Marco González assures that in difficulties there are also opportunities. For this reason, far from continuing to live from longing, for what Puerto de la Cruz was and could not be, he opted to show the city as what he really believes it to be: a cultural and creative ecosystem. For this reason, during the pandemic he insisted on continuing to celebrate festivals such as Mueca, Phe, jazz and other cultural events and thus end the nickname he had received in recent years: the ‘death’ of the Cross. His decision caused many eyes to be directed to the municipality, which positioned itself as a tourist destination to the point that it has been one of the first to begin to recover from the crisis. Not everything was a bed of roses, he clarifies: “there were also those who did not understand it and punished us, and hoped that something would go wrong to seek political gain in those decisions,” he says.
- Is it true that Puerto de la Cruz is in fashion?
“The fruit that we are harvesting now is the consequence of something that the Government had something very clear about: the Port could not allow itself to disappear like other municipalities that suspended everything, perhaps because they had other sources of income. We, as a tourist city, could not do it, for that reason we have not stopped and the confinement allowed us to start up a machine that multiplied all the opportunities for the city ”.
- Doesn’t it bother you to be told that you are the mayor of the parties?
“It doesn’t bother me because I’m very proud of my past and whoever uses it to attack me is wrong. In the first place, because it questions the ability of some to identify a cultural activity as a party and give the latter a negative connotation, trying to show something that is not true. The Port has not given any holder of a party or irregular bottle. What we have done is to give value to a sign of identity, because this government was clear that all the uniqueness of the city, in which the festivals are included, has to be part of those elements that differentiate us from other tourist destinations. That attempt to surname me in some way will have its setback when I can honestly go to the parties organized by the neighborhoods and talk about what they mean to all of Porto’s society. And it also strengthens a clear bet: that you have to invest more in culture because perhaps the greatest ignorance is when you have that kind of appreciation and you don’t know how to distinguish between what a party is and a cultural act ”.
- That the city is full of people there is no doubt. Is it controlled as it should to avoid contagion?
“If we take a balance in percentage, the epidemiological situation of the city has been more than applauded by all sectors. Nothing has happened that we have to be ashamed of, the control of the local and national Police has paid off and is still being done on a daily basis. Work has been done to obtain the safe certification seal from the Spanish Institute of Tourist Quality (ICTE), which has allowed Puerto de la Cruz to position itself in the world. It is necessary to highlight both the responsibility of the business sector and that of each person from Porto in particular, because the city has not given the negative headlines that some were expected. There is a new stage that I will be applauding because the effects are what they are, both due to the occupation and the environment that exists in the streets and that are a differentiating element of who governs a City Council that is very clear that the Balance. They thought that this government only took care of the festivities and they questioned the large investments of the municipality, when we are paving streets without the elections coming, which is what was done before when there were six months to go ”.
- The PP assures that he left the Asphalting Plan drawn up …
“Yes, above all, he left us a sentence, that of the El Durazno urbanization, which did not allow us to face a project that was drawn up by the previous government team (PP-CC) because we had to act and tender a work of half a million of euros that had already reigned by final judgment since 2017 and had not been executed despite the fact that there was a commitment to do so from the previous Mayor’s Office. It was not even foreseen in the Contracting Unit. That is the reality for which the economic destinies foreseen by the previous Government had to be destined to pay a firm judicial sentence and that is why it was necessary to act very quickly. I have no qualms when there are projects from another government. I have always said that politics is a relay race, someone started running and you have two options, either you stay, or you accept the witness, you advance and keep running. They questioned the investment of the pool and not only are we running but we have had to solve all the problems that occur when you start the work, such as sanitation, and that we solve day by day to execute a project that belongs to no one but the Port from the cross”.
- But he cannot deny that at one point his execution faltered …
“I think it was a political weapon of those who wanted to harm the president of the Cabildo with demagogies that do not go anywhere like ‘as he was mayor of the South, he was not going to support the North.’ The compromise was there but administrative procedures were lacking. A work of 12 million is not tendered with the blink of an eye. And many things are still missing, which means that the road was not as smooth as some want to show. However, this team has never heard of how they left us with the project or what the previous one did. We appreciate their work and in the same way, we would like them to appreciate what is currently being done because, I insist, this project is not owned by any specific government but by all the people of Porto ”.
- Can you guarantee that the new Parque San Francisco will go ahead?
“The reality of the Park is that it has started the other way around and that has to be assumed now. Instead of having done a detailed study and all the previous studies, demolish the property and then do a contest of ideas and a procedure on the model that has a place depending on the land on which it is located – next to a BIC and In the whole of the historic center, the first thing that was done was an ideas contest that was also very free, because it was not known what the place was like or what the building was going to be like. Even the participatory process has been misleading because all the modifications that have been made with the insular area of Patrimonio have changed what was approved at the time by all the social and cultural agents that were part of the procedure. Now it is time to review those circumstances and I have something very clear on a personal level that is shared by almost the entire city, and that is that we are not going to put a BIC like the hermitage of San Francisco at risk. From there, if all the guarantees are given in the geotechnical study, the procedure begins. At the time, the project was not even approved by a municipal architect because what was missing was the important thing, which is what this government has put out to tender, the final geotechnical study that is going to put realities on the table, determine what are the risks of a work of these characteristics, and then assume what all parties decide ”.
- What will happen to the families evicted from Calle Pelinor who will no longer be able to return to their homes?
“We are very aware of this, we have transferred it to the neighbors and we have started with the Punta Brava master plan. The reality is that what was announced and the measures are not real and we are looking for alternatives from the City Council. There is still no decision made because there are administrative procedures that condition. There are deadlines that people do not understand but that are realities and that affect us all, also those of us who have to make decisions. It is very hard and it is a constant struggle, but it is like that. There are 2018 procedures that are not finished and due to an audit issue, the aid that cannot be approved by the emergency route is stopped because, unlike Tegueste Street, Pelinor has not declared an emergency ”.
- Can the remaining one year period be fulfilled to dissolve the public company Pamarsa?
“According to many technical reports, it has already been dissolved since the debt was paid under the Adjustment Plan. It has been a constant struggle in these two years despite the pandemic, due to the vacuum and the absence of a procedure to take out the tenders that allow us to liquidate the company. There are premises exploited by Pamarsa that are unregistered and lack authorizations from other administrations that are not only necessary to tender but to guarantee employment for workers, even through subrogation, and we are in that task. And in fitting the entire Lago Martiánez procedure, because that is what will mark the definitive liquidation of Pamarsa. We want to reach the liquidation next year and do it in the best conditions to guarantee employment ”.
- Is garbage still a pending issue?
“Now we have, on the one hand, the tender for the tender and the price revision has already been approved, because the cost structure is the first thing for a new service. That will mean a quantitative leap (because more will have to be paid) and a qualitative leap for the city because a service will be recovered that at the time was reduced with a 30% reduction. On the other, specific actions are being carried out, such as a readjustment of many containers and spaces to guarantee that the collection is more constant. A pending issue for the administration is citizen awareness. It cannot be that certain businesses take out cardboard boxes at noon ”.
- Is there a decision made with the Iders building?
“As of today we already have the public unhealthy report, which is something that this government asked for despite the fact that it could have been done previously and work is being done on three aspects: the health part, the social sphere and the urban planning tool. Regarding the latter, we have an opportunity that we have never had before and I am convinced that no one will say no, even though it is extremely complex. And it is that through the second Modernization and Improvement Plan (PMM) the urban planning opportunity of the building is collected that would allow the owners to recover their home. There is a resource that could overlap the extra income they have to make because it is clear that the property cannot be rehabilitated and must be demolished. It is true that they have to make an investment again but on land that is already theirs. I believe that this administration has a moral debt with the owners and I do not know if we will find legal protection to solve it, but I am determined to do so. Hopefully we will find an alternative to a property that damages people, the image of the city and also the lives of neighboring neighbors ”.
- What balance do you make of the government pact with the ACP?
“As they are different parties, each one has its own interpretations and positions that sometimes even go beyond the local sphere, but in everything that affects the municipality, we agree, because for this they have chosen us. In addition, we have done a preliminary job of highlighting and signing a document that was the fruit of many days of work to agree on proposals and that there are no problems in the middle of the mandate. And with this clear, no difficulties have been and will not be generated in the remaining two years. That has been very positive, as is working in a coordinated way ”.
- Now that you are in government, do you boast as much about listening to citizens as when you were in opposition?
“I recognize that I like contact with people. I did not take the step to politics to lock myself in an office, the Covid locked me up. And little by little I am recovering those spaces. And precisely, the festivities are very unique elements of meeting with citizens and the entire associative fabric. My daily schedule of commitment and management always have calls and visits and people know that if they write an email to the Mayor’s Office, I will answer them. I have not changed my phone number and neither have my social networks, so it is very easy to contact me. I do not understand politics in any other way and I believe that this government is setting an example of co-governance with the citizens ”.