I Have Drunk From The Chalice

Today was the second meeting of the Parking Panel. No matter what way you looked at this, there were going to be some very tough choices. Some might say “I am glad I am not making those choices”. Again, like the Taxi Policy there were 6 different Parking Policies and all of them different. Life is never easy post merge.

I, personally and as Chairman of the Panel, did not like the new proposed parking charges. In some areas there could have been a large, and I mean very large, increase. I thought we were going in the wrong direction and felt we could do better.

Sadly it all comes down to a numbers game. We have to raise a certain income from the car parks because we have to fund services, not to mention we have to give Central Government a huge slice of it from taxes raised. In return they give some, but sadly not all, of it back.

So here we were at the cross roads of doom. Accept the report and be ready to be strung up at the nearest tree, or throw the proposed charges out through the proverbial window. What did we do? Well, we lobbed them out of the window. I, and my panel, felt that we should look at this in great depth and consult everyone before we decided (a novel idea in Local Government).

We now have many months to give this subject our full attention because, as I rightly pointed out, parking could (and I think does) affect all the people in Cornwall (that’s over 550,000 people to pee off). We will look into reduced rates, charging, season tickets, pre-paid, Oyster Card type ways to name a few, but I can 100% assure you that we will leave no stone unturned or question unanswered. We have to make a policy that’s fair to everyone in Cornwall and easy to understand; impossible task?

There is a sting in the tail (as there always is). We had to raise the charges across the board. 5% was the total. You might think: “robbing gits, how dare you?”, but a 5% raise is better than a 20%, 50% or 300% raise that a lot of car parks were going to get.

I might add, I don’t blame the Officers who came up with the proposed charges. They were told they had to raise a certain income. It’s hard to keep prices down when you are told you have to raise a certain amount.

So today did indeed drink from the Chalice, it was not sweet tasting, but it didn’t kill me either. I guess there is always another day though.

Six or One

Six or One is the question. What am I on about you ask? Well, its to do with the Current Licensing Policy on Taxies. We currently have six different Policies on Taxies. Today the Miscellaneous Licensing Committee discussed the future. Their choices were keep the same (some may say unfair/fair policies depending what what old district you are from) or have one Policy for the whole of Cornwall.

I would be interested in hearing people’s views on this matter, as the full Council will have to make the final decision at a future Council meeting. The recommendation from the Misc Licensing Committee was that it stays the same. Is that right, wrong or don’t you care as long as you get into a Taxi that wont rip you off and deliver you to your chosen destination?

Considering I will have to vote one way or another I would be interested in what you think we should do. After all it is a democracy and I believe everyone should be listened too (even though we might not always agree).

At the moment I am sitting on the fence (shockingly, yes I am) as I can see merits in both. Don’t worry I won’t be sitting on the fence at the final decision, you can be assured of that, but it would be nice to hear your views.

Working Together

Most of my morning was taken up in a meeting of the Loe Pool Management Forum. This is a non Council body that I attend in my role as the Local Member (this whole area is in my ward).

It was so refreshing to see some high powered people attend this meeting from the EA, National Trust (whose land it is), South West Water, Cornwall College, Natural England. These weren’t just the soldiers, but the experts of the relevant agencies in Cornwall (throw in two doctors to boot). Helston and Porthleven Town Councils were also present, but if they were like me, they were a little lost when they started to speak in more technical terms of micro-bio-what-not’s. (Ihad to ask a few times for certain elements to be placed in English.)

I was really pleased to see all these agencies working together to improve this area so people now, and future generations, will enjoy this area. The plans they propose will be a fantastic for this area. Other areas might get the “green eyed monster” effect. Did you know this area has a small Hydro-Generator powering equipment in this area, I didn’t. I learnt of ways of harnessing power from small water courses. Inspiring!

I look forward to more of these meeting and hope I learn a great deal more.

A Nice Thought

I was sent a link today from someone on Facebook. Not sure what to expect, I clicked on it anyway (risky sometimes in todays age).

After what seemed like an age to start (speeds up if you place your mouse over the counter) I felt very humbled from what I saw. I would like to say thank you for the time and effort it must have taken to do that. It sure brought a smile to my face. Even my son commented with, I quote, “cool”

Thank you

Here is the link:

http://www.tackfilm.se/en/?id=1259247919907RA22

Not A Happy Bunny

I said at the start of the week that it started off good with the nice letter. Well, its Wednesday and its gone down hill quicker than a Swiss skier.

There I was sitting eating my breakfast with the news on. Still half sleepy i was shocked to hear Cornwall Council is going to have Government intervention to ‘help’ the Council get Children’s Services right. It seems the Council has decided to brief the BBC before those who are elected to the Council.

How can the Public have any confidence in the Council if those who they elect to make sure its run for the greater good are not even warned, consulted or even given the ‘heads up’ on this shambles. 

What halfwit (and yes i am annoyed) decided to keep this information secret from the Councillors? I have this morning sent an e-mail the Leader and Chief Exc of the Council demanding answers.

I am now in the process of collecting some more swords because I am sure there is going to be a few people who fall on them, or if not,  pushed on them.

Planning Procedures!

There I was yesterday at the Planning Procedures Panel. The remit of this Panel is to get Procedures, Public Speaking, Enforcement Policies and other bits of the Planning Process right. Planning is one of the functions that the Public see first hand. Get the process wrong you can be sure as the sun raises and sets every day people will be sure to let you know.

I am never one to sit on the fence. You are not elected to sit on the fence, people elect you to do a good job for them. That means sometimes having a lot to say. Yesterday was one of those days.

Nothing annoys me more than when certain people try and make the Planning Process Political. It must never be Political, never. One member of this Panel came up with the ‘bright idea’ (i am being sarcastic) of allowing an adjourning elected Member to over rule another Member on planning call ins. Call ins is a rule where a Councillor has the power to bringing applications in his own Ward/Area to the Committee and not be dealt under delegated powers.

If this was allowed, the people could find that  another Councillor who they did not elect could use this for political point scoring. I am pleased to say that this was put to the vote and all but two people voted against it. See, there is some common sense at the Ivory Towers.

I am sure i will be quoted in the paper on some of the other points and issued raised. One was when the same person who brought up the previous bright idea that some Councillors don’t like making decisions on possible contentious issues. I think the word I used was they should ‘man up’ or find another vocation. This position does require you to make tough and hard choices. Who said being a Councillor was all teas and biscuits.

It happened!

Well today was basically an admin day to catch up and answer all those e-mails I had not addressed on Friday due to the spectacle of me in a Tutu!

Apart from the e-mails from Africa and ‘I have won the Lottery’ type I was pleased to see a Thank you letter. Nothing sets up the week like receiving a e-mail like that. It means more, due to the fact the person in question is not of the generation that really likes computers. I wish all weeks would start off like this.

From tomorrow, it’s back over to the Ivory Towers to deal with Planning Procedures!

Cornwall Council’s Got Talent

It’s Children in Need today. The Council decided to hold Cornwall Council’s Got Talent competition during the lunch period.

The Council Chambers was full to the brim, 8 acts were scheduled to appear from different depts within Cornwall Council. I had agreed to take part in a ‘comedy act’ with members of Democratic Services (DS). The act was along the lines of dancing and the Stavros act that was on Britain’s Got Talent.

3 other Councillors decided to help out as well, Scott Mann, Jeremy Rowe and Andrew Long. We decided to call ourselves the ‘ Cross Party Dressers” (as were are all from different Political Parties). We dressed in bright Pink and Yellow Tutu’s with tops (female) that were to say a little tight, not to mention some very fetching wigs and make up!

We were to come on in the last minutes of the act after those from DS did their part (the professional part I might add). We did indeed come in and hammed it up as best we could, some more natural than others. To be honest, we made complete fools of ourselves (and loved every minute). The crowd I might add laughed, and gave us a huge round of applause which we of course lapped up!

The point in today’s blog is when moral might be a little low, nothing like a good old laugh at those Politicians can bring a smile to peoples faces and hopefully they will think “they are human after all”

More importantly, a worthy cause get that little bit of extra cash it needs!

Here are some good looking beauties

Parking, The Poisoned Chalice

Parking, the Poisoned Chalice of a Panel. No matter what way you look at this issue or deal with it, it will certainly pee some people off.

We met under the cover of darkness (yes, a night time meeting for those who think we don’t have them) and I was ‘volunteered’ for the position of Chairman(more like Press Ganged). As one who has never avoided the sound of the shilling on the drum, I accepted the position.

We discussed and sorted out the role of this Panel, and then looked into the detail of our role. It looks like we are going to cover all aspects of parking within Cornwall.

Hopefully we will get it right, as getting it wrong would be tragic for those in Cornwall. If that happens I will find out that drinking from this Chalice would indeed be very bad for my health.

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