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Rossello Ahead In Gubernatorial Race, Poll…Producers, Political Leaders Back Coliseum Operations Bill… Hundreds Mourn Spc. Carrasquillo, Killed In Iraq… Mundo: Proposed Gov’t Budget Unconstitutional… World Song Festival In San Juan… Breaux Endorses Rossello

Survey: Rossello Ahead In Gubernatorial Race

By Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin of WOW News

March 23, 2004
Copyright © 2004 WOW NEWS. All rights reserved. 

If the elections were today, New Progressive Party (NPP) gubernatorial candidate Pedro Rossello would defeat Popular Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate Anibal Acevedo Vila by 12.4%, according to the first elections of 2004 performed by the renowned statistician Pablo Ramos. He announced his results on Tuesday.

Although the press was not presented with a copy of the questions asked to those who were polled, Ramos claimed that Rossello obtained 54.3% of the votes, while Acevedo Vila and Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) gubernatorial candidate Ruben Berrios received 41.9% and 3.8% respectively.

Ramos acknowledged that while Rossello is ahead of Acevedo Vila by 12.4%, 16% of those polled said they were undecided.

However, Ramos applied the majority of the undecided votes to Rossello to giving him a 12.4% advantage.

"I have always used this same method when doing my surveys. I did the same thing in 1992, 1996, and 2000," said Ramos after the press questioned him concerning his survey methods.

He explained that he first asked those polled who they had voted for in 2000. If they said they had voted for the PDP candidate and were undecided in this election, he would then ask them which party they believed was the most corrupt. If their answer were more favorable toward the PDP, he would apply those undecided votes to that party.

Ramos acknowledged that, while he is not affiliated with any political party, he believes that Puerto Rico should become a state. However, he repeatedly denied his ideological preferences had influenced the poll’s results.

The statistician said anyone who wanted to read the 100-page survey and its analysis is welcome to buy it from him.

"I cannot give it to you because I would be losing money," Ramos told the press.

As for the race for resident commissioner, Ramos also said the survey places NPP candidate Luis Fortuño ahead with 53.6% of the votes PDP and PIP counterparts, Sen. Roberto Prats and the economist Edwin Irizarry Mora, followed with 42.4% and 4% respectively.

According to Ramos’ poll, PDP supporters are more likely to vote for Rossello than NPP followers are for Acevedo Vila.

The survey was conducted from March 10-21 in 41 municipalities of the island. Ramos said 1,210 people were polled at their homes.

Ramos claimed that his survey has a 95% level of credibility and a margin of error of 3%.

Local Producers And Political Leaders Endorse Bill On Operations Of The Coliseum

By WOW Staff

March 23, 2004
Copyright © 2004 WOW NEWS. All rights reserved. 

Local producers and lawmakers from the island’s major political parties endorsed on Tuesday a bill by Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Sen. Jose Ortiz Daliot aimed at establishing a clear public policy on the use of the Puerto Rico Coliseum.

The bill also seeks to create a Board of Directors so local producers and experts from the local arts and entertainment field would have a voice on how people use the coliseum.

Ortiz Daliot’s bill was prompted by a request from local producers. On Friday they urged the government to establish public policy on how the coliseum will be put to use and what role the operating company Spectator Managing Group (SMG) should play.

Local producers Maritza Casiano, Pepe Dueño, Angelo Medina, Tony Mojena, Rafo Muñiz and others were present today at the Capitol to endorse Ortiz Daliot’s initiative.

According to producers, SMG also wants to produce special events. Local producers said that, should this be allowed, they wouldn’t be able to compete with SMG.

"The Puerto Rico Coliseum can’t become a way in which the Puerto Rican Arts and Entertainment Industry is pushed to the side. Quite the contrary. It has to offer new challenges that in the new age of entertainment, demonstrate how we are capable of creating great artists and producing great events," said Medina.

The controversy began after SMG allegedly rejected the date for a concert at which Puerto Rican singer Ednita Nazario was to have inaugurated the Coliseum.

SMG has allegedly been negotiating directly with Marc Anthony to get have inaugurate the building.

The bill also proposes that half of the year be reserved for local productions, regardless of the special projects SMG might have.

It also establishes controls on ticket cost and fees.

The bill is most likely to be approved as both the New Progressive Party and Puerto Rican Independence Party minorities have endorsed it. If approved, the government could be hit with a lawsuit as SMG signed a three-year contract in which a Board of Directors is not included.

Public Hearings are scheduled to begin next week.

Hundreds Mourn Soldier

Jonathan B. Cox
Staff Writer

March 22, 2004
Copyright © 2004 The News & Observer Pub. Co. All rights reserved. 

GOLDSBORO -- It's going to be OK, Jocelyn "Joce" Carrasquillo would tell friends.

"He had a way of bringing people together in a way that nobody else could," said his roommate, Chad Clark. "His smile is what you will remember always."

Spc. Carrasquillo was laid to rest Sunday in Goldsboro, 10 days shy of his 29th birthday. A soldier deployed with the N.C. National Guard's 30th Heavy Separate Brigade, died March 13 en route to a base in northern Iraq from a staging area in Kuwait. He was assigned to serve as a gunner on the mission. He was the first guardsman from North Carolina killed in Iraq.

More than 800 mourners attended a service at the First Pentecostal Holiness Church, filling the sanctuary nearly to capacity. The funeral procession leading to the gravesite stretched at least three miles and shut down intersections along the path.

Friends remembered Carrasquillo, who traced his ancestry to Puerto Rico, as a determined young man. He was studying for a degree in occupational therapy at Cape Fear Community College, and made ends meet as a cashier at Sam's Club in Wilmington.

He worked in the store for three years and left a mark among beachgoers and locals who shopped there. Thirty of his co-workers drove to the funeral Sunday, bringing with them a book signed by about 100 customers who remembered him.

Carrasquillo was the son of a retired Air Force captain and relished his own military service. Even so, news of his death stunned friends and relatives.

"He served his country, and I want him known as a hero," said Ronald Carrasquillo, Joce's twin brother, who also was deployed in Iraq as a member of the Army Reserve.

A dozen U.S. flags flapped in a stiff March wind, waving, it seemed, farewell to a fallen soldier.

Mundo: Proposed Government Budget Unconstitutional

March 22, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – New Progressive Party (NPP) Rep. Edwin Mundo complained on Monday that Gov. Sila Calderon’s administration is allegedly planning to approve a government budget which lacks the recurrent funding to fulfill its duties, thus violating the Commonwealth’s Constitution.

Mundo said Calderon has used up the government’s financing resources to make up for her negligent budget management to the point of leaving the next administration with a shortage of $550 million.

According to Mundo, Treasury Secretary Juan Flores Galarza has said in public hearings that the administration is planning to issue $2.7 billion in government bonds or to take out a $550 million loan that would be repaid through bond issues.

The legislator said that type of income is unreliable and non-recurrent.

"This action confirms that the governor and the Popular Democratic Party government are violating the constitution by proposing a loss-making budget," Mundo concluded.

World Song Festival To Be Held In San Juan

March 22, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) – Rehearsals for the World Song Festival, which will be held in San Juan on Saturday, with the participation of 21 countries began on Monday with the representatives of Puerto Rico, Spain and Uruguay.

The second World Song Festival will be held this Saturday at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum of San Juan and will be transmitted to 60 countries around the world, local producer Milly Cangiano said.

Representatives from Bulgaria, Dominican Republic and Honduras are expected to arrive on the island no later than Tuesday.

The order of the participants will be: Spain, Bulgaria, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Estonia, Mexico, Venezuela, Ecuador, Guatemala, Australia, Israel, United States, Italy, Dominican Republic, Panama, Costa Rica, Argentina, Honduras, Colombia, Holland and Luxemburg.

The order was revealed on Monday during a press conference where future host cities were also announced Punta del Este, in Uruguay (2005), Las Vegas, United States (2006), Luxemburgo (2007) and Guatemala (2008).

"The World Song Festival will last for a long time...I hope we continue to receive the support of so many countries," said the festival’s general coordinator Ana Maria Sanchiz.

Sanchiz noted the festival began when a non-gubernatorial corporation of Panama began giving out scholarships to students who needed financial aid to study music.

Puerto Rican Grammy winner artist Humberto Ramirez will be a member of the jury that will be presided over by Kike Santander. The preliminary competition is scheduled to take place on Thursday.

Performing live during the final competition will be Puerto Rican singers Melina Leon and Jerry Rivera and Spain’s ballad singer David Bustamente.

Puerto Rico won the first festival with the song "Escucha mi silencio", by Jose Juan Tañon sung by Misael Roldan last year in Panama.

Senator Breaux Endorses Rossello

By WOW Staff

March 22, 2004
Copyright © 2004 WOW NEWS. All rights reserved. 

New Progressive Party (NPP) gubernatorial candidate Pedro Rossello has received the endorsement of Senator John Breaux (D-LA).

"Rossello has the right combination of vision and experience to make Puerto Rico safer and healthier, Breaux said in a written statement.

Breaux’s endorsement to Rossello is a blow to the Popular Democratic Party Contender Anibal Acevedo Vila who has described the senator as one of his allies in Congress.

Breaux was an eager advocate in favor of Gov. Sila Calderon’s efforts to get the federal tax code section 956 amendment for Puerto Rico. However when he realized that the proposed amendment would not have the votes needed in order for it to be approved he advised the Resident Commissioner to lobby in favor of an extension for section 30 benefits to the island.

Acevedo Vila however did not accept his proposal because it had been an achievement of Rossello’s administration.

Breaux now joins the group of leaders who have endorsed Rossello’s campaign such as New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, House alternate minority leader Steny Hoyer and the members of the Democrat Governors Association.

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