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Colberg and Hernandez M. To Skip Primaries... Pereira Appoints New Corrections Deputy... NPP Legislator Demands Enforcement of Tax Reform... Chicken Processor Stops Work... Republican Party To Open Local Office... Governor's Radio Program Costly... Governor Yet To Appoint Campaign Financing Committee

Colberg and Hernandez Mayoral Won't Go To Primaries

February 4, 2003
Copyright © 2003 WOW NEWS. All rights reserved.

By Proviana Colon Diaz of WOW News

Popular Democratic Party (PDP) electors will know by the end of the week who is their new at-large House Representative, after the two possible candidates Jorge Colberg and Juan Eugenio Hernandez Mayoral agreed on Monday that they would not go to primaries.

By the end of the week one of them will withdraw his nomination until the 2004 general election, but PDP followers will not know what mechanism will be used to select their new candidate as PDP General Secretary Fernando Torres declined to reveal it.

Their decision complies with Party President Sila Calderon and the PDP majority’s petition to reach consensus and dispense with primaries.

"They agreed that primaries will not be necessary," Torres said.

A very diplomatic Colberg, noted that they both, he and Hernandez Mayoral, had known each other since childhood and both agreed to do what is best for the party and put personal desires aside.

Although they declined to reveal what mechanism will be used, an independent or a phone poll were ruled out as possible choices.

"We have found a mechanism that requires immediate action in the coming days and the decision will be reached by the end of the week," Colberg said.

Colberg has the support of the PDP Mayors’ Association, except for Ponce Mayor Rafael Cordero, who has publicly spoken in favor of former Gov. Rafael Hernandez Colon’s son.

Prior to going into the meeting Hernandez Mayoral expressed his disappointment with Colberg’s decision to leave his post as La Fortaleza Public Affairs Secretary saying that this showed he was not giving up his aspirations for the House.

"By quitting the dialogue requested by the governor and party president to reach a consensus, he is giving a sign that tells he is willing to go ahead regardless of what happens," Hernandez Mayoral said.

Colberg disagreed, arguing that it wouldn’t have been fair to stay at La Fortaleza and do the political consulting he needed to do in order to get elected.

"I think it would have been improper on my part," Colberg said.

Both young men are interested in filling the large post left vacant in the House last week, when PDP Rep. Alida Arizmendi quit hours before to the beginning of a public hearing by the House Ethics Committee against her.

Pereira Appoints New Corrections Deputy Administrator

February 4, 2003
Copyright © 2003 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — Corrections and Rehabilitations Secretary Miguel Pereira has appointed attorney Gil Rodriguez Ramos as the agency’s deputy administrator.

Rodriguez Ramos replaces Ileana Mattei, who was appointed under Pereira’s tenure and who later resigned because of differences with him.

According to a press release, Rodriguez Ramos, who has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Puerto Rico Political Sciences School and a master’s from Interamerican University, has been working for the correctional system for nine years.

He has worked as director of the Legal Division and, Auxiliary Secretary of the Correctional System Investigations division.

NPP Legislator Demands Enforcement of Past Tax Reform

February 4, 2003
Copyright © 2003 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — For New Progressive Party (NPP) Rep. Jenniffer Gonzalez, the only thing Gov. Sila M. Calderon has done in the last two years is increase taxes to the middle class and shown her inefficiency in managing the government’s budget.

Gonzales asked Calderon to enforce the last phase of the tax reform approved by the past administration and halted by her administration.

"We demand that the Governor enforces the tax cuts and the elimination of the 'Marriage Penalty," said Gonzalez on Monday in a press conference.

At the beginning of her tenure, the governor said the tax cuts should be postponed because the past administration had left a deficit that prevented her administration granting tax relief.

Puerto Rico Chicken Processor Stops Work

February 3, 2003
Copyright © 2003 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Puerto Rico's largest chicken processing company said Monday it has suspended operations indefinitely, leaving 500 employees without jobs as the company tries to restructure.

Picu Cos. filed for Chapter 11 protection on Monday, said Samuel Reyes, chairman of the board of directors.

``Picu has not closed, it has stopped processing chickens until we can resolve a cash flow problem,'' Reyes told a news conference.

The company has not said how much money it lost last year. The U.S. Agriculture Department halted operations at the company twice in 2002 after inspectors found a rat in a chicken breeding farm and bacteria harmful to chickens, but not to humans.

The Caribbean territory's government is offering $300,000 in immediate aid to farmers affected by the closure, said Luis Rivero Cubano, Puerto Rico's agriculture secretary.

Without a market to sell the chickens, farmers may have to destroy 100,000 birds, company officials said.

Republican Party Open Local Chapter Office In Hato Rey

February 3, 2003
Copyright © 2003 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — Members of the Republican Party in Puerto Rico will soon open a new office on the Piñero Ave. in Hato Rey announced Luis Fortuño, National Committeeman on the island.

Fortuño’s announcement was made during the party’s winter meeting in Washington, according to published reports.

During the meeting Republicans decided to put into effect a voter’s registration campaign throughout the U.S., which will allow more than 3 million voters to register before the 2004 presidential elections.

The campaign will pay special attention to the Hispanic vote, said Marc Racicot, Republican National Committee president.

Governor's Radio Program Costs More Than $43,000

February 3, 2003
Copyright © 2003 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) - The cost of the Saturday radio program of Gov. Sila Calderon has reached $43,593 in the past five weeks.

La Fortaleza's Communication Office officials announced that the program's expenses include $35,343 in publicity, which is expected to reach the $300,000 mark by June 30.

The remaining $8,250 go to covering transmission services of WKAQ and other 11 radio stations which retransmit the program, according to published reports.

WKAQ charges $1,000 per each half-hour program, while the other stations charge an average of $150, said La Fortaleza Communications Director Anibelle Sloan.

Governor Yet To Appoint Political Campaign Public Financing Committee

February 3, 2003
Copyright © 2003 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — Secretary of State Ferdinand Mercado confirmed that Gov. Sila Calderon has yet to appoint the members of the citizens committee, which will evaluate the bill enforcing the public financing of political campaigns.

"Right now, we are working on the creation of the committee, but its members are yet to be appointed," Mercado said in published reports.

Mercado failed to reveal how many people the committee will include, or who possible members, might be.

During the campaign Calderon promised she would revise the Electoral Law, but the bills sent by the administration to the Legislature did not have the necessary votes to be approved, which was why Calderon initiated a series of private consultations at La Fortaleza.

The governor later announced that she would appoint a committee to evaluate the changes to be made to the bill.

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