Monthly Mailbag – March 2019
Dear editors – I read Anthony Parrelli’s letter in the February edition (Thrown Under the Bus, Letters, The Beast, February 2019) with interest. I too have contacted the local member, State Transit, etc. regarding the scrapping of the 361 bus service, all to no avail – no response apart from the generic email to say my email had been received.
I feel for the elderly, immobile and the rest of the commuters as the new timetable, if you can call it one, is very unreliable. I’ve waited nearly an hour on occasions in peak times – i.e. 8.30am – for a bus, then a cluster of two to three will arrive.
Often the bus is too crowded for commuters to get on all the way along Birrell Street. Throw a few prams into the equation and it’s bedlam for all. I’ve even witnessed an elderly lady on such an overcrowded bus fall into the front windscreen as it braked suddenly. There was no room on the bus to assist her in any way.
Here’s to hoping your correspondence with State Transit gains some traction.
TRANSPORT FOR NSW REPLY TO ANTHONY PARELLI
Transport for NSW introduced changes to bus services in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs in September 2018 to boost frequency on key routes and strengthen reliability across the network. Improvements included transforming Route 333 into a high frequency, high capacity, turn-up-and-go service with buses every three minutes during peak times between Bondi Beach and Bondi Junction, as well as adding more frequent off-peak, evening and weekend services across the region and adjusting under-used routes to increase capacity on busier routes.
These changes allow bus services to meet the needs of the majority of customers in the area so more buses turn up where and when customers need them.
Community transport services are also available to a wide range of customers, including the elderly, who require transport to access recreation and shopping areas, medical and social services or social appointments, but are unable to use regular public transport services.
In Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, community transport is provided by Randwick Waverley Community Transport. They can be contacted on 9369 5366 or at rwctg.org.au.
Customers previously using bus route 361 from the Fletcher and Sandridge Street area to Bondi Junction can now catch route 381 from the corner of Dellview and Fletcher Streets.
Changes to route 361 were made in response to changing customer travel patterns identified through Opal data,which showed patronage on this segment (to Fletcher/Sandridge Streets) of the 361 was low.
On an average weekday, fewer than 50 customers boarded route 361 from Sandridge Street towards Bondi Junction, which equates to just over one customer per trip (based on 27 trips each weekday in the old time- table). In the reverse direction, around four per cent of customers on route 361 disembarked at Sandridge Street.
Changes to route 381 maintain access towards Bondi Junction for the majority of customers within this area, as well as high frequency services along Bondi Road.
While the new route 381 stop involves a slightly longer walk from, for example, the easternmost end of Kenneth Street (an additional 110 metres), the distance remains within standard guidelines for access to bus services and stops.
Transport for NSW spokesperson
Hi – The article by Pearl Bullivant was mean-spirited and narrow-minded (Yo Yo Yo, SloMo Has to Go, The Beast, February 2019). It was infused with vitriol and bitterness. Not cool… not well written… why publish the haters? There’s enough hate out there.
Please consider love, kindness and fairness. It’s refreshing… be different… give peace a chance.
ABUSE OF DISABILITY PARKING PERMITS
I read recently that there are now over 200,000 eligible Australians receiving financial sup- port from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). That is wonderful news and, as a taxpayer for more than 40 years, to those who suffer from disability I hope the support from the NDIS generates a significant and demonstrable improvement to your quality of life. I also hope that the NDIS is better administered than the current Australian Disability Parking Scheme, known as the Mobility Parking Scheme in New South Wales. If readers ever want to see how a well-meaning, taxpayer funded scheme can be so fragrantly abused, just go for a short walk along Gardiner Street, Bondi Junction, between Walter and Ebley Streets, during normal shopping hours and witness the array of able-bodied drivers and their passengers alighting from a regular assortment of trades vehicles, high performance mo- tor cars, four-wheel drives and luxury sedans displaying this permit.
RESTORE SOME PEACE, QUIET AND SANITY
I usually just flick through the pages of the magazine when it arrives before tossing it in the recycle bin but this month, being on holidays, I took it out to the balcony while enjoying the beautiful weather and actually read it.
Two letters stood out for me and I totally agree with them – one from Fab regarding Gracie Otto (Glad Gracie’s Not Running the Show, Monthly Mailbag, The Beast, February 2019) and the other from Paul suggesting that you highlight some of our locals on your cover rather than just celebrities (Why So Many Actors?, Monthly Mailbag, The Beast, February 2019).
I myself grew up in Bondi in the ‘60s and ‘70s and have been living at my current address in Ocean Street off Bondi Road for more than 20 years. I have seen the changes not just in the area but in my street as well and it saddens me to see the overdevelopment of the area. Gone are the lovely cottages that once stood in the street, replaced by monstrous multi-storey buildings.
There is nowhere to park in the street and when people want to visit me they find it difficult and it can take quite a while or they have to walk a fair bit from where they park because of the number of residents now living in the street. The church that was across the street closed its doors (it is now a very loud gym) because its parishioners had difficulty finding parking and so they have now merged with the church in Birrell Street.
What was a quiet residential street is now a very noisy one with apartments being rented out to backpackers who party on to early hours of the morning on any night of the week, not just weekends, with no regard for those who need to get up early to go to work.
Surely Council can ensure that apartments are being used for residential purposes and not being rented out to multiple dwellers (for example having eight backpackers in a two-bedroom, one-bathroom flat would certainly be a violation of sorts?). It would be nice if we could restore some peace, quiet and sanity to what once was a really nice part of the Eastern Suburbs.
COOGEE BEACH PA
To those with access to the Coogee Beach public address microphone: Okay, let’s do the sums yet again! It’s 8.14am Sunday morning, February 3. Conservatively there are 14,000 people within hearing (wake up) distance of the speakers. Let’s assume five per cent (Saturday night partygoers, 000 workers, airport staff) are still asleep. That’s 700 people woken up and 13,300 disturbed so that one boardrider can be ordered to move away from the flags.
Did the ‛emergency use only’ sign fall off the microphone switch again?
BRUCE COPS IT FROM BOTH SIDES
Dear Madam/Sir – Poor Bruce Notley-Smith copped it from both sides of the political divide in last month’s Beast (Monthly Mailbag, The Beast, February 2019). Coogee’s Thomas attacked his green credentials, while Bronte’s Greg condemned him for supporting renewable energy.
As a former Randwick Councillor colleague of Bruce’s, and a Labor voter, I have more faith in Bruce than my other former Randwick Council colleague, currently lining himself up for premier.
In my five years on Council I always found Bruce more open to mine and the community’s concerns about the environment and overdevelopment than Michael Daley. Indeed, I mostly heard scorn from Michael. Of late of course, with the election looming, Michael has been speaking up on environmental and development issues. I only hope that if elected premier his epiphany is not short lived – but I fear the worse.
BRONTE CUTTING WALKWAY
Now that the new (trial) Bronte Cutting walkway is finally up and running, it seems timely to consider the cost incurred so far.
Firstly, a few years ago each parking space was marked out and then carefully numbered. Many of these markings have, of course, been covered over by the walkway.
Later, solar powered meters were installed and those on the walkway area would seem to now be redundant. Waverley Council followed these installations by placing in-ground glass sensors at every individual parking spot. These sensors indicate parking availability and are connected to an electronic board installed at the entrance to the car park. All very state of the art but one wonders if anybody ever notices this sign anyway.
Finally, the red/orange posts marking out the walkway have already been vandalised and a number are missing altogether.
When the permanent walkway is finally installed I would think that the total cost will be astronomical!
SAVE 30 GLEBE STREET, RANDWICK
Dear James and Dan – Your magazine has such a wide circulation I thought this story might touch a nerve with your older readers or the demographic of well educated, caring people living in the Randwick/Coogee area. There are more PhDs living here than anywhere else in the Eastern Suburbs.
We are living near a grand old property at 30 Glebe Street, Randwick, a previous church home belonging to the Glebe Administration Trust prior to the 1980s for 100 years. The property was sold recently to a developer. We are trying to summon support in our neighbourhood to prevent this marvellous property from being demolished.
The house is situated on land that was granted to Thomas Whistler Smith, Thomas Sutcliff Mort, John Croft, Robert Tooth and James Norton Junior on June 3, 1857. The development application number for 30 Glebe Street is DA/855/2018 and was submitted to Council recently. The DA will be heard in March at Council and will be a public forum, which means anyone can attend or object in writing to Council about the demolition of the building before March.
Objecting to the proposal about our heritage disappearing might sway opinion at Council. I thought it was worth writing to you for your thoughts about promoting the idea in print so that more people can hear about this story. We need a broad forum to get this message out to the wider community. The property is a federation style 1913/1914 house built by the Moodie Brothers, who also restored Petty’s Hotel at Wynyard Square in 1907, which was a major historically significant building. Early federation Californian bungalow homes are easy to identify and are our connection with a past that has been admired for over 100 years. These structures are sadly disappearing in Randwick to make way for high-rise developments.
The history of the Glebe Gully is also significant and will resonate with some readers who re- member the controversies about its development in the 1970s and 1980s. State Government Low Cost Housing was built in the 1980s after Randwick Council approved the sale of the gully to developers by the name of Toga, despite a court decision to prevent any further building in the gully.
30 Glebe Street, Randwick is not listed as a heritage property, although it has architectural merit. The researcher for the developer stated that significant occupants of the home could be of interest to the heritage of the property and grounds for the home’s preservation. The houses opposite are both heritage-listed properties.
We are trying to preserve a significant heritage property in Randwick by finding a reasonable solution to this outcome. We would be very sad to see this home disappear in our neighbourhood. Too many marvellous places have been lost in Randwick in the past.
Many thanks for reading this email. I think your magazine has a great following in our community so keep up the good work.
ANNOUNCING THE DEATH OF BRUSSEL SPROUT
It is with no regret that I advise of the timely death of Brussel Sprout. Born Bertrand Russell Sprout, after the famous British philosopher and mathematician, he cleverly changed his name to ‘Brussel’, thereby distancing himself from any suggestion he had any brains at all.
What he missed out on in intelligence he made up for in girth. He was born into a long family of sprouts who were almost all exclusively thin and tall. Close cousins of Brussel include Mung Bean Sprout (politician), Alfalfa (racing car driver) and Soy Bean (hippy). Unlike his cousins, Brussel was short and very rotund, almost the shape of a squash ball. He was also dull and at times sought treatment for thinking he was a small cabbage.
Once known as the darling of British boarding school food, particularly after the war, Brussel slowly became more popular for throwing than for eating.
Nutritionists say he lost it. Those who ate him say he never had it. Those who threw him were less unkind. They loved him. Those who copped him in the side of the head thought otherwise.
Now all this has passed. Boarding schools, colleges and nursing homes will be revising their menus on Monday. RIP Brussel sprout. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked mourners to send lottery tickets.
Peter Manus Strain
In February’s Beast (A Bitter Pill to Swallow, The Beast, February 2019), Bruce Notley-Smith writes, “Criminalising drug use has not and will not stop people using drugs.” True. But it also raises questions. Why is his be- loved Liberal Party still criminalising drugs? Why was his party fighting injecting rooms? Why is the Liberal Party resisting pill testing? His party does all this despite Uruguay, Canada and ten US states all having legalised cannabis. Not to mention Switzerland’s successful drug policy. On top of that, the Liberal’s shining hero, Ronald Reagan’s ‘war on drugs’, has been utterly lost. Still, the Liberal Party carries on criminalising drugs. By this, however, they do not mean Australia’s most lethal drug that kills a thousand times more people than Mr Notley-Smith’s pills, namely alcohol.
What Mr Notley-Smith also avoids asking is something more serious. The Roman Catholic Archbishop Hélder Câmara once said, “When I fed the poor, they called me a saint. When I asked, ‘Why are they poor?’ they called me a communist.” For Notley-Smith it might be, “When I advocate pill testing, they call me a saint. When I ask, ‘Why do they take drugs?’ they call me a communist.”
So why do people take drugs? Conceivably, to escape reality. They drug a reality that is no longer real and isn’t their reality either. Instead, it is the prefabricated actuality of the Liberal Party’s free market competition.
It starts early. While enlightened parents with money send their kids to Steiner schools, the rest are exposed to the uncompromising competition enshrined in league tables and relentless testing regimes. Entering schooling means drill, conformity and competition for stars, brownie points and awards. Like Pavlov’s dog and Skinner’s rat in the box, school centres on completing what Sir Ken Robinson (TED Talks) calls “low clerical work”. Like Skinner’s rat, they no longer ask what it means. They complete meaningless tasks to get a reward, a star, a point on a useless scorecard. All this is utterly boring. 85 per cent of schooling is indeed boring. Why? Because it prepares you for work, which is also utterly boring.
Just before the madness of swapping the school uniform for a corporate uniform, your life is determined, and not by who you are. It is determined by competition. Getting a good HSC number behind your name on an insane spreadsheet is the name of the game. Madness reigns. The one next to you is no longer your friend. They are competitors on the eternal treadmill of free market competition. ‘Com- petition is good’ is the Liberal Party’s mantra. But it is also cold, harsh and isolating.
When not drugging against the madness of civilisation (Freud) and society (Foucault), young people can look forward to forty years of working in a competitive environment governed by KPIs, performance management and performance-related pay. They do so in meaningless “bullshit jobs” (Graeber). This is “the way of the rat” (Schrijvers). And guess what, even if you win the rat race, you are still a rat. All this is camouflaged through a cultural industry anaesthetising us with delights like Australian Idiot. Competition reigns while life is emptied of substance (Molière). TV shows like these lower our brain function. You no longer recognise the next commercial break selling you expensive landfill. We buy things we do not need with money we do not have to impress people we do not even like. We do this until we retire or die or both. We have fulfilled the two functions of the Liberal Party’s competitive world: work and consume.
In a life emptied of substance and handed over to the bleakness of eternal competition, no wonder people are drugging the madness forced onto them. And no wonder Bruce Notley-Smith’s Liberal Party likes competition – it keeps the corporate rat going, drugged or otherwise.