Welcome to this week’s editorial,
A reader might notice that we are now at Volume 275 of the Beagle Weekender. To some this is just another number in a world of numbers but to me it represents 275 weeks in a row where I have committed to assemble a Beagle Weekender that hopefully informs, includes and celebrates our community.
Six years ago I was overseas and made the decision to come home and begin a free, online, Eurobodalla wide newspaper that covered everything from jumble sales to Federal issues. Ours is a community that is not just comprised of larger towns but smaller ones as well. And I wanted to give them their own voice and spotlight. We have much to celebrate. The arts, our many community groups, our local accomplishments, our projects, fundraisers and our local visions. To my mind we needed a newspaper that delivered that.
So with just a laptop and a desire to deliver as best as possible The Beagle was born. Some 21,000 articles later, and with an ever increasing readership, I celebrate that we have a community who show, by their example, that they want to be informed of the warp and weft and certainly want to be included in their own future.
As a sideline, but playing its own role, was my intention to watch Council and to keep them in the spotlightlight. When I say Council I don’t mean all the hardworking staff at the grindstone delivering the services we need. The Council I refer to are the elected and the executive.
When I first began The Beagle I was very much of the opinion that it was Them vs. Us. It was widely known that there was a toxicity about the Council that had resulted in a distrust, disappointment and eventual distain that did little for the positives we needed to move forward. Many of the councillors were mocked for their ineptitude, their blinkered toadying or for their laziness. But that was then.
Next Monday the newly elected Council will be holding an Extraordinary meeting that might well announce a new General Manager for Eurobodalla Shire Council. As a result, I hope we will find ourselves with a new GM that is different to the last. I am hoping for new days ahead that might lift the remaining veils of organisational toxicity that still linger from the last term of Council. Dregs remain who are already showing their displeasure at any likelihood of change, but change is what is needed to collectively move ahead.
Six years ago I recognised the Them vs. Us. I now look forward to the Us. This might take time and no doubt the naysayers are already assembling to white ant and undermine. They have assembled to denigrate the new Councillors already with their torrent of emails and letters demanding this and that, and dark corridors carry scuttlebutt, inuendo and rumour. But that is the nature of humans. There will always be the “yeah, but”s. Hopefully we will have a new broom, with fresh eyes bringing the positive vitality we need to show respect and regard to the many who work in the Council, thanking them for their commitment and effort, so that they too feel valued. Behind every Council worker is a local family. They are Us.
As for the troglodytes, the naysayers, the unyielding ‘My Way or No Way’ core, and the “yeah, but”s the change that is coming might be a hard pill for them to swallow, but the time is long overdue to be rid of the Them and to collectively move ahead as a community with a vision that is inclusive, led by an informed community. There is no time for Thems. They are either with Us, or can move aside. Now that we have the chance to make repairs and try to restore the Us we once had at a local level it would be terrific to see the same approach made at State and Federal. Tribalism, ego, selfishness, protectionism and nest building can no long be tolerated. There is much to repair and a long way to go.
At Volume 275, The Beagle Weekender , to my mind, represents as an example of what a local paper should be. Free, widely accessible and informative. As just one bloke with a laptop, I try to provide that. But The Beagle is your paper. Provided to you via the generous support of local advertisers, sponsors and donors who collectively help to cover the running costs.
Hopefully The Beagle will continue to celebrate Us and who we are as a community, and that one day the toxic Them vs. Us that serves few, but impacts many, will be over.
Until Vol 276…..