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Independent Report: Council Scrutiny Meeting 18th July 2006

Independent Reporter Lois Lane
Email  click here 

Extracted and abridged relevant highlights from the major work in progress: "Dumber and Dumber Government and Lies - Reporters Personal Diaries"

Cardiff Council Scrutiny Environment and Transport committee meeting on Tuesday 18th July 2006
Controlled Parking Zone Proposals Examination
Steve Jarman (the Councils Principal Policy Officer) told the Scrutiny Committee despite Riverside having the largest ethnic minority community in Cardiff [ more than 23% ] he did not produce the consultation documents for any ethnic minority language.
He went onto say his "analytical mind had enough to do complying with the Welsh Language Act... ...nobody complained about not being offered an ethnic minority language." It apparently completely escaped this self acclaimed clever man that ethnic people would not necessarily understand they had been left out, not having been informed in the first place.
CRAC response: There seems little doubt it was deliberate Council policy to leave out a large junk of the community.
The quality of the CPZ questionnaire was criticized. The chairman of the Scrutiny Committee Councillor Simon Wakefield asked "why didn't question 5 on the questionnaire make the issue clearer?" The Councils consultants (JMP) responded: "the Council decided on the questions here", where upon the Council Transport Officer [ Steve Carrell ] jumped up to say: "the Council took the lead from JMP [ the Councils Consultants ]", clearly neither knew or would admit who initiated the content of the CPZ questionnaire.
CRAC response: By blaming each other do they hope to make it impossible to reprimand either ? was this planned at the outset ? should this be investigated ?
Councillor Richard Cook apparently agrees with CRAC that, non verifiable canvasing of views such as the "third party online peitition" and the "[ Council ] CPZ questionaire" are "open to abuse" and falsely completed by those not entitled to do so.
The following text is subject to a correction request from Councillor Richard Cook, he intended to make clear that "the [ third party online ] petition was open to abuse" and did not intend anyone to think he was referring to the CRAC petition. The following text should be read in this context.
Councillor Richard Cook Councillor Richard Cook from Canton was quick to dismiss the use of verifiable petitions, it escaped him the Council relies heavily on petitions for many areas of policy including Licensing.
CRAC response: Did Councillor Richard Cook attempt to mislead the Scrutiny Committee ? Richard Cook is aware that CRAC has the only verifiable vote (petition) on the issue and over 55% of Residents and 72% of business are against. Why is he apparently working against his constituants ? should he be investigated ?
New Questions to Councillor Richard Cook (put to him 27/7/06):
You already know that "the majority in Canton are against the introduction of the CPZ".
You also know that the Council has already made clear in Public documents that: "Proposals for the introduction of CPZs... ...are intended to assist those areas of the city suffering the greatest parking stress."
There is NO EVIDENCE that the proposed Canton CPZ area suffers "parking stress" in this context.
The Council will breach its own stated purpose to "assist", if it decides to introduce the proposed CPZ scheme, which will do precisely the opposite in Canton, exacerbating to a large extent the few relatively minor problems there are.
Can you give any examples of communications you have made to the Transport Executive pointing out that:
1. Canton should not be included in the current scheme.
2. The Council should recognise the CRAC petition as being the only verifiable vote on the issue.
Richards answer... none.
Update 17th August 2006:Like Transport Executive Member Councillor Elgan Morgan, it seems Councillor Richard Cook is not obeying his duty to answer communicartions within 21 days (there has been no answer on this important issue).
Labour Party Councilors Promote CPZ scheme against the majority of Canton Residents and local Business. The Spring issue of the Canton Labour Party News Letter (see extract below) makes clear Labours decision to support the scheme long before the Residents views were known. The Labour Councillors involved include Richard Cook (see above) and...
Councillor Ramewsh Patel  Ramesh Patel  and  David Thomas  Councillor David Thomas
Canton Labour Party THE ROSE
The News Letter Of Canton Labour Party
Spring: 2006 : No.8

We are pleased that the Council is now considering introducing the original Labour proposals of a CPZ (Controlled Parking Zone) for most of Canton...

CRAC comment: Could it be our Labour Councillors are so busy following the party line that they have no time for or have forgotten what democracy is ?
Do you remember the postal voting frauds reported in the national media benefiting Labour Councillors ?

The Councils consultants (JMP) also attempted to discredit CRAC by alleging they misinformed the public over the use of "clampers".
CRAC response: It seems JMP also tried to mislead the Scrutiny Committee. It is already well documented that Councillor Elgan Morgan (Executive member for Transport) confirmed 6th June 2006 that "...Clamping and Removals will be used..."
The Councils consultants (JMP) also alleged CRAC used scare tactics by saying residents car parking will be reduced, however when questioned on issue, they would not or could not say how many parking spaces Canton and Riverside will have as a result of the proposed CPZ. Under further questioning they admitted they had no idea how many residents would be displaced out of the area.
CRAC response: The fact is Resident's spaces will be lost under the proposed CPZ scheme and it is unbelievable that the self claimed "Professional Consultants in Transport Planning and Engineering to the highest professional standards" (JMP website) had no idea about the number of parking spaces. We Council Tax payers are paying hundreds of thousands of pounds for this incompetence or deliberate misrepresentation, which may be found to be a criminal act subject to investigation.
Council Transport Officer Steve Carrell also attempted to discredit the Resident's website by handing out pictures from the website showing a Residents pay and display machine and a clamped vehicle, he went on to say: "Residents will not have to pay and will not be clamped".
CRAC response: Did Steve Carrell also try to mislead the Scrutiny Committee? It is already well documented that Councillor Elgan Morgan (Executive member for Transport) confirmed 6th June 2006 that "...Clamping and Removals will be used..." and " [ visitor ] permit per household is available... ...with daily [ pay for and display ] scratch cards for larger gatherings." It escaped Steve Carrell that Residents will at least pay for parking: when shopping, for their visitors private and trade and indirectly through permit charges.
Councillor Elgan Morgan Councillor Elgan Morgan (Executive member for Transport) was questioned why he had not responded to a worryingly high level of communications, he said "He had received thousands, [ then changed his mind to say ] no hundreds of letters on this issue, and it was not possible to respond to every one of them". He clearly did not understand or was deliberately ignoring his obligation as a Councillor to reply to any communication within 21 working days.
CRAC response: An investigation of Residents letters may indicate Councillor Elgan Morgan answered just those that suited him, CRAC has copies of responses to recent letters but many more that raised strong issues of complaint as early as April 2006 have not received replies.
JMP the Councils Consultants stated primary aim in their website company profile is to: "raise the company profile and improve our financial performance", quality of service and their work is not mentioned. (see JMP website Our Profile)
CRAC response: Why were these people employed ? It seems they are very honest about their motivation and purpose, that is profit above all else.

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