Saturday 7 August 2010

Eisenberger's Statement

I know I said I'd update things as soon as news became available, but I spent my evening and night watching the two CFL games with my father, so I was unable to get any news before now.

Hamilton mayor Fred Eisenberger released a written statement not too long after the decision was made public. Here is what he had to say:
We have been hearing from our federal and provincial partners all along that the stadium issue should and would be decided locally.

That changed today. I am extremely disappointed that the decision is now being made by the upper levels of government.

I have been consistent in my support for a stadium at the West Harbour because I believe it best serves the public interest.

The community has spoken loudly and clearly that the West Harbour makes the most sense for the people of Hamilton.

It is obvious that the upper levels of government are ignoring the community and have instead listened to private interests.

The truth is the West Harbour won. The West Harbour won the support of the community. The West Harbour won because it is best for the community.

Powerful private interests compelled the federal and provincial governments to move the goal posts. They changed the game so they could win.

Regardless I am a supporter of the West Harbour. I will continue to be in favour of the West Harbour site for the Pan Am stadium. I am doing what I have always done and that is to safeguard the public interest of people of Hamilton. That means a stadium at the West Harbour.

Regardless of what happens I will continue to be an advocate of the redevelopment of the West Harbour.

I will present a motion to council at the first opportunity which if passed will authorize city staff to prepare a new plan for the West Harbour that are [sic] at least as significant and sustainable as a stadium and that a task force be created to spearhead the initiative.
The mayor granted CH News an interview, as well. (The mayor's comments begin at the 3:23 mark.)

In all the fervor over where to put the stadium, I have avoided talking about politics. I have tried to keep Blogskee Wee Wee apolitical. Sadly, just like Bob Young, the mayor has forced my hand. I cannot keep politics out of this, even if I wanted to. I am sure I will alienate a few with my opinions, but that's a risk I am willing to take.

The mayor comes off in both his written statement (where he really needs to hire a new editor, as his statement was absolutely riddled with grammatical errors) and his television interview as angry and querulous. I take particular exception to him saying to CH News that what the federal and provincial governments have done is "an affront to democracy." He couldn't be more wrong. I would think that someone who is involved in politics would know how Canadian democracy works. Apparently, he does not.

I also find it highly inappropriate for a public figure such as the mayor to state publicly on local television that there was "manipulation by somebody" in regards to the federal government's decision. Not only is it inappropriate, but it is also very bold and inflammatory. As mayor, Fred Eisenberger needs to choose his words more carefully.

His written statement is even worse, as he flat out lies. Yes, I said it, the mayor of Hamilton lied when he said "[t]he West Harbour won the support of the community." Everything, be they online polls, website supporters or any other type of non-scientific measurement, indicated that there was a 50-50 split among the population of Hamilton on whether the stadium should be located at the West Harbour or the East Mountain. For the mayor to make a statement that the West Habour "won the support of the community" is a lie.

I have no sympathy for the mayor; I have never liked the mayor (except when I was younger, before he was mayor, and I only cared for him because I was friends with his son), and I hope to see him defeated in the upcoming election. He has handled himself poorly during this entire fiasco – a fiasco that he helped to created by not including the Tiger-Cats in discussions early on. He even said that it's "a minority partnership when it comes to the Tiger-Cats." Looks like you got another thing wrong, eh, mayor?

By reacting so hastily, the mayor responded to what occurred in a petulant manner unbecoming an elected official. Since the Tiger-Cats have yet to make a public statement on the matter, I suspect they will come off as more level-headed. I suspect the Tiger-Cats will make a statement with the next 24-48 hours.

I think it is fair to say that the debate is pretty much over. I cannot see a scenario where the East Mountain will not become home to the Pan Am Stadium and, thus, the next home of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

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