The lady IS for listening

1
Meet Maria Luisa Lopez Perez, Mojacar Town Hall’s Councillor for Foreign Residents.


THE British residents of Mojacar have finally been heard. And a Spanish woman has listened to them. She is the mayor, Rosa Maria Cano (pictured), who recognises that the town’s many foreign residents do not have a voice.
To make sure that what they say can be heard where it matters, the town hall has set up a foreign residents’ department like those in Marbella and Mijas. It will be aimed specifically at listening to and helping the town’s expatriate population.
Mayor Cano has explained that the aim of the department is not just to listen to foreign residents, but also to help them with a wide range of issues in their own language.
What’s more, a dedicated councillor will be available to visit the homes of those who have trouble getting out and about, making the council even more inclusive of the expat population than before.
Mojacar has a registered population of 7,745 and a staggering 61.5 per cent were born outside Spain. Figures like that suggest – as the British community has suggested for some time – that a foreign residents’ department is sorely needed at the town hall.
Those British voices have been heard and the department will become a reality thanks to Mayor Rosa Maria Cano (who is happiest when known and addressed as Rosmari).
The town hall already goes to considerable lengths for its foreign residents, with programmes aimed at providing them with subsidised leisure activities, excursions and holidays alongside Spanish residents.
The accent might be on diversion and entertainment but underlying the fun, there is a serious attempt at encouraging integration, too. These attempts have reaped success and Rosmari Cano says that one of the town hall’s wisest moves after the 2011 elections was employing a linguist at the town hall.
“We have taken on board what residents describe as their greatest priority by expanding this help,” she told the Euro Weekly News (EWN), and added: “So we intend to have a proper foreigners’ department with an office in the town hall and a designated English-speaking councillor, Maria Luisa Lopez Perez.”
The councillor and her department will provide foreign residents with assistance and support in settling themselves into their new homes and new lives in Spain. She can answer their practical questions, explain the health and education systems and guide them through the labyrinth of local taxes. Maria Luisa will be available to visit people in their own homes if requested. This will address their needs and ensure that their queries are answered on the spot,” Rosmari has pledged.
“This councillor will co-ordinate and further our efforts to reach out to the English-speaking community. Links have already been forged with local groups, clubs and charities as well as the Anglican church to discuss future plans.”
The mayor cares passionately about Mojacar and all its residents whether they are Spanish or foreign-born. Over her past four years as mayor she has used this passion allied to know-how to bring the town hall books back to health for their benefit.
Rosmari said: “Thanks to efficient management we have been able to cut the council debt from €8 million to €3 million.” The town hall’s need for cost-cutting prompted EWN to ask the mayor for her views on other parties’ proposals. “We do wonder how they will be able to fund their long list of projects,” she commented, and added that it was flattering to observe how so many parties are now suggesting proposals that the town hall has already carried out, or intends to.
Experience has shown Rosmari that all problems can be solved when a firm hand is enclosed in an unthreatening, velvet glove. Like any mother who knows all about velvet gloves, she has a sense of responsibility towards the voters who have put her at the head of the town hall. She also has kind words, not vitriol, for rival politicians in other parties. Asked about Jessica Simpson of the ‘Somos Mojacar’ party, Rosmari wished her every success. She said: “She has been a councillor for the past four years and in the future there is every likelihood that she can realise her ambition of becoming the first foreign-born female mayor in Spain,” Rosmari said.
The integration and wellbeing of the foreign community is a prime concern for Rosmari and she intends to guarantee that no-one with something to say in Mojacar – whatever their nationality – will be ignored.


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1 COMMENT

  1. For a moment I thought it was APRIL fools Day as this such awful propaganda. Let us ALL be reminded that this woman has made Mojacar a laughing stock throughout Europe when she instructed her police to fine Spaniards for drinking water on Mojacar beach and stopped old men paying dominoes because it was too noisy. Both were reported throughout Europe as quite unbelievable.In many places she would have been carted off to the looney bin but in Mojacar, quite amazingly, she gets re-elected.

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