Great letter in YEP from a marvellous Leeds campaigner, Bill McKinnon, Friends of Woodhouse Moor. Thanks Bill!!!
Bill McKinnon, Friends of Woodhouse Moor:
I was surprised to read (YEP, February 14) that following Councillor Mark Dobson’s decision to quit the Labour whip, the Leeds Labour Group said: “Mark has struggled for some time with the pressures that come with being an elected councillor.”
This statement doesn’t describe the Mark Dobson I know. Mark Dobson is an extremely effective councillor who hugely improved the quality of people’s lives by changing way the council’s noise nuisance team operates.
Before Councillor Dobson took charge, the noise nuisance team existed, but didn’t seem to actually do anything. They were so ineffective, I gave up on them years ago. Calling them just added to my stress. But thanks to Councillor Dobson, they now now take quick and effective action against those who create noise nuisance.
Mark Dobson demonstrates commitment to the people he represents by attending planning committees on their behalf to speak out against inappropriate development. This is unusual in a city where most councillors simply accept the recommendations of senior officers.
It was Councillor Dobson’s refusal to accept officers’ recommendations on cuts for dementia care and a £4 million gift to the cricket club that led to him quitting the Labour whip. Councillors’ abdication of responsibility for running the city to senior officers is why there’s very little difference between the way Leeds is being run now, to the way it was being run ten years ago under the Lib Dem/Conservative coalition.
It’s time the city was run for the benefit of citizens and not senior officers who are only interested in meeting targets. For that to happen, the councillors in charge need to start valuing councillors like Mark Dobson more than they value subservience.