Hamilton is $7 Million short in supporting a social assistance fund to help people find housing, pay their first and last month’s rent and to move  into new  accommodation. The immediate response by council was to dip into a reserve fund. Before drawing down reserves, council should consider funding the shortfall from the $24 million that has been divvied up among the 8 old-ward councillors to offset the taxation inequalities brought about by amalgamation. After all, most of the problem with inadequate housing exists in the old 8 wards. It was a bad idea to personalize this tax windfall around individual councillors in the first place. It’s not like we need to find more ways of giving incumbency an edge when it comes to elections. Handing the 8 incumbents  what is arguably a $3 Million re-election fund is not good public policy and should be scrapped. Such a move would be in accord with the sympathy shown by Councillors to those in need of housing assistance. But then again, as we have seen time after time  –there is one thing about which all 16 Hamilton Councillors are in complete agreement—the urgency of their re-election.

John Best had enjoyed a lengthy media management career, in television and radio and now print. As Vice President, News at CHCH in Hamilton, John oversaw a significant expansion of the news operation. He founded Independent Satellite News, Canada’s only television news service providing national content to Canadian independent TV stations. John is a frequent political commentator on radio and television, a documentary producer and author of a book and numerous articles on historical and political subjects. John is a past recipient of the New York Festival’s award for writing in the International TV category.

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