SALFORD STAR MAYORAL CHALLENGE: DAY THREE
Day One and Day Two of the Salford Star Mayoral Challenge saw the candidates disclose what salary they would take, their most dastardly plans for the city, their views on Peel Holdings, Eccles, the Quays Cranes, Council secrecy, the riots, Chimney Pot Park housing, Chapel Street et al…
To read The Salford Star Mayoral Challenge: Day One – click here.
To read The Salford Star Mayoral Challenge: Day Two – 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 aim 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)
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: When did you last shop on Salford Precinct? Was it a fun experience?
Ian Stewart (L): Got most of my shoes and clothes from Salford Market as a Kid. I bought my wife's wedding ring at the Precinct Jewellers shop in 1968. Had a coffee with a friend in the Precinct last month obviously been there campaigning. Due to meet Precinct Owners to discuss their plans for development. I would need total info and consultation with public - to form my view.
Michael Felse (ED): Two weeks ago on my interchange from the number 9 bus. I went into Tesco after I ate my egg barm from the "friendliest café" in Salford on my way to the Post Office for stamps and remember picking up the "Ask Frank" £5 t-shirt off Salford Market same day. Salford Markets always fun experience.
Michael Moulding (CAP): I last shopped on Salford Precinct two weeks ago and very much so because I bought some bulbs from Wilkinsons. I love gardening so I love buying gardening products.
Joe O'Neil (GP): No, only go to the pound shops and the guy who sells the dodgy inks on the hand cart.
Pat Ward (I): Saturday 14th April 2012. I went to do some shopping but I was also campaigning and chatting to lots of people about the lack of consumers and the general demise of this shopping facility. A lot of people were unhappy about the eradication of the market which was a Salford institution.
Norman Owen (LD): This lunchtime, also I am the person who designed all the sprinkler installations on this precinct and re-engineered the pump design on Churchill Way.
QUESTION 2: Would you change Salford Council's current plans for its affordable housing strategy?
This question was designed to see if the candidates knew that the affordable housing strategy for new developments in Central Salford is being wiped out (see here) – shock, horror or not?
Joe O'Neil: Yes, a total disgrace.
Michael Felse: Salford housing plans are a disaster owing to having been driven off course by the Labour council that wants to borrow money on never-never credit and saddle Salford residents at a time when professional advice calls it madness. I would sack the current councillor cabinet housing members.
Norman Owen: There is very little or no strategy, this is the current policy, stick one finger up in the air and find out which way the wind blows.
Pat Ward: Yes. The plans are vague and the action plan is not met. Any strategy should be protecting our current assets, working on pro-active plans to make the most of what we have. Investment is needed into Salford's many vacant properties, instead of agreeing plans for expensive private accommodation.
Ian Stewart: 1997 Tories stopped Salford from building Council Houses and forced sale of Salford Houses. Tories wouldn't allow us to build new houses with money received from sales. Few houses available now. I need to understand current Council strategy in order to develop sensible ideas. Problem: Low wages, no mortgages. I will investigate setting up 'Salford Community Bank' to fund/develop social housing.
Michael Moulding: I would review the strategy to ensure we are building enough affordable housing and the percentage of new social housing is an adequate provision to house Salford families, alleviate Salford's housing crisis, reduce homelessness, increase the number of rented cheap affordable housing and to create jobs. If it was changed it will be to increase numbers of new homes.
QUESTION 3: What are your views on Buile Hill Mansion?
This is the mansion in Buile Hill Park, the former Mining Museum, that the Council sold off to Salford Reds owner, John Wilkinson, who planned to turn it into a hotel. This still hasn't happened, Salford Council still hasn't been paid, yet recently Wilkinson's planning permission was extended…
Pat Ward: I think it needs money spending on it as does Monks Hall museum, but we need someone who is interested such as the National Trust or a Heritage group and not a developer who will change it for commercial gain.
Norman Owen: If you've seen my manifesto you know I am in support of restoring the mansion.
Joe O'Neil: One more wasted part of our past.
Ian Stewart: It is my current opinion that the house needs sensitive development which will retain the main building and public access and ownership of the Park. I would not be prepared to see the building just fall down. Therefore, all development proposals which meet the aforementioned criteria should be considered. We need a proposal which will benefit the People of Salford and their Families.
Michael Moulding: A beautiful building that should be available to the whole of Salford
Michael Felse: It is in a fantastic location and should be handed back to Salford's enthusiastic community as a National Centre for Social Enterprise bringing in a partnership of voluntary and community sector organisations as a perfect fit for new social enterprises that installs a network for the future community spirit of Salford.
QUESTION 4: Should Barbara Spicer [Chief Exec Salford Council] stay or go if you are elected Mayor?
Norman Owen: Go.
Michael Felse: Warning and Beware, anyone standing to be Salford Mayor should have the experience of understanding employment law. If they are foolish in saying an employee goes in advance it will automatically give a tribunal no option but to award damages. Unfair dismissal can outrank any Mayor salary by £500,000.
Ian Stewart: Where a Chief Executive is carrying out her or his duties efficiently and competently in the interests of the People of Salford and their Families, she or he should always have the full support of the Elected Mayor. The current Chief Executive is well respected in Salford and beyond, therefore she would have my full support as would the rest of the Council Staff. We need maximum stability.
Joe O'Neil: Go
Michael Moulding: On £200,000 PA ? Go!
Pat Ward: Initially I feel that the role of chief executive of the council would be redundant and an unnecessary expense. However I intend to carry out reviews on all principal roles within the council and will review this role and its effectiveness and should an alternative option be appropriate, then I will of course action that.
QUESTION 5: If elected Mayor how would you improve transparency in the Council?
Joe O'Neil: Offer Salford Star the keys to look around
Ian Stewart: Work to improve Scrutiny and Community Committee systems. I would develop the Cooperative Council Concept, 'Cooperative Commission' with 'Mini Commissions' Developing Democracy and Transparency. Improve communications, social media and networks to reach all age groups. It will be lot of hard work for those who are prepared to be involved – councillors and non-councillors alike.
Michael Moulding: More Council decisions in public. Rearrange Council meetings to make it easier for the public to attend ie evening and weekend meetings. Invitation sent to schools and colleges for our young people to get involved. I have guaranteed that my door is open and I will be holding weekly surgeries if I am mayor. I will be a working Mayor.
Pat Ward: One of my key priorities is to create a transparent and customer-led local authority. I want to involve Salford people in the decisions that affect them and I want to be open about the decisions that are being made by publishing them clearly in local press and online.
Norman Owen: I would improve transparency by getting rid of the bloody mindedness and dictatorship which is present under Labour.
Michael Felse: I will lead by example in proving the Mayor is open to scrutiny. I will bring a new change in politics by publishing my income and expenditure in the local press. The scandal of MPs expenses (in which public distrust for politicians was created) has to be reversed and I expect nothing less that transparency.
QUESTION 6: Should the Salford Star be back in print – if you agree, how would you help sort this?
A bit of a trick question this – while we'd love the candidates to want the magazine back in print, would they try and win our favour by saying they'd fund it? The Star has to be independent and we wouldn't expect the Council or the Mayor to fund it…
Michael Felse: Yes. I need an open, honest, public press as I am opening up staff whistle-blowing to force into the open waste and to give those who fund the council (local people) the best reason to trust what goes on in their Council. Salford Star is brave, unique and it will survive because it proves truth is a must.
Norman Owen: Yes, promote funding on the positive side.
Joe O'Neil: Yes the only publication willing to challenge. PS: No, I don't need a Salford Star mug...
Ian Stewart: No Comment – but nice try!!!
Michael Moulding: Absolutely so you can take the "Michael" out of me! No problem! I will do what I can to help. Salford Star is good for democracy!
Pat Ward: I think demand for print is declining. The popularity of the printed news is down to content and I don't think a Mayor should be influencing content or a 'free press'. Partnership working with the council and local businesses could increase the viability of putting the paper in print, but essentially this is down to Salford people.