My coming back into the country four years ago also meant coming back into a completely different world. I had lived democracy as the normal state of an individual within a world in which every person, group, political party or journalist had their own well established role within the social frame. Each of their actions was being attentively monitored by everybody else, active members of the same society, who reacted appropriately if needed and in due time to the positioning of the others. In a civilized world based on mutual respect, every action or lack of it triggers a reaction. It’s the way of things. It’s normal.
In a small town from the heart of Transylvania county where things have always been run by a mayor who behaves as the landlord of his very own vast plantation, things are being far more complicated.
And it’s not because of any failure in understanding the very basic principles of democracy – I do believe that each and any of my countrymen do understand what it’s all about when it comes to democracy – but mostly because of a deeply flawed way of thinking and human weakness. In fact, it’s a long chain of weaknesses that perpetuate.
Just a few days ago, in a very appropriate interview she gave, Mrs Pamela Roussos Ratiu was saying that democratic behavior is based on the confrontation of ideas. I couldn’t agree more! That’s precisely the type of democratic behavior that I’ve been used to over all these years of living abroad. Yet in Turda, or better said in Romania as a whole, this very basic principle doesn’t work properly as long as the political decision-makers are constantly eluding the very role of civil society, and the media fail to understand their duty of monitoring the same political decision-makers. It’s as simple as that: if each fulfills its role and reacts attentively and in time at the needs of others through dialogue and without neglect, community will thrive.
The last elections have brought out a new mayor chosen by approximately 4500 voters which means less than 10% of the total population of Turda. So, more than 90% of the population of Turda must have either had a different option or simply didn’t trust the mayor’s administrative skills. Still, the current mayor is continuing to constantly ignore the options of his fellow citizens and every issue ever signaled by any of these 90% is being perceived as an affront. Dissenting opinions are ignored and dialogue is nonexistent. Yet, democracy works differently.
Civil society, citizens themselves are compelled to monitor every decision ever made in politics, and react to every action, either positively or negatively. This is the point where dialogue is supposed to begin. Yet, this is not the case in Turda because, as long as this very important first step is not being taken by the local authorities towards the citizens of this town without considering their critical voice as being either isolated or inappropriate, we get situations as the one that happened in the last few days.
In the last few days, a new local conflict emerged caused entirely by the mayor’s complete lack of transparency and communication. Two important decisions have been taken last year by our local authorities with major impact on both our local budget and the citizens pockets. I’m talking about the Urban Mobility Plan and the CAA new project that will triple the costs of running tap water over the next 6 years. Both projects will deeply affect the quality of life of each and every citizen of Turda, and therefore I wanted to make sure that none of the projects will have a negative impact on these people’s lives. I kept signaling these two issues that are of great concern to all of us, yet the mayor’s reaction was to entirely ignore me, in spite of all the arguments that I could have provided.
In the end, all that I have asked for was political transparency which shouldn’t have even been an issue here considering it’s provided by law and the mayor should have simply abide by the law in order not only to please the 10 % who voted for him in the elections, but to at least listen to the voice of the majority of the 90% who didn’t.
Everything mentioned before in addition to the figures that I’m very concerned about made me go for a deeper and closer examination of both projects as I consider them profoundly detrimental to the citizens of Turda. Some other decisions that the mayor has taken so far also made me look for some more enlightening answers straight from the source where they assign the money for the projects and where there are multiple monitoring capabilities of the funds assigned. That is the main reason for which I’ve decided to take a trip to Bruxelles and have a meeting with an OLAF official apart from the fact that I believe that the money coming from the EU must be entirely used to benefit of the EU citizens, therefore the citizens of Turda as well.
There is also the Workcall project issue where the ladies running and making decisions at Turda Salt Mine very close or even related to mayor Matei – Mrs Simona Baciu, the mayor’s daughter and also daughter in law – have applied for EU funding on behalf of the institution but with no benefit for the citizens of Turda whatsoever. The beneficiaries of the above mentioned project are still unknown due to the same concerning lack of transparency. So, when transparency in public affairs is completely absent but the questions and public issues persist, the solution is to find the answers together with those who’ve got the available tools to verify the usefulness of these projects.
That of course will mean that I’ll be again the subject of some new media attacks which I’m emotionally prepared for. Mrs. Pamela Roussos Ratiu is right saying that: “ when someone wants to do politics, they will never be successful unless they stop attacking their opponents and start offering solutions in order to solve the problems of their communities on long term.” Yet, when the mayor himself is constantly financing my being lynched by media because I keep asking questions and seeking for answers, he’s just proving my point according to which he’s never been interested in the well-being and prosperity of his community more than he’s interested in my being silenced.
Daniel Dobos, Dipl.-Kfm. (FH)