A simple man, this Jerry. Soft-spoken, near-sighted, he quietly prepares a modest tasty fare in a sidewalk eatery of scattered memorabilia and mismatched stools. He engages Me in conversation with the abruptness of need.
"If my neighbor's building a house, when's the time to protest? When he's painting it to move in?"
The topic of the day--of the week--is Paseo Caribe, a luxury highrise near the Caribe Hilton and historic Fort San Gerónimo, scene of protests, hunger strikes atop cranes, including that of an "environmentalist" making a kayak-based "escape" and more pifflegab than even We can shake a stick at. The controversy? The building is on public lands.
So Jerry is looking beyond the "controversy" of whether the building should be stopped, torn down or even allowed to continue until its million-dollar walls are packed with so-called worthies. In simple terms: Why protest now?
At that same stool, a day before, while watching videos of the mass idiocy, I'd asked My dear companion Cui bono? Who benefits? Who gets something out of this highly-visible, now violent, protest?
Neighbors? There are no residents near Paseo Caribe. No views blocked. No sewage systems burdened. No parking spots reduced.
The Caribe Hilton? They sold the land in the first place.
Fort San Gerónimo? Bah. It's a toilet since the Feds handed it over to the local government, inaccessible to the public since 2003. The protesters aren't trying to save that.
No, there's only one beneficiary and only one to this Paseo Caribe claptrap: The New Progressive Party, opposition of Aníbal "Jellyfish" Acevedo, invertebrate governor of Us all.
1) The project was awarded permits and licenses between 2000 and 2003, during the only term of Sila "Quitter" Calderón, the Jellyfish's former "boss."
2) The project went through several public hearings with many key potential players, such as San Juan's mayor, its senators, many of its representatives and almost a dozen at-large statehood party legislators occupying roughly the same positions they do now. In fact, a few of them now actually occupy positions of power since 2005, such as chamber presidencies and committee chairmanships.
3) The building has been erected to within 90% of all outside work, and not in record time, taking almost three years to get to this point. Stopping it now would create an ugly economic picture and further weaken the confidence of local and outside investors in Puerto Rico, thus eroding Our economy even more. Guess what happens next year in November?
4) The protest was aimed at The Jellyfish, to the extent that several video clips showed signs and carried sound bites against His Squishiness, but NO--repeat NO--significant presence from the mayor or anyone related to the statehood party...
And while I pointed out to My dearest that the NPP would avoid "tainting" the show with their presence, who should show up but serial jackass Jorge "I'm Too Dense" De Castro, his trademark "What? Me think?" smirk plastered on his mug. This donkey has been kicked from the Popular Democratic Party (while "Quitter" was at the the helm), has been the target of another "Dump the Dense Guy" campaign in the statehood party and if anything confirms My theory that the NPP is behind all this for political reasons, it's the presence of this braying ass where no one wanted or expected him.
I predicted the reaction within the party against the burro would be swift and hard. I was right. But it's impossible to beat any sense into a mule, so expect Dense De Castro to be back around the fringes of Paseo Caribe's protests, adding nothing but heartburn to the misery of a political show for political gain at Our economic expense.
Oh, and what do I suggest be the solution to all this? Accept that the building was improperly transacted for permits and licenses, say it won't happen again, let them finish the damn thing and in exchange for that, have the developer sink enough money into Fort San Gerónimo to make it a worthy National Monument and have him pay for 5 years of maintenance. Sure, he'll protest and bitch, but in the end, it's either "Finish and sell" or "Political games costing you $75,000 a day."
He'll gladly renovate the Fort. Now if only We could convince him to bury The Fools underneath it...
The Jenius Has Spoken.