This weekend marks six months since a motion of censure by PSOE and Ciudadanos, supported by Podemos, brought down the Government of the Popular Party in the Murcia City Council. Unlike the failed motion to the regional government, in the capital the maneuver did work. The PP had been in power for 24 years. In his last legislature, they were forced to agree with the oranges, maintaining a government in coalition for two years not without tension, and which culminated in the change of side from Cs in favor of the socialists.
The new coalition has had to face a social and political reality that has not stopped despite the change of gear in the Town Hall. The Government entered dealing with fluctuations in the number of infections due to the pandemic, added to the increase or reduction of anti-COVID measures at the regional level. It also faces its own vicissitudes of governing through agreements with other parties. The bad relationship between PP and Ciudadanos – the orange spokesman, Mario Gómez, came to denounce his coalition partners for corruption – did not predict friendly ties between the PSOE and Cs.
The treatment between the formations has been more friendly than with the PP. The joint government strategy has been firm except on some occasions, such as the distribution of power in 20 districts of the total of 55 that, together with the downtown neighborhoods, make up a municipality of 450,000 inhabitants. This negotiation has entrenched the approval of the capital’s budgets, since they depend on the support of Podemos. The purple Murcian spokesman, Ginés Ruiz, has already warned that they would not obtain the support of their two councilors to approve the accounts if they did not oust at least five of the six mayors from Vox beforehand. A message sent to the Murcian Government several days ago that caused the opposite effect: the vice mayor, Mario Gómez, announced that the budgets would be approved at the beginning of this week and that it would be later when the changes would be made in the districts that, pending after taking out the accounts in advance, they cannot make expenses without first being approved by the Council of Pedanías and Barrios.
Bando de la Huerta
The coalition has faced other situations from which it has fared better. An example of this was the celebration of the first Bando de la Huerta pandemic, in April. A massive event that in 2019 produced an influx of more than half a million people in the city, in which you can see parades of orchards and huge amounts of food and drink. A challenge that PSOE and Cs managed to overcome: a huge police deployment extinguished all attempts to occupy the squares of the capital to make ‘bottle’ and the party moved to the terraces of bars and restaurants that, with reduced capacity, had the opportunity to make box.
Heritage of PP
In May, the capital government warned of a possible hole of 125 million euros inherited from the management of the PP. The origin, a series of legal claims for seven urban development agreements not executed in the north of the municipality. A claimant company, the promoter Mamuma, won a judgment against the City Council for 20 million euros, and the Consistory appealed the sentence before the Superior Court of Justice. If they ratify the decision, it could cause the rest of the promoters to go to court. The municipal services are studying the technical and legal situation of each of the agreements to determine the “most viable” solution. “The entire government team is already working on finding different solutions so that these bad decisions and previous mismanagement do not harm Murcians”, they pointed out from the City Council in their day.
Days before the change of power in the Murcian Consistory, the residents of the Santiago El Mayor neighborhood inaugurated the first pedestrian crossing without train tracks in 150 years: the culmination of the neighborhood struggle to bring the AVE underground. The new Government, aware that this is one of the great socialist assets in Murcia, works against the clock together with the Administrator of Railway Infrastructure (ADIF), in charge of the works, to speed up the deadlines and that the residents of the area can use it and enjoyment. During the summer the crossing was widened and vehicle traffic was enabled. On the large esplanade, it is planned to build a boulevard, with bike lanes and green spaces. The mayor, José Antonio Serrano pointed out that “the underground project represents the greatest transformation that the city is going to experience. […] We are going to eliminate the barriers that have historically divided the city and separated the neighbors ”
‘La Paz’: revive a slum
Another of the municipal government’s strong points is the proposal of an integrated plan to reconvert the ‘La Paz’ neighborhood, a marginal area located in the heart of the city that combines crime, drugs and infrastructure problems. This was seen by the representatives of the Neighborhood Council of said neighborhood in a meeting with the first mayor Serrano, from whom they managed to get the commitment to fight against public insecurity in the area. “In this neighborhood, isolated actions cannot be carried out, but rather a comprehensive plan must be created that responds to the needs of citizens in a transversal manner,” said the mayor during the first meeting of the Municipal Board that seeks to address the problems of the neighborhood through different sectors, such as social services, promotion of cultural activities and for youth or security.
The Government of Serrano rejected the proposal of the developer José López Rejas to transform the neighborhood into a residential area after the project presented by this same developer and designed by Ricardo Bofill failed in the first decade of 2000 with the creation of 1,500 homes that never came to be executed.
Religious offenses at the September Fair
Among the most important events of these months was also that of the September Fair: an event that brought together some 400,000 visitors, and that passed with calm normality. “It has been an exemplary and moderate Fair and we must thank the citizenship of the neighbors and citizens who have enjoyed it,” said the mayor of Murcia, José Antonio Serrano, yesterday made a balance of the first Murcian September Fair organized in the middle of the pandemic and that on Tuesday closed with almost 400,000 visitors. The Government of the PSOE and Cs, introduced two new initiatives: the ‘2×1’ in the attractions and the distribution of municipal protocol tickets (about 18,000) to needy families. In addition, the City Council did not charge the vendors about 120,000 euros of the fee they paid for settling in and they assumed expenses such as electricity, which meant a saving of about 40,000 euros.
The only controversy surrounding the Fair were the criticisms coming from Vox against Raquel Sastre, comedian, writer and official hawker of the event, protagonist of one of the posters announcing the holiday. The far-right formation asked to be left out of the Proclamation for having compared its voters with people with cerebral palsy in the Show ‘Late Motiv’ by Andreu Buenafuente. Vox also declared himself offended because on the poster of the ‘Blessed Murcia Fair’ the wheel behind Sastre’s head suggested a crown with religious symbols and with which they considered that it looked like the Virgin.