Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Antanas Mockus Sivickas (Bogotá, March 25, 1952), a Colombian mathematician, philosopher, and politician, left his post as rector of the National University of Colombia in Bogotá in 1993, and later that year ran a successful campaign for mayor. He proceeded to preside over Bogotá as mayor for two eventful terms, in which he sprung many surprising and often humorous initiatives upon the city's inhabitants. His initiatives tended to involve grand gestures, often including local artists or personal appearances by the mayor himself -- taking a shower in a commercial about conserving water, or walking the streets dressed in spandex and a cape as Supercitizen.
Mockus hired 20 mimes to control traffic and make fun of traffic violators -- a program so successful that another 400 mimes were quickly trained.
He also initiated a "Night for Women", on which the city's men were asked to stay home for an evening to look after the house and the children. The city sponsored free open-air concerts, bars offered women-only specials, Ciclovia and the city's women police were in charge of keeping the peace.
Under his leadership, Bogotá saw remarkable improvement across the board -- water usage dropped 40%, 7000 community security groups were formed and the homicide rate fell 70%, traffic fatalities dropped by over 50%, drinking water was provided to all homes (up from 79% in 1993), and sewage was provided to 95% of homes (up from 71%). When he asked people to pay a voluntary extra 10% in taxes, over 60,000 people did so.
In 2003 Mockus stepped down as mayor, to be replaced by Luis Eduardo Garzón, and took a year's sabbatical, travelling and speaking around the world. He is officially planning to return to teaching at CNU next year, although he is "considering the possibility of launching a presidential campaign".
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