Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The freedom of the press still furnishes that check upon government which no constitution has ever been able to provide – Chicago Tribune.

Tags Alderman Eli Melky

Tag: Alderman Eli Melky

Graffiti by-law to stay

The graffiti removal by-law, requiring property-owners to remove graffiti or else face a possible fine, will stay. In a five to three show of hands at last Monday's Town Council committee meeting his colleagues rejected Alderman Eli Melky's motion to remove the by-law.

For his pains Ald Melky earned something of a dressing-down from CEO Rex Mooney, a rare intervention by the executive in aldermanic debate in my time of observing council meetings.

Mr Mooney objected strongly to Ald Melky's challenge that the by-law offended against the Local Government Act. As the Solicitor-General of the Northern Territory had approved the by-laws, this could not possibly be so, said Mr Mooney and Ald Melky's arguments were sending "the wrong message" to the community. KIERAN FINNANE reports. PHOTO: Graffiti aren't new to town – this one was on a wall in the industrial area in 2009.

Challenger for mayoral contest?

Alderman Samih Habib Bitar, the Town Council's longest-serving member, has not ruled out running for Mayor against incumbent Damien Ryan. Nor has council's newest member, Alderman Eli Melky. Ald Habib Bitar will, however, definitely run again as alderman, while Ald Melky may not.
Ald Habib Bitar would not say what will influence his decision on the mayoral contest, but Ald Melky, returned in a by-election in March last year, was quite clear: whether he runs for mayor or simply as an alderman, he wants to see who else is going to put their hands up.

Ald Melky, in an interview with the Alice Springs News, gives sitting Mayor Damien Ryan "an A+" for his exercise of the ceremonial role and for "talking up the town", for example in his role as vice-president of the Finke Desert Race committee, but on the "hard issues, a D-".

Mayor Ryan responds that he is "at a loss to find any input that Alderman Melky can claim as his achievement since joining ASTC in March 2011, although he has always been quick to provide media headlines while others in council have got on with real actions".

In the coming weeks we will bring you interviews with aspiring aldermen – they won't include 8HA talkback host Adrian Renzi, who has decided against running –  and any mayoral candidates that may emerge.
A new voting system will mean that any candidate who can get  more than 1/9th of the vote across Alice Springs ( 11.1%) will now get  elected as one of the eight alderman, as opposed to the old system under which all eight had to attract over 50% of voters, likely to mean a broader-based council. KIERAN FINNANE reports. Ald Melky is pictured above, addressing the rally outside Parliamentary sittings in Alice Springs in March last year.

A youth curfew is council policy … despite vote against Ald Melky's motion

A youth curfew is official Town
Council policy. It's called a "Night Time Youth Strategy" and one of its
measures is to have unsupervised children 15 years and under "taken
into protective care and custody if found on the streets of Alice
Springs at night" between 10pm and 5am. It's been on council's books
since November 27, 2006.

It appears Mayor Damien Ryan was unaware of that: He tweeted on
September 2, well before the matter came before the council again later
that month: "I do not support a Youth Curfew, this proposal is not a
#alicecouncil position."

As council prepared to formally vote down Alderman Eli Melky's youth curfew motion
on Monday, Ald Murray Stewart reminded his colleagues of the anomaly.
If they were going to vote against Ald Melky, they really should also
put a recision motion to the meeting on this policy: it would be
"disingenuous" not to.
Mayor Damien Ryan, in the chair, knocked that idea on the head. He asked
for debate on Ad melky's motion to be limited to presenting new
information.  Ald Melky attempted to oblige by responding to points
previously raised by Mayor Ryan in objection to the proposed
curfew. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

Council will look at tree register and by-law

The Town Council has supported Alderman Jane Clark in her request for a report from officers on establishing a tree register, with pruning or removal of significant trees being subject to council approval. Ald Clark put her motion to council after contact from constituents expressing their concern over the destruction of mature trees in the ANZ carpark last weekend.
Steve Thorne, Chair of Northern Territory Urban Design Advisory Council,
who headed up the consultant team on the revitalisation of the Alice Springs CBD, has also suggested the establishment of a tree register, as part of an effort to halt the "death by a thousand cuts" that is occurring in our town centre.

Says Mr Thorne: "The slow removal of quality buildings and trees in the public realm in Alice Springs has previously been described as 'death by a thousand cuts'.  This refers not only to the removal of good things to look at and experience, but to the economic consequences as Alice becomes less attractive in the broadest sense.
"For these reasons alone it may be time for the community to record those places and objects which give Alice Springs its character.  I feel that a survey should be undertaken and the significant trees in Alice should be mapped, photographed and registered."

Meanwhile, Ald Murray Stewart has proposed the formation of a "taskforce" to boost business confidence. Business needs "a shot in the arm" and it needs to happen as soon as possible, he said, but nobody mentioned the $5m 'shot in the arm' that council is sitting on until the middle of next year – the revitalisation projects. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

Photo: Google Earth shot from space shows the trees providing shade in the ANZ carpark – now no more. Earlier stories: Chainsaw rules and Felled trees: Q & A.

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