Thursday, January 23, 2020

Rome Journal: Three Mayors

There were the famed Three Tenors, Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras. Now there are the three mayors. Femke Halsema is the major of Amsterdam and her honors in Paris and Rome,  Anne Hidalgo and Virginia Raggi. Raggi has been a controversial mayor, recusing Rome from the bidding for the 2024 Olympics on the basis of expense (when in fact Rome had hosted the Olympiad XVII in 1960 and could have taken advantage of a pre-existing infrastructure). Her management of waste and bus services (over 30 buses have gone on fire during her tenure) has also been contested. Lastly she provoked pushback when she proposed giving the coins thrown into the Trevi Fountain (amounting to approximately 3000 euros a day) to the city, rather than charity. She will not be running for a new term in 2021. All that being said, her tenure can be said to be characterized by an overarching drive towards fiscal responsibility. Three Coins in a Fountain, the famous 1954 Hollywood romance starring Italian heartthrob Rossano Brazzi, might easily have been her campaign slogan. Who would have dreamt back in the 50’s when the blockbuster movie was made that three major European cities would all have female mayors—especially Rome, a major city in a country known for its male bravado, which only recently had a famed womanizer, Silvio Berlusconi, as prime minister? Plus ca change, plus ce n'est pas la meme chose!

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