Monday 3 November 2008

Where the bloodly hell were you Val?

A lot has been made of my so-called attack of our new Mayor's lack of action over protecting the historic Cairns Yacht Club building.

Val's running mate, Balaclava vet Dr Paul Matthews, whom I actually like, but at times acts like he's been de-sexed, but not micro-chipped. Paul came to the rescue to the online slander. He says what has been happening on this Blog, and other forums, that people are pillorying the new mayor. "It's public derision, ridicule or abuse... me thinx that pretty well sums up what's happening," said Paul Matthews, who ran against now Deputy Mayor Margaret Cochrane.

For a start, let me put a couple of things on the record. I supported a change in our local Council prior to March this year. I stand by that. Like Cairns 1st supporter and Yacht Club campaigner, Wendy Davie, I still think we are better off than with the guy who was running this place prior to Val taking over.

However, that doesn't mean when you elect a new mayor, and a bunch of Councillors, you sit idylly back and let them do what they want for four years (or four and a half years actually.. and another half a million in salary). It's the job of those that voted for a change, to keep them honest, and see that they strive to deliver change. I bet a majority of those attacking the State Government at present probably voted for them last time.

I don't buy the old argument that Mayor Val doesn't have the numbers. That's a cop out. Sure it's harder to move a motion around the Council table, but that's only a portion of how Council does business. The Mayor should be a primary proponent of ideas and set direction, and thinking. Promote visions, and instill grand thinking for a community. The Mayor should be bold and innovative. She shouldn't travel all the way to a public meeting in Mossman and say "I'm only here to listen."

I met with Val last Wednesday because I was genuinely disappointed that she decided to not make one public statement after being elected about heritage. When the campaign to save the old Yacht Club building got more and more attention, as the deceitful State Government hurried it's removal prior to it's State sitting of Parliament just two blocks away, Val became more and more confused and nervous about going near the subject. Deep within her heart, I have no doubt she wanted to speak out, but all the time was considering "what would Desley and Anna think?"

It was an embarrassing and appalling situation. Here we had a new 'green' and 'environmentally concerned' mayor at the helm, the first in eight years, and she failed to even put out one press statement or front one interview in support of heritage preservation. And when she did, it was to condemn her fellow Cairns 1st Councillor Di Forsyth for her actions to save the old building. Now there's something very wrong about that, don't you think?

Imagine if Val had gone to battle and carried out the Council minuted mandate to get the Premier before the Community, as was requested. That is all we asked. This wasn't something that would have got her off-side with her Labor hacks. It would have gained her great respect as a negotiator and loyal and strong advocate for the Cairns community.

I've been told that Val did a lot behind the scenes to get a meeting with the Premier, in an attempt to save the old waterfront icon, which now sits in pieces of ruin on an empty University field north of town, and in a wrecker's yard on the northern beaches. Well, that may be well and good, but the Mayor needs to learn to become a better communicator with her residents. A master communicator is the requirement of Mayor. I didn't see one media statement about her efforts to get Bligh before the people. Not one. Zip. Zilch. If her media team are there to make her look good and promote good policies of this Council, then they're failing rather miserable.

Chatting with a senior business leader today, who voted for to get rid of Kevin Byrne, questioned that we haven't got what we voted for. "We may have made a mistake, do you think Michael?" he said.

I guess we simply wanted a louder advocate for the people, for issues that we felt were being ignored or neglected. Heritage and environment were two biggies that Val was strong and loud on before her $158,000 salary kicked in.

I want Val to succeed. I want her to excel. I want her to achieve for this community. It's why we all put in so much effort. Sure, I'll give her a go, but this job is in partnership with the people, not in separation of them. I help fund her and her fellow Councilor's salary and I, like many thousands, contributed to the debate for a change in our community.

Let me take you back a few months. Tell me who said this...
  • "I want to ensure that our heritage is looked after.

    We need to have waterfront that will attract people .. to see how distinctively different this place is... both for the people that live here and the tourists to come here."
It was Val Schier, just a few days before the March election at the Port Douglas Chamber of Commerce mayoral debate luncheon. I even travelled up in the car with Val. Funny that.

Here's the video...

Where the bloodly hell were you Val?


Anonymous said...

C'mon Mike ... the message was out there loud and clear during the last election campaign.
During the Mayoral debates, Kevin would stand up and speak, whereas Val would let Mark Buttrose or some other "spokesperson" speak on her behalf.
With the benefit of hindsight ... didn't that tell you something?

As your header says "Where the bloody hell were you Val?"

Unknown said...

Well said Mike. Are our expectations too high, or are we expecting too much? If they are, it's because we were lead to believe (by Val herself) that she would bring about the profound change we longed for after too many years of Byrne's dodgy over-development dictatorship.
Perhaps, like everything today, we expect instant gratification. So I'm still giving Val the benefit of the doubt. I'm hoping that she will 'mature' as her term progresses to become a GREAT mayor.
PS: And always remember what the alternative was to Val. Nothing she can or can't do can be that bad.

Anonymous said...

Well said Mike. C'mon Val, don't be afraid of McKenzie, Gavin King, Cairns Post etc etc and other detractors who just can't get over the fact that Byrne lost. Speak up on the issues we voted you in for. It doesn't matter that you don't have the numbers. You are the mayor. Media outlets will listen to your point of view regardless, although the Post will twist it their way, Win, Seven, Ten, the ABC and others will promote you. Thats the way you'll get community support. State your case more loudly.

The squeaky wheel gets the oil as they say.

The more you stay silent, the more you'll be disrespected.

Anonymous said...

Thanx for the plug, Mike...(I'll put it in my date!)

Anonymous said...

Regarding Val Mike,you hit the nail right on the head.I am pleased you have brought this matter up for discussion,as I feel Val should be made to see what the people who voted her in feel about her performance so far.
I am sorry now that I helped put her in office,
she is obviously to inexperienced to hold down this position.Quite frankly I think she should resign and allow the position to be filled by someone else.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I totally agree with Mike's comments. I've been trying to encourage Val to kick some arse through this blog, & one direct email a couple of months ago. I do appreciate what Heather said - yes, we did get rid of Fat Kev. However, my concern is if there is not more direction and action, from Val, & also if those elements are not publicised (& let's face it, the ComPost has its own unknoweable agenda) then we could indeed find ourselves faced with another four years of Kev after this. Think about that campers, & think of the sadistic retribution he would demand from his detractors if he were reinstated. Yeuucchhhh!

So that is a lot of the reason why I want to see Val take some definite action, and in a larger sense to enhance Cairns as one of the best places on earth to live, & to make sure it's sustainable for the future.

Quite frankly, after the Yacht Club debacle - I've about 99% lost it with Val, Wettenhall & Boyle - oh, & throw Warren Pitt, Jason O'Brien & Jim Turnour into that mix. Let alone the absolute arrogance of all the rest of the Qld pollies who ignored the signatures of 11,000 of their constitutents. I certainly won't be handing out any how-to-vote cards next time - & neither do I want to see the LNP dingbats get their claws in to to Queensland. Bob Katter types are looking better day by day! Never thought I'd be forced into that position.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't have been said better if it was Laura Bingle herself.... Val Stand up and be counted!

And Paul that date reference really has me scratching my head.... Don’t you put things up someone else’s date? or are you going on a date?

Do you want to share that with us?

Your undying loyalty to Val really is something.... maybe she is the date?