A Petition for the Yang Family

The Yang family live in Stierstadt, one of the suburbs of Oberursel.  For the past two weeks their story has hardly been out of the local newspapers, and at the last meeting of the Ausländerbeirat on Monday, 25th November, 2013, two representatives from Amnesty International came along to explain what it is all about.

The story begins 10 years ago when Mr. Yang came to Germany from China without a visa, but as an asylum seeker.  Mrs. Yang – at the time no relation – came later by foot!  She also applied for asylum, claiming that her family was discriminated against at home because her parents had had more than one child.

Their asylum applications were turned down, but as they did not have sufficient identification on them to travel back, their presence in Germany was tolerated – geduldet”. [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 day for the kiosk – first week for the petition

It was always going to be a sad day at the kiosk next to the U-Bahn station in the Nassauer Straße, with Friday, 14th December, 2012 being the last day of business for the kiosk before it finally closed for good.

With the shelves slowly becoming empty, many of the regular customers had turned up to spend a last evening there with a cup of coffee or a mug of mulled wine.

Much of the conversation going on concerned the future of the kiosk – or lack of it – and in particular the “Bürgerbegehren” that has been started this week.

A “Bürgerbegehren” is a petition to held a referendum on something, and there are strict rules on how to carry one out. [Read more…]

Can the bus drivers save the kiosk from closure?

A bus in front of the kiosk at Oberursel's main station

A bus in front of the kiosk at Oberursel’s main station

The workers’ council (“Betriebsrat”) representing local bus drivers handed in a petition containing 100 signatures to the Mayor of Oberursel, Hans-Georg Brum, against the closure of the kiosk at the town’s main station.

The kiosk is due to close in the middle of December as part of the re-development of the station area, leaving the drivers without a public toilet to use on their routes.  The toilets at the station are too far away, either to leave the bus unattended or for the amount of time that the drivers have when they stop here.

The kiosk serves around 300 people every day, many of whom are waiting for buses or the U-Bahn trains, and has itself collected approximately 1,300 signatures.  “How many signatures does it take before the town’s administration takes notice?”, asked Christoph Alles who runs the kiosk with his wife Daniela.

District Office in Weißkirchen threatened with closure

Representatives from Weisskirchen handing a petition to Hans-Georg Brum and Christof Fink (Photo: Stadt Oberursel)

The district office – Stadtteilbüro – in Weißkirchen is threatened with closure at the end of this year if funding to keep it open is not found.

Originally set up 2½ years ago as part of a project sponsored by the national office for migration and refugees (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge), the office has one employee and offers a place to meet and activities for senior citizens, families, women and mothers.

Sponsorship of the project ends in August.  The town of Oberursel has agreed to provide funding to keep the office open until the end of the year which is located in the old town hall (Altes Rathaus).

The photo shows representatives of the initiative to keep the office open handing in a petition with 300 signatures to Mayor Hans-Georg Brum and Alderman Christof Fink, who have promised to look for a solution to the problem despite the difficult financial situation that the town is currently in.

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