PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos distanced his party from its two coalition partners, conservative New Democracy and Democratic Left, while also heralding an overhaul of the Socialist party, which suffered heavy losses in recent elections.Addressing his 33 MPs ahead of the expected opening of Parliament, Venizelos drew clear dividing lines between PASOK and its partners. “We are cooperating with New Democracy but that does not mean we identify with them, either in terms of politics or values,” he said, blaming ND for harming the country through its strong opposition to Greece’s first bailout and leaving PASOK to bear the burden of the country’s recovery on its own.Venizelos also condemned Democratic Left for trying to attract PASOK voters to join the leftists ahead of the June and May elections.Democratic Left leader Fotis Kouvelis, for his part, emphasized the need for growth-oriented measures to be implemented without delay to combat a deepening recession. Speaking to reporters after talks with President Karolos Papoulias, the leftist leader said he was confident that, in talks with European leaders in Brussels, Greece’s head of state would emphasize the multiple problems caused by the “ineffective and relentless” measures of the memorandum, referring to the country’s loan deal with creditors.Meanwhile Alexis Tsipras, the leader of leftist SYRIZA, which came second in this month’s elections on a pledge to abolish the memorandum, suggested that the result of the polls, which involved at least half of voters backing anti-bailout parties, made it clear that Greeks expect the country’s creditors to make concessions. “They have high expectations,” he said.Source: Kathimerini Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram
The City of Homer wants the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities to pay a little more than $26,000 in natural gas assessments for eight state-owned plots of land. DOT refuses. The city and DOT are negotiating a solution.Download AudioNatural gas seems to be the fossil fuel that can do no wrong. It has boomed in popularity not just in Alaska but the rest of the U.S. and countries across the globe. It’s relatively cheap and clean. Those benefits were not lost on the Homer City Council in 2011 when they started down the path to a gas transition.The city used a legislative grant to pay for a pipeline to bring the gas from Anchor Point into Homer and Kachemak City. But, the city borrowed over $12 million from the Kenai Peninsula Borough to pay for the 73 mile distribution system used to deliver the gas to individual properties.“As part of that project the city decided to create a very large all-city special assessment district that assessed each property equally for putting natural gas in all the streets and right of ways in Homer,” said Homer City Manager Katie Koester.The assessments were set aside by the city to pay its debt to the borough. City Manager Katie Koester says DOT has properties inside that special assessment district.“We’re engaged in conversations right now with DOT about those properties and getting payment from them. [We’re] letting them know that just because it’s a state property doesn’t mean it’s excluded from the district,” said Koester.Koester says only undevelopable properties are excluded from the district and on that DOT agrees.Jill Reese with the Department of Transportation says the properties in question are what are known as Right of Way.“Whenever we expand a road sometimes we don’t have enough of an easement or an owned property that the road already traverses in order to make it longer or wider. Sometimes we have to go buy extra property from private individuals in order to do that,” said Reese.Once those properties are purchased they are labeled Right of Ways and state statute forbids developing them.“It’s like any ditch or anything along the road. You can’t develop it,” said Reese. “It’s not subject to the assessment since there’s no opportunity to develop the property and take advantage of the gas line.”But, Koester says the properties she’s talking about are developable and right now the city is trying to explain that to the agency.“A lot of these properties are benefited properties. They have facilities on them and structures on them. So right now I think it’s really just a matter of engaging with DOT and educating them about the types of properties,” said Koester.She says the city has already exempted DOT properties that she calls truly undevelopable.“Only a road is on them or there would be no ability to build a structure,” said Koester.She adds that other state entities have paid assessments on their lots. She is confident the city and DOT will find a solution to their disagreement.Koester also says it’s important for the public to know everyone with properties inside the district is being treated to the same standard.