Ada Colau is the mayor of Barcelona, and the first woman to hold that office. She was elected to the post through a citizens municipal platform called Barcelona En Comú. Colau was a key figure in the defense of Barcelona citizens during the 2008 financial crisis. She is featured in episode nine, A New Millennium, and episode ten, 2017 of Catalunya Barcelona.
I hope Barcelona mayor Ada Colau stays in power for a long time. This woman has down a lot of good for the city. She’s finding solutions to great problems, like housing and rental prices. However, she says she can’t address the law on rental pricing, as that’s controlled by the central government. So, on that level, I hope Catalonia is afforded more autonomy, so these collective problems can be addressed with individual solutions. I really hope so. The greatest problems looming over Barcelona is housing and the price of rents. They’ve risen to unsustainable levels, and the same is true for sales of houses. I hope that issues like these can be addressed with the help of people like Ada Colau.
Estela Fernandez discusses the housing issue that Mayor Ada Colau is trying to solve.
So how does Barcelona take care of its citizens? Well, I think it’s very different from the central government of Spain who’s responsible for a lot of cuts in the health system and the educational system as well. Barcelona’s town hall, however, is quite different. It’s more leftie. Our mayor, Ada Colau, first of all, is a woman, and she used to be the head of a group of people, a ‘platform’ they call it in Spanish, a group of people who were affected by… [Cut] She used to be part of a group that was formed by people who were affected by evictions but they were evicted because the conditions of their mortgage were crazy, were really just crazy. They had to, for example, they had to keep on paying even after they were kicked out of the house. You know, like unfair conditions. And she was, in fact, photographed in a demonstration when she refused to leave a bank where they were having this demonstration. And the picture shows Ada Colau on the floor, sitting on the floor and two police officers trying to pick her up from the floor. And that photograph went viral on the internet when she became mayor. I think Ada Colau is trying to take care of Barcelona’s citizens in a much more humane way. However, it is hard because obviously she needs the support of other political parties and other political parties sometimes make it very difficult for her to approve budgets and very simple things like that. Well, not simple, but practical things like that. But she is trying, for example, to create more nursery schools in areas where there are none. She’s trying to also improve the salary of the people who work as caregivers. She wants to regularise or regulate… She wants to regulate tourism in a certain way like people who rent out flats sometimes this created a problem with neighbors because tourists can be very loud, very disrespectful sometimes and having people coming in and out at all times was annoying for some neighbors. So she’s trying to regulate all that, come up with a rule to keep everyone happy. And you know, she’s actually trying to fix a lot of things that are wrong with the city. She does have limited power because she’s a mayor. So there’s only so much that she can do and it’s a lot considering that there’s a conservative government in power that doesn’t give you a lot of freedom of movement so to speak.
Let’s see, Ada Colau and tourism…I think that she generally has good intentions. She wants is to stop this wild growth, and I’m all for that. But I think they’re not going about it the way they ought to, using sledgehammers to crack nuts.They’re left-wing and end uppersecuting small business owners, While large companies are left to their own devices–buying buildings, opening hotels, covertly subleasing apartments everywhere, welcoming 5,000 from a transatlantic cruise, and filling the streets with tour operators, that’s all legal. But having a small business, renting out three apartments, that’s a problem. I just don’t get it. Forbidding tourist activity is useless, so I think they haven’t figured out how to treat the problem. They ought to go after the big businesses and let the small ones work. But it’s strange that they’re left-wing and doing the opposite. Small businesses are threatened,and big businesses are allowed to grow.
2015 – Ada Colau speaking in Barcelona after her investiture as mayor of the city.
Ada Colau during a PAH (Platform for People Affected by Mortgages) demonstration.