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Vote Count Begins, NPP Will Go To Fed Court To Challenge SEC Decision… 60% Of Election Certificates Have Errors, Commissioners Say… 21st Puerto Rican Killed In Iraq… Cotto, Bailey To Fight…Delgado Weighs Options… Nat’l Reg. Nominates Edificio del Valle… 28,000 Votes Have Yet To Be Counted… UPR, Union Reach Labor Pact… CRB, Fortuño Put Aside Their Differences

Vote Count Begins Monday Morning; NPP Says It Will Go To Court

November 8, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — The president of the State Election Commission, Aurelio Gracia, decided the general vote count for the Nov. 2 elections will begin on Monday at 8:30 a.m.

Gracia decided this despite a request from New Progressive Party (NPP) election commissioner Thomas Rivera Schatz, who had asked that he reconsider the decision to hold the general count and the vote recount simultaneously.

"We declare there is no place for this request, so there will be a general count following it according to Article 6.008 of the Election Law," Gracia said at a press conference. "This morning (Monday) all the commissioners said they were prepared to begin the vote count. We will begin at 8:30 a.m. with the vote count and the party that wants to go to court can go to court," he said. Rivera Schatz said immediately that, although his party will participate in the vote, he will go to the courts to challenge Gracia’s decision.

"Anyway, we are going to the courts," he said.

The SEC certified preliminarily that Popular Democratic candidate Anibal Acevedo Vila as the winner of the election with the most votes received, an advantage of some 3,880 votes over NPP candidate Pedro Rossello. Gracia said that he would prefer to hold the vote count and the recount simultaneously to speed up the process, but he showed hope that the next governor could be officially certified by Dec. 22.

"From a practical point of view, to do the vote count first and later a recount would take more time. There is a economy of procedure if both are done at the same time. My personal preference would be to do both at the same time, but nevertheless, here there is a law to follow," he said.

Gracia said that rule 118 of the electoral process regulations allows a recount to be held simultaneously, as Rivera Schatz claims, but he said this contradicts the Election Law, which is predominant. "Rule 118 of the regulations has been cited, which says that in the case of preliminary results there can be a simultaneous recount, but this is in conflict with Article 6.008 and 6.011 of the Election Law. The jurisprudence of the Supreme Court is clear, that when there is a conflict between a law and a regulation, the law predominates," Gracia said.

The Election Law established is Article 6.008 that the general vote count is done first to allocate all the votes, and until that process if finished a recount should not begin.

If after the vote count the advantage of the leader is less than 0.5 percent, the law allows a vote recount to be done.

During the vote count calculations are added based on the election certificates, which contain a summary of what happened in each electoral unit. Meanwhile, with a recount, the votes are counted ballot by ballot.

With 98.3 percent of the electoral units reported, Acevedo Vila maintained a lead in the race for governor with 953,459 votes (48.38 percent), while Rossello has 949,579 (48.18 percent), and Puerto Rican Independence Party candidate Rubén Berríos has 52,660 (2.7 percent).

NPP Will Go To Federal Court To Challenge Gracia’s Decision

November 8, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — The New Progressive Party (NPP) election commissioner, Thomas Rivera Schatz, said he will go to the federal court where he will challenge the decision by State Election Commission (SEC) President Aurelio Gracia to hold the vote count before the recount for the general elections.

Rivera Schatz said he will turn to the Federal Court, and not to local courts, with the intent of having the vote count and the recount done simultaneously, as was originally decided by the SEC’s Gracia.

"Our lawyers understand this is the correct forum," River Schatz said in a radio interview. "My lawyers said that we must go to federal court," he added, without explanation.

After hearing an appeal from the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Gracia decided that the general vote count will begin Monday and when it is finished the recount will be done, if necessary, but he said the door is open for whichever party goes to the courts to challenge his decision.

"This is totally contrary to the law," Rivera Schatz said.

"I think that each will have a place in history. The president of the SEC has shown a lot of fright, a lot of fear, a lot of ambivalence, little leadership and little knowledge," he added.

60% Of Election Certificates Have Errors, Commissioners Say

November 8, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — Sixty percent of the result certificates from the Tuesday elections have errors, said three election commissioners: the PDP’s Gerardo Cruz, NPP’s Thomas Rivera Schatz and PIP’s Juan Dalmau.

The certificates are the documents sent by the election officials the day of the elections which are used to preliminarily announce the results of the race.

"Some 60 percent … My theory is that Anibal Acevedo Vila is going to increase his lead because of my certificates, of which I have not yet spoken, which reflect Pedro Rossello in the mixed votes for the NPP, people voting for the NPP lent their vote to Anibal, but they didn’t discount those of Rossello," Cruz said, according to press reports.

Rivera Schatz agreed with the figure, but said the errors will benefit Rossello, his party’s candidate for governor.

21st Puerto Rican Killed In iraq

November 8, 2004
Copyright © 2004 M2 Communications, Ltd. All rights reserved. 

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Army Sgt. Carlos M. Camacho-Rivera, 24, of Carolina, Puerto Rico, died Nov.

5 in the 31st Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad, Iraq, from wounds sustained earlier that day in Fallujah, Iraq, from a rocket blast. Camacho-Rivera was assigned to the 368th Transportation Company, 11th Transportation Battalion, Fort Story, Va.

[The 24-year-old cargo handler, whose parents, wife and child live in Puerto Rico, deployed to Iraq on Valentine's Day with 250 other soldiers from the 368th Transportation Company, 11th Transportation Battalion. The unit, which is part of the Fort Eustis-based 7th Transportation Group, is expected to return home in about four months.

Mercedes Camacho said from Puerto Rico that in her son's last letter home, "he said he liked it, everything was OK, everything was calm."]

Army Public Affairs | Tel: +1 703 692 2000 | U.S. Department of Defense | WWW:

Cotto, Bailey To Fight

November 7, 2004
Copyright © 2004 SO FL SUN-SENTINEL. All rights reserved. 

Randall Bailey is looking for another title.

The former WBO junior-welterweight and WBA super-lightweight champion from Miami, working his way back into contention at Warrior's Boxing Gym in Hollywood, will fight Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico on the undercard of the Dec. 11 Vitali Klitschko-Danny Williams heavy-weight championship at Mandalay Bay Resorts and Casino in Las Vegas. Cotto, 24, who won the WBO 140-pound title with a TKO over Kelson Pinto, will make his first title defense against Bailey.

Bailey, 30, won his first crown in 1999 with a first-round knockout of Carlos Gonzalez for the WBO junior-welterweight title.

He successfully defended his title twice, both by knockout, before losing it 14 months later in a controversial split decision to Ener Julio. Bailey won the WBA super-lightweight title with a third-round knockout of Demetrio Ceballos.

Since losing the WBA title to Diobelys Hurtado, Bailey (28-4) has won three of five fights.

"I respect a champion like Cotto because he is willing to face tough and experienced challengers, and not all champions are always willing to do that," said Bailey.

Delgado Weighs Options

Record news services, staff

November 6, 2004
Copyright © 2004 Kitchener-Waterloo Record. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO-Free agent Carlos Delgado says the Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners have expressed interest in signing him.

Toronto's all-star first baseman said his agent David Sloane will talk to both teams next week in Florida during the annual general managers meetings.

"I'm going to hear all available offers,'' Delgado told the Puerto Rican newspaper El Vocero in comments published yesterday.

The American League MVP runner-up in 2003 earned $18.5 million US in 2004, the last season of a $64-million four-year contract with the Blue Jays.

National Register of Historic Places; Notification of Pending Nominations

November 5, 2004
Copyright © 2004 Federal Information & News Dispatch, Inc. All rights reserved. 

Federal Register

Nominations for the following properties being considered for listing in the National Register were received by the National Park Service before October 10, 2004.

Pursuant to section 60.13 of 36 CFR Part 60 written comments concerning the significance of these properties under the National Register criteria for evaluation may be forwarded by United States Postal Service, to the National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service, 1849 C St. NW., 2280, Washington, DC 20240; by all other carriers, National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service, 1201 Eye St. NW., 8th floor, Washington DC 20005; or by fax, 202-371-6447. Written or faxed comments should be submitted by November 22, 2004.

Carol D. Shull,
Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places.

San Juan Municipality
Edificio del Valle, 1118 Ponce de Leon Ave., San Juan, 04001243.

Election Official Says 28,000 Votes Have Yet To Be Counted

November 5, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — The president of the State Election Commission, Aurelio Gracia, said Thursday that some 28,000 outstanding ballots still have to be counted from Tuesday’s elections and that the total recount will not end until Dec. 22.

According to Gracia, there are 14,706 additional hand votes, another 2,000 provisional ballots from people in hospitals and 6,602 disputed ballots.

Gracia also said that there are 5,601 votes coming in from the island’s prisons.

He said the recount will be by voting district and he will not anticipate the results in the governor’s race.

"This will lead to a second recount and will be double the work. As it ends, they (the results) will be available on the Internet," Gracia said in a radio interview.

He said the SEC will ensure that the voters in hospitals — who voted early last Monday — did not vote again Tuesday, on the official election day.

Former New Progressive Party governor Pedro Rossello expressed confidence Thursday that he would prevail in the recount that will begin Monday, but Popular Democratic candidate Anibal Acevedo Vila, who has a narrow advantage — of 0.2 percent — said the results will stand.

Both the NPP and the PDP have mobilized election officials to watch over each vote.

According to the first SEC count, Acevedo Vila beat Rossello by 3,880 votes.

UPR, Union Reach Agreement On Labor Differences

November 5, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — The administration of the University of Puerto Rico and the Brotherhood of Non-Teaching Exempt Employees arrived at an agreement regarding the collective agreement between the parties.

This was announced Thursday by Labor Secretary Roman Velasco, who said the agency’s Department of Conciliation and Arbitration intervened in the labor conflict, caused by UPR’s intention to "extend negotiated benefits to all university employees."

"It was agreed that all employees whose classification is included in the appropriate unit of the (union) will be a member of it, except those who expressly indicate otherwise," a statement from the Labor Department said.

Romero Barcelo, Fortuño Put Aside Their Differences

November 5, 2004
Copyright © 2004 ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved. 

SAN JUAN (AP) — With a timid hug, former governor Carlos Romero Barcelo and resident commissioner-elect Luis Fortuño on Thursday tried to put aside their differences to work together "for the good of Puerto Rico."

As he arrived at New Progressive Party headquarters Thursday for a meeting of party leaders, Romero Barcelo refused to congratulate Fortuño on his victory.

Moments later, in response to press questions, Romero Barcelo said that he recommended to the newly elected NPP representatives that they leave behind their differences and said "I can not give advice and not follow it myself."

Romero Barcelo then effusively hugged fellow former governor Pedro Rossello and had a quieter exchange with Fortuño, his former primary opponent.

Fortuño, who the night before had said that the stubbornness of Romero Barcelo could come to be "irrelevant" in politics, welcomed the support and said also that it was the former resident commissioner who drew him to politics in 1978, when he studied in the United States.

Fortuño beat Romero Barcelo by a sizable margin in the NPP primaries held last November.

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