Gino Speziale, Candidate for Mayor in Hamilton Municipal Election 2010
Details page for this candidate.
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Candidate Details (top)
|Election||Hamilton Municipal Election 2010|
|Website||(no website listed)|
Responses to Questions (top)
|Question||Brief Response||Full Response|
|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||To achieve this goal of changing people's perspectives and first impression of Hamilton, I as Mayor would institute and charge all councilors to obtain an accurate census from their respective constituents on how to improve, revitalize and to embrace the changes that need to be made by the people and for the people. Only citizens can see the real light that shines on their community. By instituting their recommendations which could and in some cases would infringe and superseding Federal and Provincial laws.
At best, laws of the land are created by individuals that are so far removed from the common citizen of Hamilton and Region that their decisions at the Provincial and Federal levels respectively, causes greater hardships for our citizens then beneficial as it was intended. The negative impacts of our City have greater challenges than most other Municipalities. Such as having the HIGHEST UNEMPLOYMENT in the nation, being the highest TAXED Region in the Province, having the highest CRIME RATE PER CAPITA in the Nation and just about TWENTY FIVE PERCENT(25%) of the population is living on or below the POVERTY LINE. All these unsustainable conditions create enormous and immense hardships and stresses on our citizens. Statistic show that the percentage of citizens throughout this Region are among the highest living with all levels and stages of depression. These alarming levels have not been seen or documented since the second world war.
Most of which is induced by living standards and conditions that should not be and are mostly forced upon the citizens by laws that deter the good citizens of our Region to do the right thing in bad times. By shear numbers of the population, each community would present their councilor a list of recommendations (demands) that may include the elimination of crime such as drugs, prostitution and gang activity from their community and a completion date to ensure the mandates are completed. The councilors will be held accountable to ensure all is completed within the time allotted to the satisfaction of the concerned citizens. If the mandate is not completed or did not meet the citizens expectation, the community could start proceedings to remove the councilor from his or her position under a new law which I as Mayor will put on the table for a vote and ensure it passes. Any councilor that votes against it will show their true colour and motive for their position in Council. This is were laws of the land could be infringed upon. Laws will be passed that states "Any person that infringes or violates another person in any way and found guilty will be fined no less than $25,000 per charge. Court and policing costs will be covered and the difference be given to the victim. Any person caught in the act of illegal entry of a citizens home will have no rights of defence and any actions taken by the citizen to protect his or her home and family will not be chargeable in this act of defence.
These are a few examples of the necessary changes needed to turn the City and Region around. At which point all systems are in place, the natural metamorphosis from being labeled "The armpit of Ontario", "The filthy City", "The City with nothing to offer" and many other negative impressions will be replaced with valid statements such as " The safest City in Canada", "True City of ambition" and "The City to work in, raise a child in, play and enjoy in and most importantly, to retire in".
|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||There are over 160 clubs registered with the Ontario Cycling association, ranging from a small group of friends, to organizations of several hundred members. Clubs organize a variety of programs and events, such as regular training rides, recreational tours, educational clinics on racing, touring, mountain biking as well as social get-together.
Local cycling clubs include, All The Right Gears (Stoney Creek), Elite Health, Hamilton Cycling Club, Mazur Coaching, Ontario Masters Cycling Association, Pierik's Cycle, Team Cross all of Hamilton and Wheels of Bloor (Dundas), Neworld Cycle of Burlington, Team Nanoblur - Gears (Carlisle). The interest and spirit in cycling is evident and growing but the majority of cyclists are individuals using their bicycles for practical means of transportation to a destination and by leisure enthusiasts riding aimlessly.
Again the city and the Region of Hamilton Wentworth falls behind other Municipalities in promoting cycling as a practical means of transportation as well as the Environmental and physical benefits. Our roads are not "share friendly" with vehicles and because of our heavy industry, transport and all other large trucks have little space on their respective lane to negotiate around cyclist which acts as a deterrent for many people not to cycle on any main arteries.
The cycling clubs mentioned above and the Ontario Cycling association must take part in the consulting and layout (blue print) of any bike lanes. These people are the experts and know the shared roads and off roads better than any Mayor or Councilor. These experts see the bike lanes as automobile drivers see the road in front of them. All precautions and considerations will be identified by these experts and this will assure all bike lanes are as safe as could be. And just as important it will be inviting for all.
The newly designed bike lanes will promote itself. With the introduction of bike tunnels in high traffic areas and properly attended rest stops which hands out free bottled water and equipped with first aid supplies on the scenic routes. This will reflect the efforts, expertise and commitments on behalf of The City of Hamilton on promoting cycling and make it enjoyable for all. If presented and implemented properly, hundreds if not thousands of vehicles will be taken off the road even for short periods of time. And when these short stints are added up both the citizens and the Environment wins.
As Mayor, bike lanes which would include construction of overpasses and tunnels would be one of the top priorities to move Hamilton forward literally! All road construction and projects will have the bike lane mandated in the scope of work without exception. Many trails will be carved out of the side of the escarpment which will have an gradual incline with rest stops. Diverting natural water flow from creeks and streams from the top of the escarpment will create waterfalls to enhance these trails and with a breath taking view of the lower City. We will have a near perfect scenic trail that will very inviting and delight all.
The City of Hamilton will allocate funds for the promotion of cycling throughout the City and Region and will use the local media groups to inform the public. These on and off road bike lanes and trials will be state of the art and with the annual funding allocated by the City of Hamilton and the assistance of the many cycling clubs in our area, Hamilton will be a prime location to entertain local and international cycling events.
|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||We did the research on Light Rail Transit. Many cities across the USA are having serious issues with their LRT. From congesting roads to the cost of implementation and maintaining the LRT, people in various cities are very upset that their taxes have increased to offset the operating costs. Ridership was down in most of these cities. The politicians of the City of Hamilton are not competent to see past their noses and they have proved this over and over again.
The Hamilton taxpayer is under a great deal of financial pressures from all levels of Governments and would not be able to sustain such a cost to maintain this system. Until the city council becomes proactive and introduces sustainable endeavours which generate revenue that would cover the cost of such a transportation as the LRT.
As Mayor, I will introduce revenue generating projects that not only would cover the cost of LRT but I will also reduce taxes so the citizens can afford to ride on the LRT.
City council has either lost complete touch with the citizens of Hamilton or they have chosen to turn a blind eye to the reality of the state of the City and the people. To introduce this LRT within the next four years would guarantee failure and the taxpayer will be left holding the bill which they cannot afford.
|For your campaign, will you be accepting donations from corporations or unions? If so, why? If not, why not?||No||No we will not be accepting donations from corporations or unions.
As we all know and recognize donations from the these two organizations is only a short term investment on their part for long time returns. Decisions made by any elected persons will always have the influence to ensure that extra considerations are made to the corporations or unions in which gave financial support. This only leads to unfair practices and discriminates against all parties other than the corporations or unions.
|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||My first critical priority as Mayor will be to ensure that the standard of living for "ALL" seniors across Hamilton and Region are elevated over and beyond the national standard.
Adequate living space and all furnishings, abundance of food and drink and any activities our seniors wish to engage in will be accommodated.
As Mayor I WILL use all my convictions and courage to confront the Federal and Provincial Governments and ensure that the taxes portion of our seniors electric and natural gas bills WILL be removed.
This includes elimination of all expenses incurred for the purpose of travelling within the Region. This includes parking expenses, bus expenses, Darts expenses, taxi expenses (up to 8.00 dollars a day for taxi).
All medical related expenses including prescription drug cost liabilities will be eliminated.
All home repair and maintenance expenses will be eliminated including house cleaning to exterior ground maintenance and all materials needed to achieve these goals.
Social support will be available at any time for any requests by our seniors. From social calls to the seniors home just to talk to chauffeur service for such things as shopping, appointments and general outings all awhile giving companionship and support.
The major negative impact to our seniors living in this lonely, frustrating and claustrophobic condition we call poverty is the psychological mental stress of having the overwhelming feeling of abandonment and being alone with no hope.
In addressing our seniors first will have a positive impact on the "100,000" plus people living in poverty in our Region.
As Mayor I will oversee that all our citizens living within these substandard conditions brought upon by poverty will be given the tools in financial and moral support necessary to be lifted out of this immense hole that has taken your City Government 20 years to dig by shear absents and and without intervention. I will give each and every able body and willing citizen the opportunity to change their lives and get back the dignity and rightful respect that we all deserve. We are all here to help each other and I will make sure that no one is left behind.
The following statistics illustrates the immense failures and absents of convictions and due diligence by this current City council and their predecessors going back at least 20 years and if the same mind sets are elected on October 25 2010 the following numbers and percentages will definitely increase.
Hamilton Poverty Matrix Estimated Number of Seniors Living in Poverty
Total population living on or below the poverty line: 100,000+
Seniors (65+) Living on or below the poverty line: 17, 000+ (17% +)
Our seniors are the pillars and salt of our society. Our generation is the product of our seniors hard work and endless efforts. The phrase "Blood, Sweat and Tears" was coined by our seniors because they lived it. Without these gracious people we would not have the standard of living in which we do and enjoy.
|Is Hamilton doing enough to support and encourage new investment in our older neighbourhoods? If not, what should the City be doing?||No||Its not been in the last four years or seven years but at least twenty years that city councils have been governing under the "Knee-jerk" reaction policy. Its an action reaction policy that has allowed the older neighbourhoods to fall apart at the seams. Although there are distinct neighbourhoods - which to no credit to the city politicians but the citizens that occupy these buildings.
With their efforts and abilities these buildings are kept with historic accuracy and an friendly welcoming Ora which attracts visitors. Hess Village with its abundance of social gathering buildings which are well over one hundred years old and the European style landscape where people enjoy their evenings as if they they were in Saint-Germain-des-Prés street in Paris France.
These proprietors of these old neighbourhoods have been very diligent and proactive to ensure their respective businesses thrive and create an relaxing welcoming environment which people voluntarily return over and over again.
The citizens of Locke Street have cornered the city when it comes to turning back the clock of time. With high lighted details of the buildings and offering good old-fashioned homemade goods and more antiques that one could imagine. If you could not see the cars on the street one would think they were in 1950! These are the attributes of this distinct neighbourhood As Hess Village, Locke Street has a following which keeps coming back.
Sections of James Street North and South have also been kept up. James Street attracts various ethnic groups to patronise their grocery stores and social clubs as well as a few art studios. We have witnessed buildings physically crumble before our very eyes such as the Tivoli Theatre. This is an indicator to reflect and appreciate the buildings for what they represented in their day and its time to move on and replace all of the adjoining buildings with new and better energy efficient structures.
The main issue of James Street as one nears Barton Street is crime. With the prostitution issues along Barton Street, brings with it drugs and gangs which at best intimidate potential patrons to this part of the city. The city has poured millions of dollars into parts of Barton Street to revitalize the streets with new sidewalks and boulevards but have allowed some buildings along theses parts to decay and are no more than an eye sore. If not for the General Hospital located on Barton Street, the city would not have allocated any funds for improvements.
To encourage new investment in our older neighbourhoods the city needs to investigate, scrutinize and must be willing to invest millions of dollars in reconstruction (not City Hall). The city council must have the ability to see opportunity starring them in the face.
Roads with high volume traffic such as Barton Street between James Street and Gage Avenue is a perfect example. Because of the high volume of vehicles 75% of the work is done to attract patrons because they are already there but they just keep driving by. The other 25% is to build and create a theme or very inviting environment to have most of these vehicles voluntarily stop along this stretch.
Major demolition and building construction along with distinct roads and sidewalks which would be unique. Eye catching art, water fountains and massive squares filled in with restaurants, bistros, sidewalk cafes and a continuous art and theatres shows to entertain the people are a few examples were people would go out of there way to experience this exciting as well as relaxing and peaceful settings. This would not be unique to Hamilton, thousands of cities offer this inviting environment around the world.
As Mayor I will assure you that city council will work along side with business people and investors to have a balanced harmony. Taxes need to be lowered. The heavy burden of taxation from all three levels of government collectively is no longer sustainable by home owners, tenants and the business sector. A tax reduction moratorium must be put in place to the various business sectors and for a time period of three to five years until establishments are firmly on their feet and the patrons repeatedly frequent them.
To ensure these new rejuvenated areas continue to be prosperous for all businesses and safe for the patrons across the Hamilton Wentworth Region, the city councils will need to impose tougher laws protecting patrons. To educate and deter people from committing crimes is an investment within itself.
To encourage the business sector to reinvest in the Hamilton Wentworth region, any expansion or renovation to the business will NOT be punished by having their taxes increased. Increased taxation only acts as a deterrent for expansion. The underground economy has now surpassed the legal commerce in respect to selling or trading services and goods. The tax needs to be lowered to the point where people feel that taxes are minimal and fair and are willing to pay ther