15 March 2007

Fun with the mayor

Just two pictures to show the pathetic status of Rosario's political debate regarding the administration of mayor Miguel Lifschitz.

The first one shows Lifschitz next to Arnold Schwarzenegger as a "Terminator of Cities". Lifschitz visited San Francisco and other places in California, U.S., last month, along with local officials and businessmen. He was received by the mayor of SF and the lieutenant governor of California, but he didn't actually meet Arnold. The distinctly cartoonish quality of California's chief elected official is easy to make fun of, and prompted great hilarity this side of the border, though it's really not that fun. However, this unsubtle, childish poster was paid for by a university faction of the local Peronist party.

The second picture is merely one example of the similarly-themed graffiti that have popped up in the whole city as of late. It blames Lifschitz for the two last raises in the urban bus fee, which went from AR$0.75 to 1.20 in a year. The blame is to be placed in the outrageous demands of the bus drivers (backed by a powerful union), who now have initial monthly wages equal to two or three times what a policeman or a teacher gets. In truth, Rosario had a very cheap fee compared to most cities in the country, and the bus fee has been raised in most of them as well, except Buenos Aires, after the national subsidies to diesel for public transport were redistributed.

Lifschitz has kept a low profile and a good public image for more than three years. He's running for reelection in September, and it looks like he'll win by a landslide. The Peronist party has resorted to picking on every little fault and inventing problems — for example, that Rosario is driving out manufacturing industries due to its lack of industrial policies and its preference for sissy Socialist quality-of-life-inducing green spaces and its promotion of culture and tourism. I for one would rather see more green and less industry. Anyway industrial facilities are being set up in the neighbouring towns, and they produce wealth for everyone around.

The only mature choice the Peronists have made regarding the political contest is the decission of governor pre-candidate Ángel Rossi to enroll the "K Radical" Juan Héctor Sylvestre Begnis as candidate for mayor of Rosario. Sylvestre Begnis was a fine Minister of Health of Santa Fe in the past, a supporter of proactive policies regarding sex education and contraception that are much needed here, and one who worked very well with the national Health Minister. His father was governor of Santa Fe in the 1960s, and a very good one. S. B. is surely the best mayor candidate that his party has put forward since... well, ever. For a change, he began by acknowledging that Lifschitz is doing a good job overall, which suggests he'll campaign on doing more things and doing better, rather than focusing on the negatives.

Of course I prefer Lifschitz to win. With his former mentor Hermes Binner as the governor, as the election is likely to turn out, there should be less friction between the province and the city, and Rosario might finally gain its long requested autonomic status. That might mean reforming the provincial constitution, which Binner has vowed to do, and which must be done anyway to keep it in line with the national constitution in several matters (including, precisely, the issue of autonomous municipalities).


  1. But, but he's a good terminator now! Or as we call Ahrnold in California, the Gubernator.

    Stay here, I'll be back.


  2. Anonymous21:03

    That's funny that they're comparing Lifschitz to the Governator. Looks like about all they have in common is their difficult-to-spell last name. Living in the concrete-jungle of Los Angeles, I can say that even if he is a soft-core Republican, I bet Ahhnold would get rid of the green spaces and invite in the industrial sector.


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