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Rossello Begins Campaign On Sunday…Fortuño Not Interested In Res. Comm. Post… Fernando Martin To Run For Mayor Of SJ…Calderon: No Comparison To Rossello…Hernandez Mayoral Attacks Rossello, Gets Miranda Marin’s Endorsement…Acevedo Vila Undecided About Political Future…Santini Confident Of Re-Election…Noriega: Governor Never In Control…PDP Censures SJ Leaders, Suffers Revolt

Rossello Begins Campaign On Sunday

May 29, 2003
Copyright © 2003 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — New Progressive Party (NPP) gubernatorial hopeful former Gov. Pedro Rossello will officially begin his primary campaign on Sunday.

Campaign Executive Director Frances Rodriguez said the campaign will kick off at 10 a.m. on the bridge that provides access to Ciales.

"The beginning of this campaign represents an opportunity for progress, security, and the welfare needed by the Puerto Rican people to move on from the economic and social stillness it has lived with during the past two years," Rodriguez said.

Rossello faces opposition from NPP President Carlos Pesquera, who will challenge the former governor in the primary for the governor’s post.

Fortuño Not Interested In Resident Commissioner Post

May 29, 2003
Copyright © 2003 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — Republican Party delegate for Puerto Rico Luis Fortuño denied Thursday that former Gov. Pedro Rossello has recruited him to run for the resident commissioner post on the New Progressive Party gubernatorial ballot.

Fortuño added that at this moment, he is not interested in running for any electoral post.

"I have said that at least at this time in my life, I want to contribute but more with the ideological area of the Republican Party. I haven’t given thought to that possibility (running for resident commissioner)," Fortuño said.

Fernando Martin To Run For Mayor Of San Juan

May 29, 2003
Copyright © 2003 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) Sen. Fernando Martin will run for mayor of San Juan in the coming elections.

PIP Electoral Commissioner Juan Dalmau made the announcement Thursday, noting that Martin obtained 14% of the votes from San Juan in the general elections of 2000.

"Those numbers reveal that Martin's candidacy for mayor of San Juan will be endorsed by not only members of the PIP," Dalmau said during a press conference at the party's headquarters in Puerto Nuevo.

Calderon: Her Oversights Not To Be Compared To Rossello's

By Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin of WOW News

May 28, 2003
Copyright © 2003 WOW NEWS. All rights reserved.

SAN LORENZO - In an effort to keep her image at arm's length from that of former Gov. Pedro Rossello, Gov. Sila Calderon said Wednesday that although it's impossible for governors to know what every cabinet member is doing at all times, it is no excuse for the former governor’s failure to prevent government corruption during the past administration.

"The Internet website is something totally incidental, not fundamental to my administration. I found out about it yesterday during the press conference. There is no similarity whatsoever," Calderon stated.

The governor's statement followed one she made during a press conference Tuesday, when she was questioned about an Internet website touting her as the Popular Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate for the 2004 general election. Then, Calderon said she didn't know of the existence of such page and that it was impossible for a governor to know everything.

Coincidentally, that was exactly what Rossello said when the local press questioned him about his obliviousness to the corruption schemes that had been going on during his eight-year-long administration.

Calderon noted that the advertising agency that created the website had no way of knowing of her decision not to seek re-election in 2004 because the website had been created before her announcement last week that she would not seek a second term.

According to the governor, there is a distinct difference between her not knowing about the website and Rossello not knowing of the millions of dollars that many of his cabinet members were stealing from government coffers or bribing from private contractors.

"If the secretary of education, God forbid, were stealing, I would know about it. If my personal aide were receiving $6,000 a month from contractors, I would know about it. There is a big difference!" Calderon said.

Hernandez Mayoral Attacks On Rossello Begin

May 26, 2003
Copyright © 2003 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

PONCE (AP) — Popular Democratic Party (PPD) gubernatorial candidate Jose Alfredo Hernandez Mayoral on Sunday began his campaign against his main contender, New Progressive Party (NPP) former Gov. Pedro Rossello, by reminding him of the fact that many of his appointed cabinet members are now in jail.

In addition Hernandez Mayoral noted that his lack of experience, for which he is being criticized, is not as serious as the high cost of the (infrastructure) left by Rossello.

Hernandez Mayoral spoke to over 300 people on Sunday at the swearing in ceremony of Peñuelas PDP municipal president Walter Torres Maldonado.

Miranda Marin Endorses Hernandez Mayoral

May 26, 2003
Copyright © 2003 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

PONCE (AP) — Attorney Jose Alfredo Mayoral overcame another obstacle to be the Popular Democratic Party (PPD)’s sole gubernatorial candidate when he received Caguas mayor William Miranda Marin’s endorsement on Sunday.

"Willie Miranda has already endorsed me as the gubernatorial candidate, and he will run again for the Caguas mayor post," Hernandez Mayoral said.

Miranda Marin had expressed his interest in the gubernatorial post following Gov. Sila Calderon Thursday announcement that she would not seek re-election. His aspirations, however, lasted less than 72-hours.

The veteran Caguas mayor has said that he would have endorsed Hernandez Mayoral for any post, including that of governor, but was opposed to the speedy manner in which Calderon’s substitute was selected.

Acevedo Vila Still Undecided About His Political Future

By Joanisabel Gonzalez-Velazquez Of WOW News

May 26, 2003
Copyright © 2003 WOW NEWS. All rights reserved.

Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo Vila hasn’t decided his political future yet, and will announce his intentions in his own time.

A week before the opening of political candidacies filing period, Acevedo Vila said on Monday he is still evaluating possibilities to "serve Puerto Rico" without ruling out "serving to the government from a non-elective position."

"I don’t have anything to say regarding my political future," said the commonwealth leader when questioned about a possible run for San Juan Mayor.

"This is a very personal and familiar process; an analysis has to be made with my collaborators," said the resident commissioner, following the Memorial Day observance ceremony to honor fallen soldiers held at the National Cemetery in Bayamon.

The Popular Democratic Party (PDP) leader explained that he’s in conversations with gubernatorial candidate Jose Alfredo Hernandez Mayoral, but nothing is concrete.

On Thursday, Gov. Sila M. Calderon announced her decision not to seek re-election in 2004, and in a 24-hour time frame, the general council of the PDP endorsed former governor Rafael Hernandez Colon’s son–Hernandez Mayoral–as her successor as party leader.

The general council also endorsed Acevedo Vila as a candidate for the San Juan city hall, but the leader asked the council to amend the resolution, and give him more time to reach his decision on his political future.

Seen as little anxious at times, Acevedo Vila noted the period for political nominations starts next June 1 and lasts until August, therefore he wouldn’t allow anybody to push him into making a decision.

"I have always evaluated all my decisions carefully. Each time I have decided to run for a political post I’ve won, including the most difficult one, which was proposing our constituents vote for the fifth column in the status referendum held in 1998," he added.

The representative of the commonwealth at the Congress said that Gov. Sila Calderon’s decision not to seek re-election in 2004 wouldn’t affect his performance at the federal level.

Validating his words, Acevedo Vila mentioned the approval of nearly $139 million in federal funds allocated to Puerto Rico as part of a state relief bill passed by Congress on Friday, which could be used to confer a $150 raise to 75,000 public employees at the Education and Family departments.

In addition, he explained he’s lobbying to include Puerto Rico in a drug prescription plan proposed by presidential candidate Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Connecticut), which will provide more benefits to Medicare patients.

Finally, he committed to continue lobbying for the construction of a new hospital for veterans in the island, a constant demand made by military organizations. The $400 million hospital may be erected in Sabana Seca to serve more than 65,000 patients, including 1,500 ambulatory patients per day.

Santini Confident He Will Be Re-Elected

By Joanisabel Gonzalez-Velazquez of WOW News

May 26, 2003
Copyright © 2003 WOW NEWS. All rights reserved.

San Juan Mayor Jorge Santini on Monday came face to face with one of the many candidates that have been proposed by the opposition as possible contender, Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo Vila.

Attending the Memorial Day commemoration at Veterans Cemetery in Bayamon, the capital city mayor received overwhelming applause during his participation in the event, despite Acevedo Vila’s appearance as official speaker of the event.

Following the ceremony, Santini took time to address media questions and expressed anew his confidence in re-election as San Juan mayor in 2004.

"No matter who will be the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for San Juan, I trust in God that I’m going to be re-elected," Santini said, adding that he’s been working "in the reconstruction of a city which was torn apart by past PDP administrators," referring to Hector Acevedo and Gov. Sila M. Calderon.

He also welcomed Jose Alfredo Hernandez Mayoral’s gubernatorial candidacy, and a possible discussion of the status.

"I just want them to be honest with the people, and tell the people the truth about the new status formula they believe in a formula that will separate us more from the United States. They favor free association for Puerto Rico, and the people will decide on that," concluded Santini.

Noriega: Calderon Never Controlled Her Government

May 25, 2003
Copyright © 2003 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

PONCE (AP) - Former Puerto Rican Independence Party Rep. David Noriega said Gov. Sila Calderon will never run for governor again because she was never able to control her government and because she was not backed up by the Legislative Assembly.

"I see the governor's decision as the culmination of a damaging process, because she never had control of the government," Noriega said in a radio interview.

Noriega, a pro-independence supporter who converted into a governor's advocate, said it was a well-known secret that she never had the support of the Legislative Assembly.

Calderon has announced her decision not to seek reelection and has nominated Jose Alfredo Hernandez Mayoral for the gubernatorial candidacy. The young lawyer is one of the sons of former PDP Gov. Rafael Hernandez Colon.

The former legislator said Hernandez Mayoral's nomination is part of a chieftainship known to third-world countries and which permeates Puerto Rico.

Noriega chairs the Independent Citizens Committee for the Evaluation of Government Transactions, also known as the Blue Ribbon Committee, which was widely criticized for allegedly duplicating the work of the Comptroller's Office and of the Government Ethics Office to carry out a witch hunt against the past New Progressive Party administration.

PDP Censures Its Leaders In San Juan

By Luis R. Varela of Associated Press

May 25, 2003
Copyright © 2003 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

PONCE — The Popular Democratic Party (PDP) face a not favorable scenario in San Juan because its local leadership has not adequately overseen New Progressive Party Mayor Jorge Santini, PDP Secretary General Fernando Torres Ramirez said Saturday.

"The people who are part of the leadership of the five precincts of San Juan have to assume their responsibility of overseeing the mayor," the former Superior Court judge said in a radio interview. "Without a doubt, if they would have been overseeing him, we would have at this moment a better scenario."

Torres Ramirez said now that a transition in the party’s ranks has risen, they will begin to oversee the mayor and present to the public what he described as the "lack of capacity and management that exists in the Capitol."

Torres Ramirez also believes that the PDP will not have to conduct a primary to select the candidate for San Juan mayor because there will only be one candidate for that position.

So far, only Sen. Roberto Vigoreaux has consistently affirmed that he will challenge Santini, but the PDP leadership does not seem to support his candidacy and prefers Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo Vila for the role.

Revolt Within The PDP

By Proviana Colon Diaz of WOW News

May 24, 2003
Copyright © 2003 WOW NEWS. All rights reserved.

Less than 24 hours after Gov. Sila Calderon shocked the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) with her decision not to seek re-election, numerous candidates and elected officials are re-considering their aspirations.

Juan Eugenio Hernandez Mayoral, brother of the now PDP gubernatorial candidate Jose Alfredo Hernandez Mayoral, who had been endorsed by the party and Calderon for an at-large post in the House of Representatives arrived at Puerta de Tierra headquarters along with Senate President Antonio Fas Alzamora.

"I am reconsidering my aspirations. . .but it will definitely be within the Legislature," Juan Eugenio said.

Fas Alzamora, who came into politics under former Gov. Rafael Hernandez Colon’s administration, would later confirm to WOW News that it is his intention to convince Juan Eugenio to run for the Senate.

House Vice President Ferdinand Perez arrived at the party headquarters along with seven of his peers.

Although Perez had declined to admit his aspirations for the speaker’s post, his aspirations have been known by all in the Legislature. On Friday night, however, he was not shy to confirm his intentions.

"If the post is left vacant, then I’m running for it. I believe I have the votes for it," Perez said.

Surprised by Perez’s statements, Vizcarrondo said if such were the case, then "we will see each other in the elections."

Meanwhile, with Resident Commisioner Anibal Acevedo Vila’s decision not to accept the nomination for the San Juan mayoral candidacy, the battle for the post continues.

Sen. Roberto Vigoreaux affirmed his aspirations for the post.

In addition, former House Speaker Ronnie Jarabo also announced his intentions to return for the Legislature.

In the coming months, many new candidates are expected to surface as the new gubernatorial candidate Jose Alfredo made an invitation Friday night for young people to enter into politics.

"I say to all young people who have the desire to run for office but have been shy to do so that this is the time to do it," he said.

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