Where there is smoke, is there fire?

July 31, 2016

Signe 2016 outdoorsI started this blog about a week ago, clearly with upcoming elections for council I and my colleagues have been focusing on bringing you the Liverpool community the best possible team for September 10th.

The following two paragraphs are what I wrote back then, they are still relevant so I will leave them for your informaton

Many will be aware that recently Liverpool has found its way back into the press. Regrettably it’s not for the good reasons AGAIN. Our #powermadmayor seems to have invited ICAC in… I’ve asked around and from what I can understand that’s not quite how that works. Over the last 4 years numerous letters have been sent to ICAC I’ve even made reports myself based on what I’ve seen and I’ve had back a response and that in no way indicated they were waiting on an invitation from the Mayor. Plus according to the news reports I’ve read, if you were invited in, why did they raid the office, force entry etc.?

While I am not privy to the workings or goings on of the #powermadmayor and his cohorts it’s not brain surgery to note that at some point throughout his entire term as Mayor he has at one time or another been at odds with his own Liberal party members, with the possible exception of Mr Balloot, I actually don’t recall a time when he wasn’t singing the praise of the #powermadmayor but as a non resident imo  I think his tenure is too shaky to create too many waves. That cannot be said of Councillor Ristevski, seems he likes the waves and is determined to highlight what I can only assume is more detailed information than those of us in the gallery are privy to. I do hope it is a genuine need to highlight misdeeds or inaccuracies not just self promotion in the lead up to the council elections.

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/knives-out-for-mayors-as-preselection-battles-heat-up-20160722-gqbxaq.html

 

As  I said above this is just as relevant today, however in the meantime we have had a council meeting and a grand opening. The council meeting had a fair bit of grandstanding by Cllr Hadid, he on a number of occasions waved around a piece of paper calling for the figures paid out to two sacked/dismissed/left CEO’s. The irony for me was that he was calling for THEIR decisions to be made public, inferring he was not party to those same decisions. Alas, that is not true the Liberal majority of which he is a key player signed off on both terminations and I can only assume that of the latest executive position where I understand the payout was in the vicinity of $175K. In that case the position being ‘made up’ in the first place sure got a nice pay off according to some staff members who are livid and who also saw the same executive member handing out for the Liberal party at the recent Federal election. I am not suggesting any wrong doing, what staff do in their own time is entirely their prerogative I support that 100% however the question asked of me why was this person’s job created in the first place and if so why such a hefty payout if it was no longer required? I don’t have answers i’m afraid if I do I will share.

There was an attempt to overturn some of the decisions made at the previous council meeting in relation to the budget. I have to say in my view the whole representation of this budget has been nightmarish and if we had better transparency in Liverpool especially in line with what happens with our rates dollars many of us would feel much more confident. I do think the next  bunch of councillors will be faced with a whole bunch of financial issues they are not expecting, however if they aren’t involved now and aren’t seeing what is happening I guess that’s just bad luck. This of course goes back to my oft touted line of careful who you vote for, especially if they only raise their heads at election time. I would like to see so much more clarity on decisions being made with our rates money. I was not (I either missed it or it was discussed in confidence) aware that council had sold the site presently being used by the Men’s Shed, after so much work and money had been put into setting it up, I would have spoken against it or ensured the funding was organised to accommodate a move. Better still I wouldn’t have approved that site in the first place and found the Mens shed a permanent location from the get go.

It is election time, much is going to be bandied about regarding this election, the one thing  I want from our next set of councillors is to have more information made public. Hiding behind in confidence matters in Liverpool has gotten out of  control in my view. If a company is in dealings with our rates money and the same company has to declare the dealings with their shareholders, WHY ARE WE NOT BEING ABLE TO SEE WHAT IS GOING ON?

Yesterday I attended the opening of the Carnes Hill recreational/Library facility. I would like to say a big thank you to the many many staff who over many many years have worked on this venue. While the present Liberal councillors will gladly accept the accolades it was in fact on the drawing board for many years, $40M worth of investment doesn’t happen overnight and people like Paul Scully, Albert Galletta and the 100s of staff who have worked on this facility over such a long time deserve congratulations. It was interesting that the police were required to handle the pedestrian traffic yesterday, the irony there was they actually wrote a submission against the location for the exact same reasons they were working for hours yesterday managing foot traffic on what  is now a major road extension.  I was also aghast to hear the #powermadmayor made promises yesterday that he would ensure a pool was added to the rec centre if he is re-elected… where is all this money coming from, we have debt in the vicinity of $40M we have an unknown debt for the removal remediation of asbestos that could reach $20M and our rates are already rising. Then of course there is the proposed new civic centre costs, the Bigge park plans and so much more. Did it rain money recently and I had my umbrella up the wrong way???? More on this when I hear more.

It was lovely to see some of our previous staff in attendance to check out the finished project. It would also be remiss of me not to mention the many staff who were in attendance yesterday. For the record, my grandson gives the new skate park a BIG thumbs up. It was lovely to see so many people checking out the new facility and I’ve taken a bunch of pictures I’ll share with you below.  The skate park does feature but I am a Grandmother and one of the scooterers is a special favourite of mine.

Happy snaps from the Carnes Hill Rec Centre/Library opening

Happy snaps from the Carnes Hill Rec Centre/Library opening

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I need to go and get ready for National Tree day, I hope I get to see your there. Of course there was more to the council meeting and when I get an opportunity I will share with you, if you are interested the actual meeting notes will be available on the council website. You won’t get the joy of detail concerning Cllr Hadids outbursts, or the wrangling and to and fro of Cllr Ristevski’s interactions with the #powermadmayor or the CFO. You won’t see the one time I actually agreed with Cllr Hadchiti, ftr I am against this whole new trend of all Cllrs having to pay for their travel/attendance at functions directly related to their job as councillors, this will greatly affect anyone who puts their hand up in the community to represent the ratepayers who is not independently financial enough to pay airfares etc. This imo will mean only the wealthy will be able to represent Liverpool and the around $23,000 they receive for being councillors is not why one puts their hand up in the first place. I will cover this more at a later time.

 

Looks like I’ll be running late for National Tree day so I’ll sign off for now. See you there 🙂

 

Sign off

These views are my own based on what I’ve seen and heard, if you see things differently please share, the more the merrier I say.

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Post election

September 11, 2013

We can’t be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don’t have something better.
~ C. JoyBell C

 

Signe Westerberg HeadshotsFAV  (78 of 102)WOW what a busy time, preparing for, participating in and organising support for the election was all consuming, however it was also amazingly humbling. I have written to all my amazing volunteers and thanked them personally however I’d like to thank them all publicly as well.  Elections bring out the best and worst in some people, however I was truly blessed to be surrounded by the most amazing people on election day. While the majority of them were supporting the Greens  it must be said that on the majority of booths I visited all the workers were passionate, polite and supportive of each other, something I can only hope the elected government could aspire to. Pre-Poll was the same, workers from every party showed real grace and professionalism with very few exceptions. thank you one and all. Hats off to Branden from the ALP who spent much of his time making sure all the volunteers of all ilks did so in a pleasant and supportive environment, while I was unable to attend every day, he kindly set up the A-frame each morning and packed it away each evening and  not just for me but anyone who wasn’t able to do so themselves.

While the outcome was not of my personal preference, it was that of the majority of the community and that I  acknowledge. I think the average Joe and Josephine is in for some unpleasant shocks over the coming years, then again  its only 3 years and we get to do it all again. If I am proven wrong they may get another shot, however if I am right we the people get a chance to make it right. All I ask is that in this coming three years you genuinely look at what your elected person does, says and actually achieves, promises are easy and cheap, throw away lines are exactly that, but respect and faith have to be earned. We also need to consider who actually sticks around, even though not elected. Who will continue to live up to the promises they made during the election, to follow through, participate and support the community. We all know we were graced with the usual, ‘I only appear at election time’, candidates, the blow ins that appear for a minute then disappear until the next election and some who went back to their electorates, unlikely to be seen again.

Congratulations to the ALP’s Laurie Ferguson (Werriwa) and Chris Hayes (Fowler) and to the LNP’s Craig Kelly (Hughes), remember to hold them to their promises to stand up for you and our community.  I’d also like to send a special thank you to Alison Megarrity, while unsuccessful this time, I got to know her a little better over the election period and was impressed with her integrity and kindness. It is easy to see why she was held in such high regard when she was a state MP.

So onto what’s next…in my case its keeping an eye on council, participating in local activities and groups and picking up my writing a little more, I’ve been somewhat distracted from this blog and plan to remedy this asap.

so… NEXT…tomorrow night at 5pm Liverpool councillors called another Extraordinary meeting, two weeks before the next scheduled one, so it will be interesting to see what was sooooo  important to need to spend our rates money on a meeting that if someone actually organised things properly could have no doubt waited until the scheduled meeting and avoided the additional costs associated with the extraordinary event. Having just quickly read through the agenda, I cannot see what the urgency is,  two DA’s, the CCTV and the management of Leisure centres… how do any of these fit the criteria of urgency that could justify the calling of this meeting? Then again the Mayoral minute fiasco is possibly just the pre-curser of many changes that may not fit into the reasonable use of our rates and professionalism of our council. Personal endorsements by the Mayor of private businesses and individuals at community events are sadly becoming the norm, albeit not appropriate it doesn’t’ seem to slow them down.

Also a reminder that the Casula Powerhouse art centre is presently showing some amazing exhibitions, well worth the trip to have a look see.

Lastly a huge congratulations to 2GLF our local radio station who celebrated its 30th birthday on Saturday (7th) considering the day falling on election day I have had amazing reports on the successful event, The Governor not only opened the proceedings but stayed for High tea and a real credit to the organisers including my dear friend Carol North Samardzic who worked and planned this event for many many months… please take some time to check out their website – pictures should be posted soon.

Maybe I’ll see you at tomorrows council meeting, come up and say hello and maybe this time tomorrow night I’ll be able to answer the urgency questions… then maybe not.

 

til then……………

 

Sign off


Coopers, Greens on the Green and amused

February 14, 2011

 

I had a fabulous weekend, a little tiring but none the less fabulous, Saturday was our Greens on the Green event in the Mall at Liverpool, looming rain and not an actual drop made for a lovely morning meeting and greeting residents from all around Liverpool. MLC Cate Faehrmann worked alongside us as we chatted with locals about matters of importance to us here in Liverpool and the need for Greens in the Upper house. It’s lovely being able to share policy info, booklets and flyers with any who were interested. I love it when we can assist those unsure with facts and policy paperwork.

Yesterday we met some super clever people who walked and talked with us about Coopers Paddock… what a gold mine of flora and fauna right next to one of the busiest roads here in Liverpool… Coopers Paddock, an untouched natural site, is a 10min drive or a 20min walk from the Centre of Liverpool, what an amazing place so close to a major CBD…here’s a couple of pics from our recent walk.

Today I also had the  pleasure of meeting up with the good residents of 2168 Community group…these  hard working residents are bringing a Health forum to the community on the 19th March at the PCYC, I do hope many of you come along and check out the many organisations who make these days possible.

 To Politics: Our (Not to )Preference statement has now been made….after advising our colleagues in the city they announced before we could advise our own media, it will be nice however to simply say… you choose.

I think it’s important that we’re working hard for the residents of the area and they will decide if we’re worthy to earn their vote or preferences – we’re not simply trying to talk them into it because they don’t like one or more of our opponents”.

Why amused… as a person who has attended numerous committees, groups, forums and meetings for several years now I tend to forget that elections bring all and sundry out of the woodwork… people you never hear of, see or interact with at community functions who now seek to be your elected officials. This has now happened to me twice in the last couple of weeks, sitting listening as one does and a new person arrives, hopefully a person who will help take up the gauntlet for the many issues besieging us only to have them announce they are a candidate in the next election…what I find particularly amusing is, as was the case today that they not only don’t attend local functions but clearly don’t live anywhere close. One of the biggest issues I believe in this upcoming election is our present MP has lost touch… however, at one stage he did attend, participate and still lives here. Why would we consider letting anyone just step in and make decisions on our behalf who doesn’t even live here?

Also for your diary as well on the 19th the Filipino Community is having a WOW festival in Blacktown I’ll bring you more details soon, however this multicultural event is a not to miss.


Winding up 2010

December 21, 2010

I am now finished with local meetings, forums and council meetings for the year and what a year it has been. Yesterday was heaps of fun being interviewed on 2 GLF  by Carol at 11 after being with the residents of West Hoxton as they discuss their dreadful situation with the good people from Chanel 10 and Greens  MCL  David Shoebridge. I love representing you at the Liverpool Council Committees I am on and hope that some of the issues being brought to me will see resolutions very soon, trust me Council knows I’m there and I’m willing to fight to bring your issues to the fore. We had a terrific meeting on Saturday with our Local Greens group and a number of guests both local residents, MLC  David Shoebridge and  Phillip from Betterstate.org.au who gave us a great presentation on the Unions program to move ahead regardless of which party gets into government in March. David also spoke to us about the Part 3A matters affecting us all in NSW and listened to the concerns of our residents. One wonderful part of being involved in the Greens is that those elected into the Upper House, and hopefully soon the lower house, listen to the members and the local groups and represent us on a State Level, in the Greens they don’t dictate party policy they represent it which to me is a major drawcard.

The Council meeting last night was again a late one, finishing about 10.40pm and I am constantly amazed at what our councillors consider worth fighting for and what they deem not worth fighting for. I am concerned they see themselves as the morality police and that the idea of forcing brothels and sex shops out of the CBD is a good thing, please have me say it here and now, moving them out of the CBD doesn’t mean I’d like one set up next to my house and my fear is that moves such as this will do exactly that, move those businesses (albeit legitimate services) back into the community especially as the majority  can and do operate discretely in the CBD. I think most people would be surprised to know we have more than 10 in our CBD already. Then Cllr Lucas was aghast that the Police would consider parking in the street in Moore and George outside their new premises and I have to ask where the hell would he like them to park? Over in Collimore Park…. sorry Cllr but I think the police should be able to access their vehicles in an emergency and seriously while there is parking below their new building there are times of the day they simply couldn’t exit.  Listening to community members speak passionately about their concerns is always  important to me, but I do think they should fight their fights with valid arguments, the person who said setting up a tattooist next to a dentist  was unreasonable as there is no parking…come on, the dentists  clients park there? Safety issues aside in this instance that was a pretty lame excuse, if the issue is safety say so…as some did.

I am still concerned that much to much is discussed in confidence… especially when one issue set for confidential discussion last night was the Council premises… hang on, we pay for them, we should be included in what happens now they’ve been burnt down. I acknowledge that individual’s private details should be protected but when it’s our rates money paying for something, or impacting on the community we deserve to know and know how much and the part of the act that says (Section 10,2 ab&c)  it may affect some big business deals well that  might be a good thing. Perhaps we would have lower quotes if the amount we were paying was public information.  Many of these councillors early in their tenure argued that too much was discussed in confidence, I notice they pretty much no longer fight for our inclusion and this isn’t right.

But for now, I’d like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a joyous, healthy and happy New Year. I look forward to 2011 and our success and perhaps even the  new challenges it brings, I do however hope it brings some easier times for  many, it’s been a tough couple of years for quite a few and it will be nice to have a better year ahead. Merry Christmas to you all.


20.10.2010 Council & Forum

October 20, 2010

This week saw us having our Monthly council meeting at Casula Powerhouse. Credit must go to the staff of CPAC as they have managed to not only set up a faux meeting chamber but seem to have pretty much ironed out the microphone problems despite them receiving a firm thumping by the councillors.  With one councillor overseas and a fairly relaxed manner they managed to work through a number of issues. Getting bogged down on the wording of a few matters was tedious however they managed. FYI the motion to have all former councillors and aldermen invited to functions could have easily be remedied with “to make aware’ of such events, rather than the illusive comments as to costs of inviting former members etc.  Another outcome I found particularly interesting and welcomed was that the proposed “leaders forum’ will be open to the public, so please mark in your diary 7pm on the 1st November. Whilst I personally will attend I am a little concerned that the original invite to said leaders didn’t indicate this would be a public forum  and I’m not sure how many of the state and Federal Leaders will appreciate having this thrust upon them.

We still however have the items that go into confidence where we the paying public are excluded from ‘the deals and no deals’ on some matters. Either way they trudged through a number of items including the two McDonalds matters where it seemed none of our councillors were sufficiently aware of the locality to know how many 24hr facilities are operating within the LGA. Councillors did rubber stamp the recommendations on a number of matters one of which I’m delighted to say is continuing the Forums. Albeit that the recommendation suggested only the elderly attended forums they are open to all and all are welcome.  This leads me to last night’s eastern forum, being held presently and possibly from here on in at Moorebank Library/community Centre. Last night Sandra Kubecka from Council spoke of the many areas under her purview and led to an interesting exchange of ideas and suggestions. These sessions when kept to a reasonable length are most interesting and I encourage any residents who would like to get a little more involved with their community to come along. This relaxed environment encourages residents to share ideas, ask questions and become involved in discussions on a local level. These being Eastern=east of the river, Central =west of the river to roughly Cowpasture road and (Western) now Rural = anything west of Cowpasture Road. Times and locations are publicised in the weekly update in the leader or on councils website or please feel free to call me on 8777 5599.

Footnote: I was extremely disappointed to note that neither staff nor councillors attended the River Project Community Symposium last Saturday. I sat in the audience with Wollondilly& Hurstville  Mayors and staff,  MP Alison Megarrity,  Councillors from Hurstville and Rockdale, Kogarah, Members of the National Parks Dept and 55 or so others to find I was the only person from Liverpool. This was a particularly interesting program as the Speakers including Dr Ian Wright from UWS and others discussed the implications of the proposed Mining at Appin on our Georges River and Rivers across our country.


2168 and more

July 13, 2010

I am so often inspired by locals, yesterday I spent an hour or so with the hard working 2168 Community Action Group (I’ve attended a few times now), here we have a group of mostly older people working on bringing information to the greater community. All over this fabulous city we have small groups, be they action groups, community & environment groups or forums working in the community. Last week I spent time with the Liverpool Transport Taskforce another active group engaging other groups from different parts of greater Sydney in working to bring transport matters to the fore. Sadly I cannot attend all, although I’ll continue to do my best. Tonight I’m off to the Western Forum at Bringelly, do come up and say hello if you’re there also.

Of special interest to me was a concern for the Casula Powerhouse, a perfect example of how one piece of information and how much the information changes as it makes its way through the community.

I make you this commitment, should at some time you decide to elect me I will continue to keep you informed about local happenings through this website….and by attending as many of these community groups as I’m physically able. I truly believe to represent a community you need to be involved in it.

I work full time at present and need to juggle quite significantly, assistance so I can participate and I do this because it feel it is extremely important that the community is informed, its views gathered and our passions followed.

I look forward to catching up with you soon.


CBD Forum…

April 7, 2010

Interaction with Staff at Liverpool City Council can be most rewarding and last night was no exception, at the CBD forum a small group of us were able to discuss many of the proposals and future plans for the development of the CBD. Whilst this may not seem a No 1 interest for you, where else do you get to ask questions and get answers?  Of course what does matter is that council staff is at least attempting to lure Government departments and large businesses to set up offices and factories here in Liverpool, thereby bringing more jobs to our city and suburbs. Unlike our Cllr Mannoun who systematically attempts to scare them away with warnings about his safety on the Liverpool streets.

In today’s champion newspaper was an interview I did with the Shery Demian some weeks ago regarding the presentation I made to council back in February about the number of trees being cut down (and planted)  in the greater Liverpool area and how the council can provide the community with more information.

Whilst we don’t get answers at the time of the presentation I note that the General Manager answered the question when put to him again by the reporter… for the record according to the GM”s quote, 856,510 trees since 2002, not bad, so it appears we are heading towards to proposed 1 million trees indicated in a press release so many years ago. The purpose of my address to council was to get support for “A community information processes” regarding removal and replacement of trees. I have great faith in the ability of the council staff to do their jobs, we just want to know what is happening, after all we pay substantial rates and I don’t think it unreasonable that we be informed of the spending of those rates, especially considering the cost of removal of trees is quite hefty.  My address (and subsequent article) was not designed as an attack on council process etc however for a great many of us in the community,  information often  appears lacking and I will continue to bring matters before the council (or whomever) in an attempt to keep you, my fellow Liverpudlian, informed.

Don’t forget council forums are back in full swing and you are most welcome to come along, listen to the presentation and ask questions…. this is how the council is committed to interact with the community and I’m sure you‘ll find them interesting. Dates and times are on the council page of the paper every week  or of course you can email me.