Letters 16.5.15

It’s not a council garden
MY eight-year-old daughter Georgia died from a brain stem tumour five years ago.
Recently I was subjected to an extremely stressful event, thanks to the cemeteries boad.
We’d purchased a family plot in Fremantle cemetery. Georgia’s headstone sits within the plot near the west wing cremation centre.
When I arrived at the cemetery eight weeks ago, to my horror I was served a “breach of code of conduct” document: it had actually been fastened to the large rose tree that is planted there.
The document stated we were not allowed to place any memorial gifts of any kind, (flowers only on anniversaries) along with many other demands. This really sent me into a massive panic attack where I could not breathe, and had chest pains. I was fortunate there were people around to help me.
As a family we think it is a disgrace. It is a cemetery not a council garden, and it is a child’s grave. That’s what people grieving do when they visit—they leave little gifts. Many are from her school friends—they don’t feel too good about it. It’s part of their healing too. I contacted the board and I am still waiting for its reply.
I feel it has had enough time to reply to my letter of concern, which was mainly about the way the breach was delivered. I am totally shocked by this. Supposed to be caring, they have no idea. Frankly I am appalled.
We always keep Georgia’s grave very tidy and it is well looked after. So disappointed—where is the compassion?
Byass Rise, Leeming

See through the spin
SEVEN pages of spin from Freo’s CEO and mayor and yet they still managed to avoid providing answers to questions about the Kings Square Business Plan. This has dragged on for eight months, and all we get is more pages of dribble!
The only thing to come out of this latest smokescreen is we can establish they have fudged the NPV exactly as predicted. They fabricated a $97.5 million residual value for the building in 20 years to turn a negative $30 million NPV into a positive $4 million NPV. This is indefensible nonsense. Land appreciates in value with time. Buildings depreciate with time—buildings do not double in value. Their explanation is full of confidence, but lacks competence!
Our CEO and mayor cannot even be consistent with their assertions. They claim the current civic centre, which they are replacing, has a building value of zero. The Queensgate Centre, which they claim generated $750,000 per year, has a building value of zero!
According to their own assertions, these two buildings should now be worth squillions. They directly contradict themselves without even blinking! That takes years of practice.
Clearly these assumptions have been manipulated to turn a negative $30 million NPV into a positive one. That’s $30 million of ratepayers’ money down the drain. Yet Cr Andrew Sullivan has dismissed this discrepancy as being “academic”. Frightening!
The question now turns to “who concocted this assumption?” Was it the city’s consultants, Leedwell Strategic (who generated the secret business case), or was it our mayor, CEO and councillors? If this assumption is not in the Leedwell business case, our CEO and mayor have some very serious questions to answer.
We have repeatedly asked for the business case to be made available, but conveniently it is “confidential”. This is not a confidential document, but it is pretty easy to understand why the council “deemed” it to be confidential.
However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Since July 2012, our council has voted to transfer almost $50 million of funds from the city’s investment reserve into various municipal reserve accounts for spending on facilities and services. Our council has an investment policy SG14, which specifically states this is not meant to happen. It states the asset base is to be preserved and investment reserves funds must only be invested in assets that generate a commercial rate of return.
The city’s investment base generates income to supplement rates revenue and other income. All over-ruled by simple votes of council!
That is about $50 million eroded from the city’s asset base, and spent on pet projects like the “sustainability reserve”—whatever that is. There may be cash sloshing around today, but what happens to our rates when all of the investment properties and assets have been sold?
What is the spin machine going to do next? “Play the man” of course their old favourite.
Martin Lee
Carnac St, Fremantle

Peddlers of pineapples
WHAT a precious and vindictive response by the Herald to Dr Amy Nicholas’ very reasonable criticism of your reporting (Herald letters, May 9, 2015).
Nothing Dr Nicholas has written suggests she has any kind of God complex, as you imply. Quite the contrary, she avoids relying on her authority and takes pains to explain her position with detail and measure.
And yet you feel the need to sully her credibility through association with a 50-year-old scandal. This is the old “attack the attacker” (ad hominem) ploy. It’s usually delivered as a low and desperate blow calculated to deflect attention from the real argument.
Which in this case is how a story was reported. Your article petered into a five paragraph description of Candice-Marie Fox’s fringe claim, which was basically pineapples-cure-cancer. It may not have been deliberate, but you certainly gave her views a lot of oxygen, without the obvious caveat of comment from a doctor or medical researcher. Kind of an odd thing not to do, even if you bristle at the suggestion that you must.
So the “reasonable person” you mention (and wouldn’t Dr Nicholas qualify?) would just as likely conclude the Herald has given some credence to Ms Fox’s opinion, and I reckon your report was enough to rile any doctor practising evidence-based medicine.
Ed, medicine has evolved beyond recognition in the half-century since the Thalidomide babies. The vast majority of today’s doctors rely on treatments which have demonstrated benefits proven through experiments and trials, which have been reviewed and published in publicly accessible journals. Medicine is complex and imperfect, but ultimately it’s effective and transparent.
By contrast the peddlers and proponents of any number of alternative remedies offer up simplistic solutions to the desperate and gullible and obfuscate to protect their nonsensical beliefs. And yes, people do die because they put their faith in pretty fantasies.
While Dr Nicholas’ counsel on how to do your job may have offended your grizzled old journalist’s pride, she had a point and deserved better treatment.
Craig Cooper
Hampton Rd,
South Fremantle

It makes no sense
CAN you imagine my surprise when contacting the community safety and security after-hours number at the City of Fremantle recently
My call was answered by a gentleman with a service: he told me he only took messages and any matters would be dealt with during business hours.
Why call it an after-hours contact that only works during office hours?
And why pay for an answering service when the council could just have voice mail telling people to call back during office hours and to leave a message.
Why aren’t security people working after hours—when most burglaries and damage to persons or property occurs?
Kurt Miller
South Tce, Fremantle

Phobic pooches
STEVENS RESERVE is a fenced area where dogs of all sorts must coexist.
Fremantle council is proposing to create another enclosed area within the existing area for dogs that are apparently—according to a council representative—“fearful of open space”. Agoraphobic dogs.
This is pointless and wasteful use of council resources. Beyond that there has been no consultation with people who use the reserve, an easy issue for the council to deal with, as it has the addresses of licensed dog owners in Fremantle.
It really does seem a silly idea, if such an area was needed there is any number of places where it could be set up
Jeremy Green
Stevens St, Fremantle


Dirty words
DISGUSTING use of explicit language in a local newspaper.
Sitting down to read the Saturday May 9, 2015 edition of the Herald, I began with the first page article “Safely home”.
Not far into the article, I read the first expletive and asked my partner “Since when did the word S-*-I-T become acceptable to publish in a newspaper?”.
So you might imagine my reaction when just a few paragraphs on I read that the word ‘fu%*ing’ was also written in full. This is not the first time I have seen foul language published in the Herald. Always it forms part of a quote.
It is absolutely inappropriate and adds nothing to the strength of the story being told. In my view, it degrades the quality of the reporting.
Surely the Herald can ensure such foul language does not get published? Given the topic and (albeit censored) content of this letter, I do not expect it to be published in your newspaper. I would, however, appreciate an assurance that I can expect to read clean, professional reporting in the future.
L Garrett
zthe Ed says: Thanks for the letter. We cop heat on this regularly: we just have a view it’s nonsensical to write f*ck (you’re reading the full word in your head right now). Asterisks are an outdated affectation and we note fewer newspapers bother with them. We don’t publish vulgarities willy-nilly but if someone says a word and it forms part of the quote we use, we print the word in full. We just think it’s a bit s*lly not to.

Life in Freo
A letter to the editor?
Not another whinge
No, not this time as I haven’t been on an all night binge
Loud music coming from a park?
Woof Woof …Can’t dogs do anything else than bark?
That’s like asking why there needs to be two of every animal on the ark
This is a letter to congratulate the trio who work in Shepherd’s Newsagency on High
They’ve soldiered on while so many others have said bye bye
Also congratulations to those that work at the chemist on the corner of Cantonment and Queen.
I only visit when a part of my body is in grief
And they always …ALWAYS give professional and good service beyond belief
However, while I’m here
I have often wondered
Why is the Blue Cat orange and the Red Cat green?
Mmmm ..Perhaps I should write a letter of complaint to our Mayor Brad
C’mon …Let’s face it folks
Life in Freo…Ain’t that bad
Lee Lovmark
Marine Tce, South Fremantle

Feeling fruity
I LOVE the Herald: I read it more than the Charlotte Observer.
I feel I was flagrantly misled by the Herald, as was so kindly pointed out by Dr Amy Nichols (Herald letters, May 9, 2015).
I have anal cancer and have been eating pineapples ever since the Herald declared them to be the cure! Little did I know I was eating pineapples for nothing! Thank you Dr Nichols—I have been saving money since I read your letter.
Scott Petrill
Savannah Rd,
North Carolina, USA

Herald drawngoes
WHAT do you store in a draw? (“A lady in red,” Herald at home, May 9, 2015).
I do enjoy your paper but could do without such niggles.
Elvira King
The Ed says: Our sub-editor is kicking himself in his draws. He is forever replacing draws with drawers but this one snuck through.

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