More power for the Ausländerbeirat?

When the chairman of Oberursel’s Ausländerbeirat, Dr. Franz Zenker, made his annual speech to the town council at the beginning of February, it was hard to overlook the fact that he wanted his committee to be granted the “Antragsrecht” – the right to put their own motions directly to the council.  In fact, he used the word at least nine times during the speech!

And it would seem that he may get his way, with the SPD, Green party, and CDU all supporting motions to grant the committee that right, although not without some criticism. [Read more…]

Dealing with the problem in the Eppsteiner Straße

“An accusation has been made, unlike anything the town’s administration has ever been accused of before” was how Dr. Eggert Wintert (SPD) commented on the claims by the BUND (the German branch of “Friends of the Earth”) that the removal of toxic waste from a piece of ground in the Eppsteiner Straße had caused health problems for one family who had run a shop there.

He quoted from the dossier, commenting on the fact that setting free toxic gases can carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

But he also made clear that to make such claims, BUND must be able to prove them and take responsibility for the consequences of making them, concluding that the way the dossier had been distributed by e-mail and social media that it had been designed to cause a scandal. [Read more…]

Green Party wants to abolish coffin requirement

At tonight’s meeting of the town council the Green Party in Oberursel will be putting forward a motion to abolish the requirement for bodies to be put into coffins before they are either buried or cremated.

The motion will also ask for the town the find out whether it is possible to offer burials in accordance with the Muslim burial tradition at one or more of the cemeteries in the town.

“Death is a part of life and a community should make it possible for both the deceased and the next of kin to grieve according to their own moral concepts”, Councillor Lars Stockmann explained.  The party is of the opinion, that in a pluralistic society with different religions that these different concepts should also be considered in the funeral options available. [Read more…]

Kiosk petition fails to collect enough signatures for a referendum

A petition to hold a referendum on the future of the kiosk at Oberursel’s main station has failed to collect the required number of signatures.  The kiosk had closed in the middle of December and was removed early in the new year.

The “Bürgerbegehren” required 10% of those living in the town and eligible to vote  to sign with their full name, address and date of birth.  The deadline ran out yesterday: Thursday, 17th January, 2013, when one of the organisers of the petition, Angela Stohrer, submitted the 189 pages to the town hall.  It was 8 weeks to the day since the town council had rejected a motion by Ingmar Schlegel of “die Linke” to stop the kiosk’s closure.

However, many of those who had downloaded the petition from the internet and printed it off had often not filled out all of the columns on the form, especially the date of birth, making their voting status difficult to confirm for the town hall and thus invalid. [Read more…]

Last bid attempt to save the station kiosk fails

Following an appeal by local bus drivers and engaged members of the public, including discussions on Facebook, a member of the town council representing the party “Die Linke” put forward an urgent motion to extend the lease on the kiosk at the station at the council meeting last Thursday (22nd November, 2012).

The motion received the two-thirds majority that it required to be accepted onto the agenda, with all councillors voting in favour of its addition with the exception of one councillor from the CDU party who voted against it.

But with the town’s budget to be debated first, it was not until three hours later that the councillors actually got round to discussing the motion itself. [Read more…]

Who says that we can’t afford a swimming pool?

The Bürgerversammlung about the new swimming pool last week appears to have a lasting effect on many in Oberursel, because in the space of just a few days the political landscape in the town has changed dramatically.

Let me try and explain the past few years in simple terms first:

1. The indoor pool in the town was closed because the roof was deemed unstable.

2. The coalition of CDU and FDP wanted to sell of a sports field (Altkönigsportplatz) and the swimming pool car park to finance a new building, and an architect came up with a design to include a sauna and modernise the outside pool at the same time.

3. At the town parliament elections last year, the SPD, Green party and OBG were all behind the swimming pool, but did not want to sell of the sports field, and although the CDU remained the largest party in the parliament, the SPD/Green/OBG coalition gained a majority.

4. SPD/Green/OBG drew up a coalition agreement that they would build a new swimming pool, but would borrow at most only 20% of the capital needed to do so and would not sell of the sports field.

5. It was then decided just to build a new indoor pool and leave space for a sauna, moving work on the outdoor pool to a later date.

6. Planning permission was given, changes to Bebauungspläne were approved, and companies started giving quotes on the cost of actually building it.

7. A few weeks ago they even held a press conference to announce that building work would be starting soon.

You could say that everything was going swimmingly, until the town’s treasurer explained why the town could not afford to build it. [Read more…]

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