Donnerstag, 16. Oktober 2008

~Workers to Get Vote?

The Advertiser made the ACC front-page news again today (Crisis? What Crisis?) with the announcement that City workers- ie, people employed in the CBD, would be given the vote. This would apply only to those of voting age (duh) and only the the ACC, not any of the suburban councils. 
On the face of it, it seems a brilliant idea. All these people who daily use the City, but have no say in how it is governed. However, there are a few problems, none of which I think are insurmountable, but, which, taken together, could make a good case against the proposal.
Firstly, there are 108,000 of them. While they may have a legitimate right to have their voices heard, this completely swamps the 22,000 residential and business voters whose views are, arguably, far more important. One solution is to discount workers' votes, perhaps to 50%, or rely on low voter turnout to absorb the difference. People complain that the City is held hostage to small-minded residents, but wouldn't residents being held hostage to big business be just as bad?
Secondly, since they do not pay rates, it is questionable that they really do have the right to have their voices heard. "No taxation without representation" might work equally well in the opposite direction: "No representation without taxation". 
Thirdly, this opens a whole other can of worms: does a .4 teacher at a City school deserve as much say as the full-time waiter in a wine bar on O'Connell St? And a personal hobby horse of mine: should students be allowed the vote? They are in the City as much and more than some workers, shouldn't their views also be heard? 
Taken together, these present a compelling case against allowing City workers the vote. And I may appear in the Advertiser tomorrow with a contradictory view, and this is a lesson we should all learn: learn as much about the subject as you can before you form an opinion. 
For example, upon reflection I have come to see that compulsory voting in local elections would introduce party politics, whereas I believe local politics, more than any other, is a good breeding ground for personalities and single-issue campaigners. 
It's all part of my learning curve. Bare with me as I head towards Oct 2010!

Freitag, 10. Oktober 2008

~A New Footbridge, and Other Matters

I read in last week's CityMessenger, dated 02/10/2008, that the Council is spending $1mil to improve the Victoria Bridge (Morphett St's railway overpass) including three viewing platforms to enhance the view of Adelaide, looking east. 
It occurs to me that while this is a brilliant idea, and has my full support, it also cancels out any benefit from an extra footbridge between Adelaide Oval and Elder Park: that would completely disrupt the view. I have been against any such bridge from the start, and the arsenal of reasons against it continues to grow. 
I am also greatly encouraged by a letter from the Lord Mayor to the editor, published in the same edition. "...Bill Zaharis reflects a welcome trend in the current council, which represents a healthy diversity of age, experience and occupations. This diversity is to be encouraged." I interpret that as a first step towards accepting me, a then 22-y-o student onto the Council. 

I read with interest HinesProperty's double page spread in today's Advertiser. It publicises the new 20 Hindmarsh Square development, and the attached Crowne Plaza Hotel. I am pleased with this development, and while it is sad that Adelaide no longer has any mainstream inner-city cinemas, I fully support this development. An earlier post (LINK) explains my feeling that the Terraces and Squares could be so much more than they are: Adelaide has more park frontage than New York thanks to our Squares and Parklands. Yet we waste it by disecting the Squares and paving the Parklands. This development is a good example of how I think all the Squares should be used for premium office, residential and tourism purposes.