Posted May 25, 2016
What an emotional roller coaster the past couple of weeks has been!
After 4 Councillor Sam Merulla's motion to reaffirm Council support for LRT spiralled into a potential disaster, it has been difficult to keep up with the daily changes. Here's an update on where we stand today.
First, we are hearing that a vote on the lightning-rod motion will likely be deferred until September. This may seem frightening but it suggests that cooler heads are prevailing.
The motion itself has no procedural effect either way - it is purely symbolic. Council has already approved creating an LRT sub-committee and an LRT office, signing a Memorandum of Agreement with Metrolinx to design and build the LRT system, staffing the LRT office and undertaking a community outreach campaign.
Even if Council was to vote against Merulla's motion, none of these things would change. It would require a reconsideration motion and a two-thirds majority to overturn any of those decisions.
Help Them Understand
What the motion and the furore that followed have demonstrated is that a lot of people - including several members of Council - still do not seem to understand why the City and Province committed to LRT in the first place.
As engaged citizens, we can help Council understand the strategic importance of LRT while demonstrating the broad community support for this transformative change.
Our message is already getting through - over 600 people have written personal statements of LRT support and even more have endorsed the campaign on the website.
One way we can get through to more councillors is to ensure that our communications are civil and respectful.
We will have more success if we focus more on the arguments for LRT - especially the many benefits of the investment and what we risk losing if we turn it down - and less on the personalities of the councillors in question.
Councillors are humans like the rest of us, and the tone we take will influence their willingness to be receptive to the message.
Engage Local Media
Please also consider writing a letter to the editor in The Hamilton Spectator and the Hamilton Community News - especially if you live on the mountain or suburbs and recognize the value to the communiy as a whole.
- Hamilton Spectator: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ancaster News: email@example.com
- Dundas Star: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hamilton Mountain News: email@example.com
- Stoney Creek: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, please consider calling into talk radio to express support for LRT with those audiences.
And of course, make sure to share your support on social media and circulate this campaign among your friends and associate networks - we need to keep building momentum and broadening the base of support throughout this critical period of uncertainty.
Questions and Answers About LRT
There is a lot of information - and a lot of misinformation - floating around about LRT. We have tried to compile a list of every common question and an accurate, factual response to each. You can find it here:
We will update this as we learn more information, receive additional questions that need answers or the facts change as the project evolves.
How They Voted
One of the most common questions is whether Council has actually voted to support LRT - a question even some councillors aren't sure about. In fact, Council has consistently voted in support of LRT on mutliple occasions dating back to 2008. You can see a compilation of every motion related to rapid transit and LRT since 2006:
And here is a breakdown of how each councillor voted on all the major LRT motions:
Thank you again for your LRT support and your incredible patience while this huge initiative slowly works through all the obstacles, roadblocks and other challenges that are common for such projects. We will get there if we keep engaging, spreading good information, building support and maintaining the sense of urgency that the occasion requires.