Martinus Geleynse, Candidate for Ward 2 in Hamilton Municipal Election 2010

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Candidate Details (top)

NameGeleynse, Martinus
ElectionHamilton Municipal Election 2010
AreaWard 02
Email martinus@martinus.ca
Website http://www.martinus.ca
BioMartinus Geleynse (rhymes with McKenzie) grew up in a home that was equal parts preacher and teacher. His father is a pastor and his mother is a school teacher. Maybe that explains why Martinus is considered by many to be an excellent communicator.

"Let's just say that debate about difficult issues was common at the dinner table," says Martinus of his upbringing in Hamilton. "Discussion was always lively, and would cover a wide variety of topics including politics, religion, philosophy, and new ideas."

The City of Hamilton is perhaps Martinus' greatest passion. "I have always loved downtown Hamilton," says Geleynse. "Not only did I hang out downtown as a teenager, it was where I chose to buy my first home and to open a number of businesses when I graduated from university. I plan to base myself here for the rest of my life, so I am determined to make it place that is both highly livable and inclusive for everyone."

Martinus completed his university education at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he earned degrees in both Music and Communication Arts and Sciences. His minor was in International Development Studies, driven in part, he says, by his parents' move to Port-au-Prince, Haiti to do international relief work. While at university, Martinus worked as a church music director, not only swelling the ranks of the choir, but also starting children's guitar and singing lessons. While at university, he became a Big Brother to Marquis, whom Martinus notes "was a very cool 8-year old."

After graduation from university, Martinus was faced with an important decision. He always knew he would move back home to Canada, but to which city? "I took some time to really think about this. To be honest, Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal were all on the list, but at the end of the day, the only real choice was Hamilton. This city is the wild west - anyone can be anything. There is ample opportunity to carve out a niche here. Most importantly, however, is that it's also my home, then and now."

Since setting up house and business in Hamilton, Martinus has been named as one of "10 Change Makers Shaking Up City Living" by Hamilton Magazine, and as one of 4 Top Entrepreneurs in Hamilton by Panorama Magazine. He's the founder of Hamilton24, a remarkably successful arts festival now entering its fourth year. After growing over 300% in attendance and participation every year since it began, the two-week event is now the largest festival of its kind in the world.

So why politics? Martinus is quick to offer, "I believe honestly that it's a calling. My father is my greatest role model. He has shown me how through listening deeply to people, and genuinely and passionately engaging people in dialogue, great things can happen. My mother still remembers when I was still in my teens I told her I wanted to be involved somehow in moving Hamilton forward. While I'm proud to say my businesses are making an important contribution, being a Councillor takes that commitment to a whole new level. That's why I'm putting my name forward for consideration by the residents of Ward 2."

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Responses to Questions (top)

QuestionBrief ResponseFull Response
For your campaign, will you be accepting donations from corporations or unions? If so, why? If not, why not? No I am not accepting any corporate or union donations for my campaign. My reasoning is that I wish to maintain transparency and integrity in my campaign; refusing to be in the pocket of anyone. If I am elected, it will be by the will and votes of the citizens of Ward 2.
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 AEGD plan. The last thing this city needs is a $350 million investment based on speculation and the creation of NON-living wage employment. The AEGD is a further investment in urban sprawl at the expense of redevelopment of our brownfields. While it is great for property speculation in the outlying areas, it does not do anything for the redevelopment of our lower city. It most certainly doesn't expand our tax base in a sustainable way. The simple business case is dramatically flawed. I would rather see our commercial tax base expanded by smart investment within our existing city infrastructure.
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 I believe that the posting of public information will be a valuable aid in ensuring increased transparency and accountability in our municipal administration!
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 I excitedly support Hamilton's LRT proposal! This is an initiative that will enhance our downtown dramatically, enable fast and efficient transportation, and encourage development!

To support it, I will work closely with residents, businesses, the HSR, Metrolinx, City staff, and elected officials at all three levels of government to realize optimal implementation.
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 Ridership of public transit should rise along with the much-needed increase in residential intensification in the downtown area. Implementation of the LRT is crucial, and would certainly go a long way in attracting both riders and increased investment in our public transit infrastructure. Furthermore, I would like to see a fare-free zone implemented in the downtown area - similar to the "Free Rail Zone" in Portland. This would allow riders to access public transit at no cost in certain areas, and subsequently encourage increased ridership. Finally, I would also like to see a decreased or eliminated fare option for people on OW and ODSP. By absorbing the semi-soft cost of increased ridership of people on OW and ODSP, we could encourage ridership while empowering people to break from the cycle of poverty through affordable/free access public transit.
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 money from our Future Fund should be spent more directly for the benefit of all Hamiltonians. Furthermore, the fund is not meant to be depleted, but rather self-sustaining. For the City to grant our Future Fund dollars to a sports stadium on land that should be used for expansion of living-wage employment lands is a waste. It's simply a bad investment, that we cannot afford.
Is Hamilton doing enough to support and encourage new investment in our older neighbourhoods? If not, what should the City be doing? No To encourage investment in our neighbourhoods, we must prioritize people and their quality of life. The investment will follow if people deem the area worth investing in.

Aside from being affordable, our older neighbourhoods should be attractive because of their security, their pedestrian-friendliness, and the enforcement of property standards. By curbing urban sprawl, we will also create a greater need for housing, subsequently encouraging would-be sprawlers to reconsider downtown neighbourhoods.

The city must then play its role in providing the infrastructure in which people can thrive. This includes increasing green spaces (particularly important in the Durand neighborhood), encouraging investment in efficient public transit (LRT), reducing traffic speed and quantity, and providing safe pedestrian and bicycle routes. It comes down to making the quality of life in our older neighbourhoods a truly outstanding investment.
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 To change this, I would first ensure that my own behaviour is respectful and collaborative in nature. I believe that disciplined leadership by humble example can go a long way, and genuinely respecting others in spite of differing viewpoints is essential. People in constructive dialogue are able to accomplish infinitely more than people engaged in reactionary confrontations. There is no place for insults, threats, or name-calling in the forum of City Hall.
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 implementation of a proper bicycle network in Hamilton is critical for several reasons. These reasons include:

1. The safety of cyclists when traveling on roads, and the safety of auto traffic while sharing the road with cyclists;
2. Encouraging the use of bicycles rather than cars by increasing the ease of use; and
3. Encouraging health and fitness through cycling while reducing auto traffic and emissions.