Letters 19.6.21

Cloaked in Secrecy

HAS Fremantle council been infiltrated by the Romulans?

It seems their cloaking devices are working at full power at the City of Fremantle, as council cloaks more meetings.

The properties/land values owned by Fremantle council are plummeting.

One case in point; council reportedly purchased the Jones Street depot in 2014, it has sat pretty empty since, while reportedly being referred to by ex-mayor Brad Pettitt as “a rare opportunity for the perfect property”. 

That perfect property cost the Fremantle rate payers a reported $7.8m. As of June 2020 the property was listed on council’s books as being worth approximately $3.7m.

I guess the ex-mayor and I have different ideas of what the perfect property definition is. I would hardly call a $4.1m loss in six years perfect; a more than 50 per cent valuation loss is a shocker.

That’s without pointing out that council hasn’t been receiving much or anything in rates, which it got before buying the perfect property, nor much of the $600,000 a year it was supposedly producing in rent each year. 

And also not mentioning it is reportedly a contaminated site, needing hundreds of thousands more ratespayers $$$$ to fix all the asbestos and soil contamination problems it reportedly has. I bet the sludge impacted neighbours aren’t seeing the ex-mayor’s perfection. What a business plan that must have been.

But hey, I guess someone made money out of the ratepayer funded deal – it just wasn’t the ratepayers, which seems to be a decade long legacy at Fremantle council under its chain of councillors and mayor. 

They were offering it for free to the film industry, it wasn’t free for the ratepayers!

It was another deal done under Fremantle council’s cloaking device back in 2014. 

Continuing the cloak, City of Fremantle’s Audit and Risk Management Committee meeting of June 16, 2021 (Wednesday just gone) also was held in secrecy. Councillors voting to block ratepayers from yet another meeting, which would expose the council’s financial goings on. 

Is there any chance this council will look out for the ratepayer benefits, instead of draining the accounts while constantly cutting our services? 

Seemingly us peasants are here to fund the overlords’ agendas, while being kept in the dark. Time for us peasants to rise and hold this council accountable for its lack of transparency and poor business acumen. 

Rate increase to be sure. Why is this meeting agenda coming to council almost a year after they got it?

Watch out, are the Romulans in chambers?

Mark
WGV

What a legend

I JUST wanted to thank Jakeb Stevenson for his honest and generous sharing last week (“Twenty five years,” Herald MBS, June 12, 2021).

What a legend!

I have worked in mental health as a peer worker for about 15 years and am currently the peer practice lead for a community services organisation (someone who has lived experience of challenges) … please tell him he’s doing a great job.

Thanks Freo Herald, love ya x.

Kathy
via email

What we face

KARDINYA shopping centre’s resorting to surveillance capitalism should be properly debated. 

The Fremantle Herald last week reported that the new centre will integrate facial recognition of customers (“Kardinya rises,” Herald, June 12, 2021). 

They say it will be used to catch wrongdoers, but there is perhaps a more significant reason. 

Surveillance capitalism employs hundreds of millions of dollars in order to identify and employ psychological techniques to maximise purchases. 

Consumers have no counter-advocate, and certainly younger consumers have no protector. 

The use of facial recognition is a quantum shift in how retailers conduct themselves and ought to be subject to public discussions where experts of all opinions can raise with us the possible impacts. 

Of course there are likely to be some advantages – but mostly they will accrue to the privately owned shopping centre. 

Will they sell the data? 

Will they give social credit points to some customers and not others? 

Will the facial recognition be racially biased? 

We can also see there is a more subtle loss of liberty – the shaping of retailing around people’s unconscious behaviours and responses. 

We have always had a measure of it, but now it is at a sophisticated level well beyond the ordinary responses of people going about their ordinary weekly shops. 

Seeing the dignitaries in their photo with their 19th century shovels and their 20th century white hardhats and orange vests ignores the new information economy of the 21st century, and there is much yet for us truly grasp about how artificial intelligence and metadata will shape or misshape our lives.

Adrian Glamorgan
White Gum Valley

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