The Kyunghyang also ran some photos of Mayor Park’s first day at Seoul’s new City Hall complex.
Unlike some other folk I know, I don’t yet have a man-crush on Seoul mayor Park Won-soon, largely because of stuff like this.
Still, as far as his decision to halt “new town” construction, all I can say is well done, sir. Well done.
If you’re a developer, don’t fret, because there’s always the export market—according to the Hanguk Ilbo, there appear to be many African and Middle Eastern
kleptocrats leaders interested in Korean-style “new cities.“
When you compare this editorial from the Hani and this article that was prominently displayed on the front page of the Chosun Ilbo’s website—both of which concern Seoul mayor Park Won-soon’s petition to President Lee to pardon the eight evictees imprisoned after the deadly 2009 Yongsan fire—it’s like you’re living in two different worlds.
My own personal opinion is that the men shouldn’t be pardoned—six people were killed in that fire—but then again, the corporate and political scumbags shouldn’t be getting pardoned, either.
– Basically, nobody under 50 voted for Na Kyung-won. A look at the electoral map also reveals that only four districts voted for Na—the three Gangnam districts of Seocho-gu, Gangnam-gu and Songpa-gu, along with Yongsan-gu.
– With 10 years of GNP rule in Seoul broken, expect some changes in the way the city is run. Now, as somebody who thinks the quality of life in Seoul has improved quite significantly over the last 10 years, I’m not sure if this is a good thing. That said, if you thought some of the 전시행정 projects were wasteful, you’ve got cause to celebrate…perhaps. Among the things that will likely get shitcanned are:
- The reconstruction of the Yanghwa Bridge. Would have been nicer if the project had been stopped before 31.8 billion won of the 41.5 billion won project had been spent.
- The “Hangang Renaissance” in general. Personally, I think reintegrating the river into public life is a good thing and would markedly improve the quality of life, even if some of the projects associated with the Hangang Renaissance, like the planned opera house complex on Nudeulseom, were clearly unnecessary.
- He might drop the plan to build a canal linking the West Sea and the Hangang River, too. Again, with the Gyeongin Ara Waterway almost completed—test cruises will begin two days from now—I don’t quite know what he plans to do with the big, water-filled ditches in the ground.
- Basically, look for a lot of civil engineering projects to stop. Instead, the money will be used to, in the words of the Kyunghyang Shinmun (link to come later), “substantively improve” the quality of life of Seoul residents. Most notably, we can expect the free school lunch program to go into effect immediately, and look for more aggressive welfare initiatives from the city.
– Just as a closing editorial comment, I think Park might be fine as mayor—no, I don’t like his politics, and I’m certainly distrustful of the people with whom he has associated—but assuming he focuses on running the city rather than fighting with Cheong Wa Dae or taking up national issues like US beef, the KORUS FTA, USFK and North Korea policy, etc., the change might do the city some good. At any rate, when you screw the pooch as badly as former mayor Oh Se-hoon did—frankly, the most mind-boggingly stupid own goal I’ve seen in my time following Korean politics—the GNP needed to pay a price. And it did. Big time.
This is heartening: from the Korea Times:
The human rights commission concluded that the nation cannot be the subject of a libel suit.
In September of 2009, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) filed a defamation suit against human rights lawyer, Park Won-soon for damaging the reputation of the “state,” making the nation the plaintiff.
The National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) reached a conclusion that the state cannot be defamed and be the main body of a libel case in an inside report, Sunday.