Freo's View

LOCAL COUNCILS NEED TO IMPROVE GREATLY

 

The findings of the investigation into the City of Perth council are disturbing and raise questions about how good Western Australia’s other councils are.

Already we have had retiring Liberal politician Mike Nahan calling for an investigation into Fremantle council, and of course relentless council critic and Liberal party supported John Dowson has jumped onto that bandwagon.

But councils should not be about party political issues. In my perfect, utopian and totally unrealistic world local government should be A-political, neither far to the left, nor far too the right. Fremantle Council is not going to be better by just replacing all the left leaning Councillors with right leaning Councillors. Good government is about balance.

It is a fallacy of course to believe that Liberal governments, be that at local, state or federal level, are better at financial management, as the biggest debt in WA’s history left by the Colin Barnett government shows, but Fremantle’s financial management has not exactly been something to write home about either.

Councillors are human beings, who have likes and dislikes, political, economic,  environmental and personal preferences and interests, and like all of us they are not perfect, and neither are the administrations of our local governments, so who is keeping an eye on it all?

The yearly audit of local councils appears to just be a financial one, CEO’s get judged on their performance by Councillors they work with, and often the relationship between the administration and elected members is just a bit too comfortable, and that could create problems when assessing the CEO and administration.

It is too costly to believe the WA state government could or should investigate every council to check if they could perform better and more efficiently and professionally, but the standards somehow need to be raised and there need to be more checks in place to make sure that everything is above board.

As someone who has observed and scrutinised Fremantle Council for well over a decade  I have no fear that anything untoward has happened here, but there are many things that could be improved.

For some planting 50,000 trees is more important than preserving historic and neglected Arthur’s Head and the Roundhouse, for others creating more bike paths is a priority over repairing grumbling footpaths and doing essential maintenance.

The solution lies somewhere in the middle, but that means leaving ideological blinkers at home and be a good elected administrator of council business, instead of a party pushed politician.

Unfortunately it is well known that all political parties want to push for more political power at local governments, so things will get worse, until we wake up and call the whole lot of them out at the ballot box and vote more and more for independents.

What happened at the City of Perth needs to be a wake up call for all local governments and there should be a real desire to improve greatly.

Roel Loopers

 

 

GREENS PRE-SELECT FREO MAYOR FOR UPPER HOUSE

 

The GREENS  have pre-selected Fremantle Mayor Dr Brad Pettitt to be their candidate for the Upper House for the South Metro region of WA.

The state election is next year, so it is highly likely that Brad Pettitt will resign from Fremantle Council well before the October 2021 local government elections, and that could mean an expensive by-election, or Deputy Mayor Andrew Sullivan filling in and be in that role for at least half a year.

Roel Loopers

NO PUBLIC FREMANTLE COUNCIL MEETINGS

Posted in city of fremantle, community, democracy, local government, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on April 4, 2020

 

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced Fremantle Council to scrap committee meetings and ban the public from attending Ordinary Council meetings, which will still be held twice a month on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month.

In April the meetings are on the 15th and 19th of this month.

People can still makes statements and ask questions at meetings, but they will have to be submitted in writing and will be read out at the Council meetings. This can be done here: AgendasMinutes@fremantle.wa.gov.au

Agendas and Minutes of the Council meetings are still available on the fremantle website, so we can all see what decisions have been made and what items are on the agenda.

Stay well, Freo!

Roel Loopers

LIVE STREAM COUNCIL MEETINGS DURING SOCIAL ISOLATION

 

Live streaming of Fremantle Council meetings was suggested at the annual Electors Meeting a couple of weeks ago, and the present coronavirus pandemic crisis makes a good point of introducing that sooner rather than later.

Social distancing and social isolation common sense means that most of us won’t attend council meetings any more, including this keen blogger.

Premier Mark McGowan said this morning he expects the regulations to be in place for at least six months, which is quite staggering, and will kill many businesses, and it will demand a dramatic change in how we socialise.

I would have liked to go to this Wednesday’s Council meeting and even address the elected members to express my support for the Woolstores hotel development by Silverleaf Investments, but it would be unwise to do so, as at 71 years of age I am in the high risk category and that not only means at a high risk of getting Covid-19, but should I have it, of spreading it.

We all need to adapt and local councils need to remain accountable and transparent and give the community a change to observe proceedings, so how fast can we get live streaming of council meetings?

Roel Loopers

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FREO ELECTORS MEETING TONIGHT!

Posted in city of fremantle, community, democracy, local government, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on March 9, 2020

 

The City of Fremantle annual Electors Meeting is on this evening, March 9, in the Townhall at 6pm, so come and ask questions and make suggestions. Democracy only works when we actively and positively participate in it.

Roel Loopers

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FREO ANNUAL ELECTORS MEETING ON MONDAY

Posted in city of fremantle, community, democracy, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on March 4, 2020

 

The Annual Electors meeting is for the Fremantle community. It is our chance to put motions forward, ask questions and express concerns, so turn up this Monday March 9 at 6pm at the Fremantle Townhall.

Bring proof that you live in Fremantle as you will not be allowed to vote if you live outside the Freo city boundaries.

Roel Loopers

SULLIVAN NEW FREO DEPUTY MAYOR

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on October 24, 2019

 

Fremantle South Ward Councillor Andrew Sullivan was last night elected the new Deputy Mayor of the City of Fremantle. He replaces Ingrid Waltham who did not contest the Local Government Election on Saturday.

Sullivan has considerable experience on Fremantle Council, so congratulations to him.

and here is your new Fremantle Council

 

 

Roel Loopers

ELECTION RESULTS FOR FREMANTLE COUNCIL

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, election, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on October 19, 2019

 

Fremantle will have four new Councillors after the count of votes this evening for the Local Government Election 2019, with Jon Strachan the only one of the three sitting members losing his seat for South Fremantle .

There were some close calls, the closest one in Beaconsfield where the difference was just 32 votes.

Here all the results:

HILTON: Frank Mofflin 571, Lynn McLaren 372, Tony Miosic 326

EAST: Su Groome 801. Michelle Cunningham 383

SOUTH: Marija Vujcic 937, Jon Strachan 849

CITY: Rachel Pemberton 680, John Dowson 588, Julie Morgan 357

NORTH: Bryn Jones 826, Steve Woods 507

BEACONSFIELD: Geoff Graham 531, Gemma Hohnen 499, Chris Jenkins 351

My apologies for posting the results so late but a very officious gent played it by his own rules and even disallowed the media from taking photos or using mobile phones. It was the slowest vote count I have ever been part of.

My sincere thanks to all the candidates who stepped up and wanted to represent their community. You are all special people!

Returned postal votes in Fremantle were 35.45% with close to 300 ballot papers handed in at the Townhall on Saturday in addition to that.

Roel Loopers

THANK YOU TO DEPARTING FREMANTLE COUNCILLORS!

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, elections, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on October 17, 2019

 

Fremantle Council said goodbye to three Councillors last night, who did not nominate for the Local Government Election. Councillors Ingrid Waltham, Jeff McDonald and Dave Hume all attended their last council meeting as elected members and they admitted having mixed emotions about that.

Three other Councillors are fighting to retain their seat with Rachel Pemberton in City Ward, Jon Strachan in South Ward and Bryn Jones in North Ward waiting for the election results on October 19, which is this coming Saturday.

Voter participation in Fremantle has increased a bit and is now on average just over 30%, but that is still disappointingly low.

South Ward is leading with a 39.29% participation at close of business last night, and Hilton comes second with 35.97%, followed by City Ward with 33.31%.

All departing Councillors deserve a huge gratitude from the community because they were willing to step up. We might not always have agreed with the decisions they made but they made them with integrity and what is best for Fremantle at heart.

After Saturday there will be at least three new Councillors in Fremantle, but my gut feeling is that there will be at least four and probably five new ones. Time will tell and I’ll report the election results by about 8.30pm this Saturday here on Freo’s View.

Roel Loopers

NON VOTERS GET THE COUNCIL OTHERS ELECT

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, elections, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on October 15, 2019

 

There is something hypocritical about people complaining about local councils, and demanding more and better community consultation, when seven out of ten people in Fremantle can’t even bother to vote at the Local Government Election, and most of them don’t come to precinct or community consultation events either.

One only has to look at what one of the two South Ward candidates is promising. She will get rid off the speedhumps along South Terrace, but they were installed after lengthy and thorough community consultation. The same candidate also promises that she will only do what the community wants, so how can she get rid of the speedhumps when traffic calming was demanded by the South Fremantle community she wants to represent?

Recent comments to this blog demand consultation about mural art on public and private buildings, but how could we even believe to get consensus on what is good and appropriate art for a building and a street when our tastes are so different? And how many people would in reality take part in that process? Probably just a handful, as history shows.

In City Ward a former Councillor wants parking fee reductions when he is well aware that this populist promise is nonsense because parking revenue is important for Fremantle. If we have less income from parking fees and fines council rates might have to be increased, and no one would want to pay higher rates so that people from out of town and Notre Dame students can park cheaper and longer.

I already mentioned the ignorant nonsense of an East Ward candidate who claims Fremantle Council has done nothing about the impact the High Street Upgrade project by Mainroads will have on the public golf course, when the fact is that the City has engaged a team of architects and golf course designers, and also will build a new clubhouse and cafe on the border with Booyeembara Park.

The disappointing fact is that the majority of people in our community are not well informed about what goes on at Fremantle Council, so they are gullible to believe just about anything, and that is why some wannabe councillors engage in negativity and make accusations not based on facts, and make promises they won’t be able to keep.

Democracy is a two-way road and if you decide not to participate in the process you really have no legs to stand on when you complain about the council you get. And don’t forget that a single candidate will not be able to change anything unless they get the support of other councillors.

Taking unrealistic promises and false accusations with a huge grain of salt is a sensible way of dealing with election campaigns.

Roel Loopers

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