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Grassed off

As if the ageing Aramoho Railway Bridge and walkway outcome is not disappointing enough (Chronicle, May), we get NEW infrastructure that's a fail.

There has been much justified praise about the new cycleway in town and now the further extension. Well done.

Much less is said of the more modest and seemingly bargain-priced tar-seal walkway newly laid from the canoe sheds along Anzac Parade and up under the Dublin St Bridge. No media praise for this poor-cousin footpath.

Downers followed a briefing to lay a narrow tar-seal pathway. They did the work, a thin layer of tar-seal, but no wood edging as compared to the other very impressive, wood-trimmed one done by council staff down by the Aramoho Railway Bridge. The result is that all along the entire pathway the grass roots have invaded and split the thin seal, sprouted and moved further in.

Recent spraying (after alerting council) does not repair damage done. Everyone knows this type of grass is invasive, travels underground in long moisture-seeking threads and then rises up if allowed. And it did.

A quick council return phone call to me was a cautious-sounding one: "We do not know as yet what to do. We will spray it regularly, I guess, and no doubt at some point it will need a resealing and, yes, a wooden trim that would have stopped the problem. I guess it may have been a budget matter."

Blame Downers? I rang and they clearly followed the tight budget briefing; no wood trim. It's going to cost a lot more to fix a gardening basic "101" fail. Or just keep spraying and call her "Raggedy Anne".

Maybe this sad footpath is not a match for future big-ticket items such as the rather manly desired/inspired Double "D" bra-shaped velodrome roof, nor the "grand room with a view" Sarjeant Gallery or even the new multi-use cycleway to a mole that that is, for now, a bloody embarrassing eyesore.

To the residents, if you cannot get the small things right, like our footpaths, then ... ? Disappointed.


Rural theft

I have always thought that the Chronicle should employ a proof reader, as spelling, punctuation and grammar often leave much to be desired. However, I now believe the requirement is for a detective!

The front page of today's edition (May 11) announces 'THE COUNTRY / Bumper 40 pages / INSIDE'. Having once owned a small farm, I appreciate this particular weekly supplement and the thought of 40 pages was enough to have me drooling in anticipation. What did I get? Twelve pages numbered from 15-26! Who stole the rest?

A job for Sherlock, Maigret or Miss Marples perhaps?


Editor's note: Yes, we screwed up. The Country was indeed 12 pages. The entire paper was 40 pages.

Comey dismissal

Since US President Donald Trump fired FBI director James Comey there has been amazing over-the-top rhetoric from some Democrats and members of the media.

It is difficult to get balanced reporting of the situation from a media that used to pride itself on balanced reporting.

There is the claim that this is just like Watergate, where President Nixon tried to fire the man investigating him to stop the investigation. Even the Chronicle editorial (May 15) said, "[Comey's] dismissal suggests the President is at least trying to silence the FBI or, worse, stop its investigation."

Not only is this blatant nonsense, it has been directly refuted by the acting director of the FBI (a Democrat) under oath. Comey was not investigating Trump, or even alleged collusion between members of the Trump team and Russia. The FBI is investigating those allegations, and a change in the political appointee at the top of the FBI will not stop any investigation that is under way.

Really funny is the way everyone has flip-flopped about Comey. Both Democrats and Republicans have publicly loved him and hated him, depending on his actions or statements. Some of the funniest examples have been Democrat leaders who said they had no confidence in Comey and that he must be removed from his position, and are now screaming blue murder about Comey being removed.

Some in the media looked at this story through the lens of a conspiracy theory and leapt immediately to extreme reasons for the firing but without evidence. This makes it difficult for the public to distinguish valid criticisms of Trump from automatically hostile attacks on him. Of course, this has been the default mode for some in the media since before Trump won the election.

One thing is clear. Comey had overstepped his authority on a number of occasions and almost everyone thought he should go. The timing and execution may not have been good, but the firing itself was long overdue. To make an issue of it because it was Trump who fired him serves no real value.


- Wanganui Chronicle

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