The first tremors of the municipal election year are being felt. While still relatively minor rattles on the political Richter scale, emails from Hamilton residents suggest 2014 may well prove a year with sufficient city hall drama to create more than the usual trickle of voters to polling stations on October 27. Most cyber-mail is from long time listeners, both to my former CHML program and the current national show which airs weekends, also on CHML. A note from a listener identifying himself as “relatively new to Hamilton”, included “you often mention your ties to Hamilton, Roy and I deduce from your website biographical information that you and Mayor Bratina occupied space at CHML for many years.” Well, let’s be clear. Bratina “occupied space”, I created compelling radio. Settle down Brat. That was a joke. Frankly, I’ve been hearing and reading a fair bit of commentary about my former CHML colleague’s tenure as council resident- in-chief at 71 Main Street West. It has not been without controversy and that is not necessarily a negative.
A political leader worth his or her clichéd salt is always going to disrupt status quo slumber. What is troublesome is that Mayor Bratina in his role as Chief Magistrate of the City of Hamilton, while not yet a declared candidate for re-election, would choose to venture into the issue of deamalgamation, without directly supporting or steadfastly opposing a reversal of the hugely contentious and emotional 2001 decision by Queens Park. Amalgamation was the cause of such friction that on particularly testy occasions in-studio, guests on opposite sides appeared to be considering taking the debate from the microphone to the parking lot. But deamalgamation now? Why? In 2010, as the municipal election was already well underway, I was sitting in for Bill Kelly in my old seat at CHML for a few days. The passionate talk was about stadium location. I don’t recall amalgamation or deamalgamation being raised and Bob Bratina hadn’t yet entered the race. Maybe Brat was waiting to see if I was serious when I suggested on-air to Larry Di Ianni, campaigning for re-election as Mayor, and interestingly, Peggy Chapman, who at the time was an excellent municipal reporter for the Bay Observer, that I had returned to announce my candidacy for Mayor and would wage a campaign with just one lawn sign which would be moved from lawn to lawn, on a day to day basis. Fast-forward to 2014.
There are days I would again welcome the opportunity to challenge occupants of Hamilton council to either defend their publicly expressed views, or at least explain them in the largely unconstrained forum of talk radio. I’m certain though my good friend Bill Kelly, with his on-the-job understanding of the machinations of council, is doing a masterful job of holding everyone accountable. As far as addressing purely Hamilton issues is concerned, I value the space John Best provides me in his excellent Bay Observer. It’s no secret Bob Bratina and I seldom agreed on issues during our Hamilton radio years. I’ve never doubted the passion Bratina has for Hamilton, but Mr. Mayor, if you’re going to publicly speak to deamalgamation do so as a declared candidate for re-election. What you’ve done is dust off a 2010 emotional wedge issue. Nothing more. My “new to Hamiton” listener wanted to know who I would support for Mayor of the City of Hamilton this year. Well, let’s see, do you think one campaign sign being moved from lawn to lawn on a daily basis would work this October?
By: Roy Green