Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

The “City-Centric” issue raised by ex-mayor

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30 Oct 08

Irene Grant criticises candidates for council



In the “Chronicle Opinions” section of Friday’s paper (Page 5), ex-mayor, Irene Grant was ” … disturbed to hear that candidates Anthony Griffith, Neville Wright, Amanda Campbell and Kerrin Chambers were standing for council to ‘represent the outlying regions’ and that, “It is vital that we have seven councillors absolutely committed to the future wellbeing of the entire Rural City of Wangaratta regardless of where they might live”.

I think Irene’s prejudices have gotten in the way of the Chronicle reporter’s interpretation – the article never attributed these sentiment to the candidates.

But then, she would see it like that, wouldn’t she?  After all, she presided over the first council that was perceived to be “city-centric” as it has been ever since.  In those days there was the “city-centric” block of five and the “rural representatives” being Crs Parisotto and Chambers.  Throughout those years, whenever a vote was taken in council on rural matters, the vote came out 5:2 or maybe 4:3 occasionally when Cr Chuck sided with the other two.

This is what Bernard Young referred to when he said party politics would bring back the block concept prior to the 2005 elections.  This was so blatent that Cr Kerrin Chambers frequently called for a division so that the voting pattern would be recorded for posterity in the minutes.  It is there for all to see.

Back then, I frequently reported on, and probably enhanced, the “city-centric” perception of council and was ultimately summoned, by the mayor, to front the principal’s office.  Irene Grant asked why I believed the council to be “city-centric” when it was not the truth.  I responded by telling her that due to the ongoing 5:2 voting pattern, that was the public perception and, if that was not the way it was, to please explain and I would publicly correct the perception?

Irene told me that all of council’s problems stemmed back to personality conflicts.  Well, that cannot lead to good governance and I – sure as hell – could not make that truth public at the time without repercussions.

It seems to me, with the Chronicle stirring about political activity and rural representation – with a couple of candidates pushng for non-political representation and now an ex-mayor tossing in a Furphy, we may be in for an interesting election period just when I thought nobody cared.


Written by Greg Naylor

3 November 2008 at 12:00 am

Posted in social comment

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