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GOP Elects Fortuño

Ponce Begins To Revamp Historic Zone

Police Will Be Sent To Vieques

Calderon: Rumsfeld Doesn’t Represent Bush On Vieques, Sets 956 deadline

Santini Announces Business Tax Incentives

Misla Aldarondo Resigns As Republican National Committeeman

Puerto Rican Squad Is a Stateside Success


Fortuño Elected As GOP Committeeman

By Calos Antonio Otero

November 1, 2001
Copyright © 2001 The San Juan Star. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN – Top Republican brass here unanimously elected attorney Luis Fortuño as Puerto Rico’s national committeeman.

Fortuño, a former director of the Tourism Company under the Rossello administration, fills the vacancy left by New Progressive Party Rep. Edison Misla Aldarondo, after his resignation from the post Tuesday. Misla Aldarondo was recently indicted on federal corruption charges.

"I appreciate the vote of confidence, and I accept my new duties with much humility," Fortuño said.

Fortuño said that traditionally the directing positions in the party are filled by people in private industry "because they have greater flexibility" to carry out their duties.

This, however, has not always been so in Puerto Rico, he said, adding that with his election party members can expect more participation in activities at the national level.

NPP President Carlos Pesquera said Fortuño’s new rank within the Republican Party send a clear message to the federal government.

National Committeewoman Zoraida Fonalledas said that she would travel to Washington with Fortuño in two weeks.

Ponce Begins Plan To Revamp Historic Zone

November 1, 2001
Copyright © 2001 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

PONCE (AP) - The Ponce municipal administration announced Thursday a series of tax exemptions for manufacturing and commercial businesses of the Old City as part of a program to revamp the decaying local economy.

"These measures that are being enforced will serve to repopulate the historic center of the city, to promote jobs, and to revitalize the economic activity," Ponce Mayor Rafael Cordero Santiago said.

While admitting that some 2,000 direct jobs have been lost in the manufacturing industry, Cordero Santiago announced that three important factories located in the city immediately joined the tax incentive and exemption program.

The mayor stated that as part of the program, his administration will grant a 50% exemption in property taxes for manufacturing industries for five years.

Police Units To Be Sent To Vieques Upon Exercises Resumption

November 1, 2001
Copyright © 2001 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

PONCE (AP) - Hundreds of police agents will be sent to Vieques when the U.S. Navy resumes its military exercises, said Police Superintendent Pierre Vivoni.

The official said on Wednesday to the AP that the plan of using 250 police agents was very successful in avoiding incidents on the island municipality during the last round of military exercises.

"It's easier to defend a position and to avoid that somebody enters, than to try to get them out," said Vivoni.

The presence of police agents on the island municipality provoked the criticism of those who oppose Gov. Sila Calderon's administration and groups that oppose the Navy's presence on Vieques.

Calderon: Rumsfeld Doesn't Represent Bush's Stance On Vieques

October 31, 2001
Copyright © 2001 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

ARROYO (AP) - Gov. Sila Calderon said on Wednesday that U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld doesn't represent the official stance of President George W. Bush regarding the presence of the U.S. Navy in Vieques.

Calderon was referring to the statements issued by Rumsfeld, who said he favors the bill that proposes the budget for the Department of Defense and eliminates the celebration of the federal referendum in Vieques and the exact date for the ousting of the Navy from the island municipality.

"That is not the position of the president because it is not what the president said," Calderon stated during a press conference in Arroyo, where she traveled Wednesday morning to hand out working equipment for the Coral Marine Fishermen Association.

President Bush has noted that the Navy should leave Vieques by 2003 without the need of a federal referendum.

The governor, who says favors the permanent halt of the bombings and the ousting of the Navy from Vieques, reiterated on Wednesday that her personal stance and that of her administration is to achieve that the federal referendum be substituted by a legislation stating the halt of the military maneuvers by no later than 2003.

Last week, Navy Secretary Gordon England announced the postponement of the Nov. 6 federal referendum to Jan. 25, 2002.

In the referendum, Vieques voters will be able to decide whether the Navy should stay indefinitely on the island municipality in exchange for $50 million for infrastructure works, or if it should halt military maneuvers by May 2003.

The celebration of the electoral event has been suspended because the U.S. Conference Committee at the House and Senate has not discussed the details of the budget for the Department of Defense, which also includes the Vieques issue.

Calderon Imposes Deadline for Section 956 Amendment

OCTOBER 31, 2001
Copyright © 2001. All rights reserved.

Gov. Sila Calderon imposed a deadline of spring of next year to pass the amendment to Section 956 of the Federal Income Tax Code.

"I have set the deadline for spring of next year, and the sooner the better, but I have no doubt that we'll achieve it," she maintained.

Calderon said that Resident Commissioner Anibal Acebedo Vila and Secretary of Economic Development Ramon Cantero Frau "are now working diligently on this issue, and I have been personally involved in that effort, and we will not stop until we achieve that amendment."

This was Calderon's reaction to the collection of measures designed to stimulate the US economy, which can involve benefits of as much as $192.6 million for Puerto Rico, but which do not include the amendment to Section 956.

Calderon has said that this amendment is part of the immediate strategy for Puerto Rico's economic development because "it allows us to compete one on one with the countries where all the businesses -- which were once on our Island -- are moving to, and those that left when incentive 936 and 30A were eliminated."

According to the governor, the amendments to Section 956 promote the creation of additional tax incentives that would stimulate new investments in all economic sectors.

Santini Announces Incentives For Rio Piedras Businesses

October 31, 2001
Copyright © 2001 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - San Juan Mayor Jorge Santini announced several tax incentives for businesses in the Rio Piedras area that will benefit from an elimination of property and municipal taxes.

Santini said one of the measures is aimed at granting a full exemption in municipal taxes for two years to all businesses in the heart of Rio Piedras with gross sales below $500,000 a year, according to published reports.

The measures also include a full exemption in property taxes over a two-year period to businesspeople who maintain their shops according to municipal rules and the regulations of the Rio Piedras Businessmen Association.

Another incentive will grant a 25% exemption in the municipal tax applicable to the year in which a business is benefited by a loan from the Municipal Development Corporation.

Misla Aldarondo Resigns As Republican National Committeeman

By Proviana Colon Diaz

OCTOBER 30, 2001
Copyright © 2001 PuertoRicoWOW News Service. All rights reserved.

Former New Progressive Party (NPP) House Minority Leader Rep. Edison Misla Aldarondo resigned his post as Republican Party National Committeeman effective Tuesday.

The decision comes five days after he quit his post as minority leader following an indictment against him for charges of money laundering and obstruction of justice.

Misla Aldarondo's resignation comes after a day-long meeting with island Republican Party President Luis A. Ferre.

In his one-page letter to Ferre, Misla Aldarondo states that it is with "great grief and great sorrow" that he resign his post.

On Monday, and upon sustaining that he would not leave his post as elected legislator, Misla Aldarondo said he did not foresee him quitting his post at the Republican Party since there was nothing in the rules and regulations that forbids him from maintaining the position while facing charges.

In his letter he states that his decision comes regardless of the charges being held against him.

"Notwithstanding the events of the past week, and the anguish of not being able to speak up to such attacks at this time, I must once again adhere to such honor and integrity that have characterized my actions, regardless of the considerations that at this time my individual well-being might require," Misla Aldarondo said.

Football Notebook

Puerto Rican Squad Is a Stateside Success

By Preston Williams

OCTOBER 29, 2001
Copyright © 2001 Washington Post. All rights reserved.

When the players and coaches from the Antilles, Puerto Rico, high school team stepped off their plane Wednesday, it was a balmy 82 degrees. It almost felt like home.

They soon encountered autumnal weather while taking in the game between Hylton and Gar-Field on Friday night, and again during their 21-8 victory at Quantico on Saturday afternoon.

The Pirates, still uncomfortable at Gar-Field after gulping hot chocolate, left the game at halftime because they were so chilled, and at Quantico many sported long-sleeve sweatshirts under their jerseys to cope with the blustery conditions.

"It's cold," said junior receiver-defensive back Rob Grant, a former Waldorf resident. "In Puerto Rico, it never gets like this."

Quantico proved warm hosts however, turning the ball over six times. The Pirates' three scoring drives -- all off turnovers and all capped by short touchdown runs from senior Daniel Figueroa -- covered 92 yards.

During their whirlwind five days here, the Pirates (6-2) stayed at Quantico and visited Washington and Kings Dominion amusement park. The game came about when representatives from their Army base school chatted with Quantico personnel earlier this year at a seminar for Department of Defense schools health teachers.

Many Antilles players got to perform in front of stateside relatives who rarely, if ever, had seen them in action. Winning only enhanced the experience.

"The emotion of beating a stateside team -- it's a very big deal for us," said junior quarterback Victor Perez, a first-time U.S. visitor, who like several Pirates had to wipe away tears after the proud victory. "Back home, in our school, people say that we can't beat a stateside team, that our league can't compare to these guys." 

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