Freo's View


Posted in city of fremantle, fremantle society,, Uncategorized by freoview on December 8, 2015

At last night’s AGM the Fremantle Society members decided to go back to the past by electing former Fremantle Councillor and former FS president John Dowson as their new leader. Dowson received about 80% of the votes while the other candidate Chris Lewis received just a fifth of the votes.

It was packed house with over one hundred members attending the meeting, so at least a presidential vote pulled them our of their lethargy.

I believe that the vote for Dowson is one for going back to negativity and anti just about everything and the attitude that Fremantle Council is the enemy. As one disappointed member said “It is like lemmings off the cliff.”

While we might have expected spin from former PR guru Chris Lewis it was John Dowson who did the spin and name dropping when he addressed the members and claimed to have single-handedly rescued the Warders Cottages because he had written a report for “Colin” Forget all the efforts Freo Council put in, all the presentations they made and forget also the submissions about it by the Fremantle Society and other members of the public, including I here several times on this blog.

So Dowson plays tennis with “Colin” but what good has that done for Fremantle? Did “Colin” support Freo Council when Dowson was an Elected Member, I think not.

Dowson will do what Dowson does best and that is make FS a narrow-focus organisation that will get a kick out of negativity and will oppose any major development in Fremantle. Like a political party that opposes anything the opposition proposes, the Fremantle Society will treat Fremantle Council as the enemy and the Brad bashers and Council kickers now have another organisation that will basically be about negativity, unwillingness to compromise and unwilling to collaborate with Council. That in my opinion is not the way forward and it is bad for Fremantle.

The negativity, the smear campaign and the conspiracy crap used by the Dowson supporters paid off, so it is still true in Australia that more people vote for those who run a negative campaign.

While FS members might live the dream that under JD the Society will save Fremantle from modernisation I should remind them that at the October election the voters did not ditch six sitting members to show their unhappiness with Council, and I remind them also that major development is not approved by Council but by State agencies DAP and SAT.

I sincerely hope that my fears are wrong and that the Fremantle Society under JD will try to remain progressive, pro change, willing to collaborate with Council and be a positive force in our city, but I fear the worse. Time will tell, and no doubt so will all the nasty comments that will be posted and attack me.

Roel Loopers

7 Responses

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  1. luggerite said, on December 8, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    I agree with Mary, Suzanne has hit the nail on the head.

    I was impressed with both candidates, but one had a known and visible track record of advocacy for the Society, the other had an undoubtable track record of achievement, but not necessarily within the compass of FS, so it was hard for members to knowledgeably assess what his leadership might mean in terms of future direction for the Society.

    As I think I said to you on the night, I believe FS is the overall winner, as undoubtedly a much larger group of Fremantle people are engaging with the Society than 6 or 12 months ago, and entering into debate. FCC can only dismiss FS as a bunch of fuddy-duddy nay-sayers at its peril, given the powerhouse of people there last night.

    And Roel, I was disappointed to see your very personal, individually named, comments on the contributions made by people who, despite their own busy and in some cases, extremely challenging circumstances, stepped up to fill the void because they saw it was important to Fremantle that the Fremantle Society continued.

    You’ve strongly argued against “playing the man, not the ball” in the last few weeks here, so it is very disappointing to see my favourite blogger do just that himself.

    I appreciate that you do genuinely try to provide a balanced reportage, but comments such as “Dowson will do what Dowson does best and that is make FS a narrow-focus organisation…” are both unfair and demeaning in their expression to the individuals concerned.

    I follow your hugely informative blog because it alerts me to much that goes on in Freo that passes under the general media radar, but that balance is all.

    If you choose to use your undoubted presence and influence to publicly attack good people (volunteers), who like you, give up their time to better Fremantle for all, why would the next generation wish to step into the apparent target zone?


  2. Pat Valera said, on December 8, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    As there is no balance from council, the balance should be about right.
    Council is all about their way or no way.
    Development is just that it doesn’t mean increase in retail or business for Freo
    People seem obsessed with building buildings, Freo will not be a better place for another ugly concrete box.
    You seem quite angry Roel?
    Is that because you aren’t on the committee now?
    Your way is not the only way, Freo needs protection if it is to retain its character,
    never heard of this Lewis guy, John is well known and regarded by many for his devotion over the years
    Glad to see he is back
    Congrats John it’s enough to make me want to join up to the FS.


  3. Matthew Hanssen said, on December 8, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    John did do a lot to get the Warders Cottages resolved. It wasn’t just a report, it was personal advocacy, and yes it does help if you use your personal contacts to help pull a few strings. From memory both Willagee and Fremantle State members didn’t do a lot to move the matter forward and our esteemed Mayor came up with a scheme to borrow over 50 years and encumber ratepayers, the money needed for thier revitalisation.

    I’m sure if you asked John, the eventual outcome wasn’t what he wanted, but at least they are not still sitting there rotting away and abandoned.

    Yes the FS and this blog deserves some credit as do a few other people I know, who helped push it along. Including me.


  4. Mary said, on December 8, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    I endorse Sue’s comments. She has hit the nail on the head. Give John and his committee a chance to prove their worth Roel.


  5. greyingnomad said, on December 8, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    Just have to wait and see Roel. As members we can keep up to date and monitor the goings on. If what you say turns out to be true then action can be taken at the next AGM. The President is not the ruler. The members and committee should be. If last nights result does nothing more than reinvigorate debate and surveillence of the FS then it is a good one. I was very impressed with both presidential candidates but no one seemed to have information ofn the committee candidates., Perhaps this can be rectified next time.
    Chris Lewis now has the time to build up a presence and hopefully will positively contribute to the FS over the current term. John Dowson is a known and no one can question his love of Fremantle.


  6. freoview said, on December 8, 2015 at 10:53 am

    No dummy spit just my opinion, Sue.

    One only has to look at the committee to see there is little balance and most are Dowson supporters, but how effective and active will they be? Agnieshka Kiera lives at least half of the year overseas, JD himself probably spent 3 months overseas this year, Colin Nichol does not live in Fremantle, Robert Bodkin is a great bloke but he is working hard and has little time to do more than just attending committee meetings once a month, James Gregg was hopeless at the FS committee this year and did not contribute much. When asked to do the minutes once, by lack of secretary, he had not even written them two months later so the president wrote them from the few notes he had made of the meeting.
    It’s not the kind of committee that is promising a lot of positive activity and it is basically yet again a committee of old people and that is very disappointing.



  7. Suzanne said, on December 8, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Roel, I can see you are extremely disappointed in the Fremantle Society Presidential result, but there is no need for a big dummy spit, as above.

    You and others are to be commended for the many years of work for the FS, but, as stated by out-going Pres Henty Ferrar at the AGM last night, the Society could not even muster a quorum earlier this year.

    Benita Dowding has done a marvelous job, as Member Secretary, in increasing the numbers to well over 100
    new members.

    Roel, please don’t use your excellent blog as Lewisson, the Mayors Campaign Manager, used the Herald, to cruelly and incorrectly criticise the record number of Fremantle Council Candidates, in the City election; by on this blog, insulting the good people who bothered to turn up and vote at the Fremantle Society.
    That is ‘dog in the manger’ stuff, just because you didn’t get, what you so obviously now show, you wanted.

    Both candidates are excellent and both spoke genuinely.
    There was no ‘spin’ in Dowson’s speech, only truth in what he has achieved, or attempted to achieve for Fremantle, over many, many voluntary years. Incidentally, he mentioned the Premier only once and never by his Christian name which you so liberally throw about.

    Roel you admitted yourself, on this blog, that Chris Lewis was an unknown entity and had not been involved in previous and current Fremantle ‘disputes’. Even so Mr. Lewis put his hand up for Fremantle and is to be
    congratulated for so doing.

    In your haste to attack we ‘lemmings’ all missing our Christmas Parties etc. to support the Fremantle Society, you have not mentioned the elected committee members.
    These are the people who will be running the show Roel.
    Congratulations to all.


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