Response from EDDC hopeful councillor for Seaton below.
Firstly, Owl is legion. There are many, many owls in East Devon!
1. Owl has no party – it has predispositions, but no party.
2. Someone formerly from Slough but well-established in this area ONLY for several years is NOT the same as a dual councillor having to make 340 mile round trips perhaps more than once a week to serve on two different councils at the same time. What happens when there is a clash if meetings? A little disingenuous to suggest it is a similar thing.
3. Owl has had no contact with any Monitoring Officer at any time and considers it a sloppy slur for Ms Russell to assume that it is the instigator (or connected with any instigator) of any such request.
4. She has not addressed her Facebook ‘like’ of a far-right splinter group of the BNP – what does she like about them?
5. See 2 above – East Devon doesn’t want only local-born people as councillors – it want councillors who aren’t skittering around the country trying to serve two masters at the same time.
6. Yes, the electorate will decide.
The comment in full:
“Dear ‘Owl’ (wouldn’t it be lovely if you actually revealed who YOU were and where YOU live?) Your article(s) to me portray the EDA as being pretty inward and parochial, a party where only ‘truly local’ people should be able to stand for Town, District and County Council, A party seemingly not open to ‘incomers’, fresh blood or new ideas – an approach which cannot possibly serve the people of East Devon as well as they could be served. I have watched with some amusement at being described as the ‘Hermione Grainger of local politics’ not to mention the laughable, desperate, notion that I have far right links.
I spent 35 years in East Grinstead and was elected to the local town council in 2015 and the County Council in 2017. No doubt as your spies (if you are not one and the same) have confirmed I am not re-standing at Parish level but I am mid-term as a County Councillor. You will also be very aware of your party’s concerted effort to try to find ways to discredit me through various FOIs but to no avail. Your latest request being for details of monitoring officers to complain about my ‘conduct’ – one wonders if you have any time left to talk to residents and do some campaigning of your own? Of course its not illegal to do any of this and I have nothing to hide, but one wonders why the need to go to such vast lengths – unless you felt I was some sort of threat? If East Devon residents really only want people who have been born and bred in the District, then why do they have a County Councillor who previously stood as a PPC in Yorkshire or an Axminster Parish Councillor who originates from Slough, is currently standing in Yarty but living in Axminster? – no doubt there are others in your network who do not originate from Seaton? Ironically your Yarty candidate has made it clear to me that he has ‘issues’ with Councillors representing two places at once. Well I have issues with Councillors who are also Parish Clerks. Either way it doesn’t matter – both are perfectly legitimate positions to be in at the present time. Overall lets agree for obvious reasons above that it doesn’t matter where we originate from, what matters is that we pledge and do our best to deliver for our community we live in. There is very clear evidence that I have achieved much in West Sussex and I will do the same in East Devon if I am privileged enough to be elected of course.
I appreciate you are keen to know my background so here goes. In actual fact my family moved to the West Country in 2016 due to my husband’s business. We have rented in Axminster since 2017 and have been renovating our house in Seaton. I have commuted to West Sussex since then (yes I really do drive the 170 miles) and reside in East Grinstead with my eldest daughter as and when I need to but spend most of my time in County Hall in Chichester – which is a 100 mile round trip from East Grinstead, so I am well used to driving lots of miles. If you dig a bit deeper you will find that out of the three East Grinstead County Councillors – I have by far and away the highest attendance rate at County Council with the most local results – this despite ‘being in two places at once’ (your phrase). At Parish level I have fulfilled my duties and as an aside taken no allowance for these duties. So I have a track record – and its a good one.
I must correct you though on your election literature content and the comments from the incumbent County Cllr, In actual fact I have a home in Seaton town centre and for clarity it is my only owned property. I shop regularly in the town, am a big fan of the Tramway (the whole family have loyalty cards). I drink and eat in the Malthouse pub. I am a big fan of the craft shop in Queen St where I bought my 20 year old daughter’s birthday presents not so long ago (she works in Colyford by the way). My youngest daughter goes to Axe Valley school where I am a governor. So to say I have no links to the area or do not live in the area is a blatant untruth and I would ask you respectfully to retract this and not waste any further time worrying about where I originate from and how in touch I am with the town – because the fact remains I am more in touch than you think and you probably are.
Ultimately the electorate will decide who they wish to vote in . Either way – elected or unelected, it will not change a thing. I shall finish my term in West Sussex and I shall remain committed to the town I have decided to settle in and support the local community as best I can.
Watch this Space”
[Jacquie Russell – candidate – Seaton]