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Where are the Women?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016 • Paris, France

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Dear Parler Paris Reader,

Lulu Lolo with Erica Simone

Lulu Lolo as Joan of Arc - by Erica Simone

Lulu Lolo as Joan of Arc with Erica Simone

Hidalgo speaks at the Hôtel de Ville

Crowd at the Hôtel de Ville

The Hôtel de Ville

Hôtel de Ville

Francophile friend, New Yorker and amazing performance artist Lulu Lolo not only showed up for Erica Simone's exhibition last Thursday night, but showed up in Union Square as France's greatest heroine, Joan of Arc -- in a crusade to put women on the proverbial pedestal.

She's all over town with her message: "Where are the women?" There are only five monuments devoted to women in New York City (Harriet Tubman, Eleanor Roosevelt, Golda Meir, Gertrude Stein and Joan of Arc) -- not enough for Lulu's tastes, nor ours either for that matter. Erica promptly nominated her mother (but, of course!), but others much worthier such as Oprah Winfrey, Bella Abzug and Dorothy Day were put on the wish list. (Let's hope Sarah Palin, now endorsing Donald Trump for President, is not among them!)

Lulu is working on expanding the project and will be doing a walking tour and a podcast for the Municipal Arts Society of New York. She promises to keep us posted on this news and we should all support her in her efforts to get women recognized as they should be...in New York and all over the world, Paris included!

Read the New York Times article.

Another amazing performance took place last night at the Paris City Hall where Mayor Anne Hidalgo spoke for 30 minutes without notes, without stumbling on one single word, without hesitation in so clear a voice that we could understand every word. Her audience was made up of hundreds of constituents invited to honor the 'players' in the economic, social, associative, youth, sports and cultural activities in the city of Paris and to welcome in the new year.

While I'm not a fan of Ms. Hidalgo's politics, nor of some of her messages, her delivery was impressive...and I am not one to complain that a woman occupies the mayor's office. However, the message was filled with a lot of the same rhetoric about how much the city is doing to promote all of those activities, without much proof that her policies are successful. She is not one I'd nominate for a monument.

Last week while I was in New York, Ms. Hidalgo's own 'crusaders' raided apartments in the 1st and 6th arrondissements to ferret out apartment owners who rent their property more than the legally allowed 120 days a year...and in particular, those who invested in property for the sole intention of profit from short term rentals. (This also includes second homes for foreign owners, who do use their property periodically, and therefore are not for the sole purpose of profit!)

A study commissioned by Prime Minister Manuel Valls cites that 3.9 million travellers use the Airbnb service, as well as apartments offered by professional agencies (such as Adrian Leeds Group Apartments) -- and that this contributes €2.4 billion to the French economy.

In summary, the study concluded that:

a) The demand for short to medium term furnished rentals exists and is legitimate

b) No such offerings are possible within the current legal framework

c) The short-term rental of "résidences secondaires" (whether the owner is Parisian or not) would help to satisfy that legitimate demand, without taking housing off the market for long-term rental (which by definition cannot take place in résidences secondaires).

While I understand the city's need for more housing, raiding people's property in what she calls a 'blitz,' is reminiscent of World War II round-ups and what George Orwell defined as fascist behavior and 'bullying.' The tactics are loathsome (in my opinion). You may recall that I was one of her victims and that an apartment designated for my retirement was declared illegal by her invasive officials, and therefore sold as a result of not being able to support it without the rental income.

It could be that Ms. Hidalgo is vying for political positioning against Manuel Valls...and this could be the platform on which she will compete. It would be healthier for the economy if it were Lulu's proverbial pedestal and not the platform!

More about the subject...

About the first 'blitz'
About the Valls study
About the recent 'blitz' from The Local

A la prochaine...

Adrian Leeds - at Erica's opening  Adrian Leeds
  The Adrian Leeds Group

  (at Erica's opening)

 

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