Taipei City speaker talks about city politics, council
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.