Tuesday, April 04, 2017

The Defectors Of Pollensa

There was a good deal of talk about defection in Pollensa last week. There were two defectors. One was Martí Roca, the former councillor from El Pi who was ejected by the party but remains a councillor ("non-accredited"). A motion was raised, egged on by the El Pi apparatus which doesn't otherwise have a councillor and enthusiastically proposed by the ruling coalition of the Junts (Altogether Now, Altogether Now). Defection was to be officially abhorred. The motion failed. Of those against were the Tots, the creation of ex-mayor Tomeu Cifre. He defected from the PP when he fell out with Bauzá.

Yes, Cifre was a defector, but there again he was a fairly honourable one. He'd had enough of Bauzá (many others had but didn't take such action) and did what he did - form another party, indistinguishable from the PP, just with a different name. Roca, though, wasn't a defector as such. How could he have been? He was chucked out of the party. That isn't the same as defection.

The Alternativa, abstaining on the motion, took the view that El Pi were the last ones to be giving lectures on defection. They had, after all, been formed with the help of one-time Manacor mayor Antoni Pastor, a defector from the PP. Which was also wrong. Pastor was a much earlier objector to Bauzá than Cifre. He was thrown out of the PP. How could he have been a defector therefore?

If you want an example of defection, then you can go back to the 2011 election in Alcudia. A PSM (Mallorcan socialist) councillor, Carme Garcia, was elected. She then threw her lot in with the PP and allowed it to run the town administration. Had she not, the PP would not have had a majority. Removed from the party, hers was a case of defection. You don't just let the enemy in as easily as that and secure yourself a post as one of the deputy mayors.

Back in Pollensa, the further defection involved the mayor. Miquel Àngel March was once the spokesperson for GOB. He's as enviro-conscious as it gets. Yet, there he was, seemingly backing a proposal which, although it didn't spell it out, was calling on the tourism ministry to exempt holiday rental villas that aren't strictly speaking legal. This is because, under the forthcoming legislation, such villas cannot be official if they a) have any pending infraction for planning violation hanging over them or b) do not have a certificate of habitability. This latter aspect means, for instance, being unable to show how - to put it bluntly - shit is dealt with.

As a committed GOB-ite, it might have been thought that March would be firmly opposed to any exemptions. However, there is of course the awkward situation in Pollensa that without holiday rentals the tourist economy would collapse. Even a GOB-ite can understand that.

The Alternativa were not satisfied. They accused the mayor of ideological defection, an allusion to the Roca motion, and one which apparently left councillors examining their shoes while the tourism councillor made a brave attempt at explaining things and March maintained an undignified silence.

The tourism ministry, responding to this, said that if properties don't comply, then they're going to have to, if they want to remain legally registered holiday rentals. The ministry's position is, one would suggest, perfectly reasonable.

Defection or not, March knows he faces a very awkward situation. Ideologically he would be opposed to liberal application of rentals' legislation, but as a defender of Pollensa interests he would be mad to be. The crunch is going to come with all the zoning that it is to be done. Tourism minister Barceló has intimated that currently registered rentals' properties could be de-registered. Villas which are fully legal might conceivably fall outside the zones. Then there are apartments, ones which may or may not become eligible for legal registration. If they do become eligible, then they will be part of the wider narrative of the devil's work of tourist saturation, a narrative to which GOB is an adherent.

What more defection might there yet be?

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