Leonora Brace obituary: Beloved paramedic, campaigner & journalist

Leonora Brace obituary: Beloved paramedic, campaigner & journalist

Leonora Brace obituary: Beloved paramedic, campaigner & journalist

                                             

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Leonora talks to camera about a local flytipping hotspot

Leonora Brace (Challis Street, Bidston) campaigning against flytipping
Leonora Brace (Challis Street, Bidston) campaigning against flytipping

By John Brace (Editor)

Leonora Brace – Born – 1947
Died – 15th January 2022

First publication date: Sunday 16th January 2022, 16:20 (GMT).

Mrs Leonora Brace who died aged 74 on the Wirral was the youngest of many sisters. She grew up in a very rural part of Canada to a British mother and First Nation father & was always proud of her First Nation culture, language and roots. She was bilingual (her other main language (although not her mother tongue) was Canadian English) with a basic grasp of other languages too.

She had emigrated to the United Kingdom (UK) as a teenager and worked in the UK a variety of different healthcare roles, first as a carer (when she caught tuberculosis), then later she qualified as a paramedic (taking her paramedic exams on audio tape rather than in writing due to her dyslexia) followed by a long career as a paramedic.
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What happened at a public meeting of Wirral Council’s Policy and Resources Committee to discuss budget cuts proposals for 2022/23?

What happened at a public meeting of Wirral Council’s Policy and Resources Committee to discuss budget cuts proposals for 2022/23?

What happened at a public meeting of Wirral Council’s Policy and Resources Committee to discuss budget cuts proposals for 2022/23?

                                                  

Wirral Council Policy and Resources Committee (25th October 2021) Left to Right Councillor Janette Williamson Philip McCourt resized
Wirral Council Policy and Resources Committee (25th October 2021) Left to Right, Councillor Janette Williamson (Chair) (left) and Philip McCourt (Monitoring Officer) (middle)

Before this piece on the special meeting of Wirral Council’s Policy and Resources Committee in the interests of openness and transparency I have three specific interests to declare.


1. During the meeting itself I am mentioned (briefly) by name by Councillor Julie McManus as I emailed her prior to the meeting with a combined series of questions, some of which are merely journalistic inquiries, others as I’m a local resident and she’s my local councillor. At the time of writing and publication I have not received answers to these questions yet from Wirral Council but when (and if) I do so I plan to update this piece with Wirral Council’s responses (although you can watch the video below for what was said by employees and councillors at te meeting).
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Wirral Council’s Labour and Green councillors vote for increased on and off street car parking charges despite opposition from Conservative and Lib Dem councillors

Wirral Council’s Labour and Green councillors vote for increased on and off street car parking charges despite opposition from Conservative and Lib Dem councillors

Wirral Council’s Labour and Green councillors vote for increased on and off street car parking charges despite opposition from Conservative and Lib Dem councillors

                                                         

Fort Perch Rock Car Park, New Brighton, Wirral (29th June 2015)
Fort Perch Rock Car Park, New Brighton, Wirral (29th June 2015)

By John Brace (Editor)
and
Leonora Brace (Co-Editor)

First publication date: Wednesday 11th August 2021, 11:44 AM (BST).

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Decision Review Committee (Wirral Council) 29th July 2021 Car Parking Charges Call In

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Decision Review Committee (Wirral Council) 10th August 2021 Car Parking Charges Call In

At the end of two lengthy public meetings which you can watch above (and you can read a report on the previous adjourned meeting here), a majority of councillors voted to uphold the decision of Wirral Council’s Environment, Climate Emergency and Transport Committee to go ahead with car parking charges options 1, 3 and 4 (as outlined in this report. The changes were opposed by Conservative and Lib Dem councillors but voted through by Labour and Green councillors, however Lib Dem councillor Chris Carubia voted in favour to consult on charges at new locations and increase charges at existing locations that charge.
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What’s in the nomination papers for the 96 candidates in the 2018 Wirral Council elections?

What’s in the nomination papers for the 96 candidates in the 2018 Wirral Council elections?

What’s in the nomination papers for the 96 candidates in the 2018 Wirral Council elections?

                                    

Holy Cross primary school Bidston polling station Bidston St James 4th May 2017 resized
Holy Cross primary school Bidston polling station Bidston St James 4th May 2017 resized

I’ll declare at the start that myself as author, along with my wife live in Bidston & St James ward and we will both receive a vote in this election. We’re also both accredited election observers for the period of this election.
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What are 6 powers the new Liverpool City Region Mayor will have?

What are 6 powers the new Liverpool City Region Mayor will have?

What are 6 powers the new Liverpool City Region Mayor will have?

                                    

Mayor Joe Anderson Chair at a meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority 21st April 2017
Mayor Joe Anderson (Chair) at a meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority 21st April 2017

As there is some interest in what a Metro Mayor (or Liverpool City Region Mayor) will do I thought, despite the fact that everyone registered to vote will have received a booklet (or should shortly receive one) I’d answer some questions.

There are however some errors in the booklet I’d like to point out here. The booklet also omits that the Mayor will end up being paid £77,500 a year (a decision made last Friday by Cllr Phil Davies, Mayor Joe Anderson and others).

In the booklet it states the City Region Mayor “will not be responsible for … setting Council Tax.”

(Another decision made on Friday was to hire a temporary Comms/Engagement person for 3-6 months).

First, I’d better describe the current arrangements. The executive arm of the Combined Authority (Merseytravel) levies each of the district councils (based on population) in addition to money it receives from other sources (such as Mersey Tunnel tolls).

The model on which the Combined Authority will work in future is based on the London model. As it states in this briefing note for MPs “Elected mayors will be able to raise a precept on constituent authorities’ council tax bills”.

I presume (if the Mayor decides to go down this route) it’ll be an extra line on everyone’s council tax bill like the lines for police (decided by the Police and Crime Commissioner and Police and Crime Panel) and fire (decided by the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority) at the moment.

So yes, the Combined Authority (although this will almost certainly go up next year) for example this year has a budget of £139.371 million of capital spending and £255.5 million of revenue. (Predictions are of a underspend in the revenue budget at year-end of £81.2 million (I feel obliged to point out that Labour councillors repeatedly state they’re not given enough money)).

The bit where there’s an answer to the question about whether the Liverpool City Region Mayor will made decisions over my local council/ the services they provide? is in my opinion also wrong. I’ve already written a detailed blog post about What are the new powers of the Metro Mayor to decide on planning applications?.

However, for a taste of one of the matters the new Mayor will be doing (chairing Liverpool City Region Combined Authority public meetings) you can watch my video below of the 15 minute meeting (there are about one of these a month).

So that’s 3-4 hours a year of work (probably more if the meetings are longer).

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Liverpool City Region Combined Authority 21st April 2017

Unlike in London, where there are 25 elected London Assembly Members to scrutinise the Mayor this won’t happen in the Liverpool City Region.

There will still be a Scrutiny Committee, but it’ll be made up of councillors nominated by the district councils as before. At the moment there are 14 councillors on that Committee (12 Labour, 1 Lib Dem and 1 Green).

On the opposition front, out of the last three Scrutiny Committee meetings in public, the Lib Dem councillor has sent her apologies for two of them, the Conservative councillor (from Wirral) resigned years ago and no-one else was appointed instead and the sole Green councillor (Liverpool would normally under proportionality rules nominate all Labour councillors but Liverpool decided they wanted at least some opposition) has been to the last three meetings. He’s also the Green Party candidate in the election.

There will be some decisions made solely* by the newly elected Mayor which I will summarise below:

a) matters devolved from the Homes and Communities Agency around land and infrastructure such as housing, regeneration, infrastructure, powers about burial grounds and consecrated land, powers in relation to statutory undertakers,

b) deciding on grants to the local councils in the LCR region,

c) reviewing the local transport plan (at least every five years),

d*) planning applications (of “potential strategic importance”)

*interestingly decisions on these planning applications will also require the consent of the member of the Combined Authority for the area the application for planning permission was made,

e) matters relating to the spatial development strategy and

f) matters to do with Mayoral development areas.

Originally I know the plan had been was for the Combined Authority to combine Merseyside-wide authorities such as the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority, Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority to give two examples (similar to old Merseyside County Council).

Even when just talked about, these sorts of proposed changes caused so much resistance from certain existing Labour councillors (who angrily and vocally were against any such changes) that as far as I can tell such plans at the present time were dropped by the negotiating team and the government.

Polling day for over a million people in the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority area (Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral) is on 4th May 2017 (although postal voters may receive their ballot paper before this date).

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