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Mayor's Hope Journal

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  • Upon the first anniversary of being inaugurated as the mayor of Seoul – I thank you, the citizens of Seoul.
    [Mayor Park Won Soon’s Administrative Journal 37]

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    Hello everyone.

    Dear citizens of Seoul, this is Park Won Soon, the mayor of the city of Seoul.

    One year has already passed since my inauguration.
    Depending on how we look at it, it could be viewed as a really short amount of time or a long amount of time.

    In the beginning of this year, I decided to adopt Confucianism’s teaching of, “Water supports a boat, but it may capsize it as well,” which was quoted in a history book from the late Han Dynasty called “Hwangbo gyujeon,” as my philosophy in operating administrative affairs of the city of Seoul. In this case, the water is the citizens of this city, and the boat is Seoul. What this means is that I will always reflect citizens’ opinions. This ancient adage teaches us about ‘the power of citizens’ minds.” One year ago when I was inaugurated as the mayor of Seoul, I said, “Seoul is like a ship, and our citizens are the captain of the city.” To actualize this teaching, I have done my best for the past one year.
    “Citizen-Centered” and “Onsite and Communication” have been my mottos that have determined my administrative affairs.

    [ Three Core Pledges ]
    Since my inauguration, the first thing I did was to realize my three core pledges.
    This was because there was an order from the citizens to, “Take care of citizens’ lives.”
    This command coincides with the slogan of my campaign pledge, which was, “The First Mayor who will Change Citizens’ Lives.”
    In fact, citizens who had the burning wish to have universal welfare elected me as the mayor of Seoul.
    Our citizens’ desperate hope to lead better lives led me to become a steward of Seoul, which is the capital city of Korea.
    First, I implemented an eco-friendly free school lunch program for our 590,000 children on the day after my inauguration. I then established the Metropolitan Eco-friendly Free School Lunch Integrated Assistance Center, in order to stably supply healthy lunches to children.
    Now, the implementation of the “Eco-Friendly Free School Lunch Program” will expand exchanges between the city and farmers in the long run, and it will also contribute to teaching children about food.

    Second, I implemented half-price tuition for the University of Seoul.
    This made it possible to reduce tuition fees to the one million won level, and in some cases it allowed for some tuition fees to be completely eliminated. This half-price tuition program caused great social repercussions.
    Currently, several presidential candidates are dealing with this issue as their major campaign pledge. The lives of college students have changed greatly.
    The number of students to apply for a student loan was reduced to more than 40%, and the number of students to participate in volunteer work doubled.
    The implementation of half-price tuition at the University of Seoul has led to the improvement of the college entrance system.
    By establishing new college entrance guidelines, colleges will foster creative young people who will contribute to making the world a better place to live, and will no longer focus on only selecting students who are competitive in doing well at studying.

    Third, I intend to change part-time jobs to full-time jobs.

    I still remember the happy faces of 1,133 citizens. I will continuously work on changing part-time jobs to full-time jobs.
    At present, we are conducting research on the measures for employment stability and ensuring better treatment of the city of Seoul’s temporary workers.
    I will report the results of this research within this year.
    We will include measures to expand the stability of employment in private sectors that cooperate with Seoul.

    Dear citizens,
    The stability of the working environment is the basic happiness of citizens.
    Furthermore, it is the base for boosting domestic demand and revitalizing the domestic economy.
    Most of all, it is the first condition that we cannot give up in securing citizens’ precious rights.

    [ Three Core Administrative Innovations ]
    One year ago, my election as the mayor of Seoul was considered to be the beginning of a new political innovation.
    The emergence of “Citizens as Mayor attracted a lot of citizens’ attention. However, this was only part of the phenomenon created by this era.
    The nature of the city of Seoul’s administrative affairs for the past year has been, “administrative innovation.”

    First, “administrative innovation” was carried out via “onsite administration.”
    My assertion of abolishing bureaucratic administration and partitioned administration did not merely remain as a slogan, but instead has served as a policy.
    I listened to citizens onsite through “Policy listening workshops.” I had discussions with experts who had diverse and contradictory opinions, and I thought over their opinions thoroughly.

    As such, citizens, expert groups, and Seoul City Administration formed cooperative governance.
    For the last year, I met some 5,200 citizens through a total of only 39 workshops.
    For the, “Seoul City Veterans Comprehensive Planning,” I went onsite.
    After I paid respect to the nation’s fallen heroes at the National Cemetery on June 6th, I visited descendants of independence activists who resisted the Japanese occupation of Korea, as well as veterans who participated in the Vietnam War.
    After I personally listened to their voices, the thought struck me, “If we do not take care of the lives of these people, who will sacrifice their life to protect this country?”
    Since then, I met with several veteran groups, and the chief executives of the city of Seoul and I visited the offices of veteran groups for the first time in the history of Seoul’s city administration.
    As such, we could prepare measures where we can repay them for their sacrifice in a small way.
    Most of Seoul’s policies are implemented like this process.
    If we do not listen to onsite voices, we would not have been able to implement many of our policies.
    The “Seoul City’s Comprehensive Planning for the Disabled” and “Health 365,” which is Seoul’s public medical policy, as well as the “Seoul Citizen Welfare Guideline,” and “Seoul City, a Sharing City” were established in the same process.
    Most of all, the “New Town Exit Strategy” would not have been possible if citizens’ onsite voices and various opinions were not collected and integrated.
    I am the mayor for the citizens who supported me, and also for the citizens who did not support me.
    The axis of Seoul’s city administration should work as a “balanced weight” that can resolve the discord between generations, differences in regions, and conflicts between left vs. right wing groups and the rich and the poor.
    Mediation for harmony is the power of administration.

    Second, administrative innovation was possible through “Open Administration.”
    Due to the development of IT technology, “Open City Administration 2.0” was possible.
    With the opening of the “Information Communication Plaza,” we have been able to share the city of Seoul’s public data with our citizens.
    Information itself is our property.
    Before our citizens demand our active sharing of administrative information with our citizens will be able to create new added value.
    In addition, I established the Historian-Archivist System to record the mayor’s daily administrative affairs, and I ordered a white paper to be published on each project in order to leave records about the entire process of Seoul’s city administration. We have also been operating a Real-name Policy System.
    Furthermore, I even share the Mayor’s Office with our citizens through, “Live Seoul-Live Won Soon.”
    All of these processes will secure the rationality and transparency of Seoul’s city administrative affairs.

    Third, we are realizing administrative innovation by using a new information delivery system.
    Through “Twitter Administration,” I realized SNS administration for the first time in the world.
    Last July, when a young mother tweeted that a clothes collection container that was placed on a sidewalk in front of Sungnye Elementary School in Jongam-dong, may harm the safety of children on their way to school, her opinion was sent to the department in charge, and the city immediately took the proper action to correct the situation.
    I felt worthwhile when I received a message from the mother, telling me, “I was not interested in politics or administrative affairs before, but from this experience, I am now very impressed.
    I will install a Social Media Center (SMC), which will integrate citizens’ complaints that have been sent to my Twitter account and all other forms of new media and the SMC will process them. It will also disclose the results of the process in a transparent way.
    The administrative innovation of the city of Seoul will make progress one step at a time.
    I will prepare a foundation for a response system against disasters and risks by incorporating the changes in new technology, such as location-based services, augmented reality (AR), and voice recognition, into administration services.
    In addition, I made a mobile community called “Seoul Treasure Trove,” with the departmental directors of the city. Within this community, we share our suggestions and opinions freely and encourage one another.
    Our cooperation occurs naturally as well. I believe that this community will have a great impact on bringing down bureaucratic administration and partitioned administration, which will lead to administrative innovation next. All of these administrative innovations are possible due to our citizens.
    Citizens’ demand for “Bringing about innovation, and taking care of citizens’ lives first,” has guided the city of Seoul onto the roadway to innovation.
    Due to such innovations in administration, our citizen-participatory administration is achieving innovations.
    Our citizens have become the designer of our policies.

    Among Seoul’s next year’s city budget, 50 billion won will be designated as the “Citizen participatory budget.”
    The city of Seoul and the Seoul Planning Citizen Participatory Team together drew up, “Seoul 2030,” which is Seoul’s future urban planning.
    We added citizens’ plan for life to hardware-centered urban planning.

    [ Three Administrative Goals ]
    For the last year, having been enabled with the power of our citizens, I have been working very hard to achieve the following three goals: welfare, safety, and job creation.
    I invested Seoul’s human resources and budget in the areas that will directly help citizens’ lives and I collected the wisdom of the city’s citizens.

    First, I published the “Seoul Citizens Welfare Guideline.”
    This is the first citizen welfare guideline to be established by a local government in Korea, and it will play a role as a welfare charter for Seoul citizens.
    This guideline will become a firing point in realizing Korea’s general welfare, concentrating on income, housing, care, health, and education.
    Our citizens reassured us that the best pre-investment in our era is to invest in human resources.
    We were able to prepare the “Seoul Citizen Welfare Guideline,” due to our citizens, and we will do our best to improve our welfare system.

    Second, the safety of our citizens’ lives is the safety of our city.
    The city of Seoul has prepared the foundation for its safety.
    We have prepared a citizen-centered disaster management system by establishing the “Disaster and Safety Management Basic Ordinance.”
    We have expanded the degree of citizens’ participation in protecting the safety of Seoul by constructing the Total Disaster Broadcast & Surveillance System (TDBS) by using media like community mapping and avalanche warning messaging.
    In particular, we set a budget of 788.8 billion won, which is an increase of 279.5 billion as compared to the previous year, in order to prepare against disasters.
    We cannot prevent all disasters. However, we do our best and invest a lot of time and resources in prevention. We will never forget that the safety of our citizens is the primary reason for the existence of Seoul.

    Third, the safety of jobs is the basis for the happiness of the city’s citizens.
    Since last May, we started to change part-time jobs to full-time jobs. We will revitalize our economy by creating more sustainable jobs in the future.
    The economy outside of the country is still weak.
    As a result, we have done our best to create more jobs, but we have not yet been able to achieve satisfactory results.
    However, we will not stop here.
    We will operate customized human resource fostering programs together with businesses and colleges, and we will construct a Job Hub for young people to be able to realize their dreams.
    In addition, we will create quality jobs through sharing and solidarity with the social economy.
    We will do our best to protect small merchants and to revitalize traditional markets and the alley economy in various ways.
    We will strengthen the city of Seoul’s growth engine by expanding the industries of tourism, entertainment, and MICE (Meeting•Incentives•Convention•Events and Exhibition).

    [ Accomplishments & Fears ]
    Dear Seoul citizens,
    We have been able to accomplish a lot of things due to your support.
    We have supplied public rental housing as we planned, and we are trying our best to reduce the city’s debts.
    The city of Seoul planned to provide 18,516 homes in 2012, and as of September we have provided 16,000 homes, resulting in providing a total of 40,000 public rental homes. Furthermore, the city and investment agencies are doing their best to reduce our debt in the best way possible.

    For the past year, we also experienced some despair and disappointment.
    We had to spend a lot of our efforts in correcting wrong policies from the past.
    In particular, I realized the limitation of my wisdom under the pressure that has been created by the 20 trillion won debt.
    On a daily basis I felt helpless under the circumstances of a deepening economic recession, the reduction of tax revenue, and the limited decentralization of the local government’s power.
    I still have a lot of things to do, and I want to do a lot of things, but I often feel helpless due to the present limitations.
    However, when I look back over this past year, all of the obstacles that I have faced in the process have turned out to only be speed bumps.
    I will improve our citizens’ happiness slowly but steadily through administrative innovations.
    I will also overcome each moment of crisis with Seoul’s citizens.
    From the depths of my heart, I truly believe that we can wisely overcome our difficulties together.

    With the power of your support and encouragement, we are able to process administrative affairs from the perspective of common sense and rationality and from the criteria of “Benefiting Seoul Citizens” and “The Future of Seoul.”
    Citizens of Seoul, I thank you.

    [ Again to the onsite ]
    Once again, I will discuss onsite policies.
    On November 1st, I will be temporarily moving the Mayor’s Office to Eunpyeong New Town where there are many unsold apartments.
    At Eunpyeong New Town, I will find a way to resolve the problem of the existence of unsold apartments that were built by SH Corporation and I will think about ways to improve the living environment of Seoul residents.
    I will return to Seoul City Hall after I come up with a plan.
    This is not only about Eunpyeong New Town.
    I will move my Mayor’s Office to resolve problems related to the lives of citizens, the traditional markets, unemployment, the struggles of the elderly, and childcare.
    [ Finishing Story ]
    It has been already one year since I took the position of being the mayor of Seoul, and I have some people I would like to thank and pay respect to.
    The people that I would like to express my gratitude and respect to are the workers of the city of Seoul.
    I know am very aware of their hard work and patience.
    They have been very patient in working with me – a man who can be very meticulous and at times seemingly uptight. They have been very dedicated to their work.

    I feel very lucky to work with such excellent colleagues.

    Dear citizens of Seoul, you are my biggest support.

    Here are a total of 3,430 citizens’ names.
    They all have participated in Seoul’s city administrative affairs.

    One day citizen mayors, the honorable deputy mayor, citizens who have participated in policy listening workshops, citizens who appeared in Won Soon’s “Seoul Story,” citizen writers, citizens who participated in Hope Seeds, and citizens who gave their opinions through Twitter.
    This is not all.
    The happiness of Seoul can be fully attributable to the city’s citizens.

    Citizens are like musical instruments that make different sounds and we work together like an orchestra that produces magnificent music.

    I ask for your continuous participation, frank suggestions, and opinions.
    I will also strive to be a good conductor for this “Seoul orchestra.”

    Today as we looked back in at the last 12 months, I also look towards the coming year with great expectations.
    I am really excited about what kind of beautiful music we will create together in the future.
    Let’s make each day an exciting one that is full of hope.

    This is all due to the citizens of Seoul.

    “The citizens are the mayor.”

    Thank you very much.