoroughly warranted. I will not 'simply' go in-camera because the Clerk has advised. Having worked directly in muncipal government with the Municipal Act, I am able to use that knowledge to ensure that all meetings are publicly advertised, accessible and open to the public as much as possible.
For your campaign, will you be accepting donations from corporations or unions? If so, why? If not, why not? Yes For the 2010 municipal election, I will be accepting donations from corporations or unions for the following reasons:

a)If a corporation or union donates to my campaign then they are publicly accepting my platform and objectives and by donating it is their way of showing their support for the platform that I have posted publicly from day one of my nomination. I stress that it is they that are supportive of my initiatives - not the other way around.

b) The option to refuse a donation from an individual, a corporation, or a union is available to election candidates should they wish to forgo a donation if they feel that it is being made with inappropriate intentions. All donations received will be reviewed prior to their formal acceptance to ensure that they do not contradict what benefits Ward 9 or the City of Hamilton or the objectives that I have publicly noted.

c) Unlike the City of Toronto, the receiving of campaign donations from unions or corporations is permitted in the election process for the City of Hamilton under the Municipal Elections Act. If there is enough opposition to overturn the current policy in Hamilton of accepting such donations, then a review of the policy is certainly warranted and I am very open to that process.

d) The Municipal Elections Act clearly outlines the rules/law to follow when accepting campaign donations. I intend to and will follow the Municipal Elections Act accordingly.
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 The bike sharing program is an excellent program that is well underway in other major municipalities such as Montreal and the use of the program is outstanding! I encourage the promotion of alternative means of transportation and making cycling safer in Hamilton. Better access for cyclists up and down the escarpement is also needed and I support this intiative.
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 Poverty is one of the many (and I stress many) critical issues facing Hamilton today. The lack of employment certainly does not assist in alleviating poverty in Hamilton. Although money is a key factor in reducing poverty, it is not the only factor. Housing issues and language barriers for instance are two of the many variables that are indirectly affecting poverty in Hamilton. No amount of money pumped into the system will assist if the core issues are not addressed. Its time to address those issues and make Hamilton a better place to live, work, and play for all those who want to call it home.
Should we spend the Future Fund to build a Pan Am / Ticat stadium on the CP Rail Yard lands? Why or why not? No The Future Fund money should be spent on the aging infrastructure, transit services, and other essential services that will assist all residents and businesses owners of the City of Hamilton.
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? No I do not support the approval of the expansion of the urban boundary lands around Hamilton International Airport at this time. There needs to be more research and review, more consultation with the public, and more community workshops and information sessions in order to seek public input on the matter.
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 do hope that my term will change the way in which Hamilton is viewed, and especially ward 9 in my case. By engaging the community in decision making, we are not only bringing together City Hall and the residents and business owners but we are creating a relationship that is working towards fulfilling the same goal - to make the City a great place to live, work and visit. I will create avenues to engage the people and work towards building the trust again and addressing the issues that will assist in changing people's first impression of Hamilton. If people in Hamilton are unhappy with the City, that negativity will be viewed by visitors and others coming to the City as well. It's time to reverse that trend.