The ‘Mean Team’ and the Mayor’s trust deficit

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams recently attacked Redlands2030 in comments on her website. We don’t mind being attacked but we object to her making false and misleading accusations.

In her diatribe she called us the “Mean Team”. Students of Australian swimming history would know that a similar label, ‘The Mean Machine’ was given to the mens 4X100 relay team at the 1982 Commonwealth Games, and many other successful Australian swimming teams since.

It’s fairly certain that the Mayor wasn’t commenting on our swimming abilities, since the rest of her article was a major dummy spit.

We don’t mind if the Mayor attacks Redlands2030

033 Redlands2030 at the Cleveland Markets 22 November 2015 comp

Redlands2030 discussing the draft City Plan at the Cleveland Markets

We are not a political party and we don’t have members who are candidates for elected office. We are a small community group promoting community engagement in government decision making. Redlands2030 operates a website, facebook page and email newsletter publishing fact based reports and making editorial comment.

Unlike many Facebook pages which comment on Redlands local politics, Redlands2030 has always been upfront about who we are and and what we are doing. For many weeks, we met with people at the Cleveland markets.

We think that it’s important for political discussion to be based on evidence, on telling the truth. When we detect spin, myths and self serving nonsense, we try to find out what’s really going on. We have been critical of many aspects of Mayor Williams’ administration. It seems she doesn’t take kindly to criticism, from us or anyone else.

We don’t care if the Mayor or any other politician attacks Redlands2030. It’s what happens in a political democracy.

But we expect her to tell the truth

Imahe incorrectly attributed to Redlands2030 by Karen Williams

Image incorrectly attributed to Redlands2030 by Mayor Karen Williams

Although we think that “shoot the messenger”  is juvenile behaviour indicating poor judgement, we accept that it is part of the rough and tumble of political discourse.

What we won’t accept is when the Mayor tries to attack us with information that is obviously untrue. In her recent diatribe she made two  statements, deliberately or recklessly, about Redlands2030 which we know to be untrue – unacceptable behaviour for a person occupying political office. These falsehoods are detailed below.

Redlands2030 acted responsibly by asking the Mayor to rectify her publication of these falsehoods. We also referred our complaint about the Mayor’s unacceptable conduct to the Redland City Council in accordance with Council procedures.

Because the Mayor chose to make these misleading statements publicly, and has not rectified her inappropriate actions, we are now publishing our referral to Council to ensure that the community is appropriately informed.

This is not the first time that the Mayor has attempted to mislead the community.

The Development Industry Reference Group

Chatham House Rules

DIRG members wanted to operate under Chatham House Rules

One of her Council’s initiatives was to set up a secretive forum for a select group of local property developers and consultants to interface with the Council: the now infamous Development Industry Reference Group (DIRG).

At first the Council attempted to deny that this group existed. When the cat was out of the bag, the Mayor stridently stated on many occasions that DIRG was “completely operational”.

Eventually, the DIRG minutes obtained through a Right to Information Request showed that the Mayor had, on many occasions, been misleading the community about the nature of discussions between developers and senior council officers.

These discussions were clearly not limited to “operational matters”. They included subjects like the Draft City Plan, the South East Queensland Regional Plan and various planning studies that could influence rezonings.

More information about our investigation of the DIRG, and the Mayor’s misleading statements that the DIRG was “COMPLETELY operational”, is set out in Redland2030’s detailed report.

Mayor Karen Williams cannot be trusted to tell the truth

The Mayor’s recent attack on Redlands2030, based on false accusations, is deceitful. Her untrue statements about the DIRG being “completely operational” were deceitful. The Mayor has been running up a trust deficit.

We suggest that anything which the Mayor says, of a politically self serving nature, should be carefully fact checked.

Redlands2030 complaint about the conduct or performance of Councillor Karen Williams

Here is the text of a complaint referred by Redlands2030 Inc. to Redland City Council on 18 February 2016

The complaint is that Cr Williams has:

• Not complied with the Policy Code of conduct for councillors, specifically item 3.3 which requires that councillors “commit to honest, fair and respectful engagement with the community”.
• Not complied with Council’s social media guidelines which require councillors to “Ensure that all content published is accurate and not misleading”

The basis of the complaint is that Cr Williams has published statements in a recent blog post which are untrue, are damaging to Redlands2030 and have the effect of significantly misleading the community about important matters during an election period.

Here is a link to the blog post which is the cause of this complaint:

http://karenwilliams.com.au/blog/comments/redlands-2030-the-mean-team

Details of the untruths in the blog post are set out in the email below which was sent to Ms Williams yesterday.

To date I have not received any response from Cr Williams.

Since it is possible that she may correct or delete her blog post, I attach screen shots of relevant parts to ensure that you can properly assess this complaint.

I suggest that a record of this offending material be promptly created by Council as part of the investigation into this complaint.

In view of the fact that we are in an election period I request that this complaint be attended to as expeditiously as possible.

I note that Redlands2030 may also refer this matter to the District Returning Officer regarding potential breaches of the Local Government Electoral Act 2011.

Chris Walker

Secretary Redlands2030 Inc.

Redlands2030 email to Mayor Karen Williams

Here is the text of an email sent from Redlands2030 to Mayor Williams on 17 February:

Ms Williams

The blog post which you published on 16 February titled “Redlands 2030 – The Mean Team” contains statements which are untrue, are damaging to Redlands2030 and have the effect of significantly misleading the community about important matters during an election period.

On behalf of Redlands2030 I require that you:

• Amend your blog post to remove the untruthful statements.

• Publish a retraction and apology on your website and anywhere else where you have posted the original blog post e.g. your Facebook page.

Details of two significant falsehoods in your blog post are detailed below

1. The purported Redlands2030 ‘team ticket’

In your blog post you state:

“Even more enlightening is the leaked Redlands 2030 team ticket about to land in your letterboxes produced by Team Redland 2030 and pictured below.“

On behalf of Redlands2030 Inc. I can advise you categorically that the item which you pictured was not prepared by or at the behest of or on behalf of Redlands2030.

The pictured document is nothing to do with Redlands2030 and we were unaware of its existence until you published it on your website.

You will note that the item which you have pictured and described as a “Redlands2030 team ticket” does not include any logo or other material identifying it as a document published by Redlands2030.

A prudent person would have undertaken some fact checking to see if Redlands2030 was responsible for the production of this document.

By saying that it is “the leaked Redlands2030 team ticket” you have acted recklessly or deliberately to mislead the Redlands community during an election period.

It may be the case that your actions have contravened provisions of the Local Government Electoral Act’s e.g. section 182 Misleading Voters.

2. Access to a database generated by Redland City Council

In your blog post you state:

“In addition, they now seem to have underhandedly been given access to a database generated by Redland City Council and funded by ratepayers to drive unsolicited emails with unsubstantiated misinformation through the community.”

I can categorically advise you that Redlands2030 has not been given access to any Redland City Council database of email addresses, underhandedly or in any other way.

As well as being factually incorrect your statement casts unwarranted aspersions on the character of many people associated with Redland City Council (present and past).

It is a second instance, in the same blog post, where you have acted recklessly or deliberately to mislead the community by making an untrue statement.

Generally

Redlands2030 understands that you are unhappy with the focus that Redlands2030 has placed upon your administration and that you make seek to make comments about us in an attempt to promote your political aspirations.

However, you must not publish information about Redlands2030 which is false.

We look forward to your prompt response, rectifying the damage that you have caused by publishing these falsehoods.

Chris Walker

Secretary Redlands2030 Inc.

Let’s correct the record about Tom Taranto

Tom Taranto was a founding member of Redlands2030. He decided to nominate as a candidate for Division 2 Cleveland and North Stradbroke Island. It is his democratic right to do so. However, before nominating as a candidate, he resigned his membership of Redlands2030 to ensure that there could be no perception of any conflict of interest between his political aspirations and Redlands2030’s editorial policies.

 

Redlands2030 – 28 February 2016

Please note: Offensive or off-topic comments will be deleted. If offended by any published comment please email thereporter@redlands2030.net

28 thoughts on “The ‘Mean Team’ and the Mayor’s trust deficit

  1. I am currently requesting information from the Redlands Investment Corporation regarding their structure and expenditure such as wages and salaries. This is a corporation established by the RCC and its major drive at the moment is the Toondah Harbour Development. Surely any development proposal should have an EIS study before any development has been approved or awarded to any developer. After many emails I still have no answer as to the amount of dredging that is proposed for a 400 berth Marina and where or how this will be disposed. I smell a rat and a big one particularly as the push will be for unsustainable development to pay the salaries of this corporation and any other expenditure I hope to disclose. The land grab in the Redlands is total and utter greed. Never ending new roof tops with no solar power, no wildlife corridors, traffic congestion and further destruction of our foreshore areas, parkland and mangrove areas. This is so upsetting and the future for our region and Moreton Bay should be disclosed and discussed with everyone in the community including school children. What on earth are we teaching our future generations with this type of ugly development. I propose a large billboard at the Wellington Street/Shore street roundabout that most of us try enter every day. We certainly have to wait long enough to get through now with the increase in traffic. A billboard
    disclosing the Toondah Harbour proposed development as most of the community believes it is development and dredging just for the ferry terminal area!

    • Thoroughly agree Maria. Good hunting. The secrecy the public is up against is systemic. The shady Redlands Investment Corp is a child of RCC: RIC cannot be scrutinised; its meetings and minutes are secret. To what agency do we appeal to crack open this nefarious, illegitimate organisation?
      The Toondah Harbour crisis is tricky because it is a Priority Development Area – ie, removed from the planning process, with environmental legislation and community right of objection lifted. We need to tackle Jackie Trad directly to revoke the PDA. The dredging required for a 400 berth marina is 70 per cent more than needed for Abbot Point, and dispersing plumes of fine mud will kill corals and fish and much else throughout Moreton Bay.
      The planning of Toondah should begin from scratch and focus on fixing the port.
      RIC – unelected, unaccountable, answering to no one but the mayor – has charge of the Toondah Harbour proposal …
      The stench of rats is overpowering. It’s time to call in the Pied Piper.

    • The dredging spoils will not be disposed of but used to create so called reclaimed land in front of GJ Walter Park to surround the 400 berth marina. Up to 10 storey apartment blocks are proposed to be built out in Moreton Bay on that dredge spoil, similar to Raby Bay. Neither the Federal or State Governments have as yet approved the proposal by the Walker Group okayed by Redland City Council

      • Sie Joh and old Russ, would be delighted their destruction of the environment continues. Public land for private use, just like the good old days!

  2. When someone begins their post with “I am far from being a Williams supporter, but . . . ” you can take that as “I not only support Karen Williams, I will attend her rivals web sites and claim the polar opposite in a dismal attempt to appear balanced”.

  3. The proposed Toondah Harbour is potentially an ecological disaster for Moreton Bay. The proposal is over development of a site posing a traffic nightnare for residents of Cleveland and surrounding suburbs, both during construction and long term! This was one of the worst decisions of the previous Newman Gorvernment and Minister Seeney, I expected better from our local Council!

    • You nailed it Kevin, in every way ! Let’s see what Dr.Steven Miles, Queensland Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection, the Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef and the “Best Minister in the World” ( yes it’s true !!!) Greg Hunt will do about fixing it !

  4. Good job R2030, I heard the story of the bucket brigade on the ABC. But what I can’t understand is the weight of the line ups the AbC threw against you.

    However, your organisation obviously has access to people prepared to give of themselves because your stories seem well founded and evidence based.

    The DIRG revelation should be scaring you critics as much as those closer to your bent. How anyone would not be concerned about secret meetings, secret membership and secret minutes is beyond me!

    But it seems some people want to believe anything …even in the face of demonstrated spin, misrepresentation and disingenuous behaviour.

    Id like one person to explain the DIRG debacle and how the community interest was being served behind the secrecy and Chatham House rules!! Yet no one seemed concerned, not the Mayor, not the CEO seemingly not the attendees.

  5. thank you Redlands2030 for keeping our politicians to account. It seems a reasonable request for the Council to be open and accountable, and not to lie to us about their activities that will have an ongoing impact of the Redlands’ community once they are gone. The increasingly shrill and desperate rants by the Mayor appear to be more related to her failing popularity – people are starting to wake up to her to her opaque and secretive approach to governance. The lessons of Campbell Newman are glaringly obvious. he community do not like being bullied and lied to. Beware the Ides of March.

  6. oh please !!!!!! 2030 agenda has been noted way back….. It’s interesting to see candidates being pushed by this Old Council mindset all coming from areas outside of the division they live in ….It doesn’t take such insight nor intelligence to see where this so called community page was heading months ago and the old council backing by this group …..but scare tactics, spin and fabrications will only fool some of the people some of the time ….

    • looks like I lack intelligence, Sam Delawarr, as I have not found any scare tactics or spin on Redland 2030, or “Old Council mindset” ?? rather a great deal of information on many varied aspects of Redland City.

    • then sadly you are not aware of the hidden agendas and the mis information being used by the old council and their fan club

      • Here you go again Sam Delawarr, with your old council idea, what exactly are you referring to ? You lost me, so please give us some examples to back your view.

  7. Totally agree with the previous comment by Brian and Jeannette Douglass! Couldn’t have put it better myself. Please keep up the good work Redlands2030.

  8. Councillors are not politicians till they go state or federal are they ? [except] Brisbane CC.who are generally from party bases Are not councillors paid from the rate pool

  9. Throughout our association with the team at Redlands2030 we have always found them to be people of integrity with genuine concern for the Redlands community.

  10. It seems to me that Karen Williams [note this is MY opinion] uses the same tactics used by Campbell Newman [remember him; MY opinion was that he was the man who wanted to sell off the state so that his mates could make a buck off the citizens backs]. It seems to me that Andrew Laming is cut from the same cloth [my opinion].

    I am thrilled there is such a group as Redlands 2030; the developers reference and back up every statement made so people can decide for themselves.

    Great stuff and it is this group of people who contribute so much to democracy.

    If the information published in Redlands 2030 is considered ‘far left’ begs the question as to what the ‘far right’ looks like. I have seen nothing of good by Karen Williams and some of her team; I MUCH preferred her predecessor.

    Why is it that any comments against a paid politician is considered leftist behaviour and leftist leanings? Surely someone being paid by US through our taxation must be held accountable? Or is that leftist talk?

  11. If Williams is resorting to lies, it is hopefully out of desperation. Is it something the triple C could investigate?

  12. Keep holding their feet to the fire, Redlands 2030, and holding RCC accountable. You are hitting some painful nerves. The mayor should rightly be feeling rattled by people’s disapproval, given her atrocious performance in local government. Or is that ‘proven performance’?
    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then you win.

  13. Oh dear oh dear, you guys don’t cop criticism well do you?

    Anybody who reads the far left opinions of 2030 understands where you are all coming from, particularly getting one of your own into Council!

    I am a long way from being an avid Williams supporter but she doesn’t do a bad job nonetheless, particularly compared to her predecessor ………..

    The sheer volume of your repudiation far, far outweighs her perceived wrong doings!

    Thing is, will this comment get deleted as most do when disagreeing with the Mean Team? I’ll bet it does!

    • Criticism is one thing using demonstrable errors of fact to substantiate innuendo are another.

      I always find it curious that those who support the current status quo at council throw comments like “far left” at those who seek transparency and accountably from their elected officials. Seems like values of good government are an anathema to the current supporters of the mayor

    • There is a huge difference between being unable to accept criticism and determined to correct misleading statements (I will give Cr Williams the benefit of the doubt and use the term “misleading statements” instead of “blatant lies”). This is particularly so where the misleading statements relate to issues (the integrity of elected officials and the impartiality of a free press) which are of public importance and where the person making the misleading statements has a history of making similar misleading statements.

      You’re use of the term “far left” to refer to organisations who are attempting to correct misinformation and your comment in general, when read in conjunction with the Mean Team article, are very telling both about you and others who think that Cr Williams “doesn’t do a bad job”.

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