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Calderon Attends Bloomberg’s Inauguration

Census Bureau Releases Population Estimates

La Fortaleza Seeks Help On Remodeling Costs

License Plates Commemorate Commonwealth

$143M Deficit In 38 Municipalities

Insufficiency Of Vaccines Confirmed

Calderon Attends Bloomberg’s Inauguration

January 1, 2002
Copyright © 2002 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Puerto Rican Gov. Sila Calderon attended the inauguration of New York's new mayor on Tuesday, appearing as a special guest in a city where Puerto Ricans are a political force.

Calderon's presence at the swearing-in of Mayor Michael Bloomberg reflected the importance of the Hispanic vote in the billionaire businessman's victory.

In the Nov. 6 election, half of Hispanic voters and a quarter of black voters backed Bloomberg, the Republican Party candidate.

The loss of Democrat Mark Green was blamed partly on wounds opened during a tough primary against Fernando Ferrer, a Bronx borough president of Puerto Rican descent who was seeking to become the city's first Hispanic elected mayor.

About 800,000 of New York's 8 million people are Puerto Rican , according to last year's Census.

Bloomberg, who founded the media company Bloomberg L.P., met with Calderon during a visit to Puerto Rico in late November, pledging support for the U.S. territory's corporate tax incentive plan and its efforts to end U.S. Navy bombing on the outlying island of Vieques .

While visiting New York, Calderon also met with other political leaders to discuss issues related to Puerto Rico , spokesman Luis Torres Negron said.

Census Bureau Releases 2001 Population Estimates For Puerto Rico

December 31, 2001
Copyright © 2001 M2 Communications, Ltd. All rights reserved.

The estimated population of Puerto Rico on July 1, 2001, was 3,839,810, an increase of 31,200 people since April 1, 2000, the Commerce Department's Census Bureau said today.

This represented a 0.8 percent increase in estimated population compared with a growth of 1.2 percent for the 50 states and the District of Columbia during the same period.

The Census Bureau prepared the Puerto Rico estimates using the latest available data on births, deaths and net migration (immigration minus emigration). These data are available on the Internet.

La Fortaleza Seeks Help To Cover Remodeling Costs

December 31, 2001
Copyright © 2001 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - The private sector might contribute with funds to finance the remodeling works at La Fortaleza, according to Gov. Sila Calderon.

The governor, who announced she would be spending New Year's Eve and New Year's Day in New York because she would be attending the swear-in ceremony of New York Mayor-elect Michael Bloomberg, said an entity similar to a trust created at the White House for those purposes, might be created here.

The governor is expected to return to the island on Wednesday, according to a prepared statement.

Calderon also said she would request help from the private sector to buy articles such as curtains and lamps that would be identified with the name of the company that donated them. This would only apply to the areas where the offices are, not on the third floor, where the governor's house is located, according to published reports.

The remodeling works at La Fortaleza caused controversy because they had began without the proper authorization of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, which is the agency in charge of supervising such works.

The governor's opponents criticized the extravagant expenses incurred at La Fortaleza, including the installation of a Jacuzzi.

Commonwealth Commemorated With 2002 License Plates

December 30, 2001
Copyright © 2001 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - The government commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Commonwealth with license plates that will carry the design of the official shield for cars in 2002, according to Department of Transportation and Public Works (DTOP by its Spanish acronym) Driver Services Director Miguel Torres Vega.

$143 Million Deficit In 38 Municipalities

December 29, 2001
Copyright © 2001 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - Thirty-eight municipalities face a deficit of $143 million, while the debts of the 78 municipalities in the Government Development Bank total $444 million, and the budget of all the municipalities for this fiscal year is $1.4 billion, according to reports of the Commonwealth Comptroller and Municipal Affairs Commissioner offices.

The municipality with the most unstable situation is Camuy with a deficit of $5.4 million and a budget of $6.9 million for the current fiscal year, according to published reports.

The situation in Las Piedras is similar with a deficit that represents 68% of this fiscal year's budget. An audit by the Commonwealth Comptroller's Office shows that the municipality of Las Piedras closed Fiscal Year 1998 with a deficit of $3.1 million and reached $6.4 million two years later.

Health Confirms Insufficiency Of Vaccines

December 28, 2001
Copyright © 2001 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - Health Secretary Johnny Rullan said Thursday that Puerto Rico, as well as the United States, faces a lack of vaccines of all types, especially for diseases such as diphtheria and tetanus, but it is because of difficulties in production and not because of lack of funds.

Rullan indicated that the lack of established controls by the federal government and the delay in delivering reports by the island's suppliers also contributed to the shortage.

The official was denying published reports that the situation was due to a lack of funds in the vaccination program of his agency.

"The vaccine situation that Puerto Rico is facing is the reflection of the shortage that is being produced in the United States. This situation is not new. Since the beginning of the year, we have been working with protocols to confront the shortage," Rullan said.

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