Monday, April 29, 2013

Cranks and Council Committees

Local elections are in the Shires this week and the psephologists will be analysing the results in minute detail. We have at least one of those silent “P” thingies on the Redbridge Cabinet and they will be looking for any trends or pointers to guide them when the locals come to us next year, probably in June to coincide with the Euro elections, as will, I suppose, the other neo-liberal party along with other hopefuls.

To paraphrase Mrs Thatcher, the trouble with Neo-Liberalism is that you eventually run out of money when the rich people and bankers stash it all in off shore tax havens and corporations avoid UK tax by having their Headquarters in Switzerland and don’t pay their workers a living wage so they don’t pay income tax.

So, our local council will be facing ever more tough decisions and a lack of cash for the next 4 year term and we will be looking to see how each of the contestants propose to manage that situation before we cast our votes, won’t we? No? Already made up your mind? O.K.

One thing I think will be up for grabs is Area Committees. They are quite expensive to run and by and large the public prefer to stay away, except when there is an occasional local issue that fires them up. And their budgets are limited to mainly Christmas lights or planting a few trees. Personally I am in favour of keeping them, but not at the expense of, say, a Day Care Centre or provision for children with special educational needs. So I will be looking at the various budget proposals very carefully.

Which leads me to this letter published in the News & Record from the good old bastion of freedom, liberty and mom’s apple pie …
Most Greensboro residents long ago grew tired of the wearisome few cranks who come to every council meeting to harangue against everyone and everything during the “public comment” period. Don’t these people have anything better to do? Apparently not.

Like saints — or fools — council members have endured all this, perhaps not realizing how tired the public is of this nonsense, which wastes not only council and staff time but also the valuable time of everyone who must attend a council meeting or wants to see what our council is doing.

Worse, those same three or four cranks are crowding out other speakers - people who have fresh ideas and fresh perspectives that are of genuine interest.

Finally, there has been a proposal to correct this. The mayor has proposed a limit on the number of times the same speaker can speak in a given period. It is a very generous and sensible proposal. Anyone can speak about anything - but the same person cannot speak at every meeting.

This would allow time for fresh voices and spare all of us the tiresome, pointless repetition of those three or four cranks who otherwise selfishly waste everyone’s time at every meeting. Let’s hope our council adopts it.

Reid Phillips
Of course, Mr Phillips does not specify whether these cranks are members of the public or members of the committee replying to members of the public, or haranguing each other, during the “public comment” period.

Would this be a good time to mention a replacement swimming pool …..?


  1. 691 trolleybus fan12:11 am, April 30, 2013

    Mr Phillips is lucky if he has not attended Area Committees 2, 3, or 4 where he would have to listen to the same crank prattling on from the floor..

  2. If all the major economies are in debt then to whom is all this money owed?