Friday, February 13, 2015

City Caretaker

In spite of the cold weather citizens' protests are à la mode in Germany. No, I am not referring to the PEGIDA demonstrations in Dresden but to a retailers' protest in Freiburg called Wir (we).

When Red Baron reads Wir he immediately thinks of the protests against East German rule in Dresden 25 years ago when people held up posters: Wir sind das Volk (We are the people) eventually leading to Germany's reunification. When the "Pegidans" used the same "sacred" slogan counterprotestors showed posters: Wirr ist das Volk (People are scatterbrained).

Wir in Freiburg wrote an open letter to Mayor Salomon accusing the city that Freiburg's leitmotif: Z'Friburg in de Stadt, sufer isch's un glatt (The city of Freiburg is clean and looks polished) is no longer valid. There is filth in the streets and Schmuddelecken (dirty corners) serve as urinals. In order to restore Freiburg's "native" state the retailer movement asked the city to create the post of a Stadtkümmerer (city caretaker). However, the City Council including Mayor Salomon did not like the way the open letter was formulated and felt annoyed.

Freiburg's Town Hall in the early morning sun

A close up

This morning Red Baron walked downtown. When crossing the Rathausplatz I noticed a poster at the Town Hall. It is Fasnet (Carnival season) in Freiburg and the poster read accordingly: N'en Kümmerer wer brauch' den schon, ihr häbt doch mich Schneck Salomon (Who needs a city caretaker when you've already got me, Snail Salomon).

On the right the Bertold monument.
Note the orange vehicle "polishing" the streetcar tracks
On my way back home I passed the city center. On Bertoldsbrunnen pedestrians were annoyed by a garbage truck in their way. When I took a photo a rail grinder car just passed polishing the streetcar tracks. Is Mayor Salomon not a snail, already active and cleaning operations have started without a Stadtkümmerer?

P.S.: In its weekend edition of February 14, 2015, the Badische Zeitung asked: Wie schmuddelig ist Freiburgs Innenstadt wirklich? (Actually, how filthy is Freiburg's city).

A rubbish heap in Freiburg (©BZ/Rita Eggstein)

P.S.: Today (February 19) the Badische Zeitung published an article titled: Stadtkümmerer muss hungrig sein (A city caretaker should be hungry) meaning that he should not sit in an office but walk the city, look around, and talk to retailers and citizens. And there is already a candidate for the job. The guy is an expert on city marketing from Upper Bavaria and a frequent visitor to Freiburg. When he was asked he said: I'll kick-start the job for two weeks but I can't do it any longer.

Who will follow? Here comes Superkümmerer:

(©Thomas Muffler/BZ)

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