THE Mayor of Palma, Catalina Cirer said in a recent interview that she is determined to keep improving life in Palma.
Q. You have just completed two thirds of your term of office. What is your assessment of it?
A. There have been some good things and some not so good, problems which we have tried to solve, difficult moments and moments of real satisfaction such as seeing important projects for the town taking shape. But, in general, I would say that my assessment is positive, that we are on the right lines and that, and this is the most important thing for me, we are keeping the election promises we made to the citizens of Palma.
What has been, for you as Mayor, the best thing in 2005?
Without doubt, daily contact with people who live in the city, answering the questions which have been put to us, and to be able to work, every day, towards making the city a better place. And the attitude of all the Government team of executing projects with the same enthusiasm as they had on the first day.
And the worst?
The resignation of two councillors for personal reasons. This caused me, caused us, both political and personal sadness. However, we got through it and continued to work with determination and clear ideas.
What projects do you have in mind for this year?
A lot, including the improvement of sporting facilities, but perhaps most important of all will be the underground car park in Anton Maura, the refurbishing of the above ground part of this avenue which is a continuation of the Passeig des Born, and, without doubt, the Parc de sa Riera.
Will Palma Council protect our heritage?
The council is doing everything possible to protect and preserve it. We have demonstrated this on many occasions and if there is any doubt about any controversial project, as in the case of Es Pont des Tren (the demolished railway bridge), I can tell you that we have always acted according to the law and advice of the heritage experts.
And popular culture?
I have been accused of being a folklorist, I have been criticised for dressing in typical Majorcan dress, or if I have danced Majorcan dances. However, now I am being accused of the exact opposite. I cannot understand it, I am the same person and I can assure you that the council does not organise or celebrate any event without Majorcan pipers, dancers or giants, things which are representative of our culture and traditions, and I wish this to continue.
What are your priorities for the city now?
The same as when I came to the council, which I would summarise as: to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Palma, and this quality of life will not be improved just by big projects but also by apparently small day to day things, such as the bus arriving on time, the streets being clean, and creating residents associations which can interact with the council. And I think these small achievements are the most important and those which perhaps demand the greatest dedication and effort.
Do you understand the people's weariness with public works?
Of course I understand it, but it is also certain that some public works will always cause problems, especially when they are very big and last a long time, as in the case of underground works. Because of this, both the council and the Balearic Government have done everything possible to make them more tolerable, such as meeting the residents to explain the progress of the works and also to listen to their complaints and try to solve them. Again I apologise for everything that is or has been a problem for the citizens.
Social help for people has been one of your priorities...
Clearly we will continue with this, but our main worry and effort is directed to families which have problems, whether housing or work, women who have been victims of domestice violence and old people without any means. And we will continue to create refuge centres, day centres, council housing, and we are making a great effort to provide training courses for those who have difficulties getting a job. The true sense of political action is that it should always be directed towards those who need it most.
You always say that you are proud to be Mayor of Palma....
I say it in all respects. As a woman, because I am the first woman to be Mayor of Palma, as a person born here, because I love my city above everything else and for me there is no more important job than to be Mayor of your own city.

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