By Kevin Werner, News Staff
Michael Baldasaro wants Hamilton politics to be about the people of the city and not those residents that have money or influence.
It’s why Baldasaro, 65, registered to run for mayor Jan. 2. He quietly filled out his nomination forms as Ward 1 councillor Brian McHattie held a news conference on the ground floor of city hall.
“I wouldn’t be standing here if there wasn’t a need to for somebody to communicate with the real people, the ones who don’t have money, that don’t have influence,” said Baldasaro in an interview.
While he has made his name over the years by running for municipal, provincial, and federal office, championing marijuana legalization, he has made it a point to talk about the “ordinary” people who are ignored by politicians and see a system that has failed them.
“The city needs somebody from the people,” he said. “Same old suits.”
Pointing to McHattie during his news conference, Baldasaro says politicians are never around except during an election.
“I never see any of those guys,” he said.
Although Baldasaro did praise Mayor Bob Bratina, calling him “respectful,” and “sincere.”
“I like Bob,” he said.
Baldasaro did have a few other issues besides legalizing marijuana, including better police service, eliminating what he called “super jails” that have been built, and better parenting to keep youths out of jail.
He also zeroed in on Hamilton Police Service asking the public to pay for acquiring tasers.
“Why don’t they buy their own? If you want a taser, buy a taser. Buy your own tools,” he said.
In the 2010 mayoral campaign, Baldasaro finished fourth in a crowded 15-candidate field, earning 2,892 votes. In 1988 he was the lone challenger against incumbent Hamilton Mayor Bob Morrow, and received his largest number of votes, 7,500. In 2006 he nabbed 4,520 votes. He also ran for federal office three times in 1984, 2000, and 2004, and he sought a council seat in the open Ward 2 by-election vacated by Andrea Horwath, and which Bratina won.
“I run because a lot of people vote for me,” he said. “A lot of people believe what I believe. The system has failed.”