We are in the midst of city elections here in Hessen.....which means all political parties are in some chatty feeling.
If you go by state-run TV.....there are the five or six significant parties, and then twenty-odd parties behind them.
Today, I'll pick up one of the smaller parties....BFF (Burger for Frankfurt Party)......which really translates into "People for Frankfurt".
They aren't really left, right, or such.....it's a party based on local vision instead of a party-like vision, with platforms which attract people. They've been around for two decades and do a fair but small showing in these elections.
First, they know Frankfurt and it's burb's grow at the rate of roughly 15,000 people a year. There's a lot of chaos at the city level to plan and project a pattern and sustainable future with the city. So city-planning is a big deal with this party.
Second, they want Frankfurt to appear more attractive. Frankfurt isn't exactly a city with attractions toward culture or beauty. It's a city built on business, travel (the railway station and airport), and skyscrapers. A fair number of the locals would like a better image, but that means creativity, funding, and something beyond just more parks.
Third, affordability. When you utter this word around most local Frankfurt residents.....they mostly grin and then quote their monthly cost for their apartment, and how much prices have escalated over the past two decades. Within the inner circle of Frankfurt (the first three kilometers)....affordability becomes a joke. This transition to affordability? It's a mystery how it'll happen without massive public funding....so this element of the political party is difficult to figure.
Fourth, more green. Generally, this means anything that is park space now....stays park space. These massive hundred year old industrial areas bought for transformation and urbanization? The commercial planners all have to incorporate green plans and park space into their plan.....if they want acceptance by the party, and the city council.
Fifth, climate change figures into the party theme. Right now, that means that solar is 'king' and any city building built....should have solar capability.
Sixth, Frankfurt residents deserve safety, security and cleanliness. This usually means prioritizing street renovation, hiring more cops, and pressing for more sanitation-workers or city-street sweepers. Naturally, this all costs more money. On the top ten comments of most Frankfurt residents....burglary thefts make the list and peeve a fair number of the locals.
Seventh, as traffic goes.....Frankfurt is only doing marginally well because of the massive use of public transportation within the city. BFF wants to promote more traffic planning and faster ways for people to enter/exit the city. This is usually where five guys sit at a pub and discuss this idea of a massive underground autobahn going east to west through the heart of Frankfurt and costing billions (it'll never happen, but it's always a great talk for a pub situation).
Eighth, integration must be driven. Oddly, BFF has a number of policy ideas which might attract people. They point out the original theme of the city from the Roman days....where it was multicultural but also driven to success because of a focused effort.
They want appropriate action when discrimination does occur. They also want the federal asylum/immigration policy to fit within the interest and opportunities of Frankfurt.....meaning they don't want ghetto creation or a large segment of society arriving and thinking there are unlimited job opportunities in Frankfurt (some will argue that there's always a job to be found in the city). The party also expects some return to normalcy....respect of law, and political ethics with those involved in the process. They are totally against the use of public sports building or gymnasiums for emergency refugee usage. They also expect the German federal government to be totally responsible for all related cost of refugees in Frankfurt. They also advocate that if some fails the immigration process....then relocation out of Germany ought to be a priority.
Ninth, they advocate more educational opportunities within the public sector of the city. Innovation and opportunities ought co-exist within their plans.
The BFF Party is mostly a group of people with some enthusiasm for the city and want Frankfurt to be a better place to live. You could look at the discussion and note that this is not a party that be a national front or even really a state front.....they just want a voice in city-planning.
Appeal across other party lines? That's the curious thing. A lot of what they advocate....would be acceptable to over half of the city population. But with twenty-five-odd parties in the running....so the odds of them getting more than one-percent of the vote are probably fifty-fifty at best.