New mayor set to act on ladies of the night

AFTER an absence of four years, Nick Catania has been drawn back to the world of politics, but this time he will be doing business in council chambers.

Cr Catania this month was elected mayor of the Town of Vincent and believes his new role will be just as tough, if not tougher, than his position as Police spokesman in the Labor opposition.

“There are a lot more emotions involved in local government because you are dealing with not only the wants and aspirations of the residents, but also those of the elected members,” Cr Catania said.

“This can create a heady mix of politics which can spill over.

“In the state and federal Parliaments there is a distance, it is party against party … now it is more intense, more face to face.”

And the issues dealt with by local governments were often more pertinent to residents’ everyday lives, he said.

“In Parliament you deal with policies, Acts and legislation, but in local government you deal with issues such as rubbish collection, traffic management and rates, issues which cut to the bone of people’s everyday lifestyles,” Cr Catania said.

Cr Catania is the third person to wear the mayoral chain of the Town of Vincent since its creation in 1995.

He also is the third mayor to have an association with the Australian Labor Party. His predecessor, John Hyde, is now the ALP member for Perth and the town’s first mayor, Jack Marks, was a vocal supporter of the party.

But Cr Catania dismissed the common political ties as mere coincidence and said it was up to each individual candidate to capture the imagination and votes of the residents.

“There is no design by members of the Labor Party to aspire to become the mayor of Vincent,” he said.

“People who follow the Labor Party’s philosophy will naturally be drawn to a person with a Labor Party background but most will judge the candidate on what they say they will do.

“If candidates do not capture the imagination of the residents then they will not get voted in, no matter what political party they are associated with.”

And, once elected, councillors and mayors had to make good on their promises, otherwise the residents would have no difficulty in deciding to vote them out, he said.

“When you come up for re-election, residents will look at track records to help them with their decision,” Cr Catania said.

“If they have a gripe against you, then they will not vote for you.”

One of the top issues Cr Catania plans to deal with in his new role is that of prostitution on streets throughout the Town of Vincent.

“I want to rid the streets of the anti-social behaviour, which in turn draws an unsavoury element into our town,” he said.

“We will be cooperating with the State Government and neighbouring councils to work on this problem, which affects residents’ lifestyles and local businesses.”

More security and improved street lighting were two strategies Cr Catania suggested could be used to rid the town of streetwalkers.

Cr Catania also signalled small businesses would be receiving plenty of attention.

The new mayor spent the past four years working as a small business consultant and was also an adviser to the WA Council of Retail.

“Retailers are going through a bad patch at the moment and I believe local government has a part to play in improving their lot,” Cr Catania said.

“That can involve improving parking, security, making the area more attractive through streetscaping and attracting sporting and cultural events to the town.”

It is this desire to help the local community that turned Cr Catania to local government.

“For the past four years I have worked as a small business consultant, which I see as a community service and in the last year I have been involved in establishing a community bank,” he said.

“I enjoyed doing both of these things and felt I wanted to do more for the community.

“I believe local government gives me a greater opportunity to improve the lot of many people.”

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