Santa snap con­tro­versy

Costa Levante News - - NEWS -

By James Parkes ALI­CANTE'S Par­tido Pop­u­lar (PP) mayor Luis Bar­cala has come un­der fire for ban­ning mo­bile phone pho­tos at the city's Santa's Grotto - where pro­fes­sional snaps are charged at €5 each.

At the en­trance to the Grotto, in­stalled at Pan­teón de Qui­jano op­po­site the bull­ring, a large sign says ‘Mo­bile phone pho­tos for­bid­den’ and prices one photo with Santa at €5 and three for €10. The cost has caused an up­roar among par­ents who visit the Grotto, af­ter all, who's the par­ent who can say no to his child want­ing a snap with Santa?

Par­ents and op­po­si­tion par­ties opened fire against the mayor and the PP coun­cil for what they con­sider a 'mon­ey­grab­bing op­por­tu­nity' that 'takes ad­van­tage of the fes­tive spirit'.

Res­i­dents even crit­i­cised that there is not even a pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­pher do­ing the job, but a photo-booth ma­chine.

But the mayor con­tin­ues adamant: "If some­one wants a photo with Santa, they can pay for it," said Sr Bar­cala this week. "Vis­it­ing the Grotto and hand­ing Santa a let­ter is free, hav­ing a photo with him is not oblig­a­tory."

Not sur­pris­ingly, a lo­cal news­pa­per has pub­lished a photo of Sr Bar­cala on the Grotto's open­ing day tak­ing a photo with his mo­bile phone of his fam­ily with Santa.

Fi­nally, on Tues­day, the coun­cil made u-turn and an­nounced that mo­bile phone pho­tos would be al­lowed be­cause the 'mayor is sen­si­tive to res­i­dent's de­mands' - although no per­sonal state­ment has been pro­vided.

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