News, opinion, essays and links for residents and friends of Mojácar, Almería.
This site, started in September 2002, is called The Entertainer Online to continue The Entertainer name, the name of a weekly newspaper started by me in 1985 which ran without interruption throughout southern Spain until 1999 when a three year option to buy was taken by staffers. They never concluded the deal, or paid me, but changed the name when the option expired in April 2002 instead. Que vamos a hacer.
Overview of this site (Sections at bottom of page)
*Rambeau’s Diary – a blog *Freebie-Jeebies® – Some relaxed comment on the poor quality local free-press *Fallout – quotes from other sites *National News Certain pieces that catch my fancy *Local News Certain pieces that catch my fancy *Essays: Various imput *Links about Spain (see top of page) about 200 useful links, including my other blog Spanish Shilling *To e-mail me - write to firstname.lastname@example.org. I don't always answer or open attachments.
Almería is known as a remarkable place for artists to visit and, in Spanish circles, it is also known as an important place for artists to come from. Now the City has signed a contract for an important modern art museum: the Museo de Arte Doña Pakyta (that large white house with Tudor beams at the bottom of the Paseo). This will show Almería artists, including art from the Movimiento Indaliana (the artists who made Mojácar famous in the late fifties). A second venue, the Centro de Arte Museo de Almería, to hold a further collection. This is exciting stuff, as Cantón Checa, Luis de Perceval, Andrés García Ibañez (images) and a number of other important artists will finally have a permanent home in the capital.
That huge boxy-white hotel nailed onto the back of the once-ruined Palacio de Chamberrí (which building became the inspiration for those four hideous red things with tea-pots on them on the way to Garrucha) was never opened. Built, wired, polished and with the beds made, but never opened. Nine years closed, the giant and self-consciously ugly white elephant has sat on the end of the inexplicably one-wayed route through Marina de la Torre. Eternally shut. Now word comes that the president of the Roquetas Playa Senador Group, José María Rossell (who started out his professional life as a young waiter in Garrucha), is hinting that his company has plans to buy the hotel and will open it this season.
Dogs: Man's best friends. We all have them and, I hope, love them. But, as so many other issues here, dogs have become a political hot potato. What about dog pounds, those horrid places where stray dogs are taken to, and if no one collects them within a week or so, are euthanised, put down, or as some slightly unstable people describe it 'are murdered'? Now though, 'the Madrid Assembly has passed a historic bill banning the "slaughter of stray animals." The new law will make pet abandonment and the euthanasia of homeless dogs illegal in Madrid, Spain's capital and largest city. The political groups of all parties came together in a unanimous decision', says Dog Heirs, a webpage which says of itself 'Dogs Are Family™'. Wonderful. Hooray. So, what are they going to do with all of those dogs? Here's a quote from the Daily Mail with a similar problem over in the UK: 'Figures by the Dogs Trust, the country’s largest dog welfare charity, reveal that the number of stray dogs in Britain has reached an 11-year high, with more than 126,176 dogs being picked up by local authorities over the past 12 months — equating to 345 stray dogs being found every day'. Spanish TV quoted in 2012 a level of 145,000 dogs abandoned each year. Again, what are they going to do with them?
The final 'Pleno Ordinario' before the local elections of May 24th was held in Mojácar on Thursday evening. These 'ordinary plenary sessions' are held every two months. Once again, the Mayoress was unable to attend this meeting where the Opposition is able to ask questions, leaving her second-in-command Fernando to stonewall any queries. The Unión Mojaquera and Ciudadanos Europeos parties walked out, and the PSOE and Jessica Simpson's MPSM remained to ask whether there would be another opportunity before the elections to ask the Mayoress about such important issues as the interruption of regular activities by the work on the beach promenade this summer, the lack of parking, the remarkable expenses by the Town Hall spent on both local English radio and newspapers (!) and so on. No answers were forthcoming. Jessica also asked if any (any?) of the councillors had seen or heard the viral recording of a Town Hall staffer apparently offering to buy a postal vote back in 2011. Nobody had. Despite the importance of the occasion, only half a dozen members of the public attended the brief meeting.
Well, there it was – the Andalucian elections pleased, well, nobody. The winner with a simple majority was the ineffable and visibly pregnant Susana Díaz, but without enough support for a comfortable time, and now with less chance of spreading her wings and attempting to take over the national leadership of the PSOE in their primaries in July. Perhaps, as PSOE leader Pedro Sánchez told her just before the elections, 'you handle Andalucía, I'll stay with Spain'. The Partido Popular lost a number of seats in the Andalucían Parliament, followed in third place by the irrepressible Teresa Rodríguez from Podemos. But, has Podemos peaked? Fourth came Ciudadanos: not bad, but perhaps not good enough. Fifth the now largely redundant Izquierda Unida, who, like the disappeared Partido Andalucista, lost its support by being a minority partner in a PSOE dominated Andalucía. Talking of disappeared parties, the UPyD won no seats, as did the rest of the pack, including, well, PACMA, the 'animalist party' (it takes all sorts). Almería was the only province that called for the PP, with the other seven provinces preferring the PSOE, showing once again Almería's unease with rule from far-off Seville. The largest block were the 'abstentions' – those who stayed home (36%). In all, the seats are PSOE 47 (55 needed to win), PP with 33, Podemos took 15, Ciudadanos 9 and IUCA/Los Verdes (sigh!) has five.
Campaigning on a Non-Campaigning Day (Nothing is Sacred, hey?)
Saturday 21 March 2015 - 09:52:31
Well, according to the ludicrous 'Ley Electoral', you can't campaign on the final day before the elections, indeed, it's called 'the day of reflection' (for those who hadn't made up their minds long before the campaigning started). Fair enough? Since today is the day before the Andalucian Elections, campaigning is strong outside the region. Both President Rajoy and PSOE leader Pedro Sánchez have important meetings today, the former in Valencia and the later in Zamora. These events will no doubt receive appropriate coverage on the television. Not breaking the law, but shaving it perhaps? The Izquierda Unida and Podemos don't have any political acts for today. Oh, yes, wait a moment! They'll be at the gigantic 'Marcha por la Dignidad' in Madrid. In fact, with the Internet, this particular part of the Ley Electoral is shown to be completely pointless. Another part of the same law says that there must be a 40/60% gender divide for every five names in the lists presented by parties (something out of kindergarten made into law a few years ago by Zapatero and the Smellysocks). Now Rajoy wants to change the law yet again, making the 'most voted' the winner, regardless of the other parties and possible post-election deals (it's to keep the tiddlers out). Why not follow the French lead, and have two rounds of voting? That would make sense at least.
When it comes to handing down punishment to the evil-doers who built 'illegal houses' in improper places, designed them, and gave licences for them (oh, and demolishing them), the Courts have been at it again, this time sentencing the ex-mayor, architect and promoter of a house in a high-mountain village, sold to the usual unsuspecting ingleses. No wonder people said, they should have bought in France... But, isn't this whole thing unjust? These small moribund dorps in the sierras have about 70% unemployment. Wasn't Miguel Barón, the mayor who worked for free for sixteen years, who has no property besides his mother's house and orchard, who now receives a miserly pension based on his being declared a retired shepherd and who brought huge improvement to his beloved Bédar, the BEST BLOODY MAYOR we've had in this area since Mojácar's Jacinto Alarcón? Now they've fined and 'inhabiltado'd him.
Andorra, that small Pyrenean state shared under the administrations of the President of France and the Bishop of la Seo de Urgell, has only ever been invaded once. In 1934, five Guardia Civil crossed, illegally, to arrest a man who would be king of a newly-instituted and independent Andorra: Borís Mijáilovich Skósyrev Mavrusov, or as he preferred: Boris I of Andorra. It's quite a story here at Historias de la Historia. (The picture is gold, too).
Almería has more emptyviviendas (apartments I think here) than Málaga, Granada and Jaén combined. Who wants to live in these new, or semi-new blocks erected in the cities? Well, workers and ordinary city-folk. They are never bought by retired foreigners, who prefer the countryside, small villages or the main resorts. The banks own most of them, numbered at 16,200 new builds in the province. Murcia is even worse, with over 20,000 apartments standing empty. Thus, we hear of the new plan for the back of Garrucha (the flood plain) with trepidation. The Town Hall has green-lighted the construction of 1500 more apartments for the town (there are hundreds of empty, many half-built, apartments already behind Garrucha).
A piece in La Opinión de Almería, quoting a poll called Sigma Dos, says that Almería may chose to go with the PSOE in next Sunday's autonomous election for the Junta de Andalucía. The vote for Susana Díaz, the pregnant and ambitious leader of the region, being marginally in front of the PP in our province (with the Podemos running a distant third). How can this be? Spain's unemployment is bad enough, at 23.4% (compare Obama's America at 5.5%), but Andalucía, under the socialist sandal since free elections began in 1982, stands at 34.2% and Almería, thanks to the policies of the government in far-off Seville, suffers a rate of 35.7%. According to the same survey, she will win in the eight provinces (last time the PP took five). Will Susana stay in Andalucía after her (probable) victory here? The national leader of the PSOE (and owner of a splendid apartment in Mojácar pueblo), the handsome but weak Pedro Sánchez, will be hard pressed to keep her and her followers from taking over the party nationally this autumn to champion the PSOE in its upcoming fight against Mariano Rajoy in November for the leadership of Spain. So, and following in the tradition of both Chaves and Griñán, (our two previous leaders) who is Susana going to leave in Seville to govern the credulous Andalucians?