Tag Archives: Freedom of Information

Downs Committee Statement March 21st 2022

The vile Merchant Venturer creatures on the Downs Committee: selfish; anti-democratic; unaccountable; dishonest; rude; arrogant; ignorant; misleading and stupid …

Here’s the full statement from Green Councillor, Christine Townsend made to the Downs Committee today:

As stated in January this committee must be served by the Nolan Principles, current composition prevents this. The Society of Merchant Venturers is an unincorporated, undemocratic, invite only, private members’ club whose position derives from ongoing environmental extraction and the historic horror of the TST [Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade] that saw human exploitation, kidnap and murder for private gain. The legacy of the TST is structuralised throughout present day society and personified in Merchant Venturer presence on this committee. Despite Freed claiming that the Merchant Venturers will
follow the Nolan Principles, the statement he then read out in January ran contrary to each and every one of them: –

Selflessness – Fighting members of the public in a prolonged, unwinnable judicial review, funded by the public purse to ‘save face’ is not in the public interest.

Integrity – Merchant Venturers are on this committee by way of this undemocratic, unaccountable private members club and, by definition, are here to represent and promote that organisation’s interests

Objectivity – Freed attempts to blame Downs for People for the cost of the judicial review. But it was the Merchant Venturer dominated sub of the Downs Committee, not Downs for People, that prolonged the case even though they will have known it was hopeless. They did not concede until they were almost on the steps of the courtroom. Downs for People were pursuing the case in the public interest to safeguard the Downs, mainly at their own expense.

Accountability – This committee has repeatedly failed to engage with scrutiny from members of the public, ignored email requests for information and has to date failed to make public the amount of public money wasted attempting to fight an unwinnable judicial review. As I stand here as a democratically elected representative there remains zero public information about the total sum wasted on this failed venture.

Openness – it is not acceptable that members of the public are needing to resort to making Freedom of Information and Environmental Information Regulation requests to get basic information. It was necessary for Downs for People to get a disclosure order via the court to have sight of the 20 year licence they were challenging, the judge was unimpressed with the Committee’s behaviour. Needing to approach the Information Commissioner to access requested information is shameful and the antithesis of the Nolan Principles.

Honesty – Freed’s statement references ‘the court case’ the process was a judicial review – accurat language use matters. Freed referred to the history of the Downs and claims that ‘at a time when the others were making a fortune out of developing houses all around it….they bought the land specifically to stop that from happening’ This statement is factually incorrect, the Merchant Venturers purchased the land in the 17th century and sold leases for development pocketing the money and quarried large parts for private capital gain. The idea that Merchant Venturers act in a manner that benefits anyone other than themselves is ludicrous and is demonstrated in other aspects of their ‘work’. The public words of their ex-head teacher John Whitehead stated that the instinct of the Merchant Venturers is ‘self-preservation’ days after the felling of their statue mascot the enslaver Edward Colston.

Leadership – Whilst Freed promoted historical inaccuracies, myths about the history of the
involvement of the organisation with the Downs and private profit made from it, described a judicial review as a ‘court case’ the rest of the Merchant Venturers sat back silent, this is not leadership this is complicity.

‘The Merchant Venturers need to remove themselves from our governance structures, getting out of Bristol’s democracy – removed if necessary.’

Turds of turd hall
Why are these unaccountable wealthy bastards allowed to spend public money on themselves as they see fit?

Public statement to today’s Down Committee Meeting by Cllr Christine Townsend, Green Party, Southville Ward:

The Nolan Principles cannot be served with the current governance set-up of this committee despite the elected members being bound by them as the Society of Merchant Venturers are not. Nor does the Society of Merchant Venturers make any financial contribution. The Committee’s secrecy, incompetence and extravagance have, cost the Bristolian tax-payer hundreds of thousands of pounds and must now be dealt with.

The recent Judicial Review illuminated how public funds were used to defend the indefensible. The settlement demonstrated that the Committee’s licensing decisions were, as they had been warned, contrary to the purpose of the Victorian piece of legislation that this committee is bound by. Society of Merchant Venturer members led on these decisions.

The Society of Merchant Venturers have sought to involve themselves in the democratic process and influence decisions in this and other arenas which has been well publicised in recent years. The time has come for a complete overhaul of how and why public money can be used by private individuals to further their own views, interests and ideological positions. The elected representatives of the people, including the Lord Mayor, must step-up and address these now pressing issues that run contrary to the democratic society in which we are told we live.

Officers administrating this committee do so as servants of the people paid from the public purse. Yet the contortions exercised in relation to the Freedom of Information and Environmental Information Regulations questions from Downs for People do not reflect this. Your agenda today does not include the minutes from the Governance Task and Finish Group that previous paperwork indicates apparently met on December 13th. Nor could I find a record of a meeting stated as scheduled for September 8th – Why is that? Where are these minutes? This is unacceptable.

Councillors on this committee cannot claim the role of the elected mayor lacks transparency,
openness, avoidable loss of public funds and democratic decision making, whilst simultaneously dragging their feet with inaction and inertia in relation to this committee – that would be hypocrisy of the highest order.

The Society of Merchant Venturers need to hand over the Downs and remove themselves from our governance structures, getting out of Bristol’s democracy – removed if necessary.

Only those of us with a mandate to represent the people can be in position to make decisions over how our public spaces are managed and how much public money is spent on them. It is the people who have been paying for the upkeep and development of public space, not the Society of Merchant Venturers.

BETHEL TO BRISTOL – MARVIN’S FREE MARKET GRAVE-SUCKER CULT

BETHEL TO BRISTOL small

Following up a Freedom of Information request about the Reverend Rees’ expenses for a dinner in London in January, The BRISTOLIAN uncovered his close ties to the controversial weirdos of California’s BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY (BSSM) and their deep cultic infiltration of his office.
 
BSSM is a Christian evangelist cult that believes everyone has apostolic power that can be unlocked through a variety of STRANGE PRACTICES. Their students are assured they can ‘perform miracles’ such as curing the sick and ‘raising the dead’ or, even, ‘walking through walls’. BSSM has come under fierce attack from fellow evangelicals, many of whom find its practices ‘UN-CHRISTIAN’, ‘GNOSTIC‘, or even ‘NECROMANTIC‘.

The latter accusation stemming from one of BSSM’s more bizarre practices – ‘GRAVE SUCKING’ – whereby the acolyte lies down on the tomb of a deceased Christian celebrity to ‘suck up the residual spiritual energy’ from their bones.
 
The cult is more materially minded, however, when it comes to seeking connections to POWER and INFLUENCE. Its closely allied religious organisation ‘Transform Our World’ largely dismisses the role of a church.

Instead, it breathlessly imagines a vast global network of brainwashed business, community, political, professional and faith leaders “walking out to their call to full-time ministry in the MARKETPLACE“, which allegedly plays “a vital part in the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth”.
 
From the FoI, we know that there was a long correspondence between the Reverend’s office and Kris ‘Voldemort’ Vallotton, co-founder of Bethel Church in Redding, California and ‘Senior Associate Leader’ of BSSM.

Voldemort’s personal blog is HIGHLY REVEALING with its SUB-PAEDO and RACIST OVERTONES as well as HATE SPEECH that unequivocally LINKS ABORTION TO “THE DEVIL”.

Vallotton also travels around the world, making connections with people his cult decides are “INFLUENTIAL“. In the emails we discover that Marvin and Vallotton are already very familiar, as is the mayor’s spin doctor “Slo” Kevin Slocombe who was also invited to attend the dinner, paid for by BSSM at St Ermin’s Hotel, Westminster, alongside “SEVERAL MPS” and an “ARCHBISHOP“.
 
Expenses for the London trip were paid by the MAYOR’S OFFICE (some ambiguity exists over whether this fare was paid back by Marvin). While BCC’s claim that ‘£25’ would cover the cost of Marvin’s meal (so it “didn’t need to be declared’) is absurd as it’s barely the cost of a ‘WAGYU BURGER’ on the upmarket hotel’s menu, never mind drinks or accompaniments. We’re told that they discussed ‘US – BRISTOL TRADE RELATIONS’, whatever that means.

Perhaps Rachel Molano, the Reverend’s ‘faith advisor’ and a BSSM ‘graduate’ can tell us more? Especially as we checked and DISCOVERED she is on the Mayor’s Office’s payroll – in flat contradiction to the OUTRIGHT LIE they told in a separate FoI – as a paid public servant. Rachel, please declare the true extent and objectives of your cult’s interests in our city?
 
Surely it’s time that Bristol’s Labour Party forced Mayor Rees and his fellow cultist sidekick Slo Kev to resign their party memberships? Magick Marv can stand as an independent for the Supernatural Necromancer Inclusivity Party or whatever he damn well likes, but surely not Labour?

First FoI (on Marvin meeting the cult leader) https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/mayors_meeting_with_co_founder_o#incoming-1346566

Second FoI (on Marvin’s BSSM faith advisor) https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/information_about_bristol_mayors?nocache=outgoing-888425#outgoing-888425

BUNDRED REPORT: PANIC AT THE TOP?

A sense of DISARRAY and PANIC at the top of Bristol City Council is emerging as public anger and a determined effort to rid ourselves of the THIRTY bosses who hid a £30m budget black hole from the Bristolian public and their councillors in 2016 grows by the day.

The latest tactic from Bristol City Council’s CRIMINAL gang of Strategic and Service Directors – who presented a set of bent accounts to the public just prior to thieving a 20 per cent pay rise for themselves on the basis of their ‘talent’ – is to IGNORE their correspondence and AVOID replying to Freedom of Information requests.

A recent Freedom of Information request asking that the council supply the minutes of their CHANGE BOARD – where the £30 million scam was cooked-up – has been deliberately delayed. Because, claim panicking bosses, of the “COMPLEXITY” of the request.

What a load of bollocks. Retrieving files from a computer system and supplying them to the public involves no complexity whatsoever. IT’S A SIMPLE TASK. How can a £3 million a year high talent management team not be able to complete this simple task in a month and, instead, resort to weeping about the complexity of it all?

No wonder they struggle with traffic management and house building if obtaining files off a computer is too difficult for them. They are beyond PATHETIC and useless LIARS to boot.

Meanwhile, why is Shahzia “Dim” Daya – the council’s legal boss and Monitoring Officer right at the centre of the corruption scandal – IGNORING the straightforward request published below? Why’s she so bothered about involving external auditors? What could possibly be her problem with that?

From: steven norman <>
Sent: 17 February 2017 12:04
To: shahzia.daya@bristol.gov.uk
Subject: RE: RIGGING OF 2016 LOCAL & MAYORAL ELECTION BY 30 OFFICERS

Ms Daya

Perhaps someone could confirm whether Bristol City Council will be formally requesting that their external auditors conduct a Public Interest Investigation into the following:

– the 30 senior officers/Change Board that withheld information from councillors and the S151 officer that resulted in a material misstatement in the 2015 – 16 accounts and material misstatements in the budget for 2016 – 17 agreed by Full Council in February 2016.

– The Chief Internal Auditors who, in April 2015, found the Change Programme governance arrangements to be ‘good’. A perverse conclusion entirely at odds with the Bundred Report.

– The Chief Internal Auditors over a further Internal Audit report produced in November 2015 and finally published in December 2015 – ‘Change Programme: Financial Benefits Realisation” – that reported ‘acceptable’ levels of control across all areas of the Change Programme after the report was altered by the following officers – Change Services Manager, Service Director, Business Change & ICT, and Strategic Director, Business Change.

– The Chief Internal Auditors presenting the December 2015 report above to the Audit Committee in summary form and with no indication it had been substantially rewritten by officers/managers running the failing Change Programme.

Only it appears to me that an attempt was being made to rig the election by 30 officers who knowingly withheld vital and important information from elected officials and the general public

Kindest Regards

Mr Stephen Norman

If Bristol City Council’s sleazy management scum are avoiding answering these simple questions to DELIBERATELY avoid bringing in the external auditors as they are legally required to do, then they need to quit now so some bosses can come in who are prepared to OBEY THE LAW.

THE CULTURE OF SECRECY

RomeoTHE BRISTOLIAN’S mission to find out why Bristol City Council’s spending on ‘Culture and related services’ has INCREASED by £10m in the year 2014 -15 over the previous year is being stymied by the council.

A freedom of information request asking for further detail on this spending and sent in January is yet to receive a response. The request is now three months old and the council is openly BREAKING THE LAW by not responding.

What are they trying to hide?

ARE COUNCIL BOSSES BARRA MAC RUAIRI AND ANGELO CALABRESI BENT? (SLIGHT RETURN)

NOW ‘ADVICE’ TO A CHAIR OF A PLANNING COMMITTEE HAS BEEN ‘DISAPPEARED’!

Shred

Until around the 20 October, Bristol City Council planning officer ANGELO “KING PRAWN” CALABRESE was set to make an unconstitutional delegated decision to give planning permission to the Nexterra/Balfour Beatty AVONMOUTH BIOMASS PLANT.

However, a major u-turn ensued after an outcry from an unholy coalition of The BRISTOLIAN, members of the public, MPs, prospective parliamentary candidates and councillors of all parties demanding that this decision went to a planning committee as the King Prawn’s OWN GUIDELINES demanded.

The BRISTOLIAN has already remarked that KING PRAWN‘s conduct and – by association – his boss BARRA MAC“ NUGGET” RUAIRI‘s conduct of this process looks extremely dubious.

So to further explore what had been going on, a Freedom of Information request was put in:

Dear Bristol City Council,

The above planning application is to be decided by officers under
delegated powers.

1. Please can you provide me with any information held in any form
by Bristol City Council as to why this application can be
considered under delegated powers.

2. Please can you provide me with any information held in any form
by Bristol City Council and provided to the chair of the relevant
planning committee, Cllr Alex Woodman, by city council officers as
to why this application can be considered under delegated powers.

Yours faithfully,

And back, in a matter of days, came a reply from someone called Steve Knight, masquerading under the minimalist job title, ‘Place’:

This application is being determined at committee level on 5^th November
2014 rather than under delegated powers. As the information is not held,
we are therefore unable to have that information communicated to you.
The application details are available via the council’s Planning online
facility
[1]http://planningonline.bristol.gov.uk/onl…
. The details of the committee meeting will be available a week before the
committee meeting via
[2]https://www.bristol.gov.uk/CommitteeMeet…

“The information is not held”. How strange. Because on 18 October, the chair of the planning committee, Alex Woodman, announced on Twitter:

Woodman

How, one wonders, did councillor Woodman offer his opinion about something for which no information exists?

Of course this information exists. How could King Prawn have possibly formed any opinion, communicated it to a variety of third parties and got to within two days of making a decision otherwise?

So what’s happened to this information? Has it been lost? Mislaid? Shredded? Rest assured The BRISTOLIAN will be chasing this.

And we’ve said it once – and we’ll say it again – this whole planning process needs to be HALTED and Bristol City Council needs to start an immediate investigation into King Prawn and McNugget for potential breaches of THE BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION ACT.

Something doesn’t add up. There’s something rotten in Denmark.