City councilors have been particularly busy in the past few weeks, enacting a package of reforms and initiatives that will keep Florentines talking throughout the hot, humid summer months. It seems that the councilors want to make headway on some key national, regional and municipal issues before the summer fever commences. The yeas and nays emerging from Palazzo Vecchio affect such widely different issues as equal opportunities and immigrant integration policies in the city, a controversial position on gay rights and increased efforts to combat Internet abuse.
As The Florentine reported on May 31, ongoing disputes and recent violence between Senegalese street vendors and Florentine merchants in the San Lorenzo neighborhood resulted in a round-table discussion at the Sengalese Consulate. Despite the effort to find viable solutions to a difficult problem, merchants have since reported that not much has changed since the city imposed a zero tolerance policy on illegal street sales. Determined to reduce the degradation and rampant criminal activity in San Lorenzo, 40 merchants have now employed private security. Meanwhile, illegal vendors, unable to find steady work and often lacking legal work permits, resort to selling counterfeit goods to interested passersby. Palazzo Vecchio has finally responded to both side’s pleas for a resolution to the months-long dispute. City hall will provide a list of opportunities for legitimate work to the Senegalese community. The Senegalese living in Florence with legal work permits will be able to obtain this information from the Sengalese Consulate. At the same time, Palazzo Vecchio warns, the sale of fake goods will no longer be tolerated by the city.