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Finding solutions together

Finding solutions together

During the anti-nuclear demonstrations in the 1980s, bernd fricke (grune) as a demonstrator and thilo wagner () as a policeman were still facing each other. Now they work together as second and first burgermeister in the town hall of stegaurach. The story describes, on the one hand, why fricke began to get involved in politics and now wants to become a district councilor. On the other hand, it shows a leitmotif of his politics: "i want to bring people together to discuss, even if they have different opinions. Take away their fears, join forces and achieve something together", says the psychologist in an interview with FT editorial director michael memmel at the muller inn in debring.

40 years ago, the 61-year-old from munich moved to the bamberger district to study. While the committed green was still viewed with skepticism back then, a lot has changed since then: the issues of climate and the environment have arrived at the heart of society. And because his party has been dealing with this issue for over 30 years, it is considered competent and is now experiencing a boom, estimates the father of three daughters and grandfather of five grandchildren. Fricke wants to make a political difference, especially for future generations "because the window of opportunity for us to make a difference is pretty narrow".

Although the long-distance runner (57 marathons) and long-term local politician (for 30 years) has also thought about quitting "and if we had a good leader in the district, I would also quit". But fricke doesn't think much of the policies of the incumbent district administrator johann kalb (CSU).

This is what the grune landratskandidat says…

…About johann kalb: "my impression is that he understands his office in a purely representational way". Kalb loves to look at many solid things, but has no visions and is not prepared to work hard on the rough issues.

…On the opnv: the fact that there are almost as many cars as inhabitants in the district "is proof of a very poor opnv". For 20 years, it has been clear that something had to be done. "But more than a few ride-alongs didn't happen".

Fricke wants to achieve, among other things, a 365-euro annual ticket in the short term and free use in the long term. Auberdem more lines with better timing. The linchpin would be a regional bus station (ROB) in bamberg. Waiting until after the expansion of the railroad – at least until 2031 – is unacceptable. Fricke calls for a task force of political heavyweights from the region, trying to talk to deutsche bahn.

Finally, the expansion of local transport is extremely urgent, also in view of climate change. Because unlike energy, where a lot of progress has been made, CO2 emissions from mobility are continuing to rise. For the financing of his ideas, he hopes for a demand from the federal government "there is no other way to achieve the climate goals". In addition, about 500,000 euros were spent on the opnv in 2019 – and nine million euros on roads. Here love means shifting.

…On the mobility turnaround: fricke doesn't think it's fair to blame the grunes for job cuts at automotive suppliers. "If there are no more grunes tomorrow, there will still be no more burners in ten years' time." The mobility turnaround could be seen more as an opportunity than a crisis. "Jobs will be lost, but new ones will be created." The psychologist wants to allay the fears of the burghers.

…On the steigerwald: "a national park would be a huge gain: nature would be happy, the gastronomy would be happy, the region would be upgraded", finds fricke. But here, too, the incumbent district administrator was not involved enough: "he says he's for it, but he's done 0.0 for it."

…To build and seal: "why does frensdorf have so many building areas??" – the question was asked at the grunen regulars' table. "The ideology of 'growth, growth, growth' has been around for 50 years in many communities", says fricke. But growth is finite, the flat land threatens more and more species and there are high consequential costs.

At the same time, there are fewer people living in rural areas due to demographic change. Although the district administration could not dictate to the 36 communities how they should develop, "but one could set examples and work out models together for a positive, sustainable development.

For that, he would like to see the position of county building inspector revived. He could not understand that it had been advertised twice, but no suitable candidate had been found. "It may be that the salary is too low. Then we had to think about paying them better." But there are enough suitable people, fricke himself knows several. And the position is necessary, for example for social housing construction. "Nothing has happened in the last 15 years. I don't understand that, because in the meantime there are good requirements."

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