Fred Eisenberger

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Fred Eisenberger
Fred Eisenberger.jpg
Mayor Eisenberger in 2008
55th Mayor of Hamilton
In office
December 1, 2006 – November 30, 2010
Preceded by Larry Di Ianni
Succeeded by Bob Bratina
Personal details
Born 1952 (age 61–62)
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Spouse(s) Diane Girouard
Religion Roman Catholic

Fred Eisenberger (born 1952) is a Canadian politician. He is a former mayor of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, having been elected to the position on November 13, 2006. The margin of victory over incumbent Larry Di Ianni was a mere 452 votes in one of the closest races in Hamilton's history. He served as chair of the Hamilton Port Authority prior to his election in 2006.[1]

Background[edit]

Born in Amsterdam, Netherlands, he emigrated with his family to Canada when he was eight years old. He attended Sir Winston Churchill School in Hamilton. He graduated with honours from Mohawk College. He has also taken courses at the University of Waterloo and McMaster University.

Eisenberger spent three terms as one of two aldermen in Ward 5 from 1991 to 2000. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2000, placing third behind Robert E. Wade and Bob Morrow.

He registered, but withdrew from the 2003 mayoral election, due to a ruled conflict of interest by the federal ethics counsellor stemming from the fact that Eisenberger was serving as chair of the Hamilton Port Authority. Faced with the choice of resignation from the board or candidacy in the election, he chose to withdraw from the race.[2]

In the 2004 federal election, Eisenberger ran for the Conservative Party in Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, finishing third behind Liberal Tony Valeri and New Democrat Tony DePaulo.

2006 mayoral election[edit]

During the campaign Eisenberger stated that elected officials should be limited from serving more than two consecutive terms of office without a one-term break.[3] One of the key planks of his platform was a proposal to hire an independent integrity officer to help restore public trust in city hall, following the controversy around Larry Di Ianni's campaign contributions in 2003.[4] While local media referred often to Eisenberger's 2006 win by 452 votes, few in the media managed to observe that ex-mayor Larry Di Ianni's vote had sharply dropped by 17,000 from 2003—a highly significant factor—from 70,539 to 53,658 votes.

Eisenberger also refused donations from corporations and unions and was outspent four to one by his main opponent (Di Ianni).[5][6] The local daily paper supported the incumbent but Eisenberger won the election. That incumbent (Di Ianni) had accepted illegal donations in the 2003 campaign in which Eisenberger was not a candidate for mayor. Di Ianni was convicted of that offence. Eisenberger won the subsequent 2006 mayoral election as voters valued the campaign funding stance he'd taken, according to reports of the campaign.

Economic development[edit]

As part of his campaign, Eisenberger wanted to reform economic development in Hamilton, including a boost to the department's budget. He sought and won support for this initiative which involves hiring new staff and developing a marketing campaign to help promote Hamilton.[7]

Another major initiative was the creation of the Jobs Prosperity Collaborative, a group of community leaders to help steer Hamilton's economic development.[8] He also proposed that the federal government's newly announced Southern Ontario Development Agency be located in Hamilton.[9]

Environment and sustainable development[edit]

Eisenberger has proposed a downtown pedestrian plaza to increase pedestrian activity in the core of Hamilton.[10]

He also gained the endorsement of colleagues to implement an anti-idling by-law.[11] A by-law which has yet to issue one single ticket. The by-law is not proactively enforced and relies on citizens calling the by-law office about a vehicle idling longer than 15 minutes.

After several years of debate, Eisenberger worked with both the provincial and federal governments to gather financial support ($60 million in total) to assist with efforts to clean up Randle Reef in Hamilton Harbour, a toxic hotspot from the city's industrial past.[12][13] The province and Ottawa have each contributed their portion and the City of Hamilton continues to work with the Region of Halton, the City of Burlington, the Hamilton Port Authority and the private sector (including US Steel and Arcelor Mittal) to create a funding formula to cover the remaining one-third of the cleanup costs. To date, the City has pledged $7 million to $10 million toward the cost of the cleanup.

Public transit[edit]

Eisenberger was a founding board member for the provincial transportation agency, the Greater Toronto Transit Authority (GTTA) which later became Metrolinx.[14] He is a leading proponent for a new light rail transit (LRT) system for Hamilton.[15] As part of Metrolinx, Eisenberger helped to initiate service improvements to the city's two rapid transit corridors, the north-south A-Line and the east-west B-Line,[16] and was a key force in the establishment of a new GO/VIA station on James Street North that will boost inter-regional connections between Hamilton, the Greater Toronto Area and the Niagara Region[17]

The Province of Ontario established a new Metrolinx Board of Directors in 2009 at which time Eisenberger and all elected representatives, were removed from the board.[18]

Ethics and integrity[edit]

Since winning the 2006 election, Eisenberger has pursued policies that he describes as "bringing ethics and integrity back to Hamilton council".[19][20] In January 2008, Eisenberger publicly criticised councilors who he felt were trying to derail his 2006 campaign promise to bring in an integrity commissioner,[21] but city council voted to implement an integrity commissioner in June 2008.[4]

In July 2008, a leaked tape of a private conversation between Eisenberger and Hamilton Spectator columnist Andrew Dreschel was released to Hamilton Community News, although Eisenberger had previously admonished other council members for leaking info to the media. During his tenure, Eisenberger has allowed many of his councillors to walk away unscathed from clear violations of the city's code of conduct.[22] In September 2008, council cleared him of any wrongdoing, and an investigator found that he had been acting in the public interest and that his motives were "wholly proper" and in a manner consistent with the Mayor's duties under Section 226.1 of the Municipal Act, 2001,[23] though technically violating the code of conduct.[24]

Stadium controversy[edit]

Eisenberger and a majority of Councillors became engaged in a controversy over the location of a stadium for the upcoming Pan Am Games to be held in Southern Ontario. Together with his Council colleagues, Eisenberger had voted in favor of a stadium to be located at the West Harbour. However, the main tenant, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, disagreed with Council's preferred location choice. Eisenberger's refusal to negotiate is mainly the reason for his third-place loss in his upcoming election. The controversy, which lasted through the 2010 Municipal Election and beyond, proved a fruitless effort by both the Tiger-Cats and the City. A stadium location would not be worked out between the City and the Tiger-Cats organization until an 11th hour compromise to renovate the existing Ivor Wynne stadium, a compromise negotiated by Bob Bratina.

Electoral record[edit]

2006 Hamilton, Ontario municipal election, Mayoredit
Candidate Total votes  % of total votes
Fred Eisenberger 54,110 43.21
Larry Di Ianni 53,658 42.84
Diane Elms 9,459 7.55
Michael Baldasaro 4,520 3.61
Gino Speziale 1,274 1.02
Steve Leach 1,250 1.00
Martin S. Zuliniak 968 0.77
Total valid votes 125,239 100.00
Hamilton East—Stoney Creek - Canadian federal election, 2004
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Tony Valeri 18,417 37.7%
New Democratic Tony Depaulo 17,490 35.8%
Conservative Fred Eisenberger 10,888 22.3%
Green Richard Safka 1,446 3.0%
Independent Sam Cino 393 0.8%
Communist Bob Mann 166 0.3%
2010 Hamilton, Ontario municipal election, Mayoredit
Candidate Total votes  % of total votes
Bob Bratina 52,684 37.32
Larry Di Ianni 40,091 28.40
Fred Eisenberger 38,719 27.43
Michael Baldasaro 2,892 2.05
Tone Marrone 1,052 0.75

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Official Web Site: Mayor Fred Eisenberger". Retrieved 2007-12-03. 
  2. ^ "Hamilton mayoral candidate drops out of race after conflict-of-interest ruling". Canadian Press NewsWire. 2003-10-05. Retrieved 2006-12-11. [dead link]
  3. ^ Wade Hemsworth (2006-10-30). "LIMIT COUNCIL TERMS, SAYS EISENBERGER". The Hamilton Spectator. p. Section: LOCAL, A11. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  4. ^ a b Andrew Dreschel, "A big and welcome win for Mayor Fred". Hamilton Spectator, June 13, 2008.[dead link]
  5. ^ Nicole MacIntyre, "Beer for Eisenberger, champagne for Di Ianni". Hamilton Spectator, April 4, 2007.[dead link]
  6. ^ Nicole MacIntyre, "The tale of two campaigns: Donor lists reveal vast differences". Hamilton Spectator, April 4, 2007.[dead link]
  7. ^ Nicole MacIntyre, "Council spending $1.5 million to beef up economic development". Hamilton Spectator, December 10, 2007.[dead link]
  8. ^ Meredith MacLeod, "Rubber hits the road to bring city jobs". Hamilton Spectator, January 30, 2009.[dead link]
  9. ^ "Put development agency in city: mayor". Hamilton Spectator, January 30, 2009.[dead link]
  10. ^ Eric McGuinness, "Eisenberger pushes for downtown pedestrian mall". Hamilton Spectator, October 2, 2007.[dead link]
  11. ^ Dana Brown, "City moves on anti-idling bylaw". Hamilton Spectator, May 11, 2007.[dead link]
  12. ^ Carmela Fragomeni, "Province gives $30m to clean up Randle Reef". Hamilton Spectator, August 16, 2007.[dead link]
  13. ^ "Ottawa delivers $30m to complete Randle Reef puzzle". Hamilton Spectator", November 9, 2007.[dead link]
  14. ^ http://thespec.com/article/457994[dead link]
  15. ^ Robert Howard, "Let's get going on LRT system". Hamilton Spectator, October 22, 2008.[dead link]
  16. ^ http://thespec.com/article/626425[dead link]
  17. ^ http://thespec.com/article/345354[dead link]
  18. ^ http://thespec.com/article/345334[dead link]
  19. ^ Kevin Werner. "Clark increases call for integrity commissioner". Stoney Creek News. Retrieved 2008-09-22. [dead link]
  20. ^ Ryan McGreal. "Community News Publishes Excerpts from Mayor's Controversial Interview". Raise the Hammer. Retrieved 2008-09-22. 
  21. ^ Daniel Nolan. "Eisenberger lashed out at councillors". Hamilton Spectator. Retrieved 2008-09-22. [dead link]
  22. ^ Mark Cripps. "Leaked tape big problem for mayor". Hamilton Mountain News. Retrieved 2009-03-31. [dead link]
  23. ^ Ryan McGreal. "Council Votes Not to Censure Mayor for Tapegate". Raise the Hammer. Retrieved 2009-09-03. 
  24. ^ Andrew Dreschel. "Eisenberger breathes easy, but Clark ...?". Hamilton Spectator. Retrieved 2008-09-22. [dead link]

External links[edit]