An uproar over the central government’s failure to hand over the operation of the Kaohsiung National Stadium — the nation’s largest arena — to the Kaohsiung City Government as planned showed no sign of abating yesterday.
Opposition legislators and city councilors rallied behind Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) in a show of support after she was accused by her Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) opponent in the November special municipality elections of mismanaging the return of the stadium.
“The allegations against Chen are [groundless] and are an obvious election tactic,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tien Chiu-chin (田秋堇) told the legislature in the morning alongside Legislator Chiu Yi-ying (邱議瑩).
KMT candidate Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順) said on Monday that Chen lacked the skills to negotiate the stadium’s return to the city and the municipal government had failed to deliver a comprehensive plan for future operations.
“It’s not the central government’s problem — Chen brought out an incomplete transition proposal and tried to arrogantly gloss over her responsibility,” Huang said. “It’s completely the result of Chen’s incompetence.”
The year-old, solar-powered stadium served as the main site of the 2009 World Games, but has been used only sporadically since then. It is under the Sports Affairs Council’s control, but had been scheduled to be handed over to the city government on Jan. 1.
Huang said there were as many as 47 problems with the stadium’s construction that needed to be addressed by the city government before it could be handed over and she rejected Chen’s assertions that someone behind the scenes was working against the transition.
“It’s clearly her fault and yet she says that someone is working against [her] … This type of implication is really terrifying,” Huang said.
However, DPP legislators said if the KMT government had wanted the stadium turned over to the city, it would have made it happen.
“Progress has been held back, because of what? — 47 errors, which have been blown out of proportion,” Chiu said. “There have been 33 inspection meetings since the stadium was completed and the council attended every single one.”
“They should have brought out these problems during their own inspections … but they only bring them up now when it is about to be handed over to the city government,” she said.
DPP Kaohsiung City councilors also accused Huang of “holding back” the city, saying her recent accusations were just the latest example of how she has inhibited the city in the 10 years she has been a legislator in the Kaohsiung area.
“Under the DPP administration, the municipal government had planned to create a modern music center as a new regional landmark, but in May 2007, Huang supported holding back the budget for it,” Kaohsiung City Councilor Hung Ping-lang (洪平朗) said.
“As long as something benefits Kaohsiung, Huang will oppose it for her own political reasons, sacrificing the rights of our city’s residents in the process,” Kaohsiung City Councilor Cheng Kuang-feng (鄭光峰) said.
Meanwhile, Kaohsiung Deputy Secretary-General Yang Ming-chou (楊明洲) urged the central government to hand over the stadium as soon as possible.
Yang said the sports council did not have any problems with the stadium’s design throughout the construction of the facility.
“The city government has experienced engineering professionals and can coordinate [maintenance work] between different city government agencies,” Yang said.