LETTERS 18.5.13

13. 20LETTERSIt’s a drag
COCKBURN mayor Logan Howlett would like to see Rockingham Road, at Phoenix Park, reduced to 40kph (Herald, May 11, 2013).
How about calming a few side suburban streets, Elderberry Drive for one, which motorists use as a drag strip?
Frank Cherry
Elderberry Dve, South Lake

Off-topic Tim
WHAT form of reverse snobbery is it that Fremantle councillor Timothy Grey-Smith feels the urge to ridicule others for having personal wealth (Herald, May 11, 2013)?
It is immature and highly undisciplined of Tim to lampoon ex-deputy mayor and long-time heritage defender, John Dowson, for having the wherewithal to own prestige cars.
A fair society is not one where everyone takes home the same pay packet each week, but where an equitable system allows people to achieve and acquire wealth and prosperity through honest means and to protect others less fortunate.
Surely Timothy hopes for financial success in his restaurant venture, or is it a purely altruistic undertaking?
The irony in all of this is many of us would remember a younger Timothy open-top motoring around Fremantle in a black, convertible BMW, resplendent in gold bling (Tim, that is, not the Beemer).
I sense Tim’s personal attack has nothing to do with local issues at all but is simply a case of status envy. Tim, attempt to defend your political positions with good argument, not sleights of character. You’ll be taken far more seriously.
Lloyd Hammond
Solomon St, Fremantle

Catalogue of anomalies
AN interesting letter, even just for the anomalies therein, from Dermot Dennis (Herald, May 11, 2013) regarding “vegan” cats. There is no such thing as a vegan cat as all cats are carnivores: Fact.
I do not really care what owners feed their pets, unless it causes suffering but some views cannot go unchallenged. Mr Dennis writes, “we are not bringing our pets up in wild Africa where they act in a way that’s natural, we are in a real world and must protect what’s around us”.
This is confusing on several levels. Cats will certainly “act natural” in Africa or not—just put a live mouse in front of them. I fail to see how feeding cats on non-meat products is protecting what’s around us. It’s not as if meat-eating cats are fed endangered birds by their owners and, in fact, owning a cat at all could be seen as detrimental to our natural fauna seeing as how they have decimated wildlife (and please don’t give us that tired old argument of ‘my cat’s not a killer’).
He then goes on to write one of the most staggering contradictions I’ve seen in a long time. He questions David Neck saying, “how on Earth would he know what a cat thinks or craves?” and then in the same paragraph, “a cat would certainly not crave something it has never had nor had for a long time” thereby claiming to actually know himself what a cat thinks.
I agree that no-one can knows what a cat thinks but I believe it is far more likely it will want meat even if it’s never had it. Instinct is very powerful and takes more than one or two generations to dilute.
Try putting two bowls in front of your cat. One containing tofu (or whatever vegie cat food you’d like), and the other full of fresh raw fish or chicken. Want to bet which it’ll go for? As a footnote I have always had a pet cat (and dog).
Robert Glenton
Carrington St,
White Gum Valley

Logan’s run
COCKBURN mayor Logan Howlett’s proposal to lower the speed limit on Rockingham Road in front of the shopping center and Cockburn council (Herald, May 11, 2013) is another failed attempt to justify his position.
He asked staff in December to compile a report on the recurring accidents. Now it is May. Pretty slow, Logan.
WA Main Roads’ black spot criteria along a short stretch of road is five crashes over five years.
That stretch of Rockingham Road has suffered 267 in five years!
Sounds like a black spot to me.
How about engineering a roundabout or a single lane intersection? I agree it’s dangerous as you come out from the shops onto Rockingham Road but slowing the speed limit is not the answer as this will just raise revenue for police (win for them) and the government whilst not tackling the poor design of that stretch of road.
Use brains, not brawn!
Valent Macukat
Plantagenet Cres, Hamilton Hill 

Magflies
COLLINGWOOD captain Josh Thomas was asked last week, upon arriving at Perth Airport, as to why the team was traveling so late in the week just prior to a Saturday game with Fremantle.
He replied they only wanted to come, get the points, and go home. I presume he meant frequent flyer points because Collingwood haven’t acquired too many over the past few years.
Peter Bruce
Theakston Green, Leeming

A distraction
I AM writing to express my dismay that you have allowed sensationalism and provocation to divert attention away from a valid public concern.
On April 20, 2013 you ran a front page story discussing whether Notre Dame’s public funding obliged it to support free speech, rather than promoting Catholic opinions. The failure of Notre Dame to affiliate the Socialist Alliance, Amnesty and UN Women Australia because they disagree with the pope, on some issues, demonstrates the university does not allow free speech.
On April 27 there was some reasoned and balanced discussion of this issue in the letters. You also ran a story on the front page adding the Socialist Alternative Group to the list, barred for advocating equal marriage rights.
Why ever did you have to run a big front page photo of two heterosexual men kissing? The letters on May 4 were dominated by ravings from homophobic and religious maniacs (and I congratulate you on your robust responses). Then on May 11 by letters in support of your stance. None of the letters addressed the underlying issue around free speech, but were about whether you should have published a faked up photo on the front page.
Marriage equality was the only link to sexuality. The range of issues covered by the groups above are far wider than that. It is only free speech that has allowed me to form my own opinion on these matters, and that, more than anything, is worth fighting for. It is certainly more valuable than cheap sensationalism
Tim Houlton
Paget St, Hilton
The Ed says: The thing about free speech is it has a life of its own, Tim. We can’t tell people what they should put in their letters. Was the photo provocative? Sure, we were happy to prod the anthill to see what came scurrying out. Sensationalist? No.

Photo by Elena Monaco

Photo by Elena Monaco

No lingering doubts at Esplanade
IT was of interest to read the comments of Dr Julian Bolleter (Herald, May 11, 2013) regarding the parks of Perth.
He stated, “they do not encourage you to linger”. I enclose a photo of the mound at the Fremantle Esplanade taken at about midday on Saturday May 11, which suggests people do linger at the Fremantle Esplanade.
The mound will all to soon be concrete and how many will linger then? Dr Bolleter also believes parks should be a place for carbon sequestration. How much carbon does concrete sequester?
The council needs to consider these questions before damaging a park which works on so many levels, especially as the city looks towards 2029.
Elena Monaco
Norfolk St, Fremantle

Nappling
IT is NAPLAN testing this week and I have decided not to allow my child to participate.
National testing applies a broad brush approach to reviewing education across Australia; however it provides no benefit for an individual child. Teachers know if each child is meeting the standard, that’s why they went to uni to become professionals so why waste time and money doing national testing?
Testing could be used to assist those students who need it most, but that’s not what happens. Teachers are taken to task if students don’t meet the national standard. There is no assessing of why a student might not do well.
Is English a second language, are there health issues, economic or social disadvantage? Schools which do well in NAPLAN are given extra resources, what a great motivation for less-able students having the day off, as is often reported to happen in the private school sector.
My child will probably graduate achieving the standard: the greatest influence on his success is his economic and social advantages. I hope parents think long and hard about NAPLAN.
Kathy Anketell
Wood St, White Gum Valley

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