Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Doorknocking in South Liverpool

Good evening out door knocking tonight.  This is me with Councillors Erica Kemp and Tom Morrison.  People really appreciated us calling. 

We got round loads of doors although my feet are very tired now.

Friday, 27 May 2011

What a week!

I'm finding it harder to remember to blog as often so I'm experimenting with doing a bit of a weekly diary. This is my diary for this week, which started on 23rd May. It includes my first speech as opposition leader so it's a bit of a biggie.

I have a job as well as being involved in politics. It's a job I love as a Lecturer at Edge Hill University and Monday morning was the slot for sessions with first and second year students to get them ready for next year. There is some great potential here and I suspect I am going to have to raise my game to keep up with them.  I had a session with a postgraduate student too who is doing a 20,000 word dissertation on marketing through social media.  I am the "supervisor" for this which isn't as bossy as it sounds - you are meant to give advice and support.  This topic sounds brilliant and I can't wait to read this one.

Monday afternoon was casework time.  I am dealing with an avalanche of e mails, not all from my own constituents.  I had a meeting with one particular couple with major worries re Council tax.  We were able to get it sorted out and they went away happy.

Next came the Lib Dem group meeting.  I am still getting used to sitting at the front for this! I shared deteails of the shadow cabinet appointments and we had some good discussions about rebuilding.


A whole day on Council stuff.  A lot of office work, casework and planning for the AGM in the evening.  A student journalist is doing a documentary about me so I had to think through what would work best in terms of filming. 

At 5 it was the Council AGM which is partly the ceremonial around the new mayor, and partly decisions about constitutional stuff.  To say I was apprehensive about my first speech as leader would be putting it mildly.  It went OK though (even got a couple of laughs at my jokes). Luckily I had managed to research a few anecdotes about the incoming Lord Mayor to use.  It is a bit odd sitting in the opposition leaders seat and gazing across at, well, rather a lot of Labour Councillors.  However now that I have done it I am not daunted.


I'd like to say I got a lot of solid academic work done but I also had to turn my hand to editing and proofing our Liverpool Lib Dem newsletter.  I can see that making every single bit of time count is going to be important.

Back to the ward in the afternoon for a couple of  home visits.  I recruited a new party member too.  In the evening I joined the police at a community meeting to look at local priorities.  Still lots of problems in one particular part of the ward and the lack of people able to give evidence is causing a major stumbling block.  Richard and I agreed to contact the social housing provider to try to get some more action.  Professional witnesses would really help here.


Today was the Edgehill Teaching and Learning conference and I was representing my department (media) by giving a talk about how we teach PR.  Two students joined me and we were able to explain the pioneering (if a bit risky) approach we take.  Lots of enthusiasm from the audience, plus  a request from the mayoress of west lancs for some PR support for the mayoral appeal.

In the afternoon I went to the consultation event on the plans to designate Stalbridge Dock as the official "sub regional" waste site for Liverpool.  My views on this are well known and this event helped me crystalise what I will say in my submission.

Annoyingly I started the day having to deal with an unfair piece of reporting about the Lib Dems in a local newspaper.  This meant finding time to research exactly what had been said to whom and then raising it with the editor (politely - no one likes a shouter).  Hopefully they'll print a letter from me in the next few days.


A key member of staff was about to go on leave today so we spent some time going through tasks for the small team supporting the Lib Dem Councillors.  There are plenty of interesting jobs to do and I hope the staff don't find me too odd!

This afternoon was a meeting with the three Cressington Councillors and two officers from neighbourhood management.  The management is changing as the administration has made clear decisions about which areas are priorities.  Cressington is not a priority we are told and we will have to work around this.  Such is life.  I am sure we can find creative ways to bridge any gaps.


Well Saturday hasn't happened yet but I have the Councillors' surgery and possibly a meeting with local residents about the waste issue.  I also have the Lib Dem girl's night out!


And if that pile of student marking is anything to go by, I know what I'll be doing on Sunday!

Garston waste plant site - update

I went along to the public consultation session about Stalbridge (and the other sites) this week.  It's one of a series of sessions across Merseyside .  My colleague Richard Oglethorpe and I were able to ask some questions which we hope will help us get our points across.  I had an interesting chat with a representative from Lovells (the house builders).  They are pretty hacked off about the whole thing as they have been trying to build and sell and help regenerate Garston and this whole waste designation business is hitting them hard.

Anyway, the deadline for public comments on the plan is 20th June.  I've put the link to the on line comment facility in an earlier blog posting but if you want a hard copy of the document, please call my office on 0151 225 2319 and we will stick one in the post to you.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Out with the team

This morning I had an early start.  I spent time with the Council enforcement team finding out how they actually look out for dog fouling and litter offences in South Liverpool.  Starting at 6 am (yes people are out dog walking that early) we started at Heath Road in Cressington ward before going along Mather Avenue and then crossing to walk through some parkland.  We also spent a bit of time in the Serpentine/Aigburth Road area.

It soon became clear that appearing to casually watch a dog and owner isn't that easy!

This morning all the dog owners we came across were responsible and did scoop and bag.  But we also came across quite a few locations where that obviously hadn't happened.

Liverpool sadly is  high on the league table for dog fouling.  We're also high (top actually) of the league table for issuing penalty notices. (Figures from 2008/9)

Dog fouling is one of the main complaints I get from constituents and I've recently asked the enforcement team to look at quite a few locations in South Liverpool.  If there's a location you want me to ask them to look at, do please drop me an e mail to paula.keaveney@liverpool.gov.uk.

We may not have seen any dog fouling offences but we did later spot a driver throwing litter from a moving car so that person will be getting a letter and fine.

Litter picking in Garston

Last Saturday I joined in the Litter Pick in parts of Garston organised by local churches.  It was rather on the windy side but we managed to clear up rather a lot, including litter from the park and streets roundabout.

This rather unflattering picture shows me at work!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Garston waste plant update - last chance to object?

Last time I blogged about the plans for a waste plant at Stalbridge Dock in Garston (next to Cressington Heath) the Labour Council had decided that this should be the location for the "sub regional" waste site in Liverpool.

We had opposed this, as had many, many residents.  But Labour persisted.

However it is not entirely over.

Because the "sub regional" site is part of a broader Merseyside waste plan, there is now a "public consultation" on the whole thing.

We were promised that there would be media publicity about this.  I haven't spotted any yet.

The deadline for responding to this consultation is 20th June.

You can do this on-line at http://merseysideeas-consult.limehouse.co.uk/.

You can also contact the Merseyside Environmental Advisory Service on 0151 934 4951

I'll certainly be sending in my comments about why Stalbridge is such a bad idea.  I know that Jack Allen Holdings do have planning permission for the site but quite frankly they could decide not to build.  If that happens does Garston really want to find other waste operators being directed here?

I'll blog again when I have more news

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Leader of the Opposition

I haven't blogged for a while.  I have had plenty to say but virtually no time to say it.

The last few days have been eventful, sad, challenging.

On Monday night I was elected as the new Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on the City Council.

There is certainly lots to do!

I'll be blogging a bit about this as well as my local ward stuff from now on.

Thanks to the people who have kindly sent me congratulatory messages.