Tassa di sbarco: Commentary by Domenico Cardone

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The text of the regulation that was approved by a majority of the City Council, which has to be conceived of only as a fee for “disembarking”, of entry to Venice and the islands strictly for tourism, is clearly a blatant legal monstrosity, and an unacceptable mockery that is cynically aimed at us, Venetians and residents.

Though nothing has yet been specified as to how they will implement the needed checks and verification (and this says a lot about the irresponsible lack of planning in the regulation given that this will have to be integral aspect of the system), it’s evident to all that, rather than finding ourselves supported in a daily life that is being made ever more difficult, we find ourselves further troubled and harassed in various ways, not the least of which is economically. The fundamental flaw with this whole plan lies in the fact that it has completely lost direction from the original intent. This becomes evident when considering the crazy list of exemptions and reductions specified, from which clearly emerges the contradiction of a system to attribute value, or not, to the reasons why we set foot in the city.

In practice, (but with results that arouse – other than solidarity! – the bitter sarcasm of the whole world, charging for fundamental events in human life, such as celebrating a wedding or mourning a death, these are considered less important than… a soccer game at Sant’Elena…!) the real “mordi e fuggi” day tourists, who enter the city solely to appreciate the beauty of the historic city, will blindly be put on the same level as people we invite to visit us for many different reasons – perhaps they’ll be a guest in our home – people who will be taxed only due to the fact that they did not have the (disgraced) fortune to belong by birth or residence to the imaginary “Land of Venice”.

Since 90% of day-only visitors come from Veneto, had President Zaia wanted to demonstrate that he truly had the city at heart then he would have supported a payment that was equal for all, to go to the cost overruns in managing monuments and the environment, which the pearl of the Veneto is no longer able to support with dignity. Thus we could have at least planned for a collective fund that could be spent not only on public works and services but also, through contributions to restoration, on the maintenance of our private homes, which is extremely expensive for some specific, natural reasons. But instead this wasn’t done, clearly due to myopic electoral calculations.

Brugnaro, for his part, instead of fulfilling an autonomy of choice, which as Mayor he should have done for the good and the future of the city he administrates, has submissively and foolishly accepted this costly exemption (tens of millions lost to the city budget); in the end, however, in the blind drive to make money, limiting himself to the paying tourists wasn’t enough, leading to the idea of also reaching into the wallets of the friends and relatives of his own citizens. Yes, because this regulation interferes (in a way that is worse than an Indian reservation) with the fundamental personal rights and the rights of citizenship. It violates constitutional principles, not only those regarding free circulation and privacy, but also the freedom of association and expression, leading one to think that this should be answered with political demonstrations.

But, fundamentally, this invasive regulation, which is beyond all reasonable limits, reveals itself to be a tax on our social, emotional, cultural and work relationships. On friendships and living the rare joy of meeting with a friend who lives far away, on lovers, on creativity, study, research, understanding, on free events put on by associations, on volunteers of non-profits…, these values without a price but also an intangible economy, and they certainly aren’t limited (in an international city!) to just the circle of Veneti.

A “tourist” is someone who visits Venice. Anyone who is visiting, for any private and non-commercial reason, Venetians, is not a “tourist”. They are simply a friend, whose importance cannot be valued less than a client who comes to the city on business.

Let’s take a step back. Immediately! Or, organize a Committee for the public defense. Immediately!

Domenico Cardone (expert in Cultural and Educational systems)

Source: http://www.gruppo25aprile.org


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