Thursday, October 30, 2008

Love it, Hate it...

Earlier in the summer, the council held a 'consultation' exercise called "Love it Hate it". Basically, it was a marquee kind of tent filled with pictures of exotic places and stunning landmarks and vistas and alongside them, pictures of Redcar and Cleveland. It was manned by officers of the council. I struggled to understand what they were trying to say by showing pictures of say Redcar beach, alongside pictures of sun kissed beaches in places like the bahamas? Were the council trying to imply that our beach was like a beach abroad in one of these exotic places, or that it could be? Were they trying to compare what we have here with as I say, stunning landmarks and vistas and buildings around the world? When both Craig Hornby and I asked Cassandra Fergusson what it was all about on camera, she didnt answer adequately any of our questions and tried to refute all the things that we were saying, even though all of the things that we were saying are backed up with documented proof.

I came to the conclusion that it was just another spin exercise, another attempt to paint a huge gloss veneer on a borough that is in a lot of financial trouble.

Today to my surprise, in Saltburn, I came across a scaled down version of the Summers "Love it Hate it" exhibition in the side of a council vehicle, in a car park near the railway. There were three, I presume, officers of the council in attendance. I announced who I was and asked them if they could tell me why the council aren't telling the public that the youth facility that the council are applying for funding for, the one that was featured in the Gazette on Tuesday this week as being built on Majuba road, is actually going to be built on the site of the old baths, a site already allocated to a bowling alley which is part of the Coatham Enclosure scheme, a bowling alley that the council have already told the public and the court, that they have funding for.

I was told by the three officers? That they could not answer my questions and that they were only there to answer people regarding what they loved and hated about the borough. They told me that for any other information, I had to contact the council? But arent they working for the council I thought? No matter, I followed their instruction and filled in a comment card saying I hated the councils lack of transparency and loved the people of this area.

Outside in the carpark, Craig Hornby was talking to an elderly lady and gentleman. I stopped and told them about the council intending to site this youth facility on the site of a facility that is supposed to be part of the Coatham scheme and a facility that they are supposed to already have funding for, I told them about a whole host of things that this council have and are, getting away with. But can you believe that when I got to the part where I started to outline what the ex-chief executive did and was allowed to get away with, one of the officers who were now gathered around us, butted in and said "yeah, but hes gone now!"

I couldn't believe it. He was more or less saying that Colin Moores among others, abuses, were in the past and it didnt matter anymore because these people were now gone. I told him at that point that the council let him go without being investigated and on a massive pay off. But what was even more outrageous, was that after the elderly couple had gone, the officer who had butted in, told us that whilst he thought we were entitled to behave strongly about things like we do, at the end of the day and I quote "SHIT HAPPENS!

He told us that he had only been working for the council for eleven months and that before he came to RCBC, he worked for years serving the mayor of Middlesbrough, Ray Mallon and that he had seen and I quote "what went on" and that at the end of the day shit happens. Craig said so what you are saying is that we are okay to belive in what were doing but at the end of the day it doesnt matter, we might aswell just accept whats going on , because even though its rotten theres nothing we can do, that we should just move on and forget about whats gone on, because shit happens.

We both laughed in disbelief. This is the true face of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Councils consultation and their attitude to the truth and to democracy and to the abuses that have taken place already. The fact that he said this, shows just how much contempt these people have for the public and how they dont care about the things that certain individuals within our council have been allowed to get away with.

They are an absolute disgrace.

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