Kurt’s comment: “To poll or not to poll, that is the question”
Have you seen the picture where the mayor and a few elders were handed a box from Actiegroep Te Duur? It was like trying to commercialize toothpaste. Mathias, Tine, Isabelle and Astrid – respectively the mayor and the elders of Housing, Civil Affairs and Participation – smiled as if they had given birth together. However, Te Duur’s box did not contain baptismal sugar, but 35,620 signatures from citizens who believe that living in Ghent has become too expensive. A few city officials must now decide if all the signatures are valid and if there will be a referendum. No one knows yet what we will answer in the plebiscite. The city council can come up with the question itself. And it can also ignore the result if it is not desired. Action group Te Duur wants to encourage the city to expropriate real estate companies and buy land to build social housing. I have a lot of sympathy for their efforts, but I fear that they are losing. We live in a city where truckloads of college and university graduates from all over the country stick together after college every year, and that drives up prices. Project developers invest and earn a lot of money from their projects. A city with over a billion in debt can’t compete with that. In addition, with every problem in the world, many people are added who, according to some scammers, are given priority over social housing. The real problem is that many people need social housing because people who work full time don’t have enough money after paying their taxes and utility bills. If a referendum were requested for this, the number of signatures would not fit in one box.