Matteo Gentile, Candidate for Ward 2 in Hamilton Municipal Election 2010
Details page for this candidate.
In This Page:
Candidate Details (top)
|Hamilton Municipal Election 2010
|I was born and raised in Hamilton by Italian immigrant parents who like many immigrant parents migrated to this great city in the hopes of prosperity for themselves and for their children. I attended Mohawk College and soon after began a career in the service industry. My hard work and dedication resulted in leading and directing international corporate divisions culminating in owning & operating my own local restaurants. I was fortunate to marry up to Rosemary and we are the proud parents of Alyssa and Victoria.
Responses to Questions (top)
|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 need to accelerate the cycling plan. Studies show that well marked bike lanes reduce accidents helping motorists become more aware. It's a green initiative that I support and great exercise!
|Should we spend the Future Fund to build a Pan Am / Ticat stadium on the CP Rail Yard lands? Why or why not?
|The stadium needs to be built on lands that we already own. What leverage do we have to negotiate with CP to buy that land? None. And none of the numbers being thrown around includes the purchase of these lands. It is terrible this council has fumbled this for so long. The new council can get on this quickly. We do have 4 years to build this. First, we need to ensure we have an agreement in principle with all parties to satisfy HOSTCO ensuring we get the games and the funding for A stadium. All HOSTCO really wants to see is that the city and the legacy tenant (Ticats) will work together and agree to list of sites. We can quickly and effectively evaluate ALL sites that meet the following criteria:
a. City owned property
b. Highway access
c. Current Brownfield or underutilized green space
d. Able to fit a minimum 25,000 seat stadium with adequate parking for that size stadium
e. Tiger Cat approval
This time we can get it right by following process and due diligence.
|Is Hamilton doing enough to support and encourage new investment in our older neighbourhoods? If not, what should the City be doing?
|This question is near and dear to me as I am passionate about redeveloping our older and priority neighborhoods. As Coucillor for Ward 2, I would work hard to limit the amount of residential development occurring in the "suburbs" or the Hamilton outskirts. If you limit or restrict this development, developers will look at opportunities that the redevelopment of our priority neighborhoods will present.
This will also have the effect of improving our infrastructure without taxpayer's money. It will improve our image and moral as a city. It will create jobs that are accessible to everyone using our current transit system. There are so many benefits to the city if we focus on redeveloping these neighborhoods and I have been a long time advocate of this strategy.
|The City of Hamilton has committed to doubling transit ridership by 2020. Do you support this goal? If so, how would you realize it?
|I do support this goal. We need to get more people involved in mass transit to reduce emissions. We also need to get the HSR or LRT by then to be a self-sustaining entity. We cannot continue to fund its losses. Mass transit needs to be more affordable for seniors and students and needs to incent car owners to take it. We need to expand the grid making HSR more accessible to all areas of the city instead of the predominantly main corridors it now focuses on.
|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?
|This is a double edged sword for me. In principle I do not support developing green space when we have a number of Brownfields that must be remediated and developed. We have to focus on remediating the Brownfields to bring residents and jobs to the city's core. I'm even in favor of taking on the task of remediating the Brownfields in an effort to attract industry that want "shovel ready" lands. And when you revitalize the core, you revitalize the city.
|Many observers argue that Council meetings could be more respectful and professional. Do you agree? If so, what will you do to change this?
|With too many issues, this council seemed to be more interested in self-serving personal agendas instead of truly having a vision for the whole city and co-operating with that spirit. It also seemed there were too many "deals" being made amongst councillors to support each other's initiatives (call it vote buying). Operating this way makes for a dysfunctional council.
I have a few guiding principles. One, have integrity. Do what you say and say what you do. Two, do it with respect. People often have differing views, but when you articulate your views with respect and integrity, you will garner support. Three, any perspective has to have due diligence and process to support that perspective and four, if it means spending, how are we going to pay for it without increasing or adding taxes or debt.
I believe if you act this way consistently, you will garner support from fellow councillors and build a professional and respectful council.
|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?
|Transparency is essential. I believe much of the apathy felt towards politicians has to do with the lack of transparency. We need to change the culture and the "profession" of politics. I have raised the issue with Mayor Eisenberger. For example, have you ever tried reading through the minutes of council minutes, you only know of motions that pass or don't. It does not tell you WHO voted which way. And this is deliberate and unacceptable. Further, included in all that wasteful spending of $72MM in remodeling City Hall is an electronic system that council is to use that records their vote - and guess what - it is not used! Another good use of our money!
|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.
|Poverty IS the most crucial issue facing the next council. Look the real way to address poverty is by bringing jobs and freezing/lowering taxes. However, we also need to change attitudes about poverty and educating on the real costs, health and social that poverty impacts. We need to build integrated neighbourhoods across the city reducing concentrated areas and change the current school nutrition program that feed our children from optional to mandatory. We know that hungry children do not learn as well as well nourished children, meaning poorer grades, less involvement in school activities, higher dropout rates leading to increased poverty.
|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 absolutely support the LRT. However, I support building it along Barton St as this will revitalize a much needed area while we also tackle infrastructure at the same time. It will be essential to bring not only short term jobs but lasting upgrades as businesses begin to re-open along Barton St keeping up with the passenger needs. I will unite with council and ensure we get the funding for this important project.
|For your campaign, will you be accepting donations from corporations or unions? If so, why? If not, why not?
|I do not believe that organizations that have an inherent influence with a group of people should be able to use that influence to try and affect the outcome of an election.
|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?
|If I am fortunate enough to represent ward 2, my term will definitely change perceptions. First I will change the perception of city hall with my four guiding principles.
1 - work with integrity...do what you say and say what you do.
2 - do it with respect. Regardless of differing opinions, you convey respect.
3 - Due diligence and process effect decision making, not personal agendas and
4 - when it involves spending, ask how will we be paying for it.
Next I will fight for the city to remediate Brownfield's to attract development. In my opinion if we really want to move forward on getting the Brownfield's developed, we have to stop talking about it and DO something about it. It is why I am saying the city needs to take the lead, remediate the lands or provide great incentives for others to do so. I do not want to have another wasted generation of talk...let's get it done!