Friday 22 May 2009

The art of discreet txting

We all love to text, or txt. I've even become a Twitter convert in recent weeks - it's the web version of txting - or micro-blogging, as the geeks at City of Cairns tell me.

If you've ever sat in on a Council meeting, you'll notice certain Councillors fiddling with their mobile phones.

Some Cairns Regional Councillors have recently been issued with a Blackberry, one of the first smartphones. These allow you to access emails, as we rapidly cease dependency on fixed computers. I went from the Motorola flip to Nokia, and last year, I beat Janine Aitken by one week, and converted to the revolutionary iPhone, Apple's smartphone.

Henry, who used to look after the 300 or so computers at Council, is a local geek, uses the HTC Dream smartphone. He's disgustingly tall, extremely computer literate, and can talk in a language from a far off solar system.

It seems, we're all way too connected to our electronic communication these days.

Councillor Diane Forsyth found the distractions at Wednesday's Works and Services meeting, too much.

"Between Councillor Cooper's pen clicking and Blake's txting, it's hard to concentrate," Forsyth exclaimed. An un-named Councillor chimed in: "Did you say sexting?!"

Cr Kirsten Lesina then asked for Councillors to not use their mobiles during meetings.

It was a blatant reference to Councillor Blake, who was attempting to hide his incessant mobile txting behind some papers. Blake was playing text messaging with, among others, a Council staffer, and also a former staff member, who used to work in the Mayor's office. He appeared to miss the entire Works and Services meeting on Wednesday morning, whilst he fiddled and txted the meeting away.

Several folk sitting in the public gallery, clearly saw his digital antics.

"I was shocked, me and my partner could see what was going on, and we were disgusted," Sally Anderton of Bayview Heights, told CairnsBlog. "We were told at the reception [outside of the Council Chamber] to turn our phones off, you'd think they would do it as well. It's not like there's business to do on their mobile while the meeting is going on."

These $100,000-a-year-Councillors need to realise that this behaviour shows a total disregard for the sacred business of the Council chamber.

Mayor Schier will to ask all Councillors to either turn off their mobiles or simply not bring them into the Chamber, for all future meetings.

Most Councillors spend around $100-$150 a month on their mobile phone. Councillor Blake's last bill topped $500.

And why we're on the subject of Councillor Blake and text messaging, my hot story yesterday about Councillor Alan Blake, and his questionable legal threat letter, deserves some scrutiny.

In the letter from Council's solicitors. Williams Graham Carman partner John Hayward transcribes a "letter / email" that Alan Blake purported I'd sent him:-

Councillor Alan Blake either needs another lawyer, or he didn't tell them the full story, as they got this wrong.

It wasn't a email, nor a "letter" as stated. It was a text message. It wasn't sent at 11:41pm on 11th May, but a week prior, on May 6th at 5:14pm in the evening.

Maybe Alan was confused about the day and time of night and distracted by some other texting? It's an easy mistake when you've juggling a few delicate conflicting projects at the same time.

The first message (below) was a follow-up to Alan Blake's, now notorious telephone call, at 7:55pm on the 23rd April, where he said...

  • "Hello Mike, it's Alan here! I'm at the [Cairns Regional Art] Gallery at a function. Call me in an hour."

He then promptly hung up. Odd I thought, but he obviously wanted to talk about the events of the day, which are now a matter of public record.

A few minutes later, I followed it up with a text message, so not to disturb the good Councillor at the Gallery function. See if you can spot the differences:-

I should also defend Blake's accusation that the message was a "threat".

In retrospect, the use of the word "incriminating" may have been unwise. However, a friend of mine was once legally challenged over using the word "despicable" in an email. Although the person concerned was a despicable character and demonstrably so, this was little defence, believe it or not.

I think he's taken the word "incriminating" a bit too literally. Even the dictionary admits there's a non-crime related definition: "to charge with responsibility for all or part of an undesirable situation, harmful effect, etc.: to incriminate cigarettes as a cause of lung cancer."

Blake and his lawyer are drawing a long bow by virtually accusing me of attempting to bribe him. He may well convince a magistrate that my text message was menacing in tone. However, my actual intentions in sending the message, I was acting out of good faith in letting Blake know about some information presented to me and giving him the opportunity to respond.

The fact that I haven't used this information to date, demonstrates my good will. I was simply giving him a heads-up and a right of reply, which he chose, on three occasions, not to take up.

To paraphrase Williams Graham Carman's John Hayward, regardless of the legal view that might be taken, Blake's legal action is a threatening communication. I treat his veiled threats very seriously and I reserve all of my rights.

The only thing Councillor Blake should reserve, is Terminator 2: Judgment Day at the Trinity Park video store.

They say a picture tells a thousand words.


KitchenSlut said...

I wonder what feats of productivity Blakey and our Councillors could achieve with this technology at their disposal?

Lucy S - Westcourt said...

I think any Councillor should be able to text, write, chat, fart, skip, jump through hoops, dance naked, pass legilation and even eat an ice cream in the council chamber.

SHows that they are normal, and therefore below average intelligence.

Constance Lloyd said...


Thanks for the link to TED.

Bugger Blakey and the Councillors - I want one!

brad m said...

Lucy, are you happy to pay them close on $100K/yr to fool around/run their own business/arrange trysts while on the job in a meeting, being disrespectful of other peoples investment in time working to run our region?

thornton's puke said...
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Thornton's Peak said...
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thornton's puke said...
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Thornton's Peak said...

Dear Mr Puke

I really don't see how any of this should be your business. However if you must know, Alan has had the car at the detailers - cleaning his Fat Cat replica shagpile upholstery. So is there anything wrong with a man taking pride in his appearence and possessions?

thornton's puke said...

i notice he hasn't been driving his small dick red noddy car for about two weeks, instead he's got the bmw... i wonder why, trying to be discreet perhaps...

he's obviously cashed up, better watch out!

thornton's puke said...

thank you mr peak,

i'd have asked him but i'm afraid he ignores his 'lessers'...

coops is my favourite fascist...

cretin said...


Just for some info. AB has sold his business now. I tried to harass him in there the other week and the new owner passed on the info.

Phillip J, Holloways said...

Cretin, are you talking about his Furniture Associates? He's still involved in that business, but not the BBQ place on ANderson Street.

Jasmine O, Redlynch said...

There is a misconception that Cairns Regional Councillor Alan Blake still owns Barbeques Galore.

He does not, and has not for over 4 years.

After he sold it, there were still people refusing to shop there because of Mr. Blake, because they thought he was still involved. It took an outburst from Selwyn Johnston in the Cairns Post and then on Maccas show on Radio to reveal Blakie was not involved in the business.

Constance Lloyd said...

I think AB likes for these misconceptions to continue - probably thinks it bolsters his status as a moover and groover in the business world - and hence his position as Chair of the finance sub-committee of CRC.

In reality his stewardship of Barbeques Galore was marked by his bad attitude and disregard for his clients. Shopping now at BBQ Galore is a completely different experience; it's a pleasure to go there. And no, I am not the new owner; but they do deserve a pat on the back - imagine having the general public think that AB was still involved! Now that takes guts and determination.

There is ABsolutely no way that the Councillor will ever receive my vote; I'm afraid my cup of human kindness is empty, filled instead with pity for all the ratepayers of Cairns who have this person as one of their civic leaders.

hieronymus bosch said...

i'm pretty sure he's not involved in Furniture Associates either anymore, he sold it about a month ago

Phillip Jorgeson, Holloways said...

Is that right hieronymus??

I heard his son Daniel was really running Furniture Associates. He was last year anyway.. Maybe he's bought it off daddy?

R. Reinhardt said...

I was speaking to a colleage only last week that happens to know Daniel quite well, and told me he does not work for AB anymore.. From how it sounded, not by good terms either.

And here I thought those two were peas in a pod. Perhaps I was wrong?

Noj Nedlaw said...

Note the ad to the right?

Noj is smiling!

CBD Worrier said...

Hey there hieronymus update!!!

An ABR search for the trading name "Furniture Associates", shows that it is still active and current under The Trustee for THORTON BLAKE FAMILY TRUST for ABN 63 881 335 610.

So wonder what's going on? Is son Daniel not involved at all?


hieronymus bosch said...

hmmm, thanks for the update, i wasn't 100% but the source was fairly reliable