take two

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OPEN?

A moan to start today off with? Don’t mind if we do. And, so, how’s this for open democracy? A Sheffield councillor with a PA who refuses to put calls through. This writer hoped to speak to Councillor Mary Lea, cabinet member for health, care and independent living, and ward representative for Darnall. Instead we got her PA Donna Green who refused point blank to let us speak to the – key word coming up – publicly elected member and, instead, insisted we should phone the unelected officials in the council’s ‘communications department’. She also refused to offer an alternative number for Councillor Lea. One wonders what the great (Labour) council leader Sir Ron Ironmonger would have made of that. Probably something similar to the rest of us: that today’s local government appears to be run by people with no idea how local government should work.

COULD BE WORSE

Mind you, it could be worse. A colleague once called current council leader Julie Dore as she was paying for some shopping. I’ll call you straight back, she told him. Six months on, he’s still waiting.

GOOD LADS, GREAT CAUSE

It’s not like when you’re doing your GCSEs you don’t have enough on your plate, is it? So credit to pals of Michael Kentzer – the Gleadless teenager who tragically passed away in his sleep last year – who are now organising a mini music festival in his name. The group, including pals Christopher Navarro, Joseph Parsons and Greg Knowles, are trying to top the £5,700 they made last year when they arranged a fun run, as reported in this paper. Good on them. Rock ’n’ roll is used to promote plenty of good causes these days. Few can be quite as worthwhile – or as touching – as this one.

OREO ALRIGHT

And, finally, an epilogue to today’s main piece on The Audacious Art Experiment. In an age when some people – politicians, mainly – spend thousands of pounds on media training and spin doctoring, it was refreshing to find these chaps knew naturally exactly how to make a good impression on your average hack. “Oreo cookie and a beer” one offered as this writer walked in. Done and done, young man, and a positive article coming up.