AN inner-city residents’ group has lost $650 in council funding because local blogger Roel Loopers stated an April 23 public meeting should be used to “start looking for alternative candidates for the October council elections”.
When council CEO Graeme Mackenzie got wind of the sentence, he wrote to the Fremantle Inner City Residents’ Association—one of a number of precincts partially funded by the council—to say the council would not help fund the meeting because it involved electioneering.
“The meeting is a ‘public meeting’ open to the whole of the city of Fremantle—it is not a precinct meeting,” he noted.
“And more importantly there is information in the community (on a blog site) that makes it clear that this is being conducted, at least in part, for the purposes of seeking candidates for the local elections in October this year.”
FICRA’s Craig Ross was baffled by Mr Mackenzie’s reasoning, saying Mr Loopers’ blog comment had nothing to do with FICRA.
“It would be more preferable the matters are discussed more thoroughly with FICRA organisers before forming a conclusion,” he replied. “Could you please provide specific details on who is actually seeking candidates for the local elections? The purpose of the meeting on 23rd April is to raise significant matters concerning FICRA residents and the precinct issues, and not for electioneering as you have concluded.”
Councillor Dave Coggin says the FICRA meeting should be “interesting” given former deputy mayor and fierce council critic John Dowson is playing a major role. Cr Coggin says no-one from the council was asked to speak.
“All of this leads me to the question: Is John Dowson launching his campaign for mayor?” Mr Dowson described that as “laughable”. “I don’t want to be on council—certainly not this council,” he says. “The evening has nothing to do with electioneering.”
by BRENDAN FOSTER