Archive for March 24th, 2009

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Beauty Salon’s – Odessa

March 24, 2009

So, how exactly do you improve on this………

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Well, according to my wife……who would know……there is only one good beauty salon in Odessa, and that is called Amsterdam and is a Keune franchise, found on Krasnova.

What?…….No, no no, she doesn’t go there.

How does she know?….She is a qualified Senior Stylist with Pivot Point…..which is apparently a famous Beauty School from Spain…….look I don’t bloody know, but she did the hair and make-up of many famous Russian TV and music stars when we lived in Moscow…..and she has the photographs to prove it alright?!?

All you need to know is the wife was so damned good she was headhunted from the salon she worked for, to work at NTV in Moscow…..and headhunted back again…….so she knows what she is talking about.

Anyway, the question was how do you improve on this………

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(……..yes, they are from Odessa……..)

…….. and the answer is, I don’t think it is possible.

So why are there so many beauty salon’s in Odessa, and if my wife is right, most are not that good?

The answer is……so I am “reliably” informed……that they are used like the casino’s……and are not there to make money, but are there to “legitimise” money………well it’s far nicer than saying “launder” money don’t you think??

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Anyway, most beauty salons offer hair styling, manicures, tanning, pedicures, false nails, painted nails, piercings and waxing of various parts of the anatomy….

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Yes, my wife is qualified and has mountains of experience in doing all of the above……and no, that is not my wife!!……Well I don’t think it is…..but I may be wrong…..hard to tell!!

Some salon’s here will go that little bit further and offer lip tattoo, eyeliner tattoo, botox injections, revitalisation injections, chemical peeling and laser hair removal etc. etc., ….wtf?…..I know, I know!!  More pricks than a second hand dart board!!!

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Well doesn’t that risk the chances of something going wrong?………

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(No, she’s not from Odessa……can you tell?)

Well, you would think so wouldn’t you……..which is why most beauty salon’s here are not run to make a profit as has been stated, and very few Odessa women go to them…..for more than the basics that is……if they go at all!! 

Anyway, like I say, it’s hard to improve on perfection and any good artist always knows when to stop!!

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(….Yes, she is from Odessa too!!)

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Odessa Mayor’s Speech – Strasbourg

March 24, 2009
Speech of Mayor of Odessa (Ukraine)
Eduard Gurvits
at the 16th session of the Chamber of Local Authorities of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe
(Strasbourg, March 5, 2009)
Agenda:
Participation of Citizens in Local Social and Political Life
gurvits1
 
Dear Ladies and Gentleman!
As Polish satirist Stanislav Ezi Lets once observed: “Any kind of authority always comes from the people – and never comes back to it”. This joke, as satirically hyperbolic as it may be, reflects a real problem, which directly relates to the topic of our today’s discussion.
What can we do to make sure that citizens’ participation on the local (municipal) level is not limited to regular elections of their mayor and city council every few years? Without active participation of citizens in the process of local decision making, the whole idea of local government becomes to a certain extent empty. This participation becomes of true value only if citizens are involved in the process of decision making on a day-to-day basis, when they are fully informed about the work of local government and have a free choice of possible managerial decisions. In order to achieve that, full access to information and participation in the decision making process must be legally formalized and, what is more important, it must be as expedient and open as possible.  
It must be noted that it is absolutely paramount to find the solution for the citizens’ participation in the decision making process. All local governments in all member-states of the Council of Europe owe their legitimacy to these exact citizens. Given the above, local (municipal) authorities, due to the procedure of their formation and subsidiary principle of work, are the closest branch of power accessible to the people, i.e. “the most convenient” level of government for the citizens.
Local (municipal) authorities in Europe possess significant experience in the development of democracy and public participation. In particular, I would like to stress the importance of the European Local Democracy Week and its role in sharing the first hand knowledge of the democratic participation on the local level. In 2008, Odessa was honored to be one of the pilot cities of the Week, and I would like to highlight some of the forms democratic involvement, implemented in our town in everyday life.
Our primary goal is to create maximum possibilities for citizens to influence city authorities. In order to achieve this goal we have established public self-organization bodies, which function at the place of residence – neighborhood, street and house committees. All departments of the City Council have the so-called “Open Days”, when citizens get the opportunity not only to solve their specific problems, but also review the procedure of the decision-making process, as it is carried out by the city authorities on a daily basis. 
Our special attention is devoted to the social groups that are more or less excluded from the local society due to various reasons, i.e. – people with special needs, young people and children, pensioners.
Within the framework of the City Council the following bodies were established: Youth Council, Council of National Cultural Societies, Coordination Centre for Veteran Unions, Political Consultation Council, the Council of Leaders of NGO’s and Charities, Council of Representatives of Ethnic National Societies, Council of Religious and Secular Concord. Given our present day situation, we also organized a working group, charged with the development of the action plan to overcome the negative impact of the financial crisis, which consists from scientists, representatives of non-government organizations, CEO’s of large enterprises, etc.
We are constantly improving the system of monitoring the complaints and suggestions submitted by the citizens, including those received through “the Mayor’s phone trust line”. We are glad to see that the number of the visitors of Odessa’s official web-site is growing every year and so are the options available to people. For example, aside from the full access to all municipal legal acts, citizens can now submit their complaints and suggestions to the city authorities online. Such usage of technologies allows us to improve the quality of everyday communication and information exchange between municipal authorities and citizens, including communication of the municipal authorities with the mass media.
We believe that all citizens have the right to be directly engaged in the decision making process of decision making, have the right to present their suggestions, state their opinions and criticize municipal authorities simply by using their phones or the Internet.  
I am confident that everyone present here can refer to such procedures or practices. I am also confident that it would be logical and reasonable to summarize them all in the framework of Additional protocol for the European Charter of Local Self-Government. This should give all of us an opportunity to develop an all-European standard in this particular area. We see this document as a next step, which Odessa is willing to take along with the rest of the European cities. We fully understand, however, that the objectives of the previous period, the period of organizing efficient and autonomous local authorities, are not achieved yet, due to the lack or absence of political will on the national level. We speak not only about the fact that the Ukrainian cities lack any real and legalized possibility to earn enough money to provide their population with high quality services. We speak not only about lack of legislation, which would help us to solve the budget problems, or the absence of necessary and timely support even in the course of realization of such high priority national projects as preparation for the EURO 2012. Unfortunately, leaders of democratic Ukraine, who themselves received their power from the hands of the people at Maidan in Kiev, did nothing to prevent such events as the anticonstitutional upheaval in Odessa in 1998 from happening again. When I speak of the upheaval, I mean the situation when the results of local election were cancelled according to the Decree issued by President Kuchma. With the same Decree, President Kuchma appointed the Vice-Prime Minister of Ukraine as temporary administrator of Odessa and provided him with the squad of submachine gunners to help him seize the Mayor’s Office. We spent a lot of time and effort fighting for the truth. Eventually, these criminal decrees and unjust court decisions were recognized unconstitutional and illegal, but no further actions were taken. The blood of Deputy Mayor Igor Svoboda, Head of the municipal Legal Department – Sergei Varlamov and several journalists who were murdered at that time still calls for justice. No one was punished for these political murders, for downtrodden political will of the residents of Odessa, for the downtrodden Constitution of Ukraine and the European Charter of Local Self-Government. Temporary victory of Kuchma’s regime over the Odessans, secured by criminal methods, turned out to be a serious defeat for the European democracy. It will take us many years to overcome its consequences in the city’s economy and even more time to overcome its negative impact on the public conscience.
Given the above situation, the reaction of authoritative European leaders and institutions, who were fully informed, can hardly be called adequate. The urgent shift from official English to official French during the meeting of Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in Prague in 2002, allowed to sit Kuchma, guilty of many crimes, 7 chairs away from Tony Blair and 30 chairs away from George W. Bush, but was no more than just an emotionally colored act of personal disgust. It had no significance or importance to Kuchma, who lost his shame and conscience long time before that and whose chair could have been placed even near the entrance. It also had no significance or importance to Ukrainians and Odessans, who expected a totally different reaction. I would like to mention, however, that we cannot underestimate the support we received at the time from the mayors of our 18 twin cities and especially the Heads of the monitoring committee for PACE Mrs. Hanne Seeverinsen and Mr. Tunne Kelam. Yet, to our enormous regret, their opinion and their evaluation of the situation never became the foundation for a particular decision. Thus, in the situation of strict censorship, introduced by Kuchma’s regime, even the fact of this moral support remained unknown for the vast majority of Ukrainian citizens.
The Flag of Honor, one of the awards within the framework of Europe Prize, established by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, that Odessa was awarded with (being the first city on the post-Soviet territory to get it) in 1998, took its proper place in the Session Hall of Odessa City Council only in December 2006. It happened only when the team that was illegally removed from power in the unfortunate 1998, received a vote of confidence during the scheduled municipal elections, which took place in 2006. The reason why Europe was ignoring the illegitimate city administration for eight years was diplomatically avoided during the ceremony of receiving the prestigious European award. I do not mean this as a reproach for ex-head of the Council of Europe Committee on the Europe Prize, hounourable member of the Council of Europe Mrs. Johanna Schiker, whom I deeply respect. She carried out her mission of honour with due diligence and according to the highest European standards. This mission, however, did not become an act of restoring the downtrodden justice for those thousands of Odessans, who were standing in hours-long queues in front of polling stations in 1998. For all those people, who showed an unprecedented level of their public participation, while having their day and night shifts in front of the City Council, trying to defend the city’s administration that was legally elected by the Odessans. For those, who lost their freshly found faith in justice under such tragic circumstances.
I believe that this historical flashback is needed to help us in understanding that the political culture of public participation shown by citizens in solving the local problems, which is the focus of our today’s discussion, can happen only THERE and THEN, WHERE and WHEN the fundamental rights and freedoms are provided and secured, and their infringement brings unavoidable and proportionate punishment.
Opinion 29, sanctioned by the Standing Committee of our Chamber on December 3, 2008, and afterwards by the Standing Committee of the Congress, reflects a suggestion about democratic public participation to be written in a separate document. I support this suggestion.
I believe that we all need to identify the fundamental basis, content and legal form of this document. It must be equally applicable in all member-states and become an effective supplement to the European Charter of Local Self-Government. I believe that everyone present here is ready to give all the necessary support to the specialists who will start developing such a document under the guidance of the Congress.
I sincerely hope that this support that we all can give to creation of a new act of the Council of Europe will be a valuable contribution to development of common Europe – Europe for citizens, for their well-being and prosperity  
Thank you for your attention.
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Nice speech from our “Good Mayor”……but won’t win him any friends up in Kyiv…….not that they will have been listening as his comments were made outside of Ukraine!!
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Odessa City Map Download

March 24, 2009

Free Odessa City map download………for those who will need it!!

http://www.2gis.com.ua/

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Hotel Frapolli – Odessa

March 24, 2009

Unsurprising designed by Mr Franz Frapolli, this 4 star hotel is situated on Deribasovskaya.

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Mr Frapolli was the City Architect for Odessa a few centuries ago and built what is now the Frapolli Hotel as his family residence.  It was completed in 1804.

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Recently it was converted into a shopping mall for elite brand names and then into the hotel as it currently remain.

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It consists of 26 double rooms, each with internet access, safe, mini bar and the usual facilities you would expect.  There is a restaurant, bar and conference room which can accommodate 20 people.

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The “economy” rooms are windowless, however all other rooms look out onto Deribasovskaya.

Nice hotel, good central location.  Not much more to say!!

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