Thursday, 23 October 2008


The Council meeting last week was another quiet affair with the Labour Group fairly supine. Sir Albert did try to stir them up but his heart does not seem to be in it. It is hard these days for them to get up and say anything. We have managed to keep out of the Icelandic Bank mess but it seems the Police Authority and now Centro have been caught up in it. We like the way they all say it will have no effect on their services but you have to wonder if it does not matter why have they got it?
Before that on the Saturday evening Sue and Keith were at the ICC for the annual ANKA Daycare Dinner. This is a longstanding organisation which provides daycare, and a lot more, in some of the hard-pressed areas of Lozells and Aston. Although they do much good work it is one aspect of the gun/gangs scenario which gets little publicity, although it deserves more. Cllr Yvonne Mosquito was the co-host and she believes we should all sing for our supper so during the evening Keith, Sue, Cllr Alan Rudge and Cllr Paulette Hamilton were dragged up on stage and had to recite a rather long poem, Blake's " Augeries of innocence" no less. Very intellectual for us councillors.
On Wednesday Keith was at the Innovation Centre for the LAAP enqiry whilst Sue spent most of the day at the Council House doing some training for the Licensing Committee, firstly about normal licencing issues and then a session on about gaming, bet that was interesting. Sorry. That evening Keith was at the AGM of the Sir Barry Jackson Trust. This is the body that owns the shares of the Rep and a lively meeting was followed by an enjoyable meal and discussions about the forthcoming Library of Birmingham Project which will include part of the Rep.
On Thursday Keith was at the Planning Committee helping some local residents with an application by the Reaside Clinic for new security measures. All went well with a meeting afterwards between the residents and the clinic's Estate Manager which will hopefully solve the problems. It is nice when two sides of a dispute can work together to sort things out.
On Friday Sue and Keith went to the Caravan and Camping Show at the NEC. Nothing to do with the Council and yes they paid for the tickets. It turned into an expensive morning as they bought a caravan. It involved a good deal on the motorhome but does mean that Keith will have to change the Micra for a bigger car. Another smacking from the green doom merchants seems on the cards.
After the show Sue and Keith took the motorhome over to Wem in Shopshire for a beer festival. Also on site were Ken and Barbara, Cllr Adrian Delaney from Weoley with his two kids and Derek Johnson and Gary Sambrook. Derek is the candidate for Brandwood and a big Post and Mail letter writer while Gary is a young man who almost took Kingstanding this year and is working extremely hard in order to win in 2010. We all had a great time. There were lots of real ales from all over Shropshire and the standard was very high this year.
We had to come back early on Monday for the funeral of a good friend and local personality, Gill Yates. Gill was a loving wife and mother as well as a well known teacher. She also sang in the City of Birmingham Symphony Choir for twenty years as well as playing the trombone. The ocassion was attended by a large number of her numerous friends and her loss at such a young age is a great blow to her husband Malcolm and their three children.
It seemed odd afterwards to be going on to more meetings but it has to be done. Sue was at Colmers Juniors for a Governors meeting which seemed to go on for hours whilst Keith was at the Northfield Town Centre Shop for a meeting of the board of South West Birmingham Community Association.
Tuesday and Wednesday saw Keith at the LAAP enquiry again. As we have told you the one session has been adjourned. Yesterday Sue, Keith and Ken had a meeting with the Highway Engineer at some shops on the Bristol Road South. It seems some of the shop owners and residents have been driving down the pavement to access the frontages. This will be stopped before someone gets killed or injured but we are assessing how we can help them gain a safe acess to the shop frontages. It is amazing how aggressive some people can be when you are trying to help and it can be very tempting to walk away and say bugger the lot of you. Luckily we have thick skins and shrug it all off and get on with trying to help them even though they don't seem able to help themselves. One man was full of his own opinions, we felt like telling him that we would run his shop and he could be the Highway Engineer but restraint won out in the end.
Today Keith and Sue have been at the Callowbrook Day Centre for a Section 33 visit. These are snap inspections which we are reqired to carry out on Childrens Homes, Elder Peoples Homes, Daycare Centres and Emergency Assessment Teams, mostly in our own wards but sometimes in other area of the city. Callowbook is well known to us as we hold a regular surgery there and the visitors speak very highly of it.