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Acevedo Vila, Fortuño Still At Odds On Status… McClintock: 1st NPP Caucus With Rossello Is Routine… Save Forest, Parrots… Q&A With Arroyo…Rossello New NPP Senator… Mari Bras: Gov More Attentive To Status Issues… "Statehood Yes Or No" Consult KO’d… PREPA Proposes $1b Expansion… AAV Calls For Cooperation On Taxes, Files Status Referendum Bill

Acevedo Vila, Fortuño Still Differ On Status Issue


February 14, 2005
Copyright © 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — The meeting between Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila and Resident Commissioner Luis Fortuño ended Monday without the leaders reaching an agreement about the appropriate process for dealing with the status issue.

Nevertheless, Fortuño is in favor of a bill proposed in public hearings that would have the people choose one of two processes.

"I think the time has come to give the country the opportunity to choose between different alternatives, among them I think the Constitutional Assembly on Status, which from my perspective, although it differs, has the most clear and emphatic form," the governor said.

He said his intention was not to impose the Constitutional Assembly on the people, and recognized that "the people are more intelligent" that all the political leaders on the island.

"We are going to put this in the hands of the country and I will try to convince them of the process of Constitutional Assembly, and they (the NPP) will try to convince them of the mechanism of a claim on which Congress acts, and the country will make the decision," he said.

McClintock: First NPP Caucus With Rossello Is Routine

February 14, 2005
Copyright © 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — The first caucus of the NPP Senate delegation with the presence of Pedro Rossello was routing, according to Senate President Kenneth McClintock.

McClintock said that the caucus only discussed issues relating to resolutions that were evaluated in the Monday session.

"We had a routine caucus prior to the session," McClintock said as he left the meeting.

When he was asked if the controversy regarding the Senate presidency was a closed issue, he said "It has been, it has been, it continues to be."

The day before, Rossello had affirmed that he still holds aspirations to take the post of Senate president.

Save Forest, Parrots


February 14, 2005
Copyright © 2005
MIAMI HERALD. All rights reserved.

There may be help on the horizon for the threatened Puerto Rican parrot (Odds improve for Caribbean parrots, Feb. 7.) Earlier this month, Luis Fortuno, Puerto Rico's new resident commissioner, introduced in the U.S. Congress a bill to protect a portion of the Caribbean National Forest. The forest is home to the parrot, one of the 10 most endangered species in the world. Florida's Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen was among the cosponsors of this conservation measure.

The National Caribbean Forest Act of 2005 would provide permanent protection for 10,000 acres known as the ''El Toro Wilderness.'' Nearly 250 species of native trees, 50 species of native orchids and dozens of other bird species also are found here. This amazing natural treasure, which is beloved by Puerto Ricans, belongs to all Americans and should be preserved for our children, and theirs, to enjoy. We urge Congress to quickly pass this important bill.

The Questions With Carlos Arroyo/Pistons Point Guard

Edited by Kostya Kennedy; B.J. Schecter

February 14, 2005
Copyright © 2005
Bell & Howell Information and Learning Company. All rights reserved.

Sports Illustrated

What was your welcome-to-the-NBA moment? My first game [with the Raptors in 2001], in Orlando, they put me in at the end. Troy Hudson came straight at me, scored like five baskets in a row. I couldn't handle him--he was so fast, and I was overwhelmed that I was really in the game.

Your most embarrassing moment? When I was a rookie, the veterans made me get up at a team breakfast and sing. It was pretty bad. I'm not telling what I sang. It's embarrassing enough.

What's your favorite off-day activity? My wife [Xiomara] and I go out like we're dating. We go to dinner and to the movies. We're apart a lot, so we try to make the time together special.

If I weren't in the NBA, I'd be ... back in Fajardo [Puerto Rico, his hometown], probably helping my dad. He's a lawyer.

If I were commissioner for a day, I'd ... make sure security is better. I've seen things like what happened in Detroit before, but to see it here, that isn't right.

Rossello, New Legislator For The NPP


February 13, 2005
Copyright © 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — Before a noisy crowd that applauded him as in the middle of an electoral campaign, Pedro Rossello was sworn-in on Sunday as one of the 17 New Progressive Party majority senators. Rosello still insists on unseating Kenneth McClintock to occupy the Senate’s presidency.

During his speech on the first floor of San Juan’s Capitol Building, Rosello did not make direct mention of his announced aspirations to the presidential seat but, in quote of Luis Muñoz Marin, he said "we can follow the people’s mandate and we cannot follow the people’s mandate".

McClintock, who has reaffirmed that he will not step down, said that what happened was to be expected but, after a very strong demonstration against him, he decided not to speak in front of the building during the acts to commemorate Luis A. Ferre's 101st birthday.

During the acts in honor of Ferre, Leo Diaz and Carlos Romero Barcelo said that Rossello had to occupy the Senate’s presidency. The message caused the crowd to go wild holding up flags that read "Rosselló, presidente del Senado, pa' que tu lo sepas".

Acevedo Vila Pays More Attention To Status Issues

February 13, 2005
Copyright © 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — Puerto Rican Independence Party leader Juan Mari Bras said Saturday that Anibal Acevedo Vila is the first Popular Democratic Party (PDP) governor to accept that the Island’s political status was not resolved by the 1952 Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

He said that none of Acevedo Vila’s predecessors could clarify, while in office, that the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico was insufficient as a form of government.

"There is no doubt that he has taken a step no other PDP governor has taken before: saying that creating the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico did not offer a definite solution of the political status problem. [Luis] Muñoz Marin never said it, neither did [Rafael] Hernandez Colon, not even [Roberto] Sanchez Vilella said it. Naturally Sila (Calderon) did not say it either," said Mari Bras.

Last Friday, Acevedo Vila presented a resolution that aims at solving Puerto Rico’s political status and stresses that the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico "advanced but did not offer a permanent solution to the issue of Puerto Rico’s political status".

Rejected "Statehood Yes Or No" Consult

February 13, 2005
Copyright © 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

PONCE (AP) — House President Jose Aponte rejected Saturday the idea that the New Progressive Party (NPP) should propose a consult on Puerto Rico’s political status with "statehood yes or no" as its only options.

"If we try to get approval for a ‘statehood yes or no’ plebiscite at this moment, we won’t get it. We won’t have the support of the people because there are people who don’t believe in statehood [for Puerto Rico]," Aponte said.

The House president insisted that the NPP’s proposal about Puerto Rico’s political will be a consult that will allow the people to choose if they want to address the issue of Puerto Rico’s relationship with the U.S. and, if the response were affirmative, outline non-territorial and non-colonial options in conjunction with Congress for the people to choose from.

PREPA Proposes $1 Billion Expansion

February 11, 2005
Copyright © 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — The executive director of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), Hector Rosario, announced a $1 billion plan for expansion that would promote the use of cleaner fuel and reduce the emission of pollutants by 2009.

The plan would involve the construction of two plants in San Juan and Mayaguez, a gas pipeline and the gradual substitution from petroleum to natural gas as fuel.

Natural gas is the least-polluting fossil fuel available on the market. Its application for the next generation could substitute for gasoline.

"In Brazil many cars use natural gas at a price that is almost 80 percent cheaper than gasoline," Rosario said.

Governor Calls For Cooperation On Municipal Tax Issue

February 11, 2005
Copyright © 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — Due to the municipal tax proposal by PDP and NPP mayors, Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila has asked them to consider the initiative as part of the fiscal reform that the central government is working on.

Acevedo Vila also committed to any sales tax proposal that is accompanied by "substantial" tax relief for the middle class.

"I have said that all the fiscal programs, all the components, have to be seen in an integrated form," Acevedo Vila said.

"Any ideas about fiscal and tax aspects, total from the towns, I have made an invitation to the leaders of both organizations, that they take it to the Committee (on Fiscal Reform) ... that is studying precisely this, the fiscal situation of the people of Puerto Rico," he said.

Governor Files Bill For Status Referendum

By Laura Rivera Melendez

February 11, 2005
Copyright © 2005
ASSOCIATED PRESS. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — Although he insisted that the current Commonwealth is not colonial, Gov. Anibal Acevedo Vila on Friday filed a bill with which he hopes to overcome "any shadow of colonial government" through a referendum in which Puerto Ricans can choose the process to resolve the political status issue.

The bill would hold the referendum on July 10, 2005, and Puerto Ricans could choose between a Constitutional Status Assembly or a plebiscite where the formulas would be defined by the U.S. Congress.

"To order a plebiscite in which the people could choose between the following two procedural options to deal with the issue of status for the future of Puerto Rico: a) Ask the U.S. Congress to approve a plebiscite on status with the alternatives of the Commonwealth, statehood or independence defined by Congress; or b) A Constitutional Assembly on status," the bill reads.

On Friday, Acevedo Vila also sent a letter to U.S. President George W. Bush notifying him about the bill and asking for collaboration to implement the initiative.

[The proposed vote is likely to confront hurdles from the pro-statehood New Progressive Party, which has majority in the local House and Senate, and has vowed to work the status issue independently from the pro-Commonwealth governor.

Acevedo Vila, who favors the commonwealth status but with a higher degree of autonomy, favors the constitutional assembly, as does the minority pro-independence movement.

The pro-statehood New Progressive Party, which controls the local House and Senate, supports a direct referendum with congressional approval.

Although Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, they cannot vote in presidential elections and do not pay federal taxes.]

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