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Okinawa City mayor hammered for indecisive public agenda

Date Posted: 2007-04-14

Mitsuko Toumon is struggling to maintain a concensus even within her own political party.

The feisty Okinawa City mayor is at the heart of arguments and fights among Assemblymen from both sides of the aisle irritated because nothing is being accomplished. They cite the budget as an example. Nobody agrees with Toumon’s proposals or her opinions, and note she’s yet to present a detailed budget to the Assembly for action.

The city’s money problems will require cooperation between assemblymen of both parties, as well as with the mayor. The East Coast Ocean Development Program costs are soaring, and subsidy money is going to be needed. Toumon, who is not a member of the community association, has not provided needed information. She has already apologized for not having made it available.

Also facing the Okinawa City Assembly is a decision on what to do with the financially draining Korinza Building. The problems have been building over the past ten years, and the city must decide whether to continue propping it up, or get away from it. The Ashibinaa Theater is another city facility begging for money, asking the Assembly for a budget to promote its activities. Assemblymen have turned the request thumbs down, citing a lack of money in city coffers.

Even the general public is becoming weary of the city’s inaction. The meetings are not open to the public, and many want to see that change. Mayor Toumon says “citizens can view the meetings on the internet,” but people say it isn’t true, and that the system doesn’t work.

They are also voicing irritation with the lengthy, unproductive meetings. “Don’t they know how much lighting and air conditioning and worker overtime cost us by these midnight meetings? It’s a waste of money!” said one citizen.

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