Council poll: Law & order candidates and alcohol restriction opponents top councillor poll, could threaten Mayor
With 72% of the votes counted sitting Mayor Damien Ryan has scored 43.8% which is short of the 50% plus one vote he needs to be re-elected.
Significant leakage of preferences from his four opponents could get him across the line, but toppling Mr Ryan was their common goal and they all put him last on their how-to-vote cards.
Front-runner of the four, Steve Brown, was not confident that people had mainly followed the cards. He said a lot of people didn't take them. A scrutineer had observed some leakage of preferences to Mr Ryan from Dave Douglas votes.
This morning Mr Brown said he was a "bit disappointed" with the result so far: "We all thought there would have been a bigger movement for change than we've seen"
When counting stopped last night Mr Brown had 21.7%, followed by Eli Melky (17.7%), Dave Douglas (12.1%) and Samih Habib Bitar (4.8%).
Mr Brown was also top scorer in the count for councillor with 14.6%. Fellow mayoral challengers Eli Melky (13.5%) and Dave Douglas (10.6%) followed him.
There are 14239 electors on the roll but as we reported recently, 70% is about the norm of valid votes cast, that's around 10,000 votes.
The formula for getting elected is the number of valid votes divided by the number of vacancies plus one, which works out at about 1100 votes.
That means on present results Mr Brown and Mr Melky can safely be regarded as elected, and Mr Douglas and the Greens' Jade Kudrenko are close.
Along with the possible unseating of Mr Ryan, the results so far are a strong endorsement of the law and order faction which is also opposed to some current and any greater alcohol restrictions.
PHOTO: Polling booth at the civic centre yesterday afternoon.
Council election results from the 1990s have steadily led to more independent and progressive candidates (as opposed to conservative) making it onto the Alice Springs Town Council. Some notable examples are garden guru Geoff Miers, Geoff Harris, former manager of the Arid Lands Environment Centre, and Jane Clark, who was a Greens candidate.
The new proportional vote counting system starting tomorrow should enhance the likelihood of candidates with more diverse backgrounds and political persuasions being elected.
But this may not be so simple as the reduction of councillors from 10 to eight, which took effect in 2008, means that each candidate must achieve a higher proportion of votes to be successful. This seems to have been overlooked in the current election campaign. ALEX NELSON looks back over council polls and wonders if the new system will further diminish the dominance of conservative candidates.
LETTERS: How to fix the footpaths. AND: How many more children with foetal alcohol syndrome will be born?
Sir – I am looking forward to the upcoming council elections.
Along with all the other items on the "to do" list for everyone, could the footpath program be upgraded a bit?
Old Eastside residents have paid rates since 1971 (council's birth), not to mention other areas of town.
If this is not possible, maybe $2000 could be added to the sale price of houses to pay for a footpath outside the "sold" houses, so that the new residents won't have to bother the council (when they get 'round to that street).
If this happened a couple of years ago there would be a lot less work for the council (when all the people left town).
This would free up council to spend he rates in a better way.
Could you publish candidates' pone contacts, please? [ED – you will find them here, Mr Petersen]
(Mr) Kim Petersen.
Resident for 42 years.
Image: Snail mail Letters to the Editor – we don't get many but we love them just as much as their digital cousins. Erwin Chlanda, Editor.
PLUS: Hal will vote for take-away free days: How many more children with foetal alcohol syndrome will be born?
In Alice Springs, which has 14,239 eligible electors on the 2012 roll, there is keen participation in the local government elections on March 24, with five candidates vying for the position of Mayor and 15 for the eight positions of Councillor.
It's different in the bush: In the Central Desert Shire, (2583 electors), the Akityarre and Northern Tanami wards had only as many nominations as vacancies.
In the Anmatjere Ward a supplementary election will be required to fill three remaining vacancies.
In the Southern Tanami Ward an election will be held on March 24, with six candidates for four positions.
In the MacDonnell Shire (3314 electors), the Iyarrka and Luritja Pintubi wards had only as many nominations as vacancies.
In the Rodinga Ward a supplementary election will be required to fill one remaining vacancy.
An election will be held for the Ljirapinta Ward, again with six candidates for four positions.
PHOTO: The last time Alice Springs voted in a town council election was a year ago when Eli Melky was elected alderman in a by-election for one vacancy, contested by seven candidates.
A shop for $100,000, a house for $50,000.
South Broken Hill and Alice Springs have a lot in common so far as their problems are concerned.
They couldn't be more different in their quest for solutions.
Empty shops, people leaving town, public facilities needing a facelift, the outback magic failing to lure the tourists in the numbers aspired to.
It seems The Alice could take a leaf out of South Broken Hill's book.
The poor cousin of the iconic mining town, South Broken Hill is separated from the main part of the city by a hill. As if out of sight, out of mind, the symptoms of decline set in two decades ago: shops in the main street closed. Some were turned into dwellings, some just stayed empty. Of 21 shops only 16 are occupied.
Now the push is on to get new tenants, and some short-time occupancies have been offered to artists and exhibitions.
In the long run the vigorous community action is aiming to turn Patton Village into a buzzy place for locals and a magnet for visitors. Bell's Milk Bar owner Jason King, as one of the leading lights, is spreading the message around the nation, especially through the Desert Knowledge Australia Outback Business Network. He says local government and the state government are regarded as stakeholders, "but we have to drive the changes.
"To bring Patton Village back to life, its people will have to do it." ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
PHOTO: Its own community will bring South Broken Hill back to life. No-one else will.
Using the $100m Julia Gillard earmarked for the "Malaysian solution" to build a center for asylum seekers in Alice Springs, which could become the source of sorely needed labour, and moving closely together the dates of the town's iconic events such as Henley on Todd and Camel Cup, giving tourists a reason for staying longer.
These were two ideas floated, by Robert Gates and Peter Grigg, respectively, at yesterday's public meeting called to seek ways of getting Alice Springs out of its doldrums.
About 70 people turned up for the brainstorming, briskly moderated by Chamber of Commerce CEO Kay Eade and hosted by the Town Council. When she asked how many business owners were present only eight hands went up.
"Where are the rest?" asked Ms Eade. "They are letting the town down." Nevertheless, there was much food for thought. Of course, the value of the initiative will be gauged by what becomes reality. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Photo: Monte's is proof that in business, if you have the formula right, success is assured. The dozens of pushbikes tied to the fence most days are pedal powered proof of this.
At a time when the massive government efforts are being made in Alice
Springs and Central Australia towards the provision of housing,
including temporary accommodation options, a number of non-government
organisations (NGOs) this morning launched the Right to a Home
In their sights were, in particular, the Alice Springs Town Council
and its public places by-laws, enacted last year. The coalition, through
spokesperson David Havercroft of the advocacy body NT Shelter, called
on the council to amend the by-laws where they are having "a negative
impact" on the homeless, and to develop a "social inclusion"
policy. KIERAN FINNANE reports.