Chris Cutler's Open Letter to Mayor Bratina

His Worship
Mayor Bob Bratina
The City of Hamilton
71 Main St. West
Hamilton, ON
L8P 4Y5

December 20, 2012

An Open Letter to Mayor Bob Bratina:

Dear Mayor Bratina,

In light of recent revelations in Andrew Dreschel’s column in the December 20, 2012 edition of The Hamilton Spectator outlining an admitted e-mail exchange between yourself and Mr. PJ Mercanti and subsequently with members of council, I am writing to respectfully request your immediate resignation as Chair of the Gaming Facility Proposal Sub-Committee in favour of Vice-Chair Councillor Robert Pasuta.

It has been disingenuously suggested that Mr. Mercanti’s communication with you in favour of OLG and against Councillor Merulla and his public and colourful reflection on the widely acknowledged predatory practices of the gaming industry were that of an ordinary citizen and not of a potential casino stakeholder who might benefit from the location in Hamilton’s downtown.

Given that as recently as the December 14, 2012 edition of The Hamilton Spectator the Mercanti family had been cited as coveting “a Vegas-style casino/hotel complex downtown” it should have been apparent to you that the communication might be seen as inappropriate. Mr. Mercanti seems to have instinctively understood this as Mr. Dreschel explains, “He (Mr. Mercanti) wound up asking the recipients to keep the note confidential” An issue of such complexity and public import as that of a casino in the downtown must be not only transparent but at all times to be seen as such. Your communications with Mr. Mercanti clearly fail to reach this mark.

Sadly this inappropriate exchange including your anticipated but unsent apology to OLG on behalf of “the City of Hamilton, its staff, its councillors, or myself as Mayor” only serves to feed the feeling of many that when it comes to the location of a casino in Hamilton, ‘the fix is in.’

Considering that the terms of reference for the Gaming Facility Proposal Sub-committee, from the meeting of October 9, 2012 and received by the General Issues Committee on October 17, 2012, indicated a duration to December 2012 it would appear that the sub-committee has played out its natural lifespan. It should, consequently, be dissolved in favour of all issues related to a gambling facility in the City of Hamilton being referred to the General Issues Committee.

This matter underscores the need now more than ever for an Integrity Officer with teeth, Accountability and Transparency Committee that delivers just that, and a Lobbyist Registry that ensures
the public knows exactly who our elected officials in the City of Hamilton are receiving in the pursuit of our public business.

Sincerely,

Christopher Cutler
812-260 King Street East, Hamilton Ontario