By Kevin Werner, News Staff
Saying he has more patience for getting things done, former Hamilton mayor Fred Eisenberger registered to reclaim the mayor’s seat he lost in the surprise 2010 municipal election when Bob Bratina took the top spot.
“There are many lessons to be learned,” said Eisenberger, who answered a few questions from reporters during a brief news conference after registering March 28 at city hall, surrounded by family and friends. “I’ve reflected on my time as mayor and my time out of office. I’ve learned I can be a little bit more patient. I was somewhat impatient for change the last time around. I will be more patient this time around.”
Eisenberger, 61,who served as mayor from 2006 to 2010, battled to get the new Pan Am stadium built on the west harbour lands and refused to budge from the location.
Although he hasn’t changed his opinion on where the new stadium should be located, he said it’s time to move on.
“I agree it’s in the wrong place,” he said. “But that’s history. We’re finished. It’s over. We moved on. I’m happy to use that stadium. I’m not going to be like others (and) say I’m going to hold a grudge. I don’t. I have a good track record. I’m proud of it.”
His comment referenced Ward 1 councillor and mayoral candidate Brian McHattie, an opponent of the Red Hill Creek Parkway who refuses to drive on the road.
Eisenberger, who as early as 2012 declared he was interested in running for mayor again, joins a growing field of candidates. Soon after Bratina recently announced he wasn’t seeking re-election, Stoney Creek councillor Brad Clark jumped into the race. Also registered to run is former alderman Don Ross, Michael Baldasaro, and Crystal Lavigne.
Also seriously considering a bid for the top job is Ancaster councillor Lloyd Ferguson, and former mayor Larry Di Ianni, who is being urged to run again.
Eisenberger said one of his top issues will be improving Hamilton’s economic development situation.
“Our commercial industrial tax base has been declining,” he said. “We need to turn that around. I’ve always had a focus on development and economic development and jobs in our community.”
He said the city needs to fix its commercial and industrial tax base to relieve the burden imposed on residential taxpayers who are forced to pay more as businesses close up. More money also has to be invested in the city’s aging infrastructure, including roads, sewers and water services, he said.
In 2006 one of Eisenberger’s key issues was investing more money into the city’s economic development. During his term he supported adding an extra $1.5 million into the city’s department, which he pointed out, has paid huge dividends.
“We have to keep that going,” he said.
This will be Eisenberger’s fourth mayoral campaign that began in 2000. He was among a number of candidates that included Bob Morrow that lost to Ancaster councillor Bob Wade in 2000. Three years later he announced he would run again, but pulled out leaving Stoney Creek councillor Larry Di Ianni to upend David Christopherson. In 2006 with Di Ianni saddled with an expense scandal, Eisenberger rode to victory. But in 2010 Eisenberger placed third behind Bratina and Di Ianni.
Eisenberger was elected Ward 5 alderman in 1991 until he ran for mayor in 2000.
Soon after his defeat, Eisenberger became president and chief executive office of the Canadian Urban Institute, a Toronto-based non-profit organization, from February 2011 until he resigned in the summer of 2012. His experience learning about what other cities are doing in North America and Europe will be useful as he rolls out his election platform over the next few months, he said.
“We need to make sure that we concern ourselves about delivering efficient and effective services in our city and we have to be mindful of making investments that improve our revenue and improve our city,” he said.
The municipal election is Oct. 27.
Eisenberger’s campaign team is waiting to schedule a more formal campaign kick-off event in the next few months when the weather improves.