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News and Comment October 2012

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26 October (Part 2) - Getting ahead of myself

There are reasons why I think it is unlikely I will find time for more blogging this month so I shall bring on the end of the month review early and try not to mention councillor Peter Craske.

Knee Hill
While descending Knee Hill two days ago and after dark for the first time in a week or two I was amazed to see its entire length illuminated. It makes a huge difference to be able to see the bends and the edge of the road clearly and I thank whoever it was who read the blog and did something about the problem.

I cannot remember when I last saw the Knee Hill street lights switched on, neither can my neighbours. It is a pity that local councillors don’t report these things but I suppose that after a while everyone takes the darkness for granted.

Breaking their silence
Speaking of Bexley council reading the blog, there was an interesting conversation with a Conservative councillor not all that long ago. For the record and the protection of others I must point out that it emphatically did not involve either of those with whom I exchanged a word or two after the recent Public Realm and Cabinet meetings.

The conversation started none too well. “Nearly half the stuff you put on Bonkers is wrong”. “Really?” says I, most of the site just reports what is going on. If it gives opinion there is nearly always supporting evidence by way of documentation or a web link so that readers may make up their own minds. Actually I said almost none of that, I was too preoccupied with the welcome confirmation that more than half of Bonkers is right, to find a suitable response.

If only half of the reports on Bonkers are correct we still have incompetence and dishonesty on a massive scale.

While I was pondering that thought the councillor went on. “Keep it up, you must keep attacking the centre.” Again that is not an absolute quote I was too taken aback to note the precise words.

Bexley Cabs
Those who objected to the opening of the Campbell’s business venture in Bexley village have been asked to resubmit their comments in triplicate to the government inspector as Bexley Cabs have appealed the local rejection of their application.

Will Tuckley’s diary
The refusal of Bexley council to supply a proper copy of the Chief Executive’s diary has met with a sympathetic response from the Information Commissioner. Bexley council’s instructions to their staff insist that all diary entries are made on their electronic system. There really was no excuse for taking longer than the statutory time to come up with something that could be too easily falsified.

The pen jabbing mayor Alan Downing
Alan DowningThe repercussions over councillor Downing’s refusal to ask councillor Craske (sorry) to switch on his microphone at a public meeting rumbles on. The Local Government Ombudsman has said that it is necessary for deaf people to notify the council of their impairment if they wish to have the hearing loop activated. This is not only arrant nonsense, the legislation requires no such thing, but also totally ignores the fact that Alan Downing was notified of the deafness and asked to have the loop switched on half way through the meeting. An interruption that Bexley council’s Standards Board said was designed to provoke a negative reaction.

The blinkered councillor Val Clark never thinks before she makes her judgments. How could a request to switch on the hearing loop be provocative unless the council acknowledges that mayor Downing is a belligerent ill mannered bully ever ready to fly into a rage at the slightest excuse?

Downing acknowledged that request with his infamous retort “you must have personal problems” but he still announced that councillor Craske did not have to turn his microphone on and refused to ask him to do so. Even Craske, to his credit, saw that this was an outrageous piece of chairmanship by councillor Alan Downing and switched on his mic soon afterwards.

As is well known, the Local Government Ombudsman quango is stuffed full of ex-local authority staff keen to absolve their mates from any responsibility for failure. The appeal process is being followed.

I keep hearing rumours that Alan Downing is a retired police officer which might explain a lot. Can anyone confirm that?


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