Letters 20.6.15

Unkind cut
WHILE I understand it is difficult to cover a lot in an article with limited column space, I would like the chance to provide some additional information to the printed comment in last week’s article on the Fremantle Prison’s axing of the convict ceremony. I did say it was “disappointing” but I also said it was “understandable”. Most importantly, I hoped the money saved would be used to conserve and interpret the history of all eras of the prison’s life.
Anne Brake
Thompson Rd, North Fremantle

Refuge not closing
CONTRARY to recent letters which suggest the Warrawee women’s refuge will cease operation, the department has reassured the city the refuge will continue to operate at its existing service levels under the management of a new community service provider.
After facing several rounds of not receiving funding increases, as others organisations did, from the state government, the city regretfully decided it couldn’t further subsidise the refuge when other specialised providers can run the service for the funding that is available.
The city is working cooperatively with the department to ensure a smooth transition is achieved.
The council made a similar decision on emergency accommodation for young people several years ago. The city decided to no longer run that service directly and today, the service is still provided and run successfully by the not-for-profit sector.
The decision allowed the council to reallocate the money to fund a youth officer and a range of youth programs that were not previously available. The original service was retained and the community received more services than before. This is what the council aims to achieve through this process to ensure a positive outcome for the women, the city and the wider Fremantle community.
Marisa Spaziani
Director, Community Development
City of Fremantle
The Ed says: We’ve reviewed every letter and posting on the issue, and only one suggests the refuge is closing.

Lock-step outrage
I REFER to the letters “Saddened and ashamed”, “Appalled” etc in your June 6 edition, especially the lock-step conformity of the thought processes at work.
Gone are the days, thank god, when it was considered commendable for a journalist to get in the face of a bereaved individual to induce tears for the camera, but clearly the pendulum has swung too far when a bizarre death occurs in a quiet town, and the police and press are expected to be totally tight-lipped because family are grieving.
Personally, I find this more disturbing than the death. It could easily result in a less-than-complete investigation or one where facts have been carefully arranged behind the scenes before presentation to the public.
Also, I wonder if the howl of righteous indignation would be half so loud if the family in question was of the inconspicuous John Q Public variety. Is it possible we are dealing with people who look upon police as their personal security guards, and the press as a PR front obligated to report nothing but good?
As for the Herald report’s author, Andrew Smith, I see nothing remiss in his May 30 article. Reading between the lines of the somewhat cliched, journalistic prose, I get the impression he knows more and is actually exercising considerable restraint.
In any event, he has as much right as anybody to speak his mind. He makes it plain his observations are based largely on hearsay. If, however, they turn out to be substantially correct, I think this robotic squad owes him an apology.  And if I’ve just given anyone reason to feel “saddened and ashamed”, “appalled”, “disgusted”, etc then be my guest!
P Janet Halls
Glyde St, East Fremantle
The Ed says: This letter has been significantly edited for length and legal reasons.

Good ole boys Down Under
AT a 1945 victory parade in Atlanta, Georgia, adult family members pointed out to us little first cousins a passing horse-drawn carriage in which sat two or three white-bearded, frail old men in broad-brimmed felt hats, who I seem to recall were somewhat distractedly acknowledging the crowd’s acclamation.
Years later, I understood these very old men would have been among the tiny remnant of the million or more Johnny Rebs (Rebels) who, 80 years earlier, during the American Civil War (1861-1865), had striven almost too well against the armed might of the USA.
What we as children did not at all appreciate in the 1940s and 1950s—despite more than once being told so by aunties and other older relatives—was that our southern society at that time included a multitude of women and men, then aged in their 80s and 90s, who had been born into chattel slavery.
Sightings of Confederate veterans at public events were unusual rather than rare, though all these old chaps would have been gone by c. 1950. Nearly all African-American emancipated slaves would have passed away a decade or so later. Also in those years, our family more than once saw chain gangs of convicts as we drove past along state highways.
And, one day in downtown Atlanta, we young cousins  were startled to see standing on a street corner, soliciting for cash donations, a tall, white-robed Ku Klux Klansman—cruciform emblem, pointed hood and all, though with his not very intelligent-looking face uncovered.
I am one among numerous “white fellas” (including women, often working as nurses and teachers) who more than 40 years ago, in the Kimberley and other parts of the north-west, would have met with indigenous Australian station workers in the pastoral industry.
Even in the early 1970s, these stockmen, yardmen and their wives working as domestic servants—despite all indigenous Australians having won citizenship in 1967—were only half-emerging from a de facto though clearly recognisable status of serfdom.
Finally, I am among the millions of Australians today who for a decade or more have become more and more uneasily aware that in their efforts to keep out Asian asylum-seekers, the present-day and recent federal governments have more than once ignored the rule of law—including those of the sea—and almost certainly have committed multiple abuses against human rights.
It perhaps would not be stretching things too much to suggest that WA, and indeed much if not all of Australia, has rather more in common with the old American Deep South than bears thinking about.
CE Dortch
Howard St, Fremantle


Not news
The front page article on the tragic death of Reuben Stack in last fortnight’s Herald displayed a level of insensitivity to the family of Reuben that has left the family and many of their friends stunned.
The article was based almost entirely on what the writer, editor Andrew Smith, referred to continually as speculation. Speculation is just that and surely, in the absence of solid evidence or facts, should remain unreported.
Mr Smith expressed his frustration at the lack of such evidence being made available to him by police or family and friends. So be it. That does not give him the right to speculate wildly on the front page of his newspaper with apparent disregard for the effect this must have on the grieving family.
If nothing else it is just bad journalism. It is certainly not news.
Tony Connor
Staples St, North Fremantle

Dog fight over oval
AFTER years of being a dog owner, loving dogs, and having children attend Palmyra primary school, I am disappointed to continue to witness some—not all—dog owners not taking complete responsibility for their dog’s actions.
The school oval has, for a number of years, been a place where local dog owners have taken their dogs, after hours, for exercise. It was a place I sometimes took our dog before he passed away.
Both dogs and owners socialise whilst getting in some exercise and enjoying the lovely afternoons. Unfortunately, some dog owners are slowly ruining this privilege, seeming to forget this green space is a school oval. Children attend this place, and many people play sports and exercise there.
Palmyra primary school is not a park, nor is it a designated dog exercise area. Dog owners do not have a right to exercise their dogs there. People need to understand they are privileged to not have the gates completely locked and “No Admittance” signs erected.
On the weekend I witnessed a dog owner let his dog off his lead, ignore it running though a group of young men playing footy, one of whom was hurt from the dog’s claws and tail. A couple of minutes later, it urinated on the young men’s belongings. Quite understandably they were upset. Whilst the owner temporarily placed his dog on a lead, at no time did he apologise for either event, nor offer to replace or clean the belongings. He later commented they were silly for having their gear lying on the ground.
There was also dog poo, left behind from other dogs. As the days get shorter, more owners choose to take their loved pooches to this oval because it is convenient, fenced, and an easy option when dark. But the downside is the dogs are not always watched. People get distracted, chatting with each other, exercising, talking on phones, or it simply gets too dark to see their dogs urinating on verandah poles, in the sandpits and on belongings. Poo is being left behind, and more school children end up wearing the poo on their shoes or clothes, then carried back into their classrooms.
Enough is enough, dog owners. Be responsible, and be respectful. Watch your dog, take ownership and clean up after them. Don’t let him pee on the verandah posts or in the sandpits. Pick up your poo. If you can’t watch and clean up after your dog, then go somewhere else. There is a park less than 100 metres away. Go there.
We don’t want your poo, your wee nor your ignorance. The oval is first and foremost for the children, who have every right to play there.
Donna George
Cleopatra St, Palmyra

Screen tears
DEMOLISHED—yet another movie theatre. I went to many, many movies at Port Cineaste and got to know the staff enough to say “hi” and “what’s on?”. Trivia question—only two movies have ever put bums on every seat: what would they be?
Dean Whineray
Varna Pl, Coolbellup

18. Melissa Parke 15x3 18. TOEF 12x3 18. TOEF 18x3 18. We Care Nepal 10x2 18. We Care Nepal 15x3

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