06LETTERSGo Traci
ENOUGH is enough. Why is it being left to Traci Gamblin and her action group to sort out the secondary school situation in Fremantle (Herald Thinking Allowed, February 2, 2013)?
If the government can’t get things sorted in affluent Fremantle, what chance do our kids have elsewhere in Perth?
It is time for the government to wake up and realise that its decision to restrict entry to John Curtin has not at all bolstered the numbers at South Fremantlea—all that has happened is parents have elected instead to pay to go to the local Catholic secondary schools.
The government needs to realise that successful enterprises, whether schools or businesses, deliver what their customers want; if they don’t, their customers will go elsewhere.
I agree that John Curtin should be opened up again.
Melanie Watkins
Glyde St, East Fremantle

Top class
END the elitism? (Herald, February 2, 2013). Traci Gamblin’s Thinking Allowed is more about maintaining a perceived elitism…don’t let the facts get in the way… and give my kid access to the elites.
If Shenton or Churchlands are the perceived benchmark there’s a pretty simple fix: Move there. They are schools that have their share of GATE and approved specialist programs but they are also local intake and their populations and programs probably reflect their local enrolments.
She talks about South Fremantle SHS having more elite programs like John Curtin’s arts and soccer programs. John Curtin is GATE for its arts but its soccer program is an approved specialist program the same as South’s music, marine studies and baseball programs, all select entry.
Where South differs is that beyond these three programs it is a local, socially inclusive, comprehensive high school offering VET and ATAR (university) pathways. Traci listed seven criteria that a good school would have. South ticks all seven boxes.
Is South comprehensive, with the full range of courses? Yes it is.’
Does it have a strong academic focus, with pathways to university? Yes it does, with clearly defined ATAR and VET pathways. ATAR is expanded through a partnership with local schools.
Is South open-entry and non-selective (for the majority of students)? Yes it is. Proudly local.
Does South have a large cohort from the Fremantle community? Yes it does.
Does South have strong leadership and excellent teachers? Yes it does: committed to the school and passionate about their subjects and students’ success.
Is South safe, with high quality pastoral care? Yes it is and it provides a first class student services to support all students, whatever the issue.
Is South close enough for most students to walk/ride/catch the bus? Yes, comfortably.
So what stops Traci considering her local high school as an option? What does she think a massive injection of government funding will do to change the perception of local community families. I suspect not very much. The substance of her story is more about prejudice, more myth than fact.
I have family who work at South and the children of friends are enrolled there. I am saddened when I hear the frustration expressed by my family member and more so when I hear my friends’ children internalising the toxic message that the Tracis of the world amplify.
So to Traci and her little gang of agitators, get down off your horses, join the P&C at your local high school and get involved. The facts might surprise you. And you might actually discover the rewards a truly local, socially inclusive school, with its rich mix of kids and demographics, offers its community.
And hopefully, along the way you’ll discover that real sustainable learning should be built on a bedrock that is socially inclusive, compassionate and open-minded, whether it is university, TAFE, apprenticeship or work-bound. We need the mix to function sustainably.
Aileen

Ruled out
YOUR story “Rangers unleashed,” (Herald, February 2, 2013) made me laugh. Had I not been laughing I would have been weeping.
The Fremantle rangers are just another symptom of the propensity of our numerous levels of government to force a strict regime of conformity upon our society. It pervades all facets of our society, work as well as leisure.
Countless drones churning out and monitoring sundry rules and regulations, many of which are totally meaningless.
It would be nice if these jobsworths who appear to be so worried about the length of a dog’s expanding lead were to be employed doing something valid, like monitoring the overflowing rubbish bins, the detritus that is blown around from the strip’s multinational fast food store and anti-social behaviour in numerous open spaces about the city.
Geoff Dunstone
Carrington St, Palmyra

It’s rad
SO much negativity: This is all I tend to read concerning the youth plaza project.
Last week’s Herald was littered with letters denouncing the skateboard park. My son has been a skateboarder since he was a nipper and I fully support this wonderful idea.
Too often this council over many years has neglected to provide the youth of Fremantle something to be proud of. Well, this I hope will be a huge start.
Skateboarders are not the demons of youth, they are a great group of young men and women whose passion is riding a small board with four wheels.
This park has a great design team and an exciting energy behind it. Applaud your council for taking the initiative and show support for the park, or, more to the point, the youth of the area.
Dean Whineray
Varna Pl, Coolbellup

Terrible cruelty
I TOO have witnessed terrible cruelty to marine creatures in the Fremantle area, and commend the Herald for bringing this disgrace to the attention of the public (February 2, 2013).
I feel the state’s big daily newspaper should share in some of the responsibility for this by glorifyintg the hunt for sharks off of our beautiful coast.
Recently I expressed my anguish to a group of young fishermen who had dragged in something that looked like a squid. Instead of throwing the helpless creature back, they kicked at it and took turns stomping on it. This cruelty was both needless and bloodthirsty.
I regularly walk along the jetty and it concerns me that very few people make the effort to put their catch out of its misery. It should be a legal requirement that all fish caught should be killed immediately, rather than suffocating to death in buckets of water or on land.
It seems that people are not being taught to respect the creatures of the ocean anymore and instead it has become a sport to see who can catch the biggest fish, regardless of whether they are going to eat it.
Don’t people realise these animals are in their natural habitat and if anything they need protection, not further persecution. With fish numbers dwindling it is not surprising that sharks are coming closer to shore to feed. However, luring them in with big chunks of meat is just plain irresponsible.
It is a shame that animal welfare laws to not include fish. The thugs torturing our wildlife should be brought to justice.
Name and address supplied
Hamilton Hill

It’s potty
TO my knowledge there have been trees in bags surrounded by ugly plastic barriers around the West End of High Street for at least 14 months.
I am at a loss to imagine why anybody would think this adds to the attraction of the area.
I am assuming these installations were placed by the council, (which would not tolerate this behaviour from a private concern).
Are they meant to complement the adjacent street ornaments? What are the future plans regarding these trees?
If anyone has an answer to the above questions I would be very grateful. I have long regarded the West End as an area full of character and worth preserving and I hate to see it being abused like this.
Paul Moseley
Fremantle

Baseless attack
IN his desire to protect the Esplanade reserve and prevent a skate park from being built there Chris Grisewood asks “where is the Fremantle Society when you need it?” (Herald letters, February 2, 2013).
I am stunned as I have had several telephone conversations with Mr Grisewood about this, so he can’t even blame ignorance for his attack. I told him I have addressed council on the skate park, written letters to newspapers, posted at least two blogs and had email conversations with individual councillors.
I told Mr Grisewood we had advocated moving the skate park either to the car park south of the Esplanade or to the one north of it near the Shipwreck Museum.
Unlike Mr Grisewood the Fremantle Society is dealing with many issues, such as the planned developments at Kings Square, Victoria Quay, the East Fremantle Oval, etc. We are a very busy lobby group of volunteers and while the Esplanade is a priority for Chris Grisewood we try hard to look after all of Fremantle.
We have not neglected the Esplanade reserve issue. The attack on the society is baseless and unfair, and Chris knows that it is an unwarranted cheap shot.
Roel Loopers
President, Fremantle Society
Captain’s Lane, Fremantle

Owners unleashed
THANKS to the efforts of many local pet owners, dogs are now permitted off leash on the Gill Fraser Reserve in North Fremantle except when an organised sporting event is in progress.
I want to say a big thank you to the 261 dog owners who signed the petition, to Amanda De Abreu of he North Fremantle sporting club, and to the mayor and councillors for their support in changing the status of the reserve.
Bonnie and I look forward to catching up with our happy local dogs (and responsible owners) at the reserve, for a play and a chat.
Yvonne Barron
North Fremantle

Power to rail
NOW we are well into state election mode, the promises are coming. The promises for the improvements to the rail network are long overdue.
There is another way that our passenger rail network can be improved very quickly and far cheaper than in the past. It is far more effective to have each railcar with its own power pack, either gas, bio-diesel, or a combination of the pair, electric. This removes the need for the very expensive power line network and also allows the utilisation of the under-utilised freight network for passenger rail, as occurs in other states. A new rail hub at the Perth Airport complex would also be a distinct improvement.
Richard McNaught
Visser St, Coolbellup

Tears down the track
IN recent years political paties around the world have engaged in massive borrowing to buy votes from often unsuspecting voters.
As a result of this strategy most western countries are heavily indebted; some are virtually bankrupt.
The railway to Perth Airport vote-buying scheme proposed by WA Labor will result in tears down the track. Perth is one of the most spread-out cities in the world, probably 99 per cent of the population owns a motor car, and due to the layout of the city, using your car is the most convenient and fastest travel option.
Australians love their cars and attempts to separate them from their beloved vehicles will be very difficult, if not impossible for political parties. Mr McGowan’s initial proposal is for a railway to the airport precinct, then transfer to a bus which will take you to the terminal.
This is after you have had someone transport you to your nearest railway station, and if your initial journey is via the north/south line you will need to change trains at Perth station.
If anyone in Labor thinks the thousands of fly in-fly out workers who park their cars at the airport will change to this wacky scheme, they are deluding themselves. For visitors, can you imagine a tourist or interstate visitor catching the train to Perth train station, then changing to a cab to go to their hotel when they can just walk out of the airline terminal get into a cab and go direct to their destination?
Before supporting this railway proposal, drive down Wellington Street past the Perth Arena; this ridiculous building was planned and initiated by Labor before the last election, it cost more than three times its original budget and will be a considerable annual loss every year, which will have to be made up from increased taxes.
Fredrick G McCulloch
Donavon Rise, Murdoch

Excluded
I WAS in the local Spearwood shopping centre the other week and noticed a large sign in the Chinese massage shop window, written in Mandarin.
I enquired at the counter and asked what the sign said. The receptionist said “Ah, we look for staff. Maybe you have putna come from China?”
How can multiculturalism work in Australia if particular ethnic groups are excluded from job opportunities?
P Fletcher
Hamilton Hill

Dear John…
AS the parent of three children, one who is about to enter year six, the weight of high school destinations weighs heavily on my mind. Some of my children may make it into one of the GATE programs at John Curtin College of the Arts, others may be local intake.
Luckily we are in the catchment area for JCCA. I can’t imagine how stressful it must be for those living on the other side of the street, but still only minutes from the door of their local high school, for which they must jump through hoops to get into.
Sally Purser
Chalmers St, Fremantle

Perfect sense
TRACI GAMBLIN’S proposal (Herald Thinking Allowed, February 2, 2013) to open up John Curtin to more local children makes perfect sense.
The school needs a boost of mainstream kids to balance the focus of the school. This will enhance the academic side of the school and give it more of a true Fremantle feel.
You have my support and that of many of the parents I have spoken to. So good to see so much focus on education, where it should be!!
Harriet Pointon Mather
Oakover St, East Fremantle

Duckers
I TOTALLY agree with Jacqui Fairfax (“Rangers unleashed,” Herald, February 2, 2013).
Rangers think they are granted police powers to do as they please and overstep their mark. Maybe they should do some real work and drive through Hilton and report on their own council regarding overhanging verge trees that make people duck down to walk the pavement. And this is only one complaint regarding the council not doing its job. They are all time wasters, kick them all out. They’re going to wreck Fremantle.
John Farley
Butson St, Hilton

Stinker
YOU were negligent in not asking former WA Labor premier Peter Dowding (Herald, January 26, 2013), if he did not blame the Fremantle clueless council for the rotten toilets, were we to infer it is the fault of rapacious landlords?
RB Halvorsen
Ardross

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