The Yucatan Times is conducting interviews with the candidates for Mayor of Merida. We invited our readers to send their questions for them, and out of more than 700, the TYT Team narrowed it down to 7 main topics:
- SURVEILLANCE AND SECURITY
- PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
- GARBAGE COLLECTION.
- HISTORICAL CENTER
- GOVERNMENT AND ECONOMY
Check out Ana Rosa Payán’s answers to the questions made by the Expat Community:
- What is your plan of action to keep Merida as one of the safest cities in Mexico and most importantly how do you plan to maintain it that way? First of all, we need to keep in mind that Merida has two different police forces, the small one that is the municipal force and the second (and most known), is the State Police. In order to achieve this goal we need a government concerened about the people, that makes its prime goal to eliminate corruption at all its levels and to have a more transparent administration.
Many expats that live in the historic center of the city have expressed their discomfort when it comes to dealing and talking with police officers, because they feel like they don’t really care for them (for being foreigners), how do you think you can change this behavior? I proposed that the municipal police officers learn at least a second language (English), in order to have a better communication and understanding with foreigners, either tourists or residents. In most of the cases when expats have had a situation with a police officer, it has been with a state police agent, not with the municipal police; that according to various polls that we have conducted; people consider the Municipal Police more trust worthy. That is why I want to increase the number of agents in the Municipal force.
- Why does the municipal government have not any authority over public transportation services? According to the Mexican constitution, the state government is responsible to grant the concessions for public transportation services and therefore, they depend directly from the state government, (from the governor), when that task should be a responsibility of the city mayor.
What is your opinion upon hearing that many people want to turn “La Plancha” into a park and a new “lung” for the city? I consider it a great project. It is our last chance to transform this place into a new park with new services, the concession is still being held by the train company. I think it is imperative to create a park there. It could be a great opportunity to relocate some of the street vendors assigning them specific spaces, and also to create a new bus routes to service the downtown area more efficiently.
What do you propose to restore the historical center to to its former greatness? If I were to win the election I would first restore the Mexican night at the “Remate” on Paseo de Montejo, that now is dying. Secondly, I would start a plan to turn Mérida’s main square into a pedestrian area all year long.
Currently, Calle 62 is closed down to traffic on Saturday and Sunday night, the restaurants set their tables outside, so people can walk by and grab something to eat or drink. My plan is to transform the downtown area into a with more cultural events, art expositions, etc.
I am fully aware of the fact that Expats living in the downtown area are contributing greatly to the restoration and maintenance of the Historic Center. They acquire the properties (some of them totally abandoned) and invest in the remodeling, creating jobs in the process. Their contribution is highly valuable in many ways.
- What do you suggest in order to align the touristic promotion of the state? We need to coordinate the efforts between the Municipal and the State governments, because as a municipality we don’t have a lot of money to invest in Tourism, so the little money that we have we need to put it to good use. I suggest we create a brand like “Mexico: live it to believe it” but designed specially for Merida.
- How are you going to fight off the corruption of the previous administration, specially when it comes to markets and street venders? The main problem here are the so called “Inspectors” because they charge for the space that the vendors are using and that money goes to their pockets and their bosses’. To fix this problem I suggest that we evaluate the prospects for inspectors and start fighting off corruption from the root. Transparency is an obligation not a trend, if we put everyone under the spotlight, corruption will eventually decrease and after that happens the next logical step is education.
When foreigners come to Merida lo live and is their wish to open a business and thus creating jobs and more economic affluence, they always complain about the tedious and complexity of the necessary permits and documents that they must provide, what are your thoughts on this matter and if you plan to change it, how would you do it? During my previous administration I created an office called SARES “Sistema Apertura Rápida de Empresas” (Companies fast opening system) you need to make it as easy as possible for the investor. I´m very interested to streamline the process, this has a lot of advantages like creating jobs, attracting more people, creating new opportunities, etc. Also to enforce this I suggest to create a specialized office to receive complaints like an open line at all times to denounce the people that is not doing their job.
Would you be willing to create an office to listen to the opinions or complaints of the foreign people that live in the city? Honestly, I hadn’t thought of that, but now that you mention it, it is a great opportunity to create a link between the foreign people that reside here and our community; and to listen to what they have to say.
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