While the way seems clear for the referendum to separate Venice and Mestre to be held in conjunction with the referendum for Veneto autonomy (on 22 October 2017), political forces led by Luigi Brugnaro and Renato Brunetta are working hard to ensure that the effort fails. Not content with challenges in the courts, these forces have also resorted to other tactics: trying to get the Venice/Mestre referendum to be held on a different day than that of the Veneto autonomy referendum – the hope being that the inconvenience and expense of holding two separate votes will hold down voter turnout and cause the measure to fail – and resorting to what our writer below calls “alarmist proclamations” and “inaccuracy and lies” designed to frighten voters in to voting ‘No’.
Former City Council member Daniele Comerci explains why they are doing this, and how wrong these declarations are, in the following letter.
Separation: Alarmist Proclamations Are Useless
By Daniele Comerci (former Venice City Councilor)
We say to the Governor of Veneto Luca Zaia – do not fall into Renato Brunetta’s trap, that of dividing the two referenda, the one concerning Veneto autonomy from that concerning the separation of Venice and Mestre, with which they hope to cause the second to fail, therefore holding the Center-Right’s majority in the Region but in particular in the City of Venice. Election day can otherwise be an opportunity to hold the referenda together, which will save almost one million Euro. As I have always said in my public comments, it is complicated enough for the Lega Nord to remain in the majority at Ca’ Farsetti, having the Mayor be against the Governor. Forza Italia, and who represents them at a national level in Venice, specifically the honorable Renato Brunetta, for the first time finds itself governing a city of international value such as Venice, with important councillorships, with delegates to the budget and to the participating businesses, while having taken only 3.76% in the administrative elections of 2015, thanks to Luigi Brugnaro’s victory.
I can well believe that for Brunetta “This referendum makes no sense”. Both Brunetta and Brugnaro are defending a position of power which in all probability will not be repeated even if the City of Venice remains united. Therefore, more than just opposing the referendum on the autonomy of Venice and Mestre, contradicting previous positions, Brunetta defends the political role of Forza Italia in the City government, knowing that a victory for ‘Yes’ to the separation will prematurely interrupt their experience in local government, and therefore are defending it will all their power, speaking and declaring with inaccuracy and lies about the effects that will be provoked by the separation of Venice and Mestre. For example, the statements of Mayor Brugnaro are disconcerting: “Separating Venice and Mestre and creating two different cities is a folly, this will bring on the closing of the Casino, crisis for participating businesses, the doubling of administrative functions, without taking account of the halt to activities for the coming years, seeing that the main commitment will be managing appeals and counter-appeals rather than thinking of the interests of the city and of its citizens”.
One can have differing opinions and judgments, it goes without saying, but firing them off like this largely obscures a very important public role, and I would advise a bit of moderation and realism, not psychological terrorism, or unfounded alarmism.
Mayor Brugnaro would have to know that the Casino’s license is ministerial, and will be based in the City of Venice now and in the future, even if divided. Another example relates to the public businesses. Who are the actual members of Veritas if not the communities in the Metropolitan area, although the City of Venice holds the majority? What would change if another City was added? Could this apply to local public transportation as well, if it was decided to create a holding at the Metropolitan level? The comparison should certainly be made on the basis of the costs and benefits, but not on fears, which from this point of view we recall the same pattern used by Matteo Renzi regarding the constitutional referendum when he said that a victory for ‘no’ would have been an economic catastrophe for Italy. The exact opposite has happened, rather since then Italy has actually had a minor economic upturn.