BY OUR CIVIC ROUNDSMAN
AT THE RYDE CITY CIRCUS
Ryde Council’s two Labor councillors were accused of being “anarchists” and The Weekly Times Managing Editor John F Booth AM was described as a “village idiot” in an outburst spewed out by Ryde Mayor “Colonel” Pickering at last Wednesday night’s council meeting.
The Liberal Mayor also alleged Mr Booth had gone “senile” and the Labor councillors Jerome Laxale and George Simon were set upon a deliberate path of destruction and negativity.
Councillor Laxale (ALP) told The Weekly Times the Mayor later led a late night adjernment of Liberal councillors during a confidential session at the meeting.
“He spat the dummy, a walkout is the ultimate insult to ratepayers, an outrage! ” Clr Laxale said.
The Mayor had earlier told the meeting he was feeling unwell, but Clr Laxale said the meeting could have finished earlier if Mayor hadn’t wasted ratepayers money and time on the personal abuse of his political opponents.
“It is not just one meeting, every meeting there’s an orchestrated attack on us .. no wonder public confidence is shot.”
Mayor Pickering has also been sued for defamation by former Mayor Vic Tagg.
“When I was Mayor and when Clr Roy Maggio (Lib) was in charge we saw the Council Chamber as a place to solve problems,” Clr Laxale said.
“You could forgive Bill Pickering for his abuse of his political opponents if he was solving problems at council meetings, but he’s not and there’s a scandal here almost every month.”
The Mayor also put Clr Simon on a warning on Wednesday night- after threatening to eject him from the Council Chamber at a previous.
The Mayor’s tirade against the two Labor councillors was made during a heated debate into a proposed new Chinese designed Civic Centre for Top Ryde which has been found to be unviable, despite winning an international design competition paid for by ratepayers.
The proposed design has now been sent back to the drawing board at an architectural institute in Beijing with the aim of finding a viable alternative.
“Let’s face facts, the Civic Centre is falling down,” the Mayor told the two Labor councillors.
“I’m disgusted in both of you .. you are a waste of space!”
Labor Clr Jerome Laxale introduced a motion that the Mayor release a statement noting the failure of the council’s international design competition for the proposed civic centre and apologises to our community for wasting one million dollars on it.
“You’ve come up with a design that’s not viable and I’m not aware the Liberals have any idea about anything, let alone about a civic centre,” Labor councillor and accused “anarchist” George Simon said.
“What an absolute waste of staff time, consultant’s money and ratepayers’ money .. a million dollars wasted on a public relations campaign down the toilet !
“The Mayor has got egg on his face and we warned that this competition was to make a block of flats look pretty and now we’ve got a one million dollar white elephant.”