Freo's View

TALK TO ME LIKE BROTHERS DO, FREO!

Posted in fremantle by freoview on February 28, 2012

I am surprised to hear that there are people in the Fremantle community and at the City of Fremantle who believe that communication between the city and I are no longer possible because of the passionate articles I posted here about PSA 49.

I was told I discredited myself by being so forthright and that the balance is no longer there. The only balance I am interested in is Fremantle. I want the best for this city and support all the good things that happen here all the time. I probably do more to promote Fremantle than any other blog, or even the city’s own website, so I am not sure how this is unbalanced.

Communication is a two way street and those who blame me for having cut communications with councillors and officers because of my articles here, also need to consider it from my perspective. I don’t like being taken for granted and ignored, but that is what council did by pushing PSA 49 through without compromise. While I would have accepted eight storeys for the Woolstores site, council quickly added another storey at the very last moment, thus ignoring anything those of us against heights had said. If people treat me with that kind of disrespect they cannot expect me to remain mister nice guy.

I gave council the benefit of the doubt before the community consultation started. I defended councillors against those who I called cynics, and told them to have more confidence. That trust and confidence was eroded through dismissive emails, and the unwillingness by council to make serious changes to PSA 49.

I did not want things my way, or win a war I never saw as a war. I expected compromise, and I was very happy to compromise, for the good of Fremantle.

The my way or the high way attitude by council did hurt me and I am not happy about it, but I don’t hold grudges and am happy to communicate with any councillor or City of Fremantle officer, as long as they are willing to give me the same respect I have given them.

I have always given credit where credit is due and will continue to do so. I do not criticise the City of Fremantle for fun, but because many things are not done properly in this city. If the COF improved their performance I’d have less to be negative about. I would be delighted to only write about the good achievements, instead of having to whinge about the bad ones all the time.

The way forward, I suggest, is a closer working relationship on the design of new buildings and of public open spaces in the inner city. If we strive together for excellence we might be able to salvage the special character of Fremantle.

Roel Loopers

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16 Responses

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  1. Julie Fedele said, on February 28, 2012 at 10:44 am

    An honest opinion:

    I often do not agree with your opinions.
    I often do agree with your opinions.

    Your repetitive posting about the exact same opinion/issues can get tedious/tiresome to read.
    Your repetitive posting of the exact same opinion/issues is a necessary strategy to get heard, and I have the power to delete and not read if that is really important to me.

    I am sometimes offended by the way you jump to conclusions and you do not seem to respond well to criticism.
    I have the same flaws.

    The lowdown: You keep me updated with a variety of Freo issues and you fight the battles that some of the rest of us do not have the time nor expertise to engage with. For this, I am very grateful to you.

  2. freoishome said, on February 28, 2012 at 11:26 am

    The Mayor has a blog, but by comparison with Roel’s it is inactive.

    With all online conversation and interaction, it needs activity. Blogs start with an new thread, and most , maybe all, of those threads are initiated by the Blog owner. I don’t know of any, where the thread can be initiated by any user of the Blog?

    That requires time, energy, interest, to start each new topic, to respond and check replies and comments.

    If Freo wants an online facility where locals can raise and discuss issues, it could do as Roel has, and setup a blog. But it requires a lot, to keep it active, pertinent, diverse. It requires some controversy!

    I think the Precinct Blogs were set up with those intentions. But they have too many constraints. For example how does a ratepayer initate a new topic, what about topics that are broader than one specific Precinct, etc? They don’t seem to have the people driving them with the same passion, time and interest as Roel has demonstrated.

    On many occasions I have sent an e-mail to Roel about a potential topic, and if he think it interesting he will put something up the same day, with his slant. That is the level of energy needed with Blog type communication.

    On several occasions Roel has over stepped the mark by the standards of others, he publishes their opinions. Sometimes he holds his ground, others he learns and apologises.

    Roel is to be congratulated.

    I hope this rumour is untrue. However, if it proves well founded, then the Council needs to come up with something at least as good as Roel’s Blog, with the resources to keep it interesting and active.
    Paul

  3. carmel callaghan said, on February 28, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Roel, havent read the articles you were speaking of, but am guessing it has to do with the character of fremantle and high rises. Was just thinking the other day how sad it would be if the charm of fremantle was overtaken by high rises and lost , in our charming city. Expect my support. Carmel Callaghan, 332 High Street, Fremantle. wa 6160

  4. cathy said, on February 28, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    at risk of appearing a sycophant, I agree with all 3 of you %)

  5. James said, on February 28, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    “Freo View”, albeit “Roel’s View” is a great platform for the Fremantle community to engage with current events and share their own views – whether in agreement or disagreement.

    Roel’s position may be sometimes influenced by passion and emotion, which lead to premises that are inflammatory and irrational, however his views do act as a catalyst for encouraging debate. Dare I say in some instances this blog wouldn’t be half as intersesting if it wasn’t for the comments listed below the original post!

    Freo View’s strength is that it gives voice to anybody who wants one, and I challenge anyone to create a blog which unofficially engages Fremantle sucessfully and as tirelessly as Roel Looper’s Freo View.

    Well done Roel, stay vigilant and remember “Veritas odit moras” – Truth hates delay…

  6. Brad Pettitt said, on February 28, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Roel
    Not sure where this rumour has emerged but I am happy to talk to you as always even if we don’t always agree. Might even see you tomorrow at the Freo Society meeting. cheers, Brad

    • freoview said, on February 29, 2012 at 6:25 am

      I’ll see you at our monthly meeting, Brad.

      Roel

  7. Steve Mortimer said, on March 1, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    I voted in a democratic election for the councillor in my ward who supported Amendment 49. Thousands of others did the same, in all wards. The current council have done an exemplary job.

    I would be shocked if one small lobby group was able to push through changes

    • freoview said, on March 1, 2012 at 4:24 pm

      Not just one small lobby group, but many people around Fremantle, Steve.
      My ward councillor told us she was against more than eight storeys before she was elected, for example.

      Roel

    • freoishome said, on March 1, 2012 at 5:28 pm

      OK for Wesfarmers, Myers and Woolies to use professional lobbyists? Is this biase of the strongest order or what? Is this anything other than greed driven?
      OK to have a Gang of Councillors all thinking the same thoughts, except Jon, about a dozen, hardly an impressive number.
      OK to have an avalanche of Architects, who presumably all benefit directly, but probably don’t live here.
      OK for the Pollies to express their view.
      OK for the commercial leasers to express a view.
      But not ok for ordinary citizens to express a personal opinion.
      CUSP are not a huge organisation, less than 50 post grads, but they seem to get plenty of air time, without grunge remarks.
      I am not a member of the Freo Society, and I have never expressed a view that they espouced. But I assume because Roel is, you think everyone here is all tarred with that brush.
      What is exemplary about selective hearing?
      Paul

      • freoview said, on March 2, 2012 at 6:17 am

        IT is interesting indeed, Paul, that the opinion of the Fremantle Society is sidelined because we are a lobby group, while other lobby groups like political parties, CUSP, developers, etc. are embraced. Selective hearing and listening is not good for sound decision making, but that in my opinion is what Fremantle council has been doing on PSA 49.

        Roel

  8. Steve Mortimer said, on March 2, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but to expect the council to act on your opinion is not democracy.

    The “Gang Of Councillors” is democracy

    “OK for Wesfarmers, Myers and Woolies to use professional lobbyists?”
    I would be shocked if any of these groups (any lobby groups or persons at all) were able to dictate changes to council.
    Wouldn’t that be illegal? shouldn’t it be reported to the authorities?

    • freoishome said, on March 3, 2012 at 12:10 pm

      Steve,
      You seem to be saying that in a country such as Australia, that the only thing that should govern debate, decisions, ideas, are those coming from those elected, under the Australian view of Democracy.
      It is much more than that.
      There has always been a counter balancing role of opposition, governance, media to keep the buggers honest, and a process of public submission.
      In the current Freo Council, there has been negligible expression of what one might consider ‘opposition’.
      The rate payer meeting, part of the formal governance process, also had a democratic vote for a motion. That was completely dismissed by Council!
      There is no point in having processes for public submission if they aren’t properely considered, and the evidense for that occuring is very slim, amounting to little more than claims by Councillors. The public record merely says, ‘Noted’!
      There is no record of any of the oral presentations to either the Planning meeting or the Council meeting being properly considered by the Councillors.
      The Herald, went to some expense to have a scale model built, to provide a more realistic basis for comment. The Council did not create such a model, why not? The resulting petition which was available for several weeks, was resounding. Population of Freo 800, which the Council want to increase by 1500, petition 500! This isn’t a trivial number! If so many supported the model, why wasn’t there a balancing petition of 500 in support?
      If you want to use democracy rules, ie, one vote one value, then opposition won the day by a country mile.
      Paul

  9. Cr Josh Wilson, Deputy Mayor said, on March 2, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Roel,

    I always have been and always will be happy to speak with you, and to read and write on your blog – which is one of the great new opportunities for conversation in Fremantle.

    I can’t imagine that you would say that I have ever ignored you. It’s simply not right to say that Amendment 49 was settled without listening to you, and many others, or that it was settled without change or compromise. I’ve not heard a single person (or Councillor) say that they would cease to interact with you (or anyone else, to be fair) … but I think you would acknowledge that your blogs have occasionally had a note of finality about them, and you’ve written things along the lines of “these people have lied to me” and “I will never trust these people again”. That’s your choice, but I think there are times when you write such things in the heat of passion, and afterwards reflect that they are probably a bit extreme. I’m guilty of that kind of passion myself, and I’d rather be passionate and occasionally a bit over the top than apathetic, disenchanted and disengaged … but of course it does mean having the courage and grace to sometimes say, “Hey, I overdid it the other day.” I guess running a blogsite tends to make heat-of-the-moment comments more of an occupational hazard!

    I have always accorded the Fremantle Society a lot of respect, even when I don’t agree with its view (and sometimes I think the assertion of a united FS view is not the whole story – as even within the FS there are various opinions about recent issues like the US laundry and Amendment 49). I think it’s fair to say that the Freo Society has contributed more to protecting and enhancing the life and character of inner Freo over the last 35 years than any other community organisation, and I am glad that over the last couple of years the FS has made its own efforts to renew, and draw in newer and younger members. The FS in recent times has also been more focused on the substance of issues, rather than on functioning as a kind of local govt political party, with candidates and opponents, etc. This is a good thing. I would like to see the FS be a bit more future-focused through the course of this renewal. In the 1970s and 1980s the focus of the FS was very much about making Fremantle a better place in future; about ensuring that the best kind of change occurred, but nevertheless being oriented towards positive change in keeping with Freo’s essentially progressive character. In the last 10 years or so, the focus felt like it became more about keeping Freo as it is forever, and lamenting change, and the spirit of the FS became less feisty and joyous, and more cranky and negative and pessimistic.

    With respect to the A49 comments, the submissions by people who are Freo Society members, and by the FS itself are of course entirely valid – and I read through them very carefully. I also made time to meet separately with you (as FS president), and with Don Whittington and John Dowson, and I paid special heed to the public comments of Henty Farrar and Cathy Hall and Ron and Dianne Davidson and others. The submissions and the meetings informed my decision to move and support certain amendments of A49. But it’s not irrelevant or unreasonable to recognise that when a group acts to encourage public submissions along an agreed line, and those submissions have a substantially common flavour, that there is a ‘campaign’ aspect to the generation of those submissions. I attended a Beaconsfield precinct meeting at which A49 was discussed in detail, and consideration was given to the maps and heights and the opportunity for renewal in the Freo CBD, and the response was along the lines of “this is good, get on with it”. That feedback was only a small part of what I took into my consideration of the issue, but it needs to be recognised that it too was a valid indication of the community’s view, even thought it wasn’t part of the formal public submission process.

    And, as I have written elsewhere, the idea that the current Council operates according to some kind of ‘group think’ when it comes to A49 or other issues is without basis and in my view needlessly disrespectful. Look at the detail of the amendments and the votes, both at PSC and at Council, and you will some quite varied results and voting combinations.

    Anyway, I look forward to many more conversations with you and Paul and others in time to come. We all want the best for Freo – which doesn’t mean we will always agree, because what one considers ‘the best for Freo’ will be different for different people, and in any case the means of achieving change are always going to be subject to discussion and uncertainty. That’s life!

    Josh

    • freoview said, on March 2, 2012 at 10:39 pm

      And I always respect your opinon and that you take the time to comment on blog posts here, Josh. I would have liked to see you become our Labor candidate for Fremantle for the next state election.

      Like many in this gorgeous city I am very passionate about issues and I feel deeply frustrated sometimes when I feel my opinion have not been taken into consideration.

      This blog though is my very personal one, and I assume some (committee) members of the Fremantle Society don’t agree with what I write here sometimes. I know that is difficult to separate, but Freo’s View is Roel Loopers’ personal opinion, not that of the Freo Society.

      I am looking very much forward to many more constructive and positive discussions with you in the future, Josh!

      Roel


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