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Citizens Want Bigger Role In RR Development… Acevedo Vila Promises Help For Small Businesses… P.R. Getting Some Expo-Sure…Rossello To Disclose Federal Tax Returns, His Environmental Plan Criticized…Popular To Buy Quaker City For $344m…Santiago Eyes Derby…Troops’ Return Urged

Citizens Want Direct Participation In USNSRR Development

By Proviana Colon Diaz of WOW News

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

Ten days away from the official closing of U.S. Naval Station Roosevelt Roads residents from Ceiba and Naguabo on Monday demanded more participation in the future development of the area.

Fearing that a change in administration following the general elections in November, members of the Alliance in favor of development in Ceiba said residents of the area should be appointed to the Board of Directors for the Development of Roosevelt Roads, because it is the residents of the area who really know the needs of the area.

Alliance spokeswoman Deliz Avila said the group has met with a couple of government officials including Economic Development Secretary Milton Segarra to express their concerns, but she is under the impression that the government does not even know what is going to be developed in the area.

"They are not clear on what they want to do, there are facilities in Roosevelt Roads that can be used to help the residents of the area but a development plan has to begin now," Avila said.

Avila made her statements on Monday during a press conference with members of the Congreso Nacional Hostosiano (CNH) who are organizing activities aimed at celebrating the "historic closing" of the base.

CNH spokesman Hector Pesquera said one of the activities will take place at the Interamerican University law school on March 31, the same day of the official closing of the base, when a panel of professors will discuss the experience of other communities where military bases have been shut down.

In addition a march has been scheduled for April 3 at 4:00 p.m. from the main entrance of the base to Ceiba’s public square.

Acevedo Vila To Seek Help For Small Businesses

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

SAN JUAN (AP) – If Popular Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate Anibal Acevedo Vila is elected in November, he will propose that 15% of all government contracts be granted to small and medium-sized businesses in Puerto Rico, as is done by the federal government.

Acevedo Vila presented his proposal during a Monday press conference. He called his plan "Operation Puerto Rican Triumph," and hopes it will create 10,000 jobs.

"Our goal is to benefit around 1,000 small and medium-sized businesses during a four-year term. In return, they would be required to create at least 10 jobs each," Acevedo Vila said.

"The solutions to our problems won’t come from the outside, but from within ourselves with the government’s support," the PDP candidate said.

Puerto Rico Gets Some Expo-Sure

March 20, 2004
Copyright © 2004 The Toronto Star. All rights reserved. 

Puerto Rico is set to hit a home run next month as it once again plays host to the Montreal Expos, who will start their 2004 season at their Caribbean home away from home.

The Expos will play 22 games (seven series, including one against the Toronto Blue Jays) in San Juan. The schedule is as follows: New York Mets (April 9-11), Florida Marlins (April 13-15), Milwaukee Brewers (May 18-20).

The San Francisco Giants play May 21-23, Blue Jays (July 2-4), Atlanta Braves (July 5-7) and Pittsburg Pirates (July 8-11).

For information on Puerto Rico see

Rossello To Disclose Federal Tax Reports

By Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin of WOW News

March 19, 2004
Copyright © 2004 WOW NEWS. All rights reserved. 

New Progressive Party (NPP) gubernatorial candidate Pedro Rossello said on Friday that he will disclose his income tax reports, including the federal ones he filed while temporarily living on the U.S. mainland to eliminate any doubt that he has complied with the law.

"Because I understand that this has been turned into a political issue, I’m disclosing the two federal income tax reports that I filed while temporarily living on the U.S. mainland," said Rossello upon arriving at a student activity at a private school in Miramar.

This is the first time Rossello has addressed the issue surrounding his candidacy since a Monday night TV news report implied that Rossello had committed perjury when he allegedly submitted contradictory information to the Treasury Department and the State Elections Commission (SEC) regarding his official place of residence.

The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico states that only a person who is 35 years or older, a U.S. citizen, and has been a resident of Puerto Rico for five consecutive years prior to the election can run for governor of the island.

Rossello filed his local income tax report as a nonresident in 2001 and 2002 when he was living in Virginia and teaching at a university. However, he declared at the SEC that he had maintained an official residence in Puerto Rico for the past five years.

The NPP candidate said he had filed everything according to the law.

"Had I done otherwise, it would have constituted fraud, because there is a very specific definition of what a resident is for tax purposes. I have always been an official resident of Puerto Rico since I was born," Rossello said.

The former governor defied anyone to challenge his candidacy in court if they are still not convinced.

As for the criticism and lambasting he has received from the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Rossello reiterated that he will focus on presenting his policies to the people rather than attacking his opponents.

Rossello’s Environmental Project Receives Criticism

March 19, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

PONCE (AP) – The Chairman of the Natural Resources & Environmental Quality Commission, Ramon Ruiz Nieves, said that Pedro Rossello’s environmental project ignores the island’s ecological issues.

Ruiz Nieves described Rossello, who is the New Progressive Party (NPP) candidate for governor, as a hypocrite for portraying himself as an advocate of the environment and its natural resources.

"Rossello’s environmental project is absurd: it ignores ecological balance and the ecology’s natural systems," said Ruiz, who also had questions concerning the economical impact of such a project.

Rossello’s project describes Puerto Rico as an island-city and would create a large park in the center and western regions of the island. It also outlines plans for roadsides.

Ruiz Nieves criticized Rossello’s view of Puerto Rico as an island-city. This concept would limit green areas to the large park.

He added that Rossello should explain how he plans to pay for the park’s construction and the ecological stations to be set up near rivers and roads. According to the plan, the park would be integrated into already existing reserves.

The Natural & Environmental Resources Department’s secretary, Luis Rodriguez, has also criticized the project because he considers that it fails to take into account the island’s delicate ecological balance and natural systems inherent in a tropical climate.

Banco Popular To Buy Quaker City For $344 Million

March 19, 2004
Copyright © 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

NEW YORK (AP) - Popular Inc., the holding company for Banco Popular, has agreed to acquire Quaker City Bancorp Inc. for about $344 million in cash.

Quaker City is the holding company for Quaker City Bank of Whittier, Calif. The acquisition will nearly triple Popular's presence in Southern California, Popular said Friday.

Assuming regulatory approval, Quaker City will be merged into Banco Popular North America, which reported total assets of $36.4 billion at the end of last year. Popular, which is based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, also operates Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, the island's largest bank.

Banco Popular North America has 100 branches in six states, including 17 in Southern California. It reported total assets of $6.1 billion and deposits of $5.1 billion, as of Dec. 31.

Quaker City Bank operates 27 branches in Southern California, including 16 inside Wal-Mart Stores Inc. stores. It had total assets of $1.8 billion and total deposits of $1.1 billion, as of Dec. 31.

The companies said the combination will give Banco Popular 44 full-service branches and consolidated assets of about $2.4 billion in Southern California.

Frederic R. McGill, Quaker City's chief executive, said no branches will be closed due to the merger.

The companies expect the acquisition to close in the third quarter.

Santiago Eyes Derby

Bill Christine
Times Staff Writer

March 19, 2004
Copyright © 2004 The Los Angeles Times. All rights reserved. 

Javier Santiago [is] hardly [a] household name in the Kentucky Derby, yet the jockey might wind up on [a] promising contender at Churchill Downs on May 1.

Santiago, 26, arrived at Santa Anita this winter, rode two winners the first day and is now trainer Bob Baffert's jockey of choice for Wimbledon, the Louisiana Derby winner, and Preachinatthebar, who won the San Felipe last Sunday at Santa Anita. Santiago and his agent, Tony Matos, who imported the rider from Puerto Rico, will have another round of preps with both colts before they settle on their Derby mount. Wimbledon has been tabbed to run in the Santa Anita Derby on April 3, and Preachinatthebar's next test comes in the Blue Grass at Keeneland on April 10.

Santiago won more than 1,600 races in Puerto Rico. Last year, he won with almost 26% of his mounts, which ranked him fourth in North America, behind Russell Baze, Ramon Dominguez and Bailey. At Santa Anita, despite giving the other riders a five-week start, Santiago already has moved into 10th place in the standings.

Troops’ Return From Iraq Urged

By WOW Staff and wire reports

March 19, 2004
Copyright © 2004 WOW News. All rights reserved. 

On the first anniversary of the invasion of Iraq the Puerto Rican Alliance in favor of Peace urged for the withdrawl of all troops arguing that is the only way in which a true peace process might begin.

"It is time to find a solution to the conflict through a civilized process of negotiations and dialogue not through war," the organization said in a written statement.

For the alliance it has been clearly established that the invasion was unnecessary, illegal, and unfair.

"We join our voices to those of millions of other people who demand the end of the invasion, the return of the troops and the start of the peace process," the Alliance added.

The Alliance added that all Puerto Rican troops should return home as soon as possible.

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