Letters 28.9.19

Union bullies
I HAVE never witnessed more disgusting, arrogant and intimidating behaviour in my life when members of the Maritime Union of Australia invaded the recent public meeting at the Esplanade Hotel.
The Union’s spokesman, who I presume was Chris Cain as I can’t recall him introducing himself, repeatedly pointed his finger at the chair of the meeting and mentioned her name on several occasions in a blatant attempt to belittle and intimidate her, the staff of the Westport Taskforce and their commendable work.
The self-interest of the union and its members to ride roughshod over the people of Fremantle and the future of our city is abhorrent.
I didn’t wear a military uniform for four years to support such un-Australian behaviour.
Name and address supplied

Cash crisis?
I FIND it amazing, the lack of interest ratepayers seems to have in regards to Fremantle council’s Financial Health Indicator, reported by WA’s Department of Local Government.
This is a balanced view and comparison of all WA councils.
So, I have a few questions to ask of Fremantle Councillors and the ratepayers they supposedly represent.
In general, how is it in the best interest of rate payers to do the following
· Approx half of the City of Fremantle investment properties have been sold in the past five years; how does that help lower the ratepayer’s burden?
· Is it true only approx $30 million of investment properties remain?
· Supposedly approx $50m of council assets have been sold, for just $29m to fund new Admin building.
· How is raising $20m+ of new debt to part-fund the new admin building, that wasn’t needed, in the best interest of ratepayers and residents?
· Approx $65m has been deposited into the Investment Reserve since 2012, and council has voted to over-ride its own Investment Policy SG14 to access and squander these funds rather than re-invest them in income producing assets. Why?
· Where has all this money gone?
· Freo council has the worst financial rating of any Perth metro council, is this so and why is council’s reputation so bad? https://www.mycouncil.wa.gov.au/Council/ViewCouncil/51
· Rachael Pemberton’s solution seems to be, turning this around to introduce “Participatory Budgeting” where council select a group of residents to decide where to spend ratepayers’ funds, Isn’t this what we have an election for? Is council trying to spread the blame, being lazy or paying off followers?
· Just look at the ratepayers funded solar parklet on Wray Ave – $14,000 of ratepayers’ money wasted on this PR stunt, that never had solar panels and has since been removed. How is this in the best interest of ratepayers?
· How is doubling of the governance part of the Fremantle city councils expenditure budget in one year in the best interest of the rate payers, from 2014 -2017 between $5m and $5.7m annually to $11.85m+?
How is this in the best interest of ratepayers?
That’s just scratching the surface of the financial issues Fremantle council has. Council expenses go up, revenue is dropping from asset sales, ratepayers get rate rises, renters get higher rents, plain and simple.
The last thing Freo needs is another social experiment via Pemberton’s Participatory Budgeting!
Mark Woodcock
White Gum Valey

Library love
HAVING grown up in an era when primary school libraries were an unknown and school reading books were limited to the two-per-year purchased on the school book list, my introduction to the Fremantle Library as a teenager was a joyful revelation.
For over 60 years I have enjoyed the borrowing facilities and the serene atmosphere of the library enhanced by the many pleasant and helpful librarians employed there over the years.
Even volunteering at the book sales was a joy as people discovered books they had been searching for for years or found how far their money would stretch when buying the many bargains available.
As soon as my four daughters turned two they became borrowers and the whole family enjoyed a weekly foray into the library. (This was prior to the days of storytime sessions.) Grandchildren were also introduced to the magic of the library.
As a teacher I also enjoyed taking classes to introduce them to the delights of the library and the freedom to borrow books which as a family they may not have had access to.
Congratulations to the library staff, past and present, on the Libraries 70th anniversary and may the library endure and prosper for another 70 years.
Leola Murphy
Bedford Street, East Fremantle

It’s time, Rachel
AT a community function on Tuesday, Cr Rachel Pemberton, in seeking a third term on council, said a key issue for her election platform is “Participatory Budgeting”, i.e. getting people from the community to help allocate how the budget is spent.
Given that Fremantle currently has the lowest FHI (Financial Health Indicator) of any metropolitan council, a score of 44 compared to neighbours like Melville on 98 and Cockburn on 81, is this how an experienced councillor of eight years asks for help from the community to sustainably manage our city’s finances?
The idea of selected members of the public allocating our rates to pet projects, when we already have highly paid officers, is an insane idea, and worthy of a very large packet of Fruit Loops.
Cr Pemberton has been in council for eight long years, now it’s time for her to be moved on.
Helen McLeod
Edmund Street, Beaconsfield

Reverse Gear
I WOULD like to point out to your readers that George Gear and Margaret Sandford are running for election to Melville Council on the emotive issues surrounding the two bowling clubs and the redevelopment of the Canning Bridge precinct.
But for those of us who live in the southern part of the council who have to put up with traffic on Leach Highway and South Street, and the speeding and rat-running between these streets and through our suburbs, they are not interested.
We need to vote for a council who will promote the construction of Roe 8/9 and not allow the Labor party to take over the Melville council, taking pressure off Mark McGowan.
Kevin Sale
Winthrop Drive, Winthrop

Class action
MOST Australians accept the existence of climate change.
We only have to switch on our televisions to see pictures of ice melting as well as floods and fires out of control.
Many people feel that Australia is not doing enough to address what some people call a “climate emergency”.
Throughout Australia and across the world, students and the older people who joined them, took strike action with regard to climate change on 20 September 2019.
In Perth, it is estimated that approximately 10,000 people took part in this strike. I was one of them.
It has been argued that the students would have learnt more had they had gone to school, but I do not accept this.
For example, the students learned how to communicate effectively.
Placards were clear and to the point; many students showed a great deal of creativity with these placards.
They showed considerable knowledge regarding climate change.
They learned to collaborate with their fellow students and showed a good grasp on social justice issues generally–not just climate action.
In short, the students learned about civic responsibility in action.
There are some things that are learnt by experience rather than sitting in class.
This is particularly important for these students as they are the generation who will bear the brunt of climate inaction.
The students made their position about climate action very clear.
It remains to be seen whether the government actually listens and acts.
If not, I doubt whether the students will let this important issue go.
Good luck to them.
Anne Pedersen
South Fremantle

Digging your own grave
I AM just reading last week’s edition of the Herald and am curious as to whether you recently employed the person who writes headlines for the West Australian to do yours.
They were the reason I stopped buying the West.
The story about the excavator knocking down a power pole on page nine has the (I presume you think funny) headline of “Digger falls at dawn”.
Bet you thought that was a pretty good double entendre.
Maybe the families of dead Australian soldiers might disagree.
I like funny headlines. This wasn’t one.
Derek Burns
via email

Hot topic
PROOF that the world has gone mad.
Climate change, massive pollution, increase burning of fossil fuel, loss of habitat, denuding of our forests, over fishing of the oceans and mass extinction of animals are all the result of world overpopulation.
There are probably six times too many people for the planet to support .
Then I hear on the news that China wants to increase its birth rate for economic reasons.
That’s like lighting fires to keep fire fighters employed.
I wonder how many of the climate change demonstrators last week are considering not having children for the planet.
Name and address supplied  

Lousy legacy
I READ with concern Russell Aubrey’s comments regarding his decision to re-nominate for Melville mayor.
If he were quoted correctly he said, “My working days are coming to an end and I want to leave a legacy.”
I think he has left a legacy.
Russell has divided the community, not just on Roe 8/9, but also the wave park fiasco.
Whatever happened to Russell’s urban forest initiative?
Developers, with the backing of the City of Melville, are still cutting down/damaging trees at an alarming rate, thwarting his urban forest initiative.
Three recent major failures to add to his legacy.
As to the end of his working days I think that’s a deplorable reason to re-nominate.
Do us all a favour Russell, quit and let someone else try to turn the City of Melville into the great place that it should be.
Effie Nicholson

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