Election packs will soon be arriving in letter boxes and residents will be casting their votes. We therefore ask everyone to carefully consider the document we have uploaded HERE. It is a long document but a very important one since it records, in chronological order, how each of these remaining 8 incumbents voted on planning applications throughout their 4 years on council.

Residents have been assailed with comments  in the Candidate Statements as to how these councillors will ‘protect neighbourhood character’ (Esakoff); how they will ‘ensure development is fair’(Sounness); how they will oppose ‘inappropriate development’ (Ho, Hyams, Okotel,Lobo). Then there are the few for whom planning does not even rate a mention (Pilling, Magee) or we get the minimalist claims of Delahunty (‘I’ve extended the heritage overlay to protect Camden Ward’s oldest buildings).

When planning for the past decade has been in the forefront of community angst such statements deserve to be scrutinised and evaluated. Have these incumbents really practiced what they now preach? What consideration over the past 4 years have they really given to opposing inappropriate development? What evidence is there to support their claims that they give a damn about neighbourhood character? Because surely, if they did, then much could have been done since November 2012 to address the woeful planning scheme and ensure that developers do not have such an easy time of it. And if they really and truly cared about ‘overdevelopment’ then the zones and their schedules would have been much more ‘neighbourhood friendly’.

The document we’ve uploaded contains the following:

  • All councillor decisions on planning (except for a couple on child care applications)
  • Who voted for what and who moved and seconded motions
  • The officer recommendations and then councillors’ decision
  • Where VCAT has become involved we also cite some of the member’s comments (please note that there are some VCAT cases pending from the later decisions)
  • We also highlight again the fact that on EVERY SINGLE OCCASION that these councillors lopped off a storey or two, or reduced the number of apartments and the developer went to VCAT, the developer won! Not because VCAT is woeful, but because for 4 long years these councillors have refused to accept the fact that the fault lies largely with them and with the planning scheme. Please also remember that it has taken the Minister’s intervention to even get this council to review its incompetent and out of date planning scheme!
  • Thus for all the talk and crocodile tears shed by councillors in the past 4 years, their voting record belies their professed concern. Appraising the voting patterns, the most consistent councillor in voting against development is Lobo – and even he is inconsistent!
  • The only conclusion that can be drawn from this data is that Glen Eira’s councillors have failed residents completely and ALL MUST FALL ON THEIR RECORD! We urge residents to ensure that they can no longer have any say in what buildings go up in Glen Eira!

Here’s another link to the document

The Lib/Lab show is also on in earnest in Rosstown. Labor too pushes the boundaries with its preferences but nowhere near how blatant the Libs are in Tucker. Determining who is truly ‘independent’ is difficult given that the phrase ‘inappropriate development’ is on practically everyone’s lips – as are countless other slogans.

What irks us most is the cry to ‘keep rates low’ – especially from incumbents across the board. The truth is that Glen Eira for the past decade has had one of the highest annual rate increases in the state – 6.5% apart from one year when conscience got the better of them and they voted in an increase of slightly less. Were it not for the current rate capping, then the original proposal was that the 2016/17 budget would also include a 6.5% rate increase.  Then of course, we need to consider the financial management and oversight provided by these incumbents. Council is now back up to the huge debt of $24 million, yet still splurges on mega palaces and still cannot bring in projects under budget and on time.

Our position remains unchanged. If residents want a council that listens, that acts in concert with its community, then there is no option but to replace all incumbents.

Here is the Rosstown candidate information in full (uploaded HERE) and some individual statements –

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When it comes to winning an election it would appear that all notions of ‘fair play’, and individual integrity go out the window.  Dirty tricks dominate and collusion makes for some strange bedfellows. Promises are nothing more than fairy tales or straight out fibs. All of this is made crystal clear with the publication of the ‘candidate statements’ that raise the question of who is the ‘right person’ and how much they should be trusted with the stewardship of Glen Eira.

In this post we will concentrate on Tucker Ward and ask readers to note:

  • How the Libs have engaged in highly dubious legal and (un)ethical tactics by publishing their defacto preferences in these statements – something that the legislation forbids!
  • How Magee (the once Labor) man is so anxious to be re-elected that he has joined this circus and preferenced the brother and sister act for the Libs. We are told that he intends to ‘rejoin’ the Labor party after the election. We sincerely hope that they show him the door in much the same way that the Greens have excommunicated Pilling.
  • Statement after statement is either meaningless slogans or bare faced lies. For example, Okotel claims to have ‘fought hard against inappropriate development and striven to preserve the character of Tucker Ward’. Beside the point that she was previously a Rosstown Ward councillor and not Tucker, her ‘fight’ to preserve ‘character’  in Tucker does not bear up to scrutiny when we find she has voted in favour of permits for the following (and we only concentrate on her voting pattern in Tucker) –

8 Railway Crescent, Bentleigh – 3 storeys, 10 units

451 South Road, Bentleigh – 5 storeys, 12 units

261 Centre Road, Bentleigh – now 5 storeys, 31 units

674 Centre Road, Bentleigh – 3 storeys, 8 units

730 Centre Road, Bentleigh – 4 storeys, 21 units

115 Poath Road, Murrumbeena –  6 and 7 storeys, 39 units

22-26 Bent St, Bentleigh – 4 storeys, 36 units

670 Centre Road Bentleigh – 5 storeys, 50 units (later increased to 67 units & part of Brown’s Road)

14-18 Bent Street, Bentleigh – 4 storeys, 55 units

817 Centre Road, Bentleigh – 3 storey, 24 units

23 Bent Street, Bentleigh – 4 storeys, 34 units

10-12 Bent Street, Bentleigh – 4 storey, 35 units

15-19 Vickery Street, Bentleigh – 3 storey, 39 units (VCAT gave the developer his 4 storeys and 47 units)

So much for ‘preserving the character of Tucker’!!!!!!! We also remind readers that her record on tree protection, notice of motion, etc. is equally abysmal and that her presence in council was perceived by many as merely Esakoff’s clone!

We’ve uploaded the full document for Tucker Ward HERE but thought we would also highlight the following statements! Many should at least be good for a laugh! (Click to enlarge)

Several weeks ago Hyams & Delahunty were interviewed on the JAir radio station. Below we present the opening section with Hyams. The audio goes for 5.24 minutes.

As per usual with Hyams he is not averse to making statements that are misleading, incorrect, and blatant misrepresentations of the truth. Here are some examples:

HYAMS: What’s going on in Glen Eira is actually a lot less than what’s been going in some of the neighbouring municipalities

COMMENT

Dead wrong! We have compiled data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on building permits for the past 5 years and uploaded the 2015/16 data HERE so that readers can check for themselves. What residents need to realise is:

  • Of our ‘neighbouring municipalities’ Bayside, Kingston, Port Phillip, and Monash have had less development over the past 5 years! The only ‘neighbours’ with greater numbers are Stonnington and Boroondara – and there are some good reasons for this!
  • Glen Eira has 2.8% zoned Commercial. Stonnington according to the recent State of Play Reports has 8%, Boroondar has 3.6% and Port Phillip has 12% plus this latter municipality being in the unique position of being ‘capital city’ zone and a tourist hub. In these municipalities the majority of new development occurs in these commercial areas, whereas in Glen Eira, the overwhelming majority of new dwellings are in our quiet residential streets – thanks to the zoning and the small percent zoned commercial.
  • The number of houses built in Glen Eira is small compared to many other municipalities – thus development in Glen Eira is primarily apartment blocks
  • Other municipalities are double or triple the size of Glen Eira which already has the highest density per kilometre in the Southern Region. The impact on density and liveability is thus far greater in Glen Eira than say Kingston.
  • Victoria in Future 2016’s projections (UPLOADED HERE) indicate that from 2011 to 2031 Glen Eira will require an additional 11,800+ new dwellings to meet its population needs. The figures on building permits show that in Glen Eira more than half of this target has been reached in the space of 5 years AND these figures DO NOT INCLUDE THE 1500+ UNITS FOR THE CAULFIELD VILLAGE AND POTENTIALLY ANOTHER 4000+ FOR VIRGINIA ESTATE. At this rate, Glen Eira will meet its ‘target’ not in 2031 but in 2020. Then what?

Please consider the following table carefully. The figures in parenthesis represent the number of houses with building permits for that year.

building-approvals

There are plenty of other statements that amount to arrant nonsense and we believe designed to deliberately mislead:

  • Minimal change areas have had 50% site coverage, 25% permeability, and 4 metre setbacks since Amendment C25 which was gazetted in 2004. The only thing the zones have changed is making 8 metres mandatory and 2 dwellings per site – and not as Hyams so inaccurately portrays that these ‘additional’ protections are a result of the zones! What he also neglects to mention is that even this ‘protection’ is not sacrosanct if the size of the lot happens to be larger than its surrounding blocks of land. In Glen Eira at the time of the introduction of the new zones there were 1,795 lots of land in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone which were greater than 800 square metres. (Source: DEWLP document procured under FOI)
  • There are no setbacks to the Residential Growth Zones apart from ResCode. They have been there since time immemorial and again have nothing to do with the zones!
  • Developers buy up multiple blocks because they can squeeze more units on and this is explicitly encouraged in the Planning Scheme!
  • Glen Eira does not have 78% zoned as Neighbourhood Residential – it has just under 70%

But the best line must be – It’s not like we changed the zones to allow more development without telling anyone…..

Really? Is that why the zones were introduced in secret and public question responses were nothing but lies and all such responses ‘signed off’ by councillors without a single murmur?

There’s much, more more that could be said on Hyams’ performance on JAir. We will leave it to our readers to comment further.

Damning report on Glen Eira councillors but no action to be taken

Chad Van Estrop, Moorabbin Glen Eira Leader
September 23, 2016 2:30pm

A DAMNING confidential report has found Glen Eira councillors have defamed each other, come “nose to nose” during confrontations and acted as “judge and jury” to matters of infighting.

But according to a copy of the report, seen by Leader, council chief executive Rebecca McKenzie has said “no further action” would be required as a result of the findings by Frances O’Brien QC.

Ms O’Brien was appointed in May to investigate bullying allegations and advise on how to implement the council’s standards of conduct.

The report found:

Council defamed Oscar Lobo when censuring him for an alleged anti-semitic slur;

■ “Childish, silly and disparaging” email exchanges between Cr Jamie Hyams and Cr Lobo breached the councillor code of conduct;

■ An email sent by Michael Lipshutz to Cr Lobo asking if he worked at a bank linked to terrorists was “discriminatory and not innocuous.”

The report also lifts the lid on an ugly spat at a citizenship ceremony this year where Cr Hyams called Cr Lobo a “f**kwit” and Cr Lobo said Cr Hyams was a “little s**t” and the men came “nose to nose”.

Ms O’Brien said in her report that she did not accept that either of the two councillors had “ever been provoked such as to justify the conduct or language they have used”.

And she said their conduct during an increasingly unworkable four-year term “would be unacceptable in any workplace”.

Glen Eira council has blown $18,000 on the report meaning almost $45,000 has been spent this term to tackle infighting.

Leader understands senior council officers were not interviewed by Ms O’Brien for the report.

In July Ms McKenzie said the report made “no recommendations for further action under council’s code of conduct”.

But an April email from mayor Neil Pilling to councillors stated Ms O’Brien was brought in as an “independent arbiter” which meant her recommendations were not legally binding.

In the fall out from the O’Brien report an internal conduct panel has been established for councillors to report disagreements but council insiders have labelled it a “toothless tiger”.

Cr Hyams said he couldn’t comment on the contents of the report.

“There has been a process to resolve the issues and I respect that process,” he said.

Cr Lobo refused to comment on the report.

Ms O’Brien, a senior barrister with extensive experience in employment law and forensic examination of evidence, was one of three members of a commission established to examine workplace culture at Geelong Council earlier this year. That council was sacked in April.

Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/inner-south/damning-report-on-glen-eira-councillors-but-no-action-to-be-taken/news-story/b5047432fde8a478f5697d5ae9d47419

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COMMENT

Making matters even worse is the fact that this Council has refused to publish the report, or to take action against all miscreants – especially Hyams!

There has been absolutely no respect for public monies splurged on lawyers. We have received an email from a resident who applied to council under the Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation to gain access to the report. This was refused. The resident then appealed to the FOI Commissioner and in the past few days has received the email we present below – from ‘specialist’ lawyers hired by council to prevent the publication of the report. We can only ask:

  • How much more of ratepayers’ money are these councillors prepared to spend in order to protect themselves?
  • How much longer will bullying and vilification be condoned by these councillors?

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