From beyond the grave

From beyond the grave

I write in response to your former editor (Simon Thomsens) undignified and self-defeating rant, where with pom poms firmly in hand he cheerleads forMalcolm Turnbull via the petulant sledging of grass-roots Greens campaigner, Andy Gough.

I was always of the opinion that as a political commentator and editorialist Simon made a pretty good food writer.

But Im now left wondering if there was anything more sinister at play (than an ongoing ignorance of electoral mechanics) when I recall Simons nasty habit of providing execrable front-page, pre-election editorial advice to the Echo readership.

Now from beyond the grave Simons contribution to the global crisis is Liberal Party apologia?

Why dont you stuff another cheese platter into your gob, quaff another $100 bottle of wine and have a good lie down Simon.

Oh, and vote Green, of course.

Tim Somerville


Criticising the critic

Simon Thomsens letter (Echo, February 1) pouring scorn upon his erstwhile colleague Andy Gough, invites a weight of contempt which I, and I trust all Echo readers, need now to hold this corporatised Sydney denizen in.

Charles Lowe

East Lismore

Personal attacks not warranted

I have to agree with the sentiments of Simon Thomsen (Echo, February 1) that the Greens should rise above personal attacks in the political arena.

However, I fail to see how attacking Greens candidate for Lismore, Andy Gough, in his reply illustrates this point.

The snide tone of the letter and the vicious barbs aimed at alternative types makes a mockery of his original argument.

Both men should take a deep breath and start leading by example indeed, it is the only way to change the world.

Trite perhaps, but true.

Annie Davidson

Lismore Heights

Out of touch with the masses

Is former Echo boss Simon Thomsen seeking employment as a Murdoch columnist? His letter attacking Greens candidate Andy Gough and praising environment minister Malcolm Turnbull (Echo, February 1) had all the ingredients, including a string of tediously hackneyed anti-Green clichs and a homage to the real world of corporate capitalism.

Just like a Murdoch hack, splenetic bluster covers a lack of logic for Simon as he tries to argue that a pompous Tory toff whos spent a life in the bourgeois ghetto of Vaucluse and a career growing immensely wealthy in the parasitic and utterly socially useless fields of corporate law and merchant banking knows anything about the experiences and needs of the vast majority of people.

Andy is completely right to question the breadth of Turnbulls life experience and also where the ministers allegiances and ideological assumptions lie. For two centuries the business class has grown fat on the systematic desecration of the planet and has undermined efforts at change. A single recent example: the Sydney Morning Herald, February 3, reported that the big oil-funded American Enterprise Institute attempted to hand out $10,000 bribes to scientists to undermine the recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.

In contrast, the World Wildlife Funds Living Planet Report 2006 described socialist Cuba as the worlds only environmentally sustainable nation.

Sure, along with our scepticism, lets take Howard and Turnbulls proposals on their merits. Their water plan contains some steps forward, notably those (non-market) aspects involving better and more centralised public planning and improved public infrastructure. However, theres a step back in further commodifying the cost of water. The market is a grossly inefficient and unfair means of rationing a scarce resource: those who use the least are worst affected, and those (big business including agribusiness) who use the most can most easily absorb costs or more commonly pass them on to consumers. There should be planned quotas and fair, differential prices for consumers, small business and big business.

Socialist Alliance encourages the Greens to maintain and extend their toff-bashing, as this is not at all negative but points to a fairer and more sustainable way of running the world. They should in fact go further and point out that all politicians are overpaid and hence out of touch, and adopt our policies of an average wage and the right of recall for politicians. In the NSW elections were calling for a vote for Andy in the seat of Lismore and for our own Upper House ticket.

Nick Fredman


A Councillors job not so easy

I refer to the well-written article by Luis Feliu in last weeks Echo entitled Fireworks at Council meeting.

Time flies and election timewill soon beupon us again, so I consider it appropriate to let your readers know what being a councillor is all about.

Ifyour mandate is tosave the environment, once elected you canexpect that the front row of the Council chambers will be taken up by developers eye-balling you to try and get you off Council. After all, developers generally want to knock down trees and plaster the landscape with a myriad of brick and tile houses of assorted colours unless of course you are closer to Ballina, in which case the skys the limitby stretching the rule books. Development is all about ego and money making money and more money.

If you believe that towns and villages should be contained to specific areas, and the North Coast landscape should not be destroyed by little boxes of ticky-tackywhich all lookthe same, then you will be classed as anti development. I fall into this category, because I consider sensible, balanced development is the way of the future.

Theolder you get, the more you realise thatmoney is something you cant take with you, and planet Earth should be preserved for future generations. That is why it is so important to hang in there and carry out your councillor convictions, but it is not easy!

I lodged a Freedom of Information search on the amount of complaints Mr Paul Worth has made against staff and councillors. The result prior to the last Council meeting was four, yes four complaints against Cr Howes and no other complaints against anyone else.

Then along comes Thursday, January 25, and hey presto, like magic there is a fifth complaint lodged against me by Mr Worth. Complaint No.1: Mr Worth waited through eight hours of a Council meeting tolodge his complaint at public question time. Complaint No.5:Mr Worthwaited five hours because public question time was brought forward. Doesnt that tell you something?

Margaret Howes

Empire Vale

Conflict of interest is about perception

The Echo again confirmed the fact that most people do not understand the legislation. At the Lismore City Council public meeting on converting community land to operational, I did not accuse the chairman of having a conflict of interest. I stated I believed he has a perceived conflict of interest.There is a critical difference in both morality and law.

It is nearly impossible to prove someone has engaged in a conflict of interest so the legislation is about a reasonable person having a legitimateconcern that thereappears to be a perceived conflict of interest.

This is what I brought to the attention of the meeting and the chair.


Dr Paul Recher


Loss of Beef Week lamented

Its prettysad to see Richmond Valleys Beef Week disappear from our event calendar.

Of course the communitys abuzzabout causes for theexit including the easyexplanationofnot enough volunteersto run the show.

That theres not universal failure of organisations to attract volunteers and run successful eventselsewhere puts pay to such a handy excuse.Other events and organisations are going gangbusters, yetthosetouched by Richmond Valley Council seem to run intodifficulty almost without exception.Beef Week was to be Councils premier Signature Event with hefty ratepayer subsidy.But its not happening.

Richmond Valley Council has whatever is the opposite of the Midas Touch when it comesto events.Instead of everything turning to gold it turns to ... well you know what, instead!

Ratepayers will remember the disastrous Council-supported CMCA event a few years back which ran at a significant loss to ratepayers.And then of course therewas the cancellation of the Great Eastern Fly-In last year at Evans Head.Councilwantedto impose exhorbitant fees and charges and conditions to stage a community-based event celebrating our World War II aviation history.We didnt have a problem with volunteers or capacity to run the event.

Maybe its time for Council to stand back and take a look at the way it treats its community, and at the operations of its tourism department. Richmond Valley is made up of many people who really care about what happens to this magnificent part of the world. Its the people who make events and these folkshould be encouraged and supported by their local council. Until Council startslistening genuinely to its constituents and behaving appropriately, the volunteerbase for lots ofits activities will continue to dry up, and not just for Beef Week. Take a look around Council at whats happening. Youre losing the trust of your constituents.

Dr Richard Gates

President, Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Committee

Dog owners the real problem

In response to your article on tough new dog laws. I have to say that such a narrow minded approach to the so-called savage beasts of the canine kingdom is a load of dog $#@!.

The owners of the dogs are to be held totally responsible, with that I agree. But if these time bombs waiting to happen are known to the ranger, why are they not taken from the cruel hands of the human beasts who own them. They obviously have not the faintest idea of how to rear man and womans best friend.

People need to be educated that dogs are so keen to please. If you bring them up to be loving and gentle they will be. As such, if they are only taught to fight they will do just that. Is it fair on an animal to impose that kind of nature? No. And as an owner of one of the stereotyped dangerous breeds I am disgusted to think that a ranger would class my dog as savage. She is my loyal companion and is great with children and other dogs alike.

Hostility breeds negativity and if you show hostility to a dog of any breed you may well get a negative response. If however, there was love shown to a dog it would be reciprocated threefold.

They say you cant teach an old dog new tricks, but if you rescue these time bombs from their savage human masters, there is a good chance that they could become someones new best friend. Dont destroy the animals. Show them love.

Name and address supplied

Humans facing extinction

I attended a very interesting talk on climate change by Dr Graham Jones from the SCU at the Ballina RSL last Sunday. It was NOT just theory, but looked at practical aspects and things that could be usefully done.

Looking at charts on effects on climate and factors which probably are affecting it, and seeing comparisons over the last 100 years to the last 400,000 years for example, is sobering. Also looking at forward projections of power consumption in Europe, the US, India and China for example, and the likely effects of that, equally so.

There was mention of a theory that a 50km by 50km solo power station in central Australia could supply most of our power needs and I thought also of the similar potential of geothermal. Its not that simple. It is not the producing of power in remote-type areas that is the problem, it is the transmitting of it.

Whilst musing on this and the recent divisiveness caused by the nuclear suggestion, it occurred to me that if any species on earth, now or in the past, either over large areas or specialised environments, rapidly multiplied its population without restraint then it would either destroy that environment or incur prior mass annihilation so that the environment could survive.

We cant actually harm the earth. We can only harm it for us, and probably a large number of other species. The earth will go on as it has through past geological and climate stages. So long as it exists in some form, it has successfully survived and in all likelihood, some life forms will survive with it, and in their turn will become dominant, following the dinosaurs and we humans.

So lets forget this nonsense of putting band-aids and patches on what is happening; firstly limit world population and then reduce it to a sustainable level. That, or face mass extermination or the destruction of the earth as it exists for our purposes.

The earth doesnt care either way.

Jim Cross


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Community groups rally for homeless

Community groups rally for homeless at the Winsome

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Art recognises the memory

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Give me Fisherman's Co-op over swanksville any day

Give me Fisherman's Co-op over swanksville any day

hygge is the Danish word for enjoying life's simple pleasures

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