Come back Ray Stark all is forgiven

PAUL BARLOW
Last updated 12:13 23/11/2013
Ray Stark
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Concerned Citizen: Ray Stark's campaign has produced billboards and a website detailing ratepayers' sore points with most of the incumbents.

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OPINION: One day Concerned Citizen Ray Stark may stop disappointing me but this is not that day.

Here's a man who spent a lot of money in ways many candidates last October felt was an abuse of the system, who bought massive billboards and who used an army of robots to try and sway the population .

He may be happy to point out the candidates he wanted were elected but he's throwing in the towel as the lone right-wing, Hamilton City Council-supporting voice on the interwebs.

Ray's announced the Concerned Citizen Website will be taking a sabbatical for at least six months while the new Stark Branded Council finds its feet. 

I can understand how, after buying the support of so many candidates, he feels the city is in safe hands, but maybe that's why it's important that the website goes on.  It's a sole voice speaking to Hamilton's more gullible conservative voters online.  There are a number of left wing social media commentators after all, but nothing right wing anymore.

Without Concerned Citizen who will we have to point out the issues with spending on the public good?  Who will come up with outrageous claims like the limiting of high rises in Hamilton to eight stories was so the ninth floor Council building dwellers could look down on everyone else (instead of being an action designed to limit loss of human life after Christchurch fell down and people died) or that Countdown Te Rapa was guilty of making public art.

We need an independent voice telling us how a better zoo is a bad thing for Hamilton, or that water meters are a great way forward. And we need a voice for the right wing - and not just because I'm worried I'll have nothing to write about when the dust settles.

We need this as a city.

The importance of having this voice in a public forum online is vital to our growth as a society.  It gives a voice and a perspective to a group that seemingly has trouble articulating their views online, especially in Hamilton.

Auckland and Wellington have them and they make a real difference - look at the Whale Oil Blog.

And while I may not ideologically agree with the point of view of these people, and I have issues with the techniques Stark used to fail at getting his Council clean sweep, I think it's vitally important that his perspective has a voice in Hamilton.

Because there may be perspectives from the centre and left out there, they don't see the world the same way as the right.  The view needs to be there, the right wing interpretation of what happens as this new Council finds its feet needs to be available - even if it's to praise what's happening or to give the message that everything's fine.

The important thing isn't the rhetoric itself that's spewed by Concerned Citizen, it's not how extreme, crazy or dumbfounding some of the claims on the website can be, it's not even how successful he was with getting his endorsed candidates elected or how badly he failed at getting most of the incumbents off Council.

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Ray Stark gives a voice to a demographic in Hamilton that, for all their money and resources, can't seem to navigate the world of social media with any level of competency. 

- Waikato

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