He explained to VEXNEWS today that in his remarks he had some criticism of John So and people elected on his team for “waste and wasted opportunities.”
He said they all stood condemned.
During Question Time, a senior figure in the Chinese community asked him a question challenging Columb on that point.
Columb merely suggested – in humour – that his name might be So. Nothing racial was meant at all, it was only a reflection on the person appearing to be supportive of So and disagreeing with Columb’s position of heavy criticism against the last council administration.
Indeed, a Columb campaign insider has pointed out that the highly respected former councillor and eminent Chinese community leader Wellington Lee is running on his ticket.
VEXNEWS has obtained a copy of his speech – quite nicely crafted – which we hear was very well received. Could the racehorse owner and connoisseur of fine steaks be the value bet of this Clown Hall Carnival?
Remarks by Nick Columb at the All Precincts Dinner
Good evening everyone,
My name is Nick Columb and Iâ€™m running for Lord Mayor.
Melbourne encompasses many different neighbourhoods, issues, interests and priorities – and your attendance tonight is testimony to that.
So how are we doing? Well, for startersÂ . . .
Rates have gone up, and services that you want have diminished, slowed down or disappeared.
Is Melbourne a better, safer place than it was four years ago?
As someone who lives and breathes Melbourne 24/7, I say NO, and that is because the voices of the local neighbourhoods have been ignored for the nonsensical and utopian dreams of Town Hall bureaucrats and a compliant Council.
John So, elected so overwhelmingly four years ago, with his deputy and three councillors, has presided over an administration of waste and wasted opportunity. They all stand condemned.
Instead of dealing with the many issues facing Melbourne and its ratepayers and residents, the Lord Mayor has curried favour with a state government that would rather sack the Council again than have someone stand up to it – would rather keep its hands in the cityâ€™s pockets than grant it the authority to pursue its destiny.
Melbourne needs a leader, not a cheerleader. The CBD needs police, the Docklands needs footpaths, Carlton needs better transport links, East Melbourne and Kensington need a stronger voice and more importantly, a sympathetic ear.
Yet here we are, as the ballot papers go out in the mail, with every one of John Soâ€™s team seeking another go-around, scattered on the various So Council tickets, with two of his team running for Lord Mayor. After their performance these past four years, all should have run alright â€“ RUN AWAY!
My deputy Sue Calwell and I will deliver real change to the Town Hall. Passion for Melbourne will:
* establish a culture among councillors and bureaucrats where listening replaces preaching and restore the local representation we need;
* put accountability and transparency back into the Budget process, cutting waste and funding projects on the basis of need and not whim;
* make Melbourne safer by getting more police and more cameras on our streets, and persuading businesses to do more to help drive out the vandals and the violent;
* revitalise Swanston Street by opening it during the week;
* conduct a thorough roads and traffic audit of the city and act to get Melbourne moving, by tram, bus, bicycle and car.
This city needs a fresh coat of paint. My team has the energy, enthusiasm and experience to do the job. We run because we are passionate about Melbourne, not because we want to revive stalled political careers.
We run because we want to serve, not because we would suffer separation pains if dragged away from the petty Town Hall politics that have cheated Melbourne for years.