Freo's View

YOUR VOTE COULD BE THE DIFFERENCE!

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 18, 2017

 

VOTE!

 

Enrol to vote and VOTE PLEASE!!!! at the Fremantle Local Government Election.

Local Council elections notoriously get a very small percentage of the community voting, and that is such a waste of your democratic right.

Just around 30 per cent of eligible voters posted their ballot paper two years ago, so 70 per cent elected not to have a voice, that in my books is just plain silly.

If you are passionate about Freo and want to make it an even better place than it is, the least you can do is vote. Better even better if you nominate for one of the seven seats up for grabs and make it a contest.

 

Roel Loopers

GREEN CANDIDATES FOR SOUTH FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, election, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 10, 2017

 

Liam Carter for South Fremantle

 

The local government election for the City of Fremantle is on October 21 and things are heating up in South Fremantle Ward, with two Greenies announcing their nomination.

Sitting member Andrew Sullivan will contest the seat again and young and upcoming Liam Carter has also announced he will be standing.

They are both good candidates, with Sullivan being a very good performer in Council who is very well versed in all the planning rules and regulations.

Liam Carter initiated the Fremantle Youth Council and is also convenor of the South Freo precinct. He is a very impressive and grounded young man with a lot of commitment to his community.

The choice will be hard. Experience or young exuberance?

It will be a fascinating election, so I hope that most people will make the effort to vote.

Fremantle is in a time of very important transition and needs level-headed people, which both candidates for South Freo are. It is important we get substance and not just promises that can’t be realised, so carefully assess all the candidates who will be putting their hand up and separate hot air from achievable goals.

Good luck to Liam and Andrew. You are my Ward candidates, so looking forward to a public meeting and hearing your thoughts.

(I have no poster for Andrew Sullivan. He only posted an old one from four years ago on Facebook, so did not want to use it.)

 

Roel Loopers

 

PLEASE DO VOTE AT COUNCIL ELECTION!

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, election, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 6, 2017

 

Here is some interesting news! If the 70+ per cent of voters who did not bother to vote at the local council election two years ago had all voted for me, I would have won the Beaconsfield Ward election. ; >). It shows how important it is for young and old to vote!

In eleven weeks from now we will know what the new Fremantle Council will look like, and if voters go for continuity during the very important and challenging transition period of the Kings Square Project development, and stay with present Mayor Brad Pettitt, or trust candidate Ra Stewart, who has no local government experience.

There will definitely be two new Councillors, for East Ward’s Dave Cogging, who resigned to become and advisor to Premier Mark McGowan, and City Ward where Simon Naber will not contest the election.

Sam Wainwright in Hilton, Hannah Fitzhardinge in Beaconsfield, Andrew Sullivan in South Ward and Doug Thompson in North Fremantle all will need to battle to retain their seat.

The biggest battle for local government though is apathy and getting voters to participate, so I would love to see Fremantle Council run a non-political advertising campaign to urge people to vote.

If you are one of the 70+ per cent who don’t bother to vote you really have no right to whinge about your local council.

You have the chance to make a difference, so grab your democratic right and privilege and vote. PLEASE!!!!

It’s a postal vote so all you have to do is fill out a form, stick it in the supplied envelope and put it in a mail box on your way to work, school, shopping, the train station. Do it!

Election results will be counted from 6pm on October 21 at the Fremantle Townhall.

 

Roel Loopers

DISAPPOINTING FREMANTLE ELECTION NEGATIVITY

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, election, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 5, 2017

 

I am disappointed about the negative election campaign Fremantle Mayoral candidate Ra Stewart is running.

Stewart is a communication professional, so she knows all about the impact of running a negative campaign. That’s what all major political parties do, so why care about facts and fairness.

The latests Rabbish is on the front page of this week’s Fremantle Herald, where Liberal party supporter Stewart blames Fremantle Council for decisions made by businesses and the Liberal State Government. One can hardly call that fair or factual.

The departure of TAFE, downgrading of Fremantle Hospital, departure of Myer and the Dockers, yes it’s all Freo Council’s fault, according to Stewart.

Fremantle Council fought hard to keep Myer and the Dockers in town, with a City delegation travelling over east to talk to the Myer CEO, and Councillor Andrew Sullivan traveled with the Dockers’s board to look at the best AFL club facilities, but unfortunately it was to no avail. Freo City bend over backward to try to accommodate the Dockers, but they wanted to move on, and even get CoF to pay for their clubhouse or they would not give up the long-term lease of Fremantle Oval. Pretty disgraceful really!

Businesses don’t care about communities, they care about the triple bottom line, and the Dockers received financial support from the Liberal State Government to move to Cockburn.

Mayor Brad Pettitt even suggested I start a community campaign, so I set up the Keep Freo in Freo Facebook page when I was president of the Fremantle Society, as the Mayor believed a community push might help Council to convince the Dockers management to remain in town, but it did not succeed.

It is fair game to criticise Fremantle Council for decisions they made and one does not approve off, but blaming them for state or federal government decisions is ridiculous.

According to the Herald, Stewart also promised at her fundraising lunch at Bathers Beach House that she would reinstate Fremantle’s Australia Day celebrations to January 26. That is an empty promise she can’t realise, because should she be elected, she will have no power to implement that.  She should instead have promised that she would try to convince her colleagues on Council that Freo should go back to the traditional Australia Day date, and hope she’ll get a majority of elected members to vote with her.

I am disappointed in Stewart’s campaign to become the next Mayor of Fremantle, as it is all about attacking Fremantle Council, but not offering new, innovative ideas and long-term strategies for our city. Changing half hour free parking to one hour might me popular, but would it be practical?

Her slogan Freo For All is naive, as no politician will ever please everyone in the community or be inclusive of all the groups. Go to any planning meetings and see the disappointment of those whose propsals are rejected, or by neighbours whose opposition to proposals are ignored, and one realises that when one pleases one part of the community one upsets other parts of the community.

Local government is about being a team player and trying to achieve the best outcomes with a majority of votes. Stewart seems to believe however that as the Mayor she would have the power to dictatorially change policies all by herself, and that is total nonsense.

Promises by individual candidates that they will change things are unrealistic and ignorant of local government process, and voters should be aware of that and not get sucked in.

During political election campaigns it is important for voters to have a bullshit detector, because the hot air candidates expel might zap our brains.

Roel Loopers

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT ESSENTIAL FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Posted in city of fremantle, community, democracy, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 4, 2017

 

Unlike federal and state government local government is unique by the fact that there is no opposition party in local councils.

There is no shadow front bench, party rooms, whips, or leader of the opposition, so all elected members at local government have a conscience vote on every issue, something we often wish would be the case more at the two other forms of government.

Local government has no oposition, and practically that means that the community becomes the de-facto opposition. That sounds like very good grassroots democracy to me, as long as the community is willing to engage in the process, and that often is the problem.

For a local government like Fremantle Council to perform at its best exceptional community consultation is essential, but that is difficult to achieve because of community apathy.

You can take a horse to water but can’t force it to drink, and that is the case with community consultation where most people don’t bother to engage.

To make local government work community input needs to be pro-active rather than re-active, and it is essential that the elected members treat community input like a discussion in a political party room, with all the respect it deserves.

Unfortunately most people don’t even vote at council elections, let alone engage in the process of consultation, so it is often left to a few who polarise issues and are against most things council decides. That kind of negative engagement is not helpful and divides the community, and both sides are to blame for that.

I believe it would be helpful to get a better understanding of how council works by having regular monthly meetings with community groups, as is already done at the more active precincts around Fremantle.

It would also be helpful if more people attended council meetings, but I have no idea how to achieve that, unless we do live streaming, so people don’t have to leave home to witness the democratic council process.

FICRA, FRRA, the Fremantle Society, the Chamber of Commerce, etc. should all be part of the deliberations and debate and have an input. Not just on one off occasions, but as a matter of monthly routine.

If council engaged earlier and more intensely with the community, a lot of the re-active negativity could be avoided, and positive outcome based dialogue could be had with the community.

That would result in the community being part of the solutions and taking ownership of the issues at hand. It would no longer be us and them, but all of us together shaping the future of Fremantle.

I believe Freo is capable of that kind of mature debate and would love to see it implemented.

The community apathy is happening in most councils in Australia and is not specific to Fremantle though.

While the inevitable future local government reform and council amalgamations might result in more cohesive and effective administrations, there is no guarantee it would result in better community embracing governance.

It could be an interesting project for Notre Dame University students of politics to find creative ways of how to improve local government, how to improve community participation, and how to improve voter participation at council elections.

It is worthwhile to think about this and find ways of accommodating change and progress while respecting our unique city and its history.

Roel Loopers

ELECTION TIME IS EMPTY PROMISES TIME

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, elections, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 2, 2017

 

Politicians promise us the world before elections, but often disappoint us when they get elected when they don’t honour all those promises.

The Fremantle Council elections are only a couple of months away and already we have candidates who tell us they will change this and change that and do so and so, if elected. But the basic fact is that individual candidates cannot dictatorially change anything, because every elected member has just one vote on council. That includes the Mayor, who also has the casting vote if the other 12 elected members have a hung vote.

Council process is a democratic one, so to achieve changes one needs to convince the majority of fellow councillors, and that is a pretty robust debate and often lengthy process with changes and motions made to fine tune the outcome.

It is easy to slag off on the present council, because they can rightly or wrongly be judged on past performance, while new candidates have no record. All the wannabe councillors have to do is make-often empty-promises and criticise the present members. That is a bit too simplistic for me.

I want candidates with new innovative ideas, long-term strategic planning, not just whingers who blame everything they don’t like on their local council.

Candidates blame things on Fremantle Council that are the responsibility of State Government. The moving of TAFE from Beaconsfield, the downgrading of Fremantle Hospital, crime and anti-social behaviour, the global retail downturn, etc.

The reality is that a local council can do very little about these things as law&order are police responsibility for example. The City of Fremantle has put more security rangers on the street but they don’t have the power of arrest or even giving move-on notices.

I have been scrutinising Fremantle Council and its administration for over ten years and go to 75 per cent of council and committee meetings to witness myself what goes on there. While there have been many occasions I don’t agree with the outcome I have always been impressed with the thoroughness and high standard of the debate during the process.

There is absolutely no doubt that there are many levels the City of Fremantle can improve at, and most of that is up to the administration.

Politically there will always be polarisation. Those who do or don’t agree with the Australia Day change, that was badly handled in my opinion, or if we should have higher density in the inner city, should environmental issues be a priority for a local government, is banning plastic bags tokenism, etc.etc.

As a community we often lament the perceived lack of community consultation, but the sad reality is that most people can’t be bothered to attend meetings, as the recent South Fremantle speedhump saga showed.

Far too many people to my liking base their opinion about Fremantle Council on ignorance. They are badly informed, or not at all.

Some of the stuff I hear election candidates say indicates to me that not all of them know what they are talking about either, and that is disappointing.

If we want a better council we need to do better at informing ourselves and participate in community consultation. That takes commitment and time.

If we are serious about wanting to be part of the solution and drawing up the future of Fremantle, we need to get off the couch and experience first hand how local government works.

There is a lot of unfair criticism out there that is not based on facts. Sometimes the devils we know, those with actual local government experience, are better than the devils we don’t know, but who make lots and lots of unrealistic promises. Voters beware!

 

Roel Loopers

 

ENROL TO VOTE. IT IS YOUR RIGHT AND PRIVILEGE!

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, elections, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on July 10, 2017

 

I have been made aware that many business owners in Fremantle do not realise they can vote at the local government election in October.

The participation in local council elections is extremely disappointing so I urge anyone to enrol to vote!

We need small business owners, young people, and the old to have a say, so please vote!

Here is the link to the enrol to vote page: http://www.fremantle.wa.gov.au/council/your-council/local-government-elections/how-vote-election

The form for people/businesses with a lease for more than 3 months is: enrolment eligibility claim form for sole or one of two owners or occupiers.

The form for body corporates/multiple owner representatives is: enrolment eligibility claim form to register a nominee.

Roel Loopers

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ANOTHER FREO ELECTION CANDIDATE

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, election, Uncategorized by freoview on July 1, 2017

 

Election candidates for the Fremantle local government election in October are slowly making their candidacy public.

I was contacted late yesterday by FEDELE CAMARDA that he will be nominating for Beaconsfield Ward.

This will mean opposition for sitting member Hannah Fitzhardinge, who has been doing a good job after she took over Josh Wilson’s seat. Wilson of course is splendidly representing Fremantle in Canberra parliament.

I hear there will be many candidates in most wards but need to wait till I hear from them.

Fedele Camarda attempted to get onto Council two years ago, so this is his second attempt.

Roel Loopers

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WITNESS GRASSROOTS DEMOCRACY AT FREO COUNCIL

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on June 27, 2017

 

It is just over four months until the Fremantle local government election so a good time for those who want to nominate to start doing their homework and attend council meetings, so that they do understand the process and complexities of local councils.

On Wednesday there are some interesting items on the agenda, so perfect to see democracy at work and hear our Elected Members deliberate and their thinking behind why they support or reject items.

There are plans for a five-storey backpackers at the Mills Record site at Adelaide Street, and that is significant in the context of the Kings Square Project development.

The planning compliance of the new Kings Square Civic Centre building is also on the agenda.

Sunset Events’ request to delay the start of their J Shed lease is another interesting item that no doubt will attract speakers from the public opposing it.

And there is an item to be debated about a scheme amendment for small infill development. It has a lot of merit but there are also people in the community opposing it.

The solar farm at the South Fremantle infill site is also an agenda item, but it is confidential, so the public won’t be able to sit in on that.

Local government is fascinating and grassroots democracy so inform yourselves and see how diligent our Councillors and officers are.

The Ordinary Council meeting starts at 6 pm, Wednesday June 28. Enter from the back stairs.

Roel Loopers

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PUBLIC COUNCIL MEETINGS NOT BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, fremantle society, local government by freoview on March 31, 2017

The Fremantle Society continues sending misinformation to their members, now claiming that recent decisions by Fremantle Council were made behind closed doors, as was put in capital letters screaming it out in an email.

Fact is that the one-year delay of the Sirona Capital settlement for the Spicer site development and the Kings Square playground went through the proper democratic process at Council and from public Council committees to public full Council meeting, so nothing of that process was irregular or behind closed doors.

This is part of the rambling email to the Fremantle Society members:

Democracy Dead at Fremantle Council

Major decisions affecting ratepayer assets have been made BEHIND CLOSED DOORS at Fremantle Council.

Giving council’s developer mates Sirona Capital an extra year to decide on the Spicer site, the $550,000 playgound in King’s Square, and major decisions affecting the n ew administration building we dont need, were all made behind closed doors at a sub committee of council and then simple reported at council.

Insipid Media

The media seem disinterested in major Fremantle governance issues like decisions being made behind closed doors.

It is time the Fremantle Society stopped the nonsense of making non-factual claims about Fremantle Council and started to make a positive difference instead of silly political grandstanding.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with rigorously scrutinising Council and severely criticising them when they deserve it, as I myself regularly do here on Freo’s View, but it needs to be based on facts. The issues mentioned in the FS email were not behind closed doors but at public council committees and council meetings I attended as an observer, and they were not ‘confidential items’ on the agenda either, so open to public scrutiny.

Agendas and Minutes of Council and Council Committee meetings can be read on the City of Fremantle website.

Roel Loopers

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