Už draugišką savivaldybę
For a friendly municipality
These are the priorities I will be working on, if you vote Liberalų Sąjūdis in Vilnius and rate me, Nr. 19 Mark Adam Harold.
*I have written this in English, because I am a European candidate for a European city, and I want people abroad to understand. I speak fluent Lithuanian every day in Vilnius and I do not need an interpreter.
I will be working in a team of people who know about many other things, but these are the areas I will focus on personally. If you care about these things too, write 19 in the box, and I will win a seat on the City Council on March 1st. I am looking forward to serving you.
My campaign against nightlife restrictions and corruption
Vilnius is full of energetic young people who need clean, safe, legal places to find their entertainment, vibrant venues where new talent can be found and developed. I don’t believe in subsidising performers, but I do believe there should be transparent and equal conditions for all venues and workers, including entertainers. I have many years’ experience working in many roles in the industry and my knowledge will be very useful to the City Council.
If we make it easier to start a new venue, and the best and most honest venue owners are allowed to rise to the top, instead of being held back by bureaucracy, we would see a safer, more vibrant city at night. I will work hard to allow the awesome talents of Vilnius to have a place to party with people from all over the world. And afterwards, everyone will be able to get a clean, warm nightbus back home, or a choice of polite, efficient taxi companies.
The story of my battle against bureaucracy, which I won in the Supreme Administrative Court, is here:
I am also one of the founders of the Freelancers’ Initiative Group advocating better working conditions and less bureaucracy for freelancers:
A friendly municipality would naturally want to minimise paperwork, delays and barriers, so that Vilniečiai can easily register their activities and initiatives and find information – all online. There is no need to continue the soviet legacy of committees, stamps, cabinets and rejections. Staff should help residents to live and work, not shout at them for being confused by a confusing system.
Dealing with the authorities should be easy and pleasant, like any good shop or restaurant or mobile phone company tries to be. If we can move in that direction, we will see more and more activity and improvements made by residents themselves. We don’t need the Mayor to build everything for us.
LGBT Friendly Vilnius, a Romas Zabarauskas project I strongly support, publishing a list of local businesses who don’t tolerate hate. His stickers are in the windows of some of the best places in town.
As an immigrant to the country with least British people anywhere in the EU, I am myself a minority, and I naturally support equality and fairness for all residents and visitors. As the Constitution says, we are to be treated equally regardless of gender, race, nationality, language, origin, social status, belief, convictions, or views. I also see no need or logic in discriminating against people for their orientation, family structure, disability or choice of clothes. My partner is from a minority faith, and a minority ethnic group, and I am very lucky to have a mixed and varied family. I hope to have children, and I am happy they will be multilingual. I am grateful to Lithuanians for joining the EU and allowing me to come here, work, and get elected. There is no question that in the capital city of an EU country, everybody should be treated with equal respect as humans, given equal access to services, and equal treatment by all public institutions.
All religions should be free to practice according to any method which doesn’t break the law, and everybody should be allowed to question or defend religion freely, non-violently, creatively. Also, for the sake of people with mobility problems, as well as everyone going around on foot, let’s fix the pavements before we splash our money on laser fountains. All people responsible for pavement quality should be forced to try getting around the city in a wheelchair, not a Segway.
Jaunimo Linija the youth helpline is my favourite charity and is well organised to help victims of depression, bullying or suicidal thoughts, among many other problems young people face in Lithuania.
I don’t have to tell you that the organisation of kindergartens is a mess that can only be sorted out by a different Mayor. But education should be more than just finding a place for your child, you also want a happy, safe environment, flexibility, with transparent selection systems. Central planning has failed, and I agree with the list leader Remigijus Šimašius that private-sector kindergartens should be encouraged and allowed to operate efficiently.
A friendly city needs friendly people, and friendship starts in kindergarten. I am very concerned at the inadequate practices in public institutions towards bullying, a serious problem which damages children’s development and affects them for the rest of their lives.
We need variety in education, not conformity. And we need to teach tolerance and tackle bullying at an early age.
For better advertising of Lithuania! A group we started to share information and criticism of Lithuania’s tourism advertising.
I came here in 2004 as a tourist, and after two days I was thinking about living permanently in Vilnius. Since then I have welcomed hundreds of foreigners to Vilnius and all of them say there’s something magical and welcoming about the city, the architecture, the atmosphere. It’s cozy and beautiful. It’s not far from lakes. It’s not even very far from one of the best beaches in the world. I am looking forward to working in any way I can to present a better image of Vilnius to people who haven’t been here, encouraging more investment and showing a friendlier face to the people who arrive here for a holiday. No more tanks crushing stuff, no more embarrassing powerpoints and brochures, no more spending money without working out if it’s actually effective.
I have a foreigner’s perspective on the city, I speak English as my native language, I already advertise Vilnius proudly to foreigners and I can be a bridge between Vilniečiai and people in other cities. I can certainly recommend to any European that Vilnius is a great place visit, invest, and live.
Confused Pro-Putin Libertarians is a page I started, inspired by an open letter Remigijus wrote to American libertarians, attacking their support of Putin’s message. My page is a satirical news service for thousands of Ukraine supporters, an extreme parody of ridiculous Putinist propaganda.
I hope we don’t have to defend this city from a military attack, but the people who are threatening this city should know we are prepared to defend it. In school, I was in the RAF cadets, I can shoot, I support NATO, and I think we need to understand that having strong defence prevents war and allows friendliness.
There are many friendly and peaceful things we can do, even at City Council level, to establish Lithuania firmly as a sovereign nation looking west, not east. How can we show the world we don’t agree with being annexed by anyone? By celebrating our values, using our freedoms and participating in our democracy. Vote, and smile.
We can gain the world’s respect and support by being free and friendly and efficient and innovative.
When all Vilniečiai are allowed to contribute, and good administration is provided, and investors are given confidence in our future, we will see what an amazing city this can be.
Election day: 2015-03-01
On March 1st:
Markas ♥ Vilnius
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