Letters 24.8.13

793LETTERSA capital future
I UNDERSTAND former Vincent councillor Ian Ker wanting the city to survive the local government reform process (Speaker’s Corner, Perth Voice, August 17, 2013).
The City of Vincent has defied all the odds and prospered since its forced separation from Perth in 1994, a split strongly opposed by the community.
The historic neglect of the Vincent area under the City of Perth had turned around with active representation and the first upgrade of Beaufort Street and the first major makeover of Beatty Park were underway when the City of Perth was dismembered.
And while Vincent has done well over the past 19 years in fostering an important community identity, two factors are crucial in determining our position.
Firstly, we have to regard the prospects of winning our case. Clearly the state government believes it has a mandate to reduce the number of councils. If we were to simply argue for no change, our chances of success would be zero. We would be seen as simply engaging in classic “turf protection”. We would not only lose but we would see most of our residents and businesses forced into Stirling.
But having been mayor for the past two years, I am firmly of the view this case for full merger with Perth also represents our best option. There are great synergies and shared aspirations with the two authorities.
We are both wanting to accommodate and encourage great new development while conserving the heritage that makes our landscape so rich. We have lively street cultures that are very different from the Stirling economy based on big box shopping centres.
With this comes the need for active place-making. We could benefit from sharing resources in this task; resources that would help us with festivals, public art and urban design. We both have strong night-time economies and we could both benefit from specialist staff to deal with the special challenges and opportunities.
While I am proud of what Vincent has achieved, I totally believe we could do so much more as a vital part of a capital city.
Alannah MacTiernan
Mayor, City of Vincent

Upsetting avos
YOUR photograph of Rod Willox (Voice, August 17, 2013) is worthy of a William Hazlitt essay. Bit late for that, of course.
Was the veteran Stirling councillor’s tantrum on a Mount Lawley street brought about by the Barnett merger plans, as reported, or by your photographer snapping him in extremis?
What better case for elected councillors’ service to be limited to eight years? If such ruling had been exercised over recent decades, what different and healthier communities we might now be enjoying.
More imaginative outlooks and bright ideas would have countered the dominant tunnel vision that hampers many councils; that inhibits our progress and prosperity.
Such ruling might also have avoided our local government’s current turbulent landscape. On the other side of the coin, the mergers upset the avocado cart for Willox and others of his ilk.
Lutah Salt
West Bank, Swan River Colony

Shock and . . .
I READ with a combination of shock and amusement this week that Alannah MacTiernan had executed an Olympic-inspired backflip on nuclear power generation.
She seems to have been struck  by this revelation like a leper finding the Lord at a religious revival! But it’s much more serious than my flippant remark suggests.
This is the same Alannah MacTiernan who has scaremongered on nuclear power stations in the past and is still the mayor of Vincent which is a “nuclear free zone”. Will she now be pushing for that status to change?  She has tried using weasel words and dressing up her change of heart as if it’s part of a plan to save the environment but again, this is contrary to what she has said in the past. Unfortunately it all points to a matter of trust. Alannah has spent the past 20 years as a politician and, unfortunately it shows with the way she is playing fast and loose with promises, integrity and matters of trust.
Wendy Ware
Camm Ave, Bull Creek

Driven agenda
YOUR front page story “London Calling” (Voice, August 10, 2013) implies Perth lord mayor Lisa Scaffidi is responsible for bringing London cabs to Perth.
She isn’t…so there!
Lisa and her husband should stick to what they do best, property development, and leave the taxi business to the taxi business.
The taxi industry thought this up itself, 20 years after trialing an earlier model London cab in Perth (which failed dismally). The taxi industry, which is continually assessing vehicle suitability, has considered the market and identified this vehicle as complementary to the existing fleet.
Lisa has addressed some of the greatest changes to Perth in decades and for that she deserves accolades. I am sure the taxi industry is confident its business model and fleet in the future will be the best for the public and the industry without Lisa’s taking the credit.
And we don’t want them yellow!
Tony Gibb
former London Cab (Perth)
operator
Kitchener Ave, Bayswater
The Ed says: To be fair to Ms Scaffidi—she hasn’t claimed any credit. We included her image entirely gratuitously as a “face of Perth”!

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