Local news translated – June 26, 2023

Graphic by U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Public Affairs Office

Host Nation Update, June 26, 2023

Mayoral Election in Kornwestheim: Second Round of Voting Required on July 9th

Kornwestheim faced an important decision on Sunday: Who will succeed Mayor Ursula Keck? Even a self-proclaimed “royal holiness” threw their hat into the ring.

The mayoral election in Kornwestheim, located in the district of Ludwigsburg, will proceed to a second round of voting. According to the preliminary results, none of the six candidates obtained the necessary absolute majority of over 50 percent of the votes. As of 7:46 PM, the current mayor of Schwieberdingen, Nico Lauxmann, garnered approximately 45 percent of the votes. Although Lauxmann is a member of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), he ran as a cross-party candidate. Kadir Koyutürk secured the second place with around 24 percent of the votes. He currently serves as the head of the Kornwestheim department for social affairs and participation, and temporarily suspended his membership in the Green Party for the election.

Kornwestheim: Incumbent Mayor Decries Personal Attacks

Therefore, it will be at least until July 9th when it becomes clear who will succeed the incumbent mayor Ursula Keck (independent) who chose not to run for re-election after 16 years in office. In the second round, the candidate with the most votes will emerge as the winner. Keck was initially elected in 2007 and reconfirmed in 2015. However, she decided not to run again due to insufficient support from the factions. Furthermore, she cited an increasing number of personal attacks as a reason for her withdrawal in late 2022.

A “Royal Holiness” as the New Mayor?

The ballot presented five men and one woman as candidates. In addition to the aforementioned candidates Lauxmann and Koyutürk, there was Markus Kämmle, the leader of the Free Voters’ faction in the municipal council, who received 18.4 percent of the votes. Zennure Funke-Ulusoy, a teacher, garnered approximately 6 percent of the votes, totaling around 600, while Stefan Duscher, another independent candidate who works as a physicist, received 5.74 percent.

Entrepreneur Thomas Hornauer, also an independent candidate, entered the race. Hornauer, who refers to himself as “royal holiness,” received 45 votes, equivalent to 0.44 percent. Through his livestreams on the video platform TikTok, the 62-year-old gained nationwide recognition. (SWR Aktuel)


Kessel Festival: Women Can Seek Help Using Codeword “Panama”

Since the debate surrounding the band “Rammstein,” the protection of women at concerts has received increased attention. The team behind the Stuttgart Kessel Festival has now introduced a designated safe space for the first time.

At this year’s Kessel Festival in Stuttgart, there is a newly implemented awareness team that visitors can turn to in case of any issues. To discreetly draw attention to problems such as harassment, attendees can approach festival staff and ask, “Where is Panama?” or simply use the keyword “Panama.” The alerted awareness team can then accompany those seeking help to a designated “safe space,” which is provided in the form of a tent.

“Panama” concept already exists at major festivals

According to the event organizers, this new concept for the Stuttgart festival has already been in place for some time at multi-day festivals like the Southside Festival in Neuhausen ob Eck (Tuttlingen district). “The term ‘Panama’ comes from there, so we didn’t invent it,” says Christian Doll, the managing director. Instead, after consulting with the event company of the “Southside,” they “adapted it for Stuttgart.” The assistance offered is not exclusively for women or girls experiencing harassment.

The festival’s website states, “It doesn’t matter why you need support, as the cause doesn’t always involve other people.” This is confirmed by Christian Doll: “There are various reasons why one might feel uncomfortable: being at a festival, being emotionally overwhelmed, which can be too much. It can be too hot, or I might just want some peace and quiet and want to talk to someone.”

“Panama” leads to safe space at Kessel Festival

The number of people who have utilized this specific assistance on the first day of the festival is currently unknown. As of Saturday afternoon, it had not been used yet. The event organizers remained tight-lipped about the overall daily assessment on Sunday morning. (SWR Aktuel)

How Much Should the Tip Be?

When it comes to tipping, there are no clear guidelines, making it sometimes difficult to navigate. One can easily embarrass oneself. But why do we even give tips?

Berlin. “Geiz ist geil” (stinginess is cool) – this famous former slogan of an electronics retailer still holds true for some people, not only for those looking to buy TVs, kitchen appliances, or video games at the lowest prices. Stinginess is also evident in tipping. Anyone who pays a bill of 99.20 euros in a restaurant with two 50-euro bills and adds a boastful “keep the change” can confidently be labeled as a “cheapskate.”

However, admittedly, there is often a great deal of uncertainty regarding the amount of the tip. Stefanie Heckel from the German Hotel and Restaurant Association reassures that there is no requirement or regulation in Germany. “The guest always decides individually whether and to what extent they reward the service and the kitchen with a tip.”

In Germany, tipping around five to ten percent is considered safe, but it shouldn’t be handled too dogmatically. Even math experts are allowed to round up generously to 17.90 euros instead of leaving exactly 1.79 euros extra.

Some find the Japanese system more straightforward: in that Asian country, as well as in China, giving tips is considered an insult or, at the very least, extremely impolite – at least outside international hotels.

In Europe, servants have been receiving a “trinkgeld” (drinking money) since the 14th century. Sometimes it was also called “badegeld” (bathing money) when it came to helpers in bathhouses, or “botengeld” (messenger money), recounts Charlotte Jung, an etiquette expert from Königstein and etiquette trainer. Servants, coachmen, or errand boys officially spent the “trunkgeld” (drinking money), as the name suggests, ideally outside of work hours. (SZBZ)

Several billion euros annually

The famous Baron of Knigge recommended a “good tip” in his etiquette guide in 1788. It gained popularity during the industrial revolution. “Cities grew, and the leisure industry created new professions like waiters or porters,” says Jung. “Within the spreading economic liberalism, these jobs were very poorly paid, which is why customers were expected to provide a financial contribution.”

Today, it has become almost automatic to give this voluntary extra income when one is particularly satisfied: to service staff in the hospitality industry, craftsmen, hairdressers, taxi drivers, or housekeeping staff. Several billion euros change hands tax-free each year through this means.

Exact figures cannot be counted because this type of income is never openly discussed, says Christian Stegbauer, a sociology professor at Goethe University in Frankfurt and author of the book “Superschwache Beziehungen: Was unsere Gesellschaft kulturell zusammenhält” (Super Weak Relationships: What Holds Our Society Together Culturally). He has extensively researched the topic of tipping with a group of students and observed the social system behind it, both from the perspective of the givers and the receivers.