Spits and spats, I don’t think so.

December 13th, 2008

I think I am nearly immune to sensationalist Chronicle headlines but then I awoke to the front page effort last Thursday. Cr Nioa and I actually exchanged early morning emails to see if we had been at the same meeting! There was no spat. Each of us spoke up about our views on the development application for the water park. I was against it because of the sensative nature of the site and the number of trees destined for the chop. I wanted the park located further East. Cr Nioa spoke for the current proposal. I was the only no vote.

There was no antagonism, no nasty name calling and indeed each Councillor who wanted to speak for or against the motion did so in a clear and articulate manner. I thank Ms R. Skinner who wrote a letter that was published on Friday for also questioning the highly emotive and ridiculous front page headline. Our Council meetings generally run smoothly with an adherence to manners and protocol. If anyone takes the time to read Hansard I can assure you that your local Councillors don’t lower themselves to the spiteful name calling and unnecessary personal attacks that is heard within the halls of our State Government leaders!

I don’t want to even try to guess the motives behind such media reporting so I ask that residents please don’t believe these headlines. There was no spat. These headlines do nothing to promote a sense of community spirit and confidence in our Council. No we are not perfect and yes these times have been turbulent and frequently unsettling but on the whole I think everyone has achieved well under the circumstances.

To use an analogy. When a blended family comes together, for example, two parents and their respective children from previous relationships, there is an adjustment period. Even when two people start living together under the one roof there is an adjustment period which entails learning about each other and deciding on the best way to accomodate each others needs. This is an ongoing process of learning, adjustment and compromise. We have joined 4 Councils together and are going through this very same process. I think we are well on the way to the needed adjustments and compromises and, to quote a song line, ‘times will only get better’.

So I ask our local print media to please provide some accurate and balanced reporting. Our community deserves it and the opposite does nothing to instill pride and confidence and a sense of rolling up our sleeves and working together. Let us be free to express our differing points of view, but at the end of the day, we must compromise, stick to the issues and respect each other. I think we are doing this very well and I am sad that the media does not see the need to assist this process but rather seems focussed on dividing our cities and causing undue hurt to some very good and hard working people.

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