|Bogotá Mayor Gustavo Petro. (Photo: El Universal)|
However, to the surprise of all, this week the Constitutional Court revived the recall vote.
Perhaps the high court - which, incidentally, is engulfed in a corruption scandal - didn't have a calendar. If the magistrates had looked, they'd have seen that the next mayoral election is in October and that Petro's term ends Dec. 31. A recall vote would take at least three months to carry out, placing it only two months before the scheduled mayoral election. And, if Petro lost, they'd have to select a placeholder mayor and schedule an election to select the person to serve the last few months of his term. That would mean two or three expensive elections within a few months, conflict and extreme instability in municipal government.
El Tiempo analyst Yesid Lancheros points out that the noise generated by the pointless Petro recall vote would drown out the policy debates before the vote for the next mayor. Lancheros also observes that the recall vote would almost surely lose - of the 34 such votes held since 1994, not a single recall has succeeded. But the recall vote alone would cost 40 billion pesos. Isn't there a better use for all that money?
Even ex-Congressman Miguel Gómez Martínez, who started the recall effort, told Blu Radio that the court's latest decision was "a joke and the result of not having justice."
None of which changes the fact that Petro has been, if not a bad mayor, a huge disappointment for those of us who hoped the ex-M19 guerrilla leader would bring truly innovative ideas to Bogotá.
Instead, Petro's Bogotá Humana has meant many failed, half-hearted and pointless policies:
|Sacks of trash on a sidewalk along Jimenez Ave.|
|A huge - and daily - traffic jam in central Bogotá.|
|Cyclists on Carrera Septima's bike lane.|
|The Santamaria Bullfighting Plaza with a sit-in by bullfighters in front.|
|The bullfighting plaza will be vacant for the foreseeable future.|
|A TransMilenio bus belches smoke in La Candelaria.|
|A scene in El Bronx.|
Good bye and good-riddance Mayor Petro - but not until the end of the year.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours