Saturday, April 20, 2013

If Mayor Petro Goes...

If Mayor Petro is recalled, the bike lane and pedestrian space on Ave. Septima will likely disappear.
The other day, opponents of Bogotá Mayor Gustavo Petro turned in far more than the required 290,000 signatures required to call a special election to recall him.

The signature collection campaign reportedly cost nearly 50 million pesos, meaning that there are deep
Young bullfighters practice in Bogotá's Santamaria Plaza.
If Petro goes, the bullfighting season will probably return.
pockets behind it who believe it can succeed. The recall election itself could cost 40 billion pesos - a huge sum for something which political analysts seem to think has little chance of succeeding. That's not because Petro is popular, but because obtaining the required 1.2 million voters to participate in a special election is so difficult for a that it's never been achieved before.

Petro has certainly stepped on toes and ruffled feathers since taking office in January 2012. An ex-leader of the M-19 guerrillas, Petro generated strong feelings from the start. He then angered store owners and restauranters - while earning the gratitude of cyclists and pedestrians - by banning cars from a stretch of Ave. Septima during the daytime.

Petro also antagonized ranchers and bullfighting fans, while pleasing animal rights activists, by banning la fiesta brava in Bogotá's Santamaria Plaza.

An old tranvia, or streetcar, parked beside the Gaitan Museum.
Mayor Petro wants to build a light rail line on Ave. Septima,
but if he goes, so will this controversial plan.
He also generated unflattering headlines by fumbling a remaking of the city's trash collection system, which had garbage piling high on streetcorners for a week.

But leaders of the recall effort said that what really fired up their campaign was the valorization tax intended to fund neighborhood infrastructure improvements. Nobody likes paying taxes. Ironically, that tax has been repeatedly postponed and neighborhoods constantly complain about their need for such works.

A traffic jam on the chaotic Ave. Septima, which would
change fundamentally with a light rail line. Petro also
wants to impose a congestion charge to replace the
failed pico y placa policy.
On the other hand, during Petro's mayoralty the homicide and poverty rates have dropped, and the city has poured money into services for the poor.

Petro's transit plans, including a light rail line for Ave. Septima and replacing the failed pico y placa policy a congestion charge, are also polemic and would undoubtedly die if his term ends early. However, it seems to me that both would be great contributions to Bogotá's increasingly unsustainable transit situation.

Authorities now have three months to review the collected signatures. If they have enough valid signatures, a special recall election will be held. If more than 1.2 million people vote in the election, of whom more than half vote for the recall, Petro's term will end. (What I don't know is whether he can run to succeed himself.)

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours


mauricio forero l said...

I just wonder what exactly is behind all this dark crap to get signatures. Petro is a very good Mayor, he is a smart dude and, very progressive. He is doing what is good for Bogota and the environment. This is so depressing, to see somebody like him facing all this backwardness, and stupidity.
Any way Mike, He needs people like you, this post helping him.

Stuart Oswald said...

I accept good but not at any price. I would rather die than vote for such a person to preside over good people.

mauricio forero l said...

I do not remember encountering such hypocrisy and open stupidity as in this guy. You are the laughing stock of any blog, room, or place on earth. Stuart Oswald get a life, stop being such a FOOL.

Stuart Oswald said...

Think you need to try and engage more in intellectual debate. It is clear that I offend you, but you lake the means to articulate yourself clearly.

Stuart Oswald said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mauricio forero l said...

Engage more in intellectual debate??? With You???? LOL, you have the intellectual capacity of a baboon.