Mountain Coun. Terry Whitehead ejected from meeting

News Sep 12, 2020 by Kevin Werner Hamilton Mountain News

In a rare and unprecedented move, Public Works Committee Chair and Mountain Coun. John-Paul Danko ejected fellow Coun. Terry Whitehead from a meeting for questioning a staff person’s integrity during a heated and at times intense discussion over the Aberdeen Avenue traffic calming project.

During tense questioning with Edward Soldo, director of transportation operations on Sept. 11, over the Aberdeen Avenue traffic calming pilot project, Whitehead indicated that staff had exceeded council’s authority in implementing changes to the roadway. Whitehead said council in 2019 approved implementing some traffic calming measures, but opposed a “road diet” that included reducing the four-lane roadway to two.

Whitehead said traffic staff had actually gone ahead with examining the idea and was in the process of implementing it without approval from councillors.

A petition signed by over 700 residents and presented to councillors by resident Alex Beer urged councillors to keep the four lanes in place along Aberdeen between Queen Street South and Dundurn Street South.

“As staff, it is our responsibility to look at all options in terms of public safety,” said Soldo. “We don’t need the direction of council.”

Whitehead said staff conducted “zero” consultation with councillors about further changes to the Aberdeen and Queen Street projects.

Whitehead said during a private meeting with him that Soldo had apologized, but during the public meeting he apologized “if you feel (the consultations) did not include you.”

Whitehead said Soldo was “being evasive.”

“I’m getting a different response” than he received in private, he said.

Danko tried to rein in Whitehead, first saying his questions to Soldo were “not appropriate” then demanding the councillor apologize to Soldo.

“No, I won’t,” responded Whitehead.

Danko then ejected the councillor from the virtual meeting.

Under council’s rules if a councillor persists in conducting themselves in a manner contrary to the rules of order, and has been ordered to stop, the chair may “order the member to vacate the meeting,” said Alicia Davenport, the city clerk.

Under council’s rules if a councillor apologizes, the committee can vote to allow the member to return.

Danko’s action was only the most dramatic with his fellow councillors during a heated and tense three-and-a-half-hour debate about the Aberdeen Ave. traffic calming issue.

Earlier in the discussion, the committee in a 5-4 vote overturned a Danko ruling to cut off Whitehead’s questioning of Soldo over the issue. Even though the Aberdeen Ave. issue was the subject of discussion, Whitehead was asking Soldo about the Queen Street two-way conversion, which has been delayed until next year.

Queen Street’s two-way conversion from Main Street to King Street has been stalled, said Soldo, until next year because two developments are being constructed at the corner of Main Street.

“Direction has been provided,” Danko ruled. “The decision has already been made. It is out of order.”

As Whitehead continued to pepper Soldo with questions, Danko could be heard saying “this is out of order, but I was overruled.”

Whitehead had argued that the committee should re-vote on the Aberdeen project, but the clerk ruled since the original decision was made by council, a reconsideration vote should take place at council. Stephanie Paparella, city clerk, repeatedly had to tell Whitehead a decision has been made and he should halt his persistent questioning of Davenport’s decision.

Danko also felt the wrath of Ward 4 Coun. Sam Merulla, who took issue with the Mountain councillor’s questioning if the city should act over a neighbourhood’s petition.

Danko had asked if the city had implemented the safety measures on the Red Hill Valley Parkway a few years ago based on any petition from residents.

In reaction, Merulla urges residents not to send Danko any petitions because he will ignore them.

“He has all the answers,” said Merulla. “He does not care what you have to say. Danko believes petitions are useless. He is going to ignore them.”

Merulla also indicated that “inexperienced” councillors, referring to first-term Coun. Maureen Wilson who represents Ward 1 that includes Aberdeen Ave., was willing to also ignore the petition from the neighbourhood.

A grassroots community campaign called “Keep Aberdeen Moving” was launched in the summer to stop the city from reducing the road from four lanes to two.

Wilson rejected that idea, saying she has the utmost respect for all residents, including Beer and his petition. Her job, she said, is to provide a safe environment for the over 600 children who have to cross Aberdeen Ave. every day to attend school.

The idea to transform Aberdeen into a “safe roadway” began in 2015 when residents asked for the safety measures.

Danko tried to stop Merulla during his statement, but he ultimately muted the councillor.

“There is no question actually on the floor,” said Danko towards the end of the discussion, after Whitehead had been ejected. “It’s questionable whether this three-hour discussion is even in order in the first place.”

The heated exchanges and personal invective expressed during the meeting had a few councillors taking a pause in their deliberations.

“There is a lot to digest here,” said Ward 2 Coun. Jason Farr. “It is a difficult issue. Chair, you’ve muted one councillor two times and ejected another. This is a contentious issue.”

This is not the first time that the Aberdeen Ave. traffic calming project has prompted vitriolic arguments among councillors. In 2019 councillors approved creating a flashing 40 km/h zone on Aberdeen Avenue between Queen Street and Longwood Road during school hours. The motion allowed parking on both sides of Aberdeen from Queen to Dundurn streets. The cost is estimated to be about $190,000.

Councillors on the Mountain and Ancaster have adamantly opposed implementing traffic calming measures on the arterial road because it delays commuting residents from the Mountain.

Hamilton Coun. John-Paul Danko ejects Coun. Terry Whitehead from contentious meeting

News Sep 12, 2020 by Kevin Werner Hamilton Mountain News

In a rare and unprecedented move, Public Works Committee Chair and Mountain Coun. John-Paul Danko ejected fellow Coun. Terry Whitehead from a meeting for questioning a staff person’s integrity during a heated and at times intense discussion over the Aberdeen Avenue traffic calming project.

During tense questioning with Edward Soldo, director of transportation operations on Sept. 11, over the Aberdeen Avenue traffic calming pilot project, Whitehead indicated that staff had exceeded council’s authority in implementing changes to the roadway. Whitehead said council in 2019 approved implementing some traffic calming measures, but opposed a “road diet” that included reducing the four-lane roadway to two.

Whitehead said traffic staff had actually gone ahead with examining the idea and was in the process of implementing it without approval from councillors.

A petition signed by over 700 residents and presented to councillors by resident Alex Beer urged councillors to keep the four lanes in place along Aberdeen between Queen Street South and Dundurn Street South.

“As staff, it is our responsibility to look at all options in terms of public safety,” said Soldo. “We don’t need the direction of council.”

Whitehead said staff conducted “zero” consultation with councillors about further changes to the Aberdeen and Queen Street projects.

Whitehead said during a private meeting with him that Soldo had apologized, but during the public meeting he apologized “if you feel (the consultations) did not include you.”

Whitehead said Soldo was “being evasive.”

“I’m getting a different response” than he received in private, he said.

Danko tried to rein in Whitehead, first saying his questions to Soldo were “not appropriate” then demanding the councillor apologize to Soldo.

“No, I won’t,” responded Whitehead.

Danko then ejected the councillor from the virtual meeting.

Under council’s rules if a councillor persists in conducting themselves in a manner contrary to the rules of order, and has been ordered to stop, the chair may “order the member to vacate the meeting,” said Alicia Davenport, the city clerk.

Under council’s rules if a councillor apologizes, the committee can vote to allow the member to return.

Danko’s action was only the most dramatic with his fellow councillors during a heated and tense three-and-a-half-hour debate about the Aberdeen Ave. traffic calming issue.

Earlier in the discussion, the committee in a 5-4 vote overturned a Danko ruling to cut off Whitehead’s questioning of Soldo over the issue. Even though the Aberdeen Ave. issue was the subject of discussion, Whitehead was asking Soldo about the Queen Street two-way conversion, which has been delayed until next year.

Queen Street’s two-way conversion from Main Street to King Street has been stalled, said Soldo, until next year because two developments are being constructed at the corner of Main Street.

“Direction has been provided,” Danko ruled. “The decision has already been made. It is out of order.”

As Whitehead continued to pepper Soldo with questions, Danko could be heard saying “this is out of order, but I was overruled.”

Whitehead had argued that the committee should re-vote on the Aberdeen project, but the clerk ruled since the original decision was made by council, a reconsideration vote should take place at council. Stephanie Paparella, city clerk, repeatedly had to tell Whitehead a decision has been made and he should halt his persistent questioning of Davenport’s decision.

Danko also felt the wrath of Ward 4 Coun. Sam Merulla, who took issue with the Mountain councillor’s questioning if the city should act over a neighbourhood’s petition.

Danko had asked if the city had implemented the safety measures on the Red Hill Valley Parkway a few years ago based on any petition from residents.

In reaction, Merulla urges residents not to send Danko any petitions because he will ignore them.

“He has all the answers,” said Merulla. “He does not care what you have to say. Danko believes petitions are useless. He is going to ignore them.”

Merulla also indicated that “inexperienced” councillors, referring to first-term Coun. Maureen Wilson who represents Ward 1 that includes Aberdeen Ave., was willing to also ignore the petition from the neighbourhood.

A grassroots community campaign called “Keep Aberdeen Moving” was launched in the summer to stop the city from reducing the road from four lanes to two.

Wilson rejected that idea, saying she has the utmost respect for all residents, including Beer and his petition. Her job, she said, is to provide a safe environment for the over 600 children who have to cross Aberdeen Ave. every day to attend school.

The idea to transform Aberdeen into a “safe roadway” began in 2015 when residents asked for the safety measures.

Danko tried to stop Merulla during his statement, but he ultimately muted the councillor.

“There is no question actually on the floor,” said Danko towards the end of the discussion, after Whitehead had been ejected. “It’s questionable whether this three-hour discussion is even in order in the first place.”

The heated exchanges and personal invective expressed during the meeting had a few councillors taking a pause in their deliberations.

“There is a lot to digest here,” said Ward 2 Coun. Jason Farr. “It is a difficult issue. Chair, you’ve muted one councillor two times and ejected another. This is a contentious issue.”

This is not the first time that the Aberdeen Ave. traffic calming project has prompted vitriolic arguments among councillors. In 2019 councillors approved creating a flashing 40 km/h zone on Aberdeen Avenue between Queen Street and Longwood Road during school hours. The motion allowed parking on both sides of Aberdeen from Queen to Dundurn streets. The cost is estimated to be about $190,000.

Councillors on the Mountain and Ancaster have adamantly opposed implementing traffic calming measures on the arterial road because it delays commuting residents from the Mountain.

Hamilton Coun. John-Paul Danko ejects Coun. Terry Whitehead from contentious meeting

News Sep 12, 2020 by Kevin Werner Hamilton Mountain News

In a rare and unprecedented move, Public Works Committee Chair and Mountain Coun. John-Paul Danko ejected fellow Coun. Terry Whitehead from a meeting for questioning a staff person’s integrity during a heated and at times intense discussion over the Aberdeen Avenue traffic calming project.

During tense questioning with Edward Soldo, director of transportation operations on Sept. 11, over the Aberdeen Avenue traffic calming pilot project, Whitehead indicated that staff had exceeded council’s authority in implementing changes to the roadway. Whitehead said council in 2019 approved implementing some traffic calming measures, but opposed a “road diet” that included reducing the four-lane roadway to two.

Whitehead said traffic staff had actually gone ahead with examining the idea and was in the process of implementing it without approval from councillors.

A petition signed by over 700 residents and presented to councillors by resident Alex Beer urged councillors to keep the four lanes in place along Aberdeen between Queen Street South and Dundurn Street South.

“As staff, it is our responsibility to look at all options in terms of public safety,” said Soldo. “We don’t need the direction of council.”

Whitehead said staff conducted “zero” consultation with councillors about further changes to the Aberdeen and Queen Street projects.

Whitehead said during a private meeting with him that Soldo had apologized, but during the public meeting he apologized “if you feel (the consultations) did not include you.”

Whitehead said Soldo was “being evasive.”

“I’m getting a different response” than he received in private, he said.

Danko tried to rein in Whitehead, first saying his questions to Soldo were “not appropriate” then demanding the councillor apologize to Soldo.

“No, I won’t,” responded Whitehead.

Danko then ejected the councillor from the virtual meeting.

Under council’s rules if a councillor persists in conducting themselves in a manner contrary to the rules of order, and has been ordered to stop, the chair may “order the member to vacate the meeting,” said Alicia Davenport, the city clerk.

Under council’s rules if a councillor apologizes, the committee can vote to allow the member to return.

Danko’s action was only the most dramatic with his fellow councillors during a heated and tense three-and-a-half-hour debate about the Aberdeen Ave. traffic calming issue.

Earlier in the discussion, the committee in a 5-4 vote overturned a Danko ruling to cut off Whitehead’s questioning of Soldo over the issue. Even though the Aberdeen Ave. issue was the subject of discussion, Whitehead was asking Soldo about the Queen Street two-way conversion, which has been delayed until next year.

Queen Street’s two-way conversion from Main Street to King Street has been stalled, said Soldo, until next year because two developments are being constructed at the corner of Main Street.

“Direction has been provided,” Danko ruled. “The decision has already been made. It is out of order.”

As Whitehead continued to pepper Soldo with questions, Danko could be heard saying “this is out of order, but I was overruled.”

Whitehead had argued that the committee should re-vote on the Aberdeen project, but the clerk ruled since the original decision was made by council, a reconsideration vote should take place at council. Stephanie Paparella, city clerk, repeatedly had to tell Whitehead a decision has been made and he should halt his persistent questioning of Davenport’s decision.

Danko also felt the wrath of Ward 4 Coun. Sam Merulla, who took issue with the Mountain councillor’s questioning if the city should act over a neighbourhood’s petition.

Danko had asked if the city had implemented the safety measures on the Red Hill Valley Parkway a few years ago based on any petition from residents.

In reaction, Merulla urges residents not to send Danko any petitions because he will ignore them.

“He has all the answers,” said Merulla. “He does not care what you have to say. Danko believes petitions are useless. He is going to ignore them.”

Merulla also indicated that “inexperienced” councillors, referring to first-term Coun. Maureen Wilson who represents Ward 1 that includes Aberdeen Ave., was willing to also ignore the petition from the neighbourhood.

A grassroots community campaign called “Keep Aberdeen Moving” was launched in the summer to stop the city from reducing the road from four lanes to two.

Wilson rejected that idea, saying she has the utmost respect for all residents, including Beer and his petition. Her job, she said, is to provide a safe environment for the over 600 children who have to cross Aberdeen Ave. every day to attend school.

The idea to transform Aberdeen into a “safe roadway” began in 2015 when residents asked for the safety measures.

Danko tried to stop Merulla during his statement, but he ultimately muted the councillor.

“There is no question actually on the floor,” said Danko towards the end of the discussion, after Whitehead had been ejected. “It’s questionable whether this three-hour discussion is even in order in the first place.”

The heated exchanges and personal invective expressed during the meeting had a few councillors taking a pause in their deliberations.

“There is a lot to digest here,” said Ward 2 Coun. Jason Farr. “It is a difficult issue. Chair, you’ve muted one councillor two times and ejected another. This is a contentious issue.”

This is not the first time that the Aberdeen Ave. traffic calming project has prompted vitriolic arguments among councillors. In 2019 councillors approved creating a flashing 40 km/h zone on Aberdeen Avenue between Queen Street and Longwood Road during school hours. The motion allowed parking on both sides of Aberdeen from Queen to Dundurn streets. The cost is estimated to be about $190,000.

Councillors on the Mountain and Ancaster have adamantly opposed implementing traffic calming measures on the arterial road because it delays commuting residents from the Mountain.