29 January 2010

On Standing for Mayor

Many people in Lewisham are struggling with unemployment, low wages, inadequate housing and a council that doesn't do enough to help them live a greener lifestyle. As Mayor, I will push for policies that make Lewisham a better place to live by offering people the help they need.

Yesterday I was joined by London's Green MEP outside the Town Hall at the start of my official campaign as the Green Party Candidate for Mayor.

Jean Lambert MEP has represented London as its Green MEP since 1999.

Commenting on the record of the Green Group in Lewisham, Jean said:

"Greens on Lewisham council have successfully fought against cuts to essential services, they have secured a living wage for low-paid council workers, and they continue to push for a scheme to provide free home insulation for every household in Lewisham. If this is what can be achieved by half a dozen councillors, imagne what a Green Mayor could do for the people of Lewisham."

Indeed this is something I have done for quite sometime both before putting my nomination for selection by the Party and in the run up to the official launch.

The key pledges announced yesterday are :

* ensuring 50% affordable housing in larger new developments
* no cuts to social care support for elderly and disabled people
* an extensive programme of tree planting scheme throughout the Borough
* free insulation for every home to cut fuel bills and save energy
* working to keep new and existing schools in local authority control
* expansion of the operating hours of Safer Neighbourhood teams to ensure more visible community policing

At the last Lewisham-wide election in 2009 the Greens came second with 18% of the Lewisham-wide vote - click here (page 16).

Looking ahead to May 6th, as well as candidate a for Mayor, Lewisham Green Party we'll be standing candidates in every ward in Lewisham. We have a very good chance of increasing the number of Greens on the Council and having an even stronger Green voice over the next 4 years.

28 January 2010

Town Hall - The Sequel

What started years ago with the TV cameras following the internal workings of Lewisham in the BBC programme "Town Hall" in 1992 has spawned a sequel. With frequent outbursts from members of one particular group, regular votes to go home before we've finished working through the business of the agenda from another, and a common tut-tutting across the chamber when one group chooses to allow its members to make its own decisions, it's guaranteed to be a real ratings hit.

Last night, Lewisham Council agreed that it should look into finding ways of webcasting meetings and providing podcasts for later consumption at little additional cost using modern technology.

Of course this should open up the opportunity for local blogs, websites, news sites etc to see much more how business is done, what's happening and hold their local councillors to account.

Here's the text of the amended motion:

This council:
Believes webcasting or podcasting would strengthen equality, access and open democracy by making meetings more accessible for residents with disabilities, residents who are unwell and residents whose family, caring or work responsibilities make attendance impossible;
Notes that webcasting or podcasting of council meetings is increasingly used by other local authorities and that Lewisham Council is developing a new web platform which has the capability for webcasting or podcasting;
Calls for the webcasting or podcasting and archiving of full council meetings to be introduced in Lewisham, as well as of planning committee meetings and Mayor & Cabinet meetings where feasible; and
Calls on the Mayor to commission a report setting out a comparison with other authorities experience, and the costs and, where these are reasonable, a timetable for implementation”.

26 January 2010

East London Line Depot Looking Good

Travelling backwards on train from London Bridge gave me a good view of the new East London Line Depot just before New Cross Gate and it looked impressive with its rows of platforms and shiny new trains.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

23 January 2010

Something you might not have known about libraries...

Following an item on the library service in Lewisham, one of our officers sent some further briefing about the library services across the UK and how they work together. Holidaying in the UK, short on space in the suitcase for holiday reading...some people might not know about this so I have posted the information here below:

"Antonio Rizzo, the Head of the Library and Information Service has helpfully provided the following to the Select Committee:

Anyone living, studying or working in the borough is entitled to join Lewisham's libraries. On 28 September 2009, the Society of Chief Librarians (www.goscl.com) launched the Universal Membership initiative. This scheme allows anyone with a Lewisham library card to join (and gain privileges from) more than 4,000 other public libraries across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Customers are able to borrow books from any library, and in some cases use other services such as DVD rental, online resources and classes. Library users simply need to show their existing library card, or proof of ID and address, to join or access the library they are visiting.

The card is being marketed through the Council Website and through specific initiatives (e.g. Free Swim initiative), shared marketing campaigns (e.g. Be More), and direct recruitment (particularly with schools). The service is continuing to look at ways in which to extend coverage and usage, particularly targetting those under the age of 16."