Senator Mathias Cormann, the Federal Minister for Finance, will be speaking at Fremantle Notre Dame University this Wednesday April 9 from 6-7 pm. His lecture will be about his personal reflections on his career as a lawyer in politics. This is a free event and all are welcome.
The location is the Michael Keating room in the former Fremantle Hotel, corner High and Cliff streets.
West Australian newspaper columnist Paul Murray is not impressed that Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt condones unlawful behaviour by cyclists and that the Mayor wants to reward them by giving law breakers free lights and bells.
Like many people I have spoken to Murray believes the police should be allowed to do their job, and that Fremantle can’t expect special treatment because some of our free and easy cyclist don’t want to wear helmets and can’t be bothered having a bell on their bikes and lights at night.
Those who do the right and lawful thing questioned why they should be paying for the necessities, when those who can’t be bothered to buy them get them as a present from the City of Fremantle for breaking the law. It would be quite different to have something like a Free Bell Day at Kings Square as a promotion to encourage bike riding, similar to handing out free trees.
As I said in my previous article about this, I believe this is once again one of those naive thought bubbles where all the consequences are not being considered. The fact that the Mayor announced it on ABC radio without Council having approved the idea also shows that our Mayor thinks he’ll get his way and that the Elected Members will just sign on the dotted line whenever he wants it.
Fremantle is not outside State law, and while we should do everything to encourage more people to use their bikes and keep cars out of the inner city, rewarding law breakers is not the solution, and it sends the wrong message to children.
Paul Murray’s column is in the West today.
There has been a lot of criticism about Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt’s announcement that the City will be giving away free bicycle lights and bells to those who get caught by police for not having them. Many people questioned why ratepayers should pay for other people breaking the law, just to support the Mayor’s philosophy that Fremantle needs to encourage the use of bikes. Others questioned how the Mayor can go to the media with something that has not yet been approved by council, as he is the spokesperson for the City of Fremantle, unless of course the Mayor wants to pay for this scheme out of his own pocket.
Questions have also been raised about the legality of a local government being exempt from State law and why residents and ratepayers of other cities should not expect the same treatment. And will the City of Fremantle also pay for bike bells and lights for non Freo residents who get stopped by police in our city?
The other issue is that COF would have to buy hundreds of lights and bells wholesale and that local retailers would miss out on selling these items to the public and that is unfair competition.
A friend of mine who recently bought lights and a bell told me this morning he will be sending a demand for reimbursement for $ 55.00 to the City, as he believes he should be rewarded for doing the right and legal thing.
It feels as if this is yet another thought bubble that has not been considered deeply and carefully. Financially rewarding people for breaking the law seems a very strange and inappropriate way of promoting bicycle use.
ABC radio presenter John McGlue was wondering why the City of Fremantle wants to reward unlawful behaviour of those who ride their bicycles without lights and bells and offer them the items for free. He interviewed Mayor Brad Pettitt about this new idea the City wants to implement in collaboration with the Freo police. What it means is that if you get caught without a light on your bike, or the bell is missing, Police will only give you a caution and you’ll receive the missing item free of charge, courtesy of the City of Fremantle ratepayers.
The Mayor kept saying it was a good and relatively cheap idea, while McGlue did not like the idea that people will get rewarded for not obeying the law. Free or half-price helmets might be next on the cards, Brad Pettitt told the ABC.
The Jan ter Horst house, that Fremantle monument crying out against government incompetence, on top of the hill in Beaconsfield, became a Christmas meeting point for the neighbours, and to ring the century-old bells Jan has on his roof deck. The oldest bell is from 1796.
The house must have one of the best views in the area. 360 degrees uninterrupted from the hills to Perth and Scarborough and from Rottnest to way past Kwinana. Stunning!
Ter Horst’s battle against Fremantle council and State Government has become legendary and one can still see him driving around Fremantle with a coffin on the roof of his car. He’s a stubborn old Dutchman.
The first lines of the Metallica song For Whom The Bells Toll seemed apt this morning:
Make his fight
on the hill in the early day
constant deep chill inside.
Now, now, City of Fremantle, what is going on? It is not right to encourage people to break the law, but I believe this sign does. It is painted at the end of the contra-flow bicycle lane near the Town Hall at William Street, but it is technically on the footpath that is part of the High Street mall, where it is not permitted to ride one’s bike. This could get cyclists into trouble if they get stopped by police for riding on the footpath. Naughty!
I believe it is time metropolitan local councils, or the state opposition, should start legal action in the High Court against the discriminatory council amalgamations the Colin Barnett Western Australian government want to force upon us. It can’t be right that council mergers will not be enforced in the country because the National Party put pressure on the Premier, while those in the city will lose their voice and democratic right to decide what they want for their community.
The fact that the Liberal/National government wants to remove the Dadour Act from the Local Government Act shows Barnett is concerned the people do not want mega mergers and lack of community consultation and input. The Dadour Act allows electors of local government to request a poll on any proposed mergers.
It is not acceptable we will lose the democratic right to decide the destiny of Fremantle and it is not acceptable the government wants to discriminate against one section of the Western Australian population. What’s next Premier, a law that discriminates between those who were born here and those who migrated?
We live in a democracy and Colin, the wannabe dictator, should pull his head in and listen to the people instead of lying and breaking pre-election promises faster than the crockery at a Greek wedding.
NO FORCED COUNCIL AMALGAMATION!
To be fair, to be fair…..I received the legal advise on Kings Square from the City of Fremantle lawyers Jackson McDonald today. The firm acknowledged that the delay in sending the requested information to the Fremantle Society was their responsibility and not that of City of Fremantle’s officers.
We’ll read the report carefully and take it from there.
A query from a Curtin University student, and the Police criticising the City of Fremantle‘s new graffiti laws made me contemplate if graffiti, or street art, has any value for society. I first need to say that I don’t consider so called tagging street art or graffiti, it is mindless vandalism, akin to bored, inconsiderate people scratching names and messages into trees and rocks.
I believe street art is important because it does what art should do, but mostly doesn’t, and that is to challenge people. A large percentage of public art is representational and easy on the eyes, it is non-confronting and non-challenging, has no social or political messages, and does not question, it is art created mainly as pretty decoration rather than as a reflection of society.
It is difficult for graffiti art to get shown in established galleries, so young creative people need an outlet outside the commercial gallery circuits to show their work to a larger public. Street art, assigned or unauthorised, does that. Local councils have to accommodate that need and that important interaction with the community.
I love the quirky graffiti of Banksy, the stunning murals of Roa and to a lesser extend that of Vhils, all artist are represented here in Fremantle. Roa’s large Numbat in Henderson Street makes me aware every time I walk by that this beautiful native animal is nearly extinct and that is a very important message to us all
The world changes from street/grass roots level and hardly ever from the top, and so street art is important in making valid points, to protest, upset, even disgust. We need this alternative, challenging and sometimes confronting way of expression because when youths remains silence there is no change in the world. That is why I consider graffity important. It is an in your face way of communication that we should not underestimate.