Taipei City speaker talks about city pol­i­tics, coun­cil

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY CHI- HAO JAMES LO

With the same friendly de­meanor she’s been known to have, while not loos­ing the pro­fes­sion­al­ism she com­mands dur­ing work, Kuom­intang (KMT) Taipei Coun­cil Speaker Wu Pi-chu ( ) en­tered the con­fer­ence room to have a brief in­ter­view with The China Post.

Known by her fel­low coun­cilors, chiefs, and even her grass­roots con­stituents as “Big Sis­ter Chu” ( ), Wu is a politi­cian famed for her firm un­der­stand­ing in laws and reg­u­la­tions, as well as the ca­pa­bil­ity to re­solve con­flicts and me­di­ate dif­fer­ences within the city coun­cil. Wu is also known to re­tain an out­go­ing and ap­proach­able per­son­al­ity in her daily life.

Not only is the speaker also known as the very first fe­male speaker for the Taipei City Coun­cil, she fur­ther holds the record for the high­est num­ber of re-elec­tion wins as a coun­cilor, hav­ing served out of the Beitou and Shilin Dis­tricts since Dec. 25 1981. Aside from her coun­cilor re-elec­tions, Wu has been like­wise hold­ing on to the coun­cil speaker seat for four con­sec­u­tive ses­sions since 1998, and is cur­rently serv­ing her fifth term which be­gan on Dec. 25 last year.

In her 33 years in pol­i­tics, the speaker has proved that her re­elec­tion record is not with­out good rea­sons. Since her first year into the field at the age of 32, Wu has re­ceived over­all pos­i­tive ac­knowl­edge­ments from the KMT and also other op­pos­ing par­ties, af­ter go­ing through the ad­min­is­tra­tion and gov­er­nance of may­ors from ei­ther sides of the Tai­wanese po­lit­i­cal field.

And un­like her fel­low politi­cians of which she shares the same amount of ex­pe­ri­ences with, Wu has humbly re­mained in the Taipei City coun­cil while her said sub­or­di­nates went on to tackle dif­fer­ent roles in na­tional pol­i­tics. Wu’s rea­son­ing for do­ing so is so that she could con­tinue to ap­proach regular cit­i­zens in her con­stituency in a regular ba­sis, a rou­tine which the speaker still up­holds.

As the leader of the en­tire city coun­cil, Wu was also quoted as say­ing that the cal­iber of Taipei City coun­cilors are very ad­mirable, with ob­vi­ous pro­fun­dity dis­played dur­ing var­i­ous coun­cil ses­sions. The speaker fur­ther be­lieves in the in­tegrity of up­hold­ing neu­tral­ity dur­ing de­bates be­tween dif­fer­ent coun­cilors from dif­fer­ent par­ties to avoid es­ca­lated con­flicts in the coun­cil.

“The Taipei City Coun­cil has 60 years of his­tory which be­gan in 1949,” Wu said. “And of course in ev­ery term there are al­ways dif­fer­ences be­tween mem­bers, as well as re­forms. How­ever, the coun­cil has con­tin­ued to con­duct var­i­ous ser­vices such as as­sist­ing our cit­i­zens, mon­i­tor­ing the ex­e­cu­tion of mu­nic­i­pal poli­cies, re­view­ing bud­gets, and es­tab­lish­ing new reg­u­la­tions, for the sake of the gen­eral public.”

A Con­certed Ef­fort be­tween City

Coun­cil and City Hall

Sit­ting down with the Post, Wu talked about the most re­cent ad­vance­ments the Taipei City Coun­cil has made.

“As of, Jan­uary 4th of 2013,” the speaker said, “due to glob­al­iza­tion, we’ve adopted the use of ‘On­line Sig­noffs’ in an ef­fort to go green and to connect our­selves to what mod­ern tech­nolo­gies have to give. Of­fi­cial doc­u­ments from within the coun­cil have also gone pa­per­less, al­low­ing us to save up to 300 thou­sand pa­pers. Aside from this re­form, we’ve also dig­i­tized our ar­chives.”

“We know that not only does the stor­age of doc­u­ments take up an im­mense amount of space and uses a lot of pa­pers, the preser­va­tion of ar­chives is like­wise a dif­fi­cult task. Hence, we’ve col­lab­o­rated with a Pro­fes­sor Su from the Chung Hs­ing Uni­ver­sity to cre­ate a dig­i­tal ar­chive for the sake of pre­serv­ing our doc­u­ments and the en­vi­ron­ment.”

The speaker also said, that in ef­fort to bet­ter connect with the grass­roots de­mo­graphic, the coun­cil now streams all of its ses­sions live on the in­ter­net. The new pol­icy, Wu said, is a way which the Taipei City Coun­cil dis­plays its sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity to zens.

Wu went on to ad­dress the fu­ture col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the new Taipei City Coun­cil and the new Taipei City Hall fol­low­ing re­forms in both par­ties as a re­sult of the elec­tion last year. “The cur­rent Taipei City Hall is led by Mayor Ko Wen-je” ( ), Wu said. “Since he is a new mayor, and the fact that the first of­fi­cial meet­ing of the coun­cil is sched­uled for April 13th, the coun­cil has yet to have an of­fi­cial deal­ing with the mayor.”

“As such, we will only be able to re­lay coun­cilors’ ex­pec­ta­tions to­ward the ex­e­cu­tion of mu­nic­i­pal poli­cies, as well as get­ting a firm un­der­stand­ing of the di­rec­tion of the mayor gov­er­nance. For the time be­ing, I per­son­ally feel that the city coun­cil and the city hall have room for com­mu­ni­ca­tion and mu­tual un­der­stand­ing.”

In con­clu­sion, the speaker said that she has high hopes for the co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the city coun­cil and the city hall. Wu said that since tak­ing of­fice, Ko has gar­nered im­mense amount of sup­port from cit­i­zens.

How­ever, the speaker added, it would seem as though that the mayor still has room for im­prove­ment, such as con­trol­ling his tem­per and strength­en­ing his re­la­tion­ships with col­leagues and sub­or­di­nates, so that a pos­i­tive Taipei City may blos­som into be­ing, to the ben­e­fit of the en­tire city.

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