Friday, December 8

Of orchards, political bullying and dialogue

The political and public vocation should be based on dialogue and should be the guiding principle of relations between citizens, the Administration and political actors. However, during the last few days we have been able to observe how the forms that tarnish national politics have been transferred to municipal politics.

This, which is the closest to the citizens, should be governed by other codes, because, finally, the City Councils and District Municipal Boards are much closer to the neighborhood, even to those who belong to their opposition, than what the Government of Spain and the administrations of the autonomous communities may be. Although it is not surprising, given the forms with which we are accustomed from the Madrid City Council, it is at least unpleasant that the first response of an advisor to José Fernández Sánchez, president councilor of the Municipal Board of the Central District, before the initiative of a neighborhood is precisely to intimidate and coerce, not to sit down, not to listen, not to work to improve people’s lives.

The context in which it was formulated via Twitter this threat? In the Plaza de Lavapiés there are some flower beds that have been abandoned since their reform was completed more than two and a half years ago, with an irrigation system that did not work and without a single hedge to cheer up the neighborhood – paradoxical, because less than two kilometers away is the Town Hall adorned with daisies, pansies, orchids…– which have been ‘busy’ by some neighbors and neighbors in which they have cultivated the Gloria Fuertes Neighborhood Urban Garden. This garden has been worked on since April and has returned the green color to Lavapiés, a neighborhood that is located in an area with a high lack of trees – 11.3 vulnerability against 12.1 that marks the maximum in the city, according to IGUALA, the Aggregate Territorial Vulnerability Index–.

This popular initiative fulfills several purposes, the first and most evident, that of providing the neighborhood with a green area; the second, to pay homage to the poet Gloria Fuertes and, the third, to create a meeting point. Return the neighborhood to some neighbors, many of them older, who feel less of it every day and more of the tourists and who feel forgotten and abandoned by the Consistory.

We replant Plaza Lavapiés, the promoter group of the Gloria Fuertes Urban Garden, has a neighborhood and non-partisan character, without any political force interfering in its operation, and wishes to continue doing so. But here, as in any project that comes from the citizenry, Podemos, as a living political force in the neighborhood, the district and the city, will take a step forward with the aim of defending the interests of the neighbors.

The requests to put up fences –because two have been made– to circumcise and protect the garden during the San Lorenzo festivities, which should have been something so extremely easy to grant –without economic or political cost–, have been denied. After a network campaign that has been echoed by various media (when dealing with a Consistory that is so deaf to the demands of citizens, the only way to be heard is by making noise), the first and only response that has been received by the Municipal Board of the Central District, and in the mouth of a direct adviser to the president councilor, it has been a veiled threat.

That is why, and always seeking the well-being of the neighbors through a policy of compromise and dialogue, we take advantage of these lines not so much to criticize the forms, ways and abandonment suffered by all the inhabitants of the Centro district , but to ask for shares. We request a meeting with the president of the Municipal Board of the Central District, José Fernández Sánchez, to transmit a list of measures free of charge, which, however, would serve to improve the lives of the citizens of the Central District that he presides over.

We say free of charge because we know that this year’s budgets are closed, although these are not exactly budgets that we would have voted for at any time. We say without cost because improving the lives of the inhabitants of Madrid should be the main objective of the City Council and the Municipal District Boards. We say without cost because listening only enriches and we hope to return to municipal politics the tone, forms and functionality that citizens yearn for.