The city can wait

safra city hall 298 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
safra city hall 298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
According to the experts, the election campaign was boring. Maybe it was. But it seems that Kikar Safra did get an up-close and personal sample of what a political campaign is really like. The leader of the opposition, the head of the left-wing, and the Shas city council members, together with two deputy mayors, were all so busy working for their parties that some observers quipped that these politicians "might not find their way back to the municipality." For the past two months, Nir Barkat has been busy directing Kadima's campaign in the Jerusalem district. Olmert himself chose Barkat as chief of staff. Barkat has ensconced himself and his close associates in the Kadima offices in Talpiot and, since then, he has rarely been seen in Kikar Safra. Not that things are so smooth in Barkat's "Jerusalem Will Succeed" municipal party. Three members of the party won't speak to him, another seems too involved with his own municipal issues and another actually "tattle-taled" on Barkat and claimed that his use of volunteers and paid staff allegedly violated regulations. In response, the municipality's general manager asked Barkat to remove all the volunteers and employees he had hired. And so, while the nation was deciding its fate, what about our municipal affairs? Well, Barkat apparently does not feel that he has let the citizens of Jerusalem down. He just hopes that the brave residents will wait until he brings Jerusalem to his new patron - well-known Jerusalemite Ehud Olmert - on a silver platter. Barkat seems genuinely convinced that since he worked as a volunteer and didn't even ask for a place on Kadima's Knesset list, he should be rewarded with the only thing he lacked in the previous municipal elections: political backing. Pepe Allalu, head of the Meretz list at the city council, is an inveterate believer in the victory of good over evil. While it was hard to find him at his office in Kikar Safra, you couldn't miss him anywhere else in the city. Allalu distributed Meretz's flyers with an indestructible faith in his skills of persuasion. Municipal affairs? Have no worry. Allalu isn't going anywhere and especially not to the Knesset. Now that the elections are over, he'll be back. The Shas councilmen, who are not in the opposition, have been busy elsewhere, too. Even Deputy Mayor Eli Simhayoff has been nowhere to be found along the municipal corridors. They've been busy. Morning prayers at Rabbi Ovadia's home (preferably doubling as a photo-op). Meetings with potential voters throughout the city. Rallies and political-spiritual uplifting. After all, they explained, the elections only lasted a few weeks and municipal affairs could wait. Even Deputy Mayor Yigal Amedi, whose heart, like Yehuda Halevy's, is in the east, was pulled westward into the national arena. But Amedi had a conflict. After all, he couldn't let his own party, the Likud, down. But he couldn't resist the urge to help his longtime patron, Ehud Olmert from Kadima, either. Olmert also received help from yet another Jerusalemite - former city engineer Uri Sheetrit, number 46 on Kadima's list. So Kadima's offices, carefully managed by Nir Barkat, turned into the place to be for the future candidates for mayor of this city - Amedi, Sheetrit, and Barkat himself. All three of them working for Olmert, each convinced he is the Chosen One. And municipal affairs? Well, of course, they can wait. Especially since the municipality collected more than NIS 1 million in fines from the parties that hung signs and banners illegally. And municipal affairs, it appears, can wait even if while they wait, the city's legal adviser, Yossi Havillio, marks his last days in office. At the next municipal council meeting, slated for before Pessah, two-thirds of the city's council members, including at least one from Barkat's opposition party, are expected to initiate his removal from office. But more on that in our next report from the Corridors of Power. And a note to our readers: In a previous column, the opening of the ice skating rink, Yambakereh, was presented as an initiative by Mayor Lupolianski comfort the kids disappointed by the snow which didn't show this year. Corridors of Power would like to clarify that Mayor Lupolianski did know that the project had been planned, and merely wanted to let the children of Israel know that they would soon be able to enjoy an alternative to the snow.