#173: May 1, the mayoral fiasco, BVG without CEO
Also: The private jets you'll never fly
Dear 20 Percent,
Berlin comes up with unimaginable ways to do things the hard way. What was supposed to be a pretty average mayoral election Thursday turned into an amateur circus that was all clowns and no artistes.
Kai Wegner, head of the conservative CDU, was supposed to quickly be elected mayor because he needed just 80 votes in a Berlin parliament where his CDU and coalition partner SPD have 86. But in the first round he got just 71 votes.
They voted again and he got just 79. Still not mayor. And it was apparently his future coalition partner, the left-leaning SPD, that was voting against him. Not a very good sign when the people you’re supposed to be working with already say they don’t want to work with you. Kind of like when you spend $44b on a social media site but everyone would rather you hadn’t.
Several hours — and probably some threats from the CDU to rule with the Greens rather than the SPD — later, Wegner got elected with the expected 86 votes and was sworn in. We now have a conservative mayor for the first time since 2001. But it feels like he only sort of got elected and you can only sort of trust the SPD.
Gentle reminder: Monday is a holiday so go shopping Friday if you want to avoid the Road Warrior atmosphere in German grocery stores Saturday.
Have a good holiday weekend!
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Turkish? Vote now!
Turkish members of the 20 Percent have been able to vote in Turkey’s election in Berlin since Thursday, according to RBB24. 101,000 Berliners are allowed to vote in Turkish elections at the single Berlin voting site at the Turkish consulate in Heerstraße in Charlottenburg through May 9. Germany forbids Turkish politicians from campaigning in Germany, even though 1.4 million residents have voting rights in the Eurasian country. Candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu may have a chance to unseat incumbent president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the election, which is May 14 in Turkey. About 65% of those voting in Berlin in 2017 voted for Erdoğan.
Courts could have done better in racist assault
At first, it looks like Dilan S. got some justice Thursday after a racist assault at the Greifswalder Straße S-Bahn, U-Bahn and tram stop in 2022 when she was just 17. Two of her attackers got six-to-eight months on probation for assault while a third suspect got six months for aiding and abetting — because his rap sheet includes 14 other crimes, according to Taz. A fourth defendant was fined €2,200 but two others were acquitted because no specific crimes could be attributed to them. But then you read what the judge said and you wonder if maybe we should even be living here at all. The judge downplayed the assault — despite a hospital stay and testimony about lasting psychological effects — “It’s a little different than being attacked with a baseball bat.” Some context: The suspects are all connected to right-wing Prenzlauer Berg bars and the ‘90s in neighboring Brandenburg are sometimes called ‘The Baseball Bat Years’ because of a series of racially motivated murders, often using a bat.
BVG CEO no longer allowed to be CEO
BVG’s supervisory board ratcheted up a public war of words with the public transport company’s outgoing CEO Eva Kreienkamp Wednesday by kicking her out of the company — she’ll still get paid since her contract runs until September. The board last year publicly criticized her leadership style and said it wouldn’t renew her contract. Shortly thereafter an article appeared in the Süddeutsche Zeitung (paywall) accusing BVG of homophobia — including direct quotes from Kreienkamp, a lesbian, saying the discrimination even emanated from the supervisory board. According to the Tagesspiegel, the accusations are unfounded and BVG employees feel unheard and ignored by the CEO, who took the job in October 2020.
Just over 13% more private and corporate jets landed or took off from BER last year othan in 2021, carrying 31,770 passengers, according to RBB24. That’s just 3.2 passengers per kerosine-gobbling flight, fewer than most first-class cabins. Where did they fly? Most often to Stuttgart (hello, Swabian real estate investors!), Zürich and Munich. The figures don’t include government flights (politicians often charter private aircraft at our expense).
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