Ute Schmid-Jones, Candidate for Mayor in Hamilton Municipal Election 2018
Details page for this candidate.
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Candidate Details (top)
|Election||Hamilton Municipal Election 2018|
|Website||(no website listed)|
|Bio||Democracy is a value that holds high priority for me.
First, I would like to acknowledge that the City of Hamilton, as a landmass, an organic living entity, currently geographically defines itself humanly, on the traditional lands of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe and Mississauga People. These and other Indigenous people on the North American Continent formed treaties with colonizers from Europe. In Hamilton, we acknowledge and name one of these treaties as “The Dish with One Spoon”. It is a treaty, that we who wish to amplify the Truth and Reconciliation Report in a historical and repeated written and oral tradition, which recognizes an agreement by these indigenous nations to share this territory and protect the land. I also personally acknowledge the Two Row Wampum Belt Agreement that recognizes the sovereignty of the Indigenous People of this territory by the first European Colonizers.
As an elected official, my first objective will always be to share and protect the territorial lands. Hamilton is a part of those lands. I will rise up to honour the treaties.
Here are my political and personal values:
- Ecological Wisdom
- Respect for Diversity
- Social Justice
- Participatory Democracy
Link'd In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ute-schmid-jones-740144b4/
Responses to Questions (top)
|Question||Brief Response||Full Response|
|Council has voted dozens of times since 2008 to advance Hamilton's light rail transit (LRT) project, including voting to submit the plan with a full funding request to the Province in 2013, and voting to accept full funding and implementation from the Province in 2015. Do you support completing the LRT plan? Why or why not?||Yes||I would gladly support shovels being in the ground to get the LRT running as quickly as possible. Effective transit can get cars off the road to reduce congestion as well as to reduce emissions, and you are a lot safer and less likely to be in an accident on public transit than you are driving a vehicle as well. The fact that this project will also take care of replacing ageing infrastructure that otherwise our municipal taxes would have to budget for is an added bonus|
|Hamilton has a legacy of multi-lane, one-way arterial streets dating back to the 1950s. Do you support accelerating the conversion of these streets to two-way? Why or why not?||Yes||The perception of flow of traffic is very different in a two way street, so as someone who moved to Hamilton from an environment that didn't have a lot of one way streets, I found it an adjustment to adapt to the way Hamilton drivers seem accustomed to speeding through downtown. I can also say that the conversion of Duke street, where I live, has definitely made the street safer. Drivers are clearly taking more time and being more aware of things like cyclists and pedestrians as a result. I'm not sure how many people who grew up driving on Hamilton's one way roads see the difference or really understand how baffling getting around the city is to someone like a visiting tourist, and we have to concede that people are resistant to change what is familiar to them, but the economic uplift James Street in particular went through after it was converted to two way should help people to understand the other potential benefits as well.
It also needs to be said, though, that I don't think this is the primary focus of the mayor's job, and that for planning committee issues like this I would be glad to have the input of the experts who would have a better grasp of how changes to specific Hamilton streets will impact the larger city and where the biggest priorities need to be. Like your Vision Zero question above, I suspect the smart place to start is in areas that see the highest rate of accidents today and go from there.
|The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act mandates that cities must be completely accessible by 2025. What changes would you make to ensure Hamilton complies with this mandate?||Yes||I hope to make the city as inclusive as possible on all levels and see it work for everyone here, so of course this is something that we need. Since most businesses in Ontario have failed to meet this requirement, and that law continues not to be enforced, it would be nice for the city to provide a better example. The disruption and cost mean that we couldn't convert every city building at once, but dedicating a group of staff and part of the budget to start getting it done one piece at a time will give us opportunity to celebrate Hamilton becoming more inclusive over and over again and steadily get us there before the deadline.|
|Since the 1950s, most new residential and commercial development in Hamilton has been single-use suburban sprawl. Do you believe Hamilton needs to concentrate new development within the already-built area? Why or why not?||Yes||Sprawl is expensive for cities, and the growing costs of spreading infrastructure beyond the boundaries of the existing city and then maintaining it will continue to strain the city budget, considering that distant subdivisions don't pay as much in property taxes as it costs city hall to maintain it. For that reason alone, it is obvious that Hamilton will have to maximize the value it receives from existing infrastructure in order to remain economically viable. Thankfully, this represents a real opportunity to improve the quality of life for all citizens of the city by building a thriving downtown core filled with amenities and opportunities that Hamilton residents can enjoy and that may encourage more tourism, in addition to growing the city's tax base. We can also choose to develop denser housing not only in the downtown core but also in current subdivisions that already have existing infrastructure|
|Bonus question: If LRT goes ahead, what will you do to ensure Hamilton receives the maximum benefit?||Yes||Once we build it, we can celebrate it. The city can showcase a project like the LRT as a sign that we are moving forward and evolving with the times. One of the ideas I have had would be to create a local lottery to help raise funds to alleviate local poverty with the prizes being things like dinner and a show at one of Hamilton's great independent restaurants and one of our theatres, with LRT tickets to get there. That sort of thing could make a small difference financially while also showcasing the best Hamilton has to offer, promoting local businesses as well, and might help to present the LRT as yet another great thing about Hamilton. More than anything else, however, what the city needs to get the most benefit out of the LRT is also having a strong HSR that is equally good at getting passengers to or from the LRT to everywhere in the city that isn't on the east/west or north/south lines.|
|Do you support improved public transit in Hamilton? If so, what changes do you propose? If not, why not?||Yes||I am very excited by the LRT and would love to see it running in Hamilton, but to really get the full benefit of improving the B line we also need city council to provide better funding and real support for the HSR as a whole. If our transit system overall becomes so effective that people start leaving their cars behind to take public transit instead of thinking of transit as something that only poor people take, that would feel like a real measure of success.|
|Global warming is an existential challenge facing humanity. Do you think Hamilton should play a role in addressing climate change? If so, what should the city be doing? If not, why not?||Yes||I am proud to be dedicated to taking climate change seriously. That's why I ran for the Green Party, and why I have specifically branded myself for this election as Hamilton’s mayoral choice for Environmental and Economic Climate Resilience. The thing to understand about climate change is not only that ignoring it has enormous costs, but that tackling it can have enormous benefits. The clean energy economy is the fastest growing part of the world economy and currently creates jobs faster than any other sector. I would like not only to see Hamilton establish more concrete plans to be prepared for things like more extreme flooding events, but more importantly I would like to see Hamilton positioning itself to serve as a hub for green jobs. What communities seem to be discovering over and over again is that resilience for the local environment and resilience in the local economy isn't an either or proposition, but something that happens together.|
|Should Hamilton be trying to attract more young people to live, work and start businesses here, including the 60,000 students studying at Mohawk College, McMaster University and Redeemer University? If so, what should we be doing? If not, why not?||Yes||Certainly we can understand that in the long term we need to genuinely make Hamilton an attractive place for youth. Those young people will bring Hamilton the new ideas and energy that can lead us into the future. Since we see younger Canadians are less interested in car culture than previous generations were, the LRT and other improvements to public transit would certainly be a good start. Instead of assuming that I have the best ideas to do this, I would rather listen to those emerging young professionals themselves and hear from them what their priorities are so that they can effectively feel heard rather than merely catered to, and try to implement their suggestions. I would even like to consider creating a youth council that mirrors city council to collect their input.|
|Do you support phasing out area rating for transit? Why or why not?||Yes||Area rating seems unsupportable in the long run, and it's hard to understand how one house in Hamilton paying twice as much for transit as another house across the street hasn't already gotten people engaged with the idea of doing something about it. Ideally, I would hope that harmonizing what people across the city are paying for transit services could go hand in hand with improving service in those areas, and that might go a long way towards getting people in the outer wards to buy in to the idea that improving transit really is something that benefits the entire city rather than being something that pits one ward against another.|
|Do you support the "Vision Zero" goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries in Hamilton? If so, what specific actions would you take to implement this policy? If not, why not?||Yes||Of course we would all hope to see our streets as safe as possible. I'm not sure it will ever be possible to completely eliminate 100% of accidents, but I would celebrate every movement we can make in that direction. Perhaps we could start with a policy statement at council that acknowledges that saving lives is more important than minimizing the time of people's commutes, and converting more one way thoroughfares to two way traffic would likely go a long way towards making people safer. Calgary is currently considering reducing speed limits in the city core to 30 km per hour, and that sort of thing would also save lives if we considered it here. Ultimately, though, it's going to be hard to change people's driving patterns, so that's a process of public education and changing driving habit norms so that more drivers understand that the law requires them to give cyclists a safe zone of clearance and so on, and that's really what will have to happen if we ultimately intend to make our streets as safe as we can.|
|Hamilton has been experiencing a slow-motion crisis in housing affordability. Do you support an expanded role for the City to provide more affordable housing? If so, what should Hamilton do? If not, why not?||Yes||Affordable housing is a major issue for a lot of families in a struggling economy. Conveniently, council absolutely has the power to require the inclusion of truly affordable housing in any new development. As the prospect of LRT inspires more developers to invest in Hamilton, it could represent a real opportunity to ensure that the affordable housing people need is a part of growing our city. The struggle seems likelier to be convincing council to make including that housing a priority, rather than having the power to make it happen. We may also need to consider looking at co-housing and other nontraditional housing options to accommodate an aging populace, like a recent program that pairs McMaster students with roommates who are seniors.|