Let’s mind the Ps and Qs of education

You can tell we are in election mode in my State, with all sorts of ‘them’ and ‘us’ positioning between political parties.  The old chestnut of private school vs public school has reared its predictable but ignorant argument, yet again.

Private schools do not deserve a cent from our public funds Twittered my local Labor candidate for the forthcoming March State election. I wonder if he thought to survey how many Labor voter parents agree with him on this issue?

Is this pronouncement based on what is best for the balance sheet, or what is best for a particular child? If it is the former, I hope he doesn’t get within cooey http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Cooey  of any public office that can impact on our State’s  education policy.

We don’t make our children all wear the same brand of clothes, we don’t insist that they all have the same number of parents or siblings in their family units, we don’t insist that they all play the same musical instrument, or play the same sport. We encourage our children to be individuals and have choices. It is one of the first benefits they learn of living in a democracy. So why is this Labor candidate insisting that his party should penalise ‘choice’ in education… if people want their choice of private education in this candidate’s world they will  have to pay twice … first through the school fees, and then again through no government subsidy for their chosen school.

The choice of where you send your child to school should never be a political football about money.

And it is a fallacy to say that only the wealthy send their children to private schools. Most parents of private school children are on moderate double incomes and are striving to give their kids the best educational opportunities they can provide for them. Their children are entitled to a government subsidy for education as much as any other child. It is a facile argument to deny private schools access to public funds—a bit like the old ‘car pool’ arguments we used to hear in the ’70s that people who drive alone in their car to work, when it can hold four people, should be taxed extra.

Private schools are not the enemy… they make our public schools better. If there were no private schools there would be a huge dumbing down of our public education system because there would not be the mass income from the leagues of private school parents who are currently subsidising community education, as we now enjoy. It would mean that the greatly increased cost of public education would have to be funded somehow . (If there are no private schools it follows that all those former private students will flood the public system.) The diversity and infrastructure that our education system currently provides our society through public and private means would have to scale down into a public system that risked depending on  superficial political viewpoints like  the twittering candidate that focus on the money, rather than the education.

A political correctness is already sweeping though our public education system that denies religious emphasis, patriotism, disallows strong discipline, and favours teachers who work to union rules and ideologies. Private schools have more freedom to focus on a given religion, to encourage self-discipline in students, to hire teachers who are prepared to work on extracurricular after hours activities. A private school offers parents a democratic choice of the societal values they want influencing their children, and they are prepared to pay extra for having that choice.  However, they are still entitled to a basic right of government subsidised education. That is the right of every child in our country.

Sometimes a child needs a particular type of school, whether it be co-ed, single sex, religious, etc.  for it to be the most conducive to promote the child’s academic and social progress.  Some children live in remote areas and boarding at private schools is their only option for a comprehensive education. Private schools give parents that choice to find the right environment for their individual child and it is naïve and simplistic to argue against private education on the basis of money. The private vs public school debate is not about rich people taking advantage of poor people as this would be politician and others will have you believe.

It is interesting that the Commonwealth Government is currently trying to gain more autonomy for public schools so that, like private schools, they can shape their school to respond to the community they serve, yet the main force against the idea is the teachers’ union.

Our children deserve the best education we can give them. The private vs public school funding debate should not be about budgets, teacher working conditions, or socialism vs capitalism. It should not be an ugly portrayal of  haves vs. have-nots.

It should be about ensuring every parent has a choice to obtain the quality education they seek for their child, and that every child has access to the educational opportunities they need to become a happy, confident and productive adult in our Society.

JAN SMITH

PS : Interesting origins of Ps & Qs

There are several different theories as to the origin of the phrase, but there is no definite proof as to which is correct.

One explanation suggests that “Ps and Qs” is short for “pleases” and “thank-yous”, the latter of which contains a sound similar to the pronunciation of the name of the letter “Q”. This phrase would be used by parents to educate their children to not forget to use those polite words when they speak to people. Possibly, it meant “please” and “excuse me.” Young children would pronounce them as Ps and Qs.

Another origin comes from English pubs and taverns of the seventeenth century. Bartenders would keep a watch on the alcohol consumption of the patrons; keeping an eye on the pints and quarts that were consumed. As a reminder to the patrons, the bartender would recommend they “mind their Ps and Qs”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_your_Ps_and_Qs

Civility Costs Nothing

Local Government and State elections are coming up this year and I suggest civility should be a major selection criteria for any candidate to get our votes.

A quick search of local government across Australia shows that problems of uncivil politics are rife across our communities today, not just in my seaside village. Equally, I have come across countless articles lamenting similar situations overseas. Google civility in politics and you’ll see what I mean.

Civility costs nothing, and buys everything is a quote attributed to the very interesting Lady Mary Wortley Montagu who lived from 1689 to 1762, so it is not a new issue for public discourse!

Perhaps we need to revive the term ‘Civil Service’ and give it new meaning for today’s elected public servants.

If my local government is any indication, we need to do something to stop the infiltration of crass and uneducated social media mores into the former credentialed statesmanship of being elected to public office.

We have a councillor who uses his position of Councillor and his Australia Day honour award post-nominals to gain credibility on social media, but does not then conform to the statesmanship that both those positions imply. He instead thumbs his nose at both by being as rude, disrespectful and crass as he can and then claims he is acting as a private individual (despite trading on the virtues that being a councillor in our community provide to him.) Childish behavior at best, uncivil at worst.

We have hopeful candidates in the upcoming March State election and later this year we’ll have local government candidates wanting to become councillors, or incumbents seeking re-election on their local Councils—in both instances, these candidates need you to vote for them to get elected.

If my local Councillor mentioned above is any example, we need to prepare ourselves for some very uncivil behavior. He recently undertook a campaign on social media to pre-empt a scheduled deputation to the Council by a community member on an issue they are passionately trying to negotiate with Council. The councillor proceeded to proselytize his personal view (while quoting his interpretation of Council opinion and policy) of this issue in social media, again trading off his ‘credibility’ as a councillor and honour award recipient, before the ratepayer’s deputation had even been presented and the councillor even had the gall to pronounce on social media that the presenter lacked integrity — before their presentation had even been voiced!

This is conduct unbecoming the role of an elected community representative. It is not only rude, disrespectful and uneducated, it is uncivil.

How do we fix it?

We make civility a prerequisite in all candidates. Here are three traits we can demand from potential or incumbent candidates.

  •  A civil councillor is always respectful and considerate of others and avoids being offensive in language or actions.
  • A civil councillor is always able to  respectfully acknowledge the positions and conclusions of others.
  • A civil councillor is always able to listen and make coherent and concise arguments and compromises, rather than simply attack other people and their viewpoints

Before you give a candidate or incumbent councillor your valuable vote… do the research and discover how they measure up in the civility stakes. Don’t take what they tell you about themselves for granted. If they are that prominent in your community others will have had dealings with them.

Attend a Council meeting and see incumbent councillors in action before you decide to re-elect them. Make sure councillors seeking re-election are responding with a knowledge base, not just their personal opinions, or being led by other councillors in the room. Talk to other visitors in the gallery and get their impressions of candidates.

Interesting, too, at a recent meeting of my local Council, that there were several ‘observers’ who were attending on the basis of possibly standing as Council candidates later this year. It is an indication that frustrated community members are beginning to wake up to the fact that in an election year, the future of their community is in their hands.

If you are lucky enough to get a candidate knocking on your door, determine for yourself if they are genuinely interested in your community and if they are actually listening to your views, too.  Consider your community as your livelihood and measure up whether the person on your doorstep or leaving a flyer in your letterbox   can be trusted to represent your enthusiasm, interest, ideas, creativity and compassion for your community.

Have a discussion and pick a subject that you know the person will disagree with you on… see how they handle that and determine for yourself if they  possess the essential trait of civility.

Ask them what book they are reading, and perhaps what is their favourite television show for some interesting indicators to the real personality and the depth of character.

Don’t vote for the incumbent representatives  who don’t listen, who bully,  who aren’t interested in actually listening to your side of an issue,  who ridicule,  who are basically uncivil… just don’t vote for them and tell your friends not to, either.

Not one vote!

JAN SMITH

Calling in Well

There was an endearing 1980s novel Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins which remains unlike any other novel I have read since then.

The late singer songwriter Dan Fogelberg was inspired by this book to write his song  ‘Make Love Stay’, the group La Dispute wrote a song ‘One’ which consists of quotes from the novel, and the Drew Barrymore character is reading this book over and over each morning over breakfast in the comedy/romance film, 50 First Dates.

All these years later, passages from it are still quoted http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/1105809-still-life-with-woodpecker

Woodpecker was written at the tail end of the LSD generation and in an age when people were more comfortable surfing their own minds than they are in today’s internet-friendly age.

I haven’t read the book since the 1980s and am reluctant to revisit … it is a bit like not wanting to go back to a place for fear that what delighted you then will leave you cold now – or worse — what you remember is not really what is there. This happened to me when I re-read The World According to Garp by John Irving, which was written around the same time as Woodpecker. The ending of the Garp book was not at all the way I remembered it to be, turns out I had rewritten a much ‘happier’ ending in my mind’s eye!

However, several of the many quirky sayings of Woodpecker have stayed with me, including Calling in Well. Robbins tells his readers he knows about calling in sick, but asks us to one day consider Calling in Well.

At this time of year, of holiday peace and goodwill and New Year promises, it is timely to remember that we all have the ability to ‘call in well’ and change our landscape.

Life is short so don’t waste time on negative or mean-spirited people. Call in Well to those people!

At a neighbourhood party the other day, several people were perturbed by a newsletter that was being circulated by a local councillor, full of opinionated misinformation that this man is renowned for distributing. I keep wondering if this fellow can possibly get shallower, and he never fails with yet another example.

This man is not going to change and, as I saw at this party, people were genuinely annoyed and unhappy with him. So what is the point of this?

Our local community should just call in well, vote him out of office and let their conversation be full of fun, imagination, ideas and inspiration rather than be drawn into a web of  negativity.

I provide this Tom Robbins quote for the councillor:

If you believe in peace, act peacefully; if you believe in love, acting lovingly; if you believe every which way, then act every which way, that’s perfectly valid – but don’t go out trying to sell your beliefs to the system. You end up contradicting what you profess to believe in, and you set a bum example. If you want to change the world, change yourself.

I provide this Tom Robbins quote for the rest of us who are letting ourselves get drawn into the councillor’s web:

We are our own dragons as well as our own heroes, and we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves.

For myself, I find it far better to smile and think a happy thought and Tom Robbins gave me pages and pages of that more than 30 years ago.

I thank Robbins for that – it stays with me.

Jan Smith

LOVE AMONG THE RUINS

When is enough, enough?

A few news stories these past weeks and a swag of emails debating the rights of an ageing building have aroused a strange synergy, for me, with the on-going euthanasia debate, narrowly defeated yet again, this time in Tasmania.

In the 1990s I wrote passionately for our politicans to support euthanasia in a letter in a national newspaper and was amazed at the responses I received far and wide, even overseas, from people who agreed.

My father had just died, at the time.

There is a black humour joke that goes something like this:

A man goes to his doctor and the doctor  says, Do you want the good news or the bad news, first?  The patient says whichever comes first. Well, says the doctor, you have terminal cancer but the good news is, you also have Alzheimer’s, so you will forget about both after I’ve told you.

That was the fate of my father, and I can assure you it was not a happy, nor a forgetful, ending for those of us who loved him. I still ache with the remorse that someone who had led such a kind, generous and distinguished life had to leave the world in such undignified and unkind circumstances.  The long years of being a handsome pipe smoker had come at a terrible price. The doctors had pushed my mother to buy time, what turned out to be less than four months, with disfiguring and pointless mouth and jaw surgery to avoid ‘the stench of rotting cancer’, yet his nurses were still lighting candles in his room to cut the stench in his last days when we visited the confused stranger we still called, ‘Dad’. My mother had a brave and positive few more years, but when alone churned herself inside out that it was she who had somehow let him down, no matter how we reassured her. She died within weeks of a  terminal diagnosis of a body that was riddled with cancer and we then learned just how brave and ‘never again’ determined she had been, long hiding her symptoms from us, so that she could at least spare us the heartache and die ‘her way’, and with dignity.

Just before the most recent vote, on the Tasmanian bill for legalizing euthanasia, I thought a poignant story on the TV news, did a good job of answering the question, when is enough, enough?

A gracious and obviously intelligent lady, suffering from Motor Neuron Disease http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/motor_neuron_diseases/detail_motor_neuron_diseases.htm    was straightforward and unemotional in her argument for her desire for assisted suicide to be legalised.

She was aware that MND can be an unforgiving disease and had already lost the use of one arm. She argued that when the disease progresses to her other arm she will lose her independence, and it is her choice not to end her days being dependent on someone else and suffering the indignity of not being able to attend to her own intimate body functions. She argued that unless there is a form of legal assisted suicide while she is of sound mind and body to make the decision, it will be too late, and deprive her of her right to die with dignity.

And fair enough, say I. Just as she has been in command of her life up to now, she should be able to continue to be in command when she has a terminal and incurable illness.

Contrast this story with another reported about the same time, of the woman who contracted a rare bacterial infection and against all odds, survived, but had her arms and legs amputated as part of that survival. She is rejoicing that she is alive and, unlike the MND lady, is up to the challenge that the loss of all her arms and legs for the rest of her life has presented. However, she is young and she has a loving young family. She has everything in her life to live for, particularly seeing her children thrive into aduthood. Her story might be different if this happened to her when she was 75.

Neither of these stories changed my stance on supporting euthanasia, but curiously a little parish pump squabble did… through a swag of emails about saving a local heritage building.

Many in my local community want to treasure this first public building in Brighton built in 1869. However, despite the structure being ‘local heritage’ listed, and a Strategic Plan for our city that contains a myriad of motherhood references to protecting and celebrating heritage, the  City of Holdfast Bay Council wants to strip the Original Brighton Town Hall’s community land status and sell it, with an adjacent parcel of land, to a developer. Outrageously, the Council suggests to the community that the historic Town Hall building will be better cared for, when in a private developer’s hands.

One councillor, in particular, seems to be obsessed with his need to ensure this building is sold off the Council’s ledger. If you study his voting record on any culture or heritage issues in his six years on Council it clearly demonstrates his bias against cultural history and prejudice for money over substance.  In the above mentioned swag of emails, he bullies, displays his ignorance, and spreads half-truths with little sense of fair play in his attempts to control any informed debate on this issue. He is only a ward councillor elected in another part of the city, not where the threatened building stands, yet he has appointed himself the ‘Walter Mitty’ mouthpiece of the Council and its Administration, without portfolio.

Disappointingly, it has been left to a  passionate member of our local community to seek State Heritage listing for this building, as a means to further protect it, with the Council again not matching its actions to the lip service words it uses in its Strategic Planning documents.

Despite a community public meeting voting unanimously in support of keeping this community land, and despite petitions supporting protection of the building, the Council ignores the community voice… because it can.

This is what happens when the wrong people stand for election to Councils, and when people lose sight of who they are meant to serve. This is what happens when people who are incapable of seeing any reflection except their own are given a taste of ‘power’.

If this lack of compassion, intelligence and empathy is so evident in our parish pump politics that it can eradicate in one ignorant action, unique local history that has stood the test of time through 144 years of previous Councils, it sends a strong message to err on the side of caution in future.

I can just imagine if someone in high level Government,  with the personality type akin to these sorts of councillors, had control of legalised euthanasia it wouldn’t take long for the terrifying prospects of sales of body parts to the highest bidder, and the local nursing homes would have to ‘knock off’ those residents who had outlived their usefulness, to make room for those prepared to pay more, and so on.

Yes, I’ve changed my mind on euthanasia and now think politics should stay away from legalising euthanasia. We should err on the side of caution and euthanasia should continue to be a moral issue between people and their God.

And at the local parish pump…we’ve had enough! We need to examine more carefully the calibre of people that  we want to represent our community voice when elections come around again.

For thought-provoking readings on these themes, I highly recommend:

Moral Hazard by Kate Jennings

Love among the ruins    by Evelyn Waugh

Memento Mori by Muriel Spark

Jan Smith

Who knows only his own generation remains always a child

I live in a wonderful seaside village that dates back to the beginnings of my State’s history. The government of the new Province of South Australia was inaugurated in 1836 on Glenelg soil. The State’s first Governor arrived at Holdfast Bay on the Buffalo, and our first European colonist mainland settlers arrived here before expanding their reach to all parts of our State and beyond.

We have a rich memory of local residents representing  our state’s and our country’s former ‘movers and shakers’ in politics, sports,  and business throughout  Australian history living in Glenelg, or nearby Brighton… names like Henry Ayers (Premier), Thomas Elder (pastoralist/philanthropist), Lionel Logue (King’s speech), Jimmy Melrose (aviator), Henry Sparks (Adelaide oval), Alf Roberts ( Adelaide stock exchange, golf, professional tennis) George Soward (architect of Adelaide’s Beehive Corner), Douglas Mawson (explorer), and Adam Lindsay Gordon (poet) to name just a few. Horse Trainer Bart Cummings was born on Farrell Street, and Sir Mark Oliphant romanced his future bride here at her home in Glenelg. As well as residents there are all the travellers that our famous Red Rattler trams have brought to Glenelg… even the legendary Racehorse, Pharlap. James Stobie,  inventor of the Stobie Pole, attended our Glenelg Primary School. We had the first licensed cinema in Adelaide, we had the tallest residential building in the 1970s, we have the only Ring Bowl club in the country, we are the home of Bay Sheffield footrace, and the traditional finish line for the City-Bay fun run. And rumour has it that our most recent, historically famous, resident is our country’s first female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.

So with all this rich and lasting  cultural history, I was bemused to recently read this paragraph from our Council’s CEO as a welcoming message on the Council website:

Yes, we’re a little biased down here at the Bay. Holdfast Bay is the proud birthplace of the State of South Australia where Governor Hindmarsh arrived in The Buffalo back in 1836, but there’s more to The Bay than just history.        http://www.holdfast.sa.gov.au/ceo

It’s that little word, just, that rankles and left me bemused.

 Who knows only his own generation remains always a child  is a quote from George Norlin (1871-1942) inscribed on the Norlin Library at the University of Colorado. Those readers who enjoy history might like to explore the story of this interesting man.   The writings of Cicero (106BC-43BC) are said to have inspired Norlin’s quote above.  http://ucblibraries.colorado.edu/about/norlin.htm

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it , from the pen of George Santayana, is also said to be influenced by Cicero.                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Santayana

We have had a classic example of Santayana’s quote at our local Council. Within weeks , they have made two decisions that explain perfectly what he was talking about!

Two Councils ago, (about 6 years ago), we had a fragmented dysfunctional Council that was at war with itself and had factions that sided with the then CEO, or the Mayor. There is an accepted caretaker convention during Council elections that no major decisions are made until the newly elected Council concurs, however that was disregarded and the then CEO pushed through a beachside kiosk development decision with the help of Councillors who opposed the Mayor, who was himself against the decision being made. The current Council has now bought its way out of a bad contract  as part of that rushed  development decision six or so years ago, at the 11th hour of a new Council election.

Our tweeting councillor is proudly noting that the new decision to buy out of a bad deal represents a 12% return to ratepayers. He conveniently, or ignorantly, disregards all the lost income to the community of a bad leasing arrangement of the years of the initial contract and that the return is going to the Administration coffers, not necessarily as a dividend to ratepayers. It represents a 12% return to the Council Administration finances  (if the Councillor’s facts are correct, there’s been no public announcement to ratepayers about this) . The Council does not pay tax and, with this latest decision, is now a landlord to a commercial enterprise competing with other rate paying and tax-paying commercial enterprises in our community… is that now what ‘good’ local government is all about? Profiteering at the expense of the taxpayer?

At the same time, in a sort of ‘déjà vu’ for residents, our council was rushing through a plan to hand over air title, and revoking community land  beneath it , in agreeing to an unsolicited proposal from a  private developer, where the public details were sketchy, the traffic management had not even been considered, and local businesses directly affected were not even consulted. The Council ignored its own policy to tender, on the magnitude of the proposed development, and ensured it was a Category 2 development which our tweeting councillor then boastfully reminded us meant ‘no appeal rights’. And most interestingly, again, the Mayor was against this proposal, on procedural and financial grounds, not emotional grounds, yet it was again a rushed decision based on factions, ego, and spite. What is going to happen in years to come with this latest decision? Will a new Council have to buy back the air titles it has currently given away and again say it was a bad decision by a bad Council?

Why is it that 13 elected adults sitting around a Council table become more like a schoolyard of immature warring and mischievous adolescents, than a forum for good decision-making? Is it because they are only interested in themselves and their own generation of Council, as per George Norlin’s wise words.

There are several instances on this Council where petty personal disputes and arrogance are resulting in playing with people’s lives and livelihoods. This happens, I am sure, on other Councils, too.

Interestingly, those Councils that have a rich sense of their history, seem to be better at decision-making.

JAN SMITH

Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House

In the scheme of world issues, what’s happening at Holdfast Bay is small potatoes, indeed.

However, the Council meeting I attended this week provided a great incentive to campaign for amalgamations of local government councils into a centralized metropolitan body, along the lines of what they have in Brisbane.

Councils have clearly outgrown the ‘parish pump’ nature of their business, and the people who are elected to Council these days are generally not equipped to be making the decisions they are making.

This circumstance is compounded by politics now entering into the fray… at Holdfast Bay we have a strong Labor faction that manipulates the vote, and I am sure there are similar cases of Liberal and Labor factions on other Councils. If local government is going to be overtaken by political factional voting, we might as well merge it into State government and remove this costly third tier of government that many have argued is unnecessary.

Holdfast Bay currently has at least three fiascos on its plate… the Brighton Caravan Park, the joint venture with Taplin Group, and the Broadway Kiosk all illustrating in one way or another that the elected Council seems to be operating beyond its capabilities.

The Council approved a heads of agreement for a development with the Taplin Group at its meeting this week with a vote of 7 to 4. The Council revoked community land status over its land to allow for this cinema development, it will now charge local shoppers for car parking that was previously free in Glenelg, it has given the developer carte blanche to close two centrally located car parks for up to 18 months during construction, and the developer gets two air titles (both of which he is free to on sell) and complimentary parking for his cinema patrons, and a council maintained car park for perpetuity as part of this deal. He, of course, covers his own building costs and business risks.  The developer will contribute about $2m to build a car park, to which the Council also contributes $2.5m from the Jetty Road traders car park existing fund.  (Most of this fund has been contributed over many years from traders at the other end of Jetty Road.)

Four councillors argued that the numbers and details did not add up to this being a ‘good deal’ for the community and advised the Council to go back to the drawing board and think again, rather than rush into approving the motion to revoke the community land status and  sign the existing heads of agreement.

But the seven had already made up their minds… influenced greatly by the Labor faction on Council and also by, I suspect, the Developer, since one councillor alluded, speaking to the motion at the Council meeting about  her dealings with  the Developer’s representatives, and confirming they addressed her concerns to secure her vote.

Now I want to state my bias here.

I think Andrew Taplin is terrific. I think he has done a brilliant job of snowing the Council’s Administration and his consortium has been clever, he has paid attention to detail, and done a great job of playing a councillor or two for their weaknesses and ambitions, to bulldoze his project through the elected Council.

I also think Justin Lynch, the Council’s CEO, has done his job the way he interprets it. He has enabled a huge development for his city, a big tick on his cv, and he secured the expertise to say it is all ‘legal’. From his standpoint, I suspect, it was up to the Councillors, the elected representatives of the community, to make the moral decisions, and ensure that their constituents understood the game plan. However, this is a very smart man and he also knew the calibre of the Councillors sitting around the table and the aforementioned councillors’  weaknesses and played them for the desired result. In this scenario, I don’t admire Justin Lynch as much as I admire Andrew Taplin because I reckon Justin has gotten so excited with the machinery of government that he perhaps forgot our local community, in his eagerness to deliver.

And now to the elected Council. These people are elected to Council as representatives of their community, yet as soon as they’ve attended a few meetings the game changes and many become agents of the Council Administration, or under the influence of the aforementioned political factions.

Do the research and you’ll find this is a common complaint with local government.

At Holdfast Bay, the councillor who is the most verbose bully was elected on a mere 477 votes at the last election. In the example of this cinema development proposal he has manipulated the facts, spread untruths, and tried to claim that any opposition to the plan is  a case of old fogeys against development.

What nonsense! This divide and conquer strategy (also employed by the Labor Party ) has no place in our city of Holdfast Bay. Interestingly, the residents are switched on and have formed a City of Holdfast Bay Residents Alliance covering the whole of Holdfast Bay… the community is uniting itself, tired of waiting for the Council and its Administration to stop this them and us division. This, too, is a common phenomenon.

In this proposed development people wanting to park in Cowper or Partridge Street car parks will now have to pay (no more free time!) while Taplin cinema patrons will have 4 free hours of parking. Interesting, too, that there is no paid car parking in Brighton, so the other Glenelg businesses and traders (not the cinema) are charged as well, with  providing Council’s paid parking revenue, on top of their already high rents.

Kudos to (young) Councillor Stephen Patterson for his passionate plea to Councillors to go back to the drawing board and ensure the details are the best deal for our community… I’m sorry his older colleagues on Council couldn’t listen to his wise words.

Kudos also to Crs Mikki Bouchee, Karen Donaldson and Bob Fisk… these people read the documents and listened to both sides of the argument. They didn’t say throw the plan out… they said let’s get a better deal for our community.

Shame on all those Glenelg ward councillors who did not even bother to consult with the businesses that will be affected by the closure of both car parks, potentially for up to 18 months.  Shame on those councillors who got excited by the glamour over the due diligence. Shame on those councillors who said ‘near enough is good enough, we’ll let someone else work out the fine details’. You don’t deserve to represent the community of Holdfast Bay.

In the meantime, I think these 7 Councillors should offer the free air title to their own backyards to those businesses that are now under threat due to the car park closures of this development.

Line them all up.

JAN SMITH