Tag Archives: Luigi Cesaro

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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Garbage crisis: Mayor fights uphill battle against Northern League and Organized Crime

Citizens protest placing Italian flag on garbage in Naples (Ansa photo, "Il Mattino", 21 June 2011)

Anthony M. Quattrone

The Mayor of Naples, Luigi de Magistris, is continuing his uphill battle to rid the city of thousands of tons of garbage sitting on the streets and producing an unbearable smell.  There are two major obstacles on his path.  The first is the opposition by the Northern League members of the Italian central government headed by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to allow Naples and the Campania Region to transfer garbage to waste processing plants in other Regions willing to receive the trash.  The second obstacle, which is less visible but equally disruptive, is the apparent hold that organized crime appears to have on waste removal and processing operations in Campania.

Berlusconi’s government was expected to issue an executive order on 1 June 2011 providing relief to Naples and the Campania Region on the garbage front.  Opposition by four Northern League ministers, Umberto Bossi, Roberto Maroni, Roberto Calderoli, and Luca Zaia, has blocked the government from taking any action to face the emergency in Naples. This has caused significant backlash within Berlusconi’s party, where southern deputies and senators are distancing themselves from the government in Rome.  On 20 June 2011, the governor of the Campania Region, Stefano Caldoro, who was elected with the decisive support of Silvio Berlusconi’s coalition last year, told “La Repubblica” that he was tired of the constant blackmail put up by the Northern League.  Other center-right coalition members were forced to take a stand condemning the anti-southern rhetoric coming from the North.

During the weekend, when the Northern League held its annual meet in Pontida (Bergamo), party leaders and ministers currently serving in Berlusconi’s government shouted slogans, such as “Free Padania” and “Independent Padania”, and in several cases chanted “secession” with the crowd.  The Northern League is also pressing to move several ministries from Rome to cities in the north, in an attempt to break the “Rome-centric” state, possibly triggering a quicker move towards the type of federalism that the Northern League has been hoping for.  The existence and viability of Silvio Berlusconi government is hinged on the vital support provided by the Northern League in Parliament.

While Berlusconi attempts to resolve conflict within his own government, the mayor of Naples is facing the internal battle with what seems to be a strong grip that organized crime appears to have on the waste collection and processing system.  Over the past couple of days, every time that the mayor appeared to be in control of the waste collection system, a new roadblock would come into play, ranging from someone instigating crowds to burn garbage or to dup trash in the middle of the street, to contracted companies keeping their trucks idle in garages.  When the president of the Province of Naples, Luigi Cesaro, also a member of Silvio Berlusconi’s political party, finally identified waste collection sites for temporary layover, the mayors of the towns hosting them issued ordinances blocking garbage trucks from hauling waste, while demonstrators, in the time being, put several garbage trucks on fire.

On 20 June 2011, the mayor of Naples, the president of the Region, the president of the Province met with the Prefect of Naples, who represents the central government, to work out a solution, albeit another temporary one. Today, a local agreement, brokered by the president of the Campania Region, Stefano Caldoro, has allowed that five Campania provinces (Avellino, Benevento, Caserta, Naples, and Salerno) make their temporary layover sites available for garbage sitting on the streets of Naples and its suburbs.  This should provide immediate relief to Naples, while the new mayor gets on with his plan to increase garbage separation and modernizing the waste collection system.  As this new attempt to resolve the crisis moves along, Mayor de Magistris has warned that it is imperative to keep watch on organized crime and on all of those who wish to stop the winds of change from sweeping Naples clean.

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

Where has all the garbage gone?

Anthony M. Quattrone

Ferrandelle landfill (photo "La Repubblica" 13 May 2009, Naples Edition)

Where has all the garbage gone? This is the question that many in Naples are asking.

The crisis that overtook the city and many parts of the Campania Region between the summers of 2006 and 2008 seems to have been miraculously resolved with the change in government in May 2008, when the center-right coalition headed by Silvio Berlusconi replaced Romano Prodi’s ailing center-left administration. Berlusconi had promised the electorate that, if elected, he would have resolved the region’s waste disposal crisis as a matter of national emergency, linking the worldwide negative press, with front page photos of Naples submerged in garbage, to potential economic repercussions on the whole of the “Italy system”, ranging from tourism to products “made in Italy”.

There is no doubt that Berlusconi has successfully freed the streets of Naples from mountains of garbage, which up to now, with very few exceptions, have not returned. There is also no doubt that his success in removing garbage from the sights of the citizenry has been instrumental in leading the center-right coalition to win three major elections held over the past year in Naples and Campania. In May 2008, Berlusconi’s coalition won a majority of seats in Campania for the European Parliament, and placed Luigi Cesaro to head the provincial government of Naples. Last March, Berlusconi’s coalition, supported by the Union of Democrats of the Center, successfully won the elections, leading Stefano Caldoro to replace Antonio Bassolino as governor of the Campania Region. Bassolino has been blamed by the media as the principal politician responsible for the garbage crisis in Campania.

Has Berlusconi solved the problem? If yes, is it solved on a permanent basis? If yes, is it solved in a legally sustainable basis? These questions are surfacing in a series of investigate reports by local and national journalists. Read the whole article

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