Security topped the agenda of the second debate among candidates for mayor of Mexico City on Wednesday, with most agreeing that infrastructure development and better urban planning would help improve safety in the populous metropolis.
The six participating candidates were Claudia Sheinbaum, of the Juntos Haremos Historia coalition, Alejandra Barrales of Por Mexico al Frente, Purificación Carpinteyro of the New Alliance party, Mikel Arriola representing the PRI party, Mariana Boy from the Green Party, Marco Rascón of the Humanist party and Lorena Osornio, running as an independent.
Arriola highlighted that 2017 was “the most violent year in Mexico City” and proposed the installation of 1 million security cameras. He also said, if he were to win, he would reform the Ministry of Public Security.
Sheinbaum added that more training for law enforcement was essential, while Boy emphasized the importance of increasing security on public transport where 44 percent of misdemeanors happen. Rascón detailed the under-reporting of crime and said this could only be solved with better police training.
The candidates also addressed the issue of the September 19 earthquake, which hobbled infrastructure in key neighborhoods and caused over 200 deaths in Mexico City. The debate candidates wasted little time turning their fire on Sheinbaum, who was the head of the Tlalpan delegation, where the Enrique Rébsamen school collapsed, killing 19 children. Sheinbaum has been singled out by numerous media outlets as a responsible party in the tragedy.
An article in Excelsior alleged the collapse was Sheinbaum’s responsibility because she failed to review the campus’ Civil Protection plan between Sept. 7 and Sept. 19 and did not order the school to be evacuated after it was damaged in an earlier earthquake.
During the debate, Barrales played an audio that she said was the voice of Alejandro Jurado, one of the parents of a Rébsamen victim. That day, she published a Tweet on her official account alongside a video of some of the parents. “A few days ago, I spoke to the Rébsamen parents and they asked me to make space in the debate so their voices can be heard and justice can be done, because @Claudiashein has been unwilling to listen to them,” it read.
Sheinbaun hit back by saying it is “vile” that Barrales is making Rébsamen the center of her campaign. Arriola said that Sheinbaum should be in jail for incompetence and this sentiment was echoed by Osornio, who said Sheinbaun asking for votes after the incident proves she “has no shame.” Boy said it is unacceptable that those affected by the earthquake have received no government support despite the fact there is a MX$19 billion fund set aside for reconstruction. She called for an audit, which was echoed by Carpinteyro.
PUENTE DE LOS POETAS
Sheinbaum was again put on the defensive with Arriola drawing attention to the Puente de los Poetas, a bridge that connects the north of the city with the south. The cost was MX$26 billion but Arriola said the pricetag could have been MX$2 billion. Sheinbaum accused him of lying.
“This morning, my team presented proof of fraud committed by @lopezobrador and @Claudiashein, who paid in cash close to MX$26 billion for the Puente de los Poetas in #SantaFe, 11 times greater than its true cost,” Arriola tweeted on Wednesday. He followed this with another Tweet that stated that “both allowed the construction of the Puente de los Poetas, which benefited a few real estate developers and harmed thousands of inhabitants of the El Batán neighborhood.”
Arriola then discussed education, and Barrales suggested that this was the way to eradicate poverty. To promote education, she proposed providing all students with a transport card. Sheinbaum promised to build five preparatory schools and emphasized the need to decentralize education, saying she was in agreement with “the next president of Mexico Andrés Manuel López Obrador” on the issue.
Carpinteyro also said she thinks the city should control education, a policy echoed by Boy, who also wants to promote the “Prepa Sí” program to combat high levels of school dropouts.
OTHER INFRASTRUCTURE PROPOSALS
The candidates also discussed the issue of speed cameras with the majority agreeing that they should be eliminated. Arriola singled out photo fines and clamping of cars, to which Sheinbaum replied that he had copied her policy. Osornio said that along with photo fines, tow trucks, certification centers and parking meters should be eliminated from the city.
Carpinteyro said she wants to reclaim ecological areas like Tlalpan, Tlahuac and Xochimilco and that, within the city, she would invest MX$1 million to light public spaces, promote sports, recreation and culture.
Rascón proposed founding the Ministry of Women and said he wants to create the Bank of Mexico City. He also proposed the creation of two economic zones to develop the city. With a focus on the east area of the city in particular, Barrales said it must be regenerated, especially when the current airport is closed. She said she wants to use this space to create a new university city and “Chapultepec 2.”
Watch the debate in full here.