2.12.2011: Epic fail: Lost again. Finally.


Could I start with outing myself as an angry person both before and after tonight’s epic fail of a council meeting.

I was undisciplined enough to express that anger at two groups tonight: firstly I directed it at the chop-till-you-drop mob at Town Hall.

I was told by their leader that to tell them to go where the sun-don’t-shine is ‘defamation’. Poor darlings. I should buy them a dictionary for Christmas. Good on them, though – their side won. You have to hand it to them for their passion. And they didn’t swear like I did: well done.

The other group I expressed my anger at was those on the elected council who failed the people of Newcastle tonight.

They voted NOT to accept the offer of an independent arborist to carry out a process of independent expert assessment. The offer was made by the Premier of NSW and yet it was rejected by all the councillors sitting on what many would view as the conservative side of the chamber. Two of these councillors are members of the Liberal Party. What an affront to the Premier.

The local Liberal MP addressed the councillors before tonight’s extraordinary meeting. He told them the offer of assistance from the state was real and was truly independent, I hear. One of the councillors said there was still an issue of the Council’s insurance company possible not covering the risk of the trees. I believe he was told that wasn’t the case but he still brought it up in Council and alleges he truly believes it’s a problem.

Two Councillors were absent from the EGM on the biggest issue on Newcastle in the last two (or more) years). Cr Connell and Cr Crakanthorpe. What a shame they couldn’t be there.

Cr King quoted the Lord Mayor from over a year ago when the LM was in favour of removing the figs: he had commented on the need for council to make a decision and stick to it.

Cr King pointed out that they had made a decision to remove the trees in July this year and they should stick to that.

I think when that comment was made some people had still held the slim hope that Cr King may have supported independent assessment. Perhaps this was because of the way he voted at the last meeting. That hope faded once he opened his mouth.

The Lord Mayor reminded the chamber that they had voted to keep the trees in December and had expressed regret that they had not stuck to that decision. Crs Osborne, Nelmes and Claydon were all eloquent in their speeches in support of the motion for Premier O’Farrell’s offer – the community thanks them for trying to keep our most beautiful street and reassess the alleged risk.

And who was the councillor who is alleged to have pushed over a little lady in her 70s? NBN has footage so it will be interesting to see if it’s aired.

Sad night. None of us at our best. Thanks council management for bringing us to this point and thanks to councillors for helping them.

Voted against the Premier’s offer:

  • King
  • Jackson
  • Buman
  • Boyd
  • Luke
  • Cook
  • Sharpe

After the vote was lost residents lined the hall to witness the councillors leaving the chamber. We even had a bit of a sit-in at one point.There was quite a delay in the councillors’ departure: as I wasn’t in the chamber I don’t know why but I hear that at least one resident challenged a Councillor for the way he voted and he defended the evidence base he’d used. What reports has he been reading?

Bizarre. The delay in their departure could also have been because of calls of ‘shame’ from us in the hall and expressions of disgust at what these men had just done.

I’m taking suggestions as to what motivated their vote more – dislike of John Tate or solidarity with council officers. Both excellent reasons for removing a million-dollar stand of healthy, beautiful trees that add to the green corridor, provide habitat for vulnerable species and thousands of birds, cool the CBD, contribute to carbon sequestration and feed our souls.


Is Brisbane looking good as a place to live or what? Who’s going to take up the challenge of publishing maps of how to get around this town without ever going within view of Laman Street? And bags not watching all those poor animals and birds being killed.




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8 Responses to “2.12.2011: Epic fail: Lost again. Finally.”

  1. rick Says:

    Bob cook still thinks the majority of names on the 13,000 petition live outside newcastle!
    Even the sercurity officers protecting bob tonight found that amuseing.

  2. Terry McCauley Says:

    Well put Caity. I was present at last night’s Council meeting and feel totally disgusted, deflated and disenchanted with the process of local government and their disdain for truth and the local communities they represent!

    This is indeed a sad very black day in the history of the City of Newcastle.

  3. Pat Garnet Says:

    I have recently returned to Newcastle from living on the Central Coast.I devoted the last 8 years while there, fighting the Gosford City Council, about regional unacceptable development.I did not think I would ever be going down that track again. Wel it has only been 6 weeks for me and my suspicions have been realised. I don’t know why I thought that the Management, Lord Mayor and Councillors here in Newcastle, would be any different to my previous experience.
    Possibly because as I had spent my eary working and married life here I though this wonderful place and the “good old down to earth people” who live here, would not have chosen the &%*# type of people who make up the majority of Councillors.

    It is all deja vu for me, and I can feel the pain of rejection the community is feeling. I have no advice other than (as I keep repeating) “WE DO NOT LIVE IN A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY”.

    Too much wealth from coal and wine is a good starting place for corruption reform, as money speaks all languages.

  4. Terry McCauley Says:

    Yes Pat unfortunately you are correct, and it will always be the case. However, nothing stops a good fight!

  5. nick smith Says:

    Thankyou Caity for all your time, sacrifice and huge effort in this issue for the sake of Novocastrians how and future. It was you who first made me consider the issue just by being involved. After I did, and saw the documents and read the data I am appalled at the administration and the 7 councillors who refuse to consider an alternative to oblvivion and destruction.

    Thankyou Caity, love from those who also care.

    • Caity Raschke Says:

      Thanks so much Nick. It has been fantastic to be involved with an inspiring crew made up of SOF and community members like you. Isn’t it a shame that the seven councillors who voted against the independent assessment process are apparently blinded by something the rest of us just don’t see. More power to us all. x

  6. OneUp Says:

    It only takes 2 signatures and $135 to be one of these #%$%^&%

  7. Shani Sandner Says:

    I agree with Nick, Kaite, a huge thank you…to you and all the SOF’s team….I have never witnessed such incredible commitment.
    What an amazing campaign you have all waged. Truly remarkable., s

    And now to quote Shakespeare.
    How weary , stale, flat and unproffitable..seems to me all the uses of this world…fie on fie tis an unweeded garden grown to seed…all things rank and gross possess it merely…that it should come to this”.

    Finally from Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
    “Something is rotten in the state (borough) of ……”
    perhaps Newcastle!

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