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More Sambodian Mud and Flood: Potemkin Cruise Crosses Mogi das Cruces; What the Vigia Told The News

End of the Line

Stop and hail a singing Venetian oarsman: The Régis Bittencourt near Embu yesterday. Source: Folha de S. Paulo.

It never rains in California,
But girl, let me warn ya
Man, it pours,
Man, it pours …

Neuza — my wife, nicknamed “The News” — returns from the morning dog parade with some keen on-the-scene reporting along with some fascinating gossip from the vigia — the 24-7-365 watchman hired by the residents of the Av. das Corujas to keep an eye on things.

The vigia lives in a little guard shack across the creek from the park, and apparently collects rent from carroceiros — families of homeless trash pickers, with their little horse- or man-drawn carts, who live from recycling — who camp there. Among other things.

First of all, part of the Prefeitura’s million-R$ improvement of our park — adding walking paths, drainage, and stairs up to the playing field, and planting trees and bamboo groves — as already been wiped out by yesterday’s rains. It does not seem built to last.

Neuza promises to document the estrago photographically when she has time. She is racing around today trying to avoid a R$500 fine on our vehicle inspection, after our Celta was found to be missing a R$10 hose that no one has in stock. (Around deadlines, authorized inspectors suddenly have no more appointments open.)

“I wonder what the city will do about this?” muses The News to the vigia, eyeing the wreckage.

The vigia laughs and says, “You really think the city runs anything around here? If the Comendador doesn’t give the thumbs up, nothing gets done around here.”

Apparently, the reason there is no local bus service at the triple intersection — a natural place for a bus stop, and which really needs a stoplight, by the way — is that the Comendador, some sort of local AAA-league mafioso, had the bus route re-routed to stop in front of his house.

Or so says the vigia, with a wink and a forefinger laid alongside the nose. (I refuse to pay $R3 a month for “security” to the mano on a moto with the bogus paperwork who whistles up and down the street all night, but The News pays him behind my back. She is afraid not to.)

Even more interesting is the video The News mentions over breakfast, and promises to forward via e-mail, posted to You Tube by one of the major nightly news broadcasts, she says.

The News says a prominent engineer — I believe he is the same expert cited in a recent report by Vio O Mundo — affirms to a wide audience that no dredging work has been done on the Tietê River for the past 3 to 4 years.

Journalist Luis Nassif concluded as much recently, in a post titled “The Tietê was not being dredged.”

By this account, which still needs fleshing out, city dredging contracts for the Tietê got tied up in litigation over the competitive bidding process — exactly when is not clear — and the state water and power agency, the DAEE, finally issued a no-bid work order just last week, citing the present emergency.

In the Vio o Mundo piece, Conceição Lemes had claimed that the state found no private-sector takers for competitive bidding on a public-private partnership for ongoing dredging of the Tietê, announced in 2006 — possibly resulting in a nearly three-year stoppage of dredging work.

Who will now win the emergency no-bid contract arguably caused thereby?

Meanwhile, in Grande São Paulo:

Alagamento na Régis, na altura de Embu, interditou a pista sentido São Paulo por cinco horas e provocou lentidão de 20 km

Flooding on the Régis Bittencourt highway, near Embu, shut down São Paulo traffic for five hours and caused 20km of stop-and-go traffic.

I could be mistaken, but I believe Embu is where the major highways entering São Paulo — all of them outsourced, mostly to private Spanish concerns, I think — flow into the Maluf-built traffic complex that includes the Túnel Tribuna de Justiça. I am still learning the geography of this crazy cruciform city.

And meanwhile, in Mogi das Cruces …

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