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Old December 27th, 2007, 06:56 PM   #241
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True, unfortunately. Corruption paranoya turns any administrative procedure here into years long nightmare.
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Old January 2nd, 2008, 06:32 PM   #242
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The new year has started with following news:
- The tender for the delivery of Low-Floor trams for Riga city council "Rigas Satiksme" has been announced. Applications will be accepted till 25th of February. The first line that will get an upgrade will be the 6th line going from centre to Jugla. Together with construction of tunnel unfer VEF bridge line will be adjusted to fit Low-Floor trams (100mil LVL). The launch of first line is expected in 2009, the completion by 2011.

The next line to be upgraded will be No 11th going to Mezaparks. Construction will start in 2010 at cost of 75mil LVL and will be completed in 2013.

- The Railway line Riga-Venstspils will be launched in September 2008 with refurbished trains.
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Old January 4th, 2008, 04:50 PM   #243
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The new year has started with following news:
- The tender for the delivery of Low-Floor trams for Riga city council "Rigas Satiksme" has been announced. Applications will be accepted till 25th of February. The first line that will get an upgrade will be the 6th line going from centre to Jugla. Together with construction of tunnel unfer VEF bridge line will be adjusted to fit Low-Floor trams (100mil LVL). The launch of first line is expected in 2009, the completion by 2011.

The next line to be upgraded will be No 11th going to Mezaparks. Construction will start in 2010 at cost of 75mil LVL and will be completed in 2013.

- The Railway line Riga-Venstspils will be launched in September 2008 with refurbished trains.
In couple of years the city will need to start to pay back 1 billion EUR it took to build the southern bridge. And that was only one bridge. We need many such bidges, tunnels and now comes the low floor tram. But the city is about to bancrupt already after building one bridge. Can't imagine what will hapen after. Development might stop for our liftime.
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Old January 4th, 2008, 05:34 PM   #244
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In couple of years the city will need to start to pay back 1 billion EUR it took to build the southern bridge. And that was only one bridge. We need many such bidges, tunnels and now comes the low floor tram. But the city is about to bancrupt already after building one bridge. Can't imagine what will hapen after. Development might stop for our liftime.
Yeah, you are so right. The development will stop and all of Rigans will living their whole lives in a city that will be stuck in a distant past, like Alice in wonderland.
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Old January 4th, 2008, 06:08 PM   #245
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In couple of years the city will need to start to pay back 1 billion EUR it took to build the southern bridge. And that was only one bridge. We need many such bidges, tunnels and now comes the low floor tram. But the city is about to bancrupt already after building one bridge. Can't imagine what will hapen after. Development might stop for our liftime.
I just don't understand something here. Visited to Bratislava projects thread and looked at amazing development what they have there. At least 2 times more real development projects, infrastructure, architecturally great highrises etc.. Then looked in Wikipedia to find out Bratislava city budget - and wikipedia says: The city has a balanced budget of almost six billion Slovak korunas (€182 million, as of 2007). This is 4 times less than Riga budget!! How can it be that Riga budget is 4 times greater than so fast developing Bratislava budget but Riga is still living in such a poverty, that we can't even finance South bridge by ourselves but need to take so expensive credits which doubles or triples total costs. Ok, I know we can't make so brutal comparisions and there is maybe many more private investitions in Bratislava than in Riga, but still - something doesn't make sense here. We aren't so poor anymore, but where all the money disappears? Is it in oligarchs' and their "system people" pockets, offshores or where?? Why every object (and especially infrastructure object) is so enormously expensive here? We build the most expensive bridges, roads, tunnels in the world, as president Zatlers said.
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Old January 4th, 2008, 06:58 PM   #246
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vecais Sakarnis View Post
I just don't understand something here. Visited to Bratislava projects thread and looked at amazing development what they have there. At least 2 times more real development projects, infrastructure, architecturally great highrises etc.. Then looked in Wikipedia to find out Bratislava city budget - and wikipedia says: The city has a balanced budget of almost six billion Slovak korunas (€182 million, as of 2007). This is 4 times less than Riga budget!! How can it be that Riga budget is 4 times greater than so fast developing Bratislava budget but Riga is still living in such a poverty, that we can't even finance South bridge by ourselves but need to take so expensive credits which doubles or triples total costs. Ok, I know we can't make so brutal comparisions and there is maybe many more private investitions in Bratislava than in Riga, but still - something doesn't make sense here. We aren't so poor anymore, but where all the money disappears? Is it in
oligarchs' and their "system people" pockets, offshores or where?? Why every object (and especially infrastructure object) is so enormously expensive here? We build the most expensive bridges, roads, tunnels in the world, as president Zatlers said.
To be totally honest, people having access to the money of Riga city budget will figure out most incredible schemes of obtaining in through legal and not legal ways. To acquire it illegally has become much harder lately. Now it is being done through different projects. For us it means that this money at least does not get completely stolen - we get something (like a bridge) at a very high price.

Look, stakeholders with great power are thinking slightly different from you and me, we aspire for the better Riga - and that is above personal intersests, at least for me.

First of all there is a constant battle for a power (like the government with the ruling parties are cutting the finances available to councils governed by different parties e.g. government insured Riga even does not get the access to EU funds for the Southern Bridge because Riga Council was led at that time by Jaunais Laiks, and I am not talking about the financial support form Gov. at that time). Do you know what I mean.

Secondly people with high power and high political interest are thinking more like "how can this project be beneficial for myself. Benefits we are talking about are two - more power and more money. There are so many interested parties with massive power and interest that the project is getting much more expensive than the pure cost of planning, building and maintaining.

In other words, for us there is no way out of it apart from being happy that we are not being ripped off totally...or starting a political carrier and becoming a part of a grand scheme.

Nevertheless, I believe, the same as you do, that for the Latvian budget we deserve better value for the money.
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Old January 4th, 2008, 08:48 PM   #247
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Try to understand finally - although journalists stubbornely repeat that Southern bridge costs 1 billion EUR, this is NOT TRUE. Bridge + 1 km highway + 3-level estacade with 6 estacades costs 121 mio EUR. I am repeating once more - 121 mio EUR. 121 mio EUR! I can't find here at home how much costs bridge itself - it is something around 80 mio EUR. This differs a bit from the mentioned 1 billion EUR.

Btw. you can find this information also in newspaper "Diena" today - it's printed with small letters, well hidden inside the newspaper - "An errata slip". Meanwhile journalists of "Diena" and many other mass media continue to spread myth about "the most expensive bridge of the world". OK, I know that next time when you open newspaper, you will easily forget this.

Regarding the mentioned corruption of Riga City officials... if you have certain information, do something about it. If not - don't spread rumours. Rumours seem to be abstract but they harm real, existing people who for most part do their work honestly.

If you wonder where goes Riga city budget - information is open, go and read here:
http://www.riga.lv/LV/Channels/Riga_...ts/default.htm
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Old January 4th, 2008, 11:01 PM   #248
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Try to understand finally - although journalists stubbornely repeat that Southern bridge costs 1 billion EUR, this is NOT TRUE. Bridge + 1 km highway + 3-level estacade with 6 estacades costs 121 mio EUR. I am repeating once more - 121 mio EUR. 121 mio EUR! I can't find here at home how much costs bridge itself - it is something around 80 mio EUR. This differs a bit from the mentioned 1 billion EUR.

Btw. you can find this information also in newspaper "Diena" today - it's printed with small letters, well hidden inside the newspaper - "An errata slip". Meanwhile journalists of "Diena" and many other mass media continue to spread myth about "the most expensive bridge of the world". OK, I know that next time when you open newspaper, you will easily forget this.

Regarding the mentioned corruption of Riga City officials... if you have certain information, do something about it. If not - don't spread rumours. Rumours seem to be abstract but they harm real, existing people who for most part do their work honestly.

If you wonder where goes Riga city budget - information is open, go and read here:
http://www.riga.lv/LV/Channels/Riga_...ts/default.htm
Dear Gatis, I respect you a lot, but do not be naive, knowing that you are working on a next massive Riga project, I didn't mean that you or any other your colleagues involved in benefiting from it apart from being paid and becoming experienced and more skilled. I am emphasize that the how high ranked political individuals are benefiting from having access to money and power. I did not say anything about corruption. It is all legal. For instance, I doubt Mr Bojars who pushing forwards with the Mezaparks project has acquired the land illegally. Or that the fact that South Bridge costs at least the double the number you quoted (because the money was borrowed from banks - that makes the real costs so high) is a theft, but can not be ignored.

Countless examples, my dear friend, I could draw up on, where politicians are benefiting from pushing through the projects. But as I said, we get some small bits and bobs, because at the end of the day something is being constructed, sometimes a whole city....for instance Ventspils.
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Old January 5th, 2008, 12:51 AM   #249
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the fact that South Bridge costs at least the double the number you quoted (because the money was borrowed from banks
You expected that such project can be made by direct investments??? And that it is done in such a way elsewhere? No - this is done through bank loans or even the more expensive PPP schemes. F.e. Jugla multilevel crossing is made through direct investments - it's some 25 mio EUR worth. But larger projects just need bank financing.

Also - bank financing makes the things more transparent. Not 100% sure - but a lot more transparent. Bank's don't want to go into "dirty" tricks and are checking their deals.

Another thing - how we look at the price of things. People generally buy they cars with bank loans or throug leasing. When asked abut the price they say - oh, it costed (f.e.) 12 000 EUR. Easily forgetting that due to bank loan the car will cost some 20 000 EUR at the end. And others accept that the car costs 12 000 EUR - that's just how it is presented and all have used to this. Except for the case of Southern bridge - here somehow everybody remembers about the price of loan. Please - then be fair to all other investments around the world as well, in your heated search for corruption add the same price for all (nearly) projects in Germany, France, Great Britain etc. etc.

The fierce fight with the ghost of corruption makes the life here unbearable. Please, come and try to do here something larger - every person who tries to do something will get some 50 - 70 paranoidal supervisors behind, who will efficiently kill every smallest possibility to achieve something. It's not corruption which doesn't let us develop faster (OK, may be it is - per some 5%) - it's just the centuries old jealousy of mediocrities who hate everybody who is able to achieve something. In 16th century "witch hunting" was good method for these mediocrities to have comfortable life. In Stalin time they were going and telling some half-truth to KGB agents - and then their "enemy" was killed or sent to Siberia. Nowadays they spread rumours about corruption.
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Old January 5th, 2008, 01:14 AM   #250
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You expected that such project can be made by direct investments??? And that it is done in such a way elsewhere? No - this is done through bank loans or even the more expensive PPP schemes. F.e. Jugla multilevel crossing is made through direct investments - it's some 25 mio EUR worth. But larger projects just need bank financing.

Also - bank financing makes the things more transparent. Not 100% sure - but a lot more transparent. Bank's don't want to go into "dirty" tricks and are checking their deals.

Another thing - how we look at the price of things. People generally buy they cars with bank loans or throug leasing. When asked abut the price they say - oh, it costed (f.e.) 12 000 EUR. Easily forgetting that due to bank loan the car will cost some 20 000 EUR at the end. And others accept that the car costs 12 000 EUR - that's just how it is presented and all have used to this. Except for the case of Southern bridge - here somehow everybody remembers about the price of loan. Please - then be fair to all other investments around the world as well, in your heated search for corruption add the same price for all (nearly) projects in Germany, France, Great Britain etc. etc.

The fierce fight with the ghost of corruption makes the life here unbearable. Please, come and try to do here something larger - every person who tries to do something will get some 50 - 70 paranoidal supervisors behind, who will efficiently kill every smallest possibility to achieve something. It's not corruption which doesn't let us develop faster (OK, may be it is - per some 5%) - it's just the centuries old jealousy of mediocrities who hate everybody who is able to achieve something. In 16th century "witch hunting" was good method for these mediocrities to have comfortable life. In Stalin time they were going and telling some half-truth to KGB agents - and then their "enemy" was killed or sent to Siberia. Nowadays they spread rumours about corruption.
Look Gatis, do not take it personally. But we are not talking about 10LVL for a "Police Officer" - I could privately give you at least five examples from my personal experience how money can make things happen in Riga, and I am talking about massive sums paid even from foreign investors for simple "lietu sakārtošanai". These "lietu sakārtošanas" would be otherwise regulated in the West to eliminate the possibility of corruption.

I just can not believe what you just wrote about 5%.

Nevertheless you might be right about jealously - I have experienced it as well, though you can fight with it more than with the way businesses are being done in Riga. mate, and I hope we can get rid of both parties (jealous and greedy individuals) for at least throughout the time the Northern Corridor and Low-Floor public transport is being done.
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Old January 5th, 2008, 01:54 PM   #251
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One of our large contracts was alomost ruined by those rumurs of 10% bribe - it was painful to see how easily people believe in direct lies...
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Old January 6th, 2008, 08:57 PM   #252
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Here I'd like to back Gatis' position; by having worked with various western companies, I know that "lietu sakartoshana" works perfectly everywhere, be it Riga, Brussels, London, Berlin or other places.. and I don't believe that in Bratislava things are being done differently. I totally agree with Gatis about jealousy of mediocrities, which is not even a Latvian "invention" as most local people think. I've met a lot of people lately from most of European countries and I hear these stories everywhere, and in every country they think they're somehow unique. So, IMHO, Latvians just have to broaden the vision, to travel around and explore and finally understand in what kind of mystified environment they're living. Corruption is a very serious crime, but it is not that greater than anywhere else, as some media would like to tell you - they need hypes, they want to feel important and needed, they need to feed their families, they need news.. Your car costs 12k or 20k EUR? Who cares? Your bridge costs ~150M EUR? That's nothing.. but 1Bln sounds so great, especially, if Riga City Council was run by opposition parties like JL and LSDSP (at that time). The key question is - WHO GETS WHAT? You just have to be wise not to get into trap of fake realities, stay awake! sorry for offtopic, I'm just getting pi$$ed off by how easily Latvian people sometimes can be manipulated
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Old January 6th, 2008, 09:48 PM   #253
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Today saw the story in TV3 "Nekā Personīga" about Railway Bridge lightening costs. At first, I was like "Why are they boiling about that! The bridge is so nice now, why the hell they try to blame someone about that?" In short, I thought: look, this is example where I could also stay in Gatis positions. But, in the end my thoughts changed. They calculated prices of materials and work, and it turned out that lightening costs could be maximum approx. 85 000 Ls, not 280 000 Ls. OK, they maybe are wrong. But it's not the key why I changed my thinking position. The main issue was that officials of "Latvian Railway" declined to publish the official costs, pleaded that "it's a job papers", "it's a contract" and so on... Now, we are talking about mystified environment here... But what exactly is that mystifies that environment?? Looking at this example for me it's clear - it is that damn secrecy. Maybe there isn't any money laundering activities in this case - then why not to clearly publish those official documents of the costs? Now, again, people have reason to talk - "there is something fishy about it!".
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Old January 6th, 2008, 11:30 PM   #254
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Here I'd like to back Gatis' position; by having worked with various western companies, I know that "lietu sakartoshana" works perfectly everywhere, be it Riga, Brussels, London, Berlin or other places.. and I don't believe that in Bratislava things are being done differently. I totally agree with Gatis about jealousy of mediocrities, which is not even a Latvian "invention" as most local people think. I've met a lot of people lately from most of European countries and I hear these stories everywhere, and in every country they think they're somehow unique. So, IMHO, Latvians just have to broaden the vision, to travel around and explore and finally understand in what kind of mystified environment they're living. Corruption is a very serious crime, but it is not that greater than anywhere else, as some media would like to tell you - they need hypes, they want to feel important and needed, they need to feed their families, they need news.. Your car costs 12k or 20k EUR? Who cares? Your bridge costs ~150M EUR? That's nothing.. but 1Bln sounds so great, especially, if Riga City Council was run by opposition parties like JL and LSDSP (at that time). The key question is - WHO GETS WHAT? You just have to be wise not to get into trap of fake realities, stay awake! sorry for offtopic, I'm just getting pi$$ed off by how easily Latvian people sometimes can be manipulated

Latvians have to broaden their vision to accept that corruption is common in Western Europe. That is the most lame argument someone can come up with. Why I have to accept something I do not agree on only because others do it as well

I have traveled around and experiences enough to see that corruption is a disease and it needs to be fought against because the people who are naturally strong enough not to get corrupted when the opportunity arises are minority unfortunately
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Old January 7th, 2008, 02:00 PM   #255
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calm down my friend. I didn´t say we should accept corruption because or it´s spread in Western countries or anywhere else. All I wanted to say that this question in LV is absolutely overhyped; and as Gatis already told you several times, in a lot of cases it really slows down the process and we lose in competition of attracting FDI or local investment. Something similar in Latvia could be told in regards to "racism" - it´s so funny to read reports of pocket NGO´s like DELNA that there is such problem in Latvia, when we have maybe even less than 50 asian or african persons in the whole country. Not that we have to tolerate existing haters, but to say that this is a national problem, is ridiculous. And by "broaden vision" I thought of getting rid of that idea that "jealousy of mediocrities" is a Latvian national phenomenon, as many think (like "for Latvian there´s nothing more delicious like the other Latvian"; for instance, Slovenians think that they are the champions of the world regarding jealousy), so you´re already manipulating facts and context. Be wise, all I can say.
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Old January 7th, 2008, 06:15 PM   #256
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What ever
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Old January 7th, 2008, 08:00 PM   #257
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Today saw the story in TV3 "Nekā Personīga" about Railway Bridge lightening costs.
This was one of the most naughty presentation with huge lots of distorted truth. Although the project of lightening the bridge was managed by "Latvian Railways", many institutions were involved in selection of the winner of the tender for lighting the bridge, including some people whom I know. Prices are abosultely justified and that joke what journalists presented as ther "independent investigation" was just sad and lame. OK, may be authorities of Latvian railways did not act very wise - but these people are specialists at their own work and not at public relations. If they would reveal the exact costs for each item to the public, they would face court case from the entrepeneur - so they tried their best to avoid it. But these prices easily can be (and are) controlled by endless audits and controls.

There is considered to start a court case against these "journalists" because such distortion of truth should not be left unattended. It is very painful to see how separate individuals try to build their career while spreading lies about one of the nicest accomplishments of the last year.
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Old January 7th, 2008, 08:26 PM   #258
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This was one of the most naughty presentation with huge lots of distorted truth. Although the project of lightening the bridge was managed by "Latvian Railways", many institutions were involved in selection of the winner of the tender for lighting the bridge, including some people whom I know. Prices are abosultely justified and that joke what journalists presented as ther "independent investigation" was just sad and lame. OK, may be authorities of Latvian railways did not act very wise - but these people are specialists at their own work and not at public relations. If they would reveal the exact costs for each item to the public, they would face court case from the entrepeneur - so they tried their best to avoid it. But these prices easily can be (and are) controlled by endless audits and controls.

There is considered to start a court case against these "journalists" because such distortion of truth should not be left unattended. It is very painful to see how separate individuals try to build their career while spreading lies about one of the nicest accomplishments of the last year.
I will wait for the news of court case inception. It is needed if things are as you say.

BTW, used materials are special and of higher quality than those who journalists searched in customary electric appliance shops, yes?
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Old January 7th, 2008, 09:58 PM   #259
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This was one of the most naughty presentation with huge lots of distorted truth. Although the project of lightening the bridge was managed by "Latvian Railways", many institutions were involved in selection of the winner of the tender for lighting the bridge, including some people whom I know. Prices are abosultely justified and that joke what journalists presented as ther "independent investigation" was just sad and lame. OK, may be authorities of Latvian railways did not act very wise - but these people are specialists at their own work and not at public relations. If they would reveal the exact costs for each item to the public, they would face court case from the entrepeneur - so they tried their best to avoid it. But these prices easily can be (and are) controlled by endless audits and controls.

There is considered to start a court case against these "journalists" because such distortion of truth should not be left unattended. It is very painful to see how separate individuals try to build their career while spreading lies about one of the nicest accomplishments of the last year.
Bollocks, 250K sounds just ridiculously expensive for me - non-specialist. There must be something particularly special about them or there is a service charge included or something else Its 0.35MIL EUR - the lawsuit against journalists is just pathetic
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Old January 8th, 2008, 07:31 PM   #260
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Bollocks, 250K sounds just ridiculously expensive for me - non-specialist.
There was open tender with many (at least four to my knowledge) bids, with detailed price lists, with independent expert evaluations. May be there is some corruption - but according to specialists this price seems to be correct and the end result is great. Really - even if there is some corruption (which is little likely), most people in this project were just doing their work. End result of their work - one of the nicest new accents in Riga City.
Now some not very wise guys from TV come and are insulting them in front of whole country. These guys are convinced - this is easy way to popularity and spreading half-truth and lies will be allowed without any consequences.

Yes, @Vecais Sakarnis - there are used high quality materials which are not sold in general electrical supply shops.
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