Tuesday, February 22, 2005

While not studying for my test...

I found this. It's about former Bogotá Mayor Antanas Mockus, a math professor who decided to run for mayor. The article talks about some of his programs, which I found really exciting.

--The city streets are notoriously unsafe for women. Mockus declared a "Night for Women" where men were supposed to stay home and take care of the children, while concerts and specials in bars and restaurants for women gave them a night on the town. It actually worked. The mens' curfew was voluntary, but many abided by it. The Mayor encouraged the men to use that evening to think about women's role in society.

--Water usage was too high, so he filmed a commercial of himself in the shower, encouraging everyone else to, like him, turn the water off when soaping up. Water usage subsequently dropped 14% and continued to fall.

--He asked citizens to pay 10% in extra, voluntary taxes. And they did it. The city brought in more than three times the amount of money it had in 1990.

--Mockus put mimes on the street to improve the traffic. The shadowed pedestrians who broke the rules, mocking whatever they did. They also made fun of bad drivers.

--To restore morale in the city, he dressed up as a superhero: "Supercitizen"

Seriously, this guy is the sort of creative leader that we need today. Maybe they don't have to wear red capes. Or air commercials of themselves in the shower. But, Mockus shows us that a little creativity can go a long way.

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