Tag Archives: Bristol City Council

AVONMOUTH COUNCILLOR ENTERS WEIRD SPACE-TIME VORTEX AS LAUNDRY TRIAL DATE SET

Freedom for laundries!

Despite the express instructions of District Judge Rowe at Bristol County Court last month that they negotiate an immediate solution to ‘The Ridiculous Case of the Shuttered Laundry’ at Antona Court within two weeks, Bristol City Council’s legal and housing goons have done the EXACT OPPOSITE and made no effort whatsoever to settle the dispute.

The case, now regularly featured in the local and national press as a post-Grenfell tale of the underdog against stupid, incompetent and uncaring bureaucracy that wants you dead, will now go to FULL TRIAL on 25 September.

Council housing bosses – in their determination to maintain an iron grip on Antona Court’s shared laundry facility and to treat their social housing tenants like shit – will obviously be funded by YOU, the taxpayer, to take part in this magnificent courtroom drama attempting to prevent laundry being done between the hours of 8.00pm and 8.00am in Shirehampton.

The complainant, BBC Radio 4’s Steve “Stormin'” Norman will continue to cost you ABSOLUTELY NOTHING as he represents himself again in his hugely entertaining skirmish with the forces of arrogance, stupidity and small penises at the helm of Bristol City Council.

Meanwhile, creating an additional layer of utter CONFUSION and PARALYSIS to the affair is Avonmouth’s Labour councillor Don “Lenin” Alexander, who appears, now, to have taken up residence in his own personal parallel universe somewhere near Sea Mills.

Steve emailed Don earlier this week politely requesting his presence at the trial as a witness. “As the case is now SETTLED as far as the laundry is concerned I’d much rather use my time more profitably,” Don beamed back from his alternative space-time vortex.

Er, how can the case be settled if it’s in court on 25 September? Has the council secretly negotiated a settlement with itself behind closed doors that it’s banned from publication? Maybe the council’s sacked this irritating judge who expects them to do some work and appointed lazy sod Don and his culture of zero expectation instead? Is this a new Don/council definition of ‘settled’ that approximates to the traditional term ‘not settled’? Is Don simply OFF HIS FACE on something?  Who knows? But Don’s such consistently good value, he could be put on permanent special offer at the new Lidl in Lawrence Weston.

Meanwhile, the man running the show, The Reverend Rees – a SAD and LONELY figure at Bristol’s Labour Campaign Forum AGM this week as socialists seized control of his local party and consiged to the grave his wet-weekend third way politics of submission to the markets – tells Steve he thinks his grandmother will listen to the forthcoming Radio 4 documentary on Antona Court and its controversial laundry.

The idea of knocking some management heads together or kicking his officers and string-pullers extremely hard up their backsides until they do something involving common sense and the direct request of a District Judge is clearly way beyond this weak and feeble man (surely you mean GLOBAL LEADER indoctrinated in free market economics at Harvard, Ed).

CENSORSHIP WATCH: THE BRISTOL CABLE

 

In an unprecedented move, Bristol’s co-operatively owned indie newspaper, The Bristol Cable, has REMOVED an entirely accurate article from its website following COMPLAINTS from the Reverend Rees and his bent coterie of very shy high-earning council bosses.

The article, published YESTERDAY, drew attention to a the council’s Draft Statement of Accounts, originally highlighted by the Bristol News Facebook page last week, that the Reverend’s council was employing more people on salaries exceeding £50k a year than they were a year ago.

The Reverend failed to comment to the Cable yesterday but did tell a Full Council meeting last night that the salary figures in his Statement of Accounts were INACCURATE and MISLEADING because they included the redundancy payments received by departing bosses.

This seems UNLIKELY since the Rev’s statement doesn’t list the gross salaries and benefits of his highly paid managers but the general ‘Remuneration Band’ they fall within. A ‘Remuneration Band’ would not ordinarily include one-off redundancy payments.

And if it did, why aren’t the twenty-one high-earning bosses – who shared out £2.5MILLION between them in redundancy pay-offs last year – listed and named in the report as earning over £150k last year as the law requires?

Regardless of these facts, the Cable has pulled the article and replaced it with the following statement: ***PLEASE NOTE THIS ARTICLE IS SUBJECT TO A COMPLAINT AND UNDER REVIEW***

Why has this article been pulled? It’s based on figures published in June by the council that were signed off by their Audit Committee on 27 June. If the figures are wrong, it’s the council’s job to explain this and publicly correct them. There is absolutely NO PRECEDENT or GOOD REASON for The Cable to pull a whole article published in good faith quoting publicly available official figures. Especially when these figures are yet to be formally denied anywhere as inaccurate.

It’s also laughable that The Rev Rees has put out a call across the city for “ideas” to deal with his budget deficit. However, when an “idea” involving not paying his bosses such large sums of money for sod-all appears, he tries to ban it!

If Bristol City Council wishes to attempt to censor information that makes the mayor look like a powerless twerp, then that’s their affair. But why are the Bristol Cable making fools of themselves by being bullied into supporting the council in their efforts to censor the truth?

The Cable article, obtained from the web’s cache is published below:

331 employees are now paid an annual basic pay of between £50,000 and £124,000, compared to 216 people in the financial year of 2015/16.

At the same time as general public sector pay caps and cuts has battered the council, almost every band of executive salaries at the council has seen an increase in numbers in the past year. Of the 21 senior pay categories that changed over the year, 18 have seen increases in the number of staff receiving top salaries.

These figures include the £160,000 a year council chief executive Anna Klonowski. It also includes at least three other executives who have seen their pay packets swell over the year by around £7,000 each, taking them to well above £160,000 a year including pension contributions.

Under pressure for implementing drastic cuts, Mayor Marvin Rees, who was elected in May 2016 has challenged anti-cuts protesters to come up with solutions, rather than just criticise. Defending the council positions on cuts, Mr Rees has written: “If we do not make a saving in one area we have to make it in another area. The consequence of one person’s priority is the de-prioritisation of another person’s priority.”

Responding to this latest information, Tom Whittaker a spokesperson from Bristol People’s Assembly, a coalition of trade unions and activists, said: “Clearly there can be no justification for executive pay rises when services are being cut, when many of Bristol’s poorest residents are struggling to survive under the impact of austerity and when ordinary council workers are enduring a long pay freeze.”

Mayor Rees was asked what involvement he had in these decisions, and how it fitted with his priorities agenda. He did not respond to the request.

The figures come from the 2016/17 unaudited annual accounts published by the council, available here.

BOG WANKING BOSS BANS BOATS FROM BOAT FEST

With just a week to go until our annual Harbour Festival, it’s time for Bristol City Council and its prize turd in human form, the Hitler of the harbour, Cap’n Tony “Ahab” Nichol, to treat some Bristol residents LIKE SHIT in order to facilitate some vacuous piece of old crap for the WEALTHY and PRIVILEGED.

This year’s victims are the 30-odd boat-owning residents of HANNOVER QUAY who have been instructed by Harbour Master Ahab, still apparently struggling with his considerable number of mental health issues, to shift their homes out of the way to the end of the harbour at Poole’s Wharf for TEN DAYS during a festival that’s supposed to celebrate, er, boats and our harbour.

We understand these residents are being uprooted so that Ahab and his tragic council management mates and hangers-on can move a SUPER YACHT on to Hannover Quay for the weekend so they can spend time aboard the vessel getting pissed and tugging each other off in style.

Perhaps they’ll be celebrating Ahab’s oversight of the dodgy repair of the Princes Street Swing Bridge? This only took him about THREE YEARS, cost MILLIONS and, we’re reliably assured, “will last about FIVE MINUTES“! Or perhaps they’ll raise a glass to Ahab’s last round of staff cuts, which created 1.25 bosses to every member of working staff accompanied by an unprecedented rise in the DEATH TOLL in his docks?

The boat owners are, of course, livid. Not least because there’s NO ELECTRICITY at Poole’s Wharf, which means the council are treating their long-term paying customers to ten days of living in the dark and eating cold food in the arse end of the harbour while they all enjoy themselves. What’s not to like?

The boat owners are also less than impressed that the consultation they were promised months ago by Bristol City Council prior to any move NEVER MATERIALISED. Instead Ahab – who only has a job because an investigation into his systematic workplace bullying practices in 2014 was called off because it took so long the investigator had retired – simply wandered down to Hannover Quay one day and INSTRUCTED the boat owners to leave or else.

Subsequent complaints to Ahab have all fallen on DEAF EARS, not least because he’s actually very, very ill and isn’t mentally capable of giving a fuck about people. But that’s only when boat owners have managed to get hold him at all. “He’s been spending a lot of time lately in the Harbour Office toilet with his prized copy of ‘Superyacht’ magazine,” we’re told.

“He’s not known around the Harbour Office as “crispy trousers” for nothing”!

BUNDRED: AUDITORS OFF THE HOOK?

After FIVE YEARS of reporting continuous improvement for themselves and the council’s finances to their Audit Committee, the council’s crisis-hit Internal Audit Department makes another historic U-TURN.

They are now reporting to councillors that their “required Internal Audit Plan is not deliverable within existing resources” because of the “scale of finance improvements required”. How can this be when they’ve reported nothing but fantastic IMPROVEMENTS in finance management at the council for the last five years?

Also, in a sloppy piece of DROSS that will be remarkably familiar to anyone who’s seen a child’s homework thrown together five minutes before deadline, the Rev’s Chief Exec Anna “Big Wedge” Klonowski’s meek and mild whitewash – ‘Response to Bundred Review’ (sic) – published last month, singled out the Internal Audit Department for criticism.

“We will seek to improve how reports produced by the internal / external auditor, other regulators and inspectors are dealt with and shared and continue to strengthen our approach for responding to recommendations,” she ambiguously wrote. Presumably this is the formal response after finance investigator Steve Bundred discovered, while looking at Bristol’s £30m overspend, that independent Internal Audit reports for councillors had been secretly REWRITTEN by senior bosses to make it look like they had achieved savings they hadn’t?

Big Wedge went on to say “a peer review of the Internal Audit function has been commissioned which will also embed Key Audit deliverables in Service BAU [business as usual]. Additional resource has been appointed on an interim basis to support the improvement journey.”

So basically this useless department that’s been on a five year journey of FAILURE, INCOMPETENCE and deliberately MISLEADING councillors on finance matters until exposed by Bundred will now be treated to an inclusive, blame-free advice session from fellow-professionals who they know?

Where are the heads on plates?

DORMER TRAUMA PROPERTY BOSS GETS TUTU TIRADE

RESULT! Our councillors – at last – stand up, refuse to do any favours and demand EXEMPLARY LEADERSHIP and the very highest standards of CONDUCT and INTEGRITY from their senior staff rather than the “anything goes for us” culture they’ve assiduously developed for themselves over many years.

A planning committee last night REFUSED their Property Assets boss, Rich “The Builder” Fear planning permission for his appalling and intrusive loft extension that breaks local planning regulations in Knowle.

Rich the Builder thought a PAINT JOB and a bit of FAKE ROOF added to his unlawful carbuncle – that a planning inspector has already ruled should be pulled down – would be enough to persuade a planning committee to let him keep the large-shed-plonked-on-a-roof-style extension he’s subjected his long-suffering Knowle neighbours to.

Alas not. Even shrinking violet Labour Councillor Olly “Mediocre” Mead piped up for once, telling planning officers and Fear, “You can put me in a TUTU and I’d no more resemble a ballerina than that resembles something that is appropriate for the area. It’s not reasonable to add bits of FAKE ROOF

Hear! Hear! Send in the wrecking ball and invite Fear the pisstaker to resign.

WHAT SHOULD THE BRISTOL HOMES BOARD BE LIKE THEN?

The first thing to do with leeches is to CUT THEM OFF from their blood supply. However, the leeches are everywhere, even in the brain of the host, in this case the Bristol Homes Board (BHB). So here’s some steps to make sure we get decent social housing without getting ripped off.

1. Stop talking about affordable housing. FUCK IT OFF. It’s vague nonsense manipulated by private companies. To solve the housing crisis, WE WANT SOCIAL HOUSING at rents set by the council, not housing associations, not charities, not ‘property guardian companies’, not housing activists or Green Councillor Landlords in ACORN. Our money comes back to us, not into the pockets of private companies, NGOs or so-called charities.

2. No representatives or consultants from building companies, property speculators, letting agencies or landlords anywhere near the BHB. They are NOT FIT to sit at our public table or even communicate with us. Their interests are different to ours. When (and if) we want them, we’ll ask them to tender on OUR TERMS, begging at our table for contracts like the hungry dogs they are.

3. All tendering processes rigorously monitored by NON-PARTISAN legal and construction experts who are vetted with full disclosure of any business/financial interests. If they have conflicts of interest, consultancies, dodgy connections, blah blah, kick ‘em out. The role of these ‘chosen ones’, pure as the driven snow, is to protect the people from corruption and robbery. Give ‘em a big stick.

4. All proposed public projects and bids costed by these experts. As part of the tendering process conditions and rates of exploitation of workers in participating companies MUST be declared, along with PROFIT MARGINS.

5. Anyone or company discovered doing anything DODGY before, during or after the tendering process is immediately BANNED from any future tenders and legal action must follow. Thieves who take public money, whether corporate or individuals, must be PUNISHED SEVERELY to teach all the leeches to behave.

6. Housing quality, safety and longevity is central to social housing projects. Find building experts you TRUST; give experienced leftist brickies, roofers, electricians etc. the job of monitoring quality and all on-site activities. Employ POLITICALLY MOTIVATED surveyors, engineers and architects with no private consultancies who’ll take a job to serve the public for life. FUCK OFF ANYONE ELSE. Set up training schemes so the numbers of trustworthy people increases. Create a culture of serving the public rather than leeching.

7. Make the BHB, transparent and democratically accountable (sorry Marvin). LISTEN to people who already experience social housing, tenants associations etc. FIND OUT the problems. BE CLEAR about what you will deliver from your discussions with them. Invite them to observe meetings of the BHB. INVOLVE trade unions and fuck off any company that tries to impede union organisation.

The BHB should be building QUALITY SOCIAL HOUSING for the city. Then the cardboard shit that companies build for private sale becomes a joke and hopefully a thing of the past compared to the brilliant new social housing. The BHB should consist of non-compromised experts we can trust, our political representatives, bodies representing existing social housing tenants and trade unions.

And if the leeches start squealing because it’s getting too hot for them … it’s better they burn and not us.

The Committee for Public Safety

PROPERTY BOSS’S NEW DORMER STRATEGY

Congenital idiot on the rates

Congenital idiot Richard “The Builder” Fear, the city council property boss who didn’t bother getting planning permission for an “eye-catching” CARBUNCLE on the roof of his home in genteel Knowle, is now getting some useful idiot councillors to help him out after losing his planning appeal.

To save him demolishing his unlawful loft extension, the surveyor and RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) member – paid TOP-WHACK by us for his supposed property expertise – has now put in a planning application for a ‘new’ extension. This basically consists of a LICK OF PAINT and an extension to the eaves of his house to make his unlawful extension – that should be pulled down – appear like it complies with planning regulations when it doesn’t.

Fear’s latest plan goes before councillors TOMORROW with locals pointing out that, “a PAINT JOB and the addition of tiles to the eaves will not alter the building overall from being what the Inspector described as a “STRIDENT and BULKY structure… in awkward and discordant contrast with the rear roof pitches of the adjacent terraced dwellings”.

Another says, “from the scant visuals provided, it is impossible for us to judge whether the proposed covering of the cedar cladding with white paint will reduce what the Inspector calls a ‘sense of alien otherness’. However, our feeling is that replacing one ‘challenging contrast with the more subtle palette’ of the surroundings properties with a different at-odds colour (white) will simply result in an equally out-of-character and eye-catching interruption to the broader roof-scape’.

Naturally Fear’s planning colleagues at the council are ignoring any locals and their own planning regulations and recommending councillors approve Fear’s new money-saving plans, which a planning inspector confirmed as unlawful at an appeal.

Will councillors agree with this blatant piece of mutual backscratching from their officers as usual or will they stand up for the communities they’re supposed to represent?

TODAY IN COURT: STORMIN’ STORMS IT!

Ecstatic scenes today as Reverend “The Cutter” Rees and his council of useless halfwits who can’t organise opening hours for a laundry badly LOST the first, second and third rounds of the trial of century! The case, which was moved to Bristol Magistrates Court due to flooding at the jerry built Labour-PFI funded Civil Justice Centre, got off to a bad start for Rees and then – Ho! Ho! – got even WORSE!

Rees’s scumbag housing lawyer Robin “Arsehole” Denford – who makes his living getting the poor of the city thrown on to the street by the courts  – set a losing tone for the day when he slimed up to Stormin’ Norman prior to the case begging for an ADJOURNMENT because he needed “MORE TIME“.

Of course he did. Six months to sort out a SIMPLE CONSENSUS on what hours a residential laundry facility is going to be open for is clearly not enough time for Bristol City Council’s management and legal imbeciles is it? Steve was having none of this adjournment crap, however, and told Denford in no uncertain terms to get his SORRY LITTLE ARSE in the court and in front of the judge. ROUND ONE to Norman.

Once in court, Denford marshalled his amazing legal argument that the Housing Act that governs Steve’s tenancy wasn’t at all relevant to a case about, er, Steve’s tenancy and the case should be struck out immediately. Alas, the judge wasn’t having any of this strike out crap and REJECTED the council’s nonsensical argument, leaving Rees’s council’s only defence in tatters at a stroke!  ROUND TWO to Norman.

To finish off a bad day for the Rees and his BENT COUNCIL that thinks it can do what it likes to who it likes, the judge, having seen Steve’s evidence and listened to his straightforward legal argument, instructed Denford to fuck off out of her court and sort out a NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT with the residents in the next two weeks. If not, she would set a TRIAL DATE.

A full trial would be especially interesting as witnesses could include the two ridiculous Avonmouth Labour councillors – Don “Lenin” Alexander and Jo “Stupid Hippy” Sergeant – housing officer Andrew Jester who was happy to restore the laundry’s old opening hours and Jester’s MYSTERY BOSS who overrode that sensible decision and forced the case to court.

Getting this mystery boss into open court would be something of a coup for Steve. As it would be one of the rare occasions a resident of the city could get up, close and very, very personal with a senior city council boss and EXPOSE them to close CROSS EXAMINATION at length. ROUND THREE to Norman.

Questions for this arsehole money-wasting boss could include: why don’t you think THE LAW applies to you? Why are you deliberately WASTING PUBLIC MONEY on inane court cases? Why do you treat your tenants with ABSOLUTE CONTEMPT? Why does someone quite as obviously THICK and USELESS as you think they know best? Do you regularly MISDIRECT the public money and resources you’re responsible for into pursuing SAD LITTLE VENDETTAS against local residents who assert their legal rights? What’s the success rate like with your sad little vendettas? How did you ever think you would get away with this shit?

Bring on ROUND FOUR! Although, sadly, we suspect that – what with one of Rees’s pampered little senior bosses who must be protected at all costs potentially getting exposed to public cross examination and ridicule on their performance and conduct – a settlement will be miraculously reached in the next two weeks.

That or the Reverend’s legal department is getting St John’s Chambers, Queen Square on speed dial – while housing bosses jump up down screaming in the background – to provide an overpriced public schoolboy barrister at a huge cost to us to take on Stormin’ Norman and impose their will on Antona Court’s laundry.

In the real world, heads would roll for this. However, in the Reverend Rees’s amazing city council world of the stupid we can just look forward to paying for the next self-inflicted fiasco can’t we?

NORMAN vs REES: TRIAL OF THE CENTURY

The TRIAL OF THE CENTURY begins tomorrow when Steve “Stormin'” Norman gets the time and money wasters of Bristol City Council’s housing and legal departments in to court to demand reinstatement of his home, Antona Court’s laundry hours.

The contracted hours of this laundry for paying customers were altered without discussion or consultation by the council six months ago. This is mainly because – as we know from Grenfell Tower – council’s think they can do what the fuck they like to council tenants who they hold in CONTEMPT and treat like SUBHUMANS with no legal rights and no say over the housing conditions imposed on them by callous council scum.

Curiously, the council’s legal team are going to court to argue that the new laundry hours should REMAIN. This is despite Andrew Jester, a housing officer in the Estates Department, writing to Steve on 8 June and saying he “was happy for the laundry hours to be returned to what they used to be and instructed that this be done but have been overruled on this.”

Overruled by who? And why would this NAMELESS senior boss at Bristol City Council rather spend money on a POINTLESS and EXPENSIVE court case than negotiate with their tenants? No doubt next week this same unaccountable management tosspot will be bleating about austerity and having no money?

The council, apparently, will be claiming in court that they are NOT SUBJECT to Sections 103 and 105 of the Housing Act, laws that directly govern their management of their housing and tenants. It’ll certainly be interesting to find out why Bristol City Council thinks the law of the land doesn’t apply to them won’t it?

Although, also in their defence – submitted late and therefore liable to be struck out – the council go on to say, “in light of the disclosure of objections from other residents … They will seek the view of the whole block and then review the current (ie. new) laundry times.”

What’s the fucking point of all this then? It all kicks off at 12.15pm tomorrow. Not to be missed!

DIRTY LAUNDRY

Efforts by a maverick cell of bureaucratic loonies in Bristol City Council’s estates department to restrict the communal laundry’s 24 hour opening times at Shire’s Antona Court for no reason look set to end in an expensive disaster for the council.

Antona Court resident, Steve “The Avon Mouth” Norman, The Bristolian‘s gobshite-in-chief and scourge of the council’s housing department took umbrage at access to the laundry he pays to use being arbitrarily restricted without notice or consultation.

So he filed papers with the County Court in Bristol demanding that the council remove their thousands of pounds-worth of unnecessary laundry alterations and compensate him for failing to comply with the Housing Acts governing the council’s management of Antona Court.

Alas, the court’s deadline has now passed and the council has failed to provide a defence to the judge, which means Steve can now apply for a judgement and compensation unchallenged.

Costs to us – thanks to the council’s negligence in how they altered a service they provide and in failing to respond to a judge in time – will run into the thousands we’re told.

So much for austerity.