Freo's View

FREO CANDIDATE DEFAMES BLOGGER

Posted in city of fremantle, elections, Uncategorized by freoview on August 23, 2017

 

Fremantle mayoral candidate Ra Stewart does not want to engage with this blog, probably because she is too worried about getting informed criticism. Instead she copies blog posts on her FB page and then claims I create fake news, which is defamatory.

By doing it this way she ensures her supporters can write nasty rubbish about me, instead of she getting critical comments on Freo’s View.  It’s the coward’s way of communication.

This from her page:

Not only did Freo’s View announce Dr Brad Pettitt was running for Mayor before he did by a good 3 days, but they also seem to be a fan of creating and distributing fake news. Are they the Council’s bugle?

My position on Australia Day is that the current Council did not consult with the community as a whole.
” Ms Stewart said while she was happy to have the conversation, the council’s decision to move the celebrations had lacked consultation.”

Both the West Australian and Fremantle Herald have reported that Ra Stewart had said she would change Australia Day events back to the original date, so no fake news at all.

A comment by a South Freo uninformed fool claims that I am on a promise from the Mayor and Councillors. He made that claim some years ago as well stating that the Mayor had promised me a seat on Council. The ignoramus does not even understand the democratic process and that none of the Elected Mmbers have the power to put me on Council.

Ra Stewart, you are the one putting incorrect accusations on your Facebook page, and your ego can’t handle it when I correct you.  Get your facts right, do your homework, and I’ll have nothing to criticise you for.  That’s probably too much to ask.

I indeed announced Brad Pettitt’s campaign three days before he officially did, because it had been accidentally posted on Facebook, and I noticed it in my lead. The Mayor asked me to delete it, which I subsequently did, so what is the conspiracy bullshit about Ra?

I explained that in detail on this blog, but Ms Stewart ignores that because it does not suit her agenda.

 

Roel Loopers

ENROL TO VOTE!

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, elections, Uncategorized by freoview on August 21, 2017

 

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Only seven days left to enrol to vote for marriage equality, but also a good idea to do it for our Fremantle local council election, which is in October.

Don’t be lazy! We want everyone to have their say in Freo. Young and old, so please take part.

In other parts of the world they envy our democratic right to vote. It is a privilege and a civic duty. Do it!

 

Roel Loopers

FREO MAYOR ENTERS THE ELECTION BATTLE

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

 

Brad slogan

 

It comes as no surprise that Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt will be trying for another four- year term at the October 19 local government election, as announced in the Fremantle Herald today.

Well, I actually had he scoop last Tuesday, when the Pettitt for Mayor campaign accidentally went live on Facebook, but I deleted my post on Freo’s View after Brad called me and said he wanted to enjoy his maternity leave with gorgeous baby daughter Aoife, before announcing it.

I hope the fact that Brad Pettitt started his campaign on the birthday of my beautiful late father Nico will be a good omen for him.

There is no doubt that the last four years have often been controversial, and Fremantle Council have been accused of being Greens and socialists, but one cannot deny the economic achievements of encouraging unprecedented development in the CBD, which will set Fremantle on the right course for the future, in my opinion.

I have had and still have my doubts about the One Planet priorities, when council should have been more focussed on other matters, but I strongly believe the glass is half full for Freo and that we are growing, so that our traders will benefit soon from more people living and working in the inner city, and more visitors being able to stay here in new tourist accommodation.

I had serious issues in the past with Brad Pettitt, and what I considered to be his stubborn ego, but he has grown into a strong leader, who is willing to compromise, listen, take advise, and change his mind when better outcomes can be achieved.

The City of Fremantle does need to improve though and do all the basic small things better, and the Mayor and Councillors need to demand that from the CEO. Fremantle City  also needs to strongly improve the way it communicates with the community, as far too many people remain uninformed about what goes on at council.

Why for example does the weekly full page in the Fremantle Herald not report all the Council decisions made every week? Just a three liner per agenda item, that people can follow up on line in the minutes of Council and committee meetings. That is very simple and straight forward communication.

Fremante is on the right track and needs Elected Members who understand local government process.

 

Roel Loopers

 

FREMANTLE CITY WARD CANDIDATE WITHDRAWS

Posted in city of fremantle, election, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 15, 2017

 

According to Fremantle Society president John Dowson City Ward candidate Michael Finn has withdrawn from the race, which will leave only Claudia Green and Linda Wayman as hopefuls to replace retiring member Simon Naber.

In his usual ranting negativity the FS president  tells his members that FS does not support Claudia Green, and that the Mayor has encouraged Wayman to stand. He supposedly heard the latter from Councillor Andrew Sullivan.

Mister president also accuses Fremantle Council of having caused damage to Freo’s heritage.

Dowson also accuses social media and “keyboard warriors” for Finn’s withdrawal, but I have seen very little negativity about Finn, but for the fact that he lives in Cottesloe.

 

Roel Loopers

POPULAR FREMANTLE CITY WARD

Posted in city of fremantle, election, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 14, 2017

 

Fremantle City Ward is always popular with local government election candidates and it looks like this year is not going to be different.

I hear that the former general Manager of Austereo Linda Wayman will put her hat in the ring and compete against former FRRA convenor Claudia Green and Kakulas Sisters director Michael Finn.

Wayman was in charge of radio stations 94.5 and 93.9 for over a decade until her shock resignation in March this year.

She now works as a business consultant and leadership coach.

In ten weeks from now we will know what the new Fremantle Council will look like, so make sure you have enrolled. Your vote is every important as this is one of the most crucial elections for Fremantle in a long time!

 

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

 

LOCAL GOVERNMENT IS NOT JUST (ABOUT) RUBBISH

Posted in australia day, city of fremantle, local government, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on July 31, 2017

 

With the Fremanle local government election just two months and three weeks away I have been contemplating what the role of local government actually is.

Some people in our community believe it is all about delivering services, collecting rubbish, cleaning streets, etc. but is there a bigger picture our Elected Members should also be involved in?

I personally believe there is because local politicians are the closest to grassroots democracy and should inspire state and federal governments.

I asked Dr. Martin Drum, Professor of Politics and International Relations and Chief of Staff of the Vice Chancellor at Fremantle Notre Dame University and this was his reply:

“Elected representatives have both a deliberative and representative function. We focus a lot on the deliberative part, where our MPs and councillors are empowered to make decisions on our behalf. They decide what proposed developments can and cant proceed, they decide what does and doesn’t get funded. Some people argue that this is all our elected representatives should do.

But our representatives are also expected to represent the community which elects them. In electing them, we have authorised them to do this. Representation is arguably even more important than deliberation because it helps shape the identity of a community. Our councillors are the voice of the people they represent. If you ask me, its especially important for elected representatives to speak up for people who dont have the capacity to represent themselves.

Fremantle is a special part of Western Australia. It’s a little different to other areas. Local representatives need to speak to this difference. That is why the council, the sum body of local representatives in Fremantle, should feel free to speak up about the date of Australia Day, especially if their community has communicated this to them.

Elected representatives get judged not only by the decisions they make but also by how effective they are at representing people.

Whether a particular policy position is a good or bad one (such as moving Australia Day, opposing Roe 8, banning plastic bags) is up to the Fremantle community to judge, but there is no doubt that elected representatives are entitled to speak about them. We expect that people we elect become a voice of the people they represent, so they should speak up.

Those who are running as alternatives should likewise feel free to express their views on these issues. Competition for political office is healthy and should be welcomed. We then expect the public to judge them on that come the next election. That’s why I think being accountable and transparent is important.

Personally I always hope that debate focuses on the issues rather than the person, but that’s a pretty idealistic position these days.”

There is no doubt though that Council needs to have its priorities right and that people in the community rightly complain when basic maintenance is not done. One has to consider and acknowledge though that the day to day running of the City of Fremantle is done by the administration.

There is also an absolute and non-negotiable need for excellent community consultation, which was lacking on the Australia Day changes. This should have been handled much better as it polarised the community and became a political, and sadly sometimes racist, debate.

The positive thing about the initiative of Fremantle Council is that the Australia Day date and plastic bags ban now have become a national debate and that looks like pretty healthy democracy to me.

I agree with Dr Martin Drum that the debate should focus on issues rather than on the person. Respectful dialogue is essential to move forward together, and I especially am aware that it is not always easy to keep that in mind when one has a passion for Freo.

 

Roel Loopers

FREO DESERVES SUPPORT NOT NEGATIVITY

Posted in city of fremantle, community, local government, Uncategorized, western autralia by freoview on July 7, 2017

 

It appears that Fremantle has a new ABB, no, it’s not a typo. It stands for Anyone But Brad. Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and the sitting members who are due for election in October might as well not bother to nominate if the relentless-and often uninformed-social media attacks on Council are any indication.

Some people only want to be negative and ignore all facts of progress and a positive Fremantle future. On social media one of those residents, who has not had a good word to say about Freo Council for many years, claimed that Fremantle is rudderless.

This is an amazing statement when one considers that the present Council has done more to encourage substantial development in the inner city than councils over the last 40 years. Facts do not seem to matter when one only wants to be negative.

Leadership is not about making populist decisions but about long-term planning and strategies that will see Fremantle grow and prosper, and in my opinion the present Council has done that well.

Governments never please everyone, that is simply human nature. We all have our political preferences and different views on where Freo should be heading. But it does not mean there is no leadership just because one doesn’t agree with the decisions the democratically Elected Members make.

Yes, there is no denying they have also made mistakes and made decisions I don’t agree with, but my score card is more positive than negative. Because of that I have recently been accused of Council bias. I, and no doubt many at CoF who hate my guts, find that very funny. All I try to do is create a fair balance on social media against anti-Council bias, and point out facts rather than engaging in one-eyed polemic.

Let’s talk about the P-Word again! Parking in Fremantle is not outrageously expensive, as some claim, but only $ 2.80 per hour. After 5pm the maximum amount one has to pay is $ 5.50 for unlimited time. For Fremantle residents parking before 11am and after 3pm is free on weekdays. That is 20 hours daily of free parking, five days a week. On weekends parking is free for residents with a permit at the Beach Street carpark. Street parking in Perth is $ 4.00 per hour by the way.

Notre Dame University students complain that parking cost them thousands of dollars a year, basically because they are too lazy to walk ten minutes from the Point Street carpark where they could park all day for just $ 9.00, instead of paying well over $ 20.00 a day by parking in West End streets. Silly really!

I don’t believe at all that Fremantle Council is rudderless and lacks leadership. Fremantle Council has respectfully and protectively kept one eye on our heritage past while having a strong focus on the future.

The Kings Square Project, Cantonment Hill Project, Fremantle Oval/Stan Reilly Project, State Heritage listing of the West End, the futuristic South Quay Project, Princess May Park masterplan, Esplanade masterplan, lobbying State Government to relocate government departments to Fremantle, and zoning changes to encourage residential infill and small housing, and planning changes, that now see unprecedented commercial and residential development in the inner city, show that the present council has strong strategic thinking.

In my books that is good future-focussed leadership that should be consolidated in the next challenging years. The many projects on the way and in the pipeline require thorough knowledge and people with local government experience.

They are well thought-out long-term and strategic plans by Fremantle Council to help our city grow faster, to get more people living and working in the CBD, to get more visitors to stay overnight and to boost the retail and hospitality economy. Cutting red tape so that more small bars and businesses can be established in the West End is also good leadership.

It is unlikely that Mayor Brad Pettitt and I will ever be friends and that is fine, but that does not mean I don’t respect him. I really don’t care much what the Mayor or anyone else at the City of Fremantle think off me.

I am at this beautiful end stage of life where I don’t have to prove anything anymore to anyone, or even myself. I am involved in Council and community business because I want the very best for Fremantle, not because of my ego and wanting to be right.

Anyone with good new and positive ideas for Freo will have my support. Anyone with solutions will have my unbiased ear, but those who are hell-bent on talking our city down will receive little sympathy from me.

Fremantle is an outstanding place to live. Fremantle has a really good and exciting future ahead and will be one of the great vibrant destinations in the metro area in just a few years from now.

We will have many more people walking the streets day and night, who will be supporting our local traders, and we will have a modern new East End of town that will well juxtapose the beautiful historic West End of Fremantle.

What we need to be most aware of is that developers are trying to push five-storey buildings into the heritage West End and we can’t let that happen. It is disappointing that this is actively supported by the Chamber of Commerce. Approving high and massive buildings in the historic area is unacceptable because it would negatively change Fremantle’s unique character forever. We can’t let that happen ever!!

Fremantle is on the right track, but it is a marathon. Right now we need to be patient and supportive, not negative!

Roel Loopers

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BACK TO THE FUTURE FOR FREO COUNCIL?

Posted in city of fremantle, election, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on June 30, 2017

 

It could be a case of deja vu all over again and back to the future with two former Fremantle councillors attempting to get back on at the October 2017 local government election.

Last week Katie Anketell announced she would be nominating, and I hear former Freo Mayor Jenny Archibald is also going to put her hat in the ring.

I wonder who else will be nominating and when/if Mayor Brad Pettitt will officially announce that he will be trying to get another term.

Roel Loopers

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