Tuesday, July 08, 2003

If you want to continue reading my blog then you need to visit it's new home at 20six.

It's a much better (and still free) blogging tool. It lets visitors post their comments, I can email or MMS (multi-media messaging from my mobile) entries, you can easily edit links, it's easy to add graphics. And as if that's not enough it is a European company, not a giant US corporation like Blogger!

Hope you all come and visit me at my new home!

Monday, July 07, 2003

Just seen that the site has also had mention in The Guardian (it's quite a way down the page so I'll quote it below):


Reluctantly, the Backbencher dragged herself away from Tom Watson's blog this week to read the musings of the man Tom describes as "Britain's first blogging councillor", Stuart Bruce. Stuart, who is the lead member for customer services, has had a "very, very busy" few weeks. "I'm chasing up the six new litterbins which we'd been promised would be put up in April," the Pepys of the south Leeds suburbs informs his readers. "There is also a need for grass cutting, hedge trimming and a general clean up in the village." Stuart, you're wasted on Middleton.

The Yorkshire Evening Post has just a half page story on this blog which resulted in a flurry of extra visitors. You can read it here.

So what's really going on with Alistair Campbell and the BBC. My professional take on it as a PR man is that it is the classic frisbee technique where you create a distraction to divert attention from the real issue. It's a text book PR technique.

If you haven't already done so then please take a moment to do the poll about regional government on my main web site. I'm going to replace it soon with a question about smoking in public.

I feel very strongly that smoking in public should be banned and I'm heartened that most vox pop type polls appear to agree with me. I find smoking to be particularly offensive in restaurants and pubs where you go to enjoy yourself. It's bad enough in the open air, there is nothing worse than walking through a lovely park only to end up staggering through a cloud of fag smoke. These people then of course insist in scattering their fag ends everywhere.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Just been listening to the news. Have to say that I'm not really convinced by this new legislation to outlaw 'ageism' in recruitment. Don't get me wrong I don't think older people should be discriminated against I'm just not sure that this is the solution. Why shouldn't you be able to describe a company as 'young and dynamic' if that's what it is. Wouldn't stop an older person applying for the job but they would have to be able to work in that environment. And surely the simple way round it is to ask for experience - specify a minimum and a maximum. After all it is quite possible to be overqualified for a job.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Sorry, that this post is a day late. At the moment I try to do an update at least once a week and hopefully more often. Last week wasn't as frantic as most but I still had quite a bit on. There was a Labour Group meeting where all of the Labour councillors get together to discuss policy and issues effecting the city. I took part in a workshop looking at how we can improve services for young people.

We had a full council meeting on Wednesday that was compartively good natured. To be party political for a moment something that always occurs to me at the moment is what a complete and utter shower the Lib Dem group are. Their Leader is hopeless, appearing totally and utterly confused on most issues. They do have one or two decent members (Stuart Galton and Don Wilson spring to mind) but the majority I wouldn't trust to run a whelk stall. The Tories are a much more credible bunch.

On Saturday I called into the Hunslet Gala which was a really good day. Hilary Benn MP was there along with the Hunslet councillors. The NHS health bus (which we part paid for though the Community Involvement Team) was there giving out lots of free advice and support. South Leeds has really serious problems around smoking and heart disease, so it's good to see something being done about it.

Monday, June 23, 2003

Another busy week. Kicked off on Monday with a Lead Member briefing about the council newspaper. In the evening we had a Labour Group meeting to talk about the potential changes resulting from the boundary review (the results are out at the end of July). On Thursday I had a meeting with some of the other CIT chairs to talk about how the new local area management systems might work.

On Thursday evening I chaired the Hunslet and Middleton Community Involvement Team meeting. Before it started we had a look round the Rylestone Early Years Centre which we have an £11,000 grant to build a new outdoor play area. They've done some great work with a 'trundle' race track complete with tyres and finish line for toddlers to race on thier tricycles. There is also a 'construction site', willow tunnels, sand and gravel pits and an outdoor music area.

The police came to the meeting to give a report on the CIT funded overtime hours that are being used to crack down on illegal motorbikes in the area. We also agreed to fund some major projects. I will post more about this later.

On Friday I had my regular Lead Members meeting at 8:00 am and then had a Leeds South Homes newsletter meeting in the afternoon.

I also spent most of the week dealing with a particularly difficult piece of housing case work to help a family that has been forced out of their homes and are staying with friends while trying to find a new house in Middleton. It is made trickier by the recent introduction of Choice Based Letting, which will eventually improve things but at the moment is still trying to settle in.

Friday, June 13, 2003

What a busy week it has been! A great meeting with the pensioners on Monday - they are really keen to help Jack Dunn and me get cracking on the Friends of Middleton Park project. On Tuesday there was a really good training session about planning. I learnt a lot that will help be a more effective member of the planning committee and to better represent my ward on planning issues.

On Thursday all three councillors were down at Middleton St Cross to help residents choose new secure doors (see the news release on the main website). In the afternoon I had CIT briefing meeting then straight into a planning meeting - it was the first of the new style ones we had. I think it was much better to look at fewer items in more depth. Giving objectors and supportors an opportunity to speak worked really well.

Later on Thursday afternoon was the best meeting of the week when I chaired out CIT Youth Sub-Group. For the first time we had members of the Youth Council attend. It was brilliant, they had lots to say and contribute and we've resolved to look at how we can get more young people involved. We looked at some of the activities planned for the summer holidays and made some changes based on the comments from the youth councillors.

On Friday I had a briefing on the communications review which is looking at how the council can improved the ways it communicates with local people. There has been some good work done and I relish the opportunity to get involved in an area that I know a lot about.

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