SALFORD STAR MAYORAL CHALLENGE: DAY TWO
Yesterday the Salford Mayor candidates disclosed what salary they would take and their most dastardly plans for the city. They also gave their views on Peel Holdings, Eccles, the Quays Cranes and Council secrecy. To read The Salford Star Mayoral Challenge: Day One – click here.
Only six of the ten candidates who want to be Mayor of Salford could be bothered to fill in the Salford Star Mayoral Challenge, thirty questions that aimed to go beyond campaign propaganda and find out where they stand politically, what their personality is like and how much they actually know about Salford and its issues. Here are the six candidates who took the Salford Star Challenge…
Ian Stewart – Labour Party (LP)
Joe O'Neil – Green Party (GP)
Norman Owen – Liberal Democrat Party (LD)
Michael Moulding – Community Action Party (CAP)
Michael Felse – English Democrats (ED)
Pat Ward – Independent (I)
There were policy questions, campaign questions, some fun questions and even a few trick questions chucked in to see how they would respond. They each had no more than four lines to reply, to stop reader boredom creeping in. Here's how the candidates responded to six more questions…
QUESTION 1: Would you go to jail to defend a principal in support of Salford?
Norman Owen (LD): Yes.
Pat Ward (I): That is a very difficult question. I'm a law-abiding citizen and always have been and I don't foresee any issue that would coax me to fall out of the realms of the laws of the land.
Ian Stewart (L): As an Elected Mayor I would always seek to work within the Law in the interests of the People of Salford and their Families.
Joe O'Neil (GP): I don't even have a parking ticket, don't want to give an answer I may not have the guts to go through with. I hope I would if needed.
Michael Felse (ED): No. It is not my intention to visit at Her Majesty's pleasure, they are not nice places. However, like any responsible citizen of Salford I will go an extra mile to stand up for what is right for our neighbourhoods. That does not need any of us to consider jail terms it just needs justified unstoppable determination.
Michael Moulding (CAP): Yes I would and I have come close a few times.
QUESTION 2: Are too many of Salford's resources being poured into projects like Chapel Street, Media City, Greengate, Salford Reds etc?
Pat Ward: Yes. There are not enough jobs being created for Salford people from these big projects as promised. We need to be prioritising current businesses and investing in our current assets.
Joe O'Neil: Yes, yes, yes.
Ian Stewart: If any candidate tells you they know the answer to that question – I seriously advise caution. Again EM [Elected Mayor] would need to know, 'what has been' and 'what is', to be able to evaluate the question and no Candidate has any experience of decision making on these issues. If elected I would do a ROI 'Return On Investment' analysis taking in to consideration the social as well as the economic impacts.
Michael Moulding: Absolutely YES! The latter Salford Labour's cronyism at its worst!
Michael Felse: Yes. Temptation to make Salford glitzy smacks of Councillors who became bored, sitting too many hours in the Civic Centre chamber, drinking tea and eating biscuits. They get caught up in dream lands instead of taking priorities seriously like 12,000 empty properties with 14,000 on a housing waiting list.
Norman Owen: With the Labour majority they have ploughed roughshod over the opposition parties and done what they have wanted to do. Also they have taken control of community committees. What chance have you got? They will put money where they want.
QUESTION 3: Were the `upside down' houses in Chimney Pot Park good for Seedley and Langworthy?
Ian Stewart: That's for the people of Seedley and Langworthy to say. An Elected Mayor would need to listen to the people and learn from any previous good or bad judgments made. Genuine consultation and involvement of residents is crucial to develop ownership/success. Some mistakes in past but lots of good practice developed too. An Elected Mayor can learn from others in Salford and beyond.
Joe O'Neil: No.
Michael Felse: No. The forces of business interest came too strongly into the frame. The end result is good for the people that were able to move in, rather like Media City inward movers and expected movers into the new Chapel Street apartments. What was lost are family generations, what was gained is fiscal progress.
Michael Moulding: No because the original houses should never have been knocked down in the first place. But they look different. I like them.
Norman Owen: People were robbed of their homes and paid a pittance for their houses, thanks to John Merry and Hazel Blears.
Pat Ward: As I have said before, we need to be building on existing land without taking away the green areas. Housing is required within Salford, upside down or not.
QUESTION 4: What were the causes of last year's Salford riots? What sentence would you have given to the little old ladies nicking food from Lidl?
Norman Owen: There would of been no sentence, I would have give her £20 for food.
Michael Felse: The cause came from embedded within the despondent society, bringing civil wrong, destruction and opportunism that took advantage of unrest. It was not the correct way to vent anger, neither is it right to ignore these riots happened. The sentence is for the ladies to engage in better ways to force a real change.
Michael Moulding: Criminality pure and simple. Hopefully my anti-poverty strategy for the city will mean that these ladies will not need to steal. If they are hungry I will help them.
Ian Stewart: Too serious and complicated an issue for glib, ill-informed answers. My guts tell me that we need to: alleviate poverty, deprivation, and strengthen communities. Diminish the influence of: those promoting self-interest, gang culture/organisation and peer pressure. We must promote: education, welfare, health, decent jobs and wages and appropriate and relevant crime and disorder systems.
Joe O'Neil: We have a society that is divided; the kids have nothing the city is full of teenage mums with no future. The causes? Us. PS. the sentencing was standard knee jerk Tory policy.
Pat Ward: The riots were a combination of social problems, boredom and general upset at the way the less fortunate are treated. Theft is theft and we can't justify breaking the law even for "little old ladies".
QUESTION 5: How would you hold yourself up for account if elected Mayor?
Joe O'Neil: The public decide at the ballot box. Open debate and try to make the town hall open space for all views.
Norman Owen: The people will judge that after a time of office.
Michael Moulding: My door will always be open. Besides my weekly surgeries I am happy to hold monthly press briefings. Ask me any questions you want!
Pat Ward: I intend to make decisions based on a full consultation with all those affected, councillors, Salford citizens etc. using the experience I have already gained from the previous leader's mistakes. Good or bad decisions will be mine and I will take full responsibility for them.
Ian Stewart: An Elected Mayor will make him or herself accountable to the People of Salford in the first instance through democratic elections every four years. In between elections the City Mayor can promote initiatives such as 'Meet the Mayor' and other formal events. But there is no substitute for personal contact with real people within our own communities. I have a good track record on this.
Michael Felse: The Mayor must be accountable to Salford people, as must Councillors. I will hold public surgeries, including at the Civic Centre, welcoming the public. In addition I will create a public press resource that will include a Mayor's given right to council staff that allows them to make public interest whistle-blowing.
QUESTION 6: Are plans for the Higher Kersal lake good or bad?
This is actually a trick question – there's no such thing as Higher Kersal Lake. The only lake in Higher Kersal is the glacial lake that's underneath the new Unity Quarter houses, former flooded site of Kersal High School playing fields. So what do our candidates think? Would they pretend they knew about the Higher Kersal Lake project?
Norman Owen: I think the people of Higher Kersal should decide this.
Pat Ward: I went to Kersal last weekend and it is still a good neighbourly community. Lake Kersal looks like it is going to be a good way of involving all age groups in the community and any initiatives that promote community cohesion, I support.
Ian Stewart: Don't know enough about it at this point to comment. If Elected Mayor, I would adopt same consultative approach as outlined above.
Joe O'Neil: Sorry, out of touch on this one, can't give you an honest answer.
Michael Felse: Kersal has a lake! Excellent news for the Mayor's lake fishing annual contest and place for ex Councillors to pontificate over their errors while casting a rod. I support a fixed retirement age for Councillors of 70, seeing 20% of Salford's Councillors take early retirement at the age of 68 to attract young visionaries.
Michael Moulding: Any created habitat is good even if it's not natural.
The Salford Star Mayoral Challenge Part Three - click here