The Popular Party (PP) this week presented its candidate for the mayor’s office of La Laguna, Ana Zurita, a woman with extensive political experience (she is currently a deputy in Congress and was a councilor in the Santa Cruz City Council and counselor in the Cabildo), an architect by profession and who arrives with the intention of giving a boost to his party and improving its results to try to govern. In the last elections of 2019, the PP obtained two councilors in the municipality and that “is a bad result for the PP and it is about improving that, undoubtedly, and we are going to achieve it,” she affirms.
-What prompted you to take the step of running for mayor of La Laguna right now?
“Being mayor of La Laguna was an illusion that I have harbored for years. In fact, in 2015 there was a threat that I was the candidate and now from the party they were looking for a profile that could contribute something more to La Laguna, because it is a very important position for us and the party thought of me to be the candidate and here I am, not only because the party has asked me to but because it is an illusion that I had for a long time. For me this is a sudden situation, I have been absolutely involved but it was not in my immediate plans to present myself, although it was something that I aspired to and I thank the party for proposing it to me ”.
-What do you think you can offer the municipality and what makes you different from other candidates?
“I am not new to politics and I believe that I can offer experience and rigor in my work, because I have shown it wherever I have been. And also something that I think La Laguna is sorely lacking at the moment, and that is my professional experience. I am an architect by profession, an urban planner, and La Laguna suffers from an endemic disease that is the absence of planning since 2004. Right now we have planning that does not respond to the social and economic reality of the city and I think that I can contribute there. quite. In fact, it is one of the bets for which I am going to fight. And, in addition, I think that also with an important differentiation, which is that right now I am the national housing secretary of the party and I think that we can offer a joint proposal that goes from the State, Autonomous Community and City Council ”.
-Are you arriving with the aim of the PP recovering in the municipality the weight that it has been losing in the last elections?
“Totally, that’s the idea, recover. I think that two councilors, which is the result of the last elections, is a bad result for the PP and it is about improving that, undoubtedly, and I think we are going to achieve it.
-In this sense, is going to undertake a renewal of the PP in La Laguna?
“I have to thank the team that is there and that Manolo Gómez (candidate in 2019 and current spokesman in the City Council) had led for their work, which, although it is not too publicized, is work that has been done seriously, rigorously and in response to the needs of the neighbors. I would like to continue with that team, continue working with them, because in reality they are the ones who know the day-to-day life of La Laguna, but I do not rule out that there are incorporations, we will see in these months “.
-Will Manolo Gómez be on that list?
“Manolo Gómez will be where he decides, if he wants to join the list, of course. The first offer is to Manolo because I believe that he should be given continuity to serious work as he has done ”.
-And the change of candidate responds to that need for renewal of the party?
“When there are elections, I believe that the parties bet that the best go to the fundamental squares and those who have the best chances not only of winning, but of developing an effective project for La Laguna. I feel very flattered that I am there in that party strategy. But it is not because there is an urgent need to change those who were already working, but that they will be counted on. But it is clear that La Laguna along with Santa Cruz are the fundamental squares where we have to win and ‘cast the remains’, as they say colloquially. And for that we are. It is not a strategy against a certain person or against a certain team. But something more is needed and a plus, and it is what I have promised to give, with the party and the lagoons”.
– Do you think that the renewal must also affect the way your organization works?
“Totally, I think you have to go for the big themes of the city. There are some important issues that must be addressed and that I mentioned on the day of my presentation, for example, the balance between the center and the neighborhoods must be recovered, La Laguna must be economically activated, we must bet on young people and the University. But of course, that was still lacking in the global strategy in La Laguna, that commitment to big issues, and that would have to be developed within a period of eight years. And there must be shorter and immediate response times for the day-to-day problems of the neighborhoods, and that must be solved”.
-Do you have some red lines when agreeing in La Laguna?
“The first thing to say is that you have to win to take the lead in that negotiation, because let’s be realistic, we are not going to get an absolute majority, so we will have to reach agreements to govern. We have a red line but I don’t want the leaders here from Podemos to take it personally, but because of what those acronyms represent, which I see in Congress, they are parties that border on anti-constitutionalism. And not because it is a red line in itself, but because we have absolutely opposite ideologies and we will never reach agreements. And with the others you can talk and the agreements will always be programmatic for the benefit of the general interest of La Laguna, which due to the fact of being an acronym ”.
-If you were to become mayor, what would be your first actions?
“I don’t want to commit to any immediate action because that will come from what the neighbors say in these months. What I know is that my immediate action now is going to be to listen to society, to the neighborhood representatives and to be on the street in these months, and these proposals will be taking shape and from there will come what the citizens consider required immediacy. There are things, as I have already said, that the result will be seen in the long term and that must be put into operation immediately, and one of the main things is the issue of administrative streamlining, of authorizations”.
-You have talked about the PGO, administrative streamlining, balance… what other points of the program can you advance?
“A fundamental issue is the opportunities for young people in the municipality. In my presentation I talked about the fact that the ULL is a benchmark but it can be even more so, and above all, opportunities must be offered to our young people. We know that in La Laguna young people do not stay because they do not have opportunities and they must be given, for their emancipation in the municipality. One of my dreams, and one that I plan to work on immediately, is to find an area of land within La Laguna where a qualification can be promoted, for example, for youth housing, in affordable conditions so that a young person can access his first housing, either for purchase or for rent, and that is something that I am going to achieve”.
In what situation do you think the municipality is currently?
“La Laguna is not developed, we do not find that it is a benchmark in absolutely nothing. It was in its day, with the reform of the old town, but it has remained there. The shops, the restaurants, are not here to stay, there is a lot of turnover and it is subject to these fluctuations between the leisure areas of Santa Cruz and La Laguna. And it needs a development, a renovation and that generates opportunities”.
-And how do you assess the current mandate?
“It has been a correct mandate, and in fact I know that there are neighbors who do not criticize it and agree, but it has been flat, without ups and downs, which has stuck to not failing, but not shining either.”
-From your professional experience as an architect, how do you think urban management has been in this mandate?
“Zero, because absolutely nothing has been done. In La Laguna we have very high housing prices when there is a lot of undeveloped land. And the support of all economic activities is a good planning of the city and that has not been done. It is an issue that many mayors are afraid of because they are afraid of failing or not complying, but it is something that cities need, and more so now. Society changes and we are subject to new needs and what we cannot do is continue planning since 2004”.