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Notable quotables: they said it in 2013

By Richard Leitner, News Staff

I’ll take, ‘You’re fired for $376,000,’ Alex

“What is HSR?” – Ottawa-based Dialogue Partners asks a question via Twitter as it launches a $376,000 citizen engagement project on behalf of the City of Hamilton, sending social-media types into a frenzy and leading to the termination of the contract.

Luckily, I was at Queen’s Park at the time

“I have invited leaders from various union groups to my office to come in and talk to me about their concerns. So far, they have been outside my office.” – Liberal MPP Ted McMeekin is targeted by teachers protesting Bill 115, which imposed a wage freeze and other contract concessions.

Please don’t ask me to take a stand

“We don’t really have a say on what’s illegal or legal; that’s got to come from the ministry or the provincial government.” – Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board chair Tim Simmons says his board has no “perspective” on whether a planned one-day walkout by elementary teachers to protest Bill 115 was illegal. The Ontario Labour Relations Board ruled it was, and teachers cancelled the job action.

But I’m only the mayor

“I hope we completely analyze the origins of this, and let the chips fall where they may.” – Mayor Bob Bratina aspires to get to the bottom of the dismissal of 29 city employees for alleged transgressions like working half-hour days and selling asphalt earmarked for road repairs.

If it’s oil from Alberta, don’t count on it

“I think the public deserves to peek in behind the curtain and say, ‘What’s going on back there?’” – Hamilton Conservation Authority vice-chair Jim Howlett expresses reservations about Enbridge Pipeline Inc’s bid to change the flow of Line 9A to ship up to 200,000 barrels per day of diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands to Montreal.

Except for that cluster f-bomb on the Kalamazoo River

“The vast majority of those releases are small and they are cleaned up very quickly, usually in less than 24 hours, and that is because the seriousness with which we take all spills.” – Enbridge spokesperson Graham White insists the company has learned from the biggest and costliest pipeline spill in U.S. history.

Unfortunately, it’s Bill Davis and he’s pointing at me

“What I find is people say, ‘We can do better than this.’” – Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak dismisses a March poll showing voters would keep the Liberals in power.

Scaring seniors seems like a close second

“If a senior is struggling in their home, we understand that, but the worst thing for seniors, especially single, vulnerable seniors, is somebody crashing through their door or finding someone in their house.” – Mayor Bob Bratina disputes that a $5.3 million increase to the police budget will hurt poor seniors.

Shooting at them has a funny way of doing that

“The deer are more wary. They’re acting more like deer again.” – Hamilton Conservation Authority boss Chris Firth-Eagland says he suspects a Dundas Valley native deer hunt failed to reach even half of its 80 limit because deer know they’re being hunted.

Sure, but you’re not using tax dollars

“If say I’m going to renovate my house and it comes in at twice as much as I can afford, then I’m not going to renovate my house.” – Flamborough public school trustee Karen resigns as chair of the finance committee to protest a decision to spend nearly $19 million to upgrade two elementary schools in Westdale.

Or maybe not

“I sense a change in the air. The people want change.” – Paul Miller, NDP MPP for Hamilton East-Stoney Creek, thumps his electoral chest over a spring Liberal budget his party ultimately supported.

Beyond sense

“It was just a truck, a stupid truck. You don’t need him, but I do. Our daughter needs her daddy. Please, please let him come home.” – Sharlene Bosma makes an impassioned plea in May for the safe return of her husband, Tim, who was murdered after two men dropped by their Ancaster home for a test drive of a black 2007 Dodge Ram pickup truck that had been put up for sale.

There’s an irony in there somewhere

“Some people thought they were just flyers and threw them out.” – Ancaster councillor Lloyd Ferguson discusses complaints about the city’s distribution of special tags residents can use when they have more than one bag of garbage.

And then we’d probably have to call it McHortons Field

“If you want to ask the taxpayers for another $50 million to put the arches, go ahead.” – Mayor Bob Bratina rejects criticisms that the “perfect” new Pan Am stadium lacks architectural flourishes like those of a new football stadium in Winnipeg.

Unlike yours truly

“It will be finished on time and on budget.” – Pan Am Games CEO Ian Troop makes a bold prediction about the stadium in May. He was fired in December.

We’ll take your word for it

“Even if it means putting lipstick on a pig, at least it’s a good looking pig.” – Dundas councillor Russ Powers urges staff to do more to spruce up the city’s website.

Heritage, shmeritage

“You talk about heritage and you talk about tradition and you talk about, ‘I remember when I went to this school.’ Remember, the school is called Mohawk Trail Centre… part of the heritage is the location of the building.” – west Mountain public school trustee Wes Hicks objects to a plan to move an 1882 one-room schoolhouse from the corner of Mohawk Road and West 15th Street to the new education centre being built near Lime Ridge Mall.

And he’s not Stephen Harper!

“He has great blue eyes. And he’s hot!” – Mirella Silva gushes over federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau after he passed by the hair salon where she works during a walkabout in Dundas in June.

Secrecy and democracy go hand in hand

“I think everybody has the right to vote their conscience and it doesn’t have to be public. That’s the democratic way. You go into an election, you go in and you vote and your ballot is the way you believe it is.” – west Mountain public school trustee Wes Hicks supports a decision to no longer require parent, teacher and staff representatives on school closure committees to hold their votes in public.

A sloping pile was so much better

“You think they want to see a mountain of crap?” – Stoney Creek councillor Brad Clark objects to the impact on neighbours of a plan, ultimately approved, to raise the Taro industrial dump’s height by nearly a third.

At least it’s not a mountain of you know what

“It’s certainly not a golf course or any of the wonderful golden carrots that were dangled before the Stoney Creekcouncil, that’s for sure.” – Stoney Creek councillor Brad Clark accepts that a dog park and passive park are probably the best possible uses for the closed Taro west dump.

Who’d have thought they’d be into learnin’?

“Sorry, they say, we are not in the playground or green space business. We are into education.” – central Mountain Scott Duvall criticizes the public school board for not giving more consideration to the community’ interest when disposing of surplus school sites.

Friends, without benefits

“It sounds like we can be friends, but not roommates.” – Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board chair Tim Simmons laments a city decision to not partner on a join recreation centre and new high school at Scott Park.

Dare to dream

“This is Hamilton’s opportunity to be Cleveland.” – Scott Greenwood, chief creative officer for Comedy Holdings, pitches the idea of Hamilton becoming home to a Canadian comedy hall of fame.

And that policy says no expense is too lavish or petty

“We have been following policy to the letter.” – soon-to-be fired Pam Am Games CEO Ian Troop, who earned $477,000 per year, defends expenses he and high-paid colleagues billed to taxpayers, including, in Troop’s case, 91 cents for parking and $8,561.19 for a hotel and cocktail party in Mexico.

Just to complete the rout

“Decisions like this are always difficult, but they are necessary to improve the cost structure of our Canadian operations.” – U.S. Steel CEO Mario Longhi announces steel and iron making in Hamilton will cease by the year’s end during an Oct. 29 conference call with analysts.

Like an October election?

“There is some real good reasoning around not doing it starting in September and certainly, as a system, allowing us the opportunity to fully form through the implementation stages of the ones that are currently (underway).” – new Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board chair Jessica Brennan backs a decision to delay a planned round of school closure studies for a year.

Bottom line: zero transparency

“The bottom line in all of it would be that our, and certainly my, clear commitment is to make this thing as transparent and as open as we can and it should be.” – police board chair Bernie Morelli tries to explain why there was no public notice of a closed-door meeting where members voted to accept Chief Glenn De Caire’s resignation.

Unless you believe public facilities should be for the public

“This building has been used for children’s education connected to nature for almost a hundred years, so this is not really a major shift.” – Strata Montessori Adolescent School director Tony Evans defends a proposed 15-year lease of a former outdoor education centre in the Dundas Valley from the Hamilton Conservation Authority.

If you can’t beat ‘em, slack off, too

“There’s nothing I like better than half a year of working hard for no result. – public school board chair Jessica Brennan expresses frustration after trustees reject the latest proposal to realign their ward representation and vote to put off the issue for the third successive term.

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