See You at Tonight’s Council meeting. 6.3.2012


days to the next Council elections.

Tonight’s Council meeting will discuss the *Review* of the Laman Street process.

Here’s an email I wrote to a few of the Councillors:

 A couple of things strike me on reading the document that has resulted from the internal review of the
Laman Street process. I could write reams on how appalled I am at this report but there’s no point so I’ll be brief.
Firstly, the name of the document is a problem: it wasn’t intended to be simply a review of the community engagement process and that’s obvious from the original resolution.
[This is the October 4 resolution:
1 Council directs the General Manager to conduct a review of the Laman Street Fig Tree issue and provide a report evaluating processes adopted by Council, with recommendations for improving Council’s engagement processes in respect to issues of major community significance.
2 The review will comprise an evaluation of the following, with regard to the Laman Street Fig Trees:
• The community consultation methodologies and processes used by Council
• the scope of information supplied to Councillors and the community
• methods of communication between the Council administration, Councillors, key stakeholders, community groups and the media
• the function and operation of the Laman Street Fig Trees Working Party, relevant Advisory Committees and Council
• any other communication or consultation elements considered relevant by the reviewer]
Secondly, the conclusion that ‘operational’ matters should bypass both the community and the elected council is offensive.
  • Next time, presumably we’ll wake up and see the Islington figs have been chopped down without a whisper of warning.
 Thirdly, the mention in the executive summary of the small number of people who say Council should ‘make a decision and get on with’ it is unwarranted – only  116/900+ people said this.
It hardly warrants repeating. It’s almost as scientific to put in the executive summary that ‘Frank Cordingley should be sacked’ because ‘some’ people from the Newcastle Voice survey said this.
Considering the culture at NCC is to ignore the ‘vocal minority’ it seems bizarre that attention would be paid to this small group.
Fourthly the way the review deals with the Working Party is superficial and biased.
  • To say that there was a contradiction in that the LSWP was set up to deal with the issue of the figs but that management had already decided there was only one way to deal with them ie fell them seems to be an admission that Council would appear to have failed to work to implement the lawful and valid resolution of December 2010.


And on a small point, it says the Herald needs a fact-checking approach to letters: they have this. NCC is just wrong sometimes.
And speaking of wrong, the report says that SOF did media releases of misinformation. This is a lie and I would like them to tell us when we did this.
This report is an investigation into how NCC can vandalise the next street without looking so stupid and untrustworthy. Was this your intention?
Was it your intention to have the report conclude that residents and councillors shouldn’t be involved in this sort of issue?
Has the investigation delivered?
And once again thanks to Ed Glatfelter-Jones for the gorgeous comment below. Double-click to enlarge.
See you at the meeting.


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