Thanet Star

What Driver did right that Ezekiel did wrong

Ian Driver has stood down one of his council positions and Sandy Ezekiel has not. Who was right?

In standing down in time for the County election and triggering a hyper local election Driver, at first glance appears to have cost us several hundred pounds but his timing is everything the cost of one more vote count when there is already one on is negligible if any at all.

So while Driver's publicity stunt was well timed and cost no one any real cash jail bird Sandy Ezekiel's refusal to stand down a will mean that we have to shell out a lot of money to hold a by-election just for his ward. We have no choice - it's too late for including his count in with the KCC vote and yet he is automatically out of office as of roughly right now.

Thus in the event that Driver makes it into KCC and honours his commitment to stand down TDC he can time his resignation to coincide with dishonorable Sandy's by-election and cost us exactly nothing more. I am sure he did not plan it that way by Driver is unlikely to cost us a penny.

Is Driver right about sitting on more than one councillor is he just trying to get publicity?

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Too much money for the councillors?

Do we over pay our councillors?

Independent Thanet District councillor Ian Driver talks on Thanet Watch's blog about stepping down from Thanet District Council if elected to Kent County Council as he feels that the money issue can too easily become central to standing for council and not doing good and serving the people you represent.

Is he right that professional politicians rather than real public servants are a problem in Thanet and Kent?

Should a new law banning people from sitting on more than one council be enacted?

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Amber Weather Alert

The Met Office have issued an Amber Weather Alert for London and the South East.

We can expect cold and 10cm to 20cm of snow with high winds. Temperatures will be about a degree above freezing for most of tomorrow. Wrap up warm and drive safely.

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Paintballing At Quex

Local photographer Illisia Adams and myself went to quex to see paintball in action.

I grabbed my camera and this is what we saw.

Paintball in action at Quex

Teamwork at Quex
Team work, keeping low and not getting shot - all vital parts of a good game.

...

» Continue Reading: Paintballing At Quex

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Memories of GEEK: Two Sonics

One of the many amazing memories of Game Expo East Kent (GEEK)

Matt between two sonics

In this photo Matt and two Sonic The Hedgehogs . Photograph by Illisia Adams.

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Sandy Ezekiel's guilt should not be a supprise

In the past I have tried to point out Sandy's history of inappropriate behaviour and have written many an article where I have consistently pointed out that Sandy was not doing his job and was, in my opinion, a selfish bully who was, somewhat officially, Insufficiently skilled along with the rest of the cabinet having no plan. Yet for reasons that escape me his was a favourite among the conservative party which only suggests to me that who one does business with was far more important than actually serving Thanet. Why then the surprise when Sandy is found, yet again, to have broken the rules?

Given the number of complaints made against councillors, mostly by each other it should be no surprise that the man on the street thinks every last council member is bent. Even I outright called them all bent when I called the results of the last election back in 2011. So when Sandy Ezekiel was found guilty and sentenced to do some bird that same "man on the street" was not particularly surprised.

This conviction is a wake up call for us all - a reminder that in the public office of the council a candidate should be of good moral character, personable and above reproach. They should not be given to back biting, "misspeaking" and pointless factions but should be passionate for the one task of serving the public interest. The number of members that come close in our council is shockingly small so perhaps now is the time for parties to allow the people to select the candidates and not the "leader" with the political agenda.

It is time to pay attention to the Constitution for Governance of Thanet District Council and to treat it as gospel because Thanet council was elected by a minority and it can, easily be argued that Thanet District Council has never been democratically elected. There is not a mandate for any council member to do as they wish and simply flout the rules when they are inconvenient. It's that or elect a mayor to lead the council. Your call councillors.

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Was the Pleasurama Planning Approval something Sandy got away with?

This weekend reporter Thomas Brown reported doubts over funding for the Pleasurama site in Ramsgate but was Sandy's involvement here just as shady as the one that took him to prison for a year and a half?

Back in June 2009 chief executive Sue McGonigal wrote a report exposing uncertainty over the SFP Ventures UK's ability to complete the 22 million build at the Pleasurama site. she apparently wrote that proof of funding was not possible but (now convicted) ex-leader Sandy Ezekiel lead the cabinet in recommending the project to the council for approval anyway. Why, one wonders, would he do that if not for personal gain of some sort?

SFP Ventures UK wants to build a 60-bed hotel and another 107 apartments on the site despite having yet to raise even a fraction of the money it needs.

Of course now councillors have spoken of regrets over the decision to sign a development agreement without the slightest proof of available funding or even a hotel operator so much as nominally on board with the project.

Would it be going to far to suggest that the councillors did as they were told by Sandy while nothing-on-paper deals took place in the shadows? After all it is not always the thing a public official is finally nabbed for that is the first thing they do wrong.

Do not get started on the above market value purchase of the Marks and Spenser building under Sandy...

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Did Sir Gale willingly testify to Sandy's good nature?

With so many powerful men giving testimony to their estimations of the character of ex-council leader Sandy Ezekiel during his trial one has to ask what it says about these men?

Thanet North MP Sir Roger Gale led the tributes with businessmen Frank Thorley of Thorley Taverns and Ken Wills of China Gateway International giving glowing references to the court. Wrote This Is Kent

Is this more of a case of the conservative group trying to save one of their own than of powerful men willingly singing the praises of another? Could it be more a case of trying to keep China Gateway a safe conservative project after Sandy and others were strongly implicated in misconduct in that affair too?

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Blockbuster to become a Morrisons?

Is the Ramsgate Blockbuster to become a Morrisons?

Blockbusters, the DVD rental chain, went into administration earlier this year. One question we have been asking is what would happen to the soon to be empty store. Rumours have come to my attention that plans have already been made.

Andrew on Facebook wrote Found out today from a staff member in Blockbusters in Ramsgate that it's going to turned into a Morrisons.

Does this seem credible? Do you have more information? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Blockbuster Video Closing

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Thanet Council Faces Wide Ranging Corruption Probe

On Friday the news was breaking that Sandy Ezekiel was found guilty but was the real news that no one (outside of politics) was particularly surprised?

This result, which was by a unanimous jury verdict, has opened up Thanet Council to wider investigation as Police reveal that they are preparing several further cases against previous elected members. While, at the same time, The Information Commissioner, responsible for both openness in public life as well as data privacy, is investigating claims of a Thanet District Council cover-up. It seems Thanet District Council has repeatedly refused to comply with requests under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. [more]

One has to wonder if Ezekiel's insistence that he was innocent is more a reflection that he and his colleges honestly feel that they were entitled to act as they did and in their eyes have done nothing wrong regardless of what the law actually says. If that is the case just how many laws have been silently broken and covered up in the halls of Thanet District Council while the conservatives were in power?

The council is finally in the spotlight and, painful as it might be, hopefully we can see the rot removed giving us a council able to do the job it should have been doing for years.

Update: When I say no one was surprised I mean no one who isn't ensconced in the ivory tower of politics and still lives in the real world.

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Mentions

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

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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.

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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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