BREAKING the “Mikeopoly” and restoring true democracy to Griffith City Council is at the top of the list for first-time councillor candidate Brian Hopper.
The security guard and hospitality worker said frustration with council’s “buddy buddy” system had made him put his hand up for the September 8 election.
“We don’t have enough independence on council,” Mr Hopper said. “I would like issues to be decided at the council chambers with good arguments, not around Mike Neville’s dinner table.
“It’s going to be a ‘Mikeopoly’ up there.”
Mr Hopper said Cr Neville’s “disrespectful” decision not to step aside while dealing with serious criminal charges had also spurred him to stand.
“It’s the elephant in the room, hidden behind a wall of political correctness, but it could possibly lead to a by-election and if I was going into an operating theatre with those same odds I’d be hesitant,” he said.
“Mike is fully entitled to a presumption of innocence, but it was disrespectful to the community and to council to leave us hanging for so long – stand aside, sort it out and then come back fighting the next time.
“If it was a financial matter he would instantly have to excuse himself because of pecuniary interests, so why do we have so much less respect for sexual assault charges?”
Mr Hopper, who comes from a blue-collar background, has lived in Griffith for 25 years and raised a family here and said he was sick of sitting back as council continued to make “bad decisions”.
“Apart from two other notables, I think we have too much of a silver-spoon mentality up at council,” he said. “I’m from a blue-collar background and I would like to voice more of the common man’s opinions.
“I’m frustrated with what I’ve seen at council – a lot of people don’t see the sense behind things like the Railway Street property sale. I want to get more information on that, I would hate to see an asset like that be given up for a short-term gain.”
Mr Hopper said he also wanted to see more investment in Griffith’s hospitality and tourism and a return of the Jolly Trolley to get the city’s young residents home safely and reduce night-time vandalism and alcohol-fuelled violence.