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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.