Council supremo John Alexander stepped into the firing line as he was quizzed by members of Stobswell Forum.
Despite suffering from a stomach bug, the Dundee City Council leader didn’t duck any of the issues raised as he fielded questions for 90 minutes at the Arthurstone Community Library.
Mr Alexander told the Tele afterwards: “I thought it was a really good meeting and it was an opportunity for people to ask difficult questions.
“And I was happy to do it. I don’t want to be sitting in council chambers speaking to other councillors. I’d rather speak to the public.”
Mr Alexander admitted that he had been “grilled” at a previous pensioners’ forum meeting.
He faced the flak again at the Stobswell event on a very warm evening.
It was also the day that the publication of the latest statistics on drug deaths sent shock waves throughout Scotland as a whole and Dundee in particular, with the city ranking second-worst for narcotics-induced fatalities.
And the council leader did not shirk a question, from the spectre of drugs hanging over the city to the controversial parking problems in the area and even his favourite football team.
He met representatives of various youth and community groups and took note of their contact details, pledging to follow up their heartfelt pleas for help stretching from finance to door entry systems for a close.
People thrust scribbled notes into his hand and one lady handed over her questions on a birthday card.
Mr Alexander told of his ultimate aim to make Dundee “a better city to live in” with a three-fold attack on the worst issues scarring the city’s reputation.
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He said: “My wider role in the city is to make Dundee a better place to live but I have to start with the things that don’t make it a good place to live.
“We’ve seen the statistics on drugs in the country but particularly in Dundee. I know, having lived here since the day I was born and never lived anywhere else, what it is like.
“My first flat was on Erskine Street and it was my best flat and my worst flat. I saw regular abuse issues that exist in other surrounding areas and it is not only one issue.
“There is poverty and deprivation but they are not issues we can tackle overnight and they will probably be there long after I die. But tackling it and reducing it is important to me.
“There are three issues which need to be addressed.
“There is the poverty and deprivation issue, mental health and the mis-use of drugs and alcohol.
“It is about Dundee City Council getting together with the NHS and community services getting involved.
“I am not going to preach or pretend that we will solve it overnight.
“We will not do it in my tenure but we’ll take action to make inroads now. That’s important to me.”
Mr Alexander spoke about the jobs brought to Dundee and being the first city to establish the living wage, as well as the plans for more investment including ambitious proposals for The Shore.
The evening was hosted by Colin Clement, chairman of Stobswell Forum.
He said: “It was a really good night and I thought it was a good turnout with constructive questions.”
As the host, Mr Clement reserved the right to ask the final question of the night and quizzed Mr Alexander about which of the city’s football teams he supports.
He replied: “There’s only one answer – United.”