LETTERS 29.8.15

Protesting too much?
IT is questionable what councils think they will achieve by voting against greater transparency (“Carey in the cold,” Voice, August 15, 2015). It can only lead to the conclusion they have something to hide. In which case, greater attention needs to be taken!
M Mannion
Crawford Rd, Maylands

Free tickets not front page
I AM amazed that Councillor Harley raising a minor issue at a full council meeting should warrant the front page of Voice (“Tickets on themselves,” Voice, August 15, 2015).
The agenda item was a proposal to sponsor the WA Ballet. It would have been through the various administrative and committee assessments before reaching the full council for final approval. Surely Cr Harley could have used that process to voice his concerns as to the tickets allocated to the City of Perth as part of the sponsorship agreement, saying it was, “over the top” and “unnecessary”.
If a large corporate body sponsor a similar event it would be no different as to ticket allocation to the sponsor and staff discounts.  The CEO, Gary Stevenson, explained at the meeting that it wasn’t strange and was really just a way for the ballet to market to get council staff to fill seats.
I am curious as to what point Cr Harley was trying to make in quibbling about such a trivial matter at a full council meeting? I ask that question as a long-time council activist and being familiar with many long time sitting members of council.
Was it to portray fellow councillors as taking an advantage of their position?
On the evidence, as reported in the Voice, it would appear Cr Harley achieved perhaps what he was seeking, page 1, and photo.
This councillor recently used council facilities for an expensive mail-out and phone call campaign to “… reach out to electors”, the first time in 20 years am I aware of such an act.
Cr Harley’s letter told me nothing that was not covered in the quarterly publication the City of Perth mailout, which also carries photos and contact details for all elected members. The phone call was of a similar nature to “introduce” himself.
So I am curious and curiourser as to Cr Harley’s motivation in condemning the ticket arrangement as,  …”a bit over the top” and “unnecessary” when he thought it necessary and not over the top to use council facilities in the mail-out and phone calls in what was seen by many as an exercise in naked self-promotion.
TJ Maller
Goderich St, East Perth
The Ed says: Thanks, Terry. Cr Harley had no input in our decision to run this story, let alone on page 1. 

Flawed process
I AM writing to you to express my concern regarding the process surrounding the development of the Frank Drago Reserve Masterplan.
I have previously written and spoken to City of Bayswater councillors and staff, and, AECOM Langdon Davies staff regarding the lack of transparency and flaws in the community consultation process.
I attended the community consultation evening as well as provided formal submissions. I am aware there are a number of residents, and the affected sporting clubs, who have also provided feedback challenging council as to its processes and the ‘draft’ master plan that we were asked to comment on.
It is therefore greatly disappointing to see that on August 14, the masterplan was released and posted on the City of Bayswater website and did not address nor respond to any of the concerns expressed by local residents and local sporting clubs.
Furthermore, it is particularly concerning to see statements such as the following included in the document: “All people who provided comment were very satisfied with being consulted in the development of the master plan and extremely impressed with the process deployed, and hope and except to be consulted again when the option are presented to council and released to the community.”
This statement is simply not true. It was clear from the community consultation night and the subsequent petition presented to council, that not “all the people” who provided comment were “extremely impressed” with the process deployed.
Cr Stephanie Coates and Jon Vine witnessed the extreme displeasure of many local residents regarding the process, and I certainly cannot be counted amongst “all the people who provided comment” being “extremely impressed”.
Council has also yet to provide any response to the petition delivered.
I understand a planning committee will consider the masterplan and make a recommendation to Council, who will vote on the matter next week. Given the plan was only provided on Friday for a Monday meeting, it is questionable whether those on the committee have had ample time to consider the document.
The entire process which has been undertaken with regards to the development of the masterplan has lacked transparency and genuine engagement with the community. Council needs to vote ‘no’ to the masterplan and commit to a genuine working partnership with residents and the local sporting clubs, as well as the appointment of a truly independent consultant without a conflict of interest.
Christina Araujo
Ratepayer and resident
The Ed says: See the story in this edition, Christina: it seems the council came to a similar conclusion about its consultation process.

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