Fred Eisenberger, Candidate for Mayor in Hamilton Municipal Election 2010
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Candidate Details (top)
|Election||Hamilton Municipal Election 2010|
|Bio||Mayor Fred Eisenberger is running for re-election because he believes passionately in our community.
Mayor Fred wants to continue providing the leadership that is building momentum toward a Hamilton of the future that is clean, green, and prosperous.
Mayor Fred's leadership has meant we are now in the midst of a period of city building in Hamilton, with top-to-bottom renovations of Hamilton's city hall, the central library and historic farmer's market, plus advanced plans to remake downtown Gore Park and York Street.
Mayor Fred has championed the preservation of Hamilton's heritage, spearheading the purchase and renovation of the Lister Block, a landmark downtown building which will soon house city staff.
Mayor Fred's green initiatives include an anti-idling bylaw, the purchase of hybrid buses, the installation of bike racks on buses, and the setting of a robust target of 65-per-cent waste diversion from household garbage.
Advance engineering work is now being done for an east-west Light Rapid Transit line, which will help revitalize and transform the entire city.
Hamilton is home to a vibrant, diverse and growing creative industries sector that includes film, music, design, digital media, festivals, performing and visual arts. Whether it's the James North Art Crawl, or the Winona Peach Festival or the cluster of digital media firms that are setting up shop in our city, creative industries are an important part of the local economy. In 2010 under Mayor Fred's leadership, creative industries were identified as it's own sector in the city's new Economic Development Strategy, taking its place alongside the other industrial pillars in Hamilton
Economic development has been a key focus, with Mayor Fred presiding over the location of a Tim Hortons coffee roasting facility in the Ancaster Business Park, the securement of Canada Bread as the anchor business in the city's new Red Hill Business Park, and welcoming to Hamilton Max Aicher (North America) Inc., which is taking over and restarting the No. 1 Bar Mill and the No. 3 Bloom and Billet Mill, formerly owned by U.S. Steel.
Mayor Fred has been the loudest and proudest advocate for the Pan Am games in Hamilton, which will mean new athletic facilities, an opportunity for our young people to train at the highest level, and a legacy of increased health and wellness for the entire community.
Prior to his election as mayor, Fred served three terms as an alderman and also served as chair of the Hamilton Port Authority.
Hamilton has the third largest proportion of residents who are immigrants, after Toronto and Vancouver, and their ranks include Fred, who was born in Amsterdam in 1952 and came to Canada with his family at age eight.
Fred graduated with honours from Hamilton's Mohawk College in planning and community development.
Fred grew up in Hamilton's east end, where he continues to reside with Diane, his wife of more than 30 years, and their two grown children, Brett and Alida.
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?||Yes||My preferred location for the stadium is well-known. The West Harbour presented the best opportunity for revitalizing the city and was endorsed by the entire city council numerous times over several years. However, since the main legacy tenant rejected that location late in the process we needed to find a compromise.
The CP rail lands location meets some of our city building objectives and meets the main criteria of the legacy tenant, which is to be near a highway. Along with development of the West Harbour location, this compromise allows us to move forward and realize the potential of the Pan Am initiative.
The genius of our political system is that it is biased toward compromise. Often the compromise option is the strongest. The Future Fund is for legacy projects in the city and the Pan Am facilities - the stadium and the velodrome - are going to be long-lasting legacies for the community and so I wholeheartedly support the use of the fund for this legacy purpose.
|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||We have already made good progress on the cycling front. Under my leadership as Mayor we implemented bike racks on buses, created more secure bicycle parking downtown, and included a velodrome as part of Hamilton's Pan Am Games participation. Implementing our Cycling Master Plan is a key element of my "Livable Streets" policy, which I announced during the Open Streets festival.
The Cycling Master Plan was updated under my leadership and it is crucial to take the next step and implement the Cycling Master Plan. Why? Because without an interconnected network of on-street and off-road bike routes, we simply can't achieve our transportation goals as a community. Implementing a bicycle sharing program sends a powerful message both inside and outside our community that we value bicycles as a practical form of urban transportation.
Advance work is already being done by staff in the city's Smart Commute office. I support improving access up and down the Mountain. I want Hamilton to be a world leader in being a bicycle friendly city.
|For your campaign, will you be accepting donations from corporations or unions? If so, why? If not, why not?||No||I am not accepting corporate or union donations for my campaign. While corporations and unions play important roles in our society, individual members of our community are my priority.|
|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 support the goal of doubling transit ridership by 2010. I have made improving public transit one of my five main priorities as Mayor. Securing Light Rail Transit for Hamilton is the key goal under this priority. Under my leadership we have already acquired $3 million in funding from Metrolinx to undertake advance engineering work necessary for the project, the only municipality in Ontario to receive such funding.
Also under my leadership the city has already submitted its business case, ensuring that Hamilton is at the head of the queue for funding.
During this campaign I announced I would create and personally lead a government relations SWAT team made up of civic and community partners to press other levels of government for LRT funding, with a goal of $850 million to $1.5 billion in necessary funding. This team will join me to take the case for LRT funding directly to the responsible ministers in Ottawa and Queen’s Park. As the same time, we are already doing the advance engineering work necessary to ensure that our community remains at the front of the line for funding.
|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?||Maybe||I support the Airport Employment Growth District but I favour a phased approach to development. That means we need to focus on brownfields and then turn to greenfields as needed, consistent with the provincial government's "Places to Grow" strategy. I supported public consultations on the Airport Employment Growth District going forward sooner rather than later.
Ultimately I support giving a green light to the development of 50 per cent of the Airport Employment Growth District. When that 50 per cent is fully developed the city should undertake a municipal comprehensive review to assess the municipality's need for additional employment lands including a review and analysis of the absorption rate and the availability of existing brownfield and greenfield sites in the city's employment areas.
We have to balance the need for development and the resulting jobs with the need to protect agricultural land. It a balancing act but I believe it is possible to strike the correct balance.
|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 is one of my five main priorities as mayor. Under my leadership I secured $3 million in funding from Metrolinx to do advance engineering work and submitted our business case. LRT will provide an economic uplift for the entire community. In my second term, I will establish and personally lead an LRT SWAT team of government relations experts and community partners to secure government funding of LRT for Hamilton.|
|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||I have made the fight against poverty a key element of my campaign.
I believe the cycle of poverty can be broken if the entire community works together toward this goal. As Mayor, I have advocated building stronger, safer communities by supporting community revitalization projects. I fully endorse the plan to work with all community partners to raise and attract funding to establish a group of community developers who can concentrate on Hamilton’s high priority neighbourhoods. Ultimately, this initiative will help low-income families enjoy a better quality of life.
I continue to support the efforts of Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction (HRPR) and fully endorse each of its action priorities. As Mayor, I am committed to the implementation of a universal nutrition program for all children in school.
No child should ever have to go to or leave school feeling hungry. I believe that a universal nutrition program can be made a top priority with an urgent deliverable in our community. A partnership with the HRPR, the Hamilton Community Foundation, Boards of Education, the City and the business community – including the Jobs and Prosperity Collaborative – will ensure that all of the key stakeholders are working together to deal with the root causes of improper nutrition and provide the necessary resources to implement a community nutrition program.
During this campaign I also committed to seeking official certification of Hamilton as a Fair Trade community because I believe that everyone in our community deserves a living wage. I want Hamilton to be a global leader in ensuring that people in other communities around the world also deserve a living wage.
|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||Most city information is already open source in the sense that it is publicly available for the asking. If there are ways to increase accessibility for the public I would favour looking at them as I believe the public interest is best served by putting out as much information as possible in a timely fashion.|
|Is Hamilton doing enough to support and encourage new investment in our older neighbourhoods? If not, what should the City be doing?||No||We have done a lot but we need to do more. We waived development charges in the downtown in order to encourage investment. We have created a registry of vacant buildings in order to prevent demolition by neglect and to preserve heritage buildings. Some $6.6 million was provided to low-income homeowners and landlords to repair or modify their homes or rental units. We have restored a number of landmarks, such as the Queen Victoria statue in Gore Park and the Gore Park fountain in order to revitalize our public spaces. We have instituted an anti-graffiti program and we have increased the police presence in the downtown. Bringing LRT to Hamilton will provide an economic uplift all along the line. Brownfield development is a priority. In my second term my Hamilton 360 economic development team will bring new investment to older neighbourhoods.|
|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||We have already made great strides with new anti-graffiti measures, by reviving a program to plant flowers on traffic medians, thereby erasing urban blight, and through our Clean and Green by 2015 program of cleaning up the city.
Going forward, our Pan Am Games initiative will be a driving force in cleaning up our community through brownfield re-development, new sport infrastructure, and a legacy of increased activity in wellness. Hamilton will never be the same as we welcome the world with open arms during the 2015 Pan Am Games.
|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 agree that there is a certain perception of council but it is important to keep two factors in mind. First, the Municipal Act forbids council members from meeting as a group except at a formal council meeting. That means council is working things out literally for the first time in public and in real time, unlike other levels of government where positions get worked out behind closed doors in caucus meetings.
The second factor is that the news media by its nature focuses on controversies and disagreements. That means the media does not report on the hundreds of hours of committee and council meetings when members agree, accept friendly amendments, and get things done.
Are there controversies? Yes. Does the news media report on them? Yes, as they should. Does council function well for the most part? Yes it does. Can we do better? We can always do better and always strive to do so. Is progress being made? Absolutely!
Despite the perception, Council has been working better than ever before. I want to continue to build on the success that we have achieved so far. Under my leadership, for the first time, Council and Senior City staff completed a strategic planning session to set council and community building priorities.
We also went through a vision exercise which means that for the first time, we have a city vision for all council members and city staff as a basis to work from. That vision is: "To be the best place in Canada to raise a child; promote innovation, engage citizens, and provide diverse economic opportunities."
We have made excellent progress, we have achieved success, and now I want to keep building momentum towards the prosperous Hamilton of the future that we all want.