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Letters June 11

PUBLISHED: 15:57 10 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:59 30 June 2010

DEMOCRACY? Why hide the facts. Here are a few facts:

The elected mayor campaign expresses a claim that it is non political, yet it is being led by the Labour group leader and his agent.

DEMOCRACY? Why hide the facts. Here are a few facts:

The elected mayor campaign expresses a claim that it is non political, yet it is being led by the Labour group leader and his agent.

And the leader of the Labour group, Michael Castle, expressed his desire to stand for the post in The Mercury recently.

A referendum for an elected mayor would cost tens of thousands of pounds, all from ratepayers, so would have to be added to the rates, or reduce services, as well as the yearly ongoing cost for this, added to the rates.

The elected mayor could be any one, the council cabinet would then be chosen by him/her, from any party, not necessarily from the party elected by voters at local elections. This suggests that when you go to elections and pick the party/person policies you think should lead the council, this will not be so, the elected mayor will decide.

The policies you vote for at local elections may not be carried out by the party you elect, because the mayor is “non political”, and may have an agenda of his/her own.

Should an elected mayor not have the support of the majority of councillors, there will be impotent impasse effecting important decisions that will render the council ineffective and impossible to administer.

How then can the Labour group leader be claiming in his petition that the campaign is non political?

How much is this going to cost the ratepayer now and ongoing in the future? Does he even care?

Watford, a town similar size to Great Yarmouth, cost ratepayers £750k over a four year period with extra cost of the mayor's pension, and department, on top of the councillors' costs. This would equate to almost 20p on your rates every year. If this council had £750k to spare, it should find a much better way of spending it.

What services are going to have to be cut to pay for the referendum, election, on going costs?

Why are only Labour areas being targeted for petition votes?

If you have been asked to vote and have, did you have all the facts, the cost to you the ratepayer, was everything explained in detail as to what you were signing for? Did you know that you can have your name removed from the petition if you change your mind, at any time?

This petition is a public document; your name can be seen by all interested parties.

If you have a question to put to the council, there is public time set aside for this at the beginning of every full council meeting.

GRAHAM PLANT

Borough Councillor

TO my horror something I've been expecting to happen for many years finally did occur this week. Two very young children, asleep in their cot were seriously mauled by an urban fox. The animal had no evil intent. Probably hungry, a juicy arm would go down very well, with perhaps a morsel or two left for the cubs back in the den.

I'm not being flippant. These are the hard facts of life.

Does this affect us in Great Yarmouth? Possibly not, but if present trends continue, and I do know of deer entering gardens in Caister, perhaps we too will be visited by dangerous wild animals. What can we do to discourage these creatures? It's simple really. Food is what they're hunting for, so never, and I mean never, put out food for birds. This is a pastime indulged in by well meaning, but slightly dotty old dears. Slices of bread neatly placed in the middle of a lawn will be picked up by squabbling seagulls and dropped elsewhere, providing food for midnight marauding rats.

Seagulls are becoming a damned nuisance. During the last 12 months or so they've taken to perching on and damaging TV aerials. Travelling on a bus on Brasenose Avenue I saw four seagulls sitting on one aerial. Up close these birds are seen to have a large strong beak. Magpies too are becoming more prevalent. Farmers hate them. Why, you may wonder, the reason is when hungry they will peck the eyes out of new born baby lambs.

Young ladies with babies beware of the magpie. Never leave your baby unattended on the lawn, there's not too much difference between a baby lamb and your small child. I doubt very much this letter will cheer you up. Don't despair, some good may come of it.

JOHN NICHOLS

Emmanuel Avenue

Gorleston

I HAVE been watching the Mercury with interest, in particular the recent Letters section, regarding the possibility of a Mayoral referendum. However, I am at a loss to understand some of the comments made.

Many have misunderstood the difference between our current ceremonial Mayor and a possible elected Mayor. The first, whilst showing a civic face, is selected each year from alternate parties. Many do probably wait their turn and is possibly the most prominent job for the boys, available in Great Yarmouth.

A referendum for a Mayoral election is a very serious business, despite what has been reported. Elected Mayors are a step forward in the direction of democracy, something sadly lacking in local Government. The fact that some 3,500 residents have signed a petition supporting the referendum at least shows a public swell of opinion.

When was the last time your view on anything in Yarmouth was requested? I suggest never!

The Yarmouth and Gorleston scrutiny committees, with their stage-managed questions have been swept away without question. Welcome to the world of the Rural Community who have constantly been denied this pretence of discussion, even though we represent 50pc of the electorate.

I am not suggesting borough councillors do not represent their communities, indeed some do, but when the party whip kicks in, and if you have one eye on the robes and ermine, then guess which way the vote will go.

An elected Mayor offers a chance to decide as to who leads this town, rather than the members of the ruling party. Let's do the maths: 70,000 electors or 24 party councilors? Your choice.

Democracy has a chance to gain a fingerhold with a Mayor with clout, able to form a cabinet from across party lines, or even from outside with the town's best interest at heart. References have been made about other elected mayors, in particular Hartlepool's Mayor Drummond. Although standing on a platform of free bananas for schoolchildren, he has been successfully re-elected with a landslide vote, and a turnout of 51pc. He is now serving his third term. Forget how we used to do things, lets move forward. Let's embrace the future.

PETER KIRKPATRICK

Ormesby St Margaret

THANKS to the Mercury for drawing attention to the opportunity of finding out more about the very important experimental wartime work, 70 years ago at Fritton Lake. Soldiers skilfully learning to use flotation collars on tanks enabled the D Day landings to take place and establish a bridgehead. From this the invasion could move on inland through Europe with eventual success. The information and illustrated explanations provided by Warden Stuart Burgess helped 24 Sunday morning local residents understand the significance more clearly, years of hearsay.

R WALDING

Mill Lane

Bradwell

I WONDER if any of your readers can help? We have recently bought the tugboat Hector Read which we believe was a harbour tug in Great Yarmouth. She was built in 1965 but that's all we seem to know. Can any of your readers shed anymore light on her, did they perhaps work on her or know someone who did? Any info would be greatly appreciated. We can be contacted at Hector Read, Port Werburgh, Vicarage Lane, Hoo, Rochester, Kent ME3 9TW or by email at kvjul9@aol.com

KEV and SHARON

HOW can Councillor Mike Castle care about his residents when he is always so busy with other campaigns? He has been a Prospective Parliamentary candidate; been fighting for a pointless and costly elected Mayor and now he says he will quite happily put his name down on the ballot paper for that should it go ahead.

JAMIE SMITH

Gorleston

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