There was no question Saturday in the mind of Mexico City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera that his report to the people was a walk on a delicate political tight rope.
Listening on to his report was Interior Secretary (Segob) Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong — in representation of President Enrique Peña Nieto (EPN) — as well as the new Constituents Assembly, which will draft the constitution to turn Mexico City into an independent state.
Also in the audience were the representatives of the Mexico City Congress (ALDF), belonging to 10 different parties but dominated by Mancera’s left leaning Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), which has ruled Mexico City for the past 19 years.
Mancera refrained from attacking the federal government, which carried out a brutal slashing on the Mexico City budget in a situation in which it is not known if the EPN administration’s crisis management tactics are undermining the Mexico City government as a political tactic for future elections.
Mancera was cautious:
“We are not blind to our differences,” he told the multi-party audience. “But we also have common tasks that bring us near each other. Let’s not go to war over every proposal, because when war strikes, it only shows that reason has failed.”
But still Mancera admonished Segob secretary Osorio Chong and assemblymen to “comply with the budget agreements for 2017, given the condition Mexico City holds as the site of the Federal Government and as the nation’s largest city which demands efficient services on a daily basis.”
One of the main projects starting Monday is the beginning of a new double decker bus connecting Toreo, Tepepan, Reforma and Santa Fe for a 10 peso ride. The buses operate on 80 percent “clean” methane.
Major financing goes to the ongoing recycling of the 13,000 tons of garbage collected every day in Mexico City and the creation of new plants for the bio-digestion of garbage to produce methane and thermal valuing, which will make the plants the two largest plants of their kind in Latin America.
Other projects include park construction; revamping iconic sites, such as the Insurgentes plaza at Zona Rosa; upgrading 3,200 street lights now working under different systems that “don’t talk to each other,” thus creating massive bottlenecks in boroughs such as Alvaro Obregón, Benito Juárez, downtown Cuauhtémoc, Miguel Hidalgo and Venustiano Carranza.
Also the current video-vigilance system will be upgraded to the next level for faster localization of vehicles and persons.
Yet the “blow” the EPN administration has dealt Mexico City may be disastrous as it impedes correcting already programmed water distribution and disposal (sewage) revamping, crucial for the health and wellbeing of at least 12 million people who make up the core of Mexico City.
During Mancera’s speech there was a silent political confrontation for federal funds as many an official in the Mexico City government claims that the president is funneling funds to his native and adjacent State of Mexico in a clear show of favoritism.
Adding politics to the reunion were State of Mexico Governor Eruviel Ávila, as well as from other metropolitan area states such as Graco Ramírez of Morelos, Omar Fayad of Hidalgo and curiously enough, Manuel Velasco of the distant state of Chiapas, came as a special guest.
What was evident in Mancera’s Mexico City report, mostly financial, is the fact that the governors of the neighboring states also want to bring water to their mills and benefit their states from the natural urban sprawl Mexico City has always boasted.
Inevitably, some of the mass transport projects that have been diverted by members of the majority in the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the National Action Party (PAN) Congress aim at benefitting regional voting where votes are in their favor.
PRI and PAN, however, may have power in the rest of the nation, but at the heart of the nation their leadership has been repudiated by voters. They most definitely would like to get a hold of the reigns of Mexico City, which creates paranoia in Mancera and the PRD, as they know that even if they have a majority vote in Mexico City, in the end, the federal budget pie is distributed in Congress, where PRI and PAN reign.
But the most interesting part in all this is that besides the fact, that it will be business as usual for the Mexico City people. In January, the entire political panorama may change with the new Constitution to declare Mexico City an independent state.
That’ll mean a new day for the nation’s capital.
“Show respect for it,” Mancera told listeners Saturday.