London: British actress Elizabeth Hurley has filed for divorce from her Indian husband Arun Nayar citing his “unreasonable behaviour”.
Hurley, 45, filed papers at London`s High Court to dissolve her four-year-old marriage to Nayar yesterday, four months after announcing their split.
The decision to formally end their union comes amid Hurley`s burgeoning romance with Australian cricketer Shane Warne, the Daily Mail reported.
She decided to go public with her split from Nayar after she was photographed kissing Warne in a London hotel in mid-December.
“For the record, my husband Arun and I separated a few months ago. Our close family and friends were aware of this,” Hurley wrote at that time.
The actress has been spotted out and about with Warne and even visited him in Australia on the Valentine`s Day.
She, however, has denied rumours that she is planning to get married and settle in Australia.
“Apparently I`m getting married & moving to Australia. Wow, my fictional tabloid life is exciting! Breathlessly awaiting next instalment…,” she tweeted.
Nayar, however, seems to have already moved on from the split. He is reportedly dating model Kim Johnson, 25, in recent weeks.
Eight students died on that ominous afternoon of March 1, 2007. Principal Rick Rainer said he still grieves for families who lost their children and for the aged school that was the cornerstone of his community. His mind has never erased the panic on his students’ and co-workers’ faces.
Not a day goes by that he doesn’t think about the ways in which his community is forever changed. But some of those changes are for the better. For Rainer, a 35-year education veteran, they simply must be.
“We were as prepared for that situation as we could have been,” Rainer said, adding that the first weather briefing was at 9 a.m. and the city went under a tornado warning an hour later. “We never had the chance to get out. We were in drill mode from 10 a.m. until 1:12 p.m., right when it hit.”
Rainer said he has learned he can’t question the decision made that day to stay at school. Staying was the only choice.
Looking back, he said school personnel did everything right. They were in the right “safe” places in the school when the tornado hit.
They’d had Emergency Management Agency officials inspect their buildings and they drilled monthly. Their crisis preparedness team was in place and acted swiftly before and after the tornado.
Today, a new $45 million-plus school has tornado-safe areas: special facilities for holding more than 2,000 people. Drills are taken even more seriously and the crisis preparedness team has doubled in size with all members having crisis management training.
“We found out through that experience that we didn’t have nearly enough crisis materials for an event of this magnitude,” Rainer said.
But he also is a realist, saying, “there aren’t a lot of safe areas when a tornado of that magnitude hits, and that’s just a fact. We aren’t in a tornado alley. We’re proof it can happen anywhere, any time and very, very quickly.”
Admittedly, spring is a scary time of year for Rainer, as it is for local school administrators. It’s also a time for safety measures to be reviewed.
Local school districts don’t have written storm policies, but each school has a safety plan that encompasses weather events such as tornados. The state requires schools to have three tornado drills a year and one fire drill a month. Area schools, however, especially beginning in early spring, conduct monthly tornado drills, sometimes more.
“We have a protocol, and if anything, Enterprise made us more aware than ever of how important it is to follow our protocol and respond wisely to reports from our EMA,” Lauderdale County Superintendent Bill Valentine said.
But it’s those responses that are admittedly tough. As a large school district running 86 bus routes every day, transportation is a major consideration in what to do regarding inclement weather. If there’s a decision to dismiss early — and there have been more of those decisions in the past three years than ever — a 90-minute route time for buses is a key consideration.
“There have been times we’ve dismissed in time for buses to get children home before severe weather, and times when we’ve not dismissed because they didn’t have time to get the children home,” Valentine said. “It’s a case-by-case decision. Sometimes, when reports indicate that it’s going to be bad in certain parts of the county, decisions are made for those individual schools.
“It’s not an exact science, but we always want to err on the side of safety. If we dismiss early for expected severe weather and then it doesn’t come, good. And, of course, we also have to consider that some children may be going home to less secure structures than we have here at school.”
Late school starts are likewise tough on families, Valentine said.
“The decisions we make regarding weather aren’t based on what we fear the criticism will be, but where the students and employees will be safest,” he said.
Officials in Muscle Shoals said the Enterprise tornado has served to forge closer relationships between school districts and EMAs.
“Anytime there’s even a chance of severe weather, we are emailed or get a call from Colbert EMA Director Mike Melton so we can plan,” Muscle Shoals Superintendent Jeff Wooten said. “Our students practice drills more religiously than ever, usually filing into hallways, sometimes interior storage rooms. We’ve had our fire department inspect us and help us decide the safest areas and that’s where he have our students.”
Tuscumbia schools Superintendent Joe Walters said the outcome of the Enterprise tragedy for his and other local districts has been a closer working relationship with emergency officials.
“When the EMA officials say there’s likely to be a warning, we make a call based on that information,” Walters said. “We definitely review our plan and drill more than ever.”
For Rainer, greater vigilance by all schools is a positive that has come from his city’s tragedy.
“People around the country are interested in our story, and as I share it, I always tell them to be prepared to the best of their ability,” he said.
“Drilling seriously, at least once a month, is crucial. The first thing I say to people is, ‘Yes, it can happen to you. Odds are it won’t, but it can. You must be prepared.’ ”
Lisa Singleton-Rickman can be reached at 256-740-5735 or lisa.singleton-rickman@TimesDaily.com.
Suffice it to say that most of the attacks were acts of irrational rage, almost always directed at those who had done the perpetrator no wrong. They were not instances of a parent slipping over the line in applying discipline.
I remember lying to my first-grade teacher about my swollen and bruised face, which I said was the result of a fall on icy pavement. He had punched me, with enough force to send me flying across a living room, after determining I had opened an envelope, addressed to me, that contained a Valentine’s Day card — which was actually more of a business solicitation from a local dentist’s office.
His rage was prompted by his realization that I had opened the envelope — again, addressed to me and retrieved from our mail box — two days before the actual holiday. (I’ve had an aversion to junk mail, and Valentine’s Day, ever since.)
Domestic battery, like war, carries with it the risk of collateral damage. One summer evening at the dinner table, he became so enraged at my mother that he stood up, pulled his belt from his pants and swung it in her direction like a whip.
It struck me flush in the face. There was no way the resulting welt could be attributed to a fall, so I didn’t accompany the family the next morning to the prominent campus-area church where he served as a deacon.
He would frequently come home on lunch breaks from Warner Gear in the midst of uncontrollable, unexplained fits of temper. One afternoon, he inexplicably kicked out the right eye of the family dog, a Pekinese puppy who apparently hadn’t shown him the proper respect.
For another type of kicks, he at times would put one of my sisters, then 2 or 3 years old and terrified of heights, on the roof of our one-story Yorktown-area house and howl with laughter as she tearfully begged to be returned to safety.
I also came to dread Halloween, an evening in which he annually would climb on that same roof, armed with a pellet gun, and loudly announce he would open fire on any trick-or-treaters — our friends, neighbors and classmates — who might be tempted to mark our home with eggs or soap.
LAS VEGAS • Speakeasies, bootleggers, gun-wielding crime bosses and tough-guy accents pay homage to Las Vegas’ mob roots in a pair of new attractions showcasing Sin City’s criminal history.
An interactive attraction featuring gangster memorabilia and commentary from film mobsters James Caan, Mickey Rourke and Frank Vincent opened Wednesday on the Las Vegas Strip. And Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, a former mob defense lawyer, plans to launch his Las Vegas Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement later this year.
For Las Vegas, the attractions represent an unprecedented embrace of its infamous founders.
“What differentiates us from any other city is our history,” Goodman said. “This is the story of America.”
The desert oasis made famous by scantily clad showgirls, ubiquitous slot machines and 24-hour happy hours has long celebrated its reputation as a haven of vice, but its relationship with the mob has taken a few hits in recent years. The city that once proudly boasted of its ties to organized crime —Goodman played himself in the 1995 mob movie “Casino”— has instead promoted its family-friendly restaurants and Broadway shows for the past decade.
The Tropicana casino and hotel, a one-time hangout for organized crime now more known for its bargain-counter room rates, celebrated its new “Mob Experience” attraction Tuesday night with a red carpet party attended by “Baywatch” siren Pamela Anderson and comedian Rita Rudner, as well as a handful of mob heirs, including the son of Tony “The Ant” Spilotro, the inspiration for the bloodthirsty Joe Pesci character in “Casino.”
The sprawling casino attraction features the diary of mobster Meyer Lansky, Spilotro’s gun and family photos and home movies from other infamous criminals. Visitors are greeted by life-size holograms of chatty gangsters and a chance to get “made.”
The publicly funded mob museum, meanwhile, is slated to open in December at a downtown Las Vegas courthouse where a detailed mob hearing that helped expose organized crime to ordinary Americans was held in 1950.
The $42 million museum started as an effort to save one of Las Vegas’ few historic buildings. It’s amassed a wide collection of gangster artifacts, including the wall from Chicago’s St. Valentine’s Day massacre, the only gun recovered at the mass shooting and the barber chair where hit man Albert Anastasia’s life came to an end in a 1957 New York murder.
“This isn’t some lampoon,” Goodman said. “It’s not a gimmick. This is going to be a real museum.”
The museum will highlight money laundering schemes, mob violence and the role organized crime played in Las Vegas and other cities.
Both Las Vegas attractions expect to lure hundreds of thousands of visitors each year driven, at least in part, by the nation’s unquenched fascination with the silver screen mob bosses of “Goodfellas” and “The Godfather.”
“There is a certain excitement to think people who had done illegal things and got away with it were in charge here,” said Alan Balboni, a Nevada historian.
Neither attraction has sidestepped controversy.
The Tropicana’s Mob Experience was recently sued by the daughter of notorious gangster Sam Giancana over an alleged breach of contract involving the purchase of Giancana’s furniture.
Critics have also slammed the attraction for being too deferential to the family members of the gangsters. The exhibition glosses over the mob bosses’ violent histories while praising them as handsome fathers. In one room, an actor asks visitors how a petty casino thief should be punished for his crime. “Do we use a shovel on him?” the actor asked an encouraging crowd during Tuesday’s grand opening.
At the same time, the mob museum has been hounded by criticism that Goodman, a longtime mob ally, is glamorizing organized crime.
“Why are any of these brutal killers being honored? This is nothing but gross sensationalism,” said William Donati, an English professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the author of “Lucky Luciano: The Rise and Fall of a Mob Boss.”
“This is the image of Las Vegas that we want to portray?” Donati said. “What are they going to do next, have a show honoring the drug cartels of Mexico?”
To appease critics and burnish its academic credentials, the mob museum brought in historians, law enforcement officials and acclaimed museum leaders to help build its collection.
Ellen Knowlton, a former FBI agent based in Las Vegas, said she initially worried the project would romanticize mob culture after Goodman asked her to head the nonprofit museum. She focused on the consequences of crime and persuaded collectors and federal investigators to provide photographs, transcripts of wiretaps and other materials from various mob investigations.
“If you thought organized crime was a glamorous lifestyle when you walked into the museum, you won’t feel that way when you walk out,” she said.
Like many of America’s colorful cities, Las Vegas boasts a rich history of hustlers, gangsters and hoodlums.
The city’s backroom deals and money laundering schemes gained worldwide notoriety because of criminal legends such as Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, who ran the Flamingo hotel in the 1940s and named it after his mistress. The racketeer was implicated in at least 30 murders, according to the FBI.
In later years, Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal ran the Chicago mob-owned Stardust, Fremont, Hacienda and Marina casinos.
Unlike in other cities, where mob bosses fought for territory, Las Vegas was deemed an open playground for gangsters of all nationalities.
“This was the golden goose,” said Michael Green, a historian at the Community College of Southern Nevada who is working with the mob museum. “Las Vegas was a young enough city not to be bound by old elites and old rules.”
Nevada’s tightening regulations and increasingly corporate culture began to turn off mobsters in the 1970s, allowing Las Vegas to become the corporate-run tourist mecca it is today.
There are still those who long for the past. Longtime casino workers frequently reminisce of the days when mob bosses delivered flowing tips and safe streets.
Asked about the mob’s decline, Goodman jested, “The real mob disappeared a long time ago. That’s the reason why I became mayor. I had no more clients.”
PROVO, Utah (AP) — Declaring him “a danger to society,” a judge on Thursday called the father of the renowned piano group The 5 Browns a pedophile and sentenced him to at least 10 years in prison on charges that he sexually abused his three daughters when they were children.
Keith S. Brown, 55, pleaded guilty in February to one felony count of sodomy of a child and two felony counts of sexual abuse of a child.
Fourth District Judge David Mortensen sentenced Brown to 10 years to life on the first count, and 15 years to life for each of the others. The sentences will run concurrently, but Brown will have to serve at least 10 years under the plea agreement.
“I do believe, sir, that you are a pedophile, and I do believe that you are a danger to society,” Mortensen said before handing down the sentence.
Brown had been free pending the sentencing but was led away by a bailiff after Thursday’s hearing to be taken to the Utah State Prison.
Brown’s three daughters Desirae, 32, Deondra, 30, and Melody, 26, and two sons make up The 5 Browns, whose albums have topped the classical music charts and who have appeared on “Oprah,” ”60 Minutes” and other programs.
Keith Brown once served as manager of his children’s group, but they severed their professional relationship with him in 2008.
The Brown sisters remain estranged from their father. They reported the abuse to Lone Peak police last year after learning that their father planned to begin working with other young musicians.
The Associated Press does not generally identify people who say they were sexually abused, but the Brown sisters have chosen to be identified.
Kimball Thomson, a spokesman for group, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that sisters weren’t in court Thursday because they are on tour. All three wrote letters to the judge expressing their feelings about the case, Thomson said. The letters are not public.
“The girls don’t want to make any statements about the case right now,” Thomson said.
Deputy Utah County Attorney David Sturgill on Thursday called Brown’s daughters courageous and said he was satisfied with the negotiated plea and the sentence. Sturgill has said the three charges don’t reflected the yearlong pattern of abuse suffered by Brown’s children.
“To say whether 10 years, 15, 20 years in jail or prison is enough for he’s done, I don’t know,” Sturgill said. “Whether it’s good or bad, he has changed the course of their lives, and I don’t know if there’s any price he could possibly pay that would make up for that.”
Court documents state the allegations stem from separate events between November 1990 and March 1998 in Utah County. There are no statutes of limitation in Utah that prevent prosecutors from filing such sex crime charges.
After the hearing, defense attorney Steven Shapiro said Brown is remorseful and had expressed his apologies to the court, his family and the community in a letter to the judge rather than speaking in open court.
“I think every step that he has taken in this process has been geared towards taking responsibility for what he’s done,” Shapiro said.
That the judge called Brown a pedophile “probably fits with the statutory definition of what that is,” he said.
Brown chose to enter the plea to bring a quick resolution to the case and did not want to “exacerbate the harm” by dragging out the proceedings, Shapiro has said.
Three days after prosecutors filed the charges, a car Brown was driving plunged 300 feet over a cliff in Salt Lake City’s Little Cottonwood Canyon. Brown and Lisa Brown, 54, the mother of the group members, were hospitalized after the Valentine’s Day crash that left the Porsche mangled and unrecognizable.
The crash was deemed an accident by Salt Lake County sheriff’s investigators, who said Brown was driving too fast for the winding two-lane canyon road.
I have an unshakeable antipathy to all those holidays mined by Hallmark cards, as well as to organised fun and romance on demand. I probably get it from my mum, who would no sooner expect a Valentine’s Day card from her husband of 38 years than she would ask him to carry her luggage or finish her beer. So I wouldn’t dream of coming over all sentimental just because it’s Mother’s Day. My mum wouldn’t like it and neither would I. In fact, if I were you, Mum, I wouldn’t bother reading any further, especially now I’ve proved that I can use the subjunctive.
It’s harder to write about a mother than it is to sentimentalise about dads, which may be why there are so few good mums in fiction, whereas novels are full of father-daughter love-ins. Happiness indeed writes white, and the trick of good mothering is never to let on that you’re doing it. Particularly while your teenage daughter has temporarily turned into a total bitch for seven years. (Sorry about that, by the way. Please do come over to my place any time, paint the bedroom black, drink all my gin and slam the doors.)
When it comes to daughters, dads get all the glory. They tend to be the ones who teach us to drive and give speeches at our weddings. Theirs are the moments that movies are made of. This may be why many memories of my father can make me weep on cue, while my brother had to cut short his wedding speech because he couldn’t get through the mum bits without blubbing.
(I don’t know where we both inherited our ability to cry at the drop of a hat, though, because both of our parents are no-nonsense northerners who would no sooner cry than drink lager shandy.)
A mum’s major contributions to her children’s lives are more subtle; they’re not scene-stealers. Such as being a proud Lancashire woman who not only marries a Yorkshireman but then moves to God’s own county until her son is born so that he can play for the Yorkshire cricket team. (He doesn’t.) Or making Christmas Christmas. Or teaching children the rudiments of grammar, making white sauce and holding your ale without them ever guessing that you’re teaching them anything. (We didn’t, but Mum, you should have seen us last Wednesday, cooking your lemon and coriander chicken together while drinking Belgian beer without ever falling over or splitting an infinitive.) Even including sacrificing a career to bring up kids who then become vile teenagers who don’t have a clue about how much they should be grateful for. (I didn’t, but I do now.) Somehow, we learned more on the walk to school every day than we ever did while we were in it. Now that’s clever.
There come moments in every girl’s life when she realises that she is turning into her mother. For me, they’re proud moments. I love my mum’s mantra that “we’re not poor” (because once, I think, we were a little bit poor) and I ask myself “what would Mum say?” every time I struggle with the decadence of getting a taxi or ordering the steak.
She may have been married at 22 to her first boyfriend, but my mum is where I first understood about holding my own in relationships with men, and about being a feminist. (You’d learn, too, if you ever tried telling my mother to “shut up”.)
The only problem is that my mum can do most things better than I can. She’s fitter, kinder, cooler and smarter. She could have written this piece quite a lot better than I have, then – and written it without blubbing from start to finish. Fortunately, she’s not sentimental enough to have read to the end, which is why I am able to happily admit it. (And as you see, my Mother’s Day present to you, Mum, is something that I know will make you happy: the opportunity to correct my grammar. Now don’t say that I never give you anything.)
Florida’s privatization of child welfare services was supposed to be good for kids and taxpayers.
But in the decade since the state began making private agencies responsible for the care of abused and neglected children, one cost has soared — the salaries of top employees.
Child welfare executives throughout Florida are now making six-figure salaries, with some topping $200,000 — double what state employees used to be paid to do the same work.
“They should not under any circumstances be paid these sorts of outrageous salaries,” said state Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico and chairwoman of the Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs. “If you get your money from taxpayer funds, you should not be paid more than the governor.”
Agency leaders say that children are safer and better off under the private system, but Storms and others say the pay is out of control.
“They’re doing a government function, but they’re paying themselves an exorbitant salary,” said Christina Spudeas, executive director of Florida’s Children First Inc., a nonprofit advocacy group for foster children.
The state’s highest-paid private child welfare administrator, according to tax returns, is Frances Allegra, CEO of Our Kids of Miami-Dade/Monroe Inc. Allegra makes $182,000 and last year received an $18,000 bonus on top of her salary.
In charge of child welfare for two counties, Allegra’s salary is higher than the secretary of the state’s Department of Children & Families ($140,000). The governor’s job pays $130,000, although Gov. Rick Scott has forgone a salary.
Besides Allegra, seven other executives at Our Kids make six figures, including the chief information officer, who is paid $193,000 and last year got a bonus of $28,000.
In an email to the Sun Sentinel, Allegra wrote that Our Kids operates one of the largest, most complex child welfare systems in the nation with a budget of about $100 million, and has “experienced and accomplished executives” dedicated to helping vulnerable children.
At ChildNet Inc. in Broward County, the budget is about one-third smaller than Our Kids, $67 million, but top salaries are comparable. CEO Emilio Benitez is paid the same as Allegra — $182,000 a year — and four others make more than $100,000. None of them has received a bonus, Benitez said.
When DCF was in charge of foster care, typically only one official per region made more than $100,000 — a regional administrator, who oversaw all social services. Those positions still exist at DCF and pay on average about $115,000 a year.
The administrative costs at the private agencies are warranted, Benitez wrote in an email, considering that they are “outperforming their predecessors, and they are doing so with virtually the same, or even less, money.”
In Palm Beach County, Child and Family Connections pays CEO Judith Karim $135,000 a year and has just one other employee making more than $100,000.
“We absolutely couldn’t afford to pay our top people upwards of $200,000,” Karim said in an interview. “We would have to cut into services for kids.”
Glen Casel, a former DCF administrator who now runs CBC of Central Florida Inc., covering Seminole, Orange and Osceola counties, makes $160,000 a year. He said the agencies bring better management, which had been “one of the biggest missing ingredients of the foster care system in Florida.”
On several key measures, “Florida now ranks at or near the top of any state in the country,” he said.
For instance, children who cannot be returned home are being adopted on average within 26 months, compared to the national median of 32 months. Florida also is doing better than most states in reuniting families faster.
But one recent tragedy in South Florida has raised questions about the quality of care at some private agencies and the public cost.
The body of a 10-year-old girl, Nubia Barahona, was found on Valentine’s Day in a garbage bag in a truck alongside Interstate 95 in Palm Beach County, her twin brother nearby and doused in toxic chemicals. The twins’ adoptive parents, Jorge and Carmen Barahona of West Miami-Dade, are charged with murder and child abuse.
She began earning a living as a belly dancer in bars and a Moroccan restaurant. Later she progressed to erotic shows in nightclubs, before being invited to parties with Berlusconi.
It was after first being invited to one of the soirees, on Valentine’s Day last year, that El Mahroug, then 17, is alleged to have begun sleeping with the prime minister in return for cash, jewellery and other gifts, according to the prosecutors who have aggressively pursued the case.
They claim that between February and May last year, the teenager was at the prime minister’s residence on at least 13 occasions, and often spent the night.
After allegedly spending months attending Berlusconi’s parties and being showered with money and gifts, El Mahroug was in trouble again.
On the night of May 27 last year she was arrested and taken to a police station in Milan, accused of stealing 3,000 euros from a female acquaintance. While interviewing her, officers were astonished to receive a phone call from Palazzo Chigi, the prime minister’s office in Rome.
They were told – allegedly by Berlusconi himself – to release the young woman because she was the granddaughter of Hosni Mubarak, the then-president of Egypt.
She denies having had sex with Berlusconi and says she has never acted as a prostitute, and is among the 78 people that his lawyers want to call as witnesses.
The trial will attract enormous media attention when it starts on Wednesday and will probably be a painfully drawn out embarrassment for the government.
But El Mahroug’s parents are also horrified at what they have heard. Her mother recently fled back to Morocco with her other two young children.
Tracked down by an Italian magazine, she said: “I am so upset by what my daughter has been saying about our family – she has told so many lies.
“I haven’t seen her for three years and we have only spoken briefly on the telephone. Certainly as Muslims it is upsetting us to see her dressed as she did, revealingly.
“The only thing I can say is that my child is lost – she is confused. She has invented so many terrible lies about her own family. Her lies have become our shame.”
The Sunday Telegraph
If you need to find a good Valentine’s Day flick but want to avoid the typical chick-flick romantic comedies, try these Japanese love story movies for a refreshing take on romance. These Japanese love story movies will surprise and delight you with human-cyborg romances that cross into science fiction, star-crossed lovers from rival warrior clans and creative wooing tactics.
- “Drugstore Girl” (2003) – Of all Japanese love story movies, this one is perhaps the most lighthearted. The plot centers on Keiko, a young pharmacy student who catches her boyfriend cheating. She flees to a new town, where she attracts the eye of five middle-aged men who fall madly in love with her. Enjoy watching the men learn lacrosse to impress her.
- “Tokyo Shonen”/”Tokyo Boy” (2008) – This Japanese love story movie about a young woman with a personality disorder is more than just a romance. In fact, The Japan Times calls this love story a psychodrama for the way it portrays a relationship from both lovers’ points of view.
- “Lovely Complex” (2006) – If you suffer from a Napoleon Complex, you will especially appreciate this Japanese love story. In this twist on the high school love story genre, an extremely tall high school girl finds common ground with a short boy.
- “Shinobi” (2005) – If you love stories about Japanese warriors, this Japanese romance is for you. In this Japanese love story, two star-crossed lovers must lead their rival Shinobi warrior clans in war against one another. Can you imagine that from an American love story movie?
- “Boku no Kanojo wa Cyborg”/”Cyborg Girl” (2008) – A lonely Japanese university student spends one magical night with a beautiful woman, but sadly, he does not see her again for an entire year. When he finally reunites with her, she saves him from a killer. And if that is not enough to pique your interest, this Japanese love story movie comes with a sci-fi twist: the beautiful woman is a cyborg.
The election has been and gone so now it’s time to play new government bingo, writes Northside columnist and ABC radio presenter James Valentine.
Haven’t had a new government in NSW for a while now, so some of you may be unfamiliar with how to proceed and what happens next.
Keep this list handy and tick them off as they occur. First to yell “bingo” gets to keep their primary school.
1. For the first six months all problems are the fault of the previous government; “we inherited this mess, we’ve had 16 years of this, can’t be fixed overnight.”
2. In the first six months, all transport, hospital, and school problems are found to be far worse than imagined and all of the figures were wrong.
3. There’s no money after 16 years, all we have left is the hangover, and no decision will be made on anything until a thorough review of everything has taken place.
4. You wouldn’t want us to rush in until we have a full picture of what were dealing with.
5. We are here to govern for everyone and in particular we will be measured by how we deal with the homeless, mentally ill, indigenous Australians, new arrivals and the aged. Hopefully the expressed cause will match ribbon on lapel.
6. There is a desire to consult more with us, the people, on how to get this state going again; Cabinet to meet in Coonabarabran Bowling Club, Facebook site set up.
7. Early scandal as intoxicating feeling of power goes to head of junior minister. Will probably involve government driver, alcohol and statements that shouldn’t be tweeted.
8. Premier announces that he will take on arts portfolio, or sport depending on whether he enjoys opening nights or a day at the races.
9. Slightly later scandal as it takes journos and Opposition a week or two to dig into business connections of people now in power. Will likely involve property development on North Coast and a windfall from the sale of a brother-in-law’s chicken farm.
10. Announcement of major event close to being secured for NSW. Likely contenders: Australian Open, Grand Prix, AFL Grand Final or anything else that Melbourne already has, including the Melbourne Cup.
These are just some of the highlights of a new government’s first months. Look out also for profiles of new leader’s dog, mother, wife, wayward brother along with publication of childhood photos, school reports and embarrassing photo from university.