NEWS LETTER January 2013
HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL
Let us hope 2013 will be better than 2012, the year of dirty streets, uncollected garden rubbish, sale of council land on the coast, our family silver for the future, and in general, a year of neglect by the three-party minority government of PSOE, the Greens and CLR who are hanging on to power at all costs without being able to govern effectively, since they do not have a majority in the Council.
C.L.A.R.O. INAUGURATES NEW OFFICE
SALE OF LAND ON ORIHUELA COSTA C.L.A.R.O.
with the support of the Popular Party, was completely opposed to the Socialist First Deputy Mayor’s plans to sell municipal land in Orihuela Costa for building more houses. We were not impressed by Antonia Moreno’s promises that the coast wo uld benefit from 40% of the proceeds. Her hopes to get over €13 millions from the sale of land were disappointed. It is now announced that the Town Hall has received €1.36 million, one tenth of what was expected. Furthermore, she has announced that ALL of this money will be spent doing up a public square in Orihuela city. Nothing for Orihuela Costa. So much for the Socialist Party’s promises!! . C.L.A.R.O. and the Popular Party will continue to try all legal and technical possibilities of preventing the realization of this misguided policy. But worse is the news that she will try again this year to sell more munici pal land on the coast. Orihuela Costa will need this land to provide public facilities in the future for what is a still expanding area of the municipality. Orihuela Costa, is emerging as the most populated part of the municipality which pays a greater share of the contribution to local government revenues through property taxes. We have only a modest civic centre and a sports centre in the form of municipal facilities. We need senior citizens centres, youth centres, library, auditorium and other facilities which will put us on a par with Orihuela City. And for all of this, we need municipal land on which to build these facilities in the future. The three-party government, headed by the Socialist First Deputy Mayor, is betraying the intere sts of Orihuela Costa. The Councillor for the Coast, Pedro Mancebo, is aiding and abetting her. C.L.A.R.O. is determined to oppose any moves to sell more municipal land on the coast to build more houses and to provide the three party government with money to pay off its electorate with fancy projects for Orihuela city.
CHRISTMAS IN ORIHUELA COSTA
The Christmas and New Year festivities in Orihuela Costa were enjoyable but not as brilliant as the Councillor for the Coast, Pedro Mancebo promised. There was no Christmas tree in front of the La Zenia church which for Christmas 2011 was illuminated in a ceremony presided over by the Mayor and three councillors, including the then Councillor for the Coast, Bob Houliston. This year the official tree was in front of the Playa Flamenca office of the Town Hall and the illumination ceremony was a one-man show with Pedro Mancebo, no Mayor, no other councillors representing the government, and very few spectators, since the announcement of the event came with only 24 hours notice. There was no festival to see in the New Year as was promised and no announcement of its cancellation either, so many people on New Year ’s Eve were wandering around Playa Flamenca looking for somewhere to celebrate. The celebrations in Orihuela city continue to surpass enormously the events organized on the coast. One example: a budget of €70,000 provid ed outdoor facilities for the young of Orihuela city to enjoy their Christmas holidays. Last year there was a modest similar event in Orihuela Costa. This year nothing. Finally, the 3 Kings Parade was disorganised but jolly with the new La Zenia Boulevard Commercial Centre providing the ideal location for the children, in keeping with the Spanish tradition, to make their requests for presents from the 3 Kings and to receive sweets and hot chocolate in anticipation. The promised hot air balloon was late, arriving after most of the children had left and the six overweight oxen taking part in the parade were more notable for their urinary contributions than anything else. Thank goodness the spontaneous Christmas Day celebrations on La Zenia beach went ahead with great success. This event is now a firmly established tradition in which more and more, many hundreds of people of different nationalities and from many areas, not only Orihuela Costa, join in the carol singing and general fun with great enthusiasm.
A SKELETON IN PEDRO MANCEBO’S CUPBOARD
Since Pedro Mancebo took over responsibility as Councillor for Orihuela Costa in the summer of 2012, C.L.A.R.O. has been complaining that he has too many other responsibilities on his hands, Tourism, Communication, Infrastructure and Maintenance and that, apart from photo opportunities, he spends hardly any time in Orihuela Costa. Despite his previous political declarations that the job was too big for one councillor, he is not helped, with perhaps one exception, by councillors from other parties and the Green Party Mayor and Socialist Party First Deputy Mayor never show their faces in Orihuela Costa. We have also criticized the fact that, unlike in previo us governments and in the C.L.A.R.O. team until February, 2012, there is no political appointee (coordinador or assesor) to help Pedro Mancebo to exercise his important responsibilities on the coast. With as big or a bigger percentage of the population of the municipality than the city, Orihuela Costa has many problems and needs special attention to ensure that we get a fair deal in return for what we pay in the form of rates and taxes. We were therefore interested to see, towards the e nd of last year, that Mr. Raymond Kearney, property developer and mouthpiece for Pedro’s CLR party on the coast, was profiling himself as Pedro’s new political assistant. Although no announcement was made, the appointment seemed to be all but signed and sealed when Mr. Kearney participated, on the government side, at the end of December, in the annual dinner given to the Orihuela press. And then the surprise!! Since July , there HAS been a political assistant to the Councillor for the Coast. He was named and appointed by a decree of the Mayor in July, 2012. In October, 2012, his salary was raised by a decree signed by the Mayor to the maximum level of €33,000. As of the end of December there is no decree terminating his responsibilities. But what responsibilities does this well paid person actually have? According to careful checks, he never appears in the Playa Flamenca office of the Town Hall. He does not receive visitors. He does not accompany Pedro Mancebo during his occasional visits to the coast and never represents him in any other way which could be considered as contributing to the functions of a political asssistant to the Councillor for the Coast. What is going on? Why has the Town Hall, on the au thority of the Mayor, been paying this person for apparently doing nothing? Why have the taxpayers of Orihuela Costa and the rest of the municipality been paying this individual and receiving nothing evident in return, when there is so much which needs to be done in Orihuela Costa and when, during the months which he has been paid, the coast has suffered such neglect, especially in relation to the collection of garden waste and the consequent problems of unclean streets? For what reason was the salary of this invisible and apparently unproductive person doubled in October, 2012 to the level of €33,000 per annum? What exactly are Pedro Mancebo’s reasons for paying an individual for apparently doing nothing in relation to the duties for which he has been officially nominated? Although appointed on the basis of a proposal of Pedro Mancebo to assist him in the realization of his duties as Councillor for the Coast, the Mayor must take ultimate responsibility for this appointment which he authorised and he must know what is going on, or what is not going on, in relation to the fulfillment of this individual’s responsibilities. Before Mr. Raymond Kearney or anyone else takes over the functions of political assistant to the Councillor for the Coast, this skeleton has to be removed from Pedro Mancebo’ cupboard and a full explanation must be given for what appears to be a fraud for which we, the taxpayers, are footing the bill.
After Bob Houliston’s appearance in the Petitions Co mmittee of the European Parliament in Brussels in October, in defence of C.L.A.R.O’S petitions with 7,000 signaures to save Cala Mosca, we are seeing the first promising consequences. The regional government in Valencia, in the light of the European Parliament’s interest in the future of Cala Mosca, has decided that a full environmental impact study should now take place, with public participation in the process, before a final decision is made on the project to build some 1,500 new houses and apartments on this last green area of Orihuela Costa. This decision is based on the fact that there are two species present on the Cala Mosca site which are protected by European environmental law. The European Parliament has given the Valencia authorities 6 months to prepare the necessary study and has extended a suspension on building until it is completed. The Town Hall of Orihuela must now undertake with the developer the required study. There are confusing signals being sent out by the Socialist First Deputy Mayor, Antonia Moreno, responsible for the question. She says the Orihuela government will oppose all building on Cala Mosca but this is presumably just posturing since she recognizes that Valencia and th e European Union will have the last word. C.L.A.R.O. can be very satisfied that all its efforts to save Cala Mosca are being rewarded by the insistence on strict scrutiny of the legality of the proposed building project. The final outcome should not be delayed for many months. We can only hope that in the end as mu ch as possible of this last, unspoilt part of the coast, with its view of the sea, can be saved.