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New York Post

Mayor Mike Might Add A Dash Of Salsa


November 28, 2001
Copyright © 2001
N.Y.P. Holdings, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

SAN JUAN - Salsa king Willie Colon, who made a strong showing in the race for public advocate, has been "talking seriously" to Mayor-elect Michael Bloomberg about joining the new administration, Colon told The Post yesterday.

Colon, whose star-power endorsement helped Bloomberg snag a big chunk of the Latino vote, said he has not been offered a specific post.

But he said he is "seriously considering" moving from canciones - songs - to City Hall and is mulling a future run for office.

"It would give me more credibility to serve in government," Colon said in Puerto Rico's capital city, where Bloomberg met with officials on the second day of his Caribbean trip.

Bloomberg spokesman Jerry Russo would not comment on a possible Colon appointment.

Asked yesterday if he plans to include Puerto Ricans among his top aides, Bloomberg replied, "I have made a commitment, that I will honor, that the senior people in a Bloomberg administration will reflect the community."

Colon, a Democrat who had supported Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer in the primary, was one of the first big names to endorse Bloomberg in the general election and campaigned heavily with him in Hispanic neighborhoods.

Bloomberg offered Colon a seat on his private jet for the two-day trip to the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, and took him along for a Monday-night dinner with movers and shakers, including the island's congressional representative and the president of Banco Popular.

Yesterday, Colon - a native of Puerto Rico - barely left Bloomberg's side after a lunch meeting with Puerto Rican Gov. Sila Calderon and a visit with schoolchildren.

"The fact that Mike Bloomberg [will soon be] mayor of the City of New York is due largely to the fact that Latinos were able to vote sophisticatedly and not as knee-jerk party members," Colon told reporters after lunch.

Bloomberg, who ran as a Republican, captured 47 percent of the Latino vote.

After lunching with Calderon, Bloomberg said he supported an end to the Navy bombing of Vieques by 2003 and statehood for Puerto Ricans if they want it - but he would not commit to lobbying the White House to end the bombing before 2003.

One of Latino music's biggest stars, Colon transformed himself in one campaign season into a citywide politico.

He ran for Bronx borough president this year before dropping out to join the race for public advocate.

Colon lost the primary - but pushed hard for the eventual winner, Betsy Gotbaum, who is a longtime friend of Bloomberg.

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