Good Bye 2016

December 31, 2016

Image0211Here we are at the end of what can only be described as a weird year. Too many of the people on our planet have taken a huge right turn and it’s not pretty. Greed has taken over and self serving politicians seem to dominate the landscape.

How is  this an unusual and weird year…? Let’s start with the Brits, they managed to completely confuse themselves by voting for an exit to the EU… waking up the next day like they had a hangover and wondered what happened. The US went nuts and voted for an egomaniac and we in Australia raised the profile of a bunch of hateful liars who are intent on spreading poor even incorrect information to scare the community into thinking everyone is out the to get them. I remember growing up in a somewhat different time, most of my recollections of the 60’s and 70’s are memories of everyone getting on with the day to day and if a neighbour needed some help they just did what they could. To pretend there weren’t racists about would be naive, however as a child of an immigrant and being reasonably aware of our difference I cannot say I ever felt fear for my safety or even that my neighbour hated me and my family… yet the politicians who peddle the hate and fear of today do exactly that. We are supposed to be a more informed and educated society but the reality is, waaaaaaaayyyyy to many people get their news from shock jocks or media with an agenda. Whether that is self serving or worse controlled by media giants who want more control and less fact reaching the community. It’s time we as a community stood up and said enough is enough. We have many issues affecting us locally that have been ‘sold’ to the community as beneficial but when push comes to shove no one can define the benefit or produce the information required to ensure we do get the purported benefits.  The Moorebank intermodal will not be good for Liverpool, yes it will bring a few jobs and a few companies who rely on freight but it will also drive away potential businesses as our roads will be in gridlock the majority of the time. That’s without touching the hefty impacts such a development will have on the residents of Liverpool and our surroundings, be it air pollution, damage to our precious waterways, even the liveability of our city. Our council has spent hundreds of thousands of our rates dollars to ensure the community is aware and I can pretty much guarantee that percentage wise a very low number of people truly understand the impacts or worse even know about them… some may be aware of the reported benefits, even though the supporting documents cannot prove any such benefit. Same goes for the Badgerys Creek airport. I cannot get past the fact that if the airport is bad for the residents of Mascot and surrounding suburbs how in the hell is it going to be good for the residents in one of NSW’s largest growth areas? Especially when we won’t even have a curfew or the same restrictions afforded Mascot and Sydney’s drinking water will be directly under the flight paths. This doesn’t even touch on things like the impacts of digging coal out of the ground around the state and the immediate damage being done to waterways and the local communities. We are being sold a pup and so few actually seem to care.  The climate is in a bad way and without dramatic changes right now it’s closing in on irreversible and we, all of us, need to step up….

On a personal level I have much to be thankful for this year, my family are pretty well and cared for and very loved. The people with whom I associate are informed and passionate about the communities in which we live and the planet as a whole. Most of all they care.

There are of course things all of us need to consider changing, adjusting or being more aware of and to me that is just normal…I am grateful for the many readers who have taken the time this year to read and respond, even those not wanting to have their information shared. I am grateful for the change in local councillors and that some of  the worst have not returned. I am hopeful for a more inclusive year where more people get involved in local issues.

We do however need to ensure we are better informed, I was surprised when discussing politics with someone yesterday the amazing lack of knowledge associated with politics in this country. The associate and her colleagues had no clue that the likes of Pauline Hanson, Leyonhjelm etc make very good money out of running for federal seats. Especially if they get their 4% and don’t actually win a seat  as they get to keep the money and not have to work for it. Don’t get me wrong every political party earns at a Federal election once they reach 4%, the bigger groups who actually get people elected use that to fund lots of things within their party. We Green’s operate a little differently in that in NSW the local groups manage the funds and they generally finance future elections and the running of the  group and local issues. This I understand is very different to that of even Greens in other states and it is exactly why we at FLG were able to donate a bit of money to ensure 30 local families weren’t hungry this Christmas. For NSW Greens groups the goal is to raise awareness around issues and policies that are of importance to our communities not necessarily ‘winning’ seats although that is indeed beneficial when it comes to actually ensuring change in how politics is done in this country. Our Greens politicians are all hard working and extremely dedicated, that makes me very proud when some things we do achieve benefit the whole community.  All our local group members here in Liverpool and Fairfield do what we do as volunteers and we don’t pay staff or excessive costs for campaign materials etc. We actually manage to run our elections very cheaply and work towards ensuring politics is full of people with a passion for change not a passion for a well paid job, which sadly appears to be the goal of many other individuals and parties and something I personally rally against. The idea of scoring a well paid job followed by a golden handshake in my opinion brings out the worst in people and we should be expecting better.

Thank you all for your contributions and  your patience with my less than regular posts this year, it has been a big year in that elections are time and energy expensive.

I would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year.  2017 is shaping up to be a  big year, thankfully not an election one for us so we can focus on some of the local issues that are of most import to our local community.

Stay safe and I will see you in 2017.

 

Sign off


Submission Liverpool CBD DCP

December 6, 2016

Signe 2016 outdoorsHi all, I know I am posting this after the close of submission, however I do believe if you are quick you will still have your views considered.

 

I will post my submission here, sadly there are so many things one could comment on but time and reality have to show in my lack of brevity on even only a few: click here or on the submissions page.

 

Sign off


Submission re Georges River Precinct

December 2, 2016

Hi all,

 

I have finally finished one of the submissions to council due on Monday. I will add the link here and the whole document on the submissions page. I accept there are parts of it that are aspirational, hopeful even but in my opinion if we don’t ask we won’t get. I truly believe that while development and providing housing is essential as our city grows however it has to be more than how many humans we can push into every square metre of residential space. Of course as always you might have different views and that’s fabulous, even better if you share them here others can see your thoughts as well and maybe consider putting in a submission of their own     click.Here

Just for the record although I’ve suggested 30 story building limit, I’d personally prefer lower, however the precedent has been set  in LIverpool already so creating an issue where the Land and Environment Council ends up making all our decisions isn’t desireable either…. so I’ve compromised. 😦

there is another due on Monday and with a little luck and timing I’ll get that done and posted as well.

 

have a good weekend

 

Sign off


Council meeting

November 24, 2016

Signe Westerberg Headshots FAV (26 of 102)Where to begin, First I guess is the behaviour of our councillors has improved markedly, seems removing the chief procrastinators worked. Thanks to those who didn’t endorse them I guess!
Councillor Balloot thankfully removed his ridiculous proposal to drug test all Liverpool Council staff and councillors. Some of the newer councillors will need to do some research when it comes to issues that are brought back for discussion, sadly none of the new members of council attended prior to their ascension into council and last night showed how out of touch some of them were in relation to issues that have been addressed on several occasions. This is not new of course, many of those seeking your votes never bother to actually attend council meetings prior to wanting to be councillors and the trend for them to forget council exists once they lose their seats is also the norm, Former Cllrs, Mannoun, Ristevski, Gillani, Napolitano, Lucas, etc etc no longer attend on a regular basis if at all. A couple have shown up once or twice, but the majority walk away like they never cared anyway.  In most cases this is actually good news in my opinion and clearly life does go on.

There was a couple of issues that are worthy of note: The passing of David Pack, a long time contributor to all things Liverpool, 14 –yep 14 matters of confidence. The voluntary Planning Approval allowing retrospective adjustment of DA’s by buying out council. A contribution of $230,000 from Lateral estate (Skyhaus) to go towards Collingwood House renovations.  While I am supportive of contributions to things of such import as Collingwood House, I am as I have mentioned numerous times not happy that for a few dollars changes can be made to a DA that significantly change to height/character/impact of a development after such changes have actually been made. This building was approved at 28 Stories, ridiculous as is, and basically for $230,000 they can add 23 more apartments and 3 more stories. Cheap if you consider 23 apartments at let’s guess $650,000 a piece… cheap cheap don’t’ you think? Please note I’m guessing the cost of the apartments, lets face it, the views would be something to pay for I can imagine and I could be well off the mark, but the point remains. Then to have Cllr Rhodes suggest we should use that lousy VPA to fix the issues the building itself creates is a stretch too far. Seriously, we should pay for their mistakes????? come on let’s get real and those impacts on surrounding homes, streets etc etc $230,000 is a drop in the bucket.  If we as a council have not considered all those issues in the planning stages we have some serious issues on council imo and I’ll be damned if I think we residents through any contribution should be left to pick up the tab.

Mayor Waller went to considerable length to advise why she feels it inappropriate for the chair to comment on issues before council, while I think the formerpowermadmayor had waaay to much to say, she got elected as a representative of the people and the occasional comment when warranted is in my view appropriate. That said Wendy did only stand for the chair position so perhaps she didn’t want to be in a position to comment… either way she does zoom through the agenda, sometimes a bit too fast. Many in the gallery struggle to keep up and worse some of the councillors do to. It would be nice if she slowed down the actual yays/no’s a little so the gallery could see who actually voted which way before on to a new topic.

The link to the business papers is below, a couple of things that are really important I’d like to highlight. There are three major planning proposals/master plans on exhibition at the moment, two about the River developments and the other the CBD. As it is your rates that will eventually be used to support/maintain/fix issues relating to these major projects I can only stress the importance of your comments and submissions. I will be working on my submissions in the coming week or so and will post them here. Please consider having a close look at what is on exhibition at the moment and make comment. You can do this simply by emailing your views, doing the surveys’ through Liverpool Listens or write your views and post them to council. This doesn’t have to be a huge or lengthy detailed submission, dot points will do, just have your views heard. Keep in mind the proposal to have 40 story buildings on the old Cablemakers site is just one to consider and there are so many more, please take the time to have a look, comment and be heard.

 

Minutes of last nights meeting should be online sometime tomorrow…

As always if your views differ I’m happy to put them up here for all to see.  Your opinions are as valid as mine so I encourage you to use this opportunity to get yours across.

 

til next time

 

Sign off

 

http://liverpool.infocouncil.biz/Open/2016/11/CO_20161123_AGN_308_AT.PDF


Time to take stock

November 9, 2016
Signe Westerberg HeadshotsFAV  (78 of 102)I’ve decided that it’s time to turn on some classy music, sit back, thank the gods/goddesses I’m not in the US and look at what we all witnessed today. It’s probably more than what we witnessed tonight but what we’ve been watching for many months now.
Like many I dismissed Donald Trump as the lunatic I think he really is, without taking time to consider that the system is simply failing the people, the workers and the children. Sadly the same is happening here. Those in most need are the ones the middle to right of politics ignores the loudest, they are yelled at, called leaners, reduced to beggars if they cannot support their children satisfactorily. Made feel less. All the while we are the ones who sit back throwing verbal stones of disgust at what our own government is doing to refugees in Nauru and on Manus. I wanted to throw things at the television today when Pauline Hanson began singing the praise of the hate and disunity that has engulfed the US, you know the land of the free, home of the brave etc etc and today it moved closer imo to Nazi Germany than the supposed land of hope and freedom. Not unlike Germany of the day, to be in politics in the US it takes money, lots of it, Hitler was a wealthy man, who like many wanted more and more and those who are left to pay the price and while I’m not suggesting the US is about to install gas chambers, no one who voted for Hitler in the beginning would have dreamt he would eventually do this in order to fulfil his personal desires, not only for wealth but for sovereignty, ideology and hate.
 
So the question is what can I learn from this travesty? What are the lessons we need to learn and what can we do to ensure that our people aren’t left one day facing the same uncertainty and fear that must be touching many of the people of the US tonight. I know this sounds melodramatic and perhaps a little over the top but we have politicians who could more easily than you think, walk the same line, tread the same path and in doing so lead us to the same sorts of  distress and uncertainty.
I read lots today, one thing that resonated with me was a discussion on FaceBook regarding the types of politicians and the direction our own politics is heading. this of course for me is standard reading to a point, I’m what one couldn’t deny politically active perhaps even obsessed. I have stood a number of times to represent my community and I have to admit in the back of my mind I’ve been concerned that perhaps I didn’t’ come from the right situation, not educated enough, certainly not rich enough and it occurs to me, maybe the ordinary, working class person like me is exactly what we need in politics… we’re losing the politicians that were the beginning of the Labor party, the workers, those who knew and understood the needs of their fellow workers, what it was like to struggle at times to make ends meet and let’s face it neither Clinton nor Trump would have a clue, not Turnbull, Abbott and the list goes on and on. Privilege begets privilege and we need more people representing us that actually live the same lives as we do, they know what unemployment feels like, what it’s like to have a sick kid and know that taking the time off work won’t bode well for our employments situation. The fear that removing Medicare and free health is not an inconvenience but a tragedy, a genuine worry. I think we can to a point dismiss those who might fit the bill but sit on the back benches of parliament doing as the party machine says, not willing to stir the pot, expect and demand more.  I’m proud to say my local group is truly representative of today’s community, we have people from all walks of life, people just like you and me who live day to day trying to ensure the future for their families is better than theirs. Many of us are genuinely concerned for the future we are leaving our kids and grandkids and we are working towards making that better. ( all the while being labelled the loony )  The good news is we’re going keep going, we are going to continue to raise the bar in politics, we unlike the old parties have a structure that is guided by the membership not those in ‘power’ so we’re always being held to account. I’m sure we will have many conversations over the coming days, weeks, months as we watch the US become whatever it is destined to become with such a huge change in leadership. It is however the lessons we learn that will separate us.
To digress before I go, today I attended a council advisory meeting at the Library that encourages us as a community to engage in the changes, proposed in the DCP (Development control plan) for the CBD and I encourage everyone to have a look at that and the proposed plan for the Georges River … it’s important, and we really need to speak up, after all the costs of the proposed developments have to be paid for and while Liverpool Council’s  architect attempted to assure me we have pegged rates, the reality is that if our rates are redirected to remedy situations or developments we do so by taking them from somewhere else like services and upkeep.
Back to my music, reading and preparing the submissions to council I need done. If of course your opinion about today’s post or any differs from mine, let me know, better still comment, share your views, your feelings on today’s outcome etc.
Sign off

Killing them softly without a song

October 31, 2016

broken-heartI spend a good deal of time disgusted by this present government, seriously when it comes to refugees neither of the old parties have anything to be proud of but Turnbull/Dutton/Hanson hate club has reached new depths. Not only are they (I”d usually say we being a country, however none of this is done in my name and I dare say yours) leaving people to rot in prisons in island detention hell holes but now even if these poor souls do manage to find safe haven in some other country they will never be able to even visit here – socially or professionally.

Let’s look at this a little closer, in Nauru and Manus detention centres are people fleeing horrid and dangerous situations in countries we helped invade or at the very least stick our unwanted nose in. Let’s leave the war crimes of the likes of Howard and Bush aside for a moment and look at is what is happening now. There are literally thousands of people  being held in detention because in their desperate need to find safe haven they have found themselves prey to unscrupulous money hungry smugglers who promise much and deliver danger and potential death. So the idea that simply not allowing them to land on our shores is all this miserable government can do to “keep the illegals out” seriously there is so much more that could be said and again this is probably not the time. Especially when you know that there are safe alternatives available today that would not only help refugees find safe haven before they took dangerous risks but would cost us less than the barbaric manner in which they are being held now.

What of the brilliant people who have made their homes here, some have gone on to be writers, some doctors and professionals and even a Governor General and this potential is lost to us now and in the future. Consider that potentially when these poor souls eventually find a forever home, grow their futures and progress as history shows they will, not one of them can come to this country even in the possibility they could train our own to greater achievements is now off the board.
We had the unfortunate situation last year of needing medical and ongoing assistance at one of our public hospitals, where I might tell you we saw so many absolutely brilliant non white caucasian doctors and nursing staff who did some of the most amazing and necessary work imaginable. I am horrified by this narrow, cruel and despicable approach by Turnbull and CO and am gobsmacked that they are doing this in our name.

As Australians there are less than 3% who can rightly call Australia their ancestral home, we are all from somewhere else, some came by plane, some by boat, actually many came by boat initially and this disgusts and appalls me on so many levels. We could go on and discuss how many overstay their plane trips. This is reminiscent of a German fellow some years ago who singled out specific nationalities and did despicable things in the name of purity etc.

Watching the panel on QandA debate this or worse try and justify this is driving me to despair, especially knowing I live in one of the most diverse and culturally rich communities in this country.

 

Am going now to kick a wall as feeling this helpless is difficult and not nearly as difficult as what we are doing to refugees here and now.

 

Sign off


Well that was an event

October 14, 2016

Signe Westerberg Headshots (38 of 102)Wednesday  was the first council meeting of a new 4 year term of council. At least from the get go things looked like they were  going to be  interesting. There may be some new faces and some new ideas however some of the old bad habits persisted

From what would or could have been a fairly innocuous/standard meeting for the most part it began with a little left over poor behaviour from Cllr Hadchiti a bit of one upmanship one might say. The ever zealousness of the newbies and the stubborn left overs from the previous past were on show from the beginning, right up to the calling for division.

It will take a while as new councillors learn the tricks and tips for stealing proposals, the few liberal leftovers became masters at this in the previous term even though they don’t like it now it’s being done to them.

I tweeted throughout the meeting and managed to stir the eyre of one of the new councillors who didn’t like the hashtag she’d been assigned. While I’d like to take all the credit, even when waiting outside while the confidence motions were in play, I was being asked about her aggressive confrontation by other members of the gallery her saw her pointing her phone at me, the same term was used over and over.  Clearly as time goes by another perhaps even more appropriate tag will become evident  but in a gesture of goodwill I advised her that I would retire it so as not to offend. That said, my quote that the previous Mayor had stepped down in order to spend more time with his family, was not something I made up, it was in the press, he announced it in council so the while the hashtags may still be up for debate, his planning to spend more time with his family was more than accurate.

Anyway, there is more to council than a councillor spending her time reading my tweets while supposedly acting as a councillor defending the rights, needs and passions of the community. Mayor Waller resumed the role easily and as in the past fairly from what I could tell. For council to work effectively the councillors need to focus on what is in the communities best interests and not their own and only time will tell if this is how it pans out.

There were as always a number of items covered under confidentiality and unfortunately when we were called back in a number of the issues were already plowed through and we weren’t about to hear the results. It is well clear that I don’t like issues removed from the public glaze however I am of the belief that with a little diligence, care and respect the community can be included on important issues such as sourcing of services. All should be available today when the transcript is made public on the council website.

Listening as one new Councillor undertook the reassignment of committees, I christened it the “Balloot” as this is exactly what he did over the past couple of years and a way to completely dominate the councilors attendance on committees, only this time leaving the Liberal Councillors out of much as opposed to the past where the Labor Councillors were left out. In fairness in this instance there wasn’t a complete exclusion as in the past and if everyone actually shows up we may see a reasonable balance in attendance. The amendment that all councillors could attend and have voting privileges is and should always have been the case and is appropriate.

It was nice to catch up with a number of members of the community and a big thanks to Paul for bringing back some of my corflutes from the election.  As the numbers stand now there will or could be a clear majority on many issues, however we’ve seen those alliances move in the past and only time will tell. Congrats to Ali Karnib who finally, after many many attempts was declared the Deputy Mayor, it will be interesting if and when he is called upon to chair the meeting as he is very well known for his lack of conversation and discussion throughout the past 8 years, so much so at the last of the previous council meetings Cllr Hadchiti voiced his desire  to support whatever it was Ali was talking about simply because he’d finally spoken out on something LOL.

We have a  long way to go, we will have to watch closely as the councillors settle into their new roles, the balance of some younger voices could be a good thing, especially if they temper their passion with a good ability to learn from those who went before them, especially as none of them had been regular attendees in the past. Now the big task of recruiting a new CEO or confirming this acting one if he applies. Michael has been a fair and even handed acting CEO from what I have seen and I wish him well in whatever he chooses to do, be that step back into his previous role, move on or even apply.  I had heard that Propel had been on the confidential part of the proceedings however for now I am not privy to the outcome, when and if I hear more I will most certainly share.

Onward and upward, 4 years goes pretty fast and a lot can be achieved or messed up so keep watching this space, I will be back in the rhythm of writing more regularly fairly quickly, however it has been nice to have a bit of a break. As always these are my opinions and views, if yours differs don’t hesitate to let me know and I will share them here for one and all to see.

 

Till next time…

 

Sign off