Corridors of Power: Dogs, culture and leadership

It has probably happened to all of you, and more than once: You're out for a walk in the streets of Jerusalem, maybe with a friend, perhaps connected to your MP3, paying more attention to the sky than to the ground and then here it comes: you step on a small (or large) smooth and brown piece of - yes, you're right - dog poo. Gone is the peaceful walk, evaporated is the gentle musical atmosphere, forgotten is the fascinating conversation with your friend - there is only one thought on your mind: How are you going to get rid of the mess on your shoe? The next thought would probably be something like, "Did anyone notice?" And then you might find comfort in remembering that your mayor had been involved not so long ago in a large campaign aimed at solving this problem. Yes, now you remember: the posters in the parks, the kit - a plastic glove and a bag to collect your pet's works of art. Oh yes, and the fine to anyone transgressing the rules. That is the moment you suddenly feel a little comfort: you're in a mess, but the guy who let it happen will pay for it... Alas, there are no rules and no sanctions in the streets of Jerusalem. According to a recent detailed answer provided by the mayor's office to city council member Nir Barkat, the reality behind the situation is - how should I put it - crappy. Here are the latest figures: In 2004 there were only six fines, in 2005, ten fines and in 2006, barely 14. But hey, the campaign was a real success. Now that we're back home safe and our shoes cleaned off, let's take a look at what's going on at City Hall on a Thursday evening, at an irregular city council meeting. On the agenda: the city council nomination of representatives at the newly born National Authority for Culture, Tourism and Foreign Affairs. The nominees for the opposition are no real problem: who cares about a fragmented opposition? But the coalition representatives, that's an issue. So much an issue, that it ended up as a fiasco: Vice Mayor Yehoshua Pollack from Aguda had his idea, which didn't exactly fit Mayor Uri Lupolianski's idea. End of story: the whole issue is wiped off the agenda. No nominees, no representatives, and thus, no authority. At least not until the next city council meeting. Sources at City Hall say it wasn't really a problem between Pollack and Lupolianski. "The real story behind it is that the members of the mayor's party, Degel Hatorah, is reluctant to accept an independent authority, who might, for example, decide to produce shows on Shabbat. They know they will have to do it - after all there's a Knesset decision to create this authority, but they gained some time, it's also something. Some people call it leadership," concluded the source. City Hall hadn't responded to In Jerusalem's request for comment by press time.