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Rome has a new mayor PDF Print E-mail
Jun 16, 2013 at 10:17 PM

New Rome mayor Ignazio Marino
 As of Monday, June 10. Rome has a new mayor, Ignazio Marino, a former transplant surgeon at a major Pittsburgh hospital and a representative of the left-of-center Partito Democratico (PD). In a run-off election with the former right-of-center mayor, Gianni Alemanno, Marino won by a more than respectable 63.9 of the vote to the outgoing mayor's 36.07%. He had also led in the first round two weeks earlier.

Marino's victory was part of what appears to be an overall comeback by the PD, which in fact won in all 11 major cities where the mayor's post was up for re-election. At present, the PD is in a national emergency coalition with the PdL, Alemanno's party and that headed by former premier Silvio Berlusconi, 

Alemanno being consoled by a friend
 but the results of the election appear less to be an endorsement of the party's national policies than hope that the new mayor will be willing and able to improve the overall inadequate living conditions in Rome's capital, currently afflicted by streets and sidewalks that are dirty, badly-paved and filled with potholes, graffiti everywhere, even on centuries-old buildings and monuments neighborhoods afflicted by rats along with unchecked late-night noise by young drinkers run amok, neglected monuments and so on and so forth.

Of course, running a major urban conglomeration anywhere is hardly easy, but there is a special responsibility when you are dealing with a city with 3000 years of history to protect. And so far Rome's governors have been doing a pretty bad job. I just got back from ten days in Paris, a city with about the same number of people as Rome in its downtown area, and the streets were much cleaner than those in Rome and I did not see one illegal street vendor while I was there, whereas my neighborhood in Rome, Trastevere, is full of them. I am sure that anyone living in Paris full time sees many more defects than a visitor would and probably has much more to complain about. But even visitors to Rome notice the dirt and the graffiti, and maybe other things as well.

In the weeks separating the first election from the run-off, the city government finally got around to repaving the first 150 years of my street, Via della Scala, 

Ignazio Marino in bici
 where the cobblestones were in such bad shape that breaking a leg, or the front wheel of any two-wheel vehicle, was more likely than not. If it was a last ditch election-ploy by the Alemanno administration, it did no good.. But probably, it was just coincidence. Anyway, good wishes to Marino who turned up at the Campidoglio to greet cheering sell-wishers on a red bicycle and whose first efforts will be dedicated to putting together a good team. The big problem, however, may turn out to be figuring out how to get the wheels of Roman bureaucracy - and this includes the local police -- turning faster than in the past. 

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