Referendum supporters appeal to Italian President Mattarella: Brugnaro is trying to prevent what Venice needs most – autonomy

“It is necessary then to give Venice the administrative and fiscal tools that are ‘specific’, recognizing the rank of “City”, as it was for centuries, and not that restrictive rank of “historic center”, the tourist quarter of a larger urban nucleus that extends outside of the banks of the lagoon.”

Separation of Venezia – Mestre, an appeal to Mattarella

The pro-referendum committee is appealing to the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella to ask for support for separating Venezia from Mestre.

With a heartfelt letter to the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella, who is also an esteemed jurist, the supporters of the separation of Venice from Mestre hope that his authoritative judgement will intercede among the different choices and opinions involved.

The Veneto Region (alliance of Lega Nord and Movimento 5 Stelle) has accepted the proposal for an electoral initiative to call the fifth referendum, while the City of Venice, which has always been opposed to the division and in favor of the Metropolitan City, is ready to appeal, entrusting to Prof. Giandomenico Falcon of Padua the demonstration of the illegitimacy of the process that determined the choice to allow the referendum.

The separatist Committee has always ended up with the ‘no’ of the citizens to the division of the City, who seem to prefer the unified city of land and of water, even for a suggestion of belonging, an effect of the forced exodus of Venetians to the mainland.

The referendum clashes with the point of view of Mayor Luigi Brugnaro and his Council, who single out the provision’s contrast with the Delrio Law, which instituted the Metropolitan City, sanctioning a fundamental break with the past.

The Law says that the referendum must be subject to all the voters of the Metropolitan City, and that the same goes for the direct election of the Mayor. And this is possible only if the capital City is divided.

These are reasons which do not convince the Committee, which is crying “electoral treason” and in turn appealing directly to the Head of the State – the exponents of the Committee promoting the referendum, among whom is Marco Sitran – asking for his help for the normal undertaking of the referendum – opposed by the city administration – and the recognition of the uniqueness of Venice, which requires precisely the creation of an autonomous city.

“The Regional Council of Veneto in the meeting of 14 February 2017 – reminding Mattarella – voted in a very large majority on the “merit” of the project for a popular initiative for the institution of the Cities of Venice and of Mestre, so giving dignity and legitimacy to the promoting committee, whom the writers represent, aimed at restoring the administrative autonomy that existed in the mid-Twenties of the 1900s.

More than a creation this is, in fact, a restoration: the need to reconstruct two autonomous administrative entities has deep roots and is historically justified given that, until 1926, the City of Venice did not included the territory and urban centers of the mainland: the unification came in to effect via a decree from the Fascist era, without any popular consultation.”

And more: “The situation in Venice is dramatic, there are numerous problems with the environment, architectural conservation, the city is afflicted by the impoverishment of its economic and social fabric, with the drop in population over all: in about sixty years the City has lost over two thirds of its residents. Along with the residents, typical urban activity has vanished as well, public offices and business headquarters: Venice has declined demographically, economically and politically. It is necessary then to give Venice the administrative and fiscal tools that are ‘specific’, recognizing the rank of “City”, as it was for centuries, and not that restrictive rank of “historic center”, the tourist quarter of a larger urban nucleus that extends outside of the banks of the lagoon.

Today Venice suffers, in fact, from a conceptual error that considers it a mere museum and tourist lodging space. A dedicated city government can guarantee, instead, a local governance concentrated on the specific characteristics of this city: only in this way can we encourage repopulation, the articulated development of economies rebalanced between mass tourism and the rooting of business initiatives that are respectful of the delicate environmental equilibrium of the Lagoon. Moreover, Venice and Mestre can be Autonomous Cities within the Municipal City, as expressly provided for in the current law.”

And they insist: “Unfortunately the current administration has reacted badly, threatening legal appeals and positioning, in essence, to try and block the popular referendum.

We therefore appeal to you, as Supreme Guarantor of the Constitution of the State, certainly not, in turn, to block or impede something but rather that you may, in ways appropriate and consistent with your High Office, be an authoritative spokesman for the recognition of Venice’s uniqueness and of the absolute necessity for this, to begin the process, at all levels, of the reconstitution of the Civitas Lagunare that sees in its administrative autonomy its next, essential step”.

On April 5 the Metropolitan City will move to again debate this subject in Council, because the ideas regarding the future of the city are at this point obstructed by too many convictions.

-Andreina Corso

Source: La Voce di Venezia, 4-4-2017

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