I am often reminded of the NBC Nightly News segment, 'The Fleecing of America', where they tell stories of wasted money and effort--stories that make you shake your head in wonder. And the reason I am often reminded is that 'fleecing' happens over here as well.
We all know I am no fan of the pigeons here---vermin that they are. However, the local government has recently told the people who sell the corn to tourists (in order to feed the pigeons) that they will have to find a new job by April of next year. Before you (or I) start clapping our hands, lets review. This family has been doing this same job for like 150 years. Its their livlihood and they are true Venetians. While the pigeon problem has become a health problem, firing your natives is not really the answer. Especially since they continue to let the Nigerians sells their fake Prada purses made by child slave labor and the Chinese mob is slowing buying up blocks and blocks of Venice and importing their goods illegally. How about doing the right thing by the Venetians?
Or perhaps we could talk about that infamous 4th bridge that is still under construction. Remember the one that came floating down the Grand Canal a few months ago due to be finished by years end. Well, at last look, I dont think so. The years spent and insane amounts of Venetian tax money wasted for this bridge that will serve mostly only the tourists (by making their transition from the bus station to the train station easier) is a sad exchange when you look at the endless decay, collapse and ruin of this beautiful city. How about money better spent by helping Venice and its people?
And then we have, as the mayor calls it, "the problem of problems"--the excessive number of tourists (story courtesy of Bongiorno Venezia). He feels that it is essential to find ways to control their arrival. He proposed closing St. Mark's Square and permitting access only by ticket, but it appears that isn't legally possible. So he is considering a tactic similar to what is used in London which imposes an eleven euro fee for cars that enter the city centre. Venice is full to capacity already. How about putting out the 'no occupancy' sign by stopping the construction on the new hotel at the Arsenale that houses over 300 rooms?
Well, you get the idea. As usual, its politics and the almighty dollar (or in this case, euro) that tend to drive these 'fleecing' decisions. It may be a different city in a different country, but it still makes you shake your head.