Neighborhood Meetings With Our City Government

Every few months or so I receive a recorded message about a neighborhood meeting for residents to talk about their problems (security, casas tomadas, etc.) with city representatives, usually Horacio Larreta, mayor. I received a call this week and attended another meeting on Tuesday from 3:30-6:00 about ten blocks from where I live. Diego Santilli answered questions.

There was seating for 100, with many standing for the meeting. When you enter, a city employee asks if you have a question to present to the meeting. They have forms to complete with your name and question, but mine was added to a list. I didn't know whether I'd be called on or not, but I was. Once I had a microphone in hand, I shared my question in English, then in Spanish. Some speakers take several minutes to make their point, but I tried to be brief. "I want to know when you are going to impose fines on those who leave their garbage on the sidewalk, and those who don't remove dog excrement on the street." The police are around my neighborhood and can do something to increase awareness about the problem of contamination and pests (rats and cockroaches).

Reservations are made by calling 4909-2401. They give you the date, time, and location of the meeting for your barrio. If you want to attend, you provide your names, DNI, and telephone number.

The meeting was long, and they served coffee, tea, sandwiches, and media lunas. I got tired of sitting and went to the back of the room and stood in front of a speaker that helped me hear more of what Diego said since he talks rapidly.

It was worth attending. I heard the problems of my neighbors. I learned that we have reduced the amount of garbage by 50% through recycling. The garbage trucks collected 6000 tons of trash every day, which has been reduced by recycling. Also, cartoneros have the right by law in 2000 to collect all boxes in the city -- it's their livelihood.

A tango musician with Sexteto Milonguero lives near the national congress where noise from a local club is so loud that he and his partner can't sleep on Friday and Saturday night. He wanted to know what he could do. He expressed his frustration and the city employees will investigate it.


Also, cartoneros have the right by law in 2000 to collect all boxes in the city -- it's their livelihood.
That's interesting. Are you in Comuna 14, as well?
We saw people leaving boxes next to the big trash collection bins, so we left ours as well, but then an angry neighbor took them and put them into the generic big trash collection bin yelling at us. We have also yellow bins (though on the same block where we throw our regular trash) which have displayed the cardboard box symbol on the outside. However, with cardboard boxes they would fill in very quickly, so it make sense to leave boxes outside. Are you better informed?
People are so used to leaving anything and everything on the street corners they haven't learned to use the containers -- black or gray for food waste and yellow for recycling materials. They deposit garbage at all hours of the day and night when 20-21 hs except Saturday is the appropriate time just before the containers are emptied at night.

I see cartoneros working in my neighbor, going through the containers and removing cardboard boxes for themselves. They damage the containers and leave garbage on the street. Garbage draws rats and cockroaches.

There are people who clean up after their dogs and then leave the bag near a tree, on the sidewalk, or at the curb when it doesn't take that much effort to deposit the bag of excrement into a container. Portenos say it's all about education. I know that people will change when they are fined by the city for their actions. The police could do this. We know that cities exist with clean streets. Buenos Aires can be one of those cities.

There are people and consorcios in my neighborhood (Comuna 3) who still leave their garbage at their front door when a container is no more than a 30 steps away. Old habits are hard to change here. When I'm walking home at night after a concert, I put the garbage on their doorstep so that it's not collected by the second truck at midnight. We are all paying taxes for double garbage collection that shouldn't be necessary.

It will take a long time before residents get used to taking out the garbage during the specified hours, using biodegradable bags (not plastic), and separating all recyclables. If we don't, we won't have any place to live, no fresh water to drink, and no clean air to breathe.
In addition to regularly scheduled meetings with city government officials, there are also meetings at the police stations to hear residents' concerns and answer their questions. I received a call last week about a meeting at Comiseria 6. Attending is a good way to hear about what is going on in your neighborhood and feel a part of your community.

To reserve call 4909 2404 or even easier just complete the form online
with your name, DNI, telephone, indicating which neighborhood and comiseria you will attend.

Meetings in Palermo (Com 53) and Balvanera (Com 6) are scheduled for Thursday, Dec 7 at 18:15 hs.
If you live in Palermo (Comuna 14), you can attend the meeting with Horacio Larreta tomorrow at 17:45hs. Call the number above or complete the online form.

His meeting in Balvanera (Comuna 3) is Thursday, February 8 at 16:30 hs. at Azcuenaga 158.
Right! Foreigners without DNI going to meet the xenophobic local mayor. It doesn’t sounds like a great idea.
With all my respect, you forget you are already a citizen and this makes a huge difference.