It is not new that I have the impression that the São Paulo Municipal Secretariat of Culture seems to have neglected its duty to care for, encourage and disseminate culture in the city of São Paulo. As much as entertainment may be linked to culture, the feeling that I and many others have when checking the secretariat’s calendar is that they have stopped worrying about the city’s memory, focusing only on events more focused on entertainment.
They prioritize support and/or funds for concerts, such as the GRLS Festival, the carnival blocks and The Town music festival, to the detriment of museums with poor programming, the shameful and endless restoration of Vila Itororó, in addition to the lamentable situation of part of the monuments of the capital of São Paulo.
A good example of this disregard for São Paulo’s cultural memory can be seen in the long vacancy of the leadership position of the fundamental municipal body for the defense of the city’s heritage, the DPH (Historical Heritage Department), something unprecedented in the already long history of this department, created in 1930 by Mário de Andrade and reformulated in 1975.
No Passion, No Compassion
Exonerated from his position on February 17, Orlando Paixão had been director of the DPH since December 2021. His appointment was quite controversial for being a true “lost in the nest”, that is, someone without any experience for the position he now holds, being there more because he is close to mayor Ricardo Nunes (MDB), which should not even be the premise for occupying a position of this importance, where experience in the area is fundamental to study heritage sites, deliberate on monuments and other issues closely linked to memory from the city.
On the contrary, Paixão is known and presented in his own social networks as a consultant and mentor to leaders, leadership that he indicates he never exercised in the body he was appointed to direct. During his tenure, the department’s setback in its most important activities was remarkable.
The high turnover of DPH directors is a hallmark of the current municipal management, which began with Mayor Bruno Covas, who died in May 2021, and with the inauguration of his then deputy and current mayor Ricardo Nunes. Since January 2021, five people have taken over the management position, something that makes it impossible to carry out any long-term planning, resulting in the department’s inefficiency.
Returning to Paixão, what is said in the rooms of the Department of Historical Heritage and the Municipal Secretariat of Culture is that its downfall was mainly due to its slowness in the emblematic case of the listing of the annex of Espaço Itaú de Cinema and Café Felini, on Rua Augusta, whose delay in proceeding with the assessment of the case at the agency took four months, leaving the city hall vulnerable to criticism from the press, activists and citizens for all that time. Despite the exoneration taking place on February 17, I have sources that claim that since the beginning of that month Orlando Paixão no longer shipped.
The director’s departure was a clear example of the total lack of planning by the current management of the Municipal Secretariat of Culture in the city’s cultural affairs. Although it is not a rule, it is recommended that when dismissing someone from such an important position you already have a replacement in mind, but this was not the case this time.
About to complete 30 days of publication of the exoneration in the Official Gazette of the municipality, so far no one has been nominated for the position. Such slowness is bad for the DPH as it leaves servers without prospects and without the necessary leadership to deliberate on the city’s historical heritage. In addition to the position of director, the position of advisor and executive secretary of Conpresp is vacant.
The absence of a director caused indignation among some city councilors in São Paulo, including Toninho Vespoli (PSOL), who sent the following statement to the column: “For a long time, our city’s heritage has been neglected by the public administration. Despite the quality of the technicians involved, their reports are often put in the background to the detriment of economic and political interests. The city’s memory suffers to be preserved, see the recent case of Cine Augusta saved due to a large mobilization and, unfortunately, a large portion of Vila João Migliari demolished in the dead of night due to the delay in implementing its processes. become the icing on the cake of a situation of neglect that has been going on for years in our city!”.
I sent several questions to the press office of the Municipal Secretariat of Culture and until the closing of this text I did not receive any response. The secretary’s silence is an alarming sign that it’s past time for councilors concerned with the city’s culture, as well as the Public Ministry, to take urgent measures against this neglect with the department responsible for managing listings and preserving the cultural heritage of the capital. paulista.
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