It has been an interesting week. I attended the parking forum last Tuesday night with approx 45 others, mostly unhappy shop keepers, a few residents and 5 councillors: Cllrs Stanley, Harle, Hadid, Hadchiti and Mannoun which is only fair since, with the exception of Cllr Harle, this group stirred up this hornets’ nest.
A few things to consider:
- If Cllr Mannoun, Hadid and Hadchiti had actually attended the CBD committee meetings (Councillors can attend all committee meetings even if not actually appointed to them) and spoke up, some of this current issue could have been completely avoided.
- Had these councillors actually thought about it, the thousands of $ now being spent could have been avoided, we wouldn’t have a couple of dozen irate business people.
- At the past ‘information’ sessions if any of the councillors had bothered to attend, or better still stir up interest at the time, we may have saved a LOT of anxiety, misinformation, distrust and money.
- If these same councillors had considered that they don’t run for elections in the final months but from the time they are elected earning respect AND HAD DONE THEIR ELECTED JOBS we would not be covering the same ground over and over again AND AT CONSIDERABLE COST.
- If these same councillors had left politics and petty dislikes aside, and had listened to my proposals in committee, if and when they bothered to attend the CBD committee meetings, they would have backed my call for Free Parking in the Warren & Northumberland St parking stations AND AVOIDED ALL THIS ANGST & COST.
- If these same shop keepers and business owners had come along, after being hand delivered invites back in 2009, 2010 and during early 2011, to some of the information sessions they could have AVOIDED THIS ANGST AND THE COST! I cannot stress how important it is for people to have their voices heard from the beginning so such things as in the case of this parking issue do not happen.
- The General Manager has a full time line outlining not only the events but I believe the attendance; the business event co hosted by the chamber had 5 business people attend, 2 gents from the Chamber of Commerce as hosts, 2 gents from the Bowling club and me. We were outnumbered by council staff and a representative from Luxmore Parking. I have reported here (http://signe4liverpool.wordpress.com/2011/10/12/important-%e2%80%98business%e2%80%99-briefing-and-western-forum/) on my blog details as this issue has evolved over the last 4 years.
If I sound a little angry about this, the truth is I am, there seems to be no limit to the amount of money some councillors will spend to get your vote, money that is yours and my rate money. Decry the infrastructure backlog all you want but the waste is appalling and every time I see our dollars wasted I consider it one less pothole filled, one dollar more they will need in rates and one more dollar spent on something other than the community for which they ARE SUPPOSED TO WORK!
I also attended the council meeting last night, and seriously the amount of politicking and irrelevant nonsense that comes forth is depressing. It was not a particularly late meeting but lack lustre and disappointing.
It began with some very angry residents, angry about the Warwick Farm issue (traffic/horses/industry don’t mix also posted on this blog several times) . However one council hopeful Marella Harris did speak passionately regarding Code of Conduct reviews and at her disgust at the Mayor’s previous reported behaviour, as well as Cllr Mannoun’s use of a local park for political purposes. Whilst I encourage residents to engage and these issues are appalling it is disappointing to see them brought up only to highlight one’s own candidacy. Councillors have categorically stripped the Mayor of the tasks that mark the Office of Mayor, these councillors have been some of the most aggressive, abusive and downright mean people I’ve ever had the displeasure of witnessing over the whole 3.75 years. Those Liberal and Liberal aligned councillors began with a goal to BEAT Labor, not represent the people as I’d mistakenly assumed. There is no other agenda for the Liberal councillors (much like the Liberal Party in Federal Opposition, other than to beat the opposition out of contention and gain the top job). Nothing has been improved upon for Liverpudlians by this council with perhaps the exception of the parking. I’m absolutely fine with some political debate, but this has continued for the entire term. When attacking the Labor members of the council didn’t work they turned their attention to the then General Manager Phil Tolhurst. And what a tragic end of unbearable pressure that story had.
I am completely willing to entertain debate centred around core differences to how the two major parties and those in coalition with them at any time over any issue, but the GOAL SHOULD BE FURTHERING LIVERPOOL not their political future. These councillors have not demonstrated to me that they have had the best interests of the people of Liverpool at heart, and usually, not even somewhere in the periphery of priorities. This is why I am a candidate for Mayor of Liverpool Council. Because you and I deserve more, people committed to our prosperity, not simply their own furtherance.
I have continued to make honest report on Liverpool City Council in a way that I hope is accessible to those who haven’t the time (or indeed the patience that this task has required), to attend all these meetings, council, committee, community forum and otherwise, and my honest response is one of sadness, embarrassment and disappointment. Liverpool is full of people who are active, ready with ideas and ready to contribute to our future. But I cannot tell you that one councillor on this council has impressed me as one of those residents. They are self serving, and some have even trolled radio stations to ‘bag out’ Liverpool. This is not what I want. I don’t want my taxes and rates to pay for people to represent me and my city with rudeness, bad manners, disinterest and negativity.
It’s time we each asked ourselves what we do want, and truly come together towards a future we deserve. And it is so much brighter than this. This is where we begin.