- - Thursday, November 16, 2017

An academic and former governor’s son, Puerto Rico’s current governor, Ricardo Rossello, came into office with zero previous political or business experience. However, he is well-schooled in how things work (or often don’t work) on the island. His constituents can’t vote in federal elections, but once they step foot in any state of the union, they can vote. Voters of the Caribbean are his best bargaining chip in an otherwise poor hand.

The island’s two political parties have one common goal: obtaining as much federal money as possible. When they habitually run out of their own cash and can’t find lenders, the demand for federal funds intensifies. Efficient or cost-effective government is seldom discussed.

Mr. Rossello readily admits that without federal help his administration would be incapable of restoring electricity, although he has promised 95 percent of the island will have power by Dec. 15. Of course, he never specified that he meant December 2017.

Staring out their windows at downed power lines, most islanders don’t believe current claims that 40 percent have electricity or 85 percent have water. Even CNN, providing the most comprehensive coverage but second-worst analysis, reported last week that it had been unable to obtain a list of areas where power had been restored b the island’s electric utility monopoly.

Don’t believe for a minute the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico split 65/35 Democrat/Republican; 90/10 is more like it. A couple hundred thousand liberals flooding Florida should strike terror into the hearts of conservatives, as right before our eyes a former battleground state transitions to blue. It’s been two months since Hurricane Maria. President Trump and our testy Republicans in Congress better devise and execute a plan quickly to keep those liberals in Puerto Rico.



BRUCE R. BAXTER

Rincon, Puerto Rico

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