Central Ward of the Marrickville LGA comprises the suburbs of Petersham and Lewisham plus parts of Stanmore, Dulwich Hill and Marrickville. There are five groups on the ballot, plus two ungrouped candidates.
Group A: an independent ticket led by Victor Macri, who is the proprietor of Fernando's Hair Design in Marrickville Road, Marrickville. Ran twice for deputy mayor in the past two years only to receive two votes (his and Morris Hanna's) and be eliminated in the first round on both occasions. Often votes with the Labor minority, and is opposed to the development of a 50-metre pool at Enmore Park in North Ward (the hottest issue in the LGA at present). His ticket is the only one in the LGA opposed to putting election signs on telegraph poles, though curiously he has singled out the Greens in his brochure for "visual pollution". There is no love losts between him and the Greens. I am not recommending a high preference for Group A.
Group B: Liberal Party ticket led by Ramzy Mansour. Ramzy was first off the mark in getting his visual pollution up on telegraph poles around the ward. Everything I said about him at the 2007 state election applies here. His brother and nephew are running for council in the Ashfield LGA. I do not recommend a vote for the Liberal ticket in Central Ward.
Group C: Independent ticket led by Joseph Capogreco. Aligned with current mayor Thanos of West Ward, who in the at times dysfunctional council has been friendlier to the Greens than some of the others. All three candidates on the central ward ticket are small business people in Petersham. Number one Capogreco (principal of law firm Capogreco Joseph G and Associates) and number two David Tserkas (chef and partner at Pernama Cafe) run neighbouring businesses in Audley Street. Number three (Andrew Zafra) owns Petersham Childcare Centre. I am recommending a second preference for Group C on my voting paper and thus endorsing Capogreco for election to council.
Group D: The Greens, headed by Max Phillips, who until recently was policy adviser to then-Senator Kerry Nettle. I supported the Greens in the 2004 council election (my first in Marrickville after moving from Lake Macquarie) and have seen no reason not to give them my first preference again.
Group E: The Australian Labor Party ticket led by Sam Iskandar. All to eager to brand themselves as "Local Labor" in an effort to distance themselves from their woeful State counterparts. However, "Local Labor" in the outgoing council spent four and a half years playing the role of Grade-A Dummy Spitters, never accepting their place in opposition. Barry Cotter, the prime dummy exponent, is retiring from council as is Rae Owen, while Penny Sharpe is now in the NSW upper house (though not yet a member of Nathan Rees' cabinet as at 4.36pm Friday). The "Local Labor" visual pollution boards bear the words "New Team. Fresh Outlook." Pity, then, that the face on self same signs is that of Sam Iskandar, Freshly running for his third term on the council. Pity, too, that Iskandar lives in Earlwood, on the Canterbury LGA side of Cooks River.
Labor councillors repeatedly declined to sit on community committees during the past four and a half years and have been vehemently opposed to the Greens-initiated expansion of Enmore Pool. Though there may be no direct linkage to the Rot of Macquarie Street, I do not recommend a vote for the Labor Party in this election. Give them your third preference if you must.
"I believe that I could do a good job as a community representative. I have a strong grounding in education and the arts and an interest in promoting local community interests."
Voting, or to be more precise, attendance at a polling booth, is compulsory.