Friday, December 7, 2012

WOSO Weekly Commentary

Unity and Action

The killing of the young public relations person in Guavate as chillingly described by one of the four participants is mind boggling and for me is another example that stiffer penalties will not work.

Similar to the assailants of the young Dutch student from Baldwin, the killers were involved in car jacking and murder which brings in the FBI, the Federal Court, discretion in denying bail, and the death penalty.  The casualness with which they decide to find someone to car jack – “Es un buen día para un car jack” or “I need money to pay the rent” is indicative of how little they consider the consequences either because they believe they will not get caught or because it is just not an important consideration.

We all know that in the long run education and economic development are the real answers, but in addition to addressing these two areas that will take time, what do we do in the meantime?  I do not frankly know the answer, but others have implemented plans that have worked so we do not have to reinvent the wheel. We need a plan under which all decent citizens unite and we need a plan that is implemented. Martin Luther King once said, what worries me is not the screams of those who are bad, but the silence of those who are good. Taking this a step further, I would add, what worries me are not the acts of the criminals but the inaction of the law abiding citizens.  We need to unite; we need to act. 

WOSO Weekly Commentary

Action for the Common Good

My cousin Eduardo Gonzalez recently described an image of Puerto Rico that accurately despicts the main challenge we face. Puerto Rico is like a boat with each side rowing in opposite directions so that the boat is going around in circles. In the center of that boat we have the latest elected captain (governor) trying to break that viscious circling or cycle. Others have said that we are like a ship with the one’s who lost jumping off and tying or anchoring the boat so as to ensure that the ship does not move forward.

I have recently listened to a number of conversations wherein those favoring the outgoing party are debating whether to give the incoming administration a chance or whether to bail out (sell their business and move to the United States) or just hunker down with great pessimism, non-involvement and may be even active sabotage of the new administration’s program.

Unfortunately, Puerto Rico is not the only country suffering this malady. In the US, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell from Kentucky said in 2010, and I quote, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”  In other words, we want to be the captain of the ship next time, regardless of the ill-will created and the damage to the country. Ironically, assuming the strategy works so that my captain is elected next time around, this attitude and strategy will most probably ensure that the new captain of the ship will inherit a damaged economy and society and a new sabotaged captain making the ship’s progress improbable.   

Can we set aside our partisan and status differences in order to work for the common good? That is the question and the challenge. I hope and pray that we meet this challenge and I urge each of you to see what you can meaningfully do for the common good in the different public or private roles available to you. 

WOSO Weekly Commentary


I hope you had a good Thanksgiving. I did …combining volunteer work, exercise and family – it does not get any better.

The morning through lunch was spent at the San Juan Marriot at the Thanksgiving luncheon organized and paid for by San Juan Rotarians and headed by Sol Bravman as part of our community service activities.

Some 600 children from the 11 islandwide chapters of Boys and Girls Club and from the Instituto Psicopedagíco enjoyed the traditional thanksgiving lunch preceded by musical presentations provided primarily by other children. The lunch is served by volunteers with the cooperation of the Hotel staff whose General Manager, also a San Juan Rotarian, and his wife were present. Their two children helped decorate the ballroom with balloons and were part of the serving line of volunteers. We did not break last year´s record of serving the 600 children in 14 minutes, but we were close.

A very positive moment was the joint participation of the outgoing and incoming Secretaries of State, Kenneth McClintock and David Bernier. I emphasize JOINT because they came in, presented, joined the service line and left together. A great message for the kids and something we direly need more of in Puerto Rico where collaboration by political leaders on behalf of our community is a rare commodity.

In the afternoon I walked by myself a wet and empty golf course in Dorado as I worked to meet one of my New Year resolutions of lowering my handicap to 14. I met my weight goal of 155 pounds by Thanskgiving. I do not think I will meet my year end golf handicap goal of 14, but I am sure going to try.

In the evening my wife Pinky put together a spectacular dinner for the 9 family members in Puerto Rico – we missed the five in England and the three in Massachusetts.

God, Papa Dios, has been far too good to me and I only pray that if and when He asks me to face a real adversity that I am able to do so with resignation and grace. God bless you all.