Monday, April 30, 2012

As the Brits are wont to say, 'Good luck with that.'

Yes, it's true that in order for Hamilton to have term limits, the Ontario Municipal Elections Act would have to be changed. 

Meaning there would have to be a bill brought to the floor at Queen's Park.

Meaning there would have to be political will to do so. 

Meaning that not only would there have to be a referendum in Hamilton about it, but essentially referendums across the province. 

I think the chances for all of this are 'Slim and none...and Slim just left town.' 

Seriously, there are far more important issues to be try organizing a community voice regarding, a clear, cogent one, so that it's capable of speaking its truths eloquently and persuasively than one that is, at best, a bad solution to the wrong problem. 

Specifically? AEGD, our failing infrastructure, poverty and actively re-imagining our city.

So my bottom-line advice for all the grumpy-mouths out there is to a) work towards maximizing our neighbourhoods and communities, b) press for campaign practices reform to lessen the 'incumbent's built-in advantage', and c) encourage good, potential candidates to do their homework now in order to run effectively in 2014.  

Because in the end, barking up the wrong tree, no matter how passionately, how eloquently it's done...is still barking up the wrong tree. And isn't Life too short for that?


M Adrian Brassington


More thoughts on term limits and the such; stuff-most-do-not-want-to-consider

Photo: Peter Michael Wilson, Circa July 2009, Selkirk ON

1) Over at The Hamiltonian, former mayoral and Ward 2 candidate Matt Jelly was asked for his thoughts on term limits. Given that Matt and I had recently (albeit briefly) corresponded about them, I found this bit especially fascinating:

"But I do feel our best way to deal with that frustration is to push for increased voter engagement, not just at election time but between elections, and to encourage good candidates to seek office."

(And yes, this is the 'stuff' I'm talking about in this post's title.)

I've been doing a fair amount of research on the notion of term limits. Not just focusing on Ontario, or even Canada, but going as far afield as I can find documents for. And what's been notable...in its consistent absence...is the kind of focus Matt has suggested. There's lots of historical references, lots of empirical data, lots of philosophical ruminating. But very little focus on those who, in the end, hold the power: residents. We, the people. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

And now, back to Stoney Creek...

"It's a cultural thing, dummy." Part Two

This week, I had an unexpected, extended online conversation with someone active in their community, someone whose love for the city is above reproach, someone who has a keen intellect and a spirited way of using it. 

We were talking about term limits. 

And we were on opposite sides of the philosophical fence. 

They see term limits as a solution. 

I see better civic engagement as a solution. 

But I'm not entirely sure we're trying to solve the same problem. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

"It's a cultural thing, dummy." Part One


I'm fascinated by the fervor with which so many people enter into the discussion about 'term limits'.

In fact, aside from taxes, it seems to be the topic that generates the most heat. Even amongst those who are otherwise really not that engaged in their own governance. 

But in reading comments recently on articles at The Hamiltonian and The Spec, I'm inclined to wonder:

If people weren't so cynical about what goes on at City Hall, and were instead, trusting, if people weren't endemically pessimistic, but rather, optimistic, if people had a thorough understanding of what their councillors do, instead of having a default setting of benign ignorance, would there be such a hue and cry for term limits? 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Damn. Seriously...damn.



I would suggest to Clr. Whitehead that he should begin by reframing his views toward this issue. His position of Councilor is not his "job". When he compares the term limit issue to the jobs of ordinary people, it is very telling of the way he thinks of his work. He has a "role" as a public servant, who serves at the pleasure of the public. He does not have a "job". It is not a "career" nor should it be. It is a public service.

I think each councillor should be asked the same question, as it will be a fascinating expose of their sense of entitlement.

I believe that The Hamiltonian and others should really consider proposing a referundum. I also think that your friends at The Spec, CHML and wherever, need to get onboard or otherwise become irrelevant and out of touch with the real people of Hamilton.

Keep up the good work Teresa and crew. I will be interested to hear your official opinion of this issue at some point.
Sorce

I'm sorry, but Holy fuckolee

There's nothing quite like cogency...


Out of The Mouths of Wabs




The serious look on her face tells me to pay attention as she sits down opposite me. "What's up?" I ask. 

"Just thinkin' about a few things about this whole 'ward boundary review' whatchumacallit."

"Oh...? Such as?"

She thinks for a moment, clears her throat, then launches. "I get why people started that facebook page. And why they did the petition. But I don't get why Council is reacting the way it is."

"How so?"

Meanwhile, over at The Spec...

Andrew Dreschel's piece 'Councillors were asleep at the wheel' speaks volumes.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

As prompted by The Hamiltonian...


Given that there has been activity discussing the notion of 'term limits' over at Teresa & Co's blog, most recently a comment by Ward 2 Councillor Jason Farr and a 'Perspectives Virtual Panel', I'd been ruminating on an analogy predicated on food. On eating. On the idea that, in a nutshell, that term limits are as evolved a way to deal with voters not getting what they want at City Hall as removing all food in the house is to someone with an eating disorder. (Yeah, I know that analogy works, but I've used it for so long in other situations that it feels stale to me.)

And then I remembered seeing this on facebook:


Yeah, it's tad risk√©. A little off-colour, maybe controversial... But it's also a wonderfully effective salvo. 

I find some rather glaring similarities between the logic (and high dudgeon) expressed against fast food joints and how pro-term limits commenters frame their arguments. Just as I feel the backdrop for both discussions is the same:

Personal responsibility. 

No, it's not always 'convenient'. No, it's often 'not fun'. And yes, it requires some discipline, some wisdom, and being able to see the 'bigger picture'. 

I rarely gravitate towards the simple solution. I regularly find more honour in stepping back and looking at 'the reasons behind the reasons'. 

You're overweight and out-of-shape? 'Cook fresh food. Be active. Have fun.'

Have a thing about 'career politicians'? Then consider putting your energies into getting more people engaged, invested in their own governance, so informed opinions at the ballot box become the default. (But then, this is no guarantee that a qualified incumbent isn't going to be returned again and again and again. So if the situation continues to irk, why not consider putting your money where your mouth is, and throw your hat into the ring...?)

Wow; from the questionable to the philosophical, all in one post. 



M Adrian Brassington

Lynwood Charlton: The Real Adventure Begins Presently

As noted in The Spec article by Emma Reilly, last night's Council meeting rejected the Lynwood Charlton application for an exception to the Radial Separation Bylaw.

Which means they can't proceed with their plans to move the facility from 52-56 Charlton to 121 Augusta.

Which means that it's a sure-thing that they'll be appealing to the OMB.

Which means, to paraphrase Bette Davis, 'Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy ride.'

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What I Heard

While I wasn't able to listen to/watch the entire Council broadcast, I did take in the majority of the proceedings that dealt with the ward boundary review this afternoon/evening. 

Putting aside my initial confusion as to what kicking the issue to the GIC means (I've since had my vacuity eased with a gentle explanation...), I wanted to post my impressions of the interlude. And before I get into specifics, here's what I heard in how almost everyone spoke:

Discomfort. 

Hardly-disguised dread. 

Skepticism. 

Unchecked unsettledness. 

Mildy-muted fear.

Graham Crawford's latest excellent offering


Oh... Good Lord...

 Some take issue when I deconstruct something someone else has written. Given that Mr. Di Ianni is a former mayor, and given that his op-ed was featured in The Spec, I don't feel much hesitation in 'addressing' his piece in so methodical a way:



Don’t ‘fix’ something working so well 
 Ward boundary changes can wait; councillors showing rare harmony 


-Seriously? That's the lead-off argument? It makes them sound like inconstant children in a rare state of calm unanimity. You know; fractious kids finding ways not to fight. Um... Councillors are paid to work in harmony. They're installed at the pleasure of their employers (the Citizens of Hamilton) to work together towards the betterment of all residents. If it takes something as 'calamitous' as a ward boundary review process to get them wailing and otherwise unproductive again, then we're in a far worse state than I would have admitted. (But I am curious, Larry; do you feel that in this 'harmony' that they're on their way to building a far better city than has been previously seen? If so, can we please have some non-bafflegab examples?)

And, back at The Spec...

Councillors Whitehead and Duvall are reprinted (as the piece was originally published last week in The Hamiltonian) in today's Opinion section.

I've already commented there, but I wanted to expand on my thoughts.

It was pretty clear that Council wasn't interested in getting into ward boundary reform when it deferred the issue in February, despite City Staff's recommendation. (This cynical take on the situation was essentially affirmed by former mayor Larry Di Ianni yesterday on Laura Babcock's facebook page.)

So it's understandably 'irksome' to have a Council decision not only questioned as it usually is, in casual conversation, in emails to councillors, on blogs and community activism sites and in The Spec op-eds, but  by a process mandated by the provincial entity that the City has to kowtow to. (Sorry for taking this needling tack, but I confess I'm compelled to at this point.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Meanwhile, over at facebook...

Over on Laura Babcock's page, former Hamilton mayor Larry Di Ianni had this to say about ward boundary reform:

 Here are the points I was trying to make above: 1. Council has had a debate and decided not to move on the ward boundary issue. Too brief a debate for most. But if the decision had been the reverse of what they decided, I don't believe people would have objected to the brevity. Those who want change say they 'just want a debate', but I believe they are not being frank. They want to see the ward boundaries change. 2. My second point is that there are historic reasons for having structured the boundaries as they were; those reasons have not disappeared. 3. My third point would be that council today is working well to address ALL issues without paying attention to which area they represent. So what are we fixing? Versus what the dangers may be in reawakening sleeping giants.

My responses:

Kitchener's Journey to Ward Boundary Reform

Kitchener underwent ward boundary reform in time for the 2010 municipal election. They previously had 6 wards. They now have 10. 

Currently, their population sits at 180,527, so the have one councillor per 18,053 residents. 

2 wards sit outside the OMB 25%+ guidelines, while 1 sits outside the 25%- number. 

I've made an enquiry with the Mayor's Office as to what the process was like for them. I'll post the response when it arrives. 


In the meantime, here's an article from The Record leading up to boundary reform. 

In the words of the philosopher Chandler Bing...


"Can open, worms all over."

Tomorrow afternoon/evening, City Council will be tabling a motion by Ward 2 Councillor Farr to deny Lynwood Charlton their application for a change in zoning for 121 Augusta Street, where they want to relocate the current activities at 63-66 Charlton Avenue, 'Charlton Hall'. The reasoning given?



"The proposal is contrary to By-law No. 01-142, in that it would further aggravate the existing over-intensification of residential care facilities within the central City."



What unfolds should be a fascinating litmus test in many ways. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Responding to responses...

I've taken the responses to Howard Elliott's editorial and (self-indulgently) replied in kind: 


"Redrawing the wards is a scheme to give outlying wards with high property taxes less representation."

No. It's an effort to provide fairness regarding representation at Council. Period. 

"But in the long term, the earners will get sick of it and jump ship. Anyone who doesn't see this is seriously delusional."

There is no 'ship to jump'. There is no 'exiting' The Greater Amalgamated City of Hamilton. 


Howard Elliott has a plain-speaking editorial about ward reform featured this weekend.

The reader comments are just as good, revealing the standard points-of-discussion, and presaging the dialogue we'll be having once the 90-day process is underway, fingers crossed...

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Two quotes...

From an article over at The Hamiltonian:


"It strikes me that the public often feels left out in some of the larger questions such as the Pan Am stadium site or LRT planning. Our most difficult issue, area rating, was solved in part because of Mayor Eisenberger's Citizens Panel, which I supported, and which provided another set of eyes and some extra time to assist the Council in coming to a good decision."

"There also needs to be a mechanism that allows for broad public input on policy proposals being dealt with by elected officials. In some cases referendums might be the preferred approach for proposals such as term limits or changes to Municipal Structure." 




First off, I applaud Mayor Bratina for responding to The Hamiltonian. Also, his willingness to be honest about the status quo, and be able to admit that we don't have a perfect construct. 

But I have to address the basic thrust of his comments, keeping in mind that an elected official does not ('cannot'?) see things from the same perspective as a resident. And by the same token, I can't possibly know what it's like from the perspective of a mayor, or a councillor. Though I do believe I'm more sympathetic than some.

Friday, April 20, 2012

And, back over at The Spec...

 An online-only op-ed was published yesterday.

Because it relates precisely my stance on the entire endeavour, I'm publishing it here, too. 




Why Ward Boundary Reform Is So Important. 
(And it's not for the reason you might think)


The idea of sorting out the disparities in Hamilton wards' populations has taken off. We have a petition being circulated. We have a Facebook group, 'Hamiltonians for Ward Boundary Reform'. We have Letters to The Editor being published in The Spec, Bill Kelly has featured Christopher Cutler from the aforementioned Facebook page on his show, and Raise the Hammer has begun its discussion. 

It's all quite heartening. 

Not so much because of the prospect of correcting some glaring 'Relative Population Parity' inequities, though these really need to be dealt with. But more because of the opportunity it affords the community to roll up its sleeves, get involved and help define this city according to its own vision.

Because this issue is about us

For a change, there's no outside developer involved. There's no institution exerting pressure. There's no possibility of 'in camera-esque' backroom negotiations unfolding, and unlike say, with Area Rating and its public consultation, there isn't anything that Council can point to as being so critical as to have to shoo us out of the room so that the 'adults' can make a decision due to there being potentially dire consequences attached to it. I know, because I've been having correspondences with communities across Ontario who have gone through this process. 

No, this issue...is ours

Some may make the case that we're hardly in the middle of a fractious term at Council, that there have been no destiny-altering votes that have taken place because of imbalances in our ward representation, so it's hardly a desperate situation requiring attention. And they'd be right. So I don't think the reason ward boundary reform is so important is to prevent power struggles. Or even so much to right the representational wrong, though to me, it's indisputable that we have one.

I believe that it's important –I'm heartened– because over the next six-or-so months we could see genuine dialogue in Hamilton. 

Authentic discourse. 

Certified debate. 

We can safely, without fear of there being too much at stake to risk getting it wrong (as with the Pan Am Games stadium site-selection, or the West Harbour/Barton-Tiffany/Setting Sail situation) set the agenda, explore what it means to invest in an element of our city's makeup, actually participate to whatever extent that we have the initiative and motivation and energies to do so. For once, we don't find ourselves in a dramatic scenario, in a precarious position of someone else's making, one where we risk 'snatching defeat from the jaws of victory'. Because though there may be time-constraints and procedural requirements attached to the process, what unfolds here is almost entirely up to us. We, the people.

For some time now, I've been harping on about increased resident engagement. And people have generally responded with a weary nihilism, that things are just too set in stone for the kind of change I'm championing to happen, that it's almost impossible to effect, that the longstanding roles played aren't easily re-written. I've had it suggested to me that the HWDSB headquarters project has been the best possible proof of this. 

Maybe so. But that just makes me look at ward boundary reform with even more optimism. If for no other reason than it's such a rich opportunity to galvanize residents, to gather together and discuss something fundamental about our city, and actually impact things for a change. It's a chance to get experience at 'marshalling the troops', at gaining a better understanding of how the game must be played on our part in order for us to be viable players at the table. 

To me, no matter what tangible result we get out of the endeavour to re-draw boundaries, no matter how much more equitable our wards end up being, the potential growth in our confidence, in how we see ourselves within our own local governance may just be the most valuable possible outcome. 



M Adrian Brassington

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How Much A City's Wards Can Change



Windsor began a ward boundary review in December of 2008. This is how the map looked then. Five wards, ten councillors. 


This is how it looked after the review, once the recommendations were put into effect, in October of 2009. (Understanding that it's rotated counter-clockwise a mite.) Ten wards, ten councillors. 

The consultant's report is thorough...and actually makes for some interesting reading. (Cut me some slack; it is HumpDay, after all...)

And over at The Hamiltonian...

Teresa & Co have published a Q&A on the ward boundary reform endeavour that I put together. Take a look at it here.

Meanwhile, over at The Spec...

...a further article by Andrew Dreschel about the petition for ward boundary review.

Slowly, but surely, we're gaining momentum towards critical mass.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Plus ca change...plus c'est le meme chose.

Four years ago, at SkyscraperPage Forum, the thread 'An extra ward for Council?' was active. Here are some of its best bits:

-From a CATCH article:


The city’s governance committee is recommending adding an extra ward for the 2010 elections. The move is a compromise to avoid the cost of a general re-drawing of the electoral map that would address large differences in population per ward.


Ward 8 councillor Terry Whitehead endorsed the idea, suggesting that it could also include parts of Mitchell’s ward which is growing rapidly.

“It would be a very interesting ward because it would be the first ward that will be reflecting old and new in regards to the amalgamation – part of the old and part of the new,” he noted. “And ultimately I think it’s probably where we need to go in the long term.”

The idea was also supported by Maria Pearson and chair (Russ) Powers. The latter said his review of the decisions of the transition board that set up the current council at amalgamation found no requirement for any formal review of ward boundaries, but he noted they were set up under a very tight deadline.

Particularly the creation of the wards was done in a very hasty manner,” recalled Powers. “It was just easier to leave the eight existing Hamilton wards as they were and then kind of do a cursory look at how to hive out the rest of the suburbs in the seven wards, in order to meet that deadline.”

The committee is also calling for re-examination of the office and expense budgets of councillors to reflect the varied number of constituents and other factors such as the geographic size of their wards. Examination of a representation by population system was abandoned. 

Ward Boundary Reform: Simple Math...And Options



This proposal was posted by coalminecanary at SkyscraperPage Forum back in 2008. It maintains 15 wards, creating one (south Mountain) and removing one (12)


-Hamilton's population sits at just over 520,000.

-Residents-per-ward amongst Ontario cities with populations above 250,000 range from roughly 25,000 to 60,000.

-Currently, Hamilton sits at just under 35,000, well within this range. 

-With a lower population, Hamilton has less councillors (15) than Ottawa (23) and more than Mississauga (11). 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Advice from another municipality about ward boundary petitions...



This morning I had a lovely phone conversation with the Clerk from Tay Township. I'd enquired after the municipality's experiences with ward boundary reform. Specifically by way of a petition being generated by residents last year. (This was referenced here, last week.) The highlights:

I'm just sayin'...


Sunday, April 15, 2012

OK. I'll bite. Redux.



I agree. Councillors treat this as a career and not public service. Noone can tell me that most of the multi term councillors still are fresh and relevant, with the exception of McHattie, who I think is the only one worthy it. Thats just my opinion. 

Sweet Jaysus. 

Where do I begin?

First off, where does this romantic notion (one that's tragically flawed) come from that frames 'public service' in a way that suggests all elected officials should be working because of some collective community spirit that drives them...and should ideally be doing so, for free?

OK. I'll bite. (As I'm an incorrigible jouster...)


Term Limits NowApr 14, 2012 12:59 PM
Here's another reason why we need term limits. Everything is about self preservation and being popular so you can be reelected. With term limits, councilors would be more inclined to make decisions based on what makes the most sense, rather than what is likely to hold them in high regard with their base or constituents. Also, self-glorification and other grandstand tactics wouldn't be useful.

Term Limits Now

  1. Better Voters NowApr 15, 2012 03:13 AM
    Here's another reason why we need better voters. Little registers with most voters, so the simplest triggers register a Pavlovian response of approval, leading to a candidate's eventual reelection. With better voters, residents would be more inclined to make observations based on what makes the most sense, rather than what is likely to make them superficially happier. Also, self-glorification and other grandstand tactics on the parts of our politicians wouldn't be useful.

    Better Voters Now

Yes, I'm against term limits. I explained all that in this recent Spec article. They're a lazy-ass way for lazy-ass people to effect control on a situation they can't be 'arsed' to properly address.

And hard on the heels of me making the above comment, my old pal Sorce chimed in with one. Which I'm going to deconstruct:

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Ward 'Relative Population Parity' Numbers Elsewhere

I've begun doing some research on other municipalities and their wards. Here are some initial results; I've got feelers out with other cities and will post additional information when able.

Toronto

44 wards
2 sit outside the OMB recommended range, less than 5% of total number.

Ottawa

23 wards
8 sit outside the OMB recommended range, 35% of the total number. 

Sudbury

12 wards
None sit outside the OMB recommended range.

Mississauga

11 wards
1 sits outside the OMB recommended range, less than 10% of the total number.


(All figures correspond to 2006 Census)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Six Degrees of Variation

Red portions are 25%+ variances, Green are 25%- variances

Yeah, that was a bad riff on the human-connectedness parlour game. (Never mind the shite graphics)

But in terms of what the OMB has decreed as a guideline...

"As much as is practicable, the total population in each ward should not be greater or less than 25% of the average population per ward."

...Hamilton currently has SIX wards that are in variance of this. 

Before I list them, here are the guidelines according to the OMB given Hamilton's 2011 Census population of 519,949:

Average population per ward: 34663
25%+ average population mark: 43329
25%- average population mark: 25997

Wards 7 (62,179) and 8 (48,807) fall into the 25%+ category.
Wards 10 (23,524), 13 (24,907), 14 (17,634) and 15 (24,249) fall into the 25%- category. 

Six out of fifteen. 

Forty percent of our wards fall outside the OMB guidelines for Relative Population Parity. 

Now, I'm not saying that this is abnormal. I guess the real test would be to examine other municipalities in Ontario and see how we stack up. (Yes, I'm issuing myself a challenge here.) But for the time being, surely this percentage of 'non-standard' wards, especially in a changing landscape, warrants a thorough re-examination.




M Adrian Brassington

Over at Hamilton Reporter...


...this item has gone up dealing with ward boundaries and the such. 


There are some very intriguing elements to the OMB guidelines that resulted from the Supreme Court of Canada 'Carter Case'. Here's what the article from the Township of Tay says:


1) Representation by Population or Equality of Representation: It is accepted general standard that voters should be equally represented by having Wards with reasonable equal population totals or a reasonable equal amount of residents per elected official. In addition, it is understood that given the mix of stable and growing areas within the municipality some differences in population are acceptable.

This principle is intended to ensure that residents have equal access to their elected representative and that the workload of these representatives is relatively balanced. As a result of direction from the OMB, any proposed ward structure must not over-emphasize the principle of ‘representation by population’ but rather ensure the focus is on effective representation.

Relative Population Parity:

As much as is practicable, the total population in each ward should not be greater or less than 25% of the average population per ward. It is the desired goal when examining options for dividing the wards that there be relative population parity; however, it is common to permit a variation from average ward populations since it is practically impossible to achieve the same population for each ward.

The Federal/Provincial ridings were established while permitting a variance of plus or minus 25%. A variance of approximately 25% was upheld as an acceptable deviation by the OMB in its ruling on the 57 City Wards originally established in the City of Toronto and so has also become the municipal standard.

2) Communities or Communities of Interest within a Ward:

It is accepted standard that whenever possible it is desirable to avoid breaking up/fragmenting existing neighbourhoods and “communities of interest”.

“Communities of Interest” often encompasses common interests (e.g. school zones, areas of distinguishing socio economic characteristics, where people carry out their daily tasks) and areas of strong community connections. It is also important to bear in mind that the establishment of ward boundaries may result in the creation of a community of interest particularly when the existing boundaries have been in place for years.

3) Physical Features as Natural Boundaries (e.g. watercourses, railways, highways, arterial roads):

Consideration of physical and infrastructure elements that provide natural boundaries as wards should have a coherent, contiguous shape and the boundaries should be straightforward and easy to remember.

4) Population Trends and Estimated Growth Projections:

The guiding principle, insofar as possible, is to accommodate growth for at least 10 years to establish a ward structure that will be sustainable for a number of terms of Council. The Township of Tay is a community that is facing growth pressures but overall is growing
relatively slowly. As a consequence, some variation in the present population of wards can be acceptable to accommodate population changes as those changes will occur in identifiable parts of the municipality.

Notwithstanding the four general principles outlined above, it should be noted that the case law on ward boundary reviews makes it clear that the overriding principle is voter parity, as established by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Carter Case. Any deviations from voter parity must be justified based on the other factors referred to above. 

It should also be noted that the case law makes it clear that public support should not override the primary principle of voter parity. That said receipt of public input is still an essential part of the process.

As part of the analysis of the criteria listed above, the following specific factors may also be considered during the ward boundary review:

1) Desire to maintain the existing number of Council members (Mayor & Deputy Mayor elected at-large, 5 Ward Councillors)
2) Whether or not it is appropriate to divide the existing settlement areas
3) Consideration that each person in the municipality should only have one councillor and thereby only one vote at the Council table per ward (1 Person, 1 Vote).
4) Encompassing the urban settlement area and its surrounding “community of interest” within the same ward. Defined communities are referenced in the Official Plan and mapped by the Planning Department.
5) Addressing the lower population densities within the rural area
6) Use of road allowances as ward boundaries to avoid splitting properties
and provide clear separation between wards
7) Consideration of urban/rural mix in each ward
8) Consideration of eliminating the ward structure in favour of an ‘elected-at-large’ electoral system 

Once the criteria is endorsed by Council to establish the framework for the ward boundary review, staff will start evaluating and developing potential options for the redivision of the ward boundaries.


The source document can be found here






M Adrian Brassington

Current Ward Boundaries and Population Numbers


(Table is courtesy of Ryan @ Raise the Hammer, and Joey Coleman)

The initiative to reform ward boundaries shouldn't be about anything other than math. 

Simple numbers.

There are inequities in our current setup...revolving around Ward 7's 62,000+ residents...that need to be addressed. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ward Boundary Re-Drawing v1.2: The Rationale



I was looking at making the simplest changes towards representative parity. So, as I've declared in comments online, 'If you want to sell the idea of MORE councillors to residents who traditionally aren't exactly enamoured of Council...good luck.'

Given this blog's name, it should come as no surprise that I began with Ward 9; I've had a longstanding beef regarding the notion of there being an 'Upper Stoney Creek'. I grew up within 'The Golden Square Mile' of 'Old Towne Stoney Creek', so I don't feel I have to defend this bias. As you may or may not know, I believe in pride-of-place. In community. Especially regarding the amalgamated communities. (Living in Dundas recently only reinforced this.) So a) I've always hated how 'Riverdale' has been Ward 5, that is, 'Hamilton', b) that 'Stoney Creek has been chopped off at Gray Road, and c) as previously mentioned, that there's this 'Upper Stoney Creek' designation. What's up 'there' isn't Stoney Creek to me. Yes, that's a purely arbitrary declaration, but considering the extent of the sprawl to the south, I'm quite content to render it all unto Hamilton. (Of course, there is an inherent 'Upper' and 'Lower' city conflict, but we're talking an entirely different animal.) So I took back part of what should always have been in Ward 9 to the west and got rid of 10 as it stood to the east. 

Romper, bomper, stomper, boo...

So.

What is it about the prospect of changing disengagement, detachment, apathy, cynicism, disinterest to their opposites amongst the vast majority of Hamiltonians that seems so...so...

See, I can't even nail down the right descriptive.

'Daunting'?

'Pointless'?

'Anathema'?

Regardless of how you frame it, the fact is that putting aside the enormous challenge that turning around Those-Who-Are-Not-Civically-Energized is, even discussing the challenge seems to be something almost everyone in this city wants to run away from.