Green perspectives on Stockwood and Bristol. Mostly.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

The yellow line cover-up

Ward councillors are still denying any suggestion of wrongdoing, after getting the threat of yellow lines outside a colleague's house withdrawn, and claiming the Neighbourhood Puppetship backed their decision.

The charge, as I described to the September NP meeting for Hengrove and Stockwood, was:

"The minutes record the very special treatment that the voting councillors gave to one public forum statement ; they agreed to reverse a recommendation for yellow lines at a road junction, at the sole request of the resident whose property fronts the junction. I (and I am sure most of those present) did not see any such decision being made, or any opportunity for residents or officers to give an opinion on it, or the agenda item it should relate to. It is all the more alarming that the resident making the statement - and winning instant councillor support - is an Alderman and a party colleague of the two Stockwood councillors."

This brought a heated, but wholly unconvincing, response from the councillors involved.

Cllr Jay Jethwa (who'd spent much of the previous 48 hrs calling a fellow councillor a liar) complained that my remarks were 'personal'

Cllr David Morris attempted an explanation to exonerate him: his original bid for yellow lines was at the request of another resident, but it wouldn't be considered anyway because that area's not in the Traffic Dept's programme, so reversing the decision wasn't necessary.

Their LibDem counterpart from Hengrove, Cllr Jos Clark, said the Minute must be right, because the minuting officer is good at his job.

None claimed that the decision had been made openly, or even attempted (given the Morris version) to explain why they'd bothered to take it. Unfortunately, there seemed to be no members of the public there who'd been at the previous meeting (that must say something...) so no-one else could challenge the written record.

The police intervened in the shape of Insp. Colin Salmon, who knocked our heads together (coppers can still do that, as long as they do it metaphorically). He suggested a simple word change ('could' for 'would') in the Minute that should make everyone happy. But the councillors wouldn't even make that concession. The official record remains intact. They took an unnecessary decision that no-one else saw, outside the agenda of the meeting, and which just happened to do a favour to a party friend.

So the charge remains. Until we know better, this was a blatant bid to give Neighbourhood Puppetship authority to a councillors' uniquely generous treatment of a party colleague.


Michael Goulden said...

Hi Pete,

I was at the previous meeting but couldn't unfortunately say for certain the decision the minutes should properly reflect.

I do however recall your comments at this weeks meeting and I'm surprised that Jay Jethwa found them "personal". Calling for correct or correction of minutes isn't personal Jay.



The Bristol Blogger said...

You could always try and FoI the minute-taker's original notes.

No idea what the outcome would be though.

Stockwood Pete said...


Done that - though it was before I heard David Morris's curious explanation of events. The FOI request is online here

GE said...

David Morris's curious explanation of events

Mm, yes he's not a believer in Occam's Razor, is he

woodsy said...

Their LibDem counterpart from Hengrove, Cllr Jos Clark, said the Minute must be right, because the minuting officer is good at his job.

As someone who has taken more minutes than I care to remember, I always work to the standard that a good minute should reflect what someone would have said had they thought about it at the time. ;-)

Michael Goulden said...

GE, Occam's razor principle is attributed to a 14th century logician....Ah! I see where you were going! Oops sry JJ, no jocularity. :(