LETTERS 25.5.13

14 21LETTERSDymocks will be missed
DEAR Sacha Bluntschli and family.
Thank you for your lovely warm letter (Herald, May 11, 2013) in praise of Dymocks book shop and staff and I say hear! hear!
I love Dymocks book shop and staff, too. Their service is second to none. We want our children to love reading but the Fremantle council can think of nothing but commercialism and demanding huge, impossible rents from small businesses. How many firms have had to pack up and move out of Fremantle because of the exorbitant rents and conditions? How many books need to be sold in order to meet their ridiculous demands?
The council knows it’s impossible. How dare the council claim extensive consultation with the community when it did nothing of the sort, and the superb residents, who genuinely love Fremantle, fight one battle after another to keep our beloved city but are ignored and treated with contempt?
Who’s next on your list, Mr Mayor? It’s pretty easy to guess. Empty out the mall first. And think about a new name for our fair city because it’s not going to look like the city we know and love. The mall will be empty soon and in case you think I’ve been going around canvassing from owners and staff, I haven’t.  It’s common knowledge. They wouldn’t even know me.
Eloise Dortch, I agree with you completely on all the points you raised in your wonderful letter in the Herald of the same date, especially the last paragraph. Thank you.
Wendy Shaw Markmann
East Fremantle
The Ed says: Wendy, the Dymocks’ building is owned privately, not by the council. Many retail tenants complaining of high rents have private landlords.

Knee-jerk busy-bodying
THANK you for reporting Dr Elena Monaco’s proposed petition demanding that skateboarders should be banned from various areas of Freo if they do not use helmets, and her assertion that research shows skate parks are bad because they become infested with aggressive young men who take drugs and behave badly (Herald, May 18, 2013).
This sort of knee-jerk, busy-body, scare-mongering, ban and regulate everything to death, authoritarian nonsense is a blight on Australian life. The particular report cited by Dr Monaco is actually fairly positive about skate parks. As the report’s abstract says, “those activities that occur within the unstructured context of a skate park [are] shown to offer considerable potential for positive youth development”.
Perhaps also Dr Monaco is making the common mistake of confusing correlation with causation. If some young men behaving badly are found in a skate park, it does not follow that skate parks make young men behave badly. There is even some evidence of young men behaving badly before any skate parks existed. Shakespeare is completely silent about skateboards and skate parks and yet one of his characters laments,
“I would there were no age between sixteen and three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the rest; for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry, stealing, fighting…”
It is much better for everyone that such youths, with or without their skateboards, should be in plain sight in a busy public area like the Esplanade rather than wandering aimlessly through the back streets of Fremantle seeking opportunities for mischief.
Dr Monaco says spending ratepayers’ money on such a skateboarding facility is “irresponsible government”. She could not be more wrong. Irresponsible government is better illustrated by making excessive regulations, then wasting scarce resources and breeding justified resentment by enforcing them.
Joe Boswell
Norman St, Fremantle

Wainwright all talk no action
I READ with great interest the article on Sam Wainwright (Herald, May 18, 2013) as he announces his intention to run as the Socialist Alliance candidate for Fremantle at the September federal election.
It looks like Sam is good at holding others to account on social justice but not himself. I remind readers of your article “Mum prays for shelter,” (Herald, July 30, 2011) and my subsequent letter “Shame on you Fremantle” (Herald, August 13, 2011).
Sam is urging Fremantle locals “looking for a left wing voice to abandon the ALP”, presumably voting for him in the September federal election.
Interestingly, Sam was not able to differentiate himself from Melissa Parke (incumbent ALP MP) nor Adele Charles (former state MP) when all local politicians were castigated in my letter after not speaking up against the horrific plight of the homeless mother and two kids forced to sleep in a borrowed van in a park.
Here, it was up to the local Fremantle community to speak out over this tragedy in subsequent letters to the Herald and nothing was heard from our aspiring local community politician, Sam Wainwright.
What is even harder to take is Sam going on to say, “housing affordability is another growing problem in WA with people sleeping rough on the streets only the tip of the iceberg”. Maybe Sam could explain to the federal Fremantle electorate why it has taken him all this time since your article and subsequent letters to eventually find his voice on the homeless. Has this something to do with the upcoming federal election?
On a final point, Sam is quoted: “What we need in this country is a serious political force that is 100 per cent on the side of working people, the environment and our communities”. Somehow. I don’t believe that using the plight of the homeless as a political football is compatible with this noble objective.
Politics maybe a mug’s game Sam, but you will be held to account.
Giovanni Mastrocinque
Windsor Rd, East Fremantle

Ramps first
I WOULD hope Fremantle council might consider the immediate development of ramps at both South and Bathers beaches.
The council could reconsider the amount of concrete going into the skate plaza for a very small proportion of the Fremantle population.
There has been bandied about an ABS figure that 21 per cent of young people use skateboards. What proportion of the population is counted as young? What proportion is that of the Fremantle population and would that 21 per cent actually go to a skateboard park or just use it as a means of getting somewhere?
I recently visited the two known skateboard parks and how many skaters did I see? Not one.
Let us go for disabled access to the beach, rather than another white elephant of the future. We have beautiful beaches. Let’s enable more use of them.
Marion Blair
South St, Beaconsfield
Ed’s note: The Chook checked the claim of 21 per cent of youth being skaters with the Australian Bureau of Statistics after the FICRA meeting and found it wasn’t true. They say the figure is actually 49 per cent, but it includes scooter riders and roller bladers. 

Tolerance please
MAY we please have some tolerance? Is a petition aiming to criminalise skateboarding (Herald, May 18, 2013) really motivated by worry skateboarders might fall off their boards and hurt themselves?
Doctor, I shall not sign your petition. I shall not mollycoddle my children. Staying at home and developing the long-term problems of cardiac disease and metabolic syndrome will be a greater cost to our health service than the short-term costs of breaking a wrist.
Please, let us all be responsible for our own safety and health.
Additionally, are we really concerned that provision of a skatepark will somehow increase crime? Could it just be we are threatened by young people having fun?
I would have thought a bigger problem  in our society is a lack of getting outside and having fun, with anything more than a walk being criminalised unless we are padded to the hilt in protective gear.
I enjoyed watching my young daughter climb a tree in the park today, and it is a sad reflection of our times that I looked around nervously in case someone came along to tell me how irresponsible I was for letting her climb to such a height.
Yes, she has broken her arm roller-blading, in our local skatepark at Booyembara. This is what happens when you test your limits, but I would rather this than see her stay at home playing computer games.
It might actually be a good thing for your health in the long term to go outside and learn a new activity such as roller-blading, skateboarding and parcours.
Just think, every hour these scary young people spend perfecting a skateboard trick is an hour less they might spend beating us to a pulp.
Before you condemn me as a stay-at-home whinge bag with nothing better to do than write letters of complaint, I am heading out for a gentle potter to the river on my bike and, before you rush to phone the police emergency response unit, don’t worry, I shall wear a helmet.
Phil Nicholls
Stevens St, Fremantle

Ripper ranger
LAST weekend I had to take my wife into the emergency department at Fremantle Hospital in a hurry. I parked the car in Alma Street and we rushed inside.
A lot later I returned to the car to put some money in the ticket machine only to find a ranger taking a photo of the car. When I explained what had happened he told me to buy a ticket, and hoped my wife got better.
No parking fine. Thank you, Fremantle.
Richard Gable
McGregor Rd, Palmyra

Fire thanks
WE would like to convey our thanks to the Fire and Emergency Services, WA Police Department and all others parties who attended the fire at 6B Winterfold Road, Hilton on Wednesday the 15th of May 2013.
Without their professionalism and diligence during this time we are sure not only ourselves but others would have experienced loss of property and belongings.
C & C Pansini
Winterfold Rd, Hilton

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