Welcome to this week’s editorial and Welcome to 2018, This will be the second year for The Beagle and I am already looking forward to what we can accomplish. 2017 was a very interesting year from the perspective of the shire and a year that saw a moving of the goal posts on several fronts. In 2017 Fairfax lost their "print" monopoly for a start which meant that there were two news outlets. While both Fairfax and The Beagle ran the same media releases from Council, State and Federal levels; and published the same shared arts articles, the same social club, sporting club, photographic club publicity and covered the same events that trickled down from NSW Police reports and Emergency services The Beagle provided coverage of jumble sales, community association news, local music promotion, café reviews and book reviews in its efforts to revitalise the warp and weft of our community. This was one of the key mandates of The Beagle when it was established—it didn’t have to be sexy, sensational or otherwise. It simply had to engage, inform and include the community, both resident and non-resident and to do so for FREE. The second mandate of The Beagle was to give the community a voice and to put a BLOODY BIG SPOTLIGHT on Eurobodalla Council who had, for all too long, been running around under the radar doing what ever they saw fit, endorsed by generally often poorly or ill informed councillors who did little to truly represent the community who elected them. There were many very well informed residents and ratepayers in the Shire who were raising very concerning issues of Council’s poor communication, lack of true consultation, token transparency and ill-regard of those who might challenge them knowing full well that without a public “medium” they could get away with it. As the saying went with Council “it was water off a ducks back and they were so Teflon coated that nothing would stick”. Well in 2017 Council lost their "under the rugness" and their smugness and they realised that these were new days where they were now the under close scrutiny of very well informed observers who were more than capable of challenging Council in the public arena quoting from the Acts and demanding, at the least, compliance with the rules. In 2017 the community also began to realise it had a restored voice and the ear of Councillors via a newspaper. Though the Councillors state they don’t read the “Bugle” they are known to spend a lot of time behind closed doors trying to stamp out the fires that are burning in the flaming brown paper bags of dog-dooings placed at their doorstep. In 2017 Councillors also began to realise just how much the staff were not telling them and were actually looking to the Beagle to inform themselves. In 2017 the live-streaming and reporting of Council Public Forum and Public Access came back into play, again reinstating the community voice and putting Councillors on notice that they had best sit up and listen with respect of the presenters and the issues put forward. Council unfortunately, under poor leadership, decided instead to hunker down in defensive mode and thereby lost considerable respect and trust by continuing to be secretive and for failing to recognise and acknowledge their stuff ups and apologise. So in just one year we have been able to gain their attention. In 2018 I am hoping that we can turn the “Good Ship Lollypop” around and return the control of the helm to the community. Ideally, rather than sending cannon shots across their bow it is hoped that the Councillors themselves might regain control of the poop-deck as they mistook their four years at sea to be a lazy pleasure cruise instead of a mission. So pull up a deck chair as we now enter new waters. Until next, lei
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