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1/1 Mustapha Laboui leaves district council


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‘No secrecy over satellite dish permit’

22 February 2008 - The Centrum District must provide adequate information about the permits it is plans to grant. A motion to that effect was supported by a majority of the council yesterday. According to Joris van Vuure (D66), the district is deliberately secretive about permits to avoid citizens asking questions.

The district is obliged to publish the permits it plans to grant, so as to enable citizens to appeal. According to Van Vuure, the district routinely uses the catch-all description ‘article 19’, leaving citizens in the dark whether the permit regards the installation of a satellite dish, the construction of a dormer or the demolition of a monumental stair.

This strategy to avoid citizen interference is counterproductive, argues Van Vuure. “Many active citizens live in the city centre and when they see an announcement and don’t know what it’s about, they start asking around, often making a lot of fuss about nothing”. In the motion he presented, the district is asked to provide council members with more extensive information about permits, enabling them to answer questions from citizens.

All council members agreed with Van Vuure’s proposal, but a few members of the PvdA nevertheless voted against his motion. According to Van Vuure, they did not want to offend alderwoman and fellow party member Els Iping.

Jelle Houtsma, one of the members who voted against, denies that this played a role. Iping had already said she would adopt Vuure’s proposal and the only reason to put the motion to the vote was to get some publicity out of it, he argues. He also denies that coalition members are ‘meek sheep’, pointing out that they recently rejected a diversity policy proposed by the district government.

Prior to the meeting of the district council, a fellow party member of Van Vuure sent the rest of the council an email expressing doubts as to whether the meeting should be held at all, since there was not much on the agenda. By accident, the email was also sent to journalists who receive the agendas of council meetings.


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