Your councillor’s newsletter: news or spin?

Most Redlands residents should have received their councillor's August newsletter recently
Most Redlands residents should have received their divisional councillor’s August newsletter recently

Three times each year Redlands residents receive good news about Council activities and photos of their local councillor, prepared colourfully at ratepayers expense by the Council’s propaganda group.

Don’t believe everything you read in a newsletter

Mayor's newsletter August 2018.
Mayor’s newsletter August 2018.

It’s understood that councillors keep a close eye on each others’ newsletters, especially the number of self photos that a councillor includes. We think the record since the 2016 election is ten, including the top line photo.

Local councillor newsletters (double side A4) are distributed to each household together with a Mayor’s newsletter. Councillors with island residents in their division issue them with a special islanders’ newsletter.

Information in councillor’s newsletters is not always accurate. For example, Cr Mitchell’s latest newsletter wrongly states that the Council owned car park at 4-10 Doig Street was transferred the Redland Investment Corporation in 2013.

Fact check – it was 2014

In fact, Council voted (in closed session) to set up the Redland Investment Corporation at a meeting on 26 November 2014.

At the following Council meeting on 10 December 2014 (also in closed session) the Council voted to transfer a number of “underutilised” parcels of council owned land to the Redland Investment Corporation including 4-10 Doig Street.

If you tossed your councillor’s newsletters into the yellow topped bin by mistake, don’t despair. All newsletters for current councillors can be accessed on the Council website.

22 August meeting agenda

Councillors will discuss a number of issues at their meeting on Wednesday 22 August including:

  • Koala action plan activities for 2018/18
  • State Government’s Koala Expert Panel Recommendations
  • Redland City Plan Planning Scheme Policies
  • Multiple Dwelling Design Guide
  • Transport Noise Corridor Project
  • Drinking Water Quality
  • Approving procurement from 51 firms on a sole supplier basis (no tenders)
  • Policy and guidelines for managing unreasonable complainants and customer conduct
  • Tidying up some gaps in the local law making process
  • Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) conference

Here is a link to the meeting agenda which includes officers reports to councillors.

What’s not on the agenda

CCC Chair Alan MacSporran and Integrity Commissioner Dr Nikola Stepanov in Redlands

It’s not known when the Council will discuss a report recently published by the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC):

Culture and corruption risks in local government: Lessons from an investigation into Ipswich City Council (Operation Windage)

In line with concerns raised by the CCC, Redlands2030 recently identified actions which Redland City Council could take to reduce corruption risks:

  • Ending the practice of secret meetings
  • Ensuring that all decisions about major contracts are made at formal (minuted) council meetings with any conflicts of interest appropriately declared
  • Winding up the Redland Investment Corporation immediately
  • Reviewing Council procedures and processes thoroughly and regularly to improve accountability and transparency

Shoreline sewerage and perceived conflict of interest

At its meeting on 8th August Council discussed a confidential proposal for sewerage of the Shoreline project to build 4,000 homes at the bottom end of Cleveland-Redland Bay Road.

Council resolved by a vote of 8/3 to:

1. advise the applicant that its preferred location for the wastewater treatment plant is the Shoreline private site;
2. advise the applicant that its preference is that the wastewater treatment plant is sized and designed to cater for the sub-regional catchment;
3. note that this resolution is subject to completion of a future Infrastructure Agreement between Redland City Council and the proponent(s), which will be presented to Council prior to execution; and
4. retain this report and attachments as confidential until an Infrastructure Agreement referenced in point 3 is executed by Council’s delegate.

Crs Karen Williams, Peter Mitchell, Lance Hewlett, Mark Edwards, Julie Talty, Murray Elliott, Tracey Huges and Paul Gleeson voted FOR the motion.

Crs Wendy Boglary, Paul Gollè and Paul Bishop voted AGAINST the motion.

Earlier in the meeting Mayor Karen Williams declared a perceived conflict of interest in this item and left the room while other councillors decided whether or not she should participate in the discussion. The minutes say:

Mayor Karen Williams declared a perceived conflict of interest in Item 19.2 Shoreline – Sewer Servicing Strategy. The Mayor stated that she has previously declared a perceived conflict of interest in relation to this project and while she believed the project had been sold, she was unsure of the new ownership arrangement and was declaring a perceived conflict for transparency. The Mayor said she had considered her position not to be a real conflict of interest but understood that there may be a perceived conflict of interest.

Mayor Williams stated that she had considered her position and was firmly of the opinion that she could participate in the debate and vote on this matter in the public interest.

The motion “That Mayor Karen Williams has a conflict of interest in Item 19.2 Shoreline – Sewer Servicing Strategy.” was lost by a vote of 4/6.

Crs Wendy Boglary, Murray Elliott, Tracey Huges and Paul Bishop voted FOR the motion.

Crs Peter Mitchell, Paul Gollè, Lance Hewlett, Mark Edwards, Julie Talty and Paul Gleeson voted AGAINST the motion

The Mayor’s announcement regarding her perceived conflict of interest, and the subsequent vote on whether or not she should participate in the discussion about Shoreline, can be viewed on the meeting video recording, commencing at 10:00 minutes.

Redlands2030 – 21 August 2018

0 thoughts on “Your councillor’s newsletter: news or spin?”

  1. How weak are these Councillors to put their heads in the sand and pretend that the Mayor Can vote on such a controversial issue considering her conflict of interest.
    The Mayor should show some leadership as the culture within is toxic, she should take on board the CCC comments, I recall Mayor Williams celebrating Mayor of Ipswich as her mentor before the 2012 election . Saying we need to be more like successful Ipswich. Opps those words should come back to bite her

    1. While you feel passionately about your patch the problem is almost every everyone who complains tends to only be interested in theirs , sadly you overlook the the realities of funding… or lack there of. There is only so much money for each division . And there would be dozens if not hundred of others who ‘bend the ear ‘ of the councillors with their little passions. Logic dictates that no Cr no matter how well intentioned can’t do all of them ergo someone is going to get pissed off. Because of this micro focus the Cr is forced to count ‘screaming heads’ and then battle the bigger issue of the clique whose agendas are dominate council. Look no further that the Mayor and her power interest group. Oh yes Going over the Cr’s head takes the matter out of his hands. The CEO at the end of the day has to maintain the confidence of the mayor’s majority ergo he has to tread carefully ( legally). Creating friction between these two levels doesn’t earn you any favours. As is obvious by the long history of your attacks being thwarted/ ignored.
      Apart from that your bit wandered off the topic i.e. are the communications meaningful or just spin?
      On the topic. I would have to cite the thoughts of Mr Murray of Redland Bay who has consistently in the paper, called for more honesty and meaningful content in the “non recyclable ” trash mag and those um reports. I remember back a few years where 4 councillors took credit for a library at Victoria Point ( clearly it was a lean period.) Like Mr M went on to say that the problem arises when the Council act in secrecy and make it difficult if not impossible for the residents to know what the council is up to ( what’s on the agenda) so they don’t know where to focus their attention but other than on their personal cause de jure . Rather than pressuring the council(ors) to focus on what is best for the Residents not just the parasitic developers and influential entrepreneurs etc.

  2. Re RCC activities by your local councillor & Mayor with colourful pictures of new play equipment in various parks enhancing our neighbourhood playgrounds for families in magazine and newsletters. If only that were true!
    Cr Gleeson represents Capalaba, suddenly noticed Cr Murray Elliott who represents Alexandra Hills with Thornlands added, also added Capalaba as being in his area, why! Perhaps due to happenings at Indigiscapes? Redlanders are familiar with facility & one beside it, Horizon, the two cafes, what’s new in plants, etc without being informed by councillor who should be listening to constituents on local issues that concern them & invites locals to chat with him at his listening post outside Woolies, Alex Hills every 2nd Saturday. He may listen, but does he hear? Certainly not me, when, after 30 years, handed him photos of possible new play equipment replacing the more than 30 yr old pair swings & slide in Chantelle Crt Park, upset him, because in my excitement, also sent same photos to CEO, prompting a phone call to say he would have nothing more to do with the park since I ‘went over his head’ to CEO. Result? Not one of the pieces of equipment were placed in this park but did see one, suited to a small park, in Beth Boyd Park, Thorneside…lovely for families, with Barbeque, great equipment, great outlook on waterfront. What we got was a defective tunnel slide that injured a 3-yr old child’s foot. Lovely photo of climbing one called a ‘spider’ + small cubed climbing piece & two useless board games that belong in a kindergarten, not a PLAYground. Shade trees surrounding playground were attacked & cut back to the trunk along one side plus an entire section of canopy gone…when the best shade is from trees…..not the photographed ones in Cr Elliott’s parks in Alex Hills that have a scrap of coloured cloth at the top of tall poles that won’t protect youngsters in our increasingly hot summers in Q’ld, the skin cancer capital of the world.
    These colourful newsletters with numerous photos of play equipment, costs ratepayers dearly when that money could be better spent providing neighbourhood park equipment for families & I mean the whole family, from toddlers to carers, grand parents, as seen in Mott Park, Holland Park across road from my niece. Seniors week is Aug 18-26, 2018…what exercise equipment is there for seniors in our neighbourhood parks we can walk to, no longer able to drive? Nothing. How many times do we have to see the same news letters in our mail boxes? There’s Our Redlands 2018 Magazine & now Aug 2018 News from your Local Councillor along with Mayor’s.
    Cr Gleeson for Capalaba, I noted has some added play equipment in the Regional Park that was set up for the Redlands community due to it being subject to flooding, houses could not be built on it. Friends in the area enjoy walks to the park, but elderly who would want to visit who no longer drive, depend on others to take them there. What area of Birkdale does Cr Gleeson represent? Has he upgraded any neighbourhood parks in Birkdale? I see nothing listed. Looks like more spin to me. Residents everywhere can’t understand why Cr Gleeson has been asked to resign as stated in our local newspaper. Insiders tell me he was a strong representative, speaking up for the people in council, but due to financial difficulties, Mayor Williams came to his aid. As a result he became a ‘dud’ representative. (understand same happened to ex-Cr Alan Beard, Birkdale, aided by ex-Mayor Don Seccombe). So what happened to Cr Elliott?
    The area of Capalaba between Finucane/Elmhurst St intersection down to Crotona Rd units has only two parks for families….2nd one end Sagamore St with only pair slides and swings. Nothing else. Cr Elliott should hang his head in shame for his words under Div 7 in Our Redlands magazine that reads: “fun times ahead with parks ‘magic makeovers’.
    Not in this area…but…tens of thousands of dollars, is going into Alexandra Hills parks.

    On behalf of Capalaba families who have been short changed severely in upgrading our two neighbourhood parks, I am asking Capalaba be struck off as being represented by Cr Elliott, due to lack of care and interest ASAP, who made that fact clear to me in a phone call and as seen by his actions.

  3. I was disappointed to discover that I must have pushed the wrong button with my last comment in that it appeared to be commenting specifically to Toni rather than Amy and generally too. I note for example the letter in the local paper which raises the same issue and targets, clearly a group effort.

    As I indicated, and in context to the current topic. The “causal factors” for the potential ( if not real tap dancing on the line between blatant self interest and illegality ) by the “elected” Councillors/ mayor, and bigger commercial interests is way more than those in the report in question.

    I have no doubt that if all the items in the report were enacted into law that the current self interest malaise would be alive and still thriving in council elections etc.

    Like wise the blame is not just that of the current trough diving selfish interests.

    Ask your self why would anybody outlay the $’s and the effort for a position (job) with so little remuneration? They are either borderline narcissists or the payback is less obvious. One thing it isn’t is the self sacrificing dedication that motivates the army of volunteers that work for free.

    So long as there are laws that are laws that are based on the word and precedents rather than the spirit (the real public [demos as in democracy] consensus intention) of the law there will be the selfish who will avoid / distort it for their personal gain. This included the justifiably despised developers and their hand maidens to some degree the media, advertisers, councillors , the rich , landed etc and the micro focused selfish public …i. e. those who are disengaged/ distracted with their petty wants/ interests to actually be involved in the process.

    The current public attitude is to shrug saying “what can they do? “and then vote for someone who they like ( often without regard to competence, skills or the consequences of their decision for the larger community). Would you be so sloppy in your choices if they were managing your or those close to you lives when choosing a brain surgeon? At least they have relevant education and several years of experience. So why are you so indifferent with those who represent the quality of your and the community in which you live lives?
    Let’s get realistic here, I could name and justify objectively 7 councillors who should not be in their positions. Farmers with incomplete high school education or kindy/ high school teachers with dubious pecuniary interests and affiliations. These lack of real relevant skills, knowledge are rife in elected positions. Even real estate ( spit 3 times and cross your eyes while turning around then stomping your feet facing north, to ward off evil juju) need to have some competence in the relevant law to hold a license. Yet to an elected councillor you need to be popular and backed by moneyed power .

    So what is the answer ? Simple really stop special perverting power minorities from “buying” proxy seats on council or government.

    1. Make an absolute limit in $ and kind for elections per candidate. E.g. say $5000 .
    2. Stop all advertising /influencing copy not covered in the above limit regardless of its source i.e. business or wealth.
    3. Land ownership by candidate or family ( via trusts investments, businesses ) is a disqualifier ( that alone would blow 6 local elected officials I know.) ( clearly the family home is exempt if it isn’t a business or part there of).
    4. Party affiliation is also a disqualifier because has external influences and agendas.
    After those add the findings of the enquiry.

    Ok citizens now rip it to bits ( objectively ) while considering the city’s RESIDENTS interests as a whole.

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