Only 3% went to vote

Sunday, 29th November, 2015 saw the chance for the foreign residents in Oberursel to vote: for a new Ausländerbeirat.  The committee, which is supposed to represent the interests of the foreigners in the town.  Committee members not only have the right to speak at town council sub-committee meetings, for the past year they have also been able to table motions directly to the council itself.

At the last election five years ago the turnout had only been 3.43%, so one of the targets for this election had been to get more voters to the ballot box.  In terms of voters they managed it, but only just: 188 instead of 171 went to the town hall to cast their vote.  But due to the increased number of foreigners in the town, the turnout as a percentage sank to a record low of 3.08%. [Read more…]

Ausländerbeirat – Polling Day

Sunday, 29th November, 2015 is the day that elections for the Ausländerbeirat take place in Oberursel.

Foreign residents of the town that have lived here for at least three months are eligible to vote and should have recieved their polling cards several weeks ago.

The only polling station for the entire town and its suburbs is in the Georg-Hieronymi-Saal, which is located between the town hall and the police station, with voting possible between 8am and 6pm.

It is not necessary to take the polling card along to vote, although it is better to do so. An ID card or passport is, however, necessary.

In cases of sudden illness, a postal vote is possible up to 3pm, which must, however, be collected by someone in person who has a power of attorney.

There are two lists of candidates that voters can choose between: [Read more…]

We asked, they answered. Now we have to vote.

With less than a week to go until voters decide on who they want to be the Mayor in Oberursel, it’s time to start making up my mind who I want to vote for.

Let’s start by looking at those questions that we asked last week.

Five of the questions dealt with things that foreigners in Oberursel affect directly.

The idea of the welcome meeting is something that both candidates would consider doing, and both like the idea of providing more information to new residents.  I see little difference here.  It’s different with the other four. [Read more…]

EU nationals ask the candidates: 7. Communication

Question: Many of the questions have been about communication.  How can the foreigners here be better informed?  I would claim, that many foreigners do not read a newspaper, in particular because it is not in their native language.

One example for this is the call for candidates for the Ausländerbeirat election.  This went out as a classic press release to the newspapers, but there were no information about it in their display cabinet outside the town hall. [Read more…]

EU nationals ask the candidates: 6. The Integration Report

Question: The “integration report” was released in Frankfurt this week.  Could you envisage such a report in Oberursel?  Would you actively support the introduction of such a report after the election?

It is worth noting at this point that the concept of the integration report was presented to the Ausländerbeirat several weeks ago.

[Read more…]

EU nationals ask the candidates: 5. The school grounds in the Marxstraße

Frage: What plans do you have for the area that used to be occupied by temporary classrooms in the Marxstraße?

Although the question was referring to the area between the Red Cross building and Willy-Seck-Straße, the candidates also talked about the future of the area in Im Portugall that will be vacated by the Hans-Thoma-Schule.

[Read more…]

EU nationals ask the candidates: 4. Foreign language concept

Question: why is there not a common foreign language concept for the town.  The town hall is set to have signs in English and French, the Taunabad only has signs in English and in the case of the bio-waste rubbish bins the town’s own subsidiary, BSO, issued information leaflets in English, Turkish and Polish. [Read more…]

EU nationals ask the candidates: 3. Daycare strikes

Recent strikes at child daycare centres have crippled some Kindergartens and left parents using up their holiday to look after their children. 

Question: When do you believe the striking child daycare workers will receive a better wage?

[Read more…]

EU nationals ask the candidates: 2. Culture Festival

Question: To enable a better understanding between the cultures, what do you think of holding a cultural event, where each of the cultures is highlighted – including the German culture.

I pointed out that Dr. Zenker of the Ausländerbeirat has said that the committee will not be arranging festivals anymore.  And we also have smaller cultural events such as the international village at the fountain festival and Worldfest at FIS.  But what about one large festival, which includes German culture as well? [Read more…]

EU nationals ask the candidates: 1. Welcome Meetings

A couple of weeks ago I asked for questions from EU nationals living in Oberursel to put to the candidates for the Mayoral election.

I have now interviewed both candidates and will be publishing one question each day this week with their answers.

Question: I found out that the Ausländerbeirat existed through the blog “AllThingsGerman”.  When I arrived in Oberursel and went to register, no-one told me about this committee or that there office to offer support.  What do you think about holding welcome meetings for new residents to tell them about the schools, taxes, and everyday life in the town?  e.g. every two months? [Read more…]

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