Santa snap controversy
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.