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


First world problems – really

October 25, 2016

Signe Westerberg Headshots (96 of 102)I have, as do many of you received my weekly dose of South west voice, the online publication of Eric Kontos former editor of the Champion. I read as always the stories he writes about issues local and those of interest. Today in my feed I was keen to read the piece posted titled http://www.southwestvoice.com.au/mp-hits-internet-inertia-werriwa/

Being the political junkie I am they are often the pieces that get my interest first… Anne Stanley is the new federal member for Werriwa however she is a long time resident, so my hope was that she would hit the ground running and begin tackling the big issues facing my fellow residents. Anne is a former Councillor, she saw first hand the issues that are impacting our community hard and really the internet is the thing she wants to take Malcolm Turnbull to task on..?  Maybe I’m old fashioned, maybe I’m pinning my hopes on the un-achievable but we have some issues I think rate a little higher on the pecking order that need to be taken to task. Homelessness, underemployment, unemployment, tenant rights, aged care, single parenting support, medical access, hospital waiting lists, TAFE, University fees, marriage equality, refugee support, local transport, banks overcharging, Taxes, a proposed 24-hr airport, the imposition of the intermodal on residents across the border and that’s just off the top of my head. Internet speeds will have very little impact on a number of groups on my list and while NICE to have and no doubt part of the growing list of inequity facing my community I was truly hoping she might start by stirring the pot on some really big issues in our community, not just tinkering around the edges of the popular. I guess that is what happens when we elect one of the two old parties, they have to conform to the issue of the day, the ones that resonate with the better off, the ones that have that tick of approval of the powers that run their parties. Alas there is hope I guess but as for a running start this one falls pretty short in my opinion.

Clearly if your opinion differs let me know, I for one rely on the internet to get my message across however the speed at which you receive it doesn’t’ rate as high on my list of things I’d like addressed today.

 

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


Council meeting tonight

October 12, 2016

2016 Signe OutdoorsTonight is the first meeting of the new council term. There are a number of items on the agenda and as usual I will be tweeting from the meeting. For those not on Twitter the feed comes up right here in the column on the right. Just tune in and I’ll do my best to keep you up to date with what happening with your rates money and in your name.

 

With a more balanced representation and the chief protagonists of the last term no longer on council, let’s hope we can see some real improvements in process, some genuine good will and some positive moves to forward our city, its people and business growth.

 

More later… come up and say hi if you are in attendance.

 

Sign off


Election results are in

September 17, 2016

Signe Westerberg Headshots FAV (26 of 102)Good news a week after the election day, we have a result and I am super delighted to say this is the best yet result for my local group.

As it turns out the voting got down to the wire, 20 counts before the final North ward member was clear and 26 counts before the south ward 5th member was clear. In north ward it ended up with myself, Sam Kayal and Gus Balloot (Libs) elected and in South with Lance (my husband) Phil Sim and Karress Rhodes (LCIT) elected neither were elected with a full quota and I’ve not yet drilled down to the actual difference but congrats to all 11 councillors on Liverpool Council. Saddest for me was that neither Cllrs Balloot nor Rhodes actually live in Liverpool, they earn an income from Liverpool but neither live here.

So here they are the team you selected to represent you for the Next 4 years. Mayor Wendy Waller (ALP)

North Ward:  Mazhar Hadid, (LIB) Ali Karnid (ALP), Peter Harle (LCIT), Nathan Hagarty (ALP) and Gus Balloot (LIB)

South ward: Tony Hadchiti (Lib) Geoff Shelton (ALP) Tina Ayyad (LIB aka Mrs Mannoun) Charishma Kaliyanda (ALP) Karess Rhodes (LCIT)

The real test will come over the coming weeks and years as to whether or not this group can work together, clearly the main protagonists are no longer on council but it will be interesting to see if the former #powermanmayor remains as a #puppetmaster and if there is any impact he has on both his family members still on council. I surely wonder sometimes, for 4 years I was unaware that Cllr Balloot was a cousin of the previous mayor, but it sure does account for all the glowing, incessant speeches he made throughout the term singing the praise of said mayor. Happy to stand corrected if this is untrue, my source was reliable but again always happy to add more information when it comes to hand. As you can see that is why when my husband and I ran we did so as an upfront, clearly stated partnership. We refuse to participate is skulduggery and partial information. I t will also be interesting to see how the former (I do love saying that) #Powermadmayor is going to manage all that extra family time he resigned for while his wife assumes a council role away from him. Then again it could become a family affair and everyone comes to council meetings.

I wish all the councillors well and trust they are truly there to represent the needs, hopes and dreams of our community. I await the ICAC reports and am hopeful that any wrongdoings of the past are highlighted and anyone caught and proven of using their position for personal gain is held to account. We now have an opportunity to move forward and with a little luck with a balanced, non aggressive and collegial approach to representing our city.

Lastly to my team, WOW you guys did so well and I’m so proud of each and every one of you. Sadly this time the people of Liverpool just missed out on seeing you in action and getting to know the passion in which you approach everything about Liverpool. We have a number of projects coming up and I know you will all put in 100% effort to ensure the residents of Liverpool get to see what we are really about,

Ecological sustainability | Social equality and economic justice || Grassroots democracy | Peace, nonviolence and disarmament

 

To all our supporters who handed out for us, thank you… we came so close.

 

The next council meeting is on the 12th October, I am hopeful to be in attendance (however its Lance’s Birthday so I need to organise around that a bit) see you there, if not at the next for sure.

 

Sign off