Posts Tagged Monash

Monash Council: The School from Hell

Serial BullyingThe ridiculing and gagging standing order for controlling council meetings is not enough for Mayor Lake. He now wants roll calling to be his new black in councillors’ conduct management. Tracking councillors’ attendance is his next level up in bastardising the LG Act’s code of conduct guidelines, of course conveniently through exercising his Mayoralty position.

Everyone knows Mayor Lake is certainly gearing up for the Council Elections, evident in his recent and growing use of the press, radio interviews and council resources (website), to broadcast disparaging remarks about two RollcallLiberal Councillors he personally disperses. By publicising their names, it is a no brainer that Mayor Lake’s aim is to discredit them in an attempt to dissuade constituents from re-electing them in October Council Elections. His hope is that mud sticks – a common low political tactic.

Those of us who have been to Council meetGL3ings know Crs Davies and Zographos care about their community’s views and when they do voice their concerns, commonly Lake lets loose with a tedious verbal onslaught.

If we review past attendances, which are shown at the end of this commentary, we see that ex Cr Paul Klisaris was serially absent but nothing was raised then. Cr Klisaris also claims the highest reimbursement, especially on mobile phone bills and he only announces a council land line number as his telephone contact. He also shirt-front Cr Davis and nearly started a physical fight, if not for Cr Perrie and a council staff quickly coming to break up the near fight. Lake just wants to humiliate these two Councillors, and unfortunately the media assists this master manipulator.

 We understand that Cr Lake was on an overseas trip – possibly – but not yet proven – a  “junket”, when he was not present at the (changes to the ) C125 Amendment Council Meeting on 3rd May (but Crs Davies and Zographos were) where submitters could air their views. He had been absent for  the 26th April 2016 Council meeting too. No one can  remember hearing any publically announced apology for his absence on 3rd May. Since Cr Lake was the one who hashed the Council Planners C125 Proposal that had been previously distributed widely to the community, he should have been present to hear the submitters’ arguments against the changes HE HAD MADE to the original document.

 The funny tGLhing is the meetings are far more bearable without Cr Lake present.

The fact is that Mayor Lake revels in dishing out incriminations but cannot accommodate any debate or opposition from others. Hence the unnecessary employment, and cost to Council, of four Wilsons Security Guards for four hours minimum at each Council Meeting; not to mention intermittent Vic Police presence ( a complete inappropriate waste of emergency resources to flatter his ego).

His frequent public behaviors and attention seeking through the media indicate his agenda is to disadvantage non-Labor Councillors who may want to again contest the next council election. When next Lake pursues such a contrived and biased “dirty” media release we hope the press will be more guarded in reporting his spin.

Below are Council Attendances for the past 4 years:

2014-2015

Attendance 1

2013-2014

 Attendance 2

2012-2013

Attendance 3

2011-2012

 Attendance 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Monash Council’s Governance Report

MONASH COUNCIL: GOVERNANCE IN CRISIS

 by Monash Ratepayers

Recently Monash Mayor Lake stirred up attention about conduct management issues during public meetings, of course blaming others and not himself. As the interest is about conduct, it is time that MRI evaluates the governance performance of Mayor Lake. This evaluation examines two areas:

  1. The hypocrisy, conflict of interest and governance issues in the Mayor’s per project – Alliance for Gambling Reform, which he discretionary gave away $25K to this MAV lead project with no accountability of outcome indicators and knowing that the project duplicates the State’s wee developed and active gambling program. Simply put he cost-shifted our money to a MAV project.
  2. The Mayor’s issues of hypocrisy, conflict of interest and lacking governance performance.

(1) Monash Gambling Program Management Performance:

City of Monash Public Health Approach to Gambling Policy Statement 2016 – 2020
has been produced under the banner “ Access & Equity Framework 2015-2020

EGM

  1. So how can Monash exclude certain groups from receiving funding if Council adheres to its own criteria of Access and Equity?

Refer to:- http://www.monash.vic.gov.au/About-Us/Council/Publications/Access-and-Equity

  1. Contradictions and Discrimination within City of Monash Public Health Approach to Gambling Policy Statement 2016-2020 refer to Agenda Item 2.2. Attachment 1. 31 May 2016 Council Meeting

 “1.12 Council will request that all venue operators make a financial contribution to services and agencies that address the impacts of gambling in the Monash community, for example Gambler’s Help, community health or neighbourhood houses services    (Page 17)

 

 “2.7 Council will maintain independence from the gambling industry. Council will not accept financial contributions from gambling venues and will not promote community grants or initiatives offered by local poker machine venues      (Page 18)

 

“4.3 Council staff will not run Council and community events, activities, programs and social outings in venues that have EGMs

“4.4 Through the Monash Community Grants Program, Council will not fund community groups who meet in venues that have EGMs

“4.5 Council will not provide community grants, funding, sponsorship, Council facilities, publicity or promotion for community groups/organisations that promote gambling. All relevant Council guidelines will align with this policy position

“4.6 Council will not support community groups participating in gambling activity and will seek to increase the awareness of community groups to the harms of gambling through information provision and referral to non-gambling community activities and services”

Unintended consequence? Many groups are involved in Community Raffles or conduct their own raffles, and these are deemed a form of gambling!

http://www.vcglr.vic.gov.au/home/gambling/new+applicants/community+and+charitable+gaming/raffle+frequently+asked+questions

  1. Passed (without due diligence) by Monash Council on Tuesday 31 May 2016, the 2016-2020 Gambling Policy Statement does not allow Monash Council to accept money derived from gambling activities. *It is noted that Cr Davies and Cr Zographos did not support the policy.
  2. Treasury and Finance distributes Community Support Fund money to Councils that has been received from revenue generated from Electronic Gaming Machines (EGMs) in hotels
  3. Therefore Monash Council can neither accept nor distribute Community Support Fund (CSF) money previously received from Treasury and Finance as Monash would be ignoring its own policy.
  4. Therefore the amounts of at least $118,000 [and $25,000?] marked as income from State Government Grants Community Programs in the Council Budget for 2015-16 cannot be received into Council’s coffers. Nor can any other monies from similar grants be received where the money has come via gambling.
  5. Therefore it is pointless for Council to threaten groups with not providing grants to groups meeting in venues with EGMs as Council will not be funding any groups via this revenue source anyway.
  6. In addition – there is a no proven correlation between the “problem (pokies) gambler” and community group membership, where group meets in a venue that has EGMs.

(2) LEADERSHIP & GOVERNANCE ISSUES

MAYOR LAKE’S HIDDEN AGENDA

The aim of the proposed exclusion (from funding) of Community Groups currently using rooms in Pokies Venues (most often offered to them free of charge) it seems is to bribe community groups into using Council Facilities at Community Rates; (see pages 98 onwards for rates per hour in Budget 2015-16)……and to ensure a pool of needy groups willing to utilise Cr Geoff Lake’s dream 6000 sq m Library-hub proposed for the Central Car Park Site.

Geelong Library

Not obvious to many is that the development of the proposed 5 storey Library Hub means selling this prime land of 7114 sq m in Glen Waverley and therefore removes the entire Central Car Park. It’s sale will allow adjacent high rise towers of 10, 15 (or higher) storeys between Coleman Parade  and Railway Parade North; between Kingsway and Springvale Road. (It should be noted that multiple community consultations confirmed that residents wanted this land left as open space and car parking,  underground. There was no business case for such a library – especially on this site)

High Rise

Lake’s preference to support endless construction in the Glen Waverley Activity Centre and to service developers whilst denying community’s wishes, is concerning. Especially as he has revealed he has accepted at least one  overseas trip (to Japan and China) funded by property developer/ financier Blackrock Real Estate Asia Fund II and Blackrock  Real Estate Europe Fund II (also a substantial  investment choice, at approx. $80 million, of Vision Super*).  (*see Link 2.  below)

  1. MAYOR GEOFF LAKE’S CONFLICTS OF INTEREST AND HYPOCRISY

LINK 1. Cr Geoff Lake is a Director on the Board of Muncipal Association of Victoria [MAV] . He is on the MAV Board while he remains as a Councillor at Monash Council  

Via the 26 April 2016 Council Meeting Cr Geoff Lake proposed and coerced Monash Council to commit $25,000 to support his own self-serving “creation”, The Alliance for Gambling Reform , (AFGR) even though,  concurrent with the Alliance’s inception, on 30/6/2015 Council Meeting Item 7.3, Cr Lake is recorded as stating it would not have a financial impact on Monash Council if Council supported a Memorandum of Understanding with AFGR.

Not surprisingly, Cr Lake is the self-appointed Chair of the Alliance for Gambling Reform. The  website  www.pokiesplayyou.org.au clearly shows that its platform is specifically focused against gambling via electronic gaming machines at pokies venues despite this being only one of  many forms of legal gambling.

The Alliance’s  donations page https://gx.nationbuilder.com/donate confirms:

“The Alliance for Gambling Reform is proudly independent. We do not, and will not accept money from any organisation or individual with a financial interest in any part of the gambling industry.”

“We are 100% funded by donations from individuals and foundations that do not have any ties with the gambling industry We are not affiliated with any political party.”

No budget is apparent for why AFGR is entitled to this $25,000 and due to the criteria above, it is understood that Monash Ratepayers’ money (not CSF money) will be diverted to this organisation purely to secure Cr Lake’s relevance as a Director of the MAV. In short, Cr Lake siphons money  “out” of Monash Council  to the MAV (now in control of AFGR) in order to  replicate  services offered and delivered already via the State Government’s Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation.

*$25,000 is a considerable sum to hand over to an external organisation not based in Monash. In comparison,very small amounts are provided to worthy Monash Community Groups and only after time-consuming grant applications have been submitted. *It is considered this is an inappropriate donation especially in the light of Neighbourhood Watch for Monash residents has had its funding cut; Waverley War Widows will not be provided grant if they meet in RSL! Is this ignorance or irony –  when Sir John Monash, the Council’s namesake, was a revered returned serviceman?

Providing this money to AFGR contradicts Monash’s own guidelines:-

 “(Monash) Council does not fund projects that duplicate existing public or private programs”.

So how can Council substantiate funding The Alliance for Gambling Reform?

  1. MAYOR GEOFF LAKE’S CONFLICTS OF INTEREST AND HYPOCRISY

LINK 2. Cr Lake is a Director of Vision Super Pty Ltd due to his nomination to that Board by the MAV. He is also the Chair of the Investment Committee of Vision Super . He is a Director of Pooled Super Pty Ltd. NOTE Vision Super is the default superannuation fund of Council Employees including Monash employees.

Source-https://www.linkedin.com/in/geofflake

 

Cr Lake boasts, as representative of Vision Super from June 2009 – Present (7 years), that  he is responsible for “developing new investment beliefs, drafting new investment policies”, and “as a director of the fund  I am jointly responsible as part of the board for shaping strategy, overseeing investments, governance, performance, compliance, risk management and stakeholder relationships.”

https://www.visionsuper.com.au/images/employer-reports/Annual-Report-2015.pdf<https://www.visionsuper.com.au/images/employer-reports/Annual-Report-2015.pdf>
https://www.visionsuper.com.au/investments/top-stock-holdings

As Chair of the Vision Super Investment Committee he supports Aristocrat Leisure Limited as one of their top 20 stockholdings. Aristocrat Leisure Limited is one of the world’s leading providers of gaming solutions and one of the largest manufacturers of poker machines in the world.. licensed in 240 gaming jurisdictions in 90 countries.

*DIRECT HYPOCRISY with regard to his role as Chair of Alliance for Gambling Reform – via Vision Super Cr Lake invests millions of dollars in shares in Aristocrat, the producer of EGM’s and yet campaigns against them? Go figure?

 

  1. MAYOR GEOFF LAKE’S CONFLICTS OF INTEREST AND HYPOCRISY

LINK 3. , Cr Lake is member of the Administrative Committee of the Australian Labor Party [ALP]

ALP receives donations from Unions – for example, those involved in construction of all these towers! and from gambling revenue derived from (ALP owned) Labor Clubs. Pokies  owned and operated by the CFMEU or the ACT ALP through their licensed gambling clubs.The ALP State Conference 2016 will be held at the Moonee Valley Racecourse –oops Cr Lakea gambling venue!

 

  1. MAYOR GEOFF LAKE’S HYPOCRISY

From various other benefactors Cr Lake has accepted free entry to the Men’s Semi Final and Final Australian Open 2015, AFL Grand Final 2015, Cricket, Oaks Day Flemington , i.e  each Sportsbet / TAB giants. Is this elitist snobbery? Practice what you preach Geoff. Lead by example not by threats.

  1. MAYOR GEOFF LAKE’S HYPOCRISY and NON COMPLIANCE

Mayor Geoff Lake should adhere to Monash Council’s Access and Equity policy– his latest orders imposed on Councillors and Public on 31 May 2016, contravene basic human rights. Threatening members of the public voicing disapproval with Removal; being Charged with an Offence and Fines of 2 Penalty Units (i.e. $300) shows his frustration at not making it through to being a Barrister or Magistrate! These are conditions imposed by Magistrates for breaches of Court Orders.

His manic controlling behaviour, emulating dictatorship, was highlighted on 31 May 2016 as he continued to humiliate Councillors whilst treating them like his children as he forced them to sign his ridiculous onerous codes of conduct (whilst excluding himself from these actions). His despotic  “Hands on Head” requirement of Councillors, instead of allowing hand raising, was amplified by his refusal  to demonstrate the action when asked to do so by attending journalist ….because HE FOUND IT TOO DEMORALISING. Is it unreasonable to expect that he’ll be forcing Councillors to kiss his feet next?

Kim-Jong-Un

http://www.monash.vic.gov.au/About-Us/Council/Publications/Access-and-Equity

“Principle 1: Human Rights

Human rights are the universal rights of all people to be treated with respect, equality and dignity. The Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities 2006 (The Charter) protects and promotes human rights by recognising that all people are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

Monash Council observes the rights incorporated in the Charter when making decisions, creating local laws, developing policies and strategies and providing services.”

MORE CONTROLLING BEHAVIOUR:

  • Espousing transparency yet REFUSAL to Video Council Meetings as these would incriminate himself.
  • INSTIGATION of AUDIO taping of Council Meetings for his (GL’S) ears only – not the other Councillors. Destruction of the tape prior to the next council meeting! The Point?

 Trust me says the spider to the fly

BACKGROUND – COUNCILLORS CODE OF CONDUCT PASSED SEPT 2013

  • Act honestly
  • Not mislead
  • Exercise reasonable care, and diligence
  • Accept scrutiny
  • Ensure resources are used prudently; solely in the public interest

Cr Geoff Lake failed on ALL counts.

CONCLUSION:

CR GEOFF LAKE ‘S MULTIPLE CONFLICTS OF INTEREST; NON COMPLIANCE AND HYPOCRISY CANNOT BE IGNORED. HE DOES NOT REPRESENT THE COMMUNITY. DEMONSTRABLE SELF-INTEREST DEEMS HIM UNFIT TO REMAIN AS  A REPRESENTATIVE OF MONASH.

Prepared by Lynnette Saloumi,  President Monash Ratepayers Chapter of Eastern Ratepayers Inc Lynnette.mri@gmail.com

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People’s Park Option for redeveloping Glen Waverley Central Car Park

The redevelopment saga of Glen Waverley’s central car park has attracted another community option for best value consideration by Monash Council. This new community option, called People’s Park, was developed as a result of consulting local residents, traders, local school parents and other Monash ratepayers and residents and conducting due diligent business case research. The proposal is a substantiated and viable alternative for redeveloping the central car park, in addition to Cr Lake’s option.

This People’s Park option proposes partnership with Apple to build an underground technology retail and multimedia library center with two additional levels of underground car parks.

GWCCP People's Park

It recommends more and viable funding choices than Cr Lake’s option, which only pursues to sell the car park to fund a new library and a small public space, and allow high density developments that will threaten the feng shui of Glen Waverley and increase local population without providing  local and green open space in close proximity. The sale of the central car park will also mean the loss of GW’s most prized land that can potentially provide the local community and shoppers scarce green open space amenities and services.

GWCCP - Geoff's Option

March’s meeting documentation has revealed continuing preference for Cr Lake’s option to progress into Request for Tender.  Quality due diligent information to substantiate Cr Lake’s option against the John Monash Multicultural Square (JMMS) proposal (put in by another community group) was lacking, as there was the absence of evidence based business case information and a best value evaluation framework, resulting in the GW subcommittee (lead by Cr Lake) and council staff making subjective recommendations to reject the JMMS proposition. In the three public community consultation sessions (attended by more than 150 people) that Council has organized to discuss the fate of the central car park, MRI representatives who attended all 4 meetings, including the JMMS one, had witnessed over 95% of participants did not want the new library and high rise developments and prefer the central car park remain an open space. This strong non support for Cr lake’s library was never documented clearly in council’s public records. However, the March meeting documentation continues to misrepresent the strong Monash community’s non support for Cr Lake’s option during the community consultations and instead presented information that says otherwise.

Waverley Leader 5 April 2016 ArticleLike the selling of Monash and Elizabeth Gardens aged care facilities in 2013 and the deliberate and the long standing deficit financial management of the Euvena carpark, Cr Lake is once again leading and strengthening group-think decision making towards selling the central car park to fund and build a state of the art new library in the Glen Waverley central car park, a personal obsession that he willed on his constituents since the 2012 election, despite the community’s strong non support for his obsession.

Party politics stricken Councillors representing their own interests first is the growing new black in Monash, a proven fact also recently supported by the Waverley Leader, reporting the lateness and poor governance of council meeting in March and their growing failure to represent the community’s views.

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2014 Christmas Message

Hello all

As 2014 draws to a close, the highlights of MRI’s advocacy findings are:

Happy Christmas

  1. The no end saga to Monash Council’s continuous increase of rates by 6%, which is more than double current CPI. What is scary is the Council’s media propaganda assumes its community is stupid (attend a Council listening post session or attend a Council meeting , you will experience this first hand) and some Councillors continue to manipulate statistics to claim Monash offers one of the lowest rates rise. When you vote for new Councillors in 2016, choose those who are resolved to lowering rates while optimising relevant services and have professional and organisation management skills.
  1. Budget games remain elusive in Monash city. Our Council has slashed away at least $23.5 million this year as unrestricted cash, which was reduced from an original planned surplus of $27.7 million. Not only we have a variance of $4.2 million within less than 6 months, it was planned to increase to $44.5 million by 2016/17 (2014/15 Budget, page 44, 57). Yet our Council cries poor. However in their 2014/15 budget update, they are compelled by legislation to report the true financial status – ie declaring their long term financial position has improved remarkably (primarily because of the sale of Council’s two aged care facilities and some marginal cost saving effort). Note they use the term “long term”, so that they can cry poor short term – this is the language of manipulative media The small attempt to investigate efficiency improvements is because one Councillor (the only one) has a professional skills in finance and has directed Council Finance officers to investigate budget downsizing. The 2013/14 Mayor took ownership and claim/plagiarize as one of his achievements. The positive is that there is untapped budget downsizing capacity in Council, which means there are opportunities for optimising rates to reduce to CPI or lower. Furthermore, the 2013 ALCEG report on strengthening Local Government revenue for the 21st century, also verified that Victorian Councils have not explored or optimise their capacity to reduce expenses (hence rates) through efficient improvements and service level reviews. There are 2 barriers against this responsible budget/rates improvement initiative:
    • Many Monash Councillors lacks financial management (especially budget planning) literacy (VLGA (page 20), 2014) and cannot lead Council Officers to downsize;
    • Strong political resolve to keep high rates increase to maintain legacy high salaries for executive staff (Herald Sun, 2009; Mojo, 2012; Herald Sun, 2013 and 2014 ) and provide plenty of money to make Councillors look good in their achievements and support some of their state or federal political ambition’s profile building and training (Australian Parliament Report, 2011).
  1. Councillors addressing more of their personal aka political ambitions in their roles, than to truly serve in the interests of their community. The federal and state elections were evidence to that. We had two Councillors run for the federal election. Three Councillors participate as state candidates. We also saw manipulation of local decision making positioning (over the sale of Hangover St car-park) to win votes in Oakleigh, still leaving the people of Oakleigh without resolving their escalating car parking and crying poor while delaying the construction of Atkinson St car-park, which is only a partial and short term solution. The current push for not selling Hanover St car-park is a short term decoy for state election purpose, as the 4 years budget plan assumes the sale of Hangover St to finance other capital expenditure in activity centres, especially Glen Waverley. The very Councillors who are voting to not sell Hanover St are the ones who pushed strongly for its sale during the last one to two terms – it is all in the public meeting minute records. MRI representatives were invited to a traders; meeting but were quickly “kicked out” by Council officers for sharing insights about the Hanover St / Atkinson car parking matters and Council’s unrestricted cash reserves.
  1. Lacking good governance in conduct, decision making and community engagement continues to grow. During meetings, debating about the person rather than the issues continue to increase, especially when Mayors are now given discretionary powers to control meeting conducts. We continue to see a legacy bullying culture and groupthink dominance in how Monash Councillors present themselves during Council meetings; poor decision making that is emotionally oriented, lacks evidence and impact analysis; implementation and KPI outcomes accountability. Inappropriate conduct continues, taking a new height when the new Mayor personally recently threatened the MRI President in Council office venue that he has been investigated and police checked. This conduct and action represent a complete failure of good governance, as the Mayor has not asked for the MRI President for consent to be checked and in doing so he has breached the Federal Government Laws concerning the ‘Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014’ and irresponsibly exposed Council to unwarranted legal liability risk.
  1. There is grapevine talk of unfair procurement oligopoly practices involved in the street lighting bulk purchasing arrangement offered by the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) and its partner, Ironbark Sustainability. Prior to Monash Council making the final decision to go ahead, one of the suppliers was in court over copyright violation allegations and Council is aware of the choice of street-lighting technology provided in the MAV/Ironbark offer is one of old technology and lesser value giving in terms of energy saving. The decision making did not consider the total cost of ownership aspects, when they claimed that LED streetlights are too expensive to implement. Another flaw is that Council procure the old fluorescent streetlight technology and pass asset ownership to its energy supplier, which would result in Council to pay remaining depreciated capital value when they decide to refresh streetlight technology in the future. The 2013/14 Mayor is a paid Board member of the MAV and his partner works in MAV, a point not raised as a conflict of interest when the streetlight decision making occurred.

Initiating issues prevailing in 2015 will include:

  1. Rate increases – whether ALP Councillors would go against Daniel Andrew’s clause to increase rates above CPI and whether Daniel Andrew’s capped Council rates policy allows for a big escape clause for tyrannical Councils to call for exceptions and keep pushing for higher rates.
  1. Unknown defined benefits liability – there is no report of Council’s exposure to defined superannuation benefits liability managed by Vision Super. As financial markets shiver in more uncertain global economic conditions, what is the risk that MAV is exposing Councils and our rates money to? Our ex Mayor is one of Vision Super Trustee Directors since 2009 and his role is supposing to ensure Vision Super is managed properly in the best interests of all members – and yet we had the last defined $12+million benefits liability blowout.
  1. Monash Housing Strategy, which forces Councillors and Planners’ viewpoints that the city will support higher density development that will change the liveability landscape and conditions for every present and future ratepayers, residents and business operators. They are not canvassing for higher levels of community engagement (the Council website’s search engine does not locate it, one has to use the Internet to locate the plan – that says a lot about limiting public accessibility) and Glen Waverley will be the worst off, as the first decision to support a 15 storey tower complex permit sets in. The risk of Council decisions linking to group and self interests will be hard to ascertain, but are very real and unmonitored present and future exposures in city planning and permit approval decision making.
  1. Increase targeted and publicized propaganda profiling of Mayor and some Councillors’ achievements, to build traceable profiles for the 2016 Council election.

MRI will continue to monitor and advance its advocacy to lower rates, monitoring and reporting good governance performance in Council and explore new territories in collaborative community partnerships and development. We will start issuing quarterly newsletters to inform ratepayers, residents and business operators about the truth in Council matters. We are also expanding our collaboration networks and use of social media, to strengthen our collaborative advocacy and achievement capacity. Watch this space in 2015.

We wish you and your families and friends a wonderful merry Christmas and a joyous happy new year.

Happy Festive Cheerio from your MRI Team

Australian Xmas

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Are ratepayers going to pay for 2 mayors in Monash?

Paying for 2 Mayors in Council

Mayor GLWe just checked the ex Mayor’s personal blogging website and twitter  and he still claims to be the Mayor when the position has been terminated. The question is “are ratepayers paying for two Mayors in Monash Council?” Maybe two heads are better than one?

Not only our Councillors don’t commit to good governance practice in matters of using official Council information on personal website + social media and now this ludicrous claim of having two Mayors in Monash ! Great Mickey Mouse performance Mayors of Monash!

GL Still Mayor 2.jpg

 Update 14 Jan 2015: he updated his twitter to say he is just an ordinary Councillor (poor thing), but not his private blog. Lake no longer Mayor

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