Democracy Won – Sort Of
Result Needed? – Didn’t Happen
And so Monday has been and gone, the issue for Howick Local Board basically being kicked into touch until the Local Government Elections in September/October. For just under two hours I watched as the issue of removing the Local Board Deputy Chair went through its protracted motions in “moving” to remove the Deputy Chair – Adele White, only for the entire process to come to a shuddering halt when the Chair – Caesar Michael Williams after that 2:45 hours withdrew the motion and an amended motion to “fix” the underlying issue was passed.
What was the situation?
Honesty and Integrity – Such is a Demand of OUR Civic Leaders
This particular issue has been simmering away for a while but has just recently come to (over)boiling point as the particular issue comes to ahead tomorrow evening.
The particular issue? Howick Local Board Chair Michael Williams trying to force his Deputy Chair Adele White to “stand down” or be “forced” to be “stood down.” The reason for this? The real reason is currently unknown despite what is coming through the Main Stream Media, Facebook and Whale Oil.
Now one might be asking: Why is BR:AKL bringing this up now rather one of his Rail Efficiency Posts, or Rates and Len Brown posts. Well the REP, Rates and Len Brown posts will be still coming, however I am bringing up the Williams issue two-fold; first is that I have been watching this issue from the word get-go, second the issue falls into the branch of “What Do I Stand For and Believe In – For a Better Auckland.”
Result after Monday?
- Best political scrap I have ever seen in a while
- The Deputy Chair remaining
- Cowards hiding behind silence of procedure
- Character attacks
- A Board still effectively paralysed
- Democracy still on critical life-support even after the victory for Adele White
- Honesty and Integrity still not there
- Oh and the best sledge I have ever seen from a person
Whale Oil – Cameron Slater was also at the proceedings on Monday and gives a pretty good account of it over at his blog:
A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM, CAESAR GOT RINSEDby Whaleoil on January 22, 2013
Last night was a delight to behold politically, deep in Pakuranga. I haven’t enjoyed a political meeting like that in quite sometime.
A tin pot dictator got rinsed. It took three hours but the momentum through the night built and built and built and still the dictator tried it on…only in the face of certain defeat did he through in the towel and move to remove the motion from the paper…a gutless cowardly end to a night of even more gutlessness and cowardice from Michael Williams and his band of dupes.
In the end Caesar was in fact stabbed by Brutus, as I predicted.
The evening started by a move of venue. The original venue was too small and was inundated by 5:30pm. Eventually around 200 people showed up to witness a good old-fashioned political shellacking.
The first order of business in the standing room only hall was the presentation of a petition organised by Jami-lee Ross with 821 signatures supporting Adele White. Jami-lee Ross spoke for ten minutes strongly and forcefully, making several strong points including using Steve Udy’s quote describing Michael Williams as having a Caesar Complex. He finished to a standing ovation after mentioning road safety several times.
Then 12 citizens who had asked to speak, one after the other stood and spoke and all spoke in favour of the work of Adele White, and against the cowardly bullying of Michael Williams and his group of other cowards. They were all very strong speakers and some directly attacked the actions of Michael Williams and Jim Donald.
David Collings added drama by endlessly raising points of order against Michael Williams and eventually proposed a motion to be added to the original motion. He tried to also add a motion to debate the recent news of Michael Williams drunk driving but Williams pals saw that off.
You can read the rest over at WO.
But it is this point Slater made that hit the mark home:
If Michael Williams was an honourable man he would resign today. He failed utterly and has no integrity and no shame.
Go Caesar, go now, before the mob gets angry.
Williams did not resign – and will not resign until the voters of the Howick Local Board area throw him out at the next elections (Lord help us if that does not happen) and this is where Honesty and Integrity basically collapsed and Democracy still been bludgeoned to near death by Caesar Williams and his Deputy Jim Donald (who should have been (I have to be polite) put out to pasture long, long ago).
Because Caesar Williams and now Jim Donald (an accomplice is just as guilty as the original sinner) are still absolutely and utterly in contempt of these two points made in my Honesty and Integrity (MK I ) post:
What The Williams Affair does show is that Michael Williams is in contempt in two main areas that I hold civic leaders to that allows him to execute his duties as Chair of the Howick Local Board. They are:
1) Open Governance: I believe in open governance where the public can sit in, listen and where possible discuss “matters-of-state” as much as possible with their representatives. None of this hiding behind closed doors (except for commercially sensitive material that does come up from time to time), and fessing up when you know you have stuffed up. You might find the public are more sympathetic you one acknowledges and apologies for a legitimate mistake
2) Listen and Engage: God gave us two ears and one mouth. In my line of work you actively listen with both ears THEN engage in dialogue with your one mouth. Not the other way around as that is usually monologue and the fastest way to get your ears clipped. Same applies to civic institutions: you actively listen with both ears THEN engage in dialogue with your one mouth unless you like getting your ears clipped… Oh and remember some days all the person wants you to do is JUST LISTEN to their little piece – as all we want some days is just to get it off our chests.
Monday night showed in its absolute display Williams and Donald unable (most likely never could even comprehend to begin with) act with honesty and integrity (Such as a Demand of Our Civic Leaders – for which they are) and fulfil those two rather easy and straight forward “commitments.” I had a great deal of sympathy for the ratepayers of the Howick Local Board area and those few Local Board members who do act with honesty and integrity and actually fulfil the two points made above, because they (those Local Board Members) are in the minority while representing the majority of good local citizens. The sympathy lies (and was proven) in the fact the Local Board is in a state of paralyse at the worst POSSIBLE TIME.
I have mentioned in the first Honesty and Integrity post of the Unitary Plan and the resources needed from Local Boards to do what they need to do to make sure the Unitary Plan does not adversely affect them (which in the form I am hearing – will):
The Howick Local Board needs its absolute resources and dedication with a clear conscious and voice that can handle robust debate and outside-the-square thinking as the Unitary Plan comes rocking to all of our doors. You Mr Williams cloud that conscious and voice and could do very well irreparable damage to Howick due to your “short-comings” that can not be fixed and lack of proper judgement and responsibility in your mistakes (drunk driving and resisting arrest).
Your Caucus Leader, Councillor Chris Fletcher spells out the such high risk in the game that is called The Unitary Plan:
“Been pondering over summer why Auckland Council is hell bent on accommodating an extra million people. Auckland’s relatively small (internationally speaking) population gives us a natural competitive advantage. Leaves me wondering about the drivers of the Unitary Plan.”
And I’ll further add to the weight of Councillor Fletcher’s concern:
“The current Stats NZ population clock has us I believe just shy of 1.5m people. Current conservative and “normal” projections have Auckland at 2 million by 2032-ish while high end has 2 million by 2024-ish. I believe it is a case of when and not if (this is the 5th attempt to get this section edited) we get to 2 million – so I suppose Council is being prudent in its planning via The Unitary Plan for it.
However what needs to be watched is Council “forcing” growth (to suit an (usually failed) agenda rather than allowing growth to happen at a more natural and organic rate (leave what be) and planning around that.
How the heck can Howick trust you now Mr Williams when (to me and as I expect my Civic Leaders to have regardless of “jurisdiction” crap) when this entire mess shows you clearly have no honesty and integrity in you to execute the responsibilities of Local Board Chair when your community is staring down the barrel of the Unitary Plan to which Councillor Fletcher, and myself have just vividly pointed out.
That last question above still applies even after Monday, even after Adele White stays on as Deputy Chair, even after the amended motion to “fix” the underlying issues paralysing the Local Board. “How the heck can Howick trust you now Mr Williams when (to me and as I expect my Civic Leaders to have regardless of “jurisdiction” crap) when this entire mess shows you clearly have no honesty and integrity in you to execute the responsibilities of Local Board Chair when your community is staring down the barrel of the Unitary Plan” and was raised by your own constituents time and time again on Monday.
As good as intentions the amended motion was “resolve” the issues, there at times when things can not be fixed and need to be turfed out and replaced. With Williams and Donald (who were in deep discussion with one another after Monday’s proverbial collective spanking they received) still there and fully capable of doing what they have done (leopard does not change its spots) I don’t expect much fence mending to occur – nor sadly the collective fire power be gathered that will be needed for Len and Penny’s Unitary Plan.
With prayer and luck Howick can “hang on” until September/October when they can vote in a new Local Board (bringing back the honest ones and dumping the dishonest ones). Hopefully Howick Local Board has enough resources and energy left to fight their way through the Unitary Plan process. And hopefully Caesar William’s damage to Howick does not spread to the other Local Boards nor the Main Council (so far it doesn’t seem so).
While we hope this issue is long and buried, sadly I doubt it will be as maximum friction will undoubtedly continue. More blood will be spilt, more of the Caesar complex will continue, and honesty and integrity will continue to allude some. So while Democracy sort of won – in Adele White staying, Democracy also lost in Williams not resigning from Chair and the Board…
An eye will be kept on Howick Local Board as this term runs down.
And yes finally, Caesar got “rinsed” and Adele White dropped this pearler of a sledge:
She finished up her speech with an outstanding sledge where she referred to fellow board member Shirley Warren’s previous role as Michael Williams’ play centre teacher. She said she was sorry to tell Mrs Warren that she didn’t do a good job with Mr Williams because “He doesn’t share his toys and he doesn’t play nicely.”
The crowd roared with approval.