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Acevedo Vila Doesn’t Rule Out Resignation…Monterrey Expos?…Old Shooter: At 62, In His 8th Pan Am Games…Gov’t Gets RR Development Proposals…'Naked Boys Singing' Shut…2,000 Political Candidacies Filed…Bhatia Running For SJ Mayor…Acevedo Vila Files Candidacy, Gets Reprimanded For Ethics Violations, CRB Seeks Criminal Charges…P.R. Opens vs. Canada In Olympic Qualifier

Acevedo Vila Does Not Rule Out Resigning Post

August 3, 2003
Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – Popular Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate Anibal Acevedo Vila did not rule out resigning his post as resident commissioner and said he is ready to assume the party’s presidency for a second time.

"I can assure you that I will remain in Washington with my duties. But, I don’t have a problem if at any moment, a different analysis has to be made," said Acevedo Vila, who in the past two weeks has said he will not resign his post before 2004.

However, he said in published reports that he will make "the decisions that have to be taken" to achieve the PDP’s triumph in the next elections.

"There are some pending issues in Washington that I want to finish, including the Medicare reform, which is very important for Puerto Rico, and the situation of the Roosevelt Roads Naval Base," he said.

As for his priorities as future PDP president, he said he will deal with several facets: "an organizational facet, a facet of preparing the government program, and the traditional facet of campaign and communications with the island."

He also said he has not thought of changes in the PDP secretary general post.

"I have not made any approach to any person in terms of positions inside the party structure or my campaign committee. But I have been evaluating people in my mental process," he said.

Monterrey Makes Bid For Expos

By Mark Asher
Washington Post Staff Writer

August 2, 2003
Copyright © 2003 The Washington Post Company. All rights reserved. 

Monterrey, Mexico, yesterday joined San Juan, Puerto Rico, as a bidder to host the Montreal Expos' 81 home games next season if Major League Baseball has not relocated the team permanently by then, a Monterrey businessman said.

Carlos Bremer, chief executive officer of Value Investment Group said in a telephone interview he and Monterrey Mayor Felipe Cantu met with MLB vice presidents John McHale and Tom Ostertag on July 21. Bremer said they told him to submit a proposal within two weeks in order to be considered for 2004. The bid was submitted yesterday.

Monterrey, a city of 1.3 million with one of the country's most vibrant economies, is located about 150 miles southwest of McAllen, Tex.

Bremer also said the city would bid for the permanent relocation of the Expos in 2005.

The MLB officials with whom he met, Bremer said, "told me they think we have a very strong story because of Mexico and [its population], because of all the Latino people who live in the United States."

Old Shooter: At 62, Puerto Rico's Ralph Rodriguez Is Still Going Strong In His Eighth Pan American Games

August 2, 2003
Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) – Puerto Rico’s Ralph Rodriguez, whose specialty is prone shooting, first appeared at the Pan Ams in 1971 in Cali, Colombia. Since then, he has missed only the 1999 Games in Winnipeg for work reasons. When not shooting, he is a television journalist.

The passing years have done little to douse his energy. Retirement hasn't crossed his mind.

``Sport is my life and I'm not going to give it up just like that,'' he said. ``I'm not completely satisfied with what I've achieved in shooting, and I think that at my age I can still improve.''

His best performance at the Pan Ams was third place in Mexico two decades ago. At the Central American and Caribbean Games, he has won 13 medals: four gold, five silver and four bronze.

``I am in top form because of my mental power,'' he said. ``Your age isn't what your birth certificate says. It's what you feel inside, the way you think, the way you are.''

Four of his colleagues at the games are former students of Rodriguez. And he's just finished training the Dominican team. But there's little chance of the apprentice putting one over the master.

``There isn't a student around who can beat him,'' team delegate Plinio Martinez said.

Rodriguez is only too happy to agree.

``Even though I teach them everything I know, my students think I am unbeatable,'' he says, breaking into laughter. ``And I also don't think there's anyone who can beat me.''

Government Receives Proposals For Base Development

August 2, 2003
Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – The government has received the proposals to develop the land of the Roosevelt Roads Naval Base in case the Pentagon decides to close the military facility, officials said.

The proposals were presented by the firms CB Richard Ellis, Colliers International, and Grubb & Ellis Consulting and were filed before the interagency committee that will evaluate the proposals to make the plan of reusing and developing the land and infrastructure of Roosevelt Roads.

Economic Development & Commerce Secretary Milton Segarra said in published reports that the government is "complying with the established calendar."

"In a period of no more than 10 days, we will have the final selection of the consulting firm to produce the master plan for Roosevelt Roads," Segarra said.

'Naked Boys Singing' Shut In Puerto Rico

By Katy Diagle of Associated Press

August 2, 2003
Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

They boasted a musical show with no set, no plot, and no clothing. Now they have no theater.

Following protests from San Juan's City Hall and religious groups, Tapia Theater canceled Friday night's first showing of the New York hit "Naked Boys Singing," even though the show had sold out its first week of performances.

The theater said it has staged many shows featuring nudity, but this one was deemed unsavory because it was all about nudity.

The show, written by Robert Schrock and now in its fifth year on Broadway, features eight men singing and dancing in the nude. Director Gil Rene said there was nothing obscene about it.

Some suggest that in Puerto Rico's traditional, male-dominated society - where prime-time television shows near-naked women wrestling in whipped cream - nudity isn't the problem, it's male nudity.

On the same night as Naked Boys was to debut, Rene was staging a second play in San Juan featuring naked women talking about prostitution and sausages.

There have been no complaints about "Isabel - Saint of the Brothel," Rene said, nor any for another show about male transvestites playing at the same venue, San Juan's Center for Performing Arts.

Naked Boys' producers have filed a court injunction to reverse the theater's decision.

If unsuccessful, they will have to find another venue for the musical, which has been translated into Spanish and its original songs infused with Spanish-Caribbean beats like salsa, plena, bomba, bachata, and merengue.

"I'm really surprised about the reaction of the institutions," Rene said. "The audience is dying to see the show."

SEC Closes Time For Political Candidacies

By Joanisabel Gonzalez-Velazquez of WOW News

August 2, 2003
Copyright © 2003 WOW NEWS. All rights reserved. 

Over 2,000 candidates were endorsed by major political parties during the 60-day period to file for elective positions, which ended Friday at noon.

While there was still activity at the New Progressive Party (NPP) and at the Office for Filing Candidacies of the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) in Hato Rey, by deadline, the major parties had candidates for the 78 mayor positions, the 54 seats at the Senate, and the 46 posts at the House.

They also have candidates for the municipal assemblies, resident commissioner, and governor.

Around three hours after the closing deadline, NPP President Carlos Pesquera told the press that the organization had successfully conducted the filing procedure.

Pesquera explained that the NPP has two candidates for governor, himself and former Gov. Pedro Rossello, while four candidates were confirmed for resident commissioner: Luis Fortuño, Myriam Ramirez de Ferrer, Charlie Rodriguez, and Carlos Romero Barcelo.

At the same time, 20 candidates will run for the six seats for senators-at large, and another 20 will run for the representatives at-large seats in the House.

In addition to the primaries for governor and resident commissioner, the NPP will have primaries in 35 representative districts and in all 8 senatorial districts.

Pesquera said this is the first time that so many candidates have filed for the at-large positions, and added that the number reveals the great desire of the people to have a change from "the government of improvisation" (administration of Gov. Sila Calderon), which has damaged the people of Puerto Rico.

There are 48 candidates for district senators and 110 candidates for district representatives. In addition, there are 130 candidates for mayor.

Culebra and Ponce’s candidates for mayor, Abraham Peña and Eugenio Gonzalez Castillo, respectively, who were submitting their paperwork at the last minute, were able to complete the procedure.

The NPP will have primaries in 43 municipalities. In 10 of those, there are candidates challenging current NPP mayors. The remaining candidates are municipal legislators.

In total, the NPP endorsed 1,792 candidates and rejected four.

NPP Secretary General William Rosales said he is impeded by the party’s rulings of revealing the name and the circumstances of the rejections.

Rosales confirmed that candidate Jose ‘Chu’ Valle, who intended to run for mayor of Vega Baja, was disqualified, but the reasons were not revealed.

He also said former Juncos Mayor Cesar Torres, allegedly dismissed for corruption, was certified by the evaluation committee. According to Rosales, Torres presented evidence that qualifies him for the race.

With this process, the parties completed a legal proceeding established in the Puerto Rico Electoral Law that requires candidates to make their aspirations official the year before the general elections.

In total, the NPP will have 99 primaries, while the PDP will have 69 primaries throughout the island.

PDP Carlos Lopez Feliciano explained that the PDP will have primaries for mayor in 24 municipalities.

He added the PDP will have fewer primaries than in 1999, when the party had held 69.

Unlike the NPP, the PDP has only one candidate for governor, Anibal Acevedo Vila, and one for resident commissioner, Roberto Prats.

The PDP commissioner added that there are 10 candidates for the six senator-at large seats and nine for the same position at the House of Representatives.

The organization will also have primaries in six out of eight Senate districts and in 28 out of 40 representatives districts.

Lopez Feliciano did not know the final number of candidates filed but said the party has candidates for all the elective positions in the island.

He also noted the evaluation committee disqualified seven candidates for different positions, including for mayor and legislator.

Earlier this week, Villalba’s current mayor, Orlando Torres Gonzalez, who faces charges for corruption, was disqualified from the race.

In addition, the vacant candidacy for mayor in Bayamon was filled by the regional director of the Right to Work Administration Carmen Cotte.

Lopez Feliciano and his team at the State Elections Commission said they were registering the candidate files and might provide further details after the process is completed.

Bhatia Running For San Juan Mayor

By Joanisabel Gonzalez-Velazquez of WOW News

August 1, 2003
Copyright © 2003 WOW NEWS. All rights reserved. 

Attorney Eduardo Bhatia filed Friday morning his candidacy to run for mayor of San Juan on the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) ticket, challenging Sen. Roberto Vigoreaux.

Bhatia called a press conference at the PDP headquarters in Puerta de Tierra claiming that "there is no one more committed to San Juan than I am" and adding that he has been considering the position since March but refused to avoid a primary.

He added that he expressed his interest to Gov. Sila Calderon and former PDP gubernatorial candidate Jose Alfredo Hernandez Mayoral.

Bhatia resigned from the PDP’s committee in San Juan a year and a half ago because there were people interested in the race for San Juan mayor. He said he quit because the people in San Juan asked him to quit, but now the people of San Juan had knocked on his door and asked him to run for mayor.

When asked if now gubernatorial candidate Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo Vila endorses his candidacy, he said the question should be put to Acevedo Vila but added that Acevedo Vila talked him into entering the race.

Vigoreaux, on the other hand, confirmed that he met with Bhatia and Acevedo Vila to find a solution to the dispute but added Friday in a television program that he will run for San Juan.

"Apparently, I am going to be in a primary, but throughout all this process, I will invite Vigoreaux to join me," said Bhatia.

"I talked to him about the possibility of appointing him deputy mayor of San Juan. I would be more than happy to have him on my team, and I want the forces that Vigoreaux can bring together to be used productively in San Juan City Hall," he said.

Nonetheless, Bhatia acknowledged that he filed his candidacy alone, and not with the 14 municipal legislators, because he endorses Vigoreaux’s candidates for the legislative assembly.

"After considering the possibility of having my own candidates for municipal legislators, I decided as an act of good faith to allow Vigoreaux’s 14 candidates to enter without opposition. That means that they will be certified as the candidates for municipal legislators for the PDP. That is legal, totally legal," he said.

State Elections Commission (SEC) PDP Electoral Commissioner Carlos Lopez Feliciano explained that a candidate may file for mayor without his candidates for the municipal assembly, but that is something the candidate must explain at the time of filing his candidacy.

Lopez Feliciano said he has explained to various people, including Vigoreaux, the legal precedents on the matter.

"The SEC resolved that [affair] in 1999 in the case of Quebradillas in the contest of Lucy Molinary and her municipal legislators. Vigoreaux talked to me, and I explained the legal precedent to him," said Lopez Feliciano.

Vigoreaux, however, told the press at the Capitol that "the [municipal legislative] assembly is part of a team" and that he has sworn testimonies of his legislative candidates committing themselves to run with him in the primary.

"If some party has an objection [regarding the use of legislative municipal candidates], he has to present it to the commission, which has to make a determination," Lopez Feliciano concluded.

Acevedo Vila Files Candidacy For Governor

By Joanisabel Gonzalez-Velazquez of WOW News

August 1, 2003
Copyright © 2003 WOW NEWS. All rights reserved. 

Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo Vila\ made his candidacy for governor official Thursday at a packed event in Puerta de Tierra.

Acevedo Vila said that during the 2004 elections, Puerto Rico has the opportunity of voting for "the people of the past - those who lied to the people and those who managed public funds poorly - or for their future by selecting the leader of a new generation."

Acevedo Vila was accompanied by the PDP’s top leadership, including first lady Sila Mari Gonzalez, Carolina Mayor Jose Aponte de la Torre, and Mayaguez Mayor Guillermo Rodriguez, as well as dozens of senators and legislators. Sen. Roberto Prats and resident commissioner candidate also accompanied his ballotmate, who replaced Jose Alfredo Hernandez Mayoral.

With the slogan "A new Puerto Rican impulse," Acevedo Vila committed "to build a new future, as it should be."

The leader committed to create more jobs, reduce crime, strengthen education, and alleviate the economic condition of middle-class families.

He also proposed a transformation of the health system through the acquisition of privatized medical services, the decentralization of the government, and solving the island’s status issue.

Nonetheless, when questioned about the legislative initiative to celebrate a referendum to create a constitutional assembly on status, headed by his fellow partisan Sen. Eudaldo Baez Galib, Acevedo Vila refused to give further details on his proposal.

He also lambasted Puerto Rican Independence Party President Ruben Berrios, who called on statehood and commonwealth party leaders to have a dialog on the issue that has affected the island for more than a century.

He said he will present his proposal in the coming days.

"My position is that the discussion of the status has to be taken out from the political leaders and put into the hands of the people," said Acevedo Vila.

The gubernatorial candidate added that this is not the time to talk about status because there is no leader at the NPP. I can assure the people of Puerto Rico that my generation will solve the status issue, which the generation of Berrios could not resolve."

The official ceremony was carried out at a refurbished Luis Muñoz Marin’s room at the PDP’s headquarters.

The room, in which dozens of leaders have announced their victories and defeats, was totally refurbished for the event. It was painted with red & yellow colors, and the pictures of Gov. Sila Calderon were replaced with various portraits of the resident commissioner. They added spotlights and television flat screens, as well as a new stage next to main entrance. But the event lacked a good sound system, which affected the work of the press due to audio interruptions.

As a result, the press conference lasted less than 10 minutes, and Acevedo Vila left the auditorium to join the crowd that was awaiting him in the street.

Judges Sanction Acevedo Vila’s Non-Ethical Conduct

August 1, 2003
Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – Right about the time that Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo Vila was filing his candidacy for governor on Thursday, federal judges in San Juan were issuing a public reprimand against him for violations to the lawyer’s ethics codes.

The order signed by U.S. District Judge Jose Fuste was approved by a panel of judges in a 4-3 vote.

The ruling is based on a complaint filed by former Gov. Carlos Romero Barcelo, who claimed that Acevedo Vila falsely accused him of bribery during the electoral campaign.

Fuste noted that lawyers should have a high sense of honor, extreme discretion, and strict observation of their responsibilities," the ruling reads.

Romero Barcelo Seeks Criminal Charges For Acevedo Vila

August 1, 2003
Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – After federal court judges approved a public reprimand to Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo Vila for violating canons of ethics of the law profession, former Gov. Carlos Romero Barcelo said Friday that he had asked federal authorities to also file criminal charges.

Romero Barcelo’s petition, announced in the campaign committee of New Progressive Party gubernatorial candidate former Gov. Pedro Rossello, comes one day after Acevedo Vila filed his candidacy for governor for the Popular Democratic Party (PDP).

However, Romero Barcelo could not specify the federal criminal charge that would apply to Acevedo Vila.

"The PDP gubernatorial candidate hid evidence, distorted the facts, and lied to the Federal Elections Commission and to the people of Puerto Rico," he alleged in a press conference.

The reprimand against Acevedo Vila comes from a complaint filed by Romero Barcelo of falsely accusing him of accepting a bribe during the 2000 election campaign, when both were seeking the resident commissioner’s post.

The former governor presented a lawsuit before the U.S. District Court alleging that Acevedo Vila could have known that the bribery allegations by Andres Sanchez Delgado were false but he did not wish to withdraw a complaint he presented against him before the Federal Elections Commission.

Puerto Rico Opens Men's Olympic Basketball Qualifier Against Canada

July 31, 2003
Copyright © 2003 The Canadian Press. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (CP-AP) _ Canada will open against host Puerto Rico in the first round of the Olympic qualifying tournament next month when 10 men's basketball teams from the Americas compete for three berths for Athens 2004.

Puerto Rico was placed in a group with Argentina, Canada, Mexico and Uruguay in Tuesday's draw for the FIBA-Americas men's qualifying tournament.

The other group features the U.S., Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and the Virgin Islands.

The tournament will begin Aug. 20 with a game between Argentina, silver medallist at last summer's world championships, and Mexico. The United States plays Mexico later that day.

Puerto Rico opens play Aug. 21 and will play eight games in eight days before the semifinals and final.

The semifinals will be held Aug. 30, with the bronze and gold medal games set for Aug. 31.

The bronze medal game will be the biggest of the tournament, as only three teams will earn berths for Athens 2004.

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