Hal, Just to clarify, I do not object to public …

Comment on Can public art policy deliver common sense? by Kieran Finnane.

Hal, Just to clarify, I do not object to public art being installed on a roundabout. My objection in this instance is to the placement of road signs that block the sightline to the work for the majority of its potential viewers, that is drivers and, I should add, their passengers.

Recent Comments by Kieran Finnane

Saving, reopening Pitchi Richi: another step forward
Yes, Alex, I was wondering about Adelaide House but I took the reference to Chapman house being the first double-storey building from the Heritage Register. It would be good to get it corrected there. I will change the wording in the article to “one of”. Thanks.


Alice’s upbeat YES campaign for marriage equality
@John Bell. Alice Springs News Online’s editorial focus is always on the local picture. The YES campaign in Alice Springs is active and highly visible. There has been no contact to this office from anybody representing a local NO campaign.
It is possible that a NO case may be made by some local religious groups. We have contacted Pastor Jamie Tasker, who chairs the Alice Springs Christian Ministers Association, requesting a statement, if and when one is made. 


Change on new council: three women, three greens
@John Bell. My comment is straightforward: solid support from voters deserves a solid performance on council. For further explanation, re-read the pre-election profile I wrote about Ms Price (my comment provides the hotlink), acknowledging her many qualities while scrutinising her performance on the past council. This was based on a lengthy interview with her and my consistent attending and reporting of council for the length of her term.


Surprising conservative on council: Jacinta Price
In the course of our everyday human relations trying to be open to one another irrespective of race, gender and age is a good starting point. In analysing social relations, it is naive if not disingenuous to suggest that these things don’t matter.
Whiteness, maleness, and age correlate strongly with power in our society. These factors are expressed in very real life conditions, all of which are evident in Australia and here in Alice Springs: being subject to violence, mortality and morbidity rates, property ownership, pay gaps, poverty levels, holding executive positions, holding political office.
It can be hard for white men, however well-meaning, to recognise as anything other than normal the situation that gives them unequal access to power. With their power intact, it is easy for them to then proclaim that the system ain’t broke and doesn’t need fixing, that they are blind to race, gender and age, that we are all equals.
The last Town Council was dominated by middle-aged and older white men, who also all had small business backgrounds. This make-up is not reflective of the community make-up, although it is undoubtedly reflective of its power relations.
The Development Consent Authority is another powerful group that has been dominated by the same demographic.
(See Erwin Chanda’s analysis here and my subsequent report here.)
The outgoing town councillors had an opportunity to demonstrate a commitment to being more diversely representative when they last voted for the Deputy Mayor’s position (which rotates every 12 months). Cr Jade Kudrenko’s strong performance on council, combined with her many personal qualities, equipped her well for the role, but the dominant group on council backed their man, even though he had been in office just five months. He is a man like them in every obvious way except with fewer grey hairs, Cr Jamie de Brenni.
(See my comment here.)
This had political consequence. The Deputy Mayor’s position comes with a lot of opportunity to be out and about in the community. It’s an excellent preparing ground for assuming a greater political role and so keeping power in the family. Cr de Brenni has had the added advantage of extra time in the role when it might have been changed in March this year, giving him a higher-profile run all the way to this election.
It would be interesting to see this seemingly normal state of affairs tested by an upset result in the election that is underway. There are highly credible candidates in the field reflecting a far more diverse range of backgrounds, experiences and worldviews not to mention gender than was reflected on the last council.


Surprising conservative on council: Jacinta Price
Steve, You are reading far too much into this. My reference to the “old white fellas” was a light-hearted shorthand for the closely-aligned block on council that I otherwise describe as conservative. Councillor Price took it light-heartedly, as reported in the article – she laughed and answered the question without a hint of offence or defensiveness.
Any calm consideration of my journalism over the years would dispel any notion of me backing a “black and white judgemental politics of division”. On the contrary.
In this article I am simply speaking of a real division on council, between the majority block to which you belonged, as did Cr Price, and the rest (in the minority and less consistently united). Not all or even the majority of issues split council along these lines, but the more controversial ones did.


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