Photo via La Nacion

Mayor of La Matanza district, Veronica Magario, conceded today that “it may have been a mistake” to put her name on the side of police patrol cars in the district. Her statements come after she saw herself embroiled in controversy yesterday, when the media noted exactly that.

Besides being accused of using district assets acquired with taxpayer money for political propaganda purposes, authorities of the María Eugenia Vidal administration asserted that the cars couldn’t operate because they were not in regulation. Since the district government hadn’t signed the corresponding contract with its provincial counterpart, they said, the cars wouldn’t be fully covered by ART, the agency that compensates injured workers.

The Magario administration initially defended its actions, arguing that there are no laws against the lettering, as the colors of the cars meet standards and  were purchased with county, not provincial, funding. They countered the arguments saying that what people should really focus on is the fact that, in their opinion, the provincial government doesn’t finance or takes care of law enforcement in certain districts.

In an interview with Radio la Red today, Magario said that it may have been a mistake to have the cars carry her name, but argued it was a way to make their demands to the provincial administration visible: “It may have been a mistake, maybe, it may have not been the best way. But it was a way of telling them, here we are, we are doing this together, pitching in to improve security. In fact, the province is responsible for that, not the mayors,” she said.

Immediately after making the concession about the ways, Magario again criticized the María Eugenia Vidal administration: “I think what the most worrying [part] about this story is what’s happening to the district of La Matanza and my neighbors. We have 350 police patrol cars [almost a million people live in La Matanza], and we bought 40 of them. Last year the provincial government purchased 1,000 patrol cars but we didn’t get a single one,” she said.

That’s why, when consulted if she would take her name off of the patrol cars, she conditioned it to getting more help from the Vidal administration: “Of course, I’ll do it the moment they bring me the cars we need.”

“But are you going to take your name out?” the journalist insisted. “As soon as they give us the bulletproof vests that we need, yes. What’s important is the patrol cars are there,” she said.

“You know what I take out of this? That we were able to bring attention to the need us mayors have,” she finished.