You may have seen a front page, colour story recently about the gong Ryde Council received for apparently duping its ratepayers into a 28% rate rise in a campaign a year ago, before Pickering’s ICAC-assisted elevation to the chair.
But who would have the arrogance and guts to gloat about that, when residents hear regularly of Pickering’s Picks when it comes to big ticket items!
The ratpayers – only 57% of whom wanted a rate increase last year – should be asked now, after Pope Pickering chalked up:
- More than $400k on a lobbyist and PR strategy to counter the ‘Fit For The Future’ inevitability.
- Around $800k for a design comp to tart up and divert attention away from trhe dog of a civic centre proposal
- His legacy project, potentially delivering millions of dollars in benefits to downtrodden councillors who want to sue – regardless of the strength of the case – but need the money for luxury car parts. Pickering’s Religious Right faction prohibits community criticism and Pope Picko’s defo action kicked off in a confidential session of council. Why invite the bad publicity he ultimately got?
Sorry Comms Manager Angela Jones-Blaney and GM Gail Connolly, if you think you’ve chalked up a win with the above campaign, unfortunately you’ve subsequently stuffed up with your disgraceful Updated Statement By City Of Ryde General Manager Gail Connolly effort.
We know Ms Jones-Blaney’s work and don’t think that post is something she’s put there as a professional communicator. Someone’s forced her hand.
DISGRACEFUL MISUSE OF COUNCIL’S COMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE
As for you Ms Connolly, you have no obligation to do what a councillor tells you to do.
Former GM John Neish never ever listened unless it was something he wanted to hear. If you like, just communicate with the councillors you get on with.
That’s what he admitted to when cross-examined by ICAC as its star witness, who waited a few months to lodge his ICAC referal of “serious and systemic” corruption a few days after finding out he was odds-on to get the boot.
Why was there no explanation of WHY a revised statement was issued? Did it occur to you that the reason the statement was revised was because ICAC had cocked up yet again?
Did it occur to you that “considering the sufficiency of evidence” is another way of saying “we stuffed up twice, we concealed, obfuscated and mischaracterised but in the end we got nothing!”.
Given the amendment to the statement – hidden somewhere on the rabid watchdog’s website – suggested a mistake, abuse or interference, have you considered lodging a PID?
You really should given that a number of parties presently are conidering doing so. And perhaps for good measure you could detail how this statement came about.
The internal PID policy was introduced by your predecessor and was ultimately utilised by a Ryde staffer to report the discovery of porn metadata on his council-issued laptop, which of course he claimed he didn’t download because it was visitors from oversees that accessed the device.
The Ryde staffer was bullied out of your organisation for following that policy.
Save Ryde would be happy to entertain an alternate version if any Neish-aligned employee can offer one.
Finally, did it occur to you that there has been serious criminality on the part of the ICAC and whoever pressured you to issue that release? Because no fair-minded person really would issue a statement that strongly hinted a perversion of process had taken place within ICAC.
It’s not too late, do not feel intimidated. You would be better serving the Ryde community by assisting to shine a spotlight on those behind the ongoing miscarriage of justice in Ryde.
POPE PICKO’S POPULARITY
Fair enough, Pope Picko is wildly popular in the community, mobbed by hordes of children each time he goes shopping, gushed over by little old ladies who can’t believe they’re in his presence and idolised by his fellow councillors as someone who is able to be caring, compassionate, respectful of the other side’s views.
But despite his Justin Beiber-like popularity, word has it his long suffering political colleague, Roy Maggio, is more popular by a whisker. Even so, it would be a close call if they both ran for popular election.
Maggio would have the help of sporting groups and many others.
But Pope Picko would have the help of Tony Abboud’s army of pamphleteers and presumably, the army of contractors for the ill-fated Civic Centre v1.0 – who were collectively paid FIVE MILLION BUCKS without a solitary sod being truned on the project.
Former GM John Neish could also be handy and assist by reporting corruption a few months down the track if Pope Picko didn’t win at first crack. That could force a byelection and potential victory, second time time round.
Here Deputy Mayor Maggio is pictured after a frightening incident in Putney in which Pope Picko fell over backwards after an apparent hit from Vic Tagg, a bloke he knows who “couldn’t punch his way out of a paper bag”. Roy was clearly stunned at what happened, it certainly looked like a punch.
Former NSW AG Greg Smith’s son, Nathaniel, said “they’re describing it as a cowards punch” half an hour after it happened as if it had been the talk of the nation, dinner table conversation and a talking point on breakfast television.
The rookie Nine reporter, who didn’t know he was Pickering’s employee, ran with it.
Despite the knock-out hit/cowards punch/king hit/sidewinder/WWF wrestling ‘Suplex’ and subsequent convulsions and unconsciousness, medical reports from Ryde Hospital suggested his life could be miraculously saved with a Panadol.
If you’re keen to see your hero in the flesh, he’s happy to autograph shirts, socks, undies, a picture of him posing on a paramedic stretcher or a cheap photocopy of his most recent Ryde notices of motion. The Weekly Times reports that you can catch Pope Picko in the Supreme Court from Friday 21st August, 2015 when a defo action over a Ryde Byelection smear pamphlet kicks off.
In the interests of fairness, Save Ryde asks that you reserve your judgement and resist the temptation to base it solely on the leaflet – because it’s expected there will be much much more to weigh up.
We can’t confirm at this stage whether the front two rows of the court have been reserved for existing and prospective property developer clients.
JUST TO REFRESH YOUR MEMORY
POPE PICKERING’S MOTHER THERESA-LIKE QUALITIES
On good authority, we believe that so Mother Theresa-like is Pope Picko that he’s hard to find around as he’s often doing voluntary deliveries for Meals On Wheels.
And while vigorously campaigning for Ryde to remain strong and small (and capable of forging ahead with unwanted and controversial civic precinct overdevelopments), there was also the hassle of moving his business out of the LGA into Parramatta.
Based on his uncanny ability to second guess what organisations like ICAC were going to do next – he would always warn his councillor opponents what ICAC had in store for them – I’m putting my money on Parramatta taking over Ryde.
Actually, pop in to PazMaz and see him some time. He’s actually not too bad with the spin – especially when targeting rivals.
He certainly got value for money out of his flimsy ICAC referrals – most of them didn’t get much of a guernsey – but the allegations against fellow councillors are defying the odds and hanging in there just waiting for an oversight process to wipe them away.
ICAC made a complete ballsup there and now it even looks like they’re tampering with the independence of the NSW Electoral Commission.
Anyway, especially go and see Bill if you want anything EXCEPT for lobbying, as they don’t do that any more, being off the register and all that jazz.
But do see him if you want some help with your DA, they “have a great track record with helping to get development approvals. With connections at all levels of Government our consultants can get developers in front of the real decision makers and help get approval for projects.”
LINKED COMPANIES, THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT NETWORK OF ‘MATES’
Best way to check out whether you’re a suitable client is to check out LobbyLens, where you can see the type of clients Hugo Halliday has links with to date.
And remember, the firm no longer lobbies – it helps companies do their own lobbying. Which is OK, right?
After pondering his unique councillor/lobbyist existence for six years while on council and no one saying a word about any perceived issues of conflict, he made the magnanimous gesture last year of taking himself off state and federal lobbying registers.
That was only after featuring in ICAC-coverage of the Liberal Party donations probe and aspiring for an ICAC-assisted elevation to the chair. It worked!
It was one of the more ICAC-worthy inquiries in which evidence was given of third party-funded exotic boat trips starring all of his Religious Right mates in Macquarie Street’s corridors of power.
That’s the second newspaper graphic run featuring the crew of the NSW Religious Right, the first time was back in 2011.
Anyway, we’re getting a little off track now. Sorry to get it in your ear. Rejoin the Conga Line and celebrate your rate hike!