Asking Benny

Courtesy of infocostatropical

One of the Mayor’s staff asked me if I would attend a press call to ask the Mayor some questions – I agreed, as the normal format is a politician behind a desk and the reporters behind the cameras asking the questions, but when I turned up at the press call in the Casa de la Cultura it was to find that it was to be as a guest on the municipal TV channel, with us all sat around on armchairs and mini-mikes clipped to our lapels.

Brilliant, I thought, just as the election campaigns begin, I suddenly appear on the what some consider to be the Mayor’s TV channel – great for neutrality, but I decided to go ahead and ask him some simmering questions.

Firstly, I asked him how he thought one could balance the practice of making more and more of the town into pedestrian only areas, while at the same time supply ample rotational parking as a tourist town. His answer was drawn out and not that convincing, so I honed down the question, putting it more emphatically: “Do you consider that there is more rotational parking than four years ago?” (i.e., at the beginning of the present legislative period.) He said that he considered there was.

Now, that is apparently untrue. Rotational parking has nothing to do with whether you have to pay for it or it is free, but whether it is reserved or public, i.e., whether a visiting tourist can use it, for example. The underground car parks have a good percentage of reserved parking spaces that have been purchased for personal use, and are therefore not available to tourists. The systematic elimination of rotational parking is going to prove very conflictive come summer when there just aren’t enough parking spaces, paying or otherwise, to cater for the amount of visitors that we hope to attract.

Another question that I asked was concerning bar and restaurant terraces. I pointed out that in Motril the Town Hall was doing all it could to help out the struggling hostelry sector, especially after the new anti-tobacco legislation. I asked him whether the Town Hall here was contemplating the same. His response to this was that Motril’s offer was pure demagoguery and that no, he was not going to do the same.

I went on to point out that before the tax on bar/restaurant terraces was levied in August, at a time when most establishments were making enough to find the money. However, recently it was brought forward to Semana Santa and this year, to February, precisely when most businesses are struggling to cover normal running costs.

He responded that it was logical that businesses should pay their taxes at the beginning of the year and that the fact that the slowness of the administrative process that had produced late payment that meant that the money wasn’t collected until August, was no justification for that continuing to be the case. So, no ‘understanding’ coming out of the Town Hall, just a case of screwing the last penny out of residents at the first possible opportunity, it seems.

I did compliment the Town Hall on the evolution of the Parque Mediterraneo and the Bonsai Garden, both of which were set up since the last elections, because our job it to compliment positive developments, as well as criticise negative ones, logically.

  1 comment for “Asking Benny

  1. Patricio
    March 27, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Regarding your “blue parking zone crusade”: actually, there are several possible solutions:

    (a) A 2-wheeled shopping cart- costs little, fits into any car, does not stink, and a little stroll through town on foot is always a nice treat. You would be surprised to see how many customers of Mercadona, for instance, are using them, they even provide chain & locks for them.

    (b) If you are living near la primera linea, a standard bicycle with saddle bags and/or basket would also be an excellent alternative, all the more now that Benny has prepared those bike lanes along the Almuñécar Paseos. Lets you get to town and back even during those ghastly August days.

    (c) a folding bike, fits into your car boot.

    (d) For those who find pedaling too strenuous, there is the foldable electro scooter

    (e) Last not least, many shops will deliver goods to your front door.

    Keep up the good work, Martin. The new face of the online Gazette is super!

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