Residents’ Helsinki common list
For the upcoming 2021 municipal elections, we have gathered an independent and nonpartisan electoral associations’ common list. The list wants to change the direction of Helsinki and open up to the residents new possibilities for making an impact. The common list works for the causes of local nature, local services, local democracy and equality.
Residents’ Helsinki electoral program
The time to change the direction of Helsinki is now. The term for the municipal assembly to be elected in April will be highly important. Helsinki is changing, and now we are deciding what kind of a city do we want to build. The corona crisis has sharpened health- and welfare inequalities. Centralization, reduction, and privatization of services add to inequality and are a threat also to those whose lives have been secure. At the same time our city is transforming into a construction site, that covers our beloved urban forests, sea shores and local nature. The growth of Helsinki should not be pursued at the cost of citizens and natures wellbeing.
We want to live and work in a Helsinki where decision makers do not sideline residents, and where residents have a real say. Helsinki has loads of civic action for green spaces, local services, and a multitude of other issues. We have reached results with it, but often the voice of corporations and investors rings louder in the decision making. The nonpartisan Residents’ Helsinki common list has been conceived to give residents more avenues for making an impact also between the elections.
Instead of mayoral rule we want to develop local democracy, like participatory budgeting, the youth council and neighborhood councils with real decision-making powers. We want to bring to the municipal decision-making comparisons between possibilities and more resources for residents to participate and affect change.
Climate action and an end to building over green spaces
Success in controlling climate change is resolved in our lifetimes, and climate action is urgent. As climate change advances and biodiversity is impoverished, radical change becomes a necessity. Helsinki needs the founding of a large national urban park to safeguard valuable urban nature and cultural environment. Construction over green spaces has to come to an end.
We want to speed up Helen Oy in abandoning the burning of coal and moving to carbon neutral production of energy and heat. Helen has to remain completely owned by the city of Helsinki. Climate and environmental objectives must guide construction, traffic solutions, procurements and other municipal activities.
Let’s end the care deficit
The corona pandemic and scandals in elderly care are a warning sign on the insufficiency of resources in healthcare and social services. The significance of local services has been highlighted at the same time.
We need to direct funding from the surplus of the city of Helsinki to healthcare and social services, especially for local health centers, child protection, elderly care, and services for disability, mental health, and substance abuse. Closing down local health centers and centralizing services to huge centers should not be allowed under the guise of health and social services integration. We need low threshold communal action to prevent social exclusion. Legally obligatory services should not be open for private business. We have to make health services more widely free of charge and lower the fees on social services. We need more home care services for the elderly, as well as places of care based on the need. Support for informal care and caregivers must be improved.
Education and culture belong to everyone
Education and culture are Helsinki’s riches. Instead of austerity, the city must invest in early childhood education, general education, youth work, arts, culture, and collaboration with the universities.
We want to develop education with diversity and high pedagogical standards. We oppose making group sizes larger. We need to strengthen support for learning and student care. Daycare, primary school, library, youth house and local sports facilities should be within the walking distance. We need more residents centers and other non-commercial public spaces.
Helsinki is the center of arts and culture for our country. The corona pandemic has been especially heavy in restricting possibilities for these fields. The city has to bear its responsibility on a quick resuscitation of arts and culture. Arts and culture need more financial support and spaces.
We need to bring down housing costs and public transportation fees
Living in Helsinki is unreasonably expensive. There is especially wide need for cheap rental apartments and service housing for the elderly. Apartments are peoples’ homes, not investment possibilities. The focal point for the housing program must be quickly moved to regulated ara-rental apartment production. At the same time we need to expand housing for mental health patients and the disabled. Controlling housing costs requires rental controls, limits on maximum rent and making hikes to plot rent more reasonable. In addition to this we need a proper municipal non-profit construction company. Construction must not destroy local nature nor abandon the human scale. We support a municipal referendum on the preserving of the Malmi Airport.
Traffic issues in Helsinki are not solved by building more roadways and tunnels. We have to improve public transportation and improve infrastructure for moving by bike or by foot. It is also an issue of reducing the need for transportation by safeguarding local services and the equal spread of jobs around the city. We must move towards free of charge public transportation.
We need better wages and employment
Helsinki needs to be a good employer and an active provider of jobs. Labor needs a proper wage that is sufficient for a proper life. The city must not push down salaries by shopping around for the cheapest collective bargaining agreements. One lesson to be learned from the corona crisis is that we need to increase employees possibilities for making an impact. Workplace democracy helps create better services and a more functional city. The city needs to increase employment by providing more jobs and improving services for the unemployed. We suggest trials for shortening the working day without lowering income for example with the 6+6 hour model for working time.
Helsinki should improve conditions and possibilities for the self-employed and small businesses. The city benefits from a functioning and lively network of micro- and small scale enterprises.
Towards a Helsinki of solidarity
Helsinki has always been and will always be a city of a multitude of languages and cultures. We want to develop an equal city free of all forms of discrimination and racism. Helsinki has to improve international collaboration for safety and justice in Finland and the World.
Municipal surpluses for residents’ welfare
Helsinki is a exceptionally rich city, with the funds to improve residents’ welfare. The city has produced surpluses for almost twenty years on end. Helsinki has more than a billion euros resting in it’s bank accounts. It has loaned out more money than it is due.
Helsinki can answer to to the corona crisis by directing funds from the surplus towards improving services. The state should also direct more funds towards municipal services so that the health and social services reform does not cut back state funding for Helsinki or other regions. The mistakes of the 90’s recession should not be repeated by a return to austerity politics.
Residents’ voice to the municipal assembly
We invite everyone to join the Residents’ Helsinki common list electoral campaign and collaboration, so that we can give a new direction for Helsinki for the good of residents and nature.