LETTERS 15.6.13

18. 24LETTERSSit on it
FOR goodness sake, how many articles do we have to endure with people whinging about concrete? (Herald, June 8, 2013).
We need as many sporting venues as we can build. Whether they are concrete, grass, timber it doesn’t matter. Sport and exercise are essential for our well-being. They bring people together, opening up communication, joy and laughter.
I’m hoping there are seats built around, so we can offer our encouragement and can join in the fun with our younger ones.
Ronelle Brossard
Martha St, Beaconsfield

Don’t bury history
THE concreting people need to work gently in Wilson Park, if at all (Herald, June 8, 2013). It is a place rich in our sporting and social history.
In the 1930s kids called the narrow  stretch of grass near the railway line the Rec (for Recreation). It is where Frank ‘Scranno’  Jenkins, Jack ‘Corp’ Reilly, the Lewington brothers Clive and Neil, Jack Murray, occasionally ‘Hobart Harry’ Carbon and others played. They were also there when the terrible news came through that their hero Ron Doig had died of injuries received when captaining South Fremantle in 1932.
The space was always narrow. The Rec kids went “hard at the ball” before that became part of the football lexicon. By the forties and early fifties, South Fremantle was the best football team in Australia and the Rec kids were stars.
There were other Rec personalities: Len Lewington, Clive’s cousin, distinguished himself there.
American servicemen bivouacked nearby: One, who happened to be a contender for world lightweight boxing title, was rash enough to pick a fight with Len who thrashed the pro. An interesting place needing care.
Ron Davidson
Fothergill St, Fremantle
The Ed says: Ron (and Dianne) Davidson are linch-pins of the Fremantle History Society.

Wreaking havoc in Freo
SO the mayor has gone to China to lecture them on sustainability (Herald, June 8, 2013). Meanwhile his unsustainable ideas are wreaking havoc in Fremantle.
The Herald’s front page of the same edition about concreting part of Wilson Park, coming on top of concreting the Esplanade reserve for a skateboard plaza, is evidence of expensive vandalism.
Never mind the mayor is toying with the idea of concreting the western end of Pioneer Park as well.
The mayor scoffed at the idea we don’t have enough green spaces and grass.
Some councillors were happy to vote for concrete over grass on the Esplanade because of a “drying climate”—apparently indicating a necessity to reduce our green spaces. One council officer described the councillors’ views as “insane”.
Fremantle council should do much better than this. The 2012 Catalyse Community Satisfaction survey showed only 22 per cent of people are delighted with the council as a governing body. That is well down on the average of 39 per cent. Perceptions of value for money from council have dropped from 69 per cent to 53 in four years.
Satisfaction with how the community is informed about local issues has dropped from 74 per cent in 2003 to 59 now,  and with how vandalism and anti-social behaviour has been dealt with has dropped from 70 per cent to 52, and with efforts to attract tourists has dropped from 88 per cent to 63 in the same period.
The number delighted with economic development in Fremantle is half that of other councils.
The council elections are only 16 weeks away. We need mature people with a smattering of wisdom to step up to the challenge of being on council. Fremantle is too important for there not to be an energetic contest for every council ward, and for the mayoralty.
John Dowson
Mouat St, Fremantle

Concrete irony
HOW ironic that our fearless post-modern mayor has been invited to China to take part in a conference on the greening of coastal cities (Herald, June 8, 2013). This at a time when the city he presides over is slowly dying.
I realise some businesses are fleeing the port city due to venal landlords who probably do not live within a bull’s roar of Fremantle: The Chinese could probably advise him how to deal with this—gulags and firing squads come to mind.
Dr Pettit could tell them how he is going to “Green” the Esplanade and Wilson Park with a skate park and a basketball court: This is probably just the sort of greening the Chinese specialise in, so he will be among like-minded people.
Whatever happens, I hope he will not return full of ardour to wreck what is left of Fremantle’s CBD.
Geoff Dunstone
Carrington St, Palmyra

Falling apart
FREMANTLE is falling apart (Herald letters, June 8, 2013) and having been a resident here for more than 30 years, it is really sad to see.
Landlords charging exorbitant rents for shops is turning the centre of town into a dump. Landlords charging exorbitant rents for houses is causing so much suffering for so many. Meanwhile, perfectly good housing is left to rot and be vandalised as the Homeswest waiting list grows beyond five years.
For all those complaining about the horrors a skate park will bring to the city, have any of you sat and watched the kids skate? The support, encouragement, camaraderie and striving for perfection that is evident amongst these kids could be lesson to us all.
Now there are complaints about a basket ball court at Wilson Park. There used to be a basketball court on the beach side of the tracks. What did it get replaced with? A carpark. When do you ever see Wilson Park being used for anything but a car park? Hardly ever.
Personally I would rather see kids and youth positively engaged in a healthy, life-affirming physical activity than hanging around town bored, or stuck in front of a screen at home.
Narayani Palmer
Cadd St, Beaconsfield

Slippery figs
I AM not opposed to a basketball court on the chronically-underused Wilson Park, but question the wisdom of mixing fast-turning basketballers with squishy, slippery Moreton Bay figs. It’s no-one’s front yard—move it a little south.
Steve Grant
Howick Ct, Coogee
Disclaimer: Steve Grant is a Herald staffer.

Made unwelcome in the place I learn
I HAVE been a student at the University of Notre Dame for more than five years and am studying Law and Arts.
I’m also in a long-term relationship, and comfortably identify as gay. This latter aspect of my character is not particularly relevant to my studies; it’s just another part of who I am.
I’ve always felt completely accepted by my peers, who by and large didn’t blink an eye when it first came up in conversation. Has there been any issue reconciling my sexuality with my choice of tertiary education provider? No, because the two things have very little to do with one another.
My personal life is not up for discussion nor criticism at the hands of my teachers. I am studying law, not theology; therefore my university is teaching me to be a good lawyer, not a good Catholic.
So it came as a surprise when an email popped up in my inbox from campus admin, inviting me to attend a lecture by Professor John Finnis, on the topic of “opposing same-sex marriage”.  After receiving several reminder emails, I did a quick search on this Finnis character, thinking there must be a good reason for urging the entire student body to attend his talk.
Was this to be a balanced debate, an inclusive discourse on a timely and important subject? No, apparently not. His lecture may have been dressed up as a thoughtful academic discussion, governed by reason not faith, but all it took was a quick glance at his biography to deduce otherwise. John Finnis is a staunch Catholic with an attitude of thinly veiled disgust towards homosexuals.
If you look up the University of Notre Dame website, you will see a media release on the home page. The article summarises Professor Finnis’ speech, praises his “extraordinary series of works” and gushes about how “honoured” the university was to host “one of the leading philosophical thinkers of our time”.
Well, I’ve spoken to a number of Notre Dame students, and the reaction to this event may more aptly described as shame, embarrassment, and disgust. For an institution of higher learning to even consider allowing someone like John Finnis to speak on campus is one thing, but to push students to attend, and subsequently promote his hurtful agenda on the university website is simply unconscionable.
Students at Notre Dame have had to accept a ban on certain student associations whose views are seen as incompatible with those of the university.  For Notre Dame to turn around and start proudly displaying its discriminatory views, by promoting those of Professor Finnis, is simply hypocritical: It cannot say hurtful things and call it free speech one day, and then suppress our right to expression and association the next.
Professor Finnis has never met me but, according to him, I am “morally depraved” and contribute to the degradation of society. All these years I’ve been paying to study at Notre Dame, cultivating a passion for justice, equality, and the rule of law, with the obviously misguided idea in my head that my education will one day help me contribute to the betterment of society!
How silly of me. According to Professor Finnis, my sexual preference clearly negates all that.  s a friend of mine and fellow student aptly concluded: Thank you, Notre Dame, for making me feel so unwelcome in the place that I come to learn.
Ella Wiskiewski
Henry St, Fremantle

Skater shelter
WITH all the discussion about a skate park in Fremantle, no mention has been made of weather protection.
The most valued parks are undercover, such as the major one in Leederville and the very popular Boyanup. Given the proposed park is planned to host major competitions, it should be reliable for use in all seasons.
Colin Nichol
Bibra Lake

Now we know
NOW we all know why Freo council is building a $1.2 million skate park (the mayor is an avid skateboarder) would it be at all possible to divert a few dollars from this project to fix the change-room and toilet facilities at our beaches?
My wife and I use Port Beach almost every day and the facilities are disgusting. I also note the new change facilities at Leighton, which were supposed to be rebuilt as part of the multi-million dollar developments there, are worse, as they have no roof!
It was noted in a recent Herald article the toilets at South Beach are on the nose too. Any chance the mayor could take a trip and check them out? We are a tourist destination. I wonder what they think of our beach facilities? I know the locals don’t think much of them.
I won’t hold my breath waiting but I do if I use the changerooms. Perhaps we could involve a local solar company and put in hot showers. Now, there’s a thought.
Keep up the good work at the Chook.
Paul New
Hubble St, East Fremantle
The Ed says: Thanks Paul. But go easy on those exclamation marks: Our ears hurt.

Suffering is inhumane
I AGREE with Jolly Read’s Thinking Allowed on euthanasia (Herald, June 8, 2013).
My father was euthanised in the Netherlands after having fought bowel cancer for years. Over time the pain increased to a level that even morphine did not help enough and he was so tired and just wanted to let go and die, but his heart was too strong, so my old man suffered for far too long.
When he told me he wanted to be euthanised I immediately agreed with him as I did not see any reason to prolong his suffering: We would not do it to our dogs and cats, so why to humans?
My dad received an injection from his GP after the entire family agreed with his decision and finally slept in peace.
I hear the argument this is not the Christian way, but surely Christianity is about humanity and the god christians believe in would not want to prolong human suffering. Euthanasia is a humane way of showing our love for the people we care about. Keeping them alive when they suffer is cruel, inhumane and unchristian.
Roel Loopers
Stokes St, White Gum Valley

On the right tack?
COUNCILLORS are democratically elected by the residents and ratepayers of the municipality.
Once elected, councillors take an oath of office to carry out their role impartially, to the best of their ability, and in the best interests of the municipality.
As an individual a councillor is expected to represent the interests of residents and ratepayers. This includes providing community leadership and guidance, and improving communication between the community and council.
A councillor can only make decisions at formally constituted council meetings. Actions occur after a majority vote decision of the council or of a formally delegated committee. As an individual, neither the mayor nor councillors have the authority to act or make decisions on behalf of the council or its staff.
I read the  Herald’s excellent article, “Club to ramp it up?” (June 8, 2013) in which Cr Andrew Sullivan said he’d found it “difficult to tell the truth from the lies”.
And from the vice-commodore, Mr Kucera, who will study objections and “sort out the truth from fiction”?
Two very similar comments by parties on the same side of the fence?
But we don’t know where the truth is and where the lies begin?
I think Cr Sullivan should get back onto the right side of the fence and support his ratepayers and residents. After all he is the councillor for the south ward and is bound by his obligations in the code of conduct for council members. Maybe he should review the code again for his own enlightenment?
Graham McLachlan
Orient St, South Fremantle

A tall dark stranger
This tall, dark stranger arrived in old Fremantle town,
A young man on a mission, not the type content with just hanging around.
His trademark style of socks to the knees and shiny boots laced tight
This young gun was a man on a mission and was ready for the fight.
They had at last a talent standing head and shoulders above the best
One who proudly carried Fremantle’s colours upon his chest.
At season’s end where money and trades were made,
They failed to lure his talent to another brigade.
Never in doubt, the decision to call home his chosen team,
His only goal, his lifelong dream.
We in the west owe much more than just a vote of thanks
To this friend bloke that chose to join our ranks.
How do you honour an Aussie so true blue?
This fine young man, for making so many dreams come true.
You are one in a million Pav, thank you.
Malcolm Taylor
Ardross

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