Press Release - January 14, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Group Calls for Apology from City Manager for Tim McCabe’s Remarks in Spectator

The citizen’s group NO! Downtown Hamilton Casino, is calling on City Manager, Chris Murray, for a comment on the appropriateness of the remarks made by Tim McCabe in Andrew Dreschel’s column in Friday’s Hamilton Spectator.

In the column, McCabe, General Manager of Planning, Economic Development & Culture, is quoted as saying, “If these groups (casino operators) want the pendulum to start swinging more away from just all negative stuff, they should be more upfront and centre, I should say.”

Matthew Green, a spokesperson for the group, takes exception McCabe’s remarks. “Our group is for expanding Flamboro Downs. Our group is for saving 3,500 jobs up at Flamboro. Our group is for saving more families from breaking apart, saving more problem gamblers from attempting suicide, saving small hospitality businesses downtown from going under because of the presence of a casino right next to them. We’re also for ensuring our downtown realizes it potential. Even Mr. McCabe’s own department is sharing some remarkable growth numbers, not only about downtown but also about the whole City. There’s lots of positive momentum.”

According to Dreschel, McCabe offered some counsel to potential casino bidders, some of whom he has met with already, saying he thought it would be in the best interest of operators to tell the public what they’re proposing before council votes on a new casino at the end of February. “If they’re smart, they’ll (casino operators) want to influence that decision.”

“We ask a very simple question,” adds Green. “Why do we have a member of the City’s Senior Management Team providing advice to casino bidders the public doesn’t even know the names of, while at the same time saying that the work we and others are doing is ‘just negative stuff’. We don’t think it’s appropriate for an employee of the City of Hamilton to be making these kinds of statements.”

When asked what the group expected Cit Manager, Chris Murray, to do, Green was very clear, “Look, this isn’t a personal attack on Mr. McCabe. He misspoke. But the fact is, he spoke. On the record. To a reporter. We want Chris Murray to acknowledge the inappropriateness of Mr. McCabe’s remarks, and to tell Mr. McCabe, and the other members of the SMT and staff in general, to be more careful about expressing these kinds of opinions on such sensitive topics. Staff is supposed to express opinions when they are requested to do so by elected Councillors, not the media. To us, that seems like a very fair, balanced and constructive request.”

The group sent an email to the City Manager earlier today outlining their concerns and their requested actions. A copy of that email is attached.

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Matthew Green matthew@freestylefitness.ca
Dan Jelly dcjelly@gmail.com
Graham Crawford gcrawford6@gmail.com