Thanet Star

The year is over...

The year is over and now it is time to think about the next year. What do you see happening in 2011?

Let's see how long before this one gets a political comment.

funny pictures - so you promise that   you taste like a lolipop??
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How was Christmas for you?

Funny Pictures - Christmas Cats
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Boxing day blues?

Another one of those holiday Seasons is done and dusted.

How was your festive day?

funny pictures - OMG  getitoffgetitoffgetitoff
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Happy Christmas (again)

Don't eat too much.

funny pictures - Dek teh halz wif bosof hollee,  Falalalala, la la, la, LA!!!
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One more sleep until... oh boy.

It is almost that day of the year when you know I'll not be blogging. There'll be a silly picture here for you guys that have nothing better to do though.

Funny Pictures - Bunway Security Administration
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Too manee shinees fur my brain to handul!

funny pictures - Too manee shinees fur my brain to handul!
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We deserve a council that knows how to run an efficient board meeting

This post is a follow up to one I wrote in the wee small hours (flu induced insomnia has it's advantages). It is based on the fine reporting of Tony who rightly says we deserve better.

I still can not get over the monumental wasted time that Thanet District Council demonstrated yesterday. I'm trying to put it into perspective, to try and understand where the gain might be found but I keep coming back to the same conclusion - the council have no idea how to run a council meeting.

If you took the national minimum wage (5.93) and apply it to Thanet District Council's 56 councillors one has a crude but workable method of comparing the value of any given council action to any other.

Take for example the issue of the Montefiore Games Centre (Tennis courts) being removed from the asset disposal register. Tony of Big News Margate gives a report which suggests that the agenda item that saw this pass took all of about ten minutes which has a cost of roughly 55 (and a few pence) which given that HOOT (the campaign to stop the tennis courts begin sold)estimate that 1500 visits were made to the tennis courts in the summer opening (May-Sept). So the cost per visit of the council vote was less than 4p per visit.

Not too bad.

However Tony also reports that for reasons known only to the councillors and hour and a half was spent debating agenda item 5b which was a petition on the subject of not selling the Tennis Courts - something the council have agreed not to do.

Any real world management board chair would have said that this item was invalidated by the prior vote and will be skipped. A better secretary to the board would have seen that 5b was going to become invalidated by item 10 (the vote to not sell the tennis courts) and reduced it to an item to acknowledge only.

Not the council for some reason.

Using our minimum wage model then the time cost of this debate was 498 (and a few pence). The problem comes when assigning this cost against a value - there is no value to assign it against. The books do not balance.

I would suggest therefore that Bob Bayford and the cabinet chair seek out some training and just come clean about the fact that they don't know how to run a board meeting.

Let me put it another way.

Time Spent on Issue

The above chart was generated by Google and I don't mind if anyone else uses it.

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Listen, Clive and Bob: we deserve better

When are the elected councillors going to realise that the council is not a game?

Sitting on council is not a right, it is not a networking opportunity, you are not there to sell carpets or adverts or practice the local secret hand shake. As a council you are there to do as much as humanly possible to serve around 130,000 who want to see things like jobs, museums and inward investment not to mention a lot less fires, a lot less fuss and a lot more effort.

Tony of Big News Margate reports from his experience yesterday evening at the local council offices and says we deserve better and he's right.

When are council members going to figure out that what we the voting tax payer want is a council that gets on with things as quickly and efficiently as possible? What we specifically don't want is to see time (and money) wasted on "point scoring". Point scoring progresses nothing, makes both sides look stupid and only adds tot he cost of running the council.

We don't care which political philosophy is right but we do care that our roads are gritted and our children have somewhere safe to play. We care that our heritage be protected. We care that our towns be sufficiently remarkable that people want to visit. We care about having a job that pays if not amazingly then reasonably.

You can plat your beard, wear a dress and call yourself Lord Bumdink the fifth if you want - just get your job done for once.

I would suggest to Thanet District Council that getting on with it would be the best cost saving effort they could hope to carry out.

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Tech Support Cold Caller Scam

It looks like the pre-Christmas scams are out in full force again. I've just had a phone call from a guy clearly not based in the UK claiming to be a legitimate partner of Microsoft who has been informed that my windows PC had a virus problem. Given that I do not use Microsoft on my PC it was a dead give away that the guy was talking rubbish.

When pressed he changed his story and said that Microsoft had not informed him of this fact but that my details (which he read out to me) had come from "a computer mailing list". He claimed his company was called "Smart Solutions" but Google has yet to hear about such an important Microsoft partner.

You guessed it this is of course a scam. The name of the company changes but the aim is to get a couple of hundred quid out of you by making you think that your computer is at risk and that it was your fault. A full write up of the Smart Solutions Tech Support Scam can be found on my technical blog.

The short version is - please don't download anything or hand over cash if a cold caller suggests that you need to. Virus and Malware remove costs 0.00 and pro packages cost very little for a years subscription. Also Microsoft Live Update would take care of anything that Microsoft is that worried about. That's free too.

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Thanet Council are bloody well cheating

It is my opinion that the council of Thanet District are playing word games to avoid asking the people of Thanet a question that they know that they will not like the answer to.

Machael Child has a blog post in which he republishes excerpts from the communication between a reader and the council.

Now the law says that the council must make every effort to alert the public to the process of consultation but the council's word games have re-interpreted this law to mean that they will only tell people about it after it has taken place meaning that those who might have otherwise had something to say on the subject will loose their right to speak because the council has effectively kept the opportunity for democratic feedback a secret.

In this way the council can say that the people of Thanet did not care about the subject of local reform and only a few people bothered to say that they wanted to see the leader of the council elected by the people rather than by politicians who are largely utterly untrusted as far as I can tell.

To my mind this is cheating of the worst kind and every council member that has not spoken up in object to this practice is, in my opinion, unfit to hold office.

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Snow stopped play

It seems like we have 19 or more schools closed today. The Library/gateway closed at 2pm and the council offices shut at 3pm.

Peter has just mentioned on Facebook that an event at the Winter Gardens has been called off.

I'm guessing that the buses in Ramsgate are having trouble with the hill outside Michael's book shop and the routes are tending to only half run.

It seems that there might not be any trains to Victoria although you can get to London via Ashford to Kings Cross on High Speed One.

What else has stopped, changed or basically not working very well. It's -2C out there at the moment and it feels like about -7C according tot he Internet weather report. So there are some good reasons for staying home today.

Feel free to update us in the comment's section.

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This is snow time to go out

This is no weather to be going out in. Stay in and read you favourite blog - The All Singing Thanet Star!

Keep Calm and read Thanet Star

...

» Continue Reading: This is snow time to go out

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Mentions

We got a mention in 5 ways to blog from Thanet now.

Blogs
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Creatives

Thanet Creative have a new webiste and a new name

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Local Art

Local Artist, John Wooster-Brown has a new website.

Blogs
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Like to write?

If you love to write then the Thanet Creative Writers blog might be the ideal place to connect with your nearest writer group.

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Hyper-localism

For those interested in blogging local news in and arround the UK this BBC article from last year is sure to be of interest.

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