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Market forces [January 16, 2010]

Five of Amsterdam's seven city centre market managers arrested for taking bribes from stall holders, the Parool reported on Saturday.

The paper says the police used undercover officers to uncover the fraud, which, after all, worked to the advantage of both the managers and the stallholders themselves. I give you a small tip and you turn a blind eye to me parking my car in the wrong place or give me a sign when a stall comes vacant on the sunny site of the market. Hardly surprising that the police investigation met a blank wall when stallholders were questioned.

Now it remains to be seen if the city council can make sure market rules are now met. For example, some 20 stalls on the Waterlooplein market are not run by the permit holders, but have been 'rented out' by the stallholder to someone else, the paper says.

A raid on the managers' office in the town hall apparently turned up over 30,000 euros.... That's what they call a free market economy.

Nothing to be proud of

Rita Verdonk's Amsterdam campaign leader seems to be digging herself into ever more holes... so it will be a miracle if she even makes it to the local elections on March 3. Addie Schulte, in his Amsterdam Republic column in the Parool, recounts how he tried to interview the hapless Ans van der Velde at 8.30am but was told to phone back later because it was too early.

Which he did. And what gem did the leader of the local chapter of Proud of the Netherlands come up with? 'If you are for renewal you are for change'. Wow. And she refused to talk about the fact she no longer works at the city council bus firm as social worker - 'let us just say we separated'. Doubtless someone will dig up the truth soon enough.

More to the point, what is the bus firm doing with a social worker anyway?

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