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Mayor Lays it on the Line

Councillor Hoadley took the opportunity during an unrelated discussion at today's Council meeting to deny that workshops implied business being conducted behind closed doors, and that she resented the accusation of being involved in a "secret society". (HH 28 February)

This was the invitation for the Mayor to lay into those people who had made the complaint for "not coming to talk to him". He claimed that the Council was operating in a splendid manner, and avoiding all the dissention (read debate) that bedevilled the previous Council. Several Councillors then claimed that there was "robust", but polite discussion behind the closed door of workshops, so that is a relief. Others pointed to the robust discussion today about the Cycleway as an example of one subject that had escaped the "workshopping" process. Mind you, it wasn't that robust, and any decision will be buried until after the Annual Plan consultation process.

He followed this up during the lunch break by approaching the media table in order to berate the HH rep. for claiming in the article that he had not been available to reply. He claimed that he was always available on his cell-phone. The HH rep. repeated that she had not been able to contact him before going to press. This was followed by considerable bluster and general rudeness that was well responded to before he turned his attention to me, and made loud accusations against the manner in which I "sniped" at Council, and Councillors. The HH rep. took the opportunity to beat a retreat. 

He then accused me of using Rob Plummer and Stan Sims to push the "secret society" story. I responded appropriately, particularly in regard to his apparent inability to cope with any form of criticism, and subsequently was given a right bollocking in terms that I will not repeat in this blog. But he did state "You are a failed Councillor getting your own back", and the "lowest form of life", and worse. He also claimed that my posts were "naive, and stupid", or rather he indicated that he had been told that by two readers of my blog, because he does not read them. Oh well, you can't win 'em all!

He then told Robert Jeffares (Big Valley FM) that he would not talk to him direct at any time, apparently because of Robert having recorded election speeches, the transcripts of which do not apparently show our Mayor in a good light, but which have provided a deal of amusement, or concern in certain quarters.

He then asked Robert to leave, and continued to give me the round of the kitchen in no uncertain terms. One could say that I now know where I stand with the Mayor. I was also told that all my observations about Council could have been answered had I taken the trouble to knock on his always open door. I am not too sure about that, but if we can establish a rapport, I am very willing to hear his side of the story on any subject. If this proves impossible, then I think I will just have to continue my "arms-length" observations, and take the slings and arrows. Such are the joys of blogging.

He finished by ordering me off the media bench and waving the media sign at me. I asked for his definition of media, and he hesitated before I think retracting, but don't be surprised if I have to cover the next meeting from the uncomfortable seats in the public area.  Strat may relent for CB meetings, but perhaps a general order will be issued banning bloggers. Watch this space!

While all this was happening, Councillors and staff stuck their heads around the door (the lunch period being well over), but quickly retreated. My impression is that not many ever stand up to our new Mayor, but I could be wrong.  He can be quite intimidating when standing over you breathing fire and brimstone, and he has a wide and colourful range of epithets. His behaviour was embarrassing and unbecoming of a Mayor. 

Clearly blogging is foreign to the majority of these Council oldies (of whom I was one), and it provides challenges they are currently ill equipped to handle.  I informed Mr Leach that I have no intention of  stopping what I am doing, and that he will just have to get used to it as have thousands of others in similar circumstances.  His accusation of arrogance on my part for doing it is painful, but hardly life threatening.

He should take a look at Kiwiblog, Whale Oil, and other social websites occasionally to see just how devastating they can be. Mine is mild by comparison, if somewhat unique here in the local government area. I repeat what I have said in the past - if readers dont like it, they will stop reading it - simple as that.  And I know hourly if necessary, how many people are reading.

Here is a suggestion Mr Leach - start your own blogsite, and get a following, but don't be too boring, or borish!



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