Yesterday for a while I thought that that had been my last session in the Rathaus. Elections are on the 25th, and the next session of Bern’s city parliament (Stadtrat) is on the 29th. Needless to say that I have never been any good at reading tea leaves or at predicting the outcome of elections. Still, I contend that Obama’s reelection was possibly won thanks – an odd word in this context – to anthropogenic emissions and their effects on climate. By the way, in case that there was any doubt about where I stand on the issue of climate change and environmental protection, I think that we as a society are failing on most accounts. Those trying to bring in governance and management of the situation in some form just do not have an easy task ahead. The so-called Greens are also not helping much, the Conservationists of all shades are also an impediment, and as a recent editorial in the local fish-wrapper said, Bern has no vision for the future. I wish that there were more fish in Bern, then said paper would be slightly more useful.
All I wanted to say is that I do not count with being elected into the Stadtrat on the 25th, but contrary to my feelings a few months ago when I was more than swamped by other concerns, now I feel a renewed interest in the politics of this city.
It is also no secret that I prefer to act behind the scenes rather than on the speaker’ stand at the Rathaus. It was indeed an exception that I took to the stand yesterday and said a few words about the infamous and world famous Reitschule. I only had two points that I wanted to get across that in my frustration with the German language (it just does not come to me as easy as English does) may not have come across as clearly as I wanted.
First, the Reitschule could use a bit more autonomy from the city and the existing subsidies in the form of the rent for the premises, is a nice gesture but it is not much of a contribution to the cultural activities of this city. This is different for the subsidies that finance the utilities for the premises as here there is money that flows from one coffer to another for the payment of services. In my view the rent is another issue. To make a long story short, the building was derelict when it was renovated and rehabilitated by the group and associations of what is called the Reitschule. The location and the state of the building is such that right now there is no other commercial use for the building. Another alternative for the real estate is to develop the site in as proposed by a colleague in my party. I like that idea too. You see, I may, after all, have a vision for Bern. However the cultural institution and heritage of the Reitschule could be developed in other premises. I support the idea and function of the Reitschule, I am not convinced that the present contractual solution is good; certainly it is not working. At the very least, the present arrangement is past its expiry date and there is much social microbial debris fermenting discontent among all. Really, think about it, but what is basically a rental agreement is not a good instrument to insure constructive collaboration with the Police in matters of security and prevention of violence or organized crime. To recapitulate, after the many divergences, the first point is about increased autonomy for the Reitschule and their operators. The second point is to hightlight the fact that the Wellness-Team at the Reitschule is already doing a very good job in security matters, however there are situations when they can not take care of it all, and then situations get out of hand, and violence shows its ugly face. We would like to see this problem solved, and that is why I think it is time for going back to the negotiation table and restructure the whole deal. Who would you invite to the negotiation table?
By the way, as the press is reporting, the contracts with the Reitschule have passed with a majority (47-31). We will return to this in a few years, and I may or may not be at the Rathaus or in the Committee giving my two bits to the debate.
Those who have voted and will vote for me, many thanks. I think of you, and I am glad that some of you have faces that I see everyday.