I am happy to introduce a new, regular, column from my team and myself who are busy watching council meetings and reporting back to you, on this, OUR website.
Update: 10th of August 2007
LABOUR & LIB DEMS UNITE TO DENY BRISTOLIANS A VOTE ON ROAD- PRICING
At the council meeting on July 17th, a CONSERVATIVE motion re-affirming the councils long-standing opposition to congestion charging was passed.
However an amendment by the Liberal UnDems that Bristol should NOT have a referendum on the issue was added, and passed, with LABOUR support, effectively castrating the motion and making it council policy that we, the tax payers who pay their salaries, cannot vote on this crucial matter.
THE CONSERVATIVE GROUP UNANIMOUSLY VOTED AGAINST THIS UNDEMOCRATIC AMENDMENT.
Comment: However, in a free society, it is hard to see how a vote like this could prevent us having a say - remember that nearly 2M people voted against congestion charging on a govt website, a result that might persuade new PM Gordon Brown to come out against it to try and win an early election! It would be ironic if it turns out that our local Labour Cllrs here in St. George have voted locally in the opposite way to their new Prime Minister!
You can still sign the petition for a referendum on road charging on this blog, and on Angelo's new leaflet, ST GEORGE WEST MATTERS (also shown on the blog so you can print off a paper copy as well.)
Labour running Bristol with Tory support - lower council tax promised
The new administration of Bcc, Labour supported by the Conservatives, has survived its first few weeks. Both parties are denying it is a formal coalition , instead an arrangement purely for the better government of Bristol. An early success is the last council meeting passing a motion to use the spare cash in the council tax collection account to keep down next years council tax. Proposed by the Conservatives and seconded by Labour, the Liberal Democrats, now all relegated to the 'back benches' unanimously voted against.
Of great interest to St. George West, the new Transport Boss is MARK BRADSHAW. He inherits the implementing of the Bus Route from the inept Dennis Brown. (Good riddance.) We hope Mark will answer our recent questions (see comments section below for Angelo's Questions to Mark Bradshaw) and continue the very welcome scrapping of the bus lanes (the contraflow lane out of old market - SCRAPPED!) and re -think parking restrictions and no- turning orders along the route. We are told that the TRO for the phase 2 work will be published soon and intend to study it and publish it on the website. The recent news that residents of Barton Hill are STILL unhappy with the plans for the Ducie Road junction is proof - if it were needed - that the so-called consultation was an expensive shambles.
Mark also has inherited Waste Management from "King Rat" Lib Dem Gary Hopkins. Waste management , including the dreaded 2-week collections, is being re-visited by the new administration, using a "citizens jury." These are chosen at random from the electoral roll. But anyone can submit ideas to them. Members of my team are putting forward proposals already and you can read them on the website.
The Standards Committee: this is your 'watchdog' that is supposed to ensure councillors and anyone else voting on council committees (including co-optees) upholds high standards in public life. My team heard at a recent meeting of this committee that there are an average 120 complaints a year against Bcc Cllrs, of which 36 are found serious enough to investigate. Who are they? what are the complaints about ? what are the results? As usual, this has been a mystery to the public. We hope that the recent well publicised complaint against Cllr Holland is a precedent and that the public will be better informed in future.
We are watching the watchdog! Our reports from the Standards Committee will be posted on the website.