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Pesquera, Rossello To Participate In NPP Assembly, Radiomarathon. …More PDP Candidacies Sought…Rossello Raises $200K…Hernandez Mayoral Running-For Now….Pesquera Makes It Official…O'Neill: NPP Is In Crisis…Vizcarrondo Blames Media For Bad Image…Vigoreaux For SJ Mayor

Pesquera, Rossello To Participate In NPP Assembly On Sunday

By Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin of WOW News

June 19, 2003
Copyright © 2003
WOW NEWS. All rights reserved. 

Carlos Pesquera and Pedro Rossello

New Progressive Party (NPP) Electoral Commissioner Thomas Rivera Schatz announced Thursday that the party will hold a general assembly Sunday with the participation of both pre-gubernatorial candidates, former Gov. Pedro Rossello and NPP President Carlos Pesquera.

The assembly will be held at the Pedrin Zorrilla Coliseum in Hato Rey starting at 9:30 a.m. Nearly 1,000 NPP electoral officials from around the island are expected to gather there to discuss the primary–which will be held Nov. 6–and the general elections of 2004.

"They will receive information about the work we must do before next year’s general election," Rivera Schatz said.

He added that NPP leaders, including Pesquera and Rossello, will be present at Sunday’s event.

"Both of them have confirmed their attendance, and both will be giving a speech," Rivera Schatz added.

The NPP electoral commissioner said he would be focusing on his job as electoral commissioner for the time being.

"I have my mind set on winning the election against the Popular Democratic Party. I assure you that with candidates such as San Juan Mayor Jorge Santini on the ballot, the NPP is going to hammer the Popular Democratic Party," said Rivera Schatz, who didn’t rule out the possibility of running for an elective post.

"After Aug. 1, we will know where Thomas Rivera will be," he said when asked if he plans to continue as NPP electoral commissioner.

Contrary to his often belligerent demeanor, Rivera Schatz declined to comment on the words of former Resident Commissioner Carlos Romero Barcelo, who said Wednesday that Pesquera is so obsessed with becoming governor that he has lost touch with reality.

"I have no comment on the statements that my fellow NPP members may make during this primary process. I invite everyone to focus in the electoral work and to help me register my party’s voters, who number more than a million. I want to regroup them to win the election," said Rivera Schatz, who supports Pesquera for governor.

The NPP electoral commissioner noted the importance of persuading NPP voters to register and participate in the general election of 2004. He said Pesquera lost to Gov. Sila Calderon by 60,000 votes in 2000, while more than 100,000 NPP followers didn’t cast ballots. At the moment, there are more than 62,000 people left to be reactivated, and Rivera Schatz said he would be focusing on them to bring victory back to the NPP in 2004.

Rossello Trusts Pesquera, Will Participate In Radiomarathon

By Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin of WOW News

June 18, 2003
Copyright © 2003
WOW NEWS. All rights reserved. 

In a decision contrary to what he had previously said, former Gov. Pedro Rossello said he would participate in the radiomarathon that NPP President Carlos Pesquera has organized to raise funds for the party’s operational and administrative expenses. He also said he trusts Pesquera’s capacity to manage the party’s finances.

"I didn’t commit to contribute anything, but I will be participating. You will see," Rossello told reporters during a press conference following the NPP directorate meeting at the party’s headquarters Wednesday.

Although Rossello didn’t say how he would be helping, Pesquera said he was glad to hear of Rossello’s change of plans and reiterated that the fund raising event will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

"This is an institutional radiomarathon, and we want the contribution of the NPP followers, whether they are "Rossellistas" or "Pesqueristas," joined together for the sake of the party," Pesquera said.

The NPP president added that the money to be collected in the radiomarathon would be used for operational purposes only. He asserted that the party has the capacity to continue paying rent to maintain the NPP headquarters in Santurce.

Regarding the petition of NPP Sen. Orlando Parga to have the directorate deal directly with the financial situation of the party, Pesquera said no motion was filed to that effect.

He added that an audit of the party’s finances has already been conducted and reiterated that books of the NPP are open even to his primary contender, Rossello, who is expected to win the November primary against Pesquera and once again become the official gubernatorial candidate of the NPP for the 2004 general elections.

To prove it, Pesquera asked Rossello to recommend someone for the deputy treasurer post, which is vacant at the moment.

"Reaffirming my commitment to the party and my point that there is absolutely nothing to hide, I have asked Rossello to recommend someone for the position," Pesquera said. However, Rossello decided not to do so and stated that he fully trusts Pesquera in choosing the right candidate for that position just as he trusted him in the management of the NPP’s financial situation.

Although both pre-gubernatorial candidates kept the meeting cordial, the tension between them and their followers was evident throughout the day. Rossello supporters brought banners, flags, and stickers to the party headquarters chanting slogans in favor of Rossello.

Also, a visibly upset Pesquera had to interrupt his press conference several times because of the loudspeakers on the street playing Rossello’s campaign theme songs such as La Macarena and the theme from the Hollywood film Rocky.

Hernandez Mayoral Welcomes More PDP Candidacies

June 17, 2003
Copyright © 2003
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — The situation within the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) regarding the candidacies for San Juan mayor continues to change, and the party’s likely gubernatorial candidate Jose Alfredo Hernandez Mayoral said he is in no position to predict what will happen.

"From what I have seen, I don’t know. I cannot make a prediction," Hernandez Mayoral told reporters Tuesday.

He added that he has been talking with former PDP Sen. Eduardo Bhatia about the possibility of running for San Juan mayor again but said he didn’t know Bhatia’s position at the moment.

So far, PDP Sen. Roberto Vigoreaux is the only person to file a candidacy for San Juan mayor, but Hernandez Mayoral said he has not closed the door to other possible candidates.

Rossello Campaign Raises More Than $200,000 In 90 Days

June 17, 2003
Copyright © 2003
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — The Rossello 2004 campaign committee has collected $209,713 in three months, according to a report filed at the State Elections Commission on Monday.

The report, which was reviewed in published reports, reveals the committee’s income from March 1 to May 31, during which time the committee allegedly didn’t receive anonymous contributions.

Most of the money, or $190,308, was collected in seven political rallies. The rest came from 36 contributors who donated from $500 to $1,000 for a total of $19,300.

Rossello 2004 received $209,713, spent $131,348, and has $35,138 in accounts payable. One of the payments was made to Marti Flores, Prieto advertising agency for $53,000. Historically, this has been the agency that former Gov. Pedro Rossello has been using since he was elected in 1992.

Hernandez Mayoral: I Will Be Running For Governor

By Joanisabel Gonzalez-Velazquez of WOW News

June 16, 2003
Copyright © 2003
WOW NEWS. All rights reserved. 

Contrary to rumors that his son’s medical condition won’t allow him to run for governor, Jose Alfredo Hernandez Mayoral will file his candidacy for the leading post on the island next week.

The Popular Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial hopeful told WOW News he planned to file his candidacy this week, but had to reschedule it for the next one since he will be leaving for Boston on Thursday, where his oldest son, Pablo, will be intervened for a second time.

"I will submit my candidacy next week or no later than the end of the month," said Hernandez Mayoral after a meeting he held with the members of the PDP caucus at the Senate.

With that statement, the Commonwealth leader discarded rumors that he might quit running for governor due to his son’s illness.

However, he also stated that if he has to make a decision between his son and his political aspiration, he won’t hesitate in choosing his son.

"Once I gather all the information related to my son’s medical condition, if there is an incompatibility between him and my candidacy, it won’t take me a second to decide in favor of my son," said Hernandez Mayoral, who made clear that is not the case.

Hernandez Mayoral will have a press conference Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. to inform the public about his son’s medical condition. Pablo, 12, had a gallbladder operation intervention in April, but according to published reports the condition he suffers from has not been completely eliminated. Last week, the PDP leader traveled with his son to Boston for an initial examination, which resulted in next Friday’s intervention.

On Monday, Hernandez Mayoral met for the first time with PDP mayors, senators and representatives to set the foundation for his working agenda toward the 2004 political campaign.

Hernandez Mayoral explained that during the meeting with PDP mayors held at the Mayor’s Association in Puerta de Tierra, the group discussed those cases in which mayors may face a primary in their municipalities, the communication flow between the party’s president and the municipalities and mobilization strategies for the celebration of the Constitution Day on July 25th.

During his meeting with PDP senators, Hernandez Mayoral expressed his aversion to party members challenging currently elected officials, but added he won’t participate in any effort to dissuade those aspirants.

"I won’t participate in any effort to convince someone of not running for a position," said Hernandez Mayoral, who said he predicts incumbent senators facing primaries will prevail then and also in the next general election.

The leader asked senators and representatives to keep on working, and continue with the current government’s agenda. The leaders also exchanged ideas that may lay the foundation for the party’s political strategies, and established an initial contact for the development of a working plan once he becomes the party’s president, and as a result the chairman of the PDP legislative conference.

O'Neill Acknowledges That NPP Is In Crisis

June 15, 2003
Copyright © 2003
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) - For Guaynabo Mayor Hector O'Neill, the New Progressive Party (NPP) is going through a crisis.

"The NPP is in bad shape," the NPP mayors' president said while admitting his disappointment and his fear of a definite division within the party.

"I speak with the utmost sincerity and candidness. There comes a time when one gets disappointed because one cannot do anything and one has tried to find a way to help in some way and the truth is that there is no respect nor discipline in the party," O'Neill said in published reports.

The Guaynabo mayor mentioned that some of the problems are that the NPP has not been able to pay a debt, has gone into a controversy over a fundraising event, has difficulty in paying for utilities, and the party president is at odds with the wants and needs of the NPP members.

Pesquera Makes His Gubernatorial Candidacy Official

June 15, 2003
Copyright © 2003
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — New Progressive Party President Carlos Pesquera promised Saturday that if he wins the governor’s post in 2004, he would hold a plebiscite on status with congressional support.

The statehood leader made his commitment after officially filing his candidacy for governor and will face former Gov. Pedro Rossello in a primary in November.

"I will achieve that the Puerto Rican people will finally resolve a hundred-year dilemma through a plebiscite that has congressional support," he said before a hundred of his followers who cheered him at the party’s headquarters.

During the activity, Pesquera also stated his ideas to attend to matters like education, the creation of jobs, the economy, crime, housing, and health.

Among the public was his mother, Reynelda Morales, 83, who from her wheelchair in the first row said she would advise her son "to continue as he is, honorable."

Vizcarrondo Complains Of Public’s Opinion Of Legislature

By Luis R. Varela of Associated Press

June 15, 2003
Copyright © 2003
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

PONCE — The House of Representatives has started a series of tasks designed to try to improve the image that citizens have of legislators, House Speaker Carlos Vizcarrondo said Saturday.

The House leader said the work legislators do has been distorted in Puerto Rico, although he admitted that the existing bad image is also related to the acts of corruption committed in the past by some senators and representatives.

Vizcarrondo said his administration began to televise the legislative work and has uploaded an Internet page as part of the effort for citizens to see how the House of Representatives works.

"I have to also recognize that we have been dragging a bad image of the Legislative Assembly for many years and because, unfortunately, many legislators have failed the trust deposited by the people in them," Vizcarrondo said in a radio interview.

According to citizen statements in different forums, there is an impression that legislators do not perform a labor of quality.

Vizcarrondo blamed the press for the bad image that legislators have and said many times the media attacks the Legislature without having all the details at hand nor the statistics of the work performed.

"How can they talk about the work of the Legislative Assembly if they don’t have the information? It is the speculation of the one who writes," Vizcarrondo said.

Vigoreaux Files His Candidacy For San Juan Mayor

By Joanisabel Gonzalez-Velazquez of WOW News

June 14, 2003
Copyright © 2003
WOW NEWS. All rights reserved. 

After almost a year of saying he will run for mayor of San Juan, Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Sen. Roberto Vigoreaux filed Friday afternoon his candidacy for the leading post of the capital.

Vigoreaux entered into the Luis Munoz Marin’s room at the PDP headquarters dancing with "pleneros" who sang lyrics announcing his candidacy.

With the theme "San Juan wants him," Vigoreaux, 47, opened his political campaign giving posters, post cards, water bottles labeled "Vigorizate, Roberto Vigoreaux 2004 ("Dynamic, Roberto Vigoreaux 2004"), and a video presentation with panoramic scenes of Old San Juan.

Senate President Antonio Fas Alzamora introduced Vigoreaux to the audience and reaffirmed his endorsement to the PDP leader who has been a legislator since 1996.

"If there is something I dreamed of is this," said Vigoreaux referring to be mayor of San Juan.

The chairman of the Senate Banking Committee committed to serve the people of San Juan and not to use the capitol’s city hall as a step toward the gubernatorial post.

"How will a mayor find the solutions for the problems of San Juan if he is envisioning running for a higher position?" said Vigoreaux, who said he expects to be mayor of San Juan for at least 12 years.

With this statement, Vigoreaux criticized current Mayor Jorge Santini and others like Carlos Romero Barcelo, Hector Luis Acevedo, and even his party’s president, Gov. Sila Calderon, who ran for governor after serving in San Juan.

Although Vigoreaux said he has not began working on his government program for San Juan, the senator committed to evaluate and set standards for the current and proposed construction permits authorized by the Pedro Rossello and Calderon administrations for the Cupey and Caimito areas.

The politician and artist also said he won’t attack Santini but will focus his campaign on proposals to deal with poverty and the proper maintenance of municipal facilities, among other aspects.

Artists Luis Antonio Cosme, Jose Miguel Agrelot, Shorty Castro, Daniela Droz, Cucho Viera, and Vigoreaux’s brother Luis attended the event in support of the PDP leader.

In addition to Fas Alzamora, Rep. Luis Raul Torres (Precinct 2), Senate Vice President Velda Gonzalez, and Sens. Modesto Agosto Alicea, Margarita Ostolaza Bey, and Jose Ortiz Daliot also attend.

Other politicians who supported Vigoreaux’s aspirations were Juan Eugenio Hernandez Mayoral, Jorge Colberg Toro, Dorado Mayor Carlos Lopez, and House Speaker Carlos Vizcarrondo.

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