He admits that someone else could win, Ostrava mayor Tomáš Makra said in an interview with Aktuálně.cz just before the election. The city, his third largest in the Czech Republic, has been leading his ANO movement for eight years and, according to him, sees no reason to change anything. “ANO is not a toxic brand,” says Macura, who has tried and failed in the past to change direction.
Earlier, you said that you would not run for the third city council election, but you changed your mind after all. Will this be the last election?
I don’t want to say it out loud because I’m actually saying I’m never going to this election again.
why did you change your mind?
I thought about it for a long time. But look at the office here. For my birthday in May, a colleague sneaked me a sign showing projects completed in the last few years. Seeing that made me want to go vote again. We’ve done a lot here and still have a lot to do.
So does that mean 2026 won’t end with a fourth try?
I will be 60 in two years and want to enjoy life a little more. I don’t want to be taken out of city hall in my slippers. No way.
Have you ever considered not running for the YES movement? You’ve made it clear several times in the past that you don’t like his left-leaning stance, and you’ve tried unsuccessfully to change it.
But I never thought of leaving ANO. Eight years ago it appealed to me because it clearly defined itself against corruption, proclaimed a liberal and pro-European approach, and promised to work rather than politicize. I’m trying to stick to this in Ostrava.
However, you know that many people object that YES today is sometimes different than it was eight years ago. Even the chairman, Andrei Babis, who is now appearing in court as a defendant, does not need you twice.
The fact that the YES movement got ideologically confused somewhere else and started targeting other places is real, but I’m trying to consolidate the ideology. I believe the ANO brand isn’t toxic, but they like to say so, I know a lot of his ANO smart people across the country. This is not just a problem for President Andrei Babis.
Are you still talking to Chairman Babis? I couldn’t meet you at the start of the ANO campaign.
The last time we had fun was at the national athletic meet in February. We just shook hands and wished each other a nice day.
If he ran for president, would you vote for him?
Personally, I don’t think I will run for office, but I don’t think the position of president suits me. I would advise him not to run. He is a managerial type and the post of Prime Minister is a good fit for him.
For some, I am the primary target of the campaign
In Ostrava, ODS, People’s Party and Pirates rule and maintain a comfortable majority. Do you think you can maintain this connection and keep the lead? Or do you think it might not work this time?
Of course, I accept that someone else might win. I am a very humble person. And if that happens, I accept it. Maybe our ANO won’t win. I don’t think there has ever been a campaign like this year. This is very personal and targeted by some. Otherwise, I would like to continue with my current partner.
In the campaign, the mayor of Ostrava accuses you of a conflict of interest. Even if they don’t name anyone, it’s clear they don’t think it’s right for you to vote for city money for the Color Festival in Ostrava. You own a hotel in Sri Lanka. Do you have a conflict of interest?
I’m not I talked to my lawyer again just to make sure, and he said there was no dispute. It has long been known that I own a hotel with her. Long before I came to City Hall, festivals were being subsidized. For me, these subsidies began to decline. Moreover, they are approved by the entire council.
Today we will focus on Ostrava.@AktualneczAn interview with the local mayor, Tomas Makura. Add videos too. I asked the mayor here why he’s staying with ANO after his unsuccessful attempt to change the direction of ANO. I already gave him a video with Ostravaky on Friday. pic.twitter.com/0s7UbcCxza
— Radek Bartonicek (@R_Bartonicek) September 19, 2022
Have you told the representative that you have booked a hotel in the past?
I warned them on my first vote. This is indeed publicly known information, moreover, the money is part of several years of subsidies. Ridiculous. I have already asked their leaders to stop such campaigns.
Do you think most people are happy in Ostrava, or do you think anger reigns?
The mayor’s statement may sound strange, but I think Ostrava is changing a lot. I’m not saying it’s just my credit. It’s a credit to many other people around me. Indeed, this improvement started before us and will continue after us. Anyone who knew Ostrava 20 years ago and has never been here can’t help but wonder how much Ostrava has changed.
I asked a lot of people what they liked and disliked about Ostrava. They are very interested in the city hospital, which some feel is under-modernized and not very well staffed.
Please know that our clinic has a history of 150 years. He is one of the largest hospitals in the Czech Republic among hospitals owned by the city rather than by the state or region. It’s a huge rock because no money has been invested in it in the past. As soon as I took office, I committed to repairing the hospital and am working on it.
For example, we set up a special fund that puts in tens of millions of crowns each year, and now we have about 2 billion crowns, from which we pay for repairs. In total, the rebuild will cost him $10 billion and span about 15 years. We can’t do it all at once, but we will definitely continue to modernize and develop. One must have patience.
What about personnel relations? Do you have enough quality health workers?
Which hospital today has no problem with doctors and medical professionals? They all have it. Here in Ostrava, he’s at least coordinating with the two hospitals to avoid competing for staff. We strive to support local medical faculties that are an excellent source of medical personnel as well as mid-level medical staff. No other large city in the Czech Republic supports its universities with its own budget. We are working to help create new dental departments as there are very few dentists today.
“It’s getting more and more beautiful here,” a young man from Ostrava told me today when I spoke to a local in northern Moravia. In this second video of her sample, “Ostrava is nice, it’s green,” added an older couple. @Aktualnecz Ostrava is really remarkable and I want to know more and more. pic.twitter.com/wwdFeIqr9H
— Radek Bartonicek (@R_Bartonicek) September 16, 2022
How do you view the quality of Ostrava University? The leader of the Spolu Union called for improving the quality of these schools in several debates. He was also very critical of them . Could you be more diplomatic?
But I’m not very diplomatic.Both universities have a lot to improve.Both are second choice except for a few exceptional fields. Not love at first sight. But this is also why we do business with universities, fund them, create projects and provide housing for up-and-coming researchers.
You are among those who want the construction of a new Philharmonic building. But wouldn’t it be better to give the money to the hospital?
But we have to invest in everything. For example, we cannot say that we will spend 10 years investing only in hospitals. Or someone on the council told me that we can’t invest in anything else until we have a complete sewer system in the city.
But anyone who opposes investing in the Philharmonic building expects to get some votes.
The realization of concert halls, as in Prague and Brno, will depend, among other things, on the accumulation of external funds. If we cannot do that by next spring at the latest, we are sorry to postpone this project and confine ourselves to rebuilding the Cultural Center. fall on our heads.
Makula Mayor Ostrava Tomas in the City Hall just before the 2022 local elections | Photo: Radek Bartnicek
Perhaps the more fundamental problem of Ostrava is its declining population?
Personally, I don’t think depopulation is a big problem. On weekdays, he knows that more than 100,000 people come to Ostrava from the surrounding area. According to the SIM card, the city has 350,000 to 400,000 people in a week. But, of course, we are trying to fight the departure of people. We truly strive to improve the quality of life in all aspects.
This problem is also related to the fact that Ostrava’s population is aging.
I realize it more and more, and more and more seniors are increasing. People need more and more social services, medical services and, in addition to hospitals, investment in senior housing and other similar facilities. And not only in the construction of buildings, but also in the services themselves, in the care of the elderly and the sick.
Poor air quality has always been a big problem in Ostrava. It’s clear that things have improved considerably since the old days, but there are still some complaints about strong odors in some parts of the city and air pollution.
Nothing compares to the old days. Of course, we are working on further improvements. All of Ostrava’s industrial resources are aimed at or have green plans. Additionally, consider that we at Ostrava were the first large aircraft carriers in the country to drop diesel engines.
By the way, have you ever wondered what you will do after your work here at City Hall? Are you going to Sri Lanka? Or do you prefer to devote yourself to your wonderful hobby – dog training?
I want to read a lot, so the hotel will definitely take care of me. Animals are my great love. Unlike people, I think you know what to expect from them when you’re with them. I think I get along better with them than with people.
you surprised us If elected twice he is expected to get along with people.
Apparently, I’m an introverted type who prefers to be alone.
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