Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Mexico City: Leftist Mayor Tackles Big Problems

As someone work works for local government, I have been intrigued by the recent spate of news out of Mexico City. It seems like there has been a torrent of interesting stories relating to the actions of Mexico City's leftist (PRD) mayor Marcelo Ebrard. While it appears he's been watching a lot of European Mayors, I like the effort. City's do a lot of the grunt work, but have little room to engineer real substantial change. They can do little things though, as the following stories show.

Above you can get a glimpse of the latest story, a plan to install artificial "beaches" around the conjested city, for those who can't get away to Acupolco. The rich are calling it naco, but the masses are flocking. They have big pools and volleyball as well.

This is the best thing they have done in Mexico City in a long time," said Anaberta Castillo, 32, as her six children romped in the sand and splashed in a nearby pool. "The kids love it."

Then we have the BBC on the 'lead by example' anti-traffic pledge by the City's Mayor. He is pledging that City Hall workers bike to work once a month.

Only 0.7% of all journeys in the capital are by bicycle - and Mr Ebrard aims to increase to 2% in three years' time and 5% in six years. At the same time, the mayor says he will improve public transport, including building more special bus lanes.

This morning I read that the Mexico City is probably going to beat Los Angeles to the punch and install city wide wi-fi internet access. He saw the city was already installing a fiber optic network for the police department and decided to piggy back on it that for the people.

But of course the biggest news in the US has been the abortion Bill that seems ready to pass, making Mexico City the only place in Mexico where the procedure will be legal (joining only Cuba and Guyana). Apparently they are also on the vanguard of allowing gay unions (joining Cuba).

Oh and I almost forgot about this: The City is also giving away XBOXs to those who trade in high powered guns (and also taking back neighborhoods once lost to drug dealers and fencing gangs.



Blogger jsb said...

The city-wide wi-fi is a great idea and should be modeled everywhere. The telecoms are opposed, but this capitalist will tell you that the internet should be considered infrastructure. However, once installed, there should be no filters as Cuba would insist upon. It should be an open marketplace for capitalism , socialism, whatever isms you want. Commerce should be unimpeded and the masses should have access.

6:13 AM  
Blogger leftside said...

So internet should be free for all, but not health care, not higher education, not water and sewage? Just curious...

As for the filters in Cuba, I'll repost what the French group Reporters Without Borders and the Miami herald reported last year:

The results were surprising: her report, released Thursday by Reporters Without Borders, says Internet cafes at hotels and the post office allowed mostly unfettered access to Web sites, even those considered "subversive." But prices were excessive and security warnings popped up when the names of well-known Cuban dissidents appeared on the screen.

"I was surprised I could visit all Web sites," the journalist - who used the pseudonym of Claire Voeux to write the report so she would be able to return to Cuba - said in a telephone interview from France.
But even Reporters Without Borders was surprised to learn that the Cuban government does not block Web sites it considers hostile, such as The Miami Herald's. Only once during her monthlong stay did Voeux find a site - a Mexican page about a post-Castro Cuba - blocked.

10:58 AM  

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