Leeds today: elected mayors, council costs, YP/YEP, Atkinson Grimshaw, massages and photowalks

Good morning Leeds. It’s Grand National weekend, and Mark here with the headlines as we approach the final furlong and gallop into the weekend (tweet me if you want my tips for Aintree…).

The debate over elected mayors is heating up (…. well, rising from freezing cold to barely lukewarm at any rate…) ahead of May’s referendum on the issue. The BBC tells us that the existing cost of council leadership across Yorkshire stands at almost £2 million per year, with the cost of our ceremonial mayor in Leeds standing at £308,433 in the year 2010/11.

The cost of elected mayors has been a major talking point in Leeds and across the country during the debate, of course. (We are Leeds, so inevitably the money is the first thing we ask about.) Leeds Citizen helpfully takes to task the reporting in the issue from our regional press which does little to shed light on the existing cost of council leadership. The combined cost of council leader and deputy, executive members, chief executive and ceremonial lord mayor stands at a staggering £823,184. Just imagine what a leisure centre in east Leeds could do with that…

Guardian Northerner meanwhile returns to the principle and the ideal of the debate, and the prospect for leadership and civic engagement. When Henry Kissinger wants to call Wakefield, an elected mayor might well answer the question of who exactly he’d have to call…

Elsewhere, the Northerner has more news from Wellington Street, as advertising staff at the YP and YEP have been told they are to re-locate to Sheffield. This comes just two days after it was revealed the existing editors of the two titles were put on notice of redundancy as a result of Edinburgh-based Johnston Press’s decision to combine the roles under the title of editorial director.

Alex In Leeds has been finding out more about the life and works of Atkinson Grimshaw, whose haunting, misty street scenes capture on canvas a City of Leeds which is still lurking somewhere behind the neon lights and the acrylic shopfronts.

However if the daily grind and the urban strife, the civic hectoring and the public heckling all make you want to scream at the end of another week, take a look at The Culture Vulture – which shows how you could be the lucky winner of an hour-long massage session courtesy of Lomi Massage Leeds. Go on, you deserve it.

And for that matter, after that, why not take a look at what Exposure Leeds and Snapshot Leeds are getting up to this Sunday – a pro-am batale royale photowalk around the Leeds Loop, pitting the experienced photographic heavyweights against the cameraphone novices. Who will win the day? We shall see!

All the very best and then some more – until next week!

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