A new regulation to own district boards in Valencia
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A new regulation to own district boards in Valencia

A new regulation to own district boards in Valencia

Font: Tribuna Libre

To do whatever one wants justifying that it’s what is requested is a motto that the current city government has imposed in the last three years of the term. Relying on the popular will that led them to the top of the political pyramid, they impose their criterion with no documented evidence, with pompous speeches seasoned with concepts like participatory democracy, co-management, or empowerment of the citizenry that are empty and meaningless words for them.

The reality is that the decisions that have been made, only satisfy the imaginary of the visionaries that we have gotten as managers, so that the city finds itself immersed in a threefold situation: dirty, its mobility blocked, and with no commercial and touristic action plans in sight. A less kind and collaborative city.

Now, fearful that the sum of the factors doesn’t repeat in the next elections and they won’t be able to exercise their particular despotism, comparable to shirt’s and flip flops illustrations, they have come up with a reform of the Organizational Regulations of the district administration boards. A plan B that allows them to keep scrounging from the local policy in the likely event that they are evicted from Cap i Casal. The goal is to turn this body into a type of placement agency for acolytes, an outside-the-law mini-government that keeps ensuring that the arachnid web that has taken them so many years to build, lingers, and guarantees their bread and butter whoever governs. A sibylline way of distorting the function of the democratic institutions to their image and likeness that has nothing to do with taking into account the popular will.

The revolutionary idea is to turn the District Boards into “areas where residents from every district can give their opinion, make suggestions, debate, and decide over council policies”, in the words of the Engagement and Transparency’s councilor, Neus Fàbregas. Exactly what the District Boards are currently, though it sounds trendier to talk about “transforming them into real areas of construction and collective policy-making”, when they actually mean turning them into policy instruments in order to undermine the new government’s action and block the only effective way citizens have for a propositional vertical communication with the city administrators.

It’s true that up until now, only local political parties were the only ones that had the right to voice and vote, but it’s also true citizens and organizations could take part in them freely, make suggestions, make requests, and process their suggestions and vindications. To make themselves be heard and channel – if they so wished- with the local parties those proposals for the plenary. And what is even truer is that the table – always with the tripartite’s majority, now that they govern- ignored every critical or propositional proposal that was presented in this people’s democracy exercise. A sham assembly in which the only motivation to act is ideology and that now that the sinkage requires evacuating the ship, they want to reform it in order to guarantee a lifelong pension.

The invention has an ostentatious name, “city committees”, which enthrones and equals the town council, the technical and the citizen in terminology. These “civil society representatives” spokesmen will be elected between the citizen entities registered in the Municipal Entity Record that have an “effective” activity in the District Board and will constitute the equivalent to a third of the committees of the political parties with municipal representation.

Or in other words, that the assembly and associative network Podemos and Compromís have especially created, here PSPV is still in the figuereta, can cling to the District Boards and keep its social pressure function, justifying what has been done and impinging on and feeding its private republican committees.

It is clear that the tripartite, playing on words, prefers to define this process as “the transition from a representative democracy to a participatory democracy”, in which the local government and citizenry “co-manage and co-design” the public policies of our city’s neighborhoods. In essence, a regulation to govern them all –the District Boards, that is-.

The democracy’s solid walls can be eroded from its foundations. A well-aimed blow, there where no one is looking. This is the first step.