WHY I BELIEVE BALANCE IS IMPORTANT
I have already received one comment claiming that my demand for respectful and on topic comments to this Freo’s View blog is censorship, so let me make a few points.
First of all as the publisher of this blog I am legally responsible, so if people write defamatory comments that I publish I could end up in court, and that is not going to happen. I am only asking for self-regulation and a bit of restraint so that I don’t have to block certain comments, that’s all. Newspapers don’t publish hundreds of letters to the editor each week, while I have published 99% of comments I received over the last seven years of this blog.
Local politics is complex and not as black&white and simple as some people want us to believe. For every 5000 people who disagree with Council decisions there are 5000 who agree with the Elected Members.
Politics is as one-eyed, as supporters of sports team. One cannot see the failures of one’s own team and only criticises the other team, so that makes it hard to get balanced debate and comments because some people want to believe that everything Fremantle Council does is wrong.
In the same comments we hear that Freo Council is socialist, but does deals behind closed doors with developers. The latter is not very socialist but capitalist, so the points made become quite ridiculous.
Those who strongly support whatever the State government is doing criticise Fremantle Council for wanting to implement infill and higher density, as demanded by State government, so why is Freo Council to blame for Liberal/National party decisions?
It is wrong to believe that community groups have a larger representation than the voters who elected the Councillors and that Council should do what those vocal minority groups want. Councillors are democratically elected by those few who bother to vote in our community and it is their duty to get advise from officers, consultants and experts and make decisions.
I have on many occasions not agreed with decisions by Fremantle Council. I believed and still do that Planning Scheme Amendment 39 went too far as far as height is concerned, but I do support the strong move by Freo Council for more residential, office and retail development in the inner city. I did not believe the Youth Plaza should be built on the Esplanade, but next to it, and I did not believe a tavern at J Shed was a good decision either, to name just a few.
One of the major problems I see is the lack of good detailed communication, transparency and accountability and that has to improve, as the City is unnecessarily creating divisiveness, anger and frustration in the community, because we only get selective information through the newspapers. For example an editorial in the West Australian claimed that the City of Fremantle was banning Australia Day celebrations, which is absolutely false.
I too get very frustrated when I see things not being done, or not done properly, and when I observe inconsistent decision-making at COF, but I am trying to keep it in balance and see all sides of the story. I have in the past blown steam with angry words, and while I try to be tolerant and open-minded I have no doubt that I will snap again sometime in the future, because I am very passionate about Fremantle.
The City of Fremantle is far from perfect and that’s why it is important we keep engaging with positive suggestions and trying to be part of the solution. Council will not always do what I like, but that will please others, and we need to keep that in mind when we criticise them. Just because I don’t like it does not necessarily mean it is wrong and just because I like other decisions does not necessarily mean they are the right decisions.
While some loath the Labor, Liberal or Greens parties, others love them. That is the simple reality of politics and the way we humans are. Love it or hate it.
Feel free to comment. ; >)