LI Post Election Blues

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    Gabino Carballo

    Brian Clouston has won the elections.

    We now have a “President Elect” and Trustees that nobody has elected, as well as a large number of Council Members that could fall under the same heading. Some of them are directly responsible for pulling the wool over Members eyes for long.

    Instead of resigning and apologizing, they have got themselves elected on inertia and misrepresentation of their intentions. Their only motivation to stay in the post appears to be the desire to ride the “Gravy Train” to the last

    Members democratic rights have been depleted at a faster rate than our money.

    The LI is catching up with me. Instead of replying to my letters and behaving in a decent and honourable way, they prefer to wage a media war against my views, in spite of the fact that I have provided the evidence they have asked for:

    “As reported a few weeks ago, serious allegations of fraud and corruption have been made against the President, trustees and staff. A response to these allegations will also be published next week.”

    I would love to receive a letter from this lot, but it seems that they prefer to address a faithful audience with little or no lnowledge of the facts.

    I am posting some Information here:

    1. Financial Timeline for Download … 088c8.html

    2. Interactive Financial Timeline … utput=html

    3. Council Budget for 2008-09 Online … utput=html

    4. Council Budget for 2008-09 Download … 299ab.html

    5. Council Budgets Summary 2005-2010 … 77b06.html

    With all this, you can ascertain the facts and make your own mind about what is happening at our Institute.

    Check Council Minutes also, they make hilarious reading, if you enjoy your money being thrown down a drain, on international travel, large expenses allowances and misguided policies.


    Gabino Carballo CMLI

    Gabino Carballo

    The Landscape Institute has posted a “Response” to my TImeline of a Fraud and you can download it here:…

    I would find it mildly amusing, if it wasn’t so sad an indictment on our profession.

    Gabino Carballo

    EGM on the 15th of July of 2009
    Please attend the EGM and participate in one of the few democratic procedures left at the LI.

    Whatever your views, please check the facts first and make your mind up later. The result is largely irrelevant, as the incumbent Board has made it quite clear int he past that they not feel bound by EGM voting decissions.

    Whatever you vote, they will do as they please, as they have done for years.

    The important thing is that this EGM is happening and that the Membership is holding what I consider an opportunistic and disloyal gang to account.

    If you cannot attend, please contact the LI to find out about Proxy Voting. You will need to return a form back to the LI before Thursday 9th July 5pm!

    Proxy voting

    1. You can only vote if you are a chartered Member or Fellow of the LI.

    2. If you know how you want to vote you can mark the boxes and either let the Chair or a Named Proxy who will be at the meeting put your vote into the count.

    3. If you don’t know how you want to vote leave the boxes unmarked and leave it up to Chair or Named Person at meeting to vote on your behalf.

    Whichever way you use your Proxy Vote – through Chair or Named Other – you need to return this form back to the LI before Thursday 9th July 5pm.

    Gabino Carballo

    Originally Posted in the Talking Landscapes Forum.

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    The July 2009 EGM is an opportunity to vote for change in the LI and I will therefore vote in favour of the motion. But I like to see both sides of an argument and have therefore published the arguments for and against the motions on the Talking Landscapes Forum. Though not unbiased, they are reproduced below.


    I make five points in response to the President’s letter to the membership on the subject of the EGM
    (1) The downturn in the property market, which has affected both office rents and the profession’s workload, was entirely predictable. It is a market characteristic which has recurred since ancient times and on four occasions in my working life.
    (2) The problems resulting from the downturn were exacerbated, as the President acknowledges, by totally inadequate management accounting. The LI continued its spendthrift ways as its income plummeted. For example, the LI contracted to spend far too much of its income (£90,000 pa compared to £25,000 pa at Barnard Mews) on renting Central London office space for activities which should have been done more economically in other ways and in other places
    (4) Though ostensibly democratic, the LI has not acted in ways which have encouraged its members to vote in elections, to take part in its activities or to participate in setting or achieving its goals
    (5) Excluding myself, I believe the requisitioners are a distinguished and honourable subset of the membership – who do not want the LI to follow the Civic Trust into oblivion. They care deeply about the ‘cathartic experience’ of 2008 and their views should be treated with respect. They include Past Presidents who are as near as we can get to the pioneers who met in a tent at Chelsea to found the Institute of Landscape Architects, in 1929.
    (6) Our current President enormously weakens his case by basing it to such a large extent on the immoderate language used by two of the requisitioners, one of whom leads one of the oldest and most influential landscape practices in the UK. People should not be slagged off, especially from the rostrum. As I have said before, when an organisation loses such a large proportion of its funds it is not enough to say ‘Ooops’. Expecting strong language language and raised voices, those who are responsible for the mistakes must give full apologies and full explanations as quickly as possible and as calmly as possible. Any evasions will result in suspicions of cover-ups. As things stand, the details of what went wrong only emerged after hard questions were put, put and put again.
    (7) If I had been responsible for losses on this scale I would not have offered my resignation: I would have resigned with immediate effect.
    My view is that the LI suffers from a democratic deficit (‘A democratic deficit is considered to be occurring when ostensibly democratic organizations or institutions are seen to be falling short of fulfilling the principles of parliamentary democracy in their practices or operation where representative and linked parliamentary integrity becomes widely discussed.’) A simple example is that the forcefully expressed views of a substantial proportion of the membership, on the Library and Archive issue, ought to have been accepted with alacrity. The response that ‘we are not bound by EGM resolutions’ illustrates the democratic deficit.
    Similarly, the fact that so few members stand for office does not prove that Council decisions embody the views of the electorate: it illustrates the degree to which disaffection has engulfed the membership, as detailed elsewhere on this Forum. I do not blame the current leadership for this state of affairs and indeed thank them for all they have done, are doing and will do. It seems likely that we took a constitutional wrong-turn at some point in the past, perhaps because we wanted the LI to be too like some of the other professional bodies. I therefore believe the LI needs a ‘revolutionary’ change in the way it operates. We can compare this to putting GM and Chrysler into Chapter Eleven bankruptcy. When a similar thing happened to Rolls Royce in 1973, the aero engines division emerged as a phoenix and now rules the skies. I hope and expect the LI will soar if the 15th July motion is passed. Should the motion be defeated, I fear we will bumble on, doing the same old things in the same old ways – but with much less effectiveness because we have much less money. How can we possibly be in a position to ‘start working more effectively’ [second paragraph of the President’s letter] with big debts and the President’s letter describing no changes in our methods of governance or modus operandii? Our profession will only contribute more to the nation’s stock of public goods when it has more influence, more publicity, more knowledge, more skills, more research, better information resources and new entrants. This is no time to trim our sails: it is a time to re-organize and apply our limited resources to different and better uses. So:-


    The argument appears to run as follows, though I am doubtful about some of the baseline facts:

    We are delighted with the performance of the Landscape Institute and would like to see the policies continued for the 2009-2014 FiveYear Plan. They include:
    1. Sustain the rapid growth in our membership
    2. Increase the expansion of our income, build up our property portfolio and grow the Contingency Fund
    3. Maintain the onward and upward path in UK recruitment to our accredited educational programmes
    4. Build upon the world-leading reputation of British landscape architects and landscape architecture
    5. Accelerate the ever-growing influence of the UK Landscape Institute on UK government policy and the international development agencies (World Bank, UNDP, Natural England, Countryside Agency, Department for International Development etc etc)
    6. Continue to improve the acclaimed quality of our popular and profitable publications, including our sought-after and collectable Journal, Landscape
    7. Continue to poach members and work from the RTPI, the RIBA, the RICS and the IEMA so that we become the lead professionals on most built environment design, planning and assessment consultant teams
    8. Forget our current Divisions, as Designers, Managers and Scientists, while continuing to make no accommodation for Landscape Planners, Urban Designers or Garden Designers
    9. Proceed with plans to re-home our library and archive, on the basis of competitive bids, so that we have room to grow our staff and develop our policy agenda un-restrained by the detritus of history or the dead hands of pioneer landscape architects.
    10. Maintain our organization with its current leadership, healthy democracy and competitive elections, supported by the family atmosphere at our Great Portland Street HQ, all revealed by the fact that our leaders are ‘elected unopposed’, year after year, many with only CV-style election statements.

    Tom Turner

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    I find this text hilarious and particularly serious, simultaneously. It is beautifully written, in a way that makes the reader ashamed not to finish its delicate but sternly worded thread.

    Between the Scylla of unpleasant facts and a Charybdis of bitter recrimination, Tom Turner has found a clear stream to let Odysseus sail unharmed, safely carrying Promethean hope of renewal to all Members.

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