Letters 25.10.14

Deliberately deceitful
YOU report the WAPC openly conceded “unintended and undesirable” developments are happening (“WAPC admits: we’re a bit dense,” Herald, October 14, 2014).
In fact, the WAPC says on it website “a number of local governments have raised concerns about unintended and undesirable consequences”. The WAPC has sought wider public comment on proposed changes. You have misquoted the WAPC. I don’t believe this is simply lazy and poorly researched reporting: actually this misquote is deliberately deceitful. I believe your readership deserves better.
Cain Fogarty
Randell St, Perth
The Ed says: Thanks Cain. The quote was taken directly from a WAPC advertisement calling for submissions: “The WAPC proposes amendments to the R-Codes to manage the risks associated with unintended and undesirable consequences…”.

Puzzling logic
I DON’T often voice my support of politicians but I have felt a strong need to respond to a recent letter published in the Herald (“Advocacy begins at home,” October 4, 2014).
In it, Joy Collins stated Melissa Parke was driving her political agenda “at the expense of needs of local people”, by advocating for greater consultation in dealing with ISIS militants in Iraq.
The puzzling logic in the letter appeared to tie Ms Parke’s laudable balance on a number of Middle-East issues, with a perceived lack of support for young people in the community. I fail to see the connection, although I would argue a lot more could be done to make immigrants from the Middle-East more welcome in this country, especially the young.
I must admit I have been sceptical of Ms Parke’s role as my local federal member. Fremantle seems to be a plum job for Labor politicians as they seek ministerial positions, in both the federal and state parliaments. For its part, the Liberal party has appeared to view the electorate as a “no-go” zone. The sum result has been a lack of funding on community and related services for the 30 years I have lived in the area.
Although I recognise areas such as Leeming and Cockburn have been recent growth areas, it doesn’t explain the abundance of libraries, community centres and swimming pools liberally sprinkled across these and other suburbs that straddle the southern rail corridor.
Meanwhile, the local Fremantle pool gets a bit of an upgrade and the library gets a few new chairs.
So how has Ms Parke changed my scepticism? Well, I still think too little is still being done in the “safe” Labor suburb of Fremantle, but at least Ms Parke is representing an alternative world view than the one usually parroted by almost every Liberal and Labor politician. In short, she has found a role for her experience and knowledge gained from her previous work.
She is not gleefully promoting war to answer all the world’s problems. She is expressing a far more balanced and fair-minded foreign policy: one which Australia had traditionally advocated, before it hitched itself to the neo-conservatives in the US. I should add I believe the views she is expressing would not be winning her friends in the circles of power within Australia, and I respect that.
Although I would be happier if she got a few more federal dollars spent on Fremantle, I think she is playing a valuable role and she’s got my support.
Mark Sims
South Fremantle

A man of integrity
I DIDN’T know it at the time but I was shortchanged by $10 on Sunday at the local IGA store.
I realised I had no proof and no receipt. I thought to myself, probably not even worth a follow-up… then I phoned the store and spoke to Tony, the manager, who sounded rather inattentive and disinterested, as I expected.
I said in a rather hopeful tone, “if you find out after balancing your till that you are up $10 give me a call”.
Tony responded “yeah, I’ll call when I balance the till”. Of the few people I shared this story with, most had their doubts and so did I.
Later in the evening, Tony left a message for me “I have that $10 if you want to pick it up tomorrow”. I couldn’t believe it! I was floored. Of all the people in the world today, who would have thought the local supermarket would waste time on one customer for 10 bucks! Will I shop there again, you bet ya! Will I tell my friends to go there, you bet ya!
Thanks Tony, you are a man of integrity and your worth in business is priceless.
Katrina Wood
Reveley Court, Samson 

04. 43NEWS

I don’t care if you’re Attila
FURTHER to my letter (Herald, October 11, 2014) and Jane Hall’s reply (October 18) concerning the decline of Fremantle, with expensive parking and the greater problem of disgusting behavior I am wondering if there is anyone willing and strong enough to lead the town to better days.
I have been a union member and Labor voter since my apprentice days. Now the left’s agenda has changed and no longer represents the interests of the broader working community.
I disagree with most of the right-wing politicians but I will vote for the candidate willing to clean up and halt the decline of the town I fell in love with some years ago.
There has been plenty of talk, lots of ideas and visions and it is well known what the problems are, even to the point of them harming the international reputation of this place.
There have been articles in this paper from experts who have seen the rejuvenation of places like Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.  They have all agreed the anti-social problem is a key factor. For the town’s sake it is not quantum physics is it? If you have to pay through the nose for parking or get abused on the bus, witness disgusting behavior, watch shops and cafes close and are unable to find a decent toilet and at the same time there are malls offering a solution to all those problems then you know the result.
I know this, you know this, my nine-year-old daughter would know this as well as knowing what needs to be done so why is it that nothing is ever done by those who are paid to do so?
Either the council sees a different Fremantle when it visits or is either grossly incompetent, stupid or both. Perhaps it just doesn’t give a toss. I suspect the latter and for the first time in my life I might have to vote for the right come the next poll.
To be honest I’d vote for Attila the Hun if I knew he’d sort it out. I’m that sick of it.
Robert Glenton
Carrington St, White Gum Valley

A dirty secret
WHAT concerns me most about the recent debate about Kings Square is the cause has been put down to anti-social behaviour and a prevailing view the solution is for police to fix it.
Is it really the job of police to clean up our social issues? Are we proposing that police deposit all anti-socials in our already over-crowded prisons for shouting and looking dishevelled?
Or should they just move them back to whatever poor places that they came from? Maybe a special police CAT bus can take them back to Cooby or Kwinana? And the homeless ones, well, out sight out of mind. Where will this lead? Inevitably police will need new powers to really fix the problem, maybe stronger vagrancy laws (eg, no credit card and you’re out) or only certain looking people (eg, no real scruffy, just trendy scruffy) allowed in town during shopping hours.
And yes, I do visit Kings Square regularly with my young kids and yes, I have seen shouting matches, drunken scuffles and been hassled for money on a number of occasions. But you know what, big deal! The poor, the sick, the drunk and the angry are all part of life. They always have been and always will be. I don’t mind my kids seeing it, they will eventually anyway and its a chance for them to see that not everything in life is neat and rosy.
But I have a dirty secret. Even though I visit Kings Square at least once a week, I rarely buy anything (so sorry) and it is not because of the anti-social behaviour. What I do in Kings Square is take my kids to the public library, then the public playground, inevitably with kids we have to go to the public toilet and in summer I will enjoy the public-funded Christmas lights and public-funded outdoor movie nights. And you know what? That was the same before Myer closed. Am I in the wrong? Should I be moved on?
And maybe that is just it. Maybe Kings Square is a public space, not a private one. And instead of lobbying for a police state to sweep the streets clean so we can buy more stuff, maybe we should be lobbying for more public facilities and maybe some that will actually help the anti-socials.
I know it’s a far-out concept but maybe what Kings Square needs is things like subsidised childcare, shop fronts for government services, free tai chi, free art classes, literacy programs, public-funded gym/sports programs. If it is public space, maybe we should embrace it, not fight it.
And is it any wonder that when the public housing list is a dead end and the local/state/federal governments are cutting every other human service possible that we have more social problems? Surely this can’t be a surprise and is only going to get worse unless we lobby/vote/protest for it, no matter how many flash buildings are built.
Surely the health and wellbeing of all the people in and around the buildings matters? Right?
Robert Sheehy
Hebbard St, Samson

I can relate
AT last some letters I can relate to. Suzanne Hanley (Herald letters, October 18, 2014) do you need any help fund-raising for plane tickets to give such notable experts on the middle-east as Alannah, Simone, and the intelligent Sarah Hanson the opportunity to talk to ISIS.
After around seven years of living in various parts of the middle-east I became aware that with a fundamentalist, “talk” doesn’t work. I also personally knew people they murdered, who were dear friends and excellent surgeons, slaughtered nevertheless.
Mr Rod Steed—what great points you make. My hubby and I returned to WA from Sydney and previously had loved Freo so we found a house here only seven minutes from the city. Do I go there now? No, I am so disgusted at the parking.
As for entertainment? Not a play in sight since Victoria Hall was closed—so much for live theatre. I no longer drive into Freo for anything. It is dead and not yet buried—what a great shame since we many years ago fell in love with it. Sadly, no longer. Get rid of this dreadful mayor who seems to put skating ramps and bikes ahead of humans. He is not and never will be Boris Johnson. He lacks imagination, style and humour. He is as stale as he has made this city.
Avril Hagan
Montreal St, Fremantle
The Ed says: This letter has been significantly edited for length.

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