No smoking gun?
It has been interesting to follow the comments on the Hamiltonian regarding my recent appearance on the Laircast current affairs podcast hosted by Laura Babcock. To backtrack, The Hamiltonian picked up on our June story where we discussed a beach trail washroom constructed by the Hamilton Waterfront Trust at a price of $681,000at least that was what the City said it paid, but later said it included a bunch of other stuff that was classified as washroom but wasn’t. The Hamiltonian, unlike some other local blogs strives to be objective in its tone, and does not appear at this point to be pursuing narrow issues. It has a loyal following of thoughtful respondents, based on the dozens of comments that have appeared in response to the Hamiltonians coverage of our story. In the past few weeks, far more has appeared about the HWT on the Hamiltonian, than on Bayobserver.ca or in the paper. We will continue to pursue the matter at our own pace.
Some respondents who heard the Laircast apparently feel that what has been reported by the Bay Observer so far is pretty thin gruel. According to that thinking, apparently; lack of transparency, loss of charitable status with the federal government, bad bookkeeping, a rare adverse report from an auditor, 4 straight years of losses, cronyism, nepotism and apparent conflict of interest are insufficient to warrant the kind of coverage that we have provided so far. We disagree. What is at the bottom of the story, is the impact this kind of governance has on the entire operation of our city. Long time observers of our city will tell you that Hamilton has one of the most politicized staff working environments anywhere. The Hamilton Waterfront trust is but the poster child for that condition. This leads to the undermining of authority of those councillors who choose not to manipulate the system and undermines senior management as staffers take their orders from a small clique of councillors. Supporters of the TrustCouncillor Tom Jackson, for instance –suggest that the trail system and public amenities could not have happened had the Trust operated through the citys Parks department. This ignores the fact that Pier 4, Bayfront Parks as well as several kilometers of trail were already in place when the Trust was formed. The argument apparently is that the normal city controlled development process is too cumbersome to allow anything as creative as the Waterfront facilities to be built; that to be successful the organization must operate outside public scrutiny. This begs the question if you have so little confidence in the city government why have you continually offered yourself for election to that body for the past 24 years? Comment below.