I’m fed up with all of the bullshit surrounding Knight’s Palace, so much so that I’ve decided to step up my correspondence to the powers that be.
By Julian May (Reprodued here at CCO with the author’s permission)
I’ve copied a couple of my most recent emails below, along with some comments and explanations:
Email to Gurmesh Singh:
I write to thank you for your support of the ratepayers of Coffs Harbour. Although your letters regarding a suspension of progress on the flawed Civic Centre proposal, to the Ministers for Local Government, and for Planning, may achieve nothing of substance, you have, at least, done something for us.
I am “apolitical” in the sense that I regard political parties as just that – opportunities for pollies to get together at our expense and have fun – and most politicians as parasites. No matter which party is in power, the public get screwed in the interests of promoting the welfare of that party.
For several years I refused to lodge a formal vote in state and federal elections, unless I could find someone worthy of my vote. There were very few.
Then I decided that my vote would be better serving the community, if I voted against the least preferred candidate, rather than in favour of any other. It became a matter of choosing the lesser of several evils.
In my opinion, it matters not for whom you vote, you still end up electing a politician.
I feel some sympathy for Gurmesh Singh. It is just possible that he is one of those rare pollies – one who takes his job, and its social implications, seriously, but I will vote against him in the next election, in a vain and pathetic attempt to punish the State Government for its inaction on the Coffs council debacle.
Email to Denise Knight:
Although you chose to ignore my last email to you, and will likely do the same with this communication, I feel compelled to express my disgust at your on-going behaviour, with respect to the proposed construction of new administrative offices and attached cultural spaces.
Last evening, you chose to reject the opportunity to behave appropriately with respect to your plan to construct what may eventually, if your apparent obsession is realised, became known as Knight’s folly.
Had you not, again, used your casting vote – an undemocratic, reprehensible, irresponsible and unconscionable, although technically legal, act – you might have saved face, and been able to withdraw with dignity from the suicidal position in which you have place your political career.
The excuse had been provided for you. You might have been seen as acting responsibly, with due regard for the economic welfare of Coffs Harbour. Instead, your behaviour in using your unfair advantage to pursue your own ends, in my opinion, borders on the megalomanic.
Whilst your few sycophantic supporters, and those with a vested interest in seeing your plan succeed, may pat you on the back and admire “your courage in the face of adversity”, many thousands of Coffs ratepayers will be immensely grateful for the opportunity, which you will give us, to impose a resounding defeat and public humiliation upon you, at the next council election.
There are none so deaf, as those who will not hear. This person’s behaviour is beyond contempt.
Email to Sally Townley:
In our recent telephone conversation, you, in part, justified your stance on Knight’s plan by describing council’s current excellent financial position, and suggesting that the project was easily affordable. This would indicate that you are aware of the probable economic impact of the mayor’s plan, upon Coffs’ ratepayers.
Without your knowledge and expertise in large scale financial management, I cannot argue this issue with you.
However, I would ask whether the fact that the project may be affordable, is sufficient reason for it to go ahead, in the face of large scale opposition from the people will pay the bills.
In other words, is it fair and reasonable to force upon people, something which they do not want, and then to add insult to injury by making them pay for it?
In my first email to you, I suggested that a straw poll could be conducted by using email contacts with all residents who receive rates notices electronically. I hope that you can tell me why it would not be possible to conduct such a poll, using this plan:
Step One – identify all ratepayers who can be contacted by email.
Step Two – send to those people an email containing unambiguous questions, such as:
· Do you support the proposal to spend at least $76 000 000 to build a joint administrative office and cultural precinct in Gordon Street?
· Do you support the proposal to spend at least $76 000 000 to build a joint administrative office and cultural precinct in another location?
· Do you support the proposal to build a cultural precinct, without included administrative offices, in Gordon Street?
· Do you support the proposal to build a cultural precinct, without included administrative offices, in another location?
The email should ask for yes or no responses, to be forwarded by a specific date.
Step Three – Collate the results and determine the proportion of respondents as a percentage. This will enable council to determine whether or not the response can be taken as representative.
Step Four – Calculate the number of affirmative and negative responses to each question and express these as percentages of the total number of responses.
Step Five – Regardless of the outcome of the poll, publish a report, via all available avenues, which provides data in an easily readable and comprehensible form, to state the ratio of respondents to ratepayers, and to reflect the views as a percentage of the respondents to each question. It should be possible to say, for example:
XX% of ratepayers were contacted by email.
XX% of those contacted responded.
The number of respondents represents XX% of Coffs Harbour ratepayers.
To question one, XX% answered yes and XX% answered no. (Repeat for each question’s data.)
I suggest that, by doing this, you and your fellow councillors may obtain an impartial view of the community’s attitudes to the mayor’s plan, and that you may then act accordingly, as those who represent the wishes of the people.
Of the four councillors who support the mayor’s plan, only you and Michael Adendorff provided any response to my previous communication.
It would be pointless for me to contact Mr Adendorff again, given that he has so much to gain from the plan’s implementation. Therefore, I will not waste my time communicating with those councillors who will, most likely, ignore me.
Gai Anderson sums up the situation with Sally Townley quite brilliantly –
“Good grief! Are there two identical twin Sally Townleys!? Subbing on for each other during meetings……
Sally is flip flopping more than a caught fish in the bottom of a tinny!
I continue to be amazed, and very disappointed.
I voted for Sally, and I … .. until mid last year, and not just about the CCS Project …. have always found her before then to be rational, logical and usually on the same page as the community majority…. but now …. not so except for two occasions: when she put the motion to get the financial Peer Reviews into CHCC’s Long Term Financial Plan. And in first part of debate on the suspend motion at last Thursday’s meeting.
She has contradicted herself and been inconsistent during this interview too!
Gobsmacked. Totally gobsmacked. But Sally has always remained approachable and I will ask to talk.to her early this week. ……”
Emails to Keith Rhoades, Tegan Swan, John Arkan, Paul Amos;
I wish to applaud your persistence in the matter of Knight’s Palace. In the face of such bloody-minded, entrenched and immoral opposition by Knight and her coterie, it would be understandable if you threw your hands in the air and gave up the fight.
Please do not. I am sure that you have the support of the vast majority of Coffs ratepayers.
For your information, I have included below a copy of my communication today, with Sally Townley.
These people deserve a medal – no, make that one each!
I have again contacted the “Big Guns In Macquarie Street” – a pointless and futile exercise – again asking both Ministers For Local Government and for Planning, to do something constructive about the farce which is our local council. I’ll get the same meaningless and banal pro forma reply as before, but I’ve very deliberately made the point that I’ll actively (but reluctantly) campaign against Gurmesh at the next state election, in the hope of seeing them losing power.
So, on we go. If I can summon the energy during the next couple of days, I might look into making contact with the ABC, in the hope of getting something like a Four Corners programme initiated.