Cycling week good and bad
The cycling week in the Bulletin started with the positive news of Palma town hall's involvement in the annual global event 30 Days of Biking Challenge. Matters took a slight turn for the worse with what can seem like an annual complaint - the use of the public way in Andratx by cyclists on excursions from the north of the island; the town hall rectified matters to a degree by installing a couple of portaloos.
Very much worse was another annual occurrence - cyclist fatalities. Christoph Bohnen headed off on a bright Thursday morning from his group's base in Cala Ratjada. The group was going to the Puig Major. They never made it. Shortly before midnight on Thursday, the traffic directorate announced that Christoph Bohnen had died. He had suffered multiple organ failure.
More zero tolerance
Calvia town hall did what Calvia town hall does every year prior to the season's start. There is to be another campaign of zero tolerance. There are to be penalties for happy hours and two for the price of one. There is awareness raising of new regulations and rules. A few weeks ago, Calvia had announced a new regime of fines for various offences, some of them drink-related.
Meanwhile, as was highlighted on Friday, the local Spanish media had latched onto a UK report about the Advertising Standards Authority's complaints directed at Magalluf's Sunset Booze Cruise. Also noted was the fact that the activities of PRs in Magalluf are already generating their own complaints. So, another season comes around. There may be a season when all this becomes a thing of the past.
Absent, it appeared, from the zero tolerance was any mention of the notorious mugging prostitutes. Calvia has acted against other forms of prostitution - the town hall closed several establishments last year for breaches of licences: they were basically brothels. But on the streets it's a different matter.
In Manacor, the owner of so-called alternative clubs, i.e. brothels, was arrested not just for offences related to prostitution but also because of drug trafficking and money laundering.
Palma town hall ordered the closure of half of Mega Park in Arenal. Licence infractions were the reason. Employees had let the town hall know about their anxieties over the loss of jobs. Deputy mayor for urban planning, José Hila, stressed his respect for workers' rights but insisted that Mega Park is "a matter of legality and planning permission". While he is undoubtedly right, there are other issues, such as jobs, about which the regional employment ministry has expressed its own concern. But legality is legality, and anything with a Cursach stamp on it is being checked for this legality. Or should one stress - is now being checked.
Tax and tourism
The Tax Agency will be applying its own zero tolerance with regard to non-declaration of income from holiday rentals. And quite rightly so. The taxman is only really interested in obtaining what he is due. Others have different reasons for taking an interest in the control of holiday rentals, such as the tourism minister. HomeAway became the latest of the big accommodation portals to incur the wrath of the Balearic government and find itself facing a 300,000 euros fine. HomeAway has already disputed the fine, citing European regulations on e-commerce. This defence was used when the Catalonia government imposed a fine of 30,000 euros; the fine was quashed. Since then, however, a European Court judgement re Uber may change how this is interpreted.
While the tourism minister was extolling the virtues of, inter alia, the 'Better in Winter' campaign and pointing to a rise in British tourism over the winter, there were the findings of the Balearic government's own Ibestat survey: British tourism in February fell by 21.9%.
Nine years in a car park
Finally, there was the curious story of the Volvo V40 which had been in an underground car park in Palma since 2009. It was finally towed away and scrapped. The owner, whose whereabouts appear to be unknown, owes more than 30,000 euros.
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