Source: Folha de S.Paulo
The headline writers at the Folha often display a particularly odd sense of news-worthiness.
Consider two possible headlines for the following excerpt from the local press.
- HADDAD HAS FAILED TO BUILD SIDEWALKS
- SIDEWALK FINES TO FALL BY TWO-THIRDS; AMNESTY FOR SIDEWALK VIOLATORS
A frequent complaint of Paulistanos and the cause of 20% of tripping and falling injuries treated at Hospital das Clinicas, the sidewalks of Sâo Paulo have not received the priority promised by Mayor Haddad
To date, only 12% of the plan to reform 850,000 square meters of public passageways have been completed, almost all of it built in 2013.
This last year, of the R$ 52 million earmarked for improvements, only about R$ 300,000 were used, according to official budget data.
The policy is being coordinated by the Mayor’s Coordinator of the Subprefectures, where Ricardo Teixeira has succeeded A. Matarazzo […] Standards have been established and processes put in place by which the city could come around and save you from a fine.
Will the subprefectures change dramatically since the exit of Kassab, when all but one of 32 subprefectures were run by police and ex-police officers?
- The city government [the Haddad city government] ascribed part of the blame for the failure of progress to the PSDB [with the DEM and PSD, several prior adminstrations], one of the opposition parties that sued to prevent the readjustment of the IPTU (property tax).
“For reasons beyond its control, the city government was unable to allocate budget items totalling R$ 2.5 billion earmarked for projects planned for 2013-2014. Broadly speaking, this figure reflects a loss of revenue from IPTU 2014, on the order of R$ 800,000, on account of the litigiousness of the PSDB,” the city said in a note.
Urban planner Lucila Lacreta, of the Defenda São Paulo [?] movement, believes that city hall should change the law and shift responsibility for maintenance of sidewalks to itself. Currently, sidewalk maintenance is the citizen’s responsibility.
Toward the end of its article, the Folha details City Hall’s Plan B: 320,000 ㎡ in 2015 and 2,000 ㎡ in 2016 in new sidewalks. City Hall said it had contracted for 98,000 ㎡ for completion this year, but that works have not been finished.
In response, PSDB city legislator Baron von Andrea Matarazzo took issue with the argument that low levels of investment are to blame.
Early in the first year of his first term, Haddad ran the banner of a hard left turn in this policy area — much of the celebrated agitation of June 2013 focused on transportation and fare hikes — while in the press, it has been common to transfer shortcomings of the government (then and now) to the current chief executive.
«City government screws the pooch!» Who remembers it was the last guy? They even have similar-sounding Lebanese last names: Haddad and Kassab.
The Mayor signed a new amendment to the Sidewalks Law, relaxing the punishment of the citizen who does not fix sinkholes or who lack a sidewalk in front of his house.
The alteration was sponsored by city councilmember Paulo Frange (PTB), a member of Haddad’s base in the legislature and was published today.
The minimum fine — R$ 300 per square meter for a three meter area, for example. A hole occuping 50 centimeters, for example, will also pay R$ 300. Under the old criteria, the infraction would cost the homeowner R$ 900. The government believes this schedule of fines is more just.
Our house lacks a proper sidewalk, as does the entire length and breadth of the Avenida das Corujas. I am fairly happy to pay three times less and be given 60 days to clear the infraction. You say that I can? But in the Folha it says the policy is a failure? WTF?
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