Inaugural Address - Mayor Fred Eisenberger - December 6, 2006

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					         Inaugural Address – Mayor Fred Eisenberger – December 6, 2006

Thank you.

Tonight we celebrate our community and welcome a new beginning.
This ceremony is held during a season of celebration, a season of hope and inspiration
– a season to reminisce and look forward with anticipation to the year ahead.

For the Greater Hamilton Area, the feeling of hope and inspiration transcends the
festive holiday season to our city’s newly elected leadership.

Ladies and gentlemen…distinguished guests…friends, it’s a tremendous honor for each
of us taking the oath of office to be in the company of so many extraordinary people.
Thank you for being here tonight to support our community - and this new

Theodore Hesburgh once said that, “the most important thing a father can do for his
children is to love their mother.”

Tonight I honor and pay tribute to my loving wife, Diane…the person whose support and
dedication made this all possible – I could not have done it without you. Thank you for
being with me every step of the way.

And to my children Brett and Alida, you are my strength and inspiration. Your love,
support and hard work over the last few months has meant a great deal to me.

To stand here tonight with the love and support of my mother, my family and extended
family is a moment I will never forget.

My family is just the start of my team. I have to thank my friends from my campaign,
people like my campaign manager and strategist Ken Audziss, CFO Michael Peters,
and advisors Nancie Mleczko, Rachel Hajdukewycz, and of course my longtime friend
and supporter Brenda Halkyard.
You should all take great personal satisfaction in the success of our campaign – both in
its message and its result.

             Inaugural Address – Mayor Fred Eisenberger – December 6, 2006

And to our volunteers, who are too numerous to list individually, you did everything from
answering phones, to putting up signs, to providing insight and information on key
issues. You came together from every corner and demographic of our community and
built a victory with your hard work.
Thank you for setting such a powerful example.

There are also a number of special guests who have participated in tonight’s program
that I’d like to thank.
Our vocalist Teresa DiFalco; Reverend Doctor Clide Irvine, Rabbi Bernard Baskin,
Bishop Anthony Tonnos, Hamilton Chamber of Commerce President Len Falco and
Stoney Creek President Benny Esposto.
I also want to extend my special thanks to Justice Ray Harris for administering the oath
of office.
And finally, to all the staff in the Clerks Office who worked so hard to make tonight a
success. I extend my thanks, in particular, to Kevin Christensen, Rose Caterini and
Mary Gallagher.

I’d also like to extend a heartfelt welcome to the NEW team of Councillors who give me
every reason to be enthusiastic about our ability to work as a team for the future of this
community. It will be an honor to serve with all of you.

Let me also acknowledge and thank my predecessor, Mayor DiIanni, for his service to
our community over the past 25 years - you will always be a friend and respected
When I entered the race for Mayor, I knew the public’s perception of politics and
politicians. After all, I am a taxpayer.
I am a voter.
I watch Rick Mercer and This Hour Has 22 Minutes, just like you.
I have shared your frustrations with our political process…a process that has recently
pushed people away, creating a growing distance between the voters and their elected

           Inaugural Address – Mayor Fred Eisenberger – December 6, 2006

So when we started our campaign, we wanted to change this.

Our campaign was different in style, it was different in strategy and it was different in
Our campaign did more with less, something I learned from my mother…
Our campaign demonstrated the value of hard work, a lesson I learned from my late
father. Our campaign brought your ideas together with mine, and proposed new
solutions to enduring problems … and you liked that.

The way I campaigned is the way I will approach the duties of my new office.
We will focus on earning back your trust; improving accountability and integrity;
ensuring SUSTAINABLE and SMART-growth, and developing our local economy.
Together, we will do everything in our power to make the Greater Hamilton Area a
better place to live, a better place to raise a family…in short, a community with a
VIBRANT present and an even brighter future.

We will also focus not just on what we do, but on HOW we do it.
I will be open and inclusive.
I will listen.
I will put our community first.
My activities and decisions will be transparent and accountable.
These are the characteristics I demand of myself…and that you expect from your

It’s time to raise the bar on expectations!

You don’t expect politicians to be perfect, but you do expect them to make decisions in
your best interests.
With that in mind, every decision I make as Mayor will not be a home-run.
Every action I take will not work wonders ... because, I’ll let you in on a little secret – I
am not perfect.

            Inaugural Address – Mayor Fred Eisenberger – December 6, 2006

If you want proof, ask my wife - you may want to sit down and get comfortable first.

I believe that government is neither the problem nor the solution.
We – the people of our community – together are the solution.
So, whether you ultimately agree with my decisions, you will know that your voice has
been heard.

Hamilton is a community of communities – a place where country meets the city – a
community that takes the best of rural, suburban and urban lifestyles.

Together, our suburban and rural areas form an integral part of our local history and

From Ancaster to Stoney Creek, Mount Hope to Glanbrook, Flamborough to Dundas,
each of our communities are important to our local history, economy and identity.

Though our challenges are great --- SO ARE OUR STRENGTHS.

As a city we must come together towards a common goal.
Perhaps more than any other time in our history we need a NEW kind of politics, one
that can excavate and build upon our shared understandings, and one that is based on

Thomas Jefferson believed that to preserve the very foundation of democracy we need
dramatic change from time to time.
Well --- THIS is our time. Let’s embrace it.

We can no longer expect something for nothing from our government, or from each

          Inaugural Address – Mayor Fred Eisenberger – December 6, 2006

Each and every one of us, in our own way, must assume personal responsibility -- not
only for ourselves and our families, BUT FOR OUR NEIGHBOURS AND OUR
For any one of us to succeed, we MUST succeed together.

To renew our community, we must be bold.
We must invest more in our PEOPLE, in their JOBS, and in their FUTURE, and at the
same time balance our needs.
And we must do it in a world where we compete for every opportunity.
It will not be easy.
But it can be done, and done fairly.

Now and then we will have to make sacrifices, but let us not forget that we are a city of
big dreams, big ideas, and big hearts – and we know how to give back.
In fact, Hamilton boasts one of the highest rates of volunteerism in Canada.

There is nothing wrong with our city that cannot be cured by what is right.
And so today, we begin a new chapter in our city’s history.

I have engaged my colleagues and rallied them around the idea of bringing much
needed change to our city.
Their support has been inspiring.

Tonight, we embark on a council term that is unprecedented both in terms of the
number of challenges we face, and the exciting opportunities that are ours to be had.
And let me tell you, CHANGE IS COMING.

We will get to work immediately on giving City Hall the tools it needs to earn and keep
your trust.
And since leadership is about leading by example, my FIRST step will be to freeze my
salary for the next two years.

         Inaugural Address – Mayor Fred Eisenberger – December 6, 2006

I hope you see this as my first deposit in your trust account.

The democratic process should be about counting votes, not about banking support and
weighing influence, so as I promised during the campaign, we are going to reform
election finance rules and develop a registry for lobbyists.
We are going to follow the example of other communities and create an independent
Integrity Commissioner.

The Auditor General of Canada, Sheila Fraser, said that “without measurement, there is
no management.”
Well today, we start managing the City of Hamilton with a new emphasis on
measurement and ensuring that taxpayers get value for their tax dollars.

To build a strong economy, we have to get the fundamentals right.

We can not forget about our existing businesses and entrepreneurs who already

In today’s global economy, jobs and investment can pick up and leave on short notice –
so we need to stay competitive. But it doesn’t stop there.

To attract new businesses, new investment and new jobs we have to run our City more
efficiently and productively with a focus on results – and on putting people first.

To be successful, we must do more than talk. We need to put aside political rhetoric and
come together for the best interests of our community – residents and voters expect
nothing less.

During the next four years, we WILL make measurable progress.

We will solve problems instead of explaining them away.

Hamilton will not be a city that knows how to make excuses, but instead a city that isn’t
afraid to solve even the toughest problems.

            Inaugural Address – Mayor Fred Eisenberger – December 6, 2006

That is our destiny, our legacy for future generations.

We have a goal – a road map if you will. Now it’s time to get started.

We know already that City Hall does not generate enough revenue to cover the costs of
maintaining – let alone expanding the services we offer.
We can not wait for other levels of government to solve our financial problems.
It’s time to take the lead by conducting a comprehensive review of how and where we
spend our money.

Putting our financial house in order begins by exercising fiscal restraint.

This is no across-the-board approach, but rather a method of analysis that enables us
to determine whether we’re receiving appropriate value, and how to better manage our
limited resources.

Provincial downloading of social services has created an enormous financial strain on
our city.
Older more established cities, like Hamilton, shoulder an unfair burden in funding social

Over the past several years, the Ontario government has put the funding gap on the
radar screen of the federal government. Hamilton must do the same with the province.
Yearly handouts are not enough.
To plan for the future, we need OUR FAIR SHARE of stable, long-term funding.
I look forward to working with our local MPP’s at Queen’s Park to return downloaded
social services to the provincial level - where they belong.

It’s time that City Hall embraced experimentation, nurtured relationships with higher
levels of government and empowered staff to generate new ideas to help us solve old
problems – the roundtable on poverty is just one example.

         Inaugural Address – Mayor Fred Eisenberger – December 6, 2006

The people who live here have great ideas – they are an untapped resource.
I have always strongly supported the role of community advisory councils dating back to
when I last sat on Council.
I believe that given authority over defined local issues that preserve and enhance a
sense of community and identity we can improve local governance.

Speaking of governance, youth are the future of our community – they are tomorrow’s
leaders. That’s why we need to start involving our young people in the planning and
political process NOW.

As your Mayor, I WILL invest in our youth by opening the doors of City Hall to them,
both physically with activities like Mayor-for-a-day, and virtually, through on-line tools
like where we gathered so much support during the campaign.

Using new technologies to solve old problems and reaching out to residents in ways
previously never imagined can help us energize our local economy.
I believe that we need to approach our challenges and our opportunities on three fronts:
efficiency, investment and ingenuity.

Take for example, our approach to economic development.
We can learn from cities who have experienced tremendous success developing their
economies -- like Burlington or London. Following their lead, we will create an
independent, non-profit economic development agency that will follow economic and
business principles, not political imperatives.
The key to our economic development plan is balance.

Those involved with the Hamilton Port Authority recognize our Port’s natural potential
for transportation and shipping.
It’s a tremendous resource that accounts for more than 5% of Ontario’s GDP.

         Inaugural Address – Mayor Fred Eisenberger – December 6, 2006

Those in our rural communities see agriculture as a part of their everyday life – a billion
dollar industry with significant potential for growth and investment.

Those in healthcare, biotechnology, culture and the film industries have known for some
time what many of us have come to realize – that technology related industries play a
vital role in Hamilton’s new economy.

And those in manufacturing remember a time when Hamilton was known as the
‘manufacturing capital of Canada.’
Our natural strengths remain - our challenge now is to create the right environment.

To succeed, our economic development strategy hinges on our ability to connect
traditional economic drivers like industry, manufacturing, education and transportation
with new-millennium economic forces like biotechnology, e-commerce, wireless
connectivity and digital media.

Quality arts, entertainment, sporting and cultural activities are also an important part of
our economic development plans.

Time and again, the availability of recreational and cultural opportunities has proven to
be a major reason why individuals and businesses choose to locate to one community
over another.

It’s time to work together with the arts community to foster development of the arts,
encourage cooperation and coordination, advocate before public and private agencies,
and develop a long term plan to further arts in our community.
As residents, WE TOO have a role to play, and it’s quite simple – when you go to an art
gallery, book store, theatre or other cultural or sporting event, take your kids – and DO

          Inaugural Address – Mayor Fred Eisenberger – December 6, 2006

It’s time to discover arts and culture in Hamilton – and while you’re doing it, rediscover
our enviable natural beauty that most cities only dream of.
The Niagara Escarpment, Bruce Trail, our waterfront and many other features ARE our
natural showcases.
We have a unique opportunity in the coming months and years ahead to improve and
take pride in our community through beautification and enforcement of property
Doing this will improve our City’s image and make people feel better about where they

Improving our image and inspiring civic pride can begin by restoring flowers and
greenery, expanding the ‘adopt a boulevard’ program, pursuing gateway signage and
launching a comprehensive review and renewal of city by-laws and enforcement

WHERE ELSE BUT HAMILTON do communities thrive within a larger community?
No other city boasts sixty-five percent of its land mass as rural.
It is our responsibility to protect this unique asset against indiscriminate sprawl.
Although we need growth, it should be SMART – growth that puts new development
where services already exist.

Our Harbour is a huge natural resource from an environmental and economic
perspective, but for many years, it has also been considered a toxic hot spot.
We need to continue our partnership with the provincial and federal governments for
much needed resources to clean-up our harbour. Doing this will serve as inspiration for
Hamilton to lead the way in other areas.

Although we can’t solve air pollution by ourselves, we need to take steps to reduce
vehicle emissions to improve the air we breathe.
We’re already doing our part with the largest fleet of hybrid vehicles in Ontario but
there’s still more to do.

            Inaugural Address – Mayor Fred Eisenberger – December 6, 2006

Ultimately, our focus on a cleaner environment will enable us to revitalize the waterfront
and unlock its true potential.
We can do this by introducing a mix of residential, commercial and recreational
There is great potential beginning with the restoration and redevelopment of the west

Today, we already have the energy, the knowledge, the ingenuity and creativity to
We just need to flick the ignition switch to on.

Thomas Homer-Dixon, who works down the road at the University of Toronto, recently
wrote a book called The Ingenuity Gap.
Well, if he lived in Hamilton, that book would have been called The Ingenuity Solution
because today, our city stands on a launching pad.

Hamilton is not just a city; it is a family of communities ranging from neighbourhoods to
former towns.
It is a place with a sense of pride that has withstood dents and arrows, but has endured,
stronger than ever.
It is a place that has produced sport heroes, movie stars, billionaire philanthropists and
Nobel Prize winners.
We KNOW our potential, we just haven’t reached it yet.

While a community as complex as Hamilton can always be better, there will be a time
for celebration - and it’s closer than you think. Getting there will take work and the work
starts now, the work starts here. Your help will make that work lighter. Each of us will
share that challenge as we find our roles on the broad, inclusive team that makes up
our city.

           Inaugural Address – Mayor Fred Eisenberger – December 6, 2006

NO task, NO plan, NO activity worthwhile is the work of one person. We need to work
together and be inclusive both in the work we do and in the credit and applause we

I believe the people have chosen well in selecting this council to guide the way for the
next four years. I am excited about what we can do working together.

Former Governor General Lincoln Alexander, also voted the Greatest Hamiltonian of All
Time once said, "I've always felt indebted to Hamilton because it has enabled me to be
myself." Like LINC, we have opportunities in Hamilton that don’t exist in other places –
opportunities that ultimately shape who we are.

Fellow citizens, we must not waste the precious gift of time.
For each of us are on the same journey in our lives, and our journey, too, will come to
an end. But the journey of our community must go on.

We are greeted today with a new vision of government, a new sense of responsibility
and a renewed spirit of community. Together we will make the hard choices, the right
We will forge a new partnership that binds us together to meet our challenges head on -
- and we WILL prevail.
It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work. TOGETHER WE WILL MAKE A
DIFFERENCE! Thank you.