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Friday, December 20, 2013

Zurgena Xmas events

 Zurgena Town Hall announces a full programme of Gastronomy, Music and Entertainment  for this Christmas:

The Town hall of Zurgena have developed a comprehensive program of cultural and leisure activities ahead of Christmas. The program has been prepared for residents of all ages and interests to enjoy this special time.

The Medieval fair held last weekend was the kick-off of the numerous acts driven by the Town hall of Zurgena. Hundreds of residents of the municipality as well as other towns in the region have visited Zurgena and enjoyed crafts, music and games in this event, which has proved a great success.

During these dates, the 'Concurso de Belenes y Árboles de Navidad' (contest of Nativity scenes and Christmas trees) allow all residents who wish to participate in the activities of this year. Originality, innovation and size are desirable. Registration can be done in the Town Hall lobby.

Even the youngest in the municipality are also able to participate with the 'Concurso y Exposición de Tarjetas de Navidad'(contest and display of Christmas cards). The children in the schools 'Juan Andrés Toledo' and 'La Alfoquía' will compete for the prize for the best card of the conetst. On Friday 20th December free gifts will be delivered and the cards will be exhibited in the town hall this Christmas.

As usual, the cuisine of Zurgena will also star this Christmas thanks to 'Concurso de Repostrería Navideña' (contest of Christmas pastry’s), with a prize for the best sweet. Taste, presentation and originality will be assessed. The presentation and tasting will take place on Friday 27th December, from 4.30pm in the Old Town Hall. There will be coffee and games for adults. On the same day, from 11am at the train station, the Children of Zurgena will have the opportunity to enjoy craft workshops for children. These will be on again on Saturday 28th December from 11am at the old Town Hall.

Music and Parade

The Town hall of Zurgena have wanted to make music an integral part of this Christmas. On 29th December, students of music teacher Mary Legs and school dance 'RIA pi ta' will carry out a great performance in the city theatre from 6.30pm.
On the same note, on the 4th January, the Church San Ramón will host a will host a spectacular Choir Concert, with performances from 7.30pm, the 'Coral María Auxiliadora' Zurgena with his children's choir and the subsequent participation of 'Voices del Almanzora'.

Neither can you miss the traditional parade of the Reyes Magos (Three Kings). On Sunday 5th January their Majesties will visit Zurgena. At 6.30pm they will start the parade, once it is completed they will be giving gifts in the Municipal Theatre in Zurgena and the Neighborhood Association of Alfoquía.

The Mayor of the area, Luis Díaz, recalls that the Town Hall of Zurgena “have worked on the development of this program so that all residents can participate, attend and enjoy" all of the activities that are available. Like the mayor, the Councillor of Culture, Noelia García, wished "Happy Holidays to all neighbours," inviting them to "take an active part in all events organized and driven to make this a memorable Christmas in Zurgena ". In addition, she thanked "the enormous effort and cooperation of all associations and individuals who have been involved" with the prepared events.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Street Plan

Hooray. First street plan erected as Candido promised today. Only taken us a few years!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pre Xmas Update

This will probably be the last post before Xmas unless anything noteworthy comes out of tonights Pleno meeting.

Firstly I handed over to Salvadore the files for those of you who wished to have amendments made to your IBI records and he said he would get back to me with any further action required or what will happen next.

Secondly I asked what stage we were at regarding the recent adverse court rulings about licences and I was informed that these cases are still open and the T.H.s solicitors are still fighting this ruling and are preparing a very strong case to defend the licences. They asked that people understand that these cases are against the licences not the properties and there is no likelihood of demolitions emanating from this situation. Additionally they are in heavy and developing negotiations with the Junta, regarding the PGOU, and they hope to have news, regarding this, which they can publish in a few months.

I asked when the sewerage plant for Cuesta de los Pinos was going to be sorted, as we have been telling people that it was to have been repaired by last summer. Candido said definitely by next summer! Apparently they have been given a promise by the Diputacion that if they submit our plans for this sewerage system to them before the end of the year they will help finance it and all works should be completed before the summer. This plan which will be included in the Provincial Plan will also connect the sewerage from Los Llanos del Peral to the same system. If there is any delay in this process Candiod has got a supplier who for €5,500 can install just the pump to help but it would be better if we get the whole job authorised.

I asked what has happened with the WiFi as it has been off more than it has been on lately an Candido said that there had been a few major problems which had impacted on the repeaters in some areas. They are trying to provide a temporary solution to keep things running which should all be in place before next week. After that it is intended to find the money to pay for a technical guy to help maintain it by February. We have been trying to find someone since earlier this year but it looks like we have found a candidate at last.

I asked when Nila would be starting on the road surfacings. He confirmed that they would start after 3 kings day and it would only take them 1 to 2 weeks.

I asked when we were going to trim the trees in Calle Ampola. He said they had a big problem there as some of the residents had taken it upon themselves to trim the trees but that they had cut the main stem. This left them with a problem as they cannot now cut the side branches or the trees will die. They have put some fertiliser down to see if they can stimulate the central stem to regrow but if that fails then the trees will die.

The street plan for Cuesta de los Pinos should be installed in the next few working days and then I can start to try and get the other areas done. I have shown Paco where to put it and he said ,"manana posiblemente."

I also reported a number of more minor issues which he promised to get attended to in the next few weeks.

As usual any questions or queries just drop me a line.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Los Llanos Carols

A reminder for those in Los Llanos del Peral that the Xmas carols is to be held in the village hall tomorrow (Wednesday) at 4.30pm with Christmas songs and then at 5.0pm in the hall for traditional carols and at 6.0pm a community meal.

Please bring your own plate of food and whatever you want to drink.

Electricity Interruption etc

Endesa have notified us of an interruption to the supply in the area of Avenida Andalucia from 0800 until 1300 on Monday 23rd December.

We are having continuing problems with the WiFi and we are trying to get to the bottom of it.

Found 6 street signs in the T.H.s workroom today and have distributed them to the appropriate places. Unfortunately we are still missing quite a number.

I will be taking the files for those wanting to have amendments made to their IBI records to Salvadore tomorrow morning, if you can let me have those, that require amendments.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Medieval Market

The Medieval Market is opening today at 6.0pm in  the square in Zurgena.

There are over 30 stalls and performers and should be worth a visit

The market is open on Friday (yes, the 13th!) from 6 till 9 or 10 pm, and on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 December from 11 am to 2 pm and from 5 pm to 9 pm or later.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

IBI Amendments

At last I managed to get hold of Salvadore regarding those of you who have a need to amend your IBI assessments.

Primarily, from what people have told me, these amount to differing dimensions or pools being shown where there are garages or something else. Or something missing from the plan.

If, when you check your IBI letter, or the web page at Sede Catastro, and you find something like this amiss then please let me know the detail, (including dimensions to be amended if necessary) and let me have a copy of your NIE or passport and I will see if Salvadore can amend it without recourse to solicitors or some other paid agent.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Caritas Food Collection

For your information the below is published to help publicise the efforts of the Town Hall os Zurgena through the Caritas to provide food for needy families in the village.
Please show your generosity by donating some food as described below.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

PGOU etc

I had a good talk with Luis (Mayor) and Manolo (secretary) regarding the ongoing court cases and I got an update on the solicitors views on strategy going forward. I was also made aware of the developements regarding the PGOU. Luis has a series of meetings in Almeria and we have, on the agenda, items to be included in the next 2 Pleno meetings to address issues around that plan. There does seem to be some movement now regarding the PGOUs, at last.

Candido was very involved with the men from Nila who have the road surfacing contract and he was taking them out today to look at the various locations. So we should see the work start before much longer.

I have not yet managed to get the definitive way forward for getting any amendments to the IBI assessments as I have ben unable to get hold of Salvadore but I will keep trying. I have left the question with Andreas should he see Salvadore before me.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Orphanage Presents

As usual there is a collection of presents for the kids at the orphanage at Vera Orphanage.
The collection points are at CATS, Corner Bar and what used to be Sabor. If you can spare a few euros to buy, wrap and donate a present for the kids please drop it off at one of these locations.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Court Case, Market and IBI

I am trying to organise a meeting between various parties regarding the recent court decision to annul the building licences for some 140 properties and will update the blog as and when there is any developements. Obviously there will be none for the next few days with it being a Bank Holiday Friday and Monday.

There is to be a Medieval Market in Zurgena from 1800 x 2200 on Friday 13th December and 1100x1400 + 1700x2200 Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th December. There will be live music, jugglers, street theatre, kids workshops and traditional food stalls. In all I understand there will be nearly 40 stalls. It is being organised by Amata and further information can be gained by visiting there website or by ringing 639979678.

Additional properties including mine and others on Cuesta de los Pinos have been added to the Diputacion Catastro website. Keep visiting to check for yours at any problems just email. I am trying to ascertain the exact process needed if the dimensions shown on the assessment letters are inaccurate an you need to have them changed and I will post when I get an explanation.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Recent Court Case & Green Areas

I had a very lengthy meeting this morning in the TH with members of the council regarding recent publicity regarding a recent decision by the T.S.J. in Granada regarding properties within Zurgena where the process, as applies to the legal standing of property due to administrative silence, has been rescinded.

We discussed in great detail the precedents etc and detail of other councils which had similar situations as Zurgena and who have had their norms accepted and we discussed the strategy our solicitors have adopted going forward. I cannot delve into the detail of the strategy as this would not help our fight but I can tell you that the Town Hall totally disagree with this finding, we have had other cases before the same court, where it has been accepted that the norms applied by the Town Hall and agreed by various architects, have been accepted. The T.H. will continue to finance and work on restoring the legality of these norms and hope to get clarification and a decision soon. There is no reference in these decisions about demolitions as has been bandied about in various articles.

Whilst I was in the TH I discovered that the TH architect was meeting with New Horizon villas to organise the legal hand over of the parcels of land which the TH wants to adopt and develope into green areas in the Cuesta de los Pinos area. So we may see movement on that issue before too long.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Firstly the WiFi should be working for all since 4.0pm yesterday.

Secondly still working on the Social Security briefing thingy.

I was in the Town Hall this morning sorting out a number of issues re the IBI and also to make contact with Candido regarding the recent reports in the Spanish press re court cases. He was in conference with the solicitors discussing the content of these articles and some documents which the AUAN had submitted. They are reviewing the content of all these papers and hope to give a more detailed response tomorrow.

Due to these more pressing issues I did not feel it appropriate to spend time discussing the maintenance/public works issues. Will go in again tomorrow and Friday.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Los Llanos Del Peral Court Cases

Following a large number of phone calls and emails today, regarding a report that a number of building licences for properties in Los Llanos del Peral had been revoked, and that people were getting concerned that they may be subject to actions against their properties and that a number of expat free papers had contacted me asking for a response, I thought I had better try and check it out with either Candido or Manolo.

I was aware that Candido was in court this week following a case regarding Los Llanos so I started to believe they maybe some truth in this story. But I also had a concern that I may not be able to get hold of him.

I managed to hold of Candido at 4.30pm and he responded in a very happy manner. I thought this was strange if the story is correct. I then asked about the situation regarding any cases involving Los Llanos del Peral. He said that he was as amazed and surprised as anyone else regarding these stories, the first of which was only carried in one online Spanish newspaper yesterday, and others have picked up on it. This referred to a decision taken on 30th April by a court called the TJFS or similar in Granada and that it had ruled some 14 properties building licences had been revoked. In respect of this story Candido stated that no one had heard of any such decision , no councillor, no official, no business and no individual and, in view of that, he suspected it was a made up story to precede his appearance before the Almeria Court today regarding licences for properties in Los Llanos.

I asked how this case had gone and he explained that the judge, after examining the processes applied in this case and the evidence, had ruled that proper due process had not been followed and referred the case back the originating court in Huercal Overa to start the process over again, if their were of a mind to!

So as far as the Town Hall is concerned a) the reported decision from 30th April revoking licences is most likely a false statement to increase the political pressure and affect the 2nd court case and b) the second court case re Los Llanos was found to have not followed due process and has to start all over again (if they want to).

Thanks for all those who attended at the Renfe today for the talk on health and Social Security. I certainly learnt a lot from Anthonios' talk. I will try and cobble together a resume of the facts and clarify things which were raised. I will check with Anthonio before publishing. It is also worth reiterating on here that the process for help and advice for all those wanting assistance or just wanting to query their entitlements will be open to the public in the Town Hall in January. I hope we can be more helpful in answering all your questions or issues.

The WiFi is no fixed.

UPDATE I have been contacted by the AUAN (see comments below) who have forwarded a number of documents which it is thought are genuine and relate to a court case which includes the area of Los Llanos. I have forwarded them directly to Candido and the Town Halls solicitors for their response and will post any further info as soon as I get it.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Andreas Update & Reminders

Andreas is home from hospital and he has not had a pleasant couple of weeks. The surgeons took two attempts to extract the infected fluid from his throat (on both occasions without anaesthetic) which he describes as not very nice!! He is home now and hopes to be back at work by the  end of the week. I have therefore not managed to progress many of the things outstanding but will try again before the end of the week.

A reminder of the NHW AGM tonight at 6.0pm at Latinos and the Spanish Social Security system tomorrow both of which I think will be worth attending especially tomorrows at the Renfe at 1200.


There is a problem with the internet supplier eg Telefonica and it is affecting a number of areas. They are working on it and apologise for the problem.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Interesting Book for residents of Almanzora valley

Some of you may recall a reporter on the Costa Almeria News called Matthew Pritchard. He returned to the UK a few years ago to concentrate on writing and his first novel has just been published. I would not normally recommend books etc but for any resident of the Almanzora valley who enjoys a bit of fiction and murder mixed in with locations well known to many in the valley then this is well worth a read.

Matthew has had very good reviews of his book which by some critics has been given 5 stars. I was lucky enough to get an advance copy to proof read from a UK Police practise perspective as Matthew wanted it to be as realistic as possible. Part of Matthews commitment to accuracy!

The book is available from Can Connect €10.50 with all profits from those sales going to the AUAN. Otherwise it is available from Amazon £6.47.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

More Good News

Candido has confirmed for us today that the Town Hall, yesterday, signed the contract with Nila, for the surfacing and resurfacing of the many bits of roads which are needed. So we should see them start this work in the next few weeks. This does include, amongst many others, Avenida Poetas, Avenida Europa and bits of the main road through Cucador as well as streets in Carasoles, Palaces, La Alfoquia and Los Menchones.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Poorly Andreas, Dates and Padron names

A bit of a delay this week as Andreas has had to go to hospital for a minor operation on his throat due to an infection. I do not think he will be back in work until at least next week so I may struggle to make progress this week.

A couple of dates for those who are interested, one is the Annual General Meeting of the Zurgena Neighbourhood Watch Scheme to be held at 6.0pm next Monday 25th November at Latinos in La Alfoquia (it is a requirement for our legal standing as a registered scheme that these AGMs are held). I have agreed to do a short explanation, about the recent change of Mayor, and the other changes as a result, following the AGM. I appreciate that it is not quite West End entertainment but if you can make it we (the coordinators and committee) would like to see you there. If any of you have a desire to help out we are always also looking for fresh blood (not in a vampirical way!)

The other is a reminder of the Spanish Health and Welfare Briefing at 1200 hours on Tuesday 26th November in the Renfe building in La Alfoquia.

Lastly I have appended the latest list of randomly generated names sent to us by the Junta for confirmation of their continuing on the padron. As usual if you recognise any names please inform the people. All that is required is for them to call into the Town Hall with NIE or passport and inform Juanjo that they should still be on the padron. If they do not confirm then the T.H. loses income.

Margaret Rose BRADLEY, Ann Violet BROWN, Kathleen GASKELL, Raymond John GASKELL, Frederick George HINKLEY, Michael Terence MILLER, Pauline Elizabeth MILLER, Barbara MURFIN, Gerald Eric MURFIN, Edith & Hakon SEPPOLA, David and Helen Elizabeth SHARP.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Spanish Social Security Talk

As I mentioned previously we have organised a talk from a Spanish Health professional for all expat residents of our municipality.

His talk will cover the operation of the Health and Social Services in Andalucia, Spanish Social Services, Spanish National Health system, Disability benefits, Carers allowance, Winter fuel payments and other benefits to UK residents in Spain.

From my discussions with Antonio, it seems, I certainly am very ignorant of what we can and cannot claim through the various bilateral agreements between the two countries. So to make sure you are aware of what is available or what may be available to you in the future make a note of the date and time.

To be held in the Renfe at 1200 Tuesday 26th November.

Additionally there is a trip to a ham drying factory on Friday 29th November with a guided tour (Spanish) and a tasting for €15 to include transport to Trevelez and back. Register your interest if you want to after 25th November in the Town Hall. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

British Legion, Roads, Health System,Trip etc

Firstly there was a very good turnout at the RBL Remembrance day service today in the Renfe, with an excellent service from the vicar and a moving last post played on a clarinet, which nearly brought a tear to my eye. Candido attended again as he has done each of the past 5 or more years and Noelia also (as deputy mayor) attended. She took a keen interest in the service and asked all sorts of questions and both she and Candido made donations and wore a poppy. Nice!

I then went with Candido to check on the 11 workers who are engaged in replanting the park areas. They are currently working on the small park in La Alfoquia opposite the school where the mature peoples gym and kids play park is. They will then be doing the park Gines Parra in Zurgena.

We also called into the THs store in La Alfoquia and I found some of the missing street signs so asked for them to be installed as and when the workers were working in the areas they apply to. At least we have them. If nothing happens I may install them myself!

We then went to the Town Hall for me to check with him the state of my outstanding issues.

Firstly I asked about the pump for the sewerage works at Cuesta de los Pinos which we were supposed to have repaired before the summer! He explained that we still had not got the correct pump. He made a phone call and Diego from New Horizons turned up with the original project so that Candido could get the exact specification of the pump, model etc and reorder it. He explained that so far he had tried 2 different companies but none had supplied him with the correct pump. He said he would try and get it sorted.

He did explain that at this moment in time we are very short of workers. Instead of 4 cleaners we only have 2 as the other 2 are off sick. In relation to the rest of the workers, the main thrust of their work activity at the moment is on the new sewerage system in La Alfoquia which will probably take them another week or two.

I then asked about the Nila contract based on the project from 2010/11 which we expected to start last month. He explained that the change of mayor had caused a slight delay to that. He had been speaking to Nila and the Diputacion and he hopes that they will sign the new contract tomorrow. Apparently Tuesday is the day our contracts are scheduled to be signed. It is to be hoped that this is the case because Nila have their machinery at Los Higuerales at the moment and they will finish there this week and i will be better if our contract is signed before they finish there otherwise they will move their heavy machinery to another area and it would take longer to get them back to us. This contract, it is hoped will enable us to resurface many bits of roads that need it as well as roads that have no tarmac at all at the moment such as some in Los Carasoles, Palaces, and Los Llanos (Avenida Poetas). The original project showed a one kilometre stretch extending the road between Los Llanos and Almajalejo but he is going to use that to do other more pressing stretches of road. So fingers crossed for tomorrow!

We then spent half an hour going over all the street plans to see where we hope to be able to resurface or surface them, and it seems a pretty comprehensive list of the streets that I know need attention. The only one which I know needs attention but which may well not be included in this project is Calle Finlandia and the end of Calle Hungria as these need earthmoving works and Nila will not do that. We need to do that when we can.

I asked about the electricity supply for the lights on Calle Juan Ramon Jimenez and the other streets around that area. He explained that that is one of the roads to be surfaced and the nearest electric supply is quite a distance away. So much so that we cannot afford to connect it yet but he is aware and will ensure trunking is included when it it resurfaced.

I reported the street lights which are not working (as reported by yourselves) and he rang Enrique (who looks after these problems) so he is aware of those that need attention.

I also asked about my street plan for Cuesta de los Pinos and he said he hoped that the workers would be in that area at the end of November and that it would be installed then.

I am sure I have forgotten some things but I do still have my original list which I continue to revisit until each item is attended to.

I am also trying to organise a talk by a health professional who can explain all the benefits etc that ex pats could and should be claiming as he believes that many ex pats are not getting what they could out of the Spanish Health system.

I am also negotiating for a trip for the elderly of both communities and I have an itinerary and a budget (at last) for it. So I will organise a way that this trip can be populated by both the Spanish and English speaking communities probably for next February.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

IBI Letters and Electricity

There are letters from the Diputacion regarding aspects of IBI awaiting collection at the Post Office in Zurgena for the people named below. Mostly these will be the notification of the assessment for IBI but some may be actual bills. The letters will be returned by the Correos on the 11th and 12th  November. If you are on the list or know someone who is please try and collect the letter today or tomorrow. If you cannot call into the Town Hall and ask for them to check the state of your IBI bill, which they can check on their computer.

Returning on 11th.
Corella Hughes, Andrew Thompson both of Callle Abderamman
Philip Hardorff, Calle Nicholas Salmeron.
Martin Francis, Avenida Europa.
Shand Alison, Av Virgin de la Salud
Clive Cockayne, Farax el Negro

Returning on 12th
Colin K C Smith, Calle Alemania
Martin E Felix
David J Eva, Cl Andorra
Thomas Blake Rothwell, Calle Adriano
Susan Tatman, Cl Finlandia
Adrian Woodcock, Calle Alemania
Johannes Hoffman Rehe, Calle Biorussia
June Boyd, Calle Albania
Peter O'Doherty, Calle Bulgaria
Peter Webster, Calle Maimonides
Paul N Abel, Calle Maimonides.
Mark Sturge, Calle Grecia.

Additionally I have got a copy of the form which requires completion if you wish to spread the cost of the IBI bill over time. I have to say it does not give a lot of grace. If the total bill is under €601.2 then you can apply for 3 months extra, if it is between 601.20 and 3,005.06 then you can claim additional 6 months to pay and if between 3,005.7 and 6,010.12 then you can apply for 12 months period. In each case however delayed payment will attract a small interest charge but not sure how much this will be.

You may, or may not, have noticed but there have appeared on the bins in some areas the fact that the electricity will be cut off for maintenance and upgrades in the following areas tomorrow from 0830 to 1230. Los Carasoles, Los Llanos del Peral, Cuesta de los Pinos and Los Carasoles. Just in case you had not seen the posters.

Lastly, if you are interested, a link to an interview with Candido Trabalon regarding the motion of censure given to a Spanish paper. A translation is not too hard to understand

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Thank You & Update re Village Project (Further Update re Garardos speech)

Many thanks to the many of you who took the time to attend the demonstration today at Almanzora. I know, from the feedback I had from the politicians, that they noticed how many had come from the Zurgena municipality. Initially they were talking about how there were lots of expats but few Spanish but, by the start of the demo, a good number more Spanish people did attend.

I am hoping to get a copy of the speech made by Gerrardo so that I can publish it for your information. In the meantime the Spanish press is covering it.

Thanks to such a good turnout I feel the Town Halls, when they visit the Junta re the PGOUs, can go with an element of public pressure. Given the various bodies were represented at the demo today besides the Mancomunidad and the Businesses of the valley.  

I think you all made a tremendous contribution by your attendance, thanks again.

Secondly the TH has embarked upon another project focusing on the improvements to and restoration of gardens, street cleaning, painting and upkeep of municipal buildings. The works involved are to be carried out by 11 persons who fall under the decree of social exclusion eg unemployed. The TH has made a significant outlay in terms of money for plants, materials and tools for the efficient execution of these works. They will be working in various areas over the next few weeks and months.

Gerardos' speech from today,

After identifying himself and referring to the Prior's demolition he then went on to say,

This couple have not received any compensation for the revocation of their building licence, nor for the demolition of their home. Consequently, they are doomed to a long walk through the desert of the Spanish courts, in order to receive the compensation they are entitled to.

Ladies and gentlemen this is not sensible. Nor is the demolition in the last few weeks of two more houses acquired in good faith sensible either. Not to mention two more homes in danger of possible demolition. All these houses are owned by British investors, and it is not sensible to treat those who have come to our home, invested in it and formed part of the community, in this way.

It is not sensible to treat foreign investors in this way if one wishes to reactivate the Spanish property market. For who is going to buy the 2 million houses in Spain, if not foreigners? Given than, young people who are forced to leave their country, as my own parents were forced to abandon their country in their day, are hardly likely to buy the empty houses.

But ladies and gentlemen, we are not only talking about the British. There are also Spanish people whose homes are threatened unfairly.

If you want to deteriorate the Valle of Almanzora, leaving empty neighbourhoods and abandoned houses, then yes, demolition is the way forward. Otherwise, if what you want is to promote employment, wealth, social and economic welfare in the Comarca, then, Ladies and Gentlemen, let us be sensible, let us fix the problem.  Let us all work together to make those with the power, far from the daily problems on the ground, see that they must solve the problem. And do not say that it is very complicated because it is not. What is complicated is applying unrealistic and complicated solutions such as the ‘Regularisation’ Decree. And I say regularisation in inverted commas.

Ladies and Gentlemen let us be clear, the Decree DOES NOT WORK. What’s more it makes things worse.

I do not want to take up too much of your time, because I am not the main protagonist. The main protagonists are the people who acted in good faith whose human rights are being violated.

We are asking for a rapid solution to this issue. It can be done. The Spanish constitution was created in a month. I sincerely hope that possible solutions are addressed, not only aimed at changing the fundamental planning laws of Andalucia, the LOUA, but also to prevent the demolition of any more houses that were acquired by people acting in good faith, without guaranteeing them a fair, prior compensation. If this requires a change in the State Land Laws to bring it in line with the European Convention of Human Rights then so be it.

For this reason I make a public appeal here and now in this public forum, to the Mancomunidad of town halls of the Valley of Almanzora asking them to do three things for the benefit of the community. The first is that they promote a ‘proposicion de Ley’ by the town halls to change the LOUA urgently. The second is that they make an appeal to the central government that they study changing state law to avoid other cases such as Mr and Mrs Prior. The third is that they immediately promote a real and not merely decorative working party which includes all groups and all political parties to propose solutions and changes. Be brave Mayors of the Valley. We are with you.

Thank you from my heart to everyone here today.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Demonstration Almanzora Village (UPDATE)

I have now been told that it will start at 12 noon. My car is now full.

A decision was reached last night by all the Mayors of the various municipalities in the Almanzora Valley to hold a public demonstration against the continuing demolitions of properties.

Spanish people affected by these actions such as businessmen, associations, politicians and ordinary men and women will be attending to show solidarity with the owners of the demolished properties and to increase the pressure on the Junta to agree the PGOUs (urban plans). I am asking for as big a turnout from the expat community as is possible.

These plans (P.G.O.U.s) are due to be discussed next week in Almeria and this is the only way ordinary householders, like you and I, have of influencing these discussions.

So if you have a spare hour and a half on Saturday please attend at the main square in Almanzora village between 12noon and 12.30pm. Remember the more people who attend the greater the pressure on the Junta to take the right course of action and help us reach an agreed PGOU and stop demolishing homes.

This is the only way, and probably the only time, you as an individual can have any effect on the future of our land and homes. So PLEASE try and make it.

PS I have 3 spaces in my car if anyone needs a lift.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Postponement due to illness

Received a phone call from Andreas this morning as his little girl has chickenpox and he won't be able to make my meeting as he needs to babysit her. Rearranged for Friday morning.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

IBI Update and Discussion

Called in on spec to the Town Hall this morning and managed to have a conversation with Luis about the PGOU. This conversation led to a long debate about the strategy for progressing our PGOU with the result that I ran out of time to discuss outstanding things with Candido so have agreed to meet with him again tomorrow.

In relation to the IBI bills,  I questioned how we could ensure that all the bills reached the appropriate person given our problems with the Correos. I was told that there was little we could do but hope that the Correos ensure that they either deliver it or notify the Town Hall of non delivery. However, it is probably as well to do, as I am doing at the moment, which is to monitor the Diputacion's website for activity. I have shown the link again below with the sequence to follow to ascertain what state your IBI bill may have reached.

If you have your IBI reference number use the first box, if not, then click on the free access box on the line which shows cartography, on the next page click in the localizacion box and then the appropriate province, town, street type and name. Then at the bottom click on Cartografia and this should take you to a map page displaying your property. If nothing is shown they have not yet started to process your file. If your property is shown then they have processed the detail of your property and, if you have not yet had a bill, then it will be prepared and issued next September. If you think that a bill may have been raised then you need to check with the Town Hall. If you are unable to because you are in the UK let me know and I will try and ascertain what the situation is.

For your information our IBI bills are being prepared by the appropriate authority e.g. the Catastro Office of the Diputacion in Almeria, not, as in the case of Arboleas, by the Town Hall itself. As a result of this last fact, if your bill is for the maximum 4 years, and you feel it is too much to pay at once, you need to call into the Town Hall and get a form which on completion will go to the Diputacion for their approval to spread the cost over a period of time.

As usual any problems just email or ring me.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

IBI Bills

I have just returned from 8 days in the UK and have had quite a number of emails about payment of IBI.

Apparently the Diputacion are issuing bills including the past 4 years, which was as we were told they would. However, people are telling me that they have been advised that they must pay it all before 20th December.

This is not how I was told it would be collected with the opportunity being given to stagger the payments over a period of time.

I will enquire next Monday or Tuesday to see what arrangements have been put in place to allow people to do this. I am aware of  scheme down in Vera where this is happening so I will get the right story and post on here.

Friday, November 1, 2013

French Circus

Just for information if anyone interested

Don't miss out on the Grand French Circus, tomorrow and Sunday the 2nd and 3rd November at 6.30pm in front of the school in La Alfoquía. See you there!!!!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween in villages

The Town Hall announced that there will be Halloween activities in the villages tonight starting at 1730 in the Parque Gines Parra and at 1800 in front of the school at la Alfoquia.
There will be various events between 1800 and 2100.
Sorry for late posting only found out about an hour ago.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

British Embassy Circulation

 Below is a message from the British consulate in Madrid has sent out the below circulation for your information.

The Healthcare Team from the Department of Health, based both at the British Consulate in Alicante and in Madrid will be coming to San Miguel de Salinas nextTuesday the 5th of November at 12.00 to the Casa de la Cultura to give a talk on how British expats should be registered correctly with the Spanish public healthcare system and how temporary visitors should be accessing it with their UK European Health Insurance Cards: what it is & what it’s for.

We highly suggest you come and join us next week if you have questions and enquiries about registering for healthcare in Spain, especially since there have been many healthcare reforms in the last year. It is important for you to be aware that the EHIC campaign is part-funded by the European Commission and in partnership with the Valencia Health Authorities.

Apart from the event in San Miguel de Salinas, we will hold 3 other events up until the end of the year in Teulada-Moraira, Pilar de la Horadada and Algorfa that you can also attend. Please have a look at the attached Newsletter and feel free to forward it to any colleagues, friends and family to let them know.

For more information on the venues of the next events please visit our website here.

We hope to see you at the talks soon J

Kind regards,

The Healthcare Team.

Healthcare Team

British Consulate General | Torre Espacio, Paseo de la Castellana 259D, 28046 Madrid TEL: 902 109 356 | FAX: 91 714 6403
British Consulate Alicante | Plaza de Calvo Sotelo, 1, 2, 03001 Alicante TEL: 902 109 356 | FAX: 965 14 05 28

Working in conjunction with the British Consular Network in Spain on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions and Department of Health. For more information on your pension, benefit and healthcare rights and responsibilities in Spain, click here.

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pleno 24.10

Luis chaired his first full Pleno meeting of the council at noon today. It went well and included the naming of the Deputy Mayors, the responsibilities of each councillor, the salaries being paid to those in receipt of such, the legal requirement of the holding of Pleno meetings and determination of the Fiestas for 2014. It was concluded by 12.45pm.

For information our local football team are playing C.D. Bellavista this Saturday in the sports hall kick off at 4.0pm, if you like footy and fancy it get along there.

Unfortunately I did not have much time today but, in passing, Luis said that we needed to get together to discuss developments regarding the PGOU. I am unavailable until the week after next but I will sit down with him then and keep you posted on any information that I can.  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ex Pats Donation & Bits from today.

Firstly I was privileged (and to be honest felt a bit of a fraud) handing over the monies resulting from the benefit evening (Dreamboats and Petticoats) held at the Renfe last Friday night. Organised by Peter Dell of Los Mellizos bar, Gary Bowen and Mike Foulkes amongst many others. The event raised €350 which they wanted to donate to the local schools. The Mayor received the monies yesterday on behalf of the schools and today I took the monies to the schools and handed them over to the headmaster at Zurgena and the head mistress at La Alfoquia. Both were very grateful for the donation and the headmistress at La Alfoquia said how rare it was for schools to get monies without asking for it and that she intended using the money for books for the library. So well done to all involved in the event and a good reflection on our part of the community.

I then spent most of the morning in the car with Candido as we went to a few locations for various purposes including resolving an electrical supply problem in Palaces, areas requiring cleaning or tree pruning, areas where road surfacing will take place and miscellaneous works.

He informed me that the Town Hall workers are making their way through many areas including those on the list I provided. They are currently in La Alfoquia then will move to the pool bar area then Los Menchones, Los Carasoles, Cuesta de los Pinos and Los Llanos. Whilst in these areas they will attend to any other outstanding issues, such as the street plan for Los Pinos. These will take place over the next couple of weeks. Candido also told me that they hoped to get the street cleaning machine ITV'd this coming week. It has been out of commission for over 2 years!

We also visited the area past the pool bar, Calle Amapola, and streets around. Candido asked if I would ask people not to prune the trees themselves as this is leading to more problems. They will be pruned by the TH but they have to be done in a certain way otherwise they become ugly. He said they would try and remedy the ones which have already been cut, by well meaning residents, but it may take a year or two to get them back to a nice shape.

I asked if they had heard any news about the 2 houses demolished in the Cantoria area and he said that he had only 3rd hand knowledge but believed there to be another 2 to be demolished, in the same area and that the reason for this action was that denuncias had been taken out by Seprona on the plots before anything had even been built (a number of years ago). He stated that this is only hearsay and he could not verify these facts as genuine.

I forgot to ask him if he could chase up the contract re Avenida Poetas but I will do.

Finally there is a rumour in the village of Zurgena, that someone tried to abduct a child. This is a hoax and is totally false. We have confirmed with the Guardia Civil that no such event took place.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tuesday 15th October

This week the Town Hall workers are working on cleaning various areas including those reported to me. Pictures are on their Facebook page of the work so far.

Additionally The Mayor, Secretary and Architect were back in Almeria today for a meeting to try and sort out the financing of the work that was carried out to the land slip at Las Lomas. This affected a meeting I wanted to have with the architect regarding one residents issues about electricity but I have had to delay this until tomorrow.

They are also working on the intermittent fault with the WiFi which has, and continues to, affect Los Llanos, Palaces and areas of Cucador.

Seems more IBI assessments are reaching people. One thing I discovered today, when doing some work on their computer, was that if your reference begins with 5 numbers and then a letter then this is one which had been shown on rustic land BUT it is being amended to show it on urbanisable land by the Diputacion and will shortly be allocated a new number. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Article from La Voz de Almeria today

Below is a translated version of an article in La Voz today.
I have attached a group photograph of the 8 councillors with their names and responsibilities.
From left to right they are
Anabel Sola Gonzalez (communication and formation), Noelia Garcia Jimenez, (Dep Mayor, Sport, Culture and youth), Me (3rd Age and British Community) see how I hid behind the good looking ladies, Ana Gonzalez Morata (Social issues 3rd Age, Education and Health), Luis Diaz Garcia ( Mayor and Hacienda and Urbanism), Sampo Kullervo Penttila (Commercial and Tourism), Salvador Sagarra Robles (Agriculture and Catastro), Candido Trabalon Fernandez (2nd Dep Mayor, Public Works and Services).

The eight councilors (four and four independent PA) that make up the municipal government Zurgena already know the areas that will be managed. after two weeks ago, to support the motion of censure against former alderman, Francisco Ramos (PP), promoting a change of local government.


The deputies have shown excited about the project, which has as one of its great aspirations "approach the City to all residents alike." Upon learning of his duties, the councilors were open to "cooperate with all authorities and have announced that they will" every effort "to promote the participation and integration of the British community which attempt to offer a solution to the Zurgena suffering urban problems.

In addition, council members and mayor have advanced the development of a "comprehensive action plan" to support such important sectors as youth, seniors, associations or entrepreneurs. "The intention is to maximize the time remaining term to seek a more immediate response. It's time to exploit the full potential of Zurgena from the standpoint of cultural, sporting, community, economic and business ", both highlighted.

"It is fundamental that the participation of individual citizens as well as form, we can promote workable ideas and projects in order to improve our welfare. The council is to channel all kinds of initiatives have ensured the Consistory.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

IBI bills + Padron

We had our pictures taken, to publish the new administration this morning, and fortunately I was able to hide behind the 3 good looking lady councillors! If I can I will circulate the picture with Councillors names and responsibilities when and if I get a copy.

Prior to the photographs being taken, I had a short conversation with Salvadore (those of you following the blog will know that he is the councillor who has own all the work on the files for the Diputacion to enable IBI bills to be assessed and issued). We have been waiting for these for some time now but we have seen a slow trickle of assessments coming out. Salvadore advised me that more will be coming out in the next couple of weeks so check you mail.

If you are not resident do not worry I will try and keep an eye on when each area gets its bills and post on here. There is a website ,"" but I have found it difficult to research it without a digital certificate. I have asked for advice on this and will post when I know (unless any of you are more efficient in finding your way around the site). I understand that if you research this site you can ascertain whether your property has been assessed and obtain the reference number.
UPDATE.. Salvador has forwarded to me the link to the website of the Catastro Office website and it is
On the front page enter 'localizacion' then 'Almeria' then 'Zurgena' and then enter the name of your street. Then click 'Cartografia'.  You can then dig into the site. Do not worry if your street is not yet on they are working on it and Salvador told me that my street would probably be added in the next week or two. So I will keep checking.

Change to layout in the TH. There has been a change to layout in the TH in that all the administrative staff now occupy desks on the ground floor, rather than upstairs. So when you go into the reception area, where Juanjo occupies the reception desk, you will see all the other staff t their desks in the open area in front of reception. This I am sure will help particularly when it is busy as the other staff can then help. A bit like it was in the old Town Hall up the hill.

Secondly the perennial issue of the Padron. We have seen a reduction in persons registered on the Padron this year and as you probably know the Town Hall is funded by the numbers registered on the padron. So this is a plea to everyone if you own a property here (whether holiday home, rented out or full time occupied) please register on the Padron. It merely requires you to pop into the TH with your passport or NIE and see either Juanjo or Andreas and let them record your details for us to receive the monies due.

I have appended to the bottom of this post the latest randomly generated list requiring confirmation that these individuals  should still be on the Padron. If you recognise any of the names or you know them please ask them to pop into the TH to confirm they should still be on the Padron, if that is the case.

Terence R Kebble, Pauline Ann Clarke, Helen Jane Cook,Michael John Cook,Maureen Elizabeth Gibbs, Peter William Gibbs, Andrew Wayne Miller, Nicola Jane Miller, Joshua D T Hearn, Wendy Alison Hearn, Antony David Scanlon, Barry R T Walker, Delene Bailey, Elaine A Midgley, John M Midgley, John Harold Pickbourn, Margaret R Pickbourn, Enesa Bell, Liam P Bell, Alice M Butterworth.

Petanque Tournament and bits

Firstly Noelia (Councillor for Sports etc) has announced on the TH Facebook page that there is to be a Petanque Tournament for all the villages in the valley. She and I would also like to see ex pat teams enter this tournament. Registration for it is on the day of the first tournament at Seron on the 13th of this month at 10.00 hours. Teams can be of one sex or mixed only condition is that the entrants are over 10 years of age.

"Good morning! one year more Zurgena will participate in the tournament of regional Almanzora of petanque, organized by the provincial Council of Almería and the aytos. from: Cantoria, Finnish, Macael, Olula del Río, Seron, Tijola and Zurgena.
The tournament begins the next day 13 at Serón, scores obtained on each day are cumulative, and to the completion of the next tournament on November 24, the winner will be who obtained more points throughout the Conference.
Zurgena will host the tournament on October 20, registrations will be made on the same day just before, and the price is €8 per person.
From the Department of sports of our City Hall I encourage you to participate in this tournament."

Secondly we are to have a new set of photographs, of all the new administration, taken today. Once available I will circulate and it will show the individual councillors roles and responsibilities. So that you will know who to address any particular issues to.

I hope the newly established parameters for information and actions work better and I have a feeling that they will, I have already noticed an improvement.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Candidos Birthday

We had an urgently convened meeting this morning at which Luis allowed us all to discuss roles etc going forward. It was a good meeting at which Luis explained how he wanted all of us to take control of our portfolio and work hard for the community. We also agreed the structure for the Mayor and his deputies and a new process for communication is to be sorted out for the future. Once these are formalised I will post, if agreed.

After the meeting the lights were dimmed and Maribel brought in a cake with candles denoting 48, as it was Candidos birthday.

Friday, September 27, 2013

1st Pleno New Administration

Today we held the first Pleno meeting under the new administration with Luis chairing it as Mayor. It was mainly to approve an amendment for our norms to facilitate the payment of monies due to companies involved in helping with the mountain slide.

The Pleno was not attended by the 2 PSOE official councillors but all the others did attend and approved the measures necessary to facilitate the payments due.

The Pleno went well although due to the mixed nature of the council it was not clear whether each councillor should have a say, or just party leaders, given that PSOE and PP are split. In the end Luis allowed everyone to speak.

Prior to the meeting I spoke with Luis about our outstanding issues and he said that he would do what he could with my list of issues but that from next week all new issues should be dealt with by the individual councillors and he reassured me that the 30 employees of the TH are equally at my disposal as any of the other councillors. This may make my role more demanding but it will be better in delegating tasks from the Mayor to allow him to concentrate on the bigger issues. Might even more improve my Spanish!

Luis has already made appointments to meet with various leading political figures in Almeria next week. He certainly is hitting the road running.

If anyone is interested (and I recommend watching its entire 35 minutes if you want to see the emotion in our local politicians) in seeing the Pleno meeting, and the speeches made by the main people, where the motion of censure was passed it is on youtube at the following link
If the link fails you can find it under 'mocion de censura zurgena'
If you fast forward to the end you will see me get a man hug ( they do things differently here!).

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Promising Start

Luis Dias Garcia, the new Mayor sent me an message last night requesting that I meet with him in the Town Hall today at 4.0pm which I did.

He is certainly keen to get moving. He explained that I should fully understand that this council is now an amalgamation of 8 councillors who wish to work for the benefit of Zurgena without recourse to party politics etc. I said I supported him in that.

He then asked me to list what I wanted by way of finance or equipment and I explained that I needed nothing but I could do with a key to the T.H. and the alarm code which had been changed since I last had access. He said he would sort that out.

He then asked me what the ex pat community wanted, other than the PGOU, which he fully understands is the reason he was elected. I then, tentatively at first but then more openly as I realised he wanted all my outstanding issues. So I gave him them all! It is not worth listing them all on here as they have been covered many times before but suffice it to say he has, from the expat community a lengthy list of things we would like.

He explained that he wanted to see progress in all areas of TH responsibility and I could see that he has his hands very full. The only issue is one of timeliness, as always in Spain, but as a first indicator of his application to the job it was good start.

A promising start.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Censure Motion Passed

The extraordinary Plenary meeting of Zurgena council proceeded at midday today. I met up with the agreeing councillors about an hour before the meeting. It is fair to say that most of them were very nervous. Not surprising given that 3 of the Spanish TV channels were broadcasting it live!

As is often the case in Spanish Politics, a table of age, is established and as I am the eldest I become President but, following a meeting with the Secretary, it was agreed that I could open the meeting by explaining that I was delegating my role to Noelia (as the youngest) to be president. Which she did very well. Evenb at one stage telling Candido to be quiet!

Short addresses were given by first Luis, then Kiko, Candido, Ana and Sampo. It was surprising to see how emotional they were with particularly Luis, Candido and Ana almost in tears. After the speeches the votes were cast and as expected the vote was 8 in favour of the censure motion and 3 against (Kiko PP), Maria Jose Aliaga and Jose Anthonio (PSOE) against.

Luis then made a short speech accepting his position as Mayor in which he stressed how much he wanted to try and address the problems of the village and how, with the help of all the councillors move things froward.

After the meeting, we adjourned for a beer across the road, and whilst there a small van pulled up and it was Luis' parents. I was introduced to them and they were very welcoming and friendly.

So lets see what we can achieve with a council made up of a greater majority of councillors working together for the village.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Clarification (some)

I decided to put a little further clarification on here about tomorrows motion of censure. The motion is to put before the full council at 12 noon.

In one of Luis Diaz Garcia's  statements below he talks about 'regularising' the properties this is NOT what he meant. I am not sure whether it was as a result of a mistranslation or whatever, but the purpose of this whole process is to try and advance our PGOU. This is the PGOU which was compiled and presented in 2011 after lengthy discussions and considerations by the Land Law Professor from Malaga who was advising the Council, at the time, and who,you may remember, attended a meeting in the Renfe to explain it all to us and how it complied with everything that was being asked of us (any reference to the Spanish press articles will confirm this from PP and PSOE regional politicians)

We have had a period of 4 years (2007 to 2011) with P.A. in control trying to advance the PGOU and all we attracted was more court cases which was why, after the stalemate of the election in 2011, PA agreed to form a coalition, with PP with Kiko as Mayor, to see if that could achieve progress. But after over 2 years nothing has happened. We need to try and make progress as soon as we can.

The new administration which, if the censure motion is carried tomorrow, will be a coalition of 4 P.A. councillors, 2 PSOE councillors, 1 PP councillor and 1 independent. The only persons at this moment in time who will be abstaining or voting against will be the other 2 PSOE councillors (including the PSOE Secretary) and Kiko himself. It may be that some of the councillors voting for the motion will be expelled by their parties but it is obvious that the vast majority of the serving councillors believe this to be the best way forward for Zurgena.

There has been a great deal in the Spanish press lately and the latest article which shows that at least of the 3 major parties P.A. does support the councillors position. The articles in the Spanish press also confirm that the motivation for the censure motion is to advance the PGOU.The only reason I am serving on the council is to try and represent the interests of the ex pat community and I see this (the progress of the PGOU) as the most important of all. I have been fully involved in all the discussions about this in the past two weeks and have attended many lengthy and animated meetings  Rest assured I would not be voting for it for any other reason.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Long Time in Politics

Who was it who said a week is a long time in politics. Whoever it was I agree as the past 2 weeks have been longest in my short political life.

This post is primarily to thank those friends, who are aware of what a difficult and stressful time the past 2 weeks have been, for their help and support in my making the decision I did (to support the Censure motion of the current Mayor).  Thanks also to my wife for not getting onto me for the delayed meals and postponed events due to the meetings.

It has been enlightening to identify those who a) took an interest in the facts,  b) who asked for information before judging the decision and those who, c) through verbal or written communications, have spread facts which are basically and patently untrue. Why did they not just ask me?

There are some facts which I am not yet able to reveal publicly, and which may not be available for some time, but rest assured the decision, that the 8 out 10 voting councillors made, was based on what was for the benefit of the Town.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Difficult Times

It appears that major pressure is being brought to bear on all the councillors who signed the motion of censure last Friday with some very strange, and worrying, things occurring.  Considering that 100% (4) of the P.A. (Partido Andalucista) councillors, 50% (2) of the PSOE, 50% of the PP (1) and 100% of the independent councillors signed the motion it would seem that democratically there is a good majority, 80% supporting the motion, and one would think that the big parties would be encouraging this move to make things happen in our small town rather than applying pressure to try and negate the motion.

I believe that the signatory councillors will, possibly, dependant on circumstances be making a press release of their own this Friday

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Statement from Luis Diaz Garcia

I have printed below Candidos statement re the motion of censure an secondly the FB status update of Luis Diaz Garcia's for your information. Please forgive the Bing translation but if you bear with it I think you will get the main points in his post.

Candidos statement

8 of 11 Councillors of different political signs, we caught agreement having as main objective the benefit and welfare of our people
In the press these days there are statements of high-ranking politicians who say that policy does not "anything goes". It seems that now fight for the interests of our people being all Councillors together, it is a crime. It should be an obligation. We understand that in politics, first is the people, after us, politicians and last acronyms.
They are trying to break this motion by bombing all the Councillors, but if those senior officials had a bit of dignity and stature policy not to say class, what you would have to do is "Understand and support" because if we got together 8 of 11 Councillors will be for something. The unfortunate thing is that they don't want to because according to them the important political stands, and while they try to each take its acronym forward, the truth is that our people are sinking it in misery.

Luis's FB Status Update,

Very good,...I know that you I will receive much criticism for this I'm going to write, as some think that the situation of uncertainty that now lives in the municipality of Zurgena after the motion of censure submitted, requires first and foremost a public explanation and according to the seriousness of such democratic act. I however, outdated in the next few days, after meeting the 8 Councillors who signed we will give all the explanations just necessary and relevant so that it includes in its maximum fullness, all the whys of this situation.
They are 6, 15 in the morning and am going to use my facebook to explain just an opinion. Yes,...I know,... but I also know that here everything you write is not it misrepresents because no media manipulates it. In the next few days when all the Councillors have the well-written writing you send to all means of communication and that writing will be which really weighing, weighing,... because it will have the consensus of 8 people. I split this from any responsibility my colleagues about the impact that may have the words that I advance here at any given time.

"I understand the circumstances and situations better than many think. In fact, when I take major decisions in my life, I usually prepare for the worst and feel that I am, because it is simply so. Although I admit that sometimes "worst" come further from what you could imagine.
I understand that things are not easy in this life and these days much less, in fact, what really deserves the penalty, it becomes very difficult, at times, so difficult that may seem impossible. But gentlemen, I can assure and on very good authority that if I have learnt anything over the years, is "everything is possible". And in Zurgena, although many do not believe it still, 8 of 11 Councillors of different political signs, have reached agreement having as main objective the benefit and welfare of its people. And I know that hard some labour understand that. And I know, forgive the repetition, that slap in the face to those who believe are owners of certain political acronym going to take its toll and perhaps too much face. But don't hesitate to get you that for me, any of those signatory 7 Councillors deserve more respect than any representative of popularity of the PSOE, PP, PA...They have been able to show me their support even playing much more of what some might imagine;
A project for our municipality, which goes mainly to adopt a general plan and achieve urban regularization of our people and thus achieve a more than necessary economic and social recovery.
I have faced this challenge as zurgenero, because so am I and later as a Socialist but bearing in mind that above political acronym is my people and my party colleagues. Representatives of the PSOE I can or not support,... being always very aware of profitability that would be for the attainment of our common goal, as everyone knows the importance of the JUNTA de Andalucía in this issue in particular. But yes,...If you believe that many pressures, statements and attacks that make I will give in my word to my classmates; from this moment advancement you are wasting your time. 3 Councillors of the Corporation that are missing can be included and given always option because I simply understand that the City Council currently needs, like it or not, their 11 Councillors rowing in the same direction.
He said an article these days than in politics not "anything goes". It turns out that now fight for the interests of a people being all Councillors together, it is crime. It should be an obligation and more, in an extreme case like the now...Just like when the floods of September 28. Some say that it is an almost impossible dream... then I could accept it but gentlemen "gerifalte" make no mistake in politics, first is the town and then we, as politicians. And if by some remote chance of fate, the motion come out ahead, and had a pinch of political force, you take into consideration that buses will be available to all the zurgeneros in direction to Seville in search of a Real solution to the problem of housing.
I know that they will try to break this motion to bombard all my companions,... but if these leaders were a little dignity and size policy not to say class, which would have to do is "Understand and support" and but want to because according to them how important are the acronyms and their rivalries that the spectacle of the circus is not over,.. .for that just focus their attacks towards me, that in the end I'm going proposed as Mayor.
Some I take by a crazy,..."even will be that they will wish that that day I only find but they do not know is that I have my consciousness very quiet and that the fact of having felt such support have already won".

Further Info from La Voz de Almeria

The below article has been copied from La Voz de Almeria today for your information.

The two Socialist councilors who support the censure motion against Mayor Zurgena (PP) will be expelled from the party if they do not reverse in the coming days or not negotiated conditions change.

This was said to the Voice general secretary of the PSOE in Zurgena, María José Aliaga, who has moved the rejection of the local executive "to a deal with the PA, which now governs in coalition with the PP-while Trabalon Candide" appears as part of a possible future municipal government. Candido Trabalon, former mayor of the town, has been convicted of urban crime and wrapped in Operation Sewing.


Aliaga has ensured that this position "is part of what we have advocated from the beginning. It makes no sense that the PSOE has left the way fellow defendants for crimes that do not reach the soles of shoes to the offenses for which he is sentenced Trabalon ".

The idea that two Socialist councilors (including Luis Diaz, candidate of the PSOE in the last municipal elections) Executed a government with Trabalon has been rejected by "unanimity" in the local executive but, according to the statements of the Secretary General, even fewer liked the way they would have cooked the motion will pass full on September 25. "Everything has been negotiated directly between Luis Diaz and Candido Trabalon behind the game. The lack of respect for fellow has been total. In Zurgena colleagues feel that this has been a full-blown treason, "he complained Aliaga.

The decision to expel the two Socialist councilors to support the motion (the other two are part of the current opposition reject) is not set in stone. The only solution is that Candido Trabalon future not part of the local government or to be the socialist mayor who did not appear in it. Something that seems unlikely since, as has been told this newspaper, the positions are so far "distant" and reconciliation between those who support and those who reject motion has been minimal.


Until yesterday the party had received "no response" from the council warned, even though they were informed of this decision "in a meeting last Friday." The expulsion would be in a pre-full "because when you hold each council must state under what acronyms is presented. Luis Diaz is not going to be mayor of the PSOE under these conditions "are female Aliaga.

If there is an approach within the party in the coming days, this is the first time you open a file within the Socialist Party expulsion of Zurgena against two councilors.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Difficult Decision

During this past week I have been sitting through a number of lengthy meetings of the ruling coalition councillors and of our party the Partido Andalucista. The conclusion of these meetings was reached on Thursday evening. The conclusion was to replace the current Mayor Kiko of the PP.

This was not an easy decison to reach, particularly in view of the fact that we have agreed to support a motion for the PSOE councillor Luis Diaz Garcia, (who many of you will remember gave me a hard time at the elections, although he has subsequently apologised) to become Mayor. This has been a complex and difficult negotiation with many concerns BUT, in one respect, my support for the motion was decided with the opportunity that we may get some movement on the PGOU through this appointment. There are a number of complexities which I am not at liberty to discuss but I can at least give you the information as contained in La Voz de Almeria this morning (my thanks to John Bishop for informing me of it otherwise I would still have been biting my tongue).

Shortly before two in the afternoon yesterday appeared in the record of the City Council a motion of censure against which is the current mayor of Zurgena, Francisco Ramos Martínez (PP). Eight of the eleven councilors who make up the municipal corporation currently support this motion, although not ruled out further additions.
has been told the Voice, the four councilors of PA, two in the PSOE, PP and one each Independent Group are the , for the time, support the censure motion filed yesterday morning. 's future Luis Díaz García (PSOE), who is running as the new mayor, explained yesterday the reasons for this decision. "There are several. The municipality of Zurgena by political, social, economic and judicial is undergoing many difficulties. The situation has reached a point in which the people are paralyzed, there are many unresolved problems and a citizenry that needs to change, "he said, while noting that the intention of the current mayor has been getting the best for his people . "What is sought is to exploit the fact many councilors coupled to find solutions to the problems of Zurgena, the most immediate are the regularization of houses, aproblación the General Urban Plan (Plan) and balance the situation in the municipality, "he said yesterday. PSOE "The Socialist Party is supporting me the whole time," said the new ruler can be Zurgena. Indeed, Diaz Garcia is confident that his two party colleagues, who still have not joined the motion, do so in the coming days. One of them, Maria Jose Aliaga, said yesterday that for now abstains. For his part, Luis Diaz explained that "there are little nuances that now we will solve the local executive", while highlighting the willingness of these two companions to sit and be part of this new project "that seeks to benefit Zurgena ". Luis Diaz said yesterday that it is a situation that is not pleasant, "but you need solutions on the table for open problems." Meanwhile, the mayor still Zurgena yesterday chose not to comment on the filing of this motion of censorship. He noted that more later, but for now, it wants to remain. The Plenum of the motion of censure is the next day September 25, Wednesday, starting at midnight. During these ten days you can add or subtract support the motion recorded on Friday. Changes mayors finally Heading out later, there will be a new change in one municipality of the province. Since municipal elections were held in May 2011, several circumstances have motivated these movements on the couch. With respect to motions of censure, is the fourth Zurgena after those presented in Laujar Andarax Uleila Enix. Others Finana municipalities as Adra and mayor have also changed, this time, for political appointments. On the other hand, is Íllar, where in November 2011 death of his ruler, and Albox, whose mayor tendered his resignation in February of this year for personal reasons.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Meeting 11th September

We had a meeting of the coalition councillors lat 5.0pm last night, as prelude to our next Plenary meeting.

It was primarily to discuss the items on that agenda including budgets etc. most of which has been covered in previous posts.

We then went onto a political discussion which lasted about another couple of hours. Unfortunately the contents of these discussions are sensitive at the moment and I cannot comment on them yet. When I am given clearance to give a resume I will do.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Calle Finlandia

The temporary track put in by the contractors who are installing the pipework for Endesa on Calle Finlandia, Cuesta de los Pinos, left a temporary track which due to the rain has become impassable, other than by 4 wheel drive!

I got a message to Candido about 1220 today (Saturday 7th) informing him of the situation, as people could not get out. He told me that he would try and get Diego to see if there was anything he could do.

It is now nearly 5.0pm but no one has yet attended. I have left messages but there is little else I can do at the moment.

As a result of the messages I met with Paco from the TH about 5.30pm and as he surveyed the track he said that the problem was the rain and that if the forecast was correct there was more rain to come. This hampers the options for making the track more passable, however, he was going to discuss it with Diego and see if they could skim the surface to make it more passable for ordinary cars. He did n ot seem very optimistic but they will see what they can do.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday 6th September

Had a quick one hour meeting with Candido this morning to go over a few things.

Firstly my new street plan sign for Cuesta de los Pinos has been delivered and will be installed in the next week or so. We will get the foundations in, Monday or Tuesday (hopefully), and I think we will get the press to cover it. I asked if we could start work on the next one for Jardines del Almanzora and he said yes but we will await receipt of the bill from Publipart to see how much it is before we place the next order!

Secondly regarding garden rubbish a friend of Candido's, Fran, who lives in Los Llanos will collect and dispose of any sizeable garden rubbish if you need it, for a small fee. I am aware of 2 people who have used Frans' service and been very satisfied. If you want such a service just email or call me.

Next I asked about the pump for the sewerage at Cuesta de los Pinos and Candido told me that due to the failings of the first company, who he asked to supply the pump, (it was one which was out of the ordinary) he has now gone back to the original company who supplied the first pump. He has placed a fresh order with them and hopes they will supply the correct pump shortly. The sewerage has been cleared by a friend of Candidos, a few times but it really needs clearing daily at the moment! The pipework for the electricity in that area is being installed now, prior to any remedial work to the roads.

I told Candido that I have two appointments with travel companies to get ideas for a 3rd Age trip later this year but still did not know what my budget was. He told me that we need to discuss with Noelia but that such a trip should be financed out of the Culture budget ok.

Following discussions which I had had with residents of Los Llanos del Peral I asked about the possibility of having a small farmers market there occasionally. Following discussions about this he said we would need to find out from the Secretary what the legal situation was for the various options of markets. Secondly regarding this area I also asked what we needed to do to reinstate the September Fiesta for Los Llanos. This again is a matter we need to discuss with Noelia and the local people who were previously responsible but he thought it a good idea that we should take forward. He also repeated what we have said before on here that the village hall should be utilised whenever there was a good purpose for it bearing in mind that the Mayor has the final say. I mention this as the RBL applied to use the Renfe on 2 occasions in November and Kiko had approved one, the holding of a religious service, but declined the other, a fair. He stated that he only wanted that building to be used for select purposes. So I guess it will be a case of each application judged on its merits.

I reported to Candido those areas which had asked me to for cleaning, tree trimming etc. I also gave him an updated list of those street lights not working and included a reminder about the fact that we were going to look at seeing what we could with the street lights in Calle Juan Ramon Jimenez. I also reminded him of the paving required near La Vida.

We had to break off as the TH solicitors had called for a meeting with him but we had covered most things. I got the impression that Candido is not very happy with the way things are going at the moment but it is just a feeling.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Pre Pleno Meeting

We had a pre-pleno meeting this evening at which, the Secretary Manolo, highlighted the main points that need to be covered.

Interestingly the most important point on the list for my information was the project which Galasa are to undertake to install and connect the pipework for the area to take the waste from all the villages to a central point. As I understand it, it is necessary for the TH to approve and grant the necessary licences etc for this work to start and this will be one of the items on the agenda. The pipework will lead from Los Llanos del Peral, Los Menchones, Cucador Alto (Cuesta de los Pinos), Cucador Bajo, Los Carasoles and Palaces. It will eventually link to a treatment plant to be built just to the South of the Rambla between Cucador and Palaces.

Secondly I was able to let Noelia know about the unhappiness felt, by those of you who attended for the Petanque tournament, only to discover that the time had been changed, without any information being given. Hopefully it will not happen again.

Did not see Candido as he could not attend so I will try and catch him tomorrow or Friday.

Monday, September 2, 2013

September at last!

So we have seen off the fiestas and can maybe look forward to getting some things done!

Firstly I have been told that my new street plan (the 1st of the 7) is ready and I will go and check it this week and hopefully get it installed this month. Then commission the second one for the pool bar area.

Secondly apologies to those who went to the prearranged Petanque tournament last weekend and found out it had been cancelled and no one had informed the expats. I discovered that it was not just the expats but a large section of the Spanish community was also not informed of the change of date and time and this was done by a small number of people. I will take up the complaints with Noelia and Candido to try and ensure it does not happen again. I can assure you that many Spanish people were annoyed about it too.

I hope to have a couple of meetings this week and to make progress on some of our outstanding issues. We are supposed to recommence the practice of having a once a week meeting of the councillors which I hope does happen.

Lastly on a NHW issue which, those of you who are already members of will know about, there has been a series of burglaries in our area, and beyond, lately where a blue Seat  6951 FCT has been used. It transpires that the occupants of this vehicle may also have been responsible for a burglary at Solas house in the village of La Alfoquia whilst the occupants were at the church service. This is to ask if anyone saw anything suspicious around the area of Solas yard last Saturday evening between about 5.0pm and midnight and if so please let me know. The Guardia Civil and the Policia Local are aware of the information. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Zurgena Fiesta 2013 Programme

For your information this is the programme of events for the Zurgena Fiesta 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

August only Update

This will probably be the only update this month due to the amount of T.H. staff on holiday for the rest of this month.

The following were points I raised with Candido following your emails,

1. Where are we with the installation of the new pump for the sewerage in Cuesta de los Pinos? Candido said he thought that they were installing that a week or two ago. He then tried to ring Font Arboleas, who are the company contracted to install it, but he could get no answer. He assured me he would keep trying to get them to get it installed as soon as they can.

2. I asked if we had the materials for the pavement extension opposite La Vida and he said that we needed to get the materials for other pavement areas and we could use the surplus from that. So probably September/October.

3. I asked if there was any update on the water situation from Galasa. Candido said we would need to the official position from the Secretary. Manolo came in and Candido asked him what the latest official position was regarding the water. Manolo said words to the effect, why are you asking it is political, as usual. The water is the same as it always has been, which is, that if you are using an osmosis system the water is safe to drink but not directly from the tap. The reason the warning was put out was the differing political factions involved. Galasa is managed by the Diputacion (P.P.) whereas  the Junta is PSOE. I asked what about the results of the water tests showing it to be below the previous acceptable level and got the impression that it was all part of the political battle. It gets dafter. The T.H. staff all use osmosis systems and some even drink it directly but the advice is, as Manolo said, if you use osmosis the water is safe to drink or use for cooking but not directly from the tap.

4. I asked if we were any further forward in getting the lights on Calle Juan Ramon Jimenez in Los Llanos connected. He said that as part of that area had been made subject of a court order they cannot make any new connections. They were however, looking at whether there was  an opportunity to use an existing supply an think it may be possible. Paco and Candido will discuss after the holidays and see if it can be done.

5. I asked about the following tracks which need attention, a. Agua Arriba, b. track between the marble factory in Palaces at and the houses along the track towards Solas (where Anthonio had done some levelling) and c. Calle Mino in Los Carasoles.  He made a note of Agua Arriba for attention after the holidays. He said he was under the impression that Anthonio had done all the length of the track from Solas to the marble factory so he would get back onto him. Calle Mino is to be resurfaced in a few months and he will try and ensure that it is done for its entire length.

6. Internet situation. I asked why we are still having problems. He said that last weekends interruption was very strange as he was on holiday and only became aware of the problem from my email. He called into the T.H. on the Sunday morning but somehow the system was all working normally without any attention from anyone! I asked if we were any further forward contracting someone to look after it. He said he was trying but that the original telecoms engineer from Almeria could not take it on as he had too much work as it was. he is still trying to locate someone with the necessary skills.

7. I reported the problems with the loose lamppost at the top of Calle Abderraman which he noted.

8. As many of you have asked about what to do with garden rubbish and he said it is a problem. Arboleas tip which we all used before was denounced by the Medio Ambienete for not having the licences and so closed down the nearest now is at Antas but you need to pay someone to collect and then pay to dispose. We had a general discussion and Candido proposed that someone local could buy a pulping machine which people could pay a small fee to have their rubbish disposed of through such a machine. He is to ask a couple of local businessmen to see if any are willing to buy the machine. If they do I will publish on here the details and contact number. In the meantime the advice is to keep garden rubbish to a minimum during summer but during the winter collect i and obtain a licence to burn it from the T.H. between October and May.

9. The cochineal bugs on the chumba. I informed Cando of the fact that a number of people have reported infestations of these bugs which are a real problem. I was told that the Government of Spain is fighting a losing battle against these bugs which are spreading across many areas. He advised that if someone has a problem, on a property near theirs, to inform the T.H. of the address and they would send a letter telling the occupants that if they did not deal with the problem the T.H. would contract someone and they would then get the bill. I asked if there was any help for people who were trying to tackle the problem. He said that we have one or two people who have diggers who could be paid to dig up and bury the affected chumba. If anyone wants the number just let me know.

10. I asked Candido if he knew what the pipe was that was being installed between Los Llanos and Los Cabreras. He said he thought it may be the gas pipe from Albox to Huercal Overa but asked me to confirm the exact location to ensure that that was what it was.

11. Asked if he could confirm the timescale for the surfacing work for Avenida Poetas. he replied that he believed Nila would start in September or October at the very latest.

12. I told Candido that for my part I have opened discussions about trying to organise a trip for the 3rd Age for later this year and that I have commissioned the manufacture of the street plan for Cuesta de los Pinos with Publi part in Albox but do not yet have a date for completion.

My next meeting with Candido will be the first Friday in September (the first of our regularly to be held weekly meetings as discussed at my last meeting with him) unless there is any urgent need.

As usual any questions or issues just email me.