C. Rokonidas: "Let's make the real difference for ourselves and for our island"
C. Rokonidas: "Let's make the real difference for ourselves and for our island"
The gathering of LAIKI SISPIROSI (POPULAR CONGRESS) of Paros, which took place in the overcrowded theater of EPAL in Parikia, was one of the largest political gatherings ever happened on our island.
The leader of Laiki Sispirosi, Costas Rokonidas, criticized the current municipal authority and presented his own proposals. The first candidates of the POPULAR CONGRESS (P.C.) were also presented.
The main points of Mr. Rokonidas' speech are as follows:
We have to admit that your presence here today is amazing. It gives us a lot of courage and convinces us that there is still great hope; it’s a very positive response to our call for making things change, all together.
For us, the LAIKI SISPIROSI of Paros, it’s the beginning of the official pre-electoral period. This is the third time I run for Mayor. I have been elected as a Municipal Councilor continuously since 1994 and I have been with Laiki Sispirosi since 2010.
During these 9 years of presence and action of the Popular Congress:
- We have opposed the reactionary character of the legislative framework for local government, "Kallikrates" and "Cleisthenes 1".
- We have brought up and underlined the causes of converting municipalities to managers of a policy which is against our people’s interests.
- We led the creation of the "People's Committee" in 2011 against the EΕΤΗΔΕ (Hellenic Electricity Distribution Company) and against cutting off households’ electric power.
- We championed the struggle for a cost-free public health on our island and we were heading the great demonstrations of the Parian people in 2012-13.
- At an event in May 2014 at Archilochos, we were the first to raise the issue of wind turbines and speak against the installation of wind farms on our island, while the widespread perception was still, that they were all about “green development".
- We insisted on securing the existing Municipal jobs and on recruiting new permanent staff with full employment and insurance rights. The Municipality of Paros is staffed with just 2/3 of the required personnel.
- Our support to the temporary staff of the Municipality was decisive, when they were not getting paid for months. We also supported the employees of the Municipality and of the Municipal Enterprises to receive the allowances they were entitled to.
- We supported every single category of working people by bringing their problems and requests to the municipal council and promoting them to parliamentary control.
- We denounced the EU policy against coastal and mid-sized fishing activity and supported our fishermen on the placement of automatic identification devices on professional fishing vessels.
- We struggled to prevent the abolishment of the Tax Office of Paros and we supported the fights of its employees.
- The issues of civil protection, earthquake protection, floods, fires and other natural phenomena have always been on our agenda.
-We were constantly demanding a series of measures to relieve the working class, such as: The elimination of payment for lunches in nursery schools for low income families; the reduction of contributory fees; the measures to relieve or reduce them in many social groups, such as long-term unemployed people, people with disabilities, large families, etc. Following our persistent proposals and pressure, some of these measures have been accepted by the municipal authority.
- We repeatedly brought up the problems of educational facilities (school housing) at the Municipal Council.
- We were always present to assist in every catastrophic phenomenon, floods and fires.
During these nine years, we certainly made some mistakes and we recognize our weaknesses but, we have never remained inactive, crossing our arms and saying “That’s how things are. What can we do?”
Further in his speech, Mr. Rokonidas supported that the P.C. will claim and fight for the following issues:
-The necessary infrastructure projects that our island needs, which reflect how we perceive the quality of its residents’ life. If we don't respect the residents of Paros we can't possibly respect its visitors either.
-The establishment of a strategic plan and time frame, with your actual participation and contribution. We will launch all the appropriate temporary or permanent measures and we will fight all together to address the problems that for years now are torturing us like gangrene, e.g. traffic problems, the safety and non-obstructed movement of pedestrians and of the disabled.
-The public and free provision of the necessary infrastructure of a modern society in water supply and sanitation. Extension and upgrading of the existing BIOKA (Biological Treatment Plant), tertiary treatment of wastewater for the use of the farmers’ irrigation needs, should all be implemented and completed. There are ‘third world’ sanitation problems in Kostos, Lefkes and Aliki-Ageria, projects dragging from the past and lingering for over 20 years on papers.
-To ensure the necessary road works on the provincial and municipal network following the strong rainfalls of this year, that further worsened its already dire situation.
-To ensure the structural adequacy and safety of all municipal buildings that accommodate thousands of people daily, both the public and employees.
-To ensure the studies and design and secure the public funding for implementing the appropriate measures and projects to prevent and cope with natural disasters (floods, fires, earthquakes, etc.), and other misfortunes threatening our physical environment (nautical accidents etc.)
-The protection and preservation of the environment with all that it relates to: the atmosphere, the water, the forest wealth, as it relates to our island, the open spaces with all the corresponding infrastructure.
-We fight by all means against the installation of wind farms on the island. We warn everybody that they will find the entire Parian people against them, with us being in front, against every installation attempt.
-The safe re-arrangement of ditches and streams.
-To address any coastal erosion phenomena mainly on the East and Southeast of Paros.
We struggle and we request:
-The provision of high-level and cost- free primary health care and welfare, with the development, staffing and supply of the necessary infrastructure, with State funding, since our people have already paid and still pay for this.
-The provision of the necessary school building facilities for all levels; preschool and nursery schools, sports and cultural infrastructure, and open spaces.
-The care and treatment of all preschool children, protection of the disabled and elderly people, through an extended public network infrastructure; with recruitment of the necessary staff to run and operate such structures.
-State funding and infrastructure for culture, team sports, associations and clubs to organize such activities in every village and place around the island.
We claim, we demand and we strive for:
- An appropriate and effective waste management, with respect to the environment, the public health and the natural resources and not on the basis of personal profit-making…
- The exploitation of municipal property for meeting the social needs and local actions.
- Resetting the coefficients of a reduced VAT on our islands, its abolition on items and services of popular consumption, reduction of transport costs and fuel costs.
- Tackling the problems of our young generation and our senior citizens.
The head of the People’s Congress, Mr. Rokonidas, referring to the sanitary problems supported the following:
"For five years now, the current municipal leaders did not trust and did not take advantage of the experience and knowledge of the existing staff in order to develop a plan in the cleanliness domain, taking into consideration the consistently shrinking number of employees. For five years now we’ve been asking:
-To proceed with the study of a second cell in the Landfill. The life of the existing cell has theoretically expired since 2018 and, in real terms, it will expire during 2019. Until today, there has been no new plan for it. What will happen with the waste deposition from now on?
We suspect that Mr. Kovaios has a plan for the citizens of Paros. Nevertheless, we shall wait for him to explain how he will deal with the impasse that he himself created.
-To make a study for the construction of waste uploading stations in Parikia and Naoussa (at least) with large capacity press containers.
-To acquire small, modern motorized cars for a more efficient street cleaning, that will multiply the production of the few municipal street cleaners in order to better respond to an increasing demand.
-To modernize and increase the fleet of garbage collectors with sufficient sanitation vehicles. We must mention here, that the municipality has currently only 8 garbage trucks, of which one is 5 years old and the rest are between 11 and 23 years old. Only recently and at the end of its 5th year term, the municipal authority did proceed with a tender for the purchase of 11 new vehicles; a decision we strongly supported and voted for.
-To provide the municipality with the necessary parking space for the maintenance, safety and protection of its vehicles against weather conditions. The municipality currently has 37 vehicles of various types and, upon receipt of the 11 new vehicles, the total fleet will consist of 48 vehicles. Despite the tireless efforts of the staff, this property of the Parian people is exposed to the mercy of the weather.
-To establish specific actions with the participation/collaboration of the public in an effort to reduce the volume of waste and enhance recycling.
-To differentiate the municipal fees applied on businesses producing large quantities of waste e.g. department stores, versus the less waste production intensive ones.
-Our repeated requests for underground trash bins in central locations, at least in Parikia and Naoussa, got “satisfied” through the fenced garbage dump under Ag. Constantinos in Paroikia, with the usual tactic of throwing such responsibility to the staff. It’s therefore easy for everybody to understand what the Mayor really means when he speaks of Strategic Planning and his Vision for it.
- Consequently, instead of taking new measures and making plans ahead with the existing resources to solve the sanitation problems, they felt comfortable with spending thousands of Euros on sub-contractors.
- Instead of broadening the ways for reducing the volume of buried garbage and increasing the volume of recyclables, they spent their efforts in ineffective P.R. celebrations which cost the Parian people dearly.
We never objected to necessary outside/private contracting by the Municipality, but only when there is not enough staff to keep our island clean all year round. It’s one thing to depend on the good will of the staff and quite another to spend the people’s tax money indiscriminately.
All the foregoing, according to Mr. Kovaios and his communication specialists, are our own partisan obsessions and not their own lack of arguments.
For the problems created by the mixed use of the main harbor, Mr. Rokonidas suggested: a) completion of the masterplan of the harbor with exclusive use as a passenger port, fishing shelter, tourist and small amateur boat shelter and b) temporary use as a commercial port with restricted conditions.
On the matter of the seafront from Livadia up to the Lower Shore (Kato Gyalos), including the Park of Ag. Nicholaos until the junction of the Perifereiakos (Periphery road), he said: "We claim the necessity for the creation of a commercial Harbor and we request to speed up the necessary procedures for its implementation in line with the following terms and conditions:
1. Immediate design and construction of a new road axis on the basis of the least possible disturbance of residential areas.
2. To tackle the problem of freight transport.
3. The size of the project to meet the actual needs and have a medium-long term perspective.
4. To provide for the possibility of loading aggregates, provided that they comply with the rules of legality and for as long as this activity may last, applying all the necessary modern measures for the environmental protection and measures against any other disturbance.
Concluding, he added: "Even here, once again, the Mayor’s attitude poses the risk of cancellation of an important project. Instead of pursuing the project with the above agreed conditions, which will solve the problem of the commercial harbor with the prevention of deterioration of the region, he has begun talking about a dual-use port (passenger-commercial) out of nowhere, without any commonly agreed decision."
Mr. Rokonidas reported in detail all the sports infrastructure needed on our island.
- Construction of an indoor Athletic Center at Zevlaki.
- Construction of an athletic center in Naoussa (commitment on the basis of the joint proposal by the clubs Nereus-Naias for the Agrokipio οf Naoussa, with gradual or full project implementation.)
-Study for the construction of a heated swimming pool of Olympic dimensions.
Culture - Schools
-Regarding culture, Mr. Rokonidas said: " The non-existence of space enough to house the cultural promotion, the artistic presence, the possibility of a modern cinema theatre, is a shame for our island. The Mayor of Paros is the Vice President of the Velentzeio Foundation. Apart from his personal rivalry with the Foundation, what else did he do? "
For the schools, he said: "The problems of the 2nd Municipal Grammar School remain untouched for 5 years now and the famous study for the Secondary High School has turned into a never-ending story."
Mr. Rokonidas insisted on the registration of the Municipal Property. Referring to the property that houses the Piraeus Bank, whose ownership was returned to the Municipality of Paros, he said: "So far the Municipality has not completed its negotiations with the Bank and does not collect any rent. We ask the Mayor, who is responsible for defending the municipal property: Which property owner has ever had such transactional behavior towards a tenant?"
Furthermore, regarding the Xenonas (Youth Hostel) of Naoussa, he said that following an auction, the Municipality delivered it to a private individual who will have to restore it and operate it. However, this was done without a prior feasibility study by the Municipality, setting out the starting price of the auction and, he wondered: "If the city officials were to lease a piece of their own property, would they have a starting price or would they just give it away to whoever offered the most?"
For the Guest House of Lefkes, he claimed that it is in poor condition and the its exploitation is being greatly contested, while adding: "This property could be used to provide housing to temporary staff members of various services as well as to education and/or nursing staff; notwithstanding the fact that it’s the State’s obligation to subsidize such employees with a rental allowance”.
Finally, he referred to the slaughterhouses, that are currently in a miserable condition, abandoned for years, without any maintenance.
For the traffic problem, he claimed that his proposal includes a study for the entire coastline from Livadia up to the Kato Gyalos, including the Park of Ag. Nicholaos and up to the intersection of the Perifereiakos. Furthermore, he supported the study and construction of a new ring road with the least possible disturbance for the already built areas, a solution for the problem for freight transport (fuel, etc.). On the subject of aggregates, Mr. Rokonidas made an analysis in talking about the rules of legality; while he claimed that "the Mayor’s ambiguous position for purely electoral purposes, leads him into a rhetoric for a dual-purpose port (passenger-commercial), without any statutory body having taken such a position or decision."
Regarding the social policy, he proposed the reduction or abolishment of municipal fees to the financially weak people, the support of the Disabled Persons Center and of all the facilities having to do with the elderly people. Moreover, he proposed to remove the nursery schools boarding fees for families with income below 30,000 euros, while exploring the possibility for broadening the breakfast supply to all students and operating any necessary social structures, such as social grocery, pharmacy, tutorials etc.
Urban Planning etc.
He addressed the Urban-Environment Department, supporting that it only exists on paper without staff and therefore without any possibility for getting organized properly in its sector.
For the airport he said: "Nobody discredits the advantages of this operation. We fast tracked this project, while with a slight delay we could have acquired building installations with perspectives. Consequently, while AEGEAN solved its problem, we keep struggling for more building space to adequately serve our passenger needs. On the other hand, the non-profit civil enterprise (AMKE) that was established to involve the local society in contributing towards a reduction of the building construction costs on behalf of the AEGEAN, until to date, it has not yet made any public statement on the expenditure incurred, in order to let the Parians know where their contributions went."
The political lie
Mr. Rokonidas also added: “We don't eliminate or devalue the work of the municipal authority. We blame it for succumbing to the Government Policies without standing up to defend the interests of Paros first.
We blame it because, in front of its own policy impasses, it hired the political practice of spreading political lies and half-truths.
-The municipal authority cites that it delivered 3 km of maintained road per capita, without even making a simple multiplication to realize that the calculated length exceeds that of the Earth’s equator!
The municipal authority cites that it installed 0.18 km of new drainage pipes per capita and, they didn’t even multiply it to see that this results into 2,700 km. of new pipes!
The municipal authority cites that it gave 54,000€ for vaccinations of stray animals, while they could have claimed that amount from the State. Due to their incompetence, this was paid by the Parian citizens.
After all, as a result of the lies spread concerning the shelter for the strays, the Mayor has been the target of both the animal welfare organizations AND the inhabitants of Marathi.
The latest lie is his effort to turn the residents of Marathi against us.”
Closing his speech Mr. Rokonidas said: "we are proud to inspire all of you here today and those who weren't able to come. Your presence here today, is the answer to the real dilemma for the Parian people, which is:
Shall we continue on the same path that has led us to where we are today or, dynamically join together and fight to pave the way through to satisfying contemporary social needs, the needs of our island?
This is the critical question for the Parian people and the much-discussed development to their benefit. Let’s go and do it then. We want and we can! The solution is in your hands! Everyone, everywhere give your vote to the LAIKI SISPIROSI (POPULAR CONGRESS).”
The first 59 candidates of Laiki Sispirosi of Paros are as follows:
1 Agouros Angelos (Wood Trader),
2 Alexopoulou Aphrodite (public official),
3 Anagnostopoulos Sevastianos (agronomist),
4 Antoniou Ghiorgos (auto body technician)
5 Argudelli Margarita (owner of a foreign language center),
6 Arkas Stamatis-Sitaras (retired aircraft engineer)
7 Avlitis Petros (Architect Engineer)
8 Vavanos Theodoros (biosystem engineer),
9 Vavanou Emmanuela (trader),
10 Vavanou Fenia (decorator),
11 Ventouris Dimitris (retired machinist)
12 Vlachou Georgia (Employee),
13 Volosyrakis Nik. (educational),
14 Garaki Eleni, husband of Tsigonia Elias (home),
15 Gemeliaris Emmanuel (retired from OSE)
16 Yurtzidis Charilaos (professional),
17 Deiktas Manolis (electrician)
18 Dekaristos Giorgos (accountant)
19 Zoumis Manolis (Employee),
20 Theodorakou Anthi (Employee),
21 Kalakonas Meneghos (trader)
22 Kalambalikis Nickos (retired trader)
23 Kallerghis Panagiotis (hotel employee)
24 Kapoutsou Voula (educational)
25 Karmati-Mavraga Despoina-Deppy (painter)
26 Katrodavli Elli-Ragoussi (retired)
27 Kefalas Frangiskos Emm. (educational)
28 Kouzoumi Varvara (retired OAED)
29 Legaki Markella (sociologist),
30 Maouni Flora (trader),
31 Marinopoulos Thanasis (merchant),
32 Markopoulou-Toumassi Artemis (DOY Paros employee)
33 Marmaras Yannis (retired banker)
34 Bassoulou Ioanna (retired architect engineer)
35 Patrocci Emanouella (architect engineer)
36 Paschos Georghios (retired educational)
37 Pavlaki Angeliki (educational)
38 Pavlakis Ghiorgos (retired)
39 Perivolas Dimitris (trader)
40 Pitsikalis Angelos (beekeeper),
41 Poulopoulou-Papadaki Alexandra (retired merchant)
42 Poulopoulou Andriani (Trader),
43 Ragousi Maria (self-employed),
44 Rookon Electra (Employee),
45 Roubanos Michalis (autobody technician)
46 Roussos Giannis (farmer - builder),
47 Roussou Zacharoula-Nikoleta (Manrantoni) (unemployed nursery teacher)
48 Sarris Vangelis (retired)
49 Sideri Dimitra (educational)
50 Tzanakopoulos Giannis (gymnast - rescuer of EKAB of Paros),
51 Tzanakopoulou Mandalena (contract employee at the Paros State Council),
52 Tzanetaki Olga (retired architect engineer)
53 Tzani - Sambatziotis Nikoleta (ex-contractant of the municipality of Paros),
54 Tsantanis Frangiskos (retired fisherman)
55 Tsigonias Nikos (veterinarian),
56 Frantzis Andreas (retired plumber)
57 Frantzis Nikos (plumber),
58 Foskinis Akis (refrigerant),
59 Houliaras Sotiris (architect engineer).