Hamilton council’s project targets ‘big business’
A group of Hamilton residents frustrated with the political status quo have launched a campaign to elect new faces for mayor late next year.
The salient themes of infrastructure, economy, leadership, environment, community and transportation form the name IELECT Hamilton.
The goal is not to endorse a slate of candidates or approve one for the October 2022 election, said Graham Crawford, one of the group’s organizers.
“It’s really just a grassroots, city-wide community group that comes together to say, ‘Enough. We need to make changes, ”said Crawford, a vocal critic of the board in recent years.
The Internet Project launched on Friday is the culmination of 50 people from all parts of Hamilton with a variety of skills including marketing, web design, photography, data collection and legal knowledge, he said. note.
The website, ielectHamilton.ca, features recent controversies and scandals, including a 24 billion-liter sewage leak in Chedoke Creek and the council’s decision to delay informing the public about the scale of the disaster.
It also focuses on the city and police handling of anti-LGBTQ violence during the 2019 pride celebrations at Gage Park and white supremacist rallies outside City Hall.
Other issues mentioned included the “LRT framing”, the affordable housing crisis in the city and the rating of the area.
Featured on the home page is a “council election calendar” that specifies how long each of the city’s 16 elected officials has been in office.
Tom Jackson of Ward 6, first elected in 1988, is the longest-serving member, with most serving on council for over 10 years.
Organizer Ryan Moran said the effort came after a “massive explosion of frustration” with local leaders on a number of fronts.
“We really want to see a big turnover, and it’s more about this message of new leadership and what the old position cost the city,” Moran said.
Mayor Fred Eisenberger, who has not pledged to run for office, and councilors did not respond to requests for comment on Friday.
Coun. Sam Merulla, who has served Ward 4 since 2002, has announced his intention to retire at the end of his term.
The website also offers a resident survey that asks a series of questions related to services and governance.
It is part of the project’s goal to provide residents with data-based and evidence-based information on the city’s problems ahead of the October 24, 2022 elections, said Ameil Joseph, another organizer.
It’s important to offer information beyond what’s available during election campaigns, said Joseph, a professor of social work at McMaster University who focuses on racism.
“This is a well thought out citywide initiative that I think is going to have an impact,” he said.
“It’s really about building capacity for a more inclusive democracy so that people make informed decisions about who they vote for.”
Crawford noted that IELECT Hamilton is a registered non-profit organization.
“Not a penny” of donations collected to support the project will go to applicants, he said.
Moran said organizers spoke to people who have expressed interest in running in the next election.
But the approach, he said, will be to support new leaders “without necessarily campaigning directly” for individuals.
Crawford said he hoped the initiative would open up the field for candidates and increase voter turnout in the same way.