Mayor Sideshow Bob is presently in North America (along with Mrs Sideshow Bob and his loyal lieutenant, Tony Marryatt), apparently studying 'urban regeneration and public transport'.
Meanwhile, here in Christchurch, Sideshow Bob's latest mad scheme is causing a whole load of stink. Strangely, the good citizens of Christchurch are not that keen to see a large concrete block plonked in the middle of the Arts Centre. As I said in a previous post on the issue, the opposition is widespread, well-organised and not without a few dollars in the old fighting fund.
For Sideshow Bob and his council lackeys who voted to build a $25 million music school in the middle of the Arts Centre, it must be of some concern that the proposal is so deeply unpopular with the voters.
Given that these councillors are the same motley lot who voted to give the shambolic Dave Henderson some $18 million for five over-valued buildings (and which are now incurring not insignificant costs in terms of maintenance and depreciation), they are rapidly morphing into the walking dead. Come election time , the likes of Sue Wells, Ngaire Button, Barry Corbett, Mike Wall, Gail Sheriff, Claudia Reid and Bob Shearing will more than likely be booted out of office - along with their leader, Sideshow Bob.
They know it too because, in Sideshow Bob's absence, none of the councillors who voted to build the University of Canterbury Music School seems inclined to publicly defend their stance.
Barry Corbett, who has so much to say on everything else, is remarkably quiet on the issue. Maybe he thinks if he doesn't say anything people won't notice that he was one of the councillors who voted to wreck the Arts Centre.
The barely competent Ngaire Button is certainly a councillor heading out of office. Like Gail 'Bali Holiday' Sheriff, Button never opened her mouth at the council meeting that approved the music school. She just did what Sideshow Bob wanted her to do.
Button has taken to buying space in her local suburban newspaper to outline her 'thoughts' and 'achievements'. 'On the Button' appears every week but if she thinks this will save her, she is deluding herself. She is, as Martin Crowe might say, a 'goneburger'.
Opposition to the proposed music school is so widespread that opponents within the Arts Centre Trust have leaked documents to the Save Our Arts Centre Society and which have been duly filed with the High Court as part of the society's legal case against the music school.
Arts Centre Trust Board chairman John Simpson, getting all high and mighty about it, says he 'has never experienced such duplicity in a long professional career.'
"Someone has betrayed their station here. We are a charitable trust," he told ThePress. "We could take legal steps to suppress it, but there's no point.'
But this is just a case of the slippery Simpson - who was Pro-Chancellor of the University for Canterbury for four years- getting his just desserts.
Simpson has been helping out for Sideshow Bob by deliberating excluding board opponents from debates, votes and even from attending board meetings. This is the very same John Simpson who claims that the opponents of the music school are 'not playing by the rules'.
It's now all backfired on Simpson who has just woken up to the fact that the 'dissidents'' are not going to go let him push them around - especially with the Arts Centre future hanging in the balance.
Its also worthy of note that at the University of Canterbury, the University Council held their meetings on the topic in committee and the minutes were never made available to interested reporters.
The secrecy has also extended to the Christchurch City Council and it has been revealed it has suppressed a report critical of the proposed music school.
The report was written by Australian heritage expert Elizabeth Vines and was delivered to the council on 16 November and was due to be released on November 25.
The council has fatuously claimed that report is a 'work in progress' and that's why it has not been released.
If that is the case then why was it given to representatives of the University of Canterbury and the Arts Centre Trust immediately after it was received from Elizabeth Vines?
The Press has applied for a copy of the report under the Official Information Act.
While John Simpson has tried to portray himself and his mates as behaving in the 'public interest' the ugly reality is that the interests of Christchurch are being threatened by vested interests within the University of Canterbury, the Arts Centre Trust Board and within the Christchurch City Council.