Category Archives: Economy

Naples musters its best and brightest to pull off the America’s Cup

Anthony M. Quattrone

America's Cup World Series catamarans in the Bay of Naples (photo from facebook site: Napoli poesia d'Italia...divine napoletane!)

Naples has mustered its best and brightest in getting the city ready to host the World Series of the America’s Cup from 11 through 15 April 2012.  Evening photographs of the bay of Naples with catamarans lit up and a full moon over Mount Vesuvius have been flooding the Internet, in magnificent opposition to the images that circulated worldwide only ten months ago which showed a city submerged under mountains of garbage.

Since the election of mayor Luigi de Magistris on 31 May 2011, Naples has undergone rapid change, which includes rigorous limitations on private vehicle circulation downtown, higher levels of waste recycling and an overall sense of regained civic participation in the administration of the city, with numerous bottom-up events empowering citizens.  During the past ten months, citizen groups like “CleaNap”, “Friarielli Ribelli”, “VANTO”, and “Orange Revolution”, to mention a few, have literally taken over cleaning and maintenance of squares and gardens, trying to complement the work that the over-stretched city sanitation and grounds maintenance service could not accomplish, and have brought to the attention of city officials numerous monuments and places of interest that needed their immediate attention.

Bay of Naples with lit America's Cup catamarams in the water (photo from Facebook: Napoli poesia d'Italia...divine napoletane!)

Mayor de Magistris has also been able to develop the necessary synergy with other local officials to ensure that the America’s Cup events could take place with the maximum positive effect for the city.  He put aside political differences with Region President, Stefano Caldoro, and with Provincial President, Luigi Cesaro, to ensure that the three levels of government would facilitate holding the World Series in the Bay of Naples.  The three officials, together with Paolo Graziano, president of the Industrial Employers Association of Naples and CEO of the America’s Cup Naples organization, pulled off the event which officially started on Sunday 8 April 2012 with an evening show in Piazza del Plebiscito (the former Largo di Palazzo) opposite the Royal Palace, with thousands of people in attendance in spite of a persistent rain.  During the opening ceremony, the seven teams were introduced to the crowd.

There will be nine boats in the water, with two teams, Oracle and Luna Rossa, competing with two boats each.  The other catamarans will be competing for China Team, Artemis Racing, Emirates Team New Zealand, Energy Team , and Team Korea.

According to a strategic plan reviewed by the press, the America’s Cup will cost approximately 20 million Euro while the income should be three times that amount.  Supporters and critics of the event are battling on the Web arguing about the cost and the real effect on the city.  For critics, the operation is only a façade covering up real problems relating to waste management in the province of Naples.  For supporters, the event will be a success on its own merit and it will be a catalyst for further improvement in the city.

Bikers enjoy the waterfront closed to traffic on 2 April 2012. (Photo by Antonella Maiorano)

Mayor de Magistris sees the America’s Cup as an enabler for implementing changes that his administration had already planned.  For example, Via Caracciolo, the scenic waterfront hosting the America’s Cup Village, which is currently closed to traffic due to the World Series, will remain a pedestrian walkway even after the races.  The mayor proudly announced on Easter Sunday that the waterfront will now be a pedestrian walkway connecting the port to the foot of the Posillipo hill.

Click for more information from the AC World Series web site

Click for the schedule of events

Information on Naples and sorrounding areas

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Scrambling for the America’s Cup

Anthony M. Quattrone

Plymouth (UK) 14/09/2011 - - 34th America's Cup - AC World Series - Plymouth 2011 - Naples venue announcement - Paolo Graziano, President Industrial Union; Gennaro Ferrara, Vicepresident of Naples Province; Stefano Caldoro, President of Region Campania; Luigi de Magistris, Mayor of Naples; Richard Worth, President ACEA; Tommaso Sodano, Vicemayor Naples; Riccardo Marone-President of Bagnolifutura. Photo: © ©2011 ACEA/Ricardo Pinto

One of the primary objectives of the municipal government led by the Mayor of Naples, Luigi de Magistris, has been to bring to Naples some major international events which may act as a catalyst for urban renewal and may provide an economic boost for the tourism industry. Three international events that are scheduled to take place during the next three years may help the Mayor meet his objective. The World Urban Forum, a high-level United Nations conference on cities, will take place in September 2012. The event, which will focus on sustainable urban development, rapid urbanization and its impact on communities, cities, economies, climate change and policies, is expected to draw some 20,000 attendees, including world leaders, statesmen, businessmen and academics.

The Universal Forum of Cultures, which was set by the previous Mayor of Naples, Rosa Russo Iervolino, will take place from 21 April through 10 July 2013. Last month, Mayor de Magistris changed the leadership of the committee responsible for organizing the event, by replacing Nicola Oddati, a member of the Democratic Party and a former alderman for culture of the previous city government, with Roberto Vecchioni, a nationally-known singer and song writer of Neapolitan origins. The forum, which is sponsored by UNESCO, seeks to bring together citizens from a varied range of cultures, languages, and religions to promote inter-cultural dialogue and to encourage global civil society empowerment.

Naples will be hosting two races of the America’s Cup World Series in April 2012 and May 2013. Mayor de Magistris, together with Luigi Cesaro, President of the Province of Naples, Stefano Caldoro, Governor of the Campania Region, and with Paolo Graziano, president of the Naples Association of the Industry Leaders, and chairman of the America’s Cup Napoli (CAN), confirmed on 14 September 2011 that an agreement had been reached with America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA), which is responsible for the commercial side of the 34th America’s Cup, to hold the event in Naples. Read the whole article

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New Mayor and Campania Region President to Brussels to unfreeze funds

Mayor calls for ridding city of garbage in five days with help of all

Anthony M. Quattrone

Via Speranzella in downtown Naples loaded with garbage (photo Siano, "La Repubblica")

The new mayor of Naples, Luigi de Magistris, and the President of the Campania Region, Stefano Caldoro, will be going to Brussels on 22 June 2011 to discuss the Campania waste management issue with the European Union, hoping to unfreeze 150 million euro that Europe had earmarked for investments in Naples and Campania.  The funds, which, according to news reports, were blocked by European officials mainly due to lack of trust and confidence in local administrators from Naples and Campania, are desperately needed to fund stalled projects aiming at re-launching the economy in the city and the Region.  Caldoro, who was elected last year, and de Magistris, who was elected only three weeks ago, are hoping that European officials will provide them with a chance to prove that they deserve the trust and confidence of the European Union.

Luigi de Magistris appointed the new Naples city government on 13 June 2011. He nominated twelve officials to form the executive branch of the Naples city government.  Each official is responsible for several departments apiece.  One of the twelve officials, Tommaso Sodano, will also serve as deputy mayor, in addition to occupying the critical seat in charge of waste management.   The mayor can count on a solid majority of 34 of the 48 members of the City Council, the legislative body.  Twenty nine councilpersons come from the parties and groups forming his initial coalition in the two-round election system, while an additional five belong to formations that have supported him in the run-off election on 30 and 31 May 2011.

The president of the new City Council is professor Raimondo Pasquino, the Chancellor of the University of Salerno, who was elected with 38 votes coming from the parties supporting the new Mayor and from centrist formations that supported the chancellor’s bid to become mayor of Naples in the recently held elections.  Professor Pasquino lost in the first round of the mayoral elections, gaining almost ten percent of the vote.  Mayor de Magistris, who admires Pasquino very much, asked him to lead City Council, hoping to forge a strong alliance between the city government and the Council, in the interest of the Naples.  This is the first time since 1993 that the coalition winning the elections does not take over the leadership of the City Council.

The first decision by the new city government has been to tackle the failed waste management system that has brought Naples to the center of world attention on many occasions since the mid-1990s with pictures of high rising mounds of trash on the streets and news regarding collusion between oranized crime, politicians, and public officials.  While the city’s priority is to immediately remove the 2,000 metric tons of garbage piled up in many parts of the city, the first executive order targets a permanent solution, in line with campaign promises.  The city is immediately increasing the door-to-door waste collection system adding five areas to the eight currently served, raising the participating population from 146 to 325 thousand by the end of September. The areas served by the door-to-door waste collections system are not experiencing the problems seen in other parts of the city, where high mounds of garbage bags are piling up to record levels.

Removing 2,000 tons of garbage will take approximately five days according to the Mayor, if a place to dump the collected waste is found.  He and the president of the Campania Region, Stefano Caldoro, were counting on an urgent decree by Silvio Berlusconi’s government allowing Naples and the Campania Region to export trash to other Italian Regions willing to help.  Regrettably, internal strife between Berlusconi’s party, the People of Liberty (PdL) and the Northern League stalled the decision until sometime next week, with the former attempting to throw roadblocks of all types to avoid that waste from Campania be exported to other regions.  The inaction on the part of Berlusconi’s government has caused serious embarrassment to the party’s local leadership, to include President Caldoro.

The waste management system in Italy is shared between four levels of government.  City hall is responsible only for collecting and transporting waste.  The Provincial government is responsible for the processing, recycling, and disposal of waste.  The Regional government is responsible for medical waste disposal, for the movement of waste across its borders, and for ensuring that there is an integrated waste management system within its jurisdiction.  The national government is to ensure general oversight over Regional management plans, and to intervene to guarantee cooperation among local institutions, thus ensuring maximum integration of services in line with European Union standards and guidelines.

The mayor of Naples is tackling the waste management problem at source.  Without properly differentiating between the types of waste produced, thus separating recyclables from other types of waste, and enforcing a door-to-door system, Naples will continue to lag behind all other major cities in the world.  The Provincial government and the Campania Region have done almost nothing in the past year in terms of identifying new landfills or building processing plants, but they blame the former Mayor, Rosa Russo Iervolino, for having done too little to implement a modern trash separation system to raise the level of recycling.  The former mayor, on the other hand, blamed the central and regional governments for not having provided necessary funds and assistance for improving recycling in Naples.  The new mayor, Luigi de Magistris, is fighting hard to obtain 8.25 million euro from the Campania Region for funding the door-to-door collection system, and, according to news reports, it appears that the president of the Region, Stefano Caldoro, might release the funds next week.

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Filed under Economy, Garbage crisis, Luigi de Magistris Mayor "for" Naples