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Head to Head

June 19, 1999
Copyright © 1999 PRIMERA HORA. All Rights Reserved.

PRIMERA HORA submitted the same questionnaire to the two candidates for Mayor of San Juan, in order to obtain their answers "Head to Head".

Charlie Rodríguez


Jorge Santini

Neither myself, nor La Fortaleza [government in power]. The agenda will be established by the people of San Juan -- their needs and aspirations. I will not delay in opening the doors of the Mayor's office once a month so that the people can come to see me. As mayor, my commitment is to visit citizens and communities in order to achieve among them the solutions to their problems. If you were elected Mayor of San Juan, who would dictate your agenda? You yourself? You with the elected government officials? Just the government? The people, based on their existing needs and in conjunction with the central government.
Honor words made into pledges. Dedicate myself to administer the city with actions, projects, works and real services, and not merely publicity images.  If you were Resident Commissioner now, what would you do differently from Sila M. Calderón? Search for and put into effect alternatives and actual efforts to solve the serious problems that afflict the capital in many places, and not unleashing a campaign of false hope.
I have been spokesperson in the Treasury Commission of the House. I have also been spokesperson for the majority and president of the Senate. These positions of legislative leadership have provided me with the ability to clearly understand how the Government and the private sector function. Moreover, I've had the experience of administrating a multi-million dollar budget and supervising hundreds of employees. Do you feel that legislative experience gives any advantage to the person who aspires to be Mayor of San Juan? Yes, in helping to coordinate with the legislature the solution to the city's important problems. But even more important is the experience that we possess regarding San Juan's specific problems.
Yes. I have demonstrated it, having under my direction senators and employees from other political parties who can vouch for my respect, consideration and search for consensus. Moreover, I have created groups and organizations in which I have worked for the pro-active participation of people who differ from me ideologically, but who are united with me in the effort to improve the quality of life in Puerto Rico.  Do you consider nonpartisan voters to be an attractive option to the New Progressive Party? Yes. I have been firm regarding ideology, but also open, responsible and impartial regarding the service that I have provided to the people, which makes me a viable alternative for all political sectors.
They [the PDP] have been satisfied
with what San Juan has been during the last 12 years [under their
rule]. I share the dissatisfaction of a huge majority of San Juan's people. San Juan needs a change from root to stem. I have demonstrated the enthusiasm and the ability to achieve that change.
  What makes you more attractive to the voters than contenders from the Popular Party? The fact that I share with others a vision of change and of the future, that I am the only one who is personally familiar with the problems of San Juan, and that this is what people are looking for in a mayor.
My aspiration for the Mayor's Office is founded upon many years of academic, political, legislative and administrative preparation. I know what must be done to win, and afterward to administer and serve.  What makes you more attractive than the other primary mayoral candidate from the NPP? That I know and come to listen to and to serve people of all the sectors of San Juan, and I don't have to invent my candidacy. I am the people's candidate.
To presume that contention for the Mayor's Office of San Juan is a beauty contest is to show a lack of respect for the intellectual capacity of the Puerto Rican woman.  Do you feel that you possess better physical attributes than your opponent to help you capture the feminine vote? It seems to me that physical aspects are not what is really important, but rather the commitment to serve which we have demonstrated. Certainly, the capacity of the San Juan female goes far beyond merely physical considerations.
That I am his friend.   Honestly define your opponent's greatest strength. A powerful internal machine.
I detect a lot of animosity in him.  And, also answering sincerely, what is his greatest weakness? That his surprising aspiration [to be mayor] responds neither to the interests of San Juan nor to the call of the San Juan electorate.
Luis A. Ferré taught me to use reason to persuade and achieve consensus. From Carlos Romero Barceló, I learned sincerity and consistency.   Who do you consider to be your spiritual sponsor or mentor? In life, it would be my parents, because of the values they instilled in me. In the professional realm, Alfonso Miranda Cárdenas, ex-professor and ex-bureau chief, and in politics, the people, whom I listen to, serve and obey.
Photogenic.  Now, tell us what is the greatest attribute of Sila María Calderón. Her surprising ability to remain outside of the controversy without adopting any firm positions, even though the people need them.
His honesty and ability to manage many complicated things at one time.   ...and the greatest attribute of Carlos Ignacio Pesquera. His honesty, ability, professionalism and commitment to work in favor of the people.
He possesses a refined sense of direction when it comes to reforming and changing things that others couldn't. He has the ability to achieve his goals.  If you had to choose just one virtue of Pedro Rosselló, what would that be? His vision of the future, his bravery and commitment to the people of Puerto Rico.
He is unyielding.   ...and, on the other hand, if you had to select one of his faults, what would that be? His work agenda is quite accelerated in comparison to the slow rate of change which we are used to under the Commonwealth.
I haven't thought about losing. The people of San Juan have been waiting for [twelve] years for a victiory and a Government of action. In the year 2000, we're going to give that to them.  Finally, if you should lose, what would you say directly to your opponent? That my belief system, my party and the people can count on my support and the support of my team in order to win a big victory in San Juan in the year 2000.

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