I want more

June 10, 2017

1st council meeting for 2017

January 31, 2017

2016 Signe OutdoorsTomorrow night is the first council meeting for 2017. Don’t forget they begin at 6pm sharp and are generally more interesting if you know what is on the agenda.

http://liverpool.infocouncil.biz/Open/2017/02/CO_20170201_AGN_320_AT.PDF

So far the agenda isn’t too taxing and there are a couple of items of particular interest, one being NOM01 being put forward by Cllr Balloot… “That as Liverpool is growing and demand is increasing for affordable housing Council should investigate ways to cut red tape and reduce the time to earmark and prioritise lands for new housing developments in an effort to counter the crisis of housing affordability hitting Sydney currently.”

So where is the question about affordability…? He’s most certainly wanting more houses approved and faster but in reading his question and that of the reply nowhere is mentioned the actual percentage of actual affordable housing needed, nor the manner in which to achieve or even cost factors involved in providing AFFORDABLE HOUSING. It sadly screams to me of calling for one thing in the name of another for the benefit of the developer and nothing for the residents in need of affordable housing. Liverpool and surrounds has a real need for housing that is affordable but nothing in this request for expedience is there a provision to provide anything other than more houses – faster, which in fact does not raise or technically provide affordable housing. What we should be calling for is a provision of a set amount of housing being provided that is actually affordable, but developers won’t jump on board and providing more housing may raise the availability of housing but nothing in here suggests how to make it more affordable. (rent capping or even a hint of it isn’t to be found anywhere)

The other is the New Precinct meetings being proposed quarterly or as needed… this will pretty much mean the abolishment of the community forums of which you know I regularly attend and find a particularly engaging manner of getting residents together. It will be interesting to see if there are any changes made to the proposed format. I note that a Cllr Chairperson is to be nominated which is a bit of a laugh when you consider only Cllrs Harle, Shelton and recently Haggarty ever attend. Well that’s not quite true a couple of other councillors managed an appearance prior to an election here and there but they are not what one would call high on the agenda for the majority of councillors. I imagine there will be some toing and froing for chairing some in the ‘more desireable’ locations but only time will tell. Sadly every-time the council chooses to ‘play’ around with the format of the forums it has a huge cost in the way of attendance and the sceptic in me sees this as more of the same. I”m not sure how the Rural forum attendees are going to feel about their meetings being reduced to quarterly as they have in recent times had good attendance monthly.

Please come up and say hi if you are at the meeting tomorrow night – I try to sit where I can watch the majority of the councillors, how they vote etc

Remember these are your rates being discussed, distributed and dissected it’s in your best interest to know where they are being spent. I also tweet during the meetings, if you aren’t connected to twitter you can still read them as they appear to the right of this post throughout the meeting. Again, I would like to congratulate Kiersten Fishburn on her appointment as CEO. I have always found Kiersten fair, engaging and willing to listen to the community so to me that is a real win for the community especially compared to the formers.

See you tomorrow… council chambers, to the right of the Liverpool Main Library doors at 6pm.

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


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


One day to go

September 9, 2016
2016 Signe OutdoorsHi all, Just popping in the say Hi and to remind all of you in Liverpool, Fairfield and Campbelltown that tomorrow is election day. We have amazing Greens running in each electorate, people who are dedicated to serving the community, people who aren’t developers and real estate agents and don’t have a sub-agenda for seeking your vote. Please take a few minutes to look over the information shared with you by those candidates, look at our facebook pages – this and my @swesterberggreens Have a look at the information and consider giving the Greens your vote in Liverpool, Fairfield and Campbelltown (& other LGA’s this weekend).
Ask yourself, will this candidate put me and my family before big developers? Will this candidate speak up for us? Has this candidate a record for fighting for our residents? Did this candidate just show up this election and have no impact in the community prior? Is this candidate making promises they simply cannot deliver on? Is this candidate capable of working as part of a team to ensure we get the best outcomes?
 
Gone are the days where party loyalty is enough, gone are the days when you can just assume they are in it for the right reasons.
 
Before I go I would also like to publically thank my amazing colleagues in the Fairfield Liverpool Greens, despite the outcome this weekend, you have been simply amazing, outstanding and We’re gunna work your butts off tomorrow 🙂 To the Campaign team in Glebe and our extraordinary Volunteers – thank you.
 
I will highlight just a couple of outstanding efforts, Andre who has put together all those pretty pictures and taglines for me and made me look organised and professional and hours and hours on PrePoll. Rudge and Roxie for the time and expertise they put into the fantastic video, John and Bill for their tireless support and amazing skills and by no means least my wonderful daughter and my husband who have quietly worked behind the scenes to keep me sane and on track.
 
The incredible teams on North and South wards, each and everyone would be an amazing asset to our council, to the unbelieveable team of volunteers who have and will be on polling places tomorrow.  We still have a number of gaps and unmanned booths (so please call me if you have an hour or so).
 
A BIG BIG BIG thank you from the bottom of my heart. Most residents have very little idea of the dedication and commitment that goes into each and every election.
To my opponents on Prepoll, thank you, we may not agree on politics but we have worked alongside each other now for a couple of weeks. For me there has been no adversarial or nastiness, unfortunately that’s not the case for some. Let’s hope the Liverpool voters get it right and give us a truly committed and varied group of councillors who are there for the people not personal gain.
 
See you out and about tomorrow…Vote 1 Greens if you want more green than concrete, more passion than payoff, more transparency  than secrecy.
Sign off

8 more sleeps

September 2, 2016

Signe Westerberg Headshots FAV (26 of 102)WOW…the time is going so fast. Only a little over a week to go in this election campaign and I cannot tell you how delighted I am to be in such a  privileged position as to be able to speak with residents each and every day. I can tell you how proud I am of the amazing team we are putting forward in this election. Each and every one of them would be a wonderful addition to Liverpool Council and its a priviledge to work alongside them.

Wednesday night was the final council meeting for this term, a good deal of time was spent electioneering for the 7 councillors who are seeking your vote again, a few good byes and a whole lot of ….leave it to the next lot. So it’s official, not only have they left the next term of councillors a pretty crap budget, undetermined asbestos problems, staff morale at an all time low  but this week they decided to leave a number of items  to the next group. Seriously while I am always the first and often the only voice calling for due diligence, holy crap a donation to Macedonia and Italy in their time of need was not that big a call. Over the past 8 years some councillors shuffled enormous amounts of money for all and sundry and not all as deserving.

The big winner of the night was when in the departing Mayor admitted he’d not been able to work with everyone. Well that was an understatement but at least an acknowledgement I guess. Cllr Ristevski  didn’t waste an opportunity to put in a final dagger or two before he was  missed off the ‘I’ve enjoyed working with you’ list of the Mayor. The whole Propel issues lives on, with the independent report being handed on to ICAC, another of the deferred decisions for the next council. Importantly most of the candidates seeking your vote will have no clue about the issues that have been on and off the agenda for so long other than what they’ve heard in the press. Today we’ve made the news yet again and the comparison between this disaster of a council and the one who had us put into administration had best not be the comparison used in the future because some of us actually know and have seen the happenings of this bunch.

Alas those seeking your vote who have been on council should be scrutinised quite aggressively, what have they actually contributed to the council over their tenure as councillors. If elected to council I will work to ensure that all voting information will be made publically available. Calling oneself independent doesn’t  necessarily mean candidates aren’t aligned. While Greens are sometimes seen in agreement of ALP policy we are not bound in any way to following blindly, our whole remit is to assess each piece of information on its own merit, we vote according to what is in the best interests of the whole community and stand proudly by our reputation to do exactly that when a matter is not in the line with our core beliefs.  (I will print them below so you can see the tenets by which our decisions are made) Council should be about caring for the community, creating services to fill the needs of that community and reduce costs wherever possible.  During the meeting our #powermadmayor (for not long now)  took to highlighting some of the issues in the budget, minus a detail or two  and taking credit for changes that he and his cohorts actually  obstructed which meant many of those projects were actually delayed in the first term.

There will be issues that need to be addressed by the new council, firstly there will have to be very close scrutiny of some of the budget decisions, a very, very close look at the Propel agreement and investigation into same and a serious discussion about the number of jobs that have been outsourced to consultants. Planning issues are a big part of any council and we will need to see what can be done to ensure social and affordable housing options can be set up to ensure our city’s homeless numbers reduce,not grow. Especially important will be to ensure that the community is privy to the actions and decisions of council. Transparency has not been the strong suit of this particular term. Council can and should be the first point of call for citizens needing advice about planning, the go to place for questions and a source of information in relation to many social issues, even those they cannot be directly responsible for, many don’t realise the lobbying ability of council and this needs to be explored. The days need to come to an end where the local member is only heard from in parliament when he/she can bash the council for poor decisions. More soon….

Sign off

 

 

 

 

Ecological sustainability | Social equality and economic justice

| Grassroots democracy | Peace, nonviolence and disarmament

LASTLY. If you have some spare time anytime next week or on Saturday the 10th we are still looking for people to help us hand out at Pre-Poll and on Election day. We will provide a light lunch and a T-shirt just give me a call or email me at swesterberg@iinet.net.au.

Liverpool HTV 2016


Promises! Achievable or just vote catchers

August 18, 2016

Signe Westerberg Headshots (38 of 102)I am delighted to be the Green’s Mayoral Candidate for Liverpool. I am equally delighted to have the opportunity to see the local papers providing the community with information in relation to the upcoming election. Of interest however is, on reading the details of the six (incl myself) candidates one thing became most clear. Three of them have had 8 years to achieve the things they are promising to do now, two have shown very little interest in the runnings of council previously and only one believed the job of Mayor was about bringing people together.

Let’s get some facts on the table:

The Mayor is not the sole decision maker in council,  I’m thinking this came as a bit of a shock to the #powermadmayor once his power base was lost with the #nolibloveinlivo events of recent months.

Click here for the Leader article on Page three  or

http://http://newslocal.newspaperdirect.com/epaper/showlink.aspx?bookmarkid=GWTLFPAYJD71&linkid=6c5a3bf9-80ee-40d7-8014-c1b22e95480a&pdaffid=flTgD0N%2bsncNlRju4zoiMw%3d%3d

Cllr Hadchiti, is going to ‘pull the budget apart and identify areas of improvement’ Hey councillor you’ve had 8 years to do this, have you been sitting on your hands waiting for the opportunity to run for mayor, with the mess of this past budget you might have wanted to do this a bit earlier?

Cllr Harle wants ‘transparency and financial responsibility’ Again councillor you’ve been part of this council for 8 years what is it about being Mayor that will change  your ability to question the budget? While you have asked questions and been party to some change what will being Mayor change, in your opinion?

Cllr Waller didn’t make rash promises, she unfortunately has lived experience on what she cannot achieve as Mayor if the majority is intent on blocking every possible change until they assume office and claim those changes as their own. FYI Cllr Waller was Mayor for the first 4 years of this current,out of administration, 8 years and was quite hamstrung by a majority of Liberal/independent councillors who opposed much on what appeared political/ideological grounds more oft than not.

Ms Mishra and Mr Sims  seem to be under the impression that the Mayor has special powers/abilities, they can just stop things like rates in their tracks, again this is not the case… the Mayor is the spokesperson/ designated representative (until the majority choose otherwise) he/she is the convenor of a meeting, he/she can add ideas, suggest items and everything else every other councillor can do, with one exception, IF there is a need for a deciding vote in a drawn vote, the Mayor has a casting vote…. rarely if ever actually declared, and used often by the #powermadmayor however available to break tied situations and allow a decision to be made.

There is no magic wand attached to the Mayoral role, as Cllr Waller could tell you I’m sure how frustrating and difficult it can be if the councillors elected by the public have a greater agenda than that of serving the people. So the question should be, who amongst the candidates has the goal or desire to bring together the mishmash of councillors the community see fit to elect? The community decides who they want to represent it and in  Liverpool they also decide who will be the best front person for our city as well as the person who could possibly work with all to bring a cohesive council together. Don’t get me wrong, it won’t be easy but it’s not a magic wand and simply promising to do this or that is tantamount to ludicracy. Populism isn’t governance, it’s about promising what you think your community wants to hear in order to get their vote. Four of the candidates on offer have been regularly involved in council matters, two have shown up at election time with what appears to be little to no knowledge of how a council works. While I am sure they will disagree, this is an important job. Moreover  it’s also an amazing opportunity to tell the NSW Govt that council amalgamations is not on our agenda. The Greens have opposed amalgamations at State and local level and electing a Green to the position of Mayor would be one almighty reminder to Mr Baird et al.

To give myself a little plug while I can, I also have a proven record of wanting transparency, did you know, on nearly every agenda there are confidential items and at times in this council 12 or more items have been ‘in confidence”  Rarely has there been a meeting where all items on the agenda have been open to the public, while I understand privacy issues, you also know that I believe when it involves our rates money we are entitled to the detail… regulations and statutory requirements have privacy as a core protection however, as I’ve stated previously if a shareholder can know the details why can’t the residents?

I, if elected as Mayor or councillor will continue to write about it, I have a reasonable  knowledge of what I can legally share and what I can’t but I know that I will be privy to more facts as a councillor than I do now as a resident who sits in the gallery every month listening to the councillors. I do this now without the detail they have and with a desire to ensure our residents know exactly what is happening with their rates money.

Before you vote for your next Mayor, ask some questions, find out more, simply wanting the job is not enough, our city is too important, the financial status of  our council is too unknown and the future impacts of much still to be made available to the community to impactful to just want the job. While the candidates for the most part seem like decent people, is that enough? A number of them have operated successful businesses, some are academics, some completely unknown to anyone outside their social circle, so investigate, I even invite them to write a response to my comments here and I will post them for you to read, as is.

Most of all, look at all the candidates you elect, not just the parties, Mr Sims is a registered Liberal (according to his nomination form), campaigning/presenting as an independent, Cllr Harle has been in council for 8 years see where his votes have gone, especially in the early days, Cllr Hadchiti has been on council 8 years as well, his allegiance to the outgoing #Powermadmayor has been solid. Me, well I’ve been writing about this for all of those years, just check back anywhere through here, you’ll see I’ve always had an opinion, and I believe once elected the party you represent falls well behind the community who elected you albeit with those values.

 

THIS ELECTION PUT LIVERPOOL FIRST.

 

more soon and again I invite other candidates to share their views, all opinions welcomed.

 

Sign off