SAM's editor in a previous life campaigned hard for Clover Moore as Mayor of Sydney City Council first election with active envelope stuffing and poster runs deep into ALP turf.
And we did gladly second election, more subtly, overlapping with the existence of SAM: By noting that ALP rival Burgmann was compromised by such as her own profile/tourism piece in New Matilda ezine by airbrushing the horror of North Korea's death camps; and also a tricky co-author colleague avoiding public hiring protocols at Addison Rd Community Centre. All matters of fair comment, and viral emails. The ALP got only one seat at the second outing against the Clover locomotive (partly due to ICAC Wollongong scandal too).
Clover is criticised by some as a career opportunist, says rival Cr Chris Harris of the Greens in a telephone conversation with SAM. Yet SAM's view like the owner editor of the City Hub, Lawrence Gibbons, has been: 'half of Clover as state MP doubling as mayor, is worth a whole Michael Lee' (referring to her ALP rival first election, former federal minister). Clover has credit as a community independent.
Indeed in the first election Larry Galbraith as organiser for Clover had us dressed up on town hall steps for the ABC tv camera as former Sydney City ALP Mayor Pat Hills MP of post war boom era as a precedent.
Today we have another contribution in relation to Mayor Clover Moore who says she signed a confidentiality agreement on radio this morning. This in effect restrains her from fully carrying out one of her duties under the Local Government Act 1993 in NSW in relation to the Barangaroo $5B development:
Mayor denies conflict of interest on Barangaroo MATTHEW MOORE AND JOSEPHINE TOVEY March 26, 2010
We know about these councillor duties because they came up in a comparative situation when this writer was ex officio co-director 1995-97 with about 16 other board members on Waverley Woollahra Process Plant Inc (aka Waterloo Incinerator owned by Waverley and Woollahra Councils). Ironic because we were elected onto Waverley Council Sept 1995 on a staunch platform opposing a $40M rebuild of the dioxin spewing monster, and to close it down. We represented the Greens as a pioneer into local government (though membership is now lapsed). We left most of the incinerator files with the 3 new Green councillors when we moved on to other projects, but we did find this from the EIS company Maunsel:
My membership on the Board was designed by the ALP to shut The Greens and the community voice down or at least quarrantine it. I was having none of that. In 1996 we were both a director of the Incinerator and sending a media release to chief of the Environment Protection Authority Neil Shepherd to close the polluting monster down just as council leadership were meeting the EPA boss. I rang the secretay to Shepherd so she would take the presser into the meeting! This brought howls of outrage from the ALP leadership at council. Threats to report us to the Dept of Local Govt to show cause why we should not be dismissed for breach of director and or councillor duties to the WWPP Inc. (Keeing in mind Cr Plummer ALP was employed by same LG Dept, working for LG Minister Ernie Page MP for Coogee which itself overlaps with Waverley council area). In short a choreographed stitch up led by Incinerator supporter ALP Mayor Barbara Armitage.
My quasi legal political response was to rapidly research the Local Government Act 1993 objectives and duties of councillors (in the offices of the Environmental Defenders Office actually). These statutary obligations include communicating with the ratepayers, informing the public, and leadership. These are balanced against other concerns like act in best interests of the council which is a subjective beast.
Here is an extract of section 232 of the LG Act here with some highlighing:
What is the role of a councillor?[section] 232 What is the role of a councillor?
(1) The role of a councillor is, as a member of the governing body of the council:• to provide a civic leadership role in guiding the development of the community strategic plan for the area and to be responsible for monitoring the implementation of the council’s delivery program......(2) The role of a councillor is, as an elected person:• to represent the interests of the residents and ratepayers• to provide leadership and guidance to the community• to facilitate communication between the community and the council.
The incinerator union delegate even came to our workplace at Friends of the Earth Sydney in high emotion that the workers were being shafted by "a mole". He was invited in and we talked about the open campaign against the facility, agreeing to disagree, and he talked about the work processing often disgusting waste of the Eastern Suburbs. He left unhappy but alot less angry. Perhaps he could see the writing on the wall and that we also were human beings.
Cr Norman Lee as an ex ALP indepedent was quite acidic at the special meeting early 1997 where this writer was meant to be the main course, roasted. He soon realised I was going to buck their interpretation of the legal obligations by relying on the LG Act provisions above as a community independent councillor. Even if it was arguable as a conflict of laws situation, it was sufficient political cover and they dropped their proposed reference to the Local Govt Dept. (As a footnote, we faced all this alone, with the Green Party local branch including such as Lee Rhiannon, Jeff Ash, councillors still to be elected all no where to be seen busy no doubt busy elsewhere.) The incinerator was closed by State Govt decision later in 1997.
Which brings us back to Clover on the Barangaroo 'Delivery' Authority, bound by confidentiality. As a community media person and high consumer of mass media we did note this last few months the apparent silence of the City Council leadership as the developers and govt, effectively represented by (self interested?) Paul Keating, were all over the Herald and the ABC radio. Silence of the Mayor as consent?? That was the unresolved question in our mind, and presumably in most of the general public's too. Obviously this concern has boiled over in the press today.
Now Clover says this morning on ABC radio she has been fighting the good fights behind the scenes and "reasonable people" will understand this. The jury is still out on how true that is. Cr Mallard (Lib) was impacting in his critique on abc radio that councillors in the broad have been kept in the dark by Mayor Clover over an historic upscale $5B redevelopment.
To paraphrase Cr Harris by phone earlier today regarding Clover's achievements so far at Barangaroo:
1. the light rail concession is not really integrated into city transport being more of a tourist detour Central to Circular Quay possibly along Sussex st. 'That's not integration' presumably referring to the junked metro.
2. the tri-generation sustainable power plan for the buildings are now virtually standard practice e.g. condition of consent on the CUB site due to Cr Harris and Michael Mobbs litigation, as well as in place for SHFA building at Workplace Six, so this is not a Mayoral achievement as such.
Now Clover similarly might wish to reconsider her duties under the Local Governmnent Act and whether that provides sufficient legal and or political cover to go much much harder on the Barangaroo developers, and in a much much more public way. And the question of silence in the past remains to be resolved. No doubt Mayor of Sydney CBD is a tough gig, as always.
We had enough of the 'paper avalanche' after 4 years as a mere independent councillor on a suburban munipality, and here is our parting leaflet personally delivered to 4,000 letterboxes late 1999 endorsing our successor Dominic Wykanak, who is still going strong in Bondi Ward: