Only a few more sleeps

September 6, 2016

2016 Signe OutdoorsCouncil elections are this Saturday, there is still much to do and I’m very keen to get some more volunteers on polling places this week. (please let me know if you can spare a few hours to help hand out) The genuine warmth at the rail station this morning was great and the fact that around 400 people got to see a snapshot of what our ideas for council are is fabulous.

I have thoroughly enjoyed working on the Carnes Hill Pre Poll station, (albeit it tiring) and meeting residents. I expect in the coming days it will get busier and busier and of course Saturday is going to be huge. My colleague Andre has been a gun on the TAFE pre poll and with the backup of some amazing Greens from local groups.

I like many of you came home to a plethora of mail from the Liberals and one from LCIT. It saddens me that even now just days out from an election the nastiness prevails. Accusations and comments that only tell half a story and to know that the chances of  both of the existing councillors being back on council only convinces me more and more that there is a real place for me and my team on this council. It is also stunning how any change over the last 4 years has now been given ownership, with no regard to the fact that there are 11 councilors, not just two old tired teams and Peter. I know that if this is the case even while in campaign mode they are struggling to tell the absolute truth or play nice out of the playpen nothing will be better on council unless there is genuine new blood and a move away from the old parties and old guard independents. There seems to be significant confidence from the old guard of their reelection and my hope is that the community will give them the good shaking up they need.

I still ask the same question, if they (those seeking your re election) have achieved little or are making enormous promises now, why weren’t they enacted upon during the 8 years these councillors have had your rates, your trust and your faith? From those we don’t know, they continue to make promises they have absolutely no knowledge they can actually keep. Neither are regulars at the council meetings and while one has attended once or twice not all is as it seems once elected.While I may not have been elected previously, I have attended all but 3 council meetings and my hope that while I’ve shared much over the last 9 years, there would be more information as a councillor available and the community would be far more informed than they are now.

One thing about elections is that it does allow you time to reflect on the things that are important and with the amazing talent of a couple of our members (Roxie and Rudge) I am delighted to be able to share with you a short video to showcase my passions for Liverpool.

More in a day or so, please let me know if you have a couple of hours on Saturday, we have t-shirts and those working over lunch will have it provided for them.  Please share the video widely, especially amongst your friends in Liverpool… we need their support and we need the genuine change in council.

 

See you at Holsworthy station in the morning.

 

Sign off

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How lucky are we?

December 5, 2011

In this instance I’m saying the Greens members, yesterday I spent the day with approximately 100 like minded, caring and passionate individuals, who worked through numerous policy and party decisions… while debate can be at times full on it is always respectful, topics too varied to list but each with the passion I rarely see in other places. These are everyday people, teachers, lawyers, mums and dads, office workers, mayors, councillors, business owners even state members and federal senators… with one similarity, they all care deeply for the future of our cities, our state, our country and in fact our planet… what inspires me most, is at these gatherings, senators sit with their groups, MLCs alongside their local membership, there is no pretence, no air of superiority, just like minded people working together.

When I joined the Greens, I really had only hoped this kind of group existed, how delighted I am now to be part of this amazing process. To discuss our local issues over lunch with a senator, or get ideas from seasoned local councillors, to work through policy and create new…all because we together believe in what we are doing and doing it together seems the right thing to do.

At a time when forums are finished for the year and committee meetings are winding down I am blessed to be able to continue working with passionate and dedicated people not only locally (our FLG Meetings will continue throughout Dec/Jan) but from all across the state. Where the children are welcomed, in fact two of them yesterday were outstanding in their cheerful ability to help with microphones and make sure everyone was heard even making a game of it. Where knitting is the norm and computers ticking away are standard… ahhh if all in life was like this achieving great outcomes in a busy yet convivial environment… not bad for a political group you’d have to agree.

Finally not all is stopped for 2011, there are items available for comment on the council website, the intermodal public exhibition is still there for comment, the road widening on the M5 is approved and seems like there is no more discussion to be had, our friends at Hoxton Park have been ‘promised’ their long awaited sewerage commencing mid 2012, we don’t feel any closer to noise walls for our Casula residents although not giving up on this one either and will be interested to see if we can continue to lobby for noise walls on the bridge of the M5…and of course there is still one council meeting left for 2011… Monday the 19th at 7pm at the Greenway centre… all welcome.  And don’t forget to take a walk through the mall… our big Christmas tree is up and glistens in the dark of evening, although I don’t recall reading that it had ‘an official lighting’ this year, it will be nice to take the children along to see it and while there, lets count our blessings, each of us have some amongst the worries and concerns of everyday.. but count them we must for they make all the worries worthwhile.


BLATANT CAMPAIGNING …but what the cost?

September 29, 2011

Last night’s council meeting was everything one has come to expect, while not publically aggressive seems while we were ‘exited’ things got a little heated with a couple of Cllrs conversation at the close being somewhat agitated. However at this meeting there was the added bonus of councillors blatantly working the room in a ‘vote for me vote for me’ attempt at every opportunity. But what the cost, tenders called, delayed, left hanging, security of a council on a mission lost in the volley for votes… and pretty much nothing one can do to rectify this sorry excuse for representation.

For a long time now I’ve hammered the lack of attendance at committee meetings, forums and pretty much anything to do with the public, now we have a bunch of councillors, who attend little, read even less and realise an election drawers nigh clambering for votes and by-lines …and the cost is delays, even more delays. The wheels of council turn slowly enough, as frustrating as it often is, eventually we reach a point where something can be enacted, in this instance, the parking strategy, some of us, have been working on this for years and years, some of us helped make some hard decisions, but we did it in good faith that the outcome would provide the best result for all the people of Liverpool and it was all done as transparently as possible, community meetings, advertising, etc etc. Trust me it’s not very often I tend to agree with Cllr Lucas but last night I did just that, (ok only once) after some pretty petty too-ing and fro-ing the penny dropped to him that the whole strategy was being put at risk because of some blatant pandering and campaigning….

Then our gems decided not to include green power in our electricity supply, but Cllr Hadchiti is looking for carbon credits for planting trees…lordy, his lot have lost the plot… is he now  for the carbon tax on all things that interest him and not on others, I don’t think it works that way councillor… you can’t have it both ways.

 While there are times one would say who cares, sadly I do, it’s our future, it’s our council and in the end it’s our money they are frittering away. Another $35,000 in legal fee’s in the land and environment court,  which brings me to the another point,  I’ve not heard or seen what it cost us to own 48-52 Scott Street, and what the costs of maintaining it will be on our council. Yet another perfect example of lack of transparency,decisions made behind closed doors..

To other things, it’s Cllr Napolitano’s turn to be Deputy Mayor, seems when you have the majority Coalition councillors true representation is a thing of the past… it’s more  a matter of “it’s my turn you had yours’  here  bipartisanship is gone the way of the dinosaur. Although on this our council doesn’t stand alone, petty politics is the norm.  Thank God we have a popularly elected Mayoral system in place at least there the community decides and it will be interesting to see how this pans out in less than 12months when we’re back at the polls.  

The committees representation are pretty much the status quo, although from memory any councillor can attend any committee meeting ‘voluntarily’ as an observer should they so wish and as always pretty much don’t. Heaven knows if they had shown a little more interest in the CBD Committee maybe we wouldn’t have had the debacle of last night… although Cllr Harle is on the committee and voted against the strategy, seconded it and then withdrew…seems to me the ‘caucus’ meetings the coalition have aren’t too clear when one councillor appears to be texting another … although at other times the same councillor tweets during council meetings, maybe he’s just bored.

Please spend some time looking about the council website, there are a couple of matters on exhibition and worthy of your time and comment. And remember if you don’t voice an opinion something important may just go through you wished hadn’t.


Forums and such

May 17, 2011

This has been so far a quiet week, forums days have been changed and family events have meant I’ve not been out in the community as much as usual… all of which is enjoyable, but I miss the interaction with the community.

The cooler weather does make me feel more inclined to achieve many of those things at home I simply cannot face during the hot weather so all in all things are pretty good. Knowing that in the coming months I will be again walking the streets of Liverpool to make sure our locals know there are other options for the upcoming council elections I guess the old saying make hay while the sun shines is apt.

One might think that locally it’s been quiet, though looking at the council website there are some things happening one might like to be involved with or attend. (below) Add to these there are council forums, community group meetings and much more, plenty to do for the community minded.

Of course the Operational plan still on exhibition and I encourage all to read and comment on this important document, so far (& I’m not finished reading) there is much the same as last year, I’m not sure what I hoped for but councillors have gone to great lengths to tell attendees at different functions/meetings  that zero based accounting would mean greater control over spending and that much would be done, whilst I’m hopeful this is the case I’m yet to see a lot of change, also it is reasonable to assume that within a council much of what is done is regular , scheduled and expected work with little to no room to adjust or manipulate… again, I’m not finished and do encourage all people of Liverpool to view and comment.

Upcoming events as listed on Councils  WebPages:

So for now, enjoy the cooler weather, take time to read and see what is happening in our fair city and as usual, if something of interest appears I’ll do my best to make sure you are aware and if possible engaged.

In closing, much of what I share here is available through local media, I attempt to bring information together and as I meet with numerous people across many councils and people within our own area I do what I can to disseminate that information and opinion, it is important to me that confidential matters discussed in committees I attend as your representative eventually make it to the public arena, however, not until it is made public. I maintain the confidentiality required to achieve appropriate outcomes.


SAY NO

February 19, 2010

The Liverpool City Council meeting on Monday 15th February has left me speechless for some time.  This marathon event did not finish until 11.35pm, and may I commend council staff for their dedication to their jobs. In regards to councillors’ behaviour however, I can make no such commendation. At times the meeting descended into farce; childish displays from some of our elected few, snide comments made to the Chair, Mayor Wendy Waller, silly comments, and failure to adhere to meeting protocols. Well below my expectation of my elected representatives. 

Anyone who has read my blog here at www.signe4liverpool.wordpress.com or articles on http://www.streetcorner.com.au, will know I’m not the Mayors biggest supporter, nor did I vote for the former Deputy Mayor and Financial Administrator who in 2004 was sacked along with that council, after losing a large amount of rate-payer funds in the now infamous Macquarie Bank / Canterbury Leagues (OASIS) debacle. However, Mayor Waller is OUR popularly elected Mayor, and was chosen by the citizens of Liverpool; her role as Chairperson at council meetings, regardless, MUST be respected. I can only imagine that the councillors feel they too have earned this respect. And yet, I cannot name a councillor who afforded Mayor Waller this respect at the last council meeting. A shameless and shameful display that begs reflection by these councillors, who seem to forget that they are elected to this role as OUR representatives. Councillors MUST behave in a manner appropriate to their office. It is to be expected that on some topics there will be disagreement. But lack of agreement should not give rise to immaturity and disrespect. The Councillors’ focus must always be on to what is in the best interest of the Liverpool ratepayers. Further, they all should be mindful of the fact that they too have been chosen as representatives of ALL Liverpool’s citizens and disrespect to their office through such behaviour is a disrespect to the people who put them in that office in the first place. 

After all, that is what the Councillors signed up for. There were one or two councillors who did not participate in this behaviour, and I acknowledge them for their adherence to protocol and general good manners throughout the meeting. I might also add that in the general wreckage it is difficult for me to point out the worst offenders and those who did not participate at all, such was the chaos, I will refrain from naming individuals.

 In the last few weeks, Councillor Harle has been quoted as saying the residents of Liverpool are generally unskilled and not fit for a university education; Councillors make personal attacks on private citizens for engaging in the community and council activities, a fundamental and precious right afforded all citizens in a democratic system; and, Councillor Hadchiti engages in petty politics and name calling on various online forums, least of which The Liverpool City Champion online. Add to this the disappointing behaviour & comments of Councillor Lucas at a community forum to guest speaker MLC Sylvia Hale.

This is a resounding “NO!” in response to this behaviour from one such citizen. 

What is most concerning; the new Liberalised Majority and renegade Labor Councillor McGoldrick supported Councillor Lucas’ motion to have council’s staff research the costs and process to have the matter of the MAYORAL ELECTION re-addressed. This faction of council proposes that a POPULARLY ELECTED MAYOR be scrapped in favour of a mayor voted for by elected councillors. I can only assume that these councillors feel that the people of Liverpool are ill-equipped to choose their own mayor. 

In 1987 the people of Liverpool went to the polls to vote in the referendum addressing the election of Mayor of Liverpool. An approximate 70% of Liverpudlians felt confident they could choose their own mayor. Now councillors want to stop the citizens from being able to do just that. 

Let us remind ourselves that one of the first acts of this council, when newly elected in 2008, was to INCREASE their own pay-packets by the maximum legislated percentage, and now they want to ensure that the top job is not left to the desire and preference of the citizens of our city, but to allow the party and factions with the majority to secure that position for themselves. 

In 1987 the referendum cost rate payers in the vicinity of $200,000.  Are the people of Liverpool satisfied with this as a use for their rates? Are the people of Liverpool so dissatisfied with the current situation of having the power to choose their own mayor? No. A few ill behaved councillors are dissatisfied with not having MORE POWER and care little for how council monies are used, unless it goes to giving them more money for expenses and trips, on which I have made comment  in the past. 

Liverpool, if you agree with me, get on the phone, ring each and every one of your elected councillors and voice your opinion. SAY “NO!” to the proposed motion to have councillors remove your right to choose who you want as Mayor of Liverpool. BEFORE they spend anymore of our rates money on this folly.
Fortunately, the people of Liverpool once again gave me cause to be thankful. Congratulations to the residents from Casula who spoke at the meeting in support of the Council’s decision to seek grant funding for the noise walls at Casula. Thank you to Councillor Harle for his presentation to councillors on the Mining Project at Prestons, which was informative and helpful. 

I continue to be made proud as I sit alongside those residents who attend, participate and become increasingly involved in the goings on of our City. In recent weeks there have been a number victories for residents’ groups, proving we can effect change in Liverpool, and work together towards a brighter future. Let the people of Liverpool make it very clear what that future will include, and what it will not.


Another week in the life:

August 19, 2009

Signe Westerberg Headshots (96 of 102)Week in and week out you hear me talk about the forums, 18 or so months ago I decided to run for council, to do that I felt I needed to understand the whole Liverpool not just my small part, so I’ve been attending all four forums since (previously I’d only attended the CBD). I report on the passion and the commitment of these residents, what they want for the community, what they are willing to do and the time they commit to doing so. I’m hooked, I attend anything I can that will give me a better understanding of what we need and where we want our city to go, I continue to attend because these residents’ inspire me, they make me even more proud to live here in Liverpool and to represent you where I can.

For a nice change I’ve been the bearer of good news… as your representative on Environmental Advisory committee with Liverpool council I was one of the first to hear of the success our new Waste Services Program had achieved and answer some localised questions, with permission (as meeting content is usually confidential until being approved by Councillors) the last two forums I’ve been able to clarify some resident concerns and report of our Success…Liverpool take a bow… in our first month we have achieved the 80% target for ‘diversion from landfill’ … most Council’s expect to achieve this over a period of time, but Liverpudlians achieved this in the first month… along with better than average results for less contamination etc we are doin’ good. Big deal I hear you say but it is, our council has spent an enormous amount of our money rolling out this program, it has been embraced by the wider community and is from all accounts a huge success. Don’t you just love hearing that money spent has been well spent? I’m the first to have a whinge if I see or feel our rates money is being wasted or ill spent, (You just have to read past blogs to see that) so to be able to report a positive is a joy and this success will save us even more money as time goes by and as legislation changes over coming years to ensure less waste is put into land fill.

I am also the community representative on the CBD Committee and would value ideas and comments you would like to make and present them on your behalf at either of the committees I represent you, so send me an email, call me or let me know and I will take your comments and ideas to the committees for you.

Just another reminder too that the Liverpool Fairfield Greens meet this Saturday in the Liverpool Library at 10.30-12.30. Remember you won’t be pressured or coerced to join or anything but we do value your comment and attendance. Learn a little more about us; tell us a little of what you would like and if there is anything we can do to help champion your cause or hopes.


So much happening and so little change.

July 8, 2009

 Signe Westerberg (78 of 102)Well it is official; Council has been granted permission to increase rates to residents of Liverpool by 12.5%. You all know my stance on this; I think the timing is poor.  I expect there are a great number of our citizens who will feel the increase of rates, water and electricity (averaging at about $600 per year) will leave them even further behind the eight ball. But alas, what can you say, even if you rent, expect that it will increase also as your owner will try and recoup the costs via your weekly rent.

This brings me to my current theory? Is this just clever manipulation by the State Government to further alienate residents from councils, is this another nail in the coffin of local government? Why do I say this, it is becoming increasingly obvious that State Govt legislature is systematically tearing away controls from council, things like Planning is now a regional issue, systems are being set in place where councils will now have to hand over plans so that State can monitor community participation and consultation. Little by little State government is making things either difficult or downright taking things away from Local Councils.

It is often said that we are over governed, is this a slow and steady way of making councils seem redundant? Is this my view alone, or do you have a theory of your own?

Don’t misunderstand, I support our local council, I am not totally against having ‘big brother’ keep an eye on local government, heaven knows, where were they when the OASIS project was costing us millions? Along with the DFO and other such projects. Was the State actually a party to some of the ‘financial woes” and “poor planning” that affected our city?

One more question while you are reading…. what do you think of Liverpool?  At a forum last evening I heard a local parent say she was saddened when her own children, who had been raised here in Liverpool in a basically ‘normal’ upbringing,  stated they wouldn’t even consider living in Liverpool or raising their children here in Liverpool. She was saddened because she works to improve the environment and the amenity of the city and is a supporter of all things “Liverpool’ and here her own kids were disparaging of ‘her’ city. A city she believed had served them well. So what do you think? Are we raising our kids not to appreciate what we have here in Liverpool or is it all too late?

Seems my blog this week has more questions than answers, so help me out here…