EL RETORNO DEL DIRECTOR MUNICIPAL DE INSTRUCCIÓN

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EL RETORNO DEL DIRECTOR MUNICIPAL DE INSTRUCCIÓN

por Alexis Morales Cales

https://www.facebook.com/alexis.m.cales

Como en las películas de Star Wars, las fuerzas del mal vuelven después de haber sido derrotadas. Les habia hablado del puesto de Director Municipal de Instrucción que hubo entre los años 50 y 70. A ustedes les parecería que era un dato histórico curioso. Pero es la explicación de algo que vuelve en el futuro cercano.

Ya el Califa del Departamento de Educación confirmó los cambios en la agencia. Sobre todo la eliminación de oficinas administrativas. Preguntemos ¿adónde irán esos directores regionales, superintendentes y demás puestos eliminados? En la Policía de Puerto Rico acomodarán secretarias y otro personal de menor rango como los empleados de la División Legal. ¿Saben para dónde están considerando enviar a los de más rango? A las alcaldías. Se les dará poder a los municipios para intervenir en el sistema educativo, y para ello serán nombrados los anteriores jefes de distrito y region. Tal vez no lleven un título muy obvio y quizá se les llame Directores de Cultura Municipal. Pero en la práctica seguirán haciendo sus funciones de supervisar el funcionamiento de las escuelas. Podrá decidir cierres y consolidaciones. Una vez se apruebe el cambio, los ejecutivos movidos a las alcaldías tendrán ingerencia en nombramientos, traslados, acciones disciplinarias, etc. El poder políico será más obvio.

Los estudiantes también serán afectados por ese cambio. Los jefes de educación municipales decidirán qué estudiantes tendrán derecho a transportación escolar de acuerdo a los ingresos familiares, y decidirán los contratos con los transportistas. También podran tomar acciones disciplinarias en incluso suspender estudiantes.

Vayan preparándose para el regreso del Director Escolar de Instrucción.

2016: EL LÍO DE LOS PASTORES

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2016: EL LÍO DE LOS PASTORES

por Alexis Morales Cales

Ya sabemos que se esperan noticias que sacudirán la Iglesia Católica de la isla. No hay detalles oficiales, y no voy a hablar de lo que se comenta porque se corre el riesgo de cometer difamación y difundir información errónea, Por otro lado, la Iglesia Catolica no es la única que será estremecida, Ya se están sintiendo las vibraciones de un terremoto en iglesias protestantes. Voy a hablar de lo que sé, y evitaré entrar en conjeturas ni opiniones personales. Lo que voy a decir afectará los aspectos religiosos, políticos, económicos y hasta la educación en el país.

Entenderemos mejor el cisma y el sismo del 2016 en las iglesias al comparar la estructura organizativa de las iglesias. La Iglesia Católica Romana es una de tipo monolítico, enteriza. Desde el Vaticano se administran todos los templos católicos del mundo, a través de una organización jerárquica con corporaciones legales en cada país que responden al Vaticano directamente. Las iglesias históricas del protestantismo tienen un arreglo parecido, pero no a nivel internacional. La Iglesia Bautista, la Presbiteriana, funcionan mayormente en Estados Unidos y Puerto Rico, y hay iglesias semejantes pero no unidas legalmente en Europa.

Con el surgimiento de la Iglesia Pentecostal, proveniente de los Bautistas del Sur, se crea otro tipo de estructura administrativa, basada en los concilios. En principio era un solo concilio, pero en Puerto Rico se produjo una división a principios del siglo XX, por motivos doctrinales y administrativos. Surge así el concilio Iglesia de Dios Pentecostal Movimiento Internacional. De ahí siguieron produciéndose divisiones, en algunos casos por diferencias doctrinales, en otros por motivos económicos. Gradualmente han llegado a haber alrededor de 30 concilios. Los más conocidos son Asambleas de Dios, Movimiento Internacional (M.I.) y Movimiento Misionero Mundial (MMI).

A la par con la creación de nuevos concilios con sus redes de iglesias, se crean los llamados “Ministerios”, corporaciones de predicadores que hacen campañas en la isla y el exterior. Los ministerios tienen por autoridad máxima un sirve de pastor. Un familiar del pastor funge de tesorero y otro de secretario. Funcionan además como monarquías: la sucesión hereda el ministerio, que se maneja como negocio familiar. Pero las divisiones no se detienen y de los concilios y “ministerios” han salido las llamadas iglesias independientes. Durante ese proceso de escisiones y formaciones de nuevas entidades se han ido formando estructuras legales paralelas en forma de corporaciones familiares y entes corporativos comunales. Nada de eso representó problema hasta que los cambios sociales y legales complicaron el panorama al venir los inevitables traspasos de poder.

Cuando muere o se retira un pastor independiente, su iglesia y propiedades de la iglesia se pasan como bienes hereditarios o se venden. Los divorcios de pastores y pastoras han complicado más ese traspaso de poder. Dos casos notorios ilustran lo que está sucediendo fuera del lente noticioso. El divorcio de Jorge Raschke dio inicio a un pleito de bienes gananciales que abarcaba una emisora de radio, el movimiento Clamor a Dios y las propiedades y capital de estos. Fue un pleito contencioso en el que hubo insultos y hasta maldiciones. El otro caso fue el de Rodolfo Font, que aunque no fue tan contencioso, conllevó repartición de bienes y capital generado por sus iglesias.

A un siglo del comienzo de ese proceso histórico, hay entre concilios e iglesias independientes unas transiciones y cambios de mando, en algunos casos con cambios doctrinales tendientes a liberalizar las reglas. Ya la mayoría de los concilios permiten los pantalones, los cortes de pelo y el maquillaje entre las mujeres, y en otros se han quitado reglas como la prohibición de que personas de distinto sexo naden juntos en playas o piscinas. De hecho, un 50% de las iglesias del concilio Asambleas de Dios se han separado del concilio y funcionan en forma independiente. Eso trae otro trámite legal que al igual que los divorcios y procesos de herencia, está causando divisiones y pleitos. Todo comienza con la adquisición de propiedades y construcción de iglesias. Cuando un templo se construía en forma independiente, se inscribía a nombre del pastor y su esposa. Luego el pastor recibía una oferta para afiliarse a un concilio, y el templo pasaba a seguir las normas de ese concilio. Pero luego al morir o retirarse el pastor, sus herederos reclaman la propiedad, y el concilio reclama la titularidad del templo y los bienes relativos al culto. Entre estos, las ofrendas, el terreno, las cafeterías, los pulgueros y demás formas de recaudación de fondos.

Una variante se da cuando un pastor independiente decide entrar o volver a un concilio. Automáticamente al aceptar las normas y estatutos del concilio, el pastor pierde la autoridad sobre el templo. Hay pastores que son incluso separados de sus puestos o trasladados a otras iglesias de menor productividad. En ciertos casos se han inhabilitado pastores por no tener al día su licencia de ministros. No es broma, en esas iglesias se requiere una preparación académica y un título universitario, con los cuales obtienen una licencia.

La situación toma otro giro cuando se produce una reacción a la inversa, iglesias de un concilio declaran su independencia. De hecho, un 50% de las iglesias del concilio Asambleas de Dios se han separado del concilio y funcionan en forma independiente. Al ocurrir las escisiones, comienzan las reclamaciones. ¿Puede quedarse un pastor en un templo que fue del concilio, o debe irse a construir otro? Ya se han visto en los tribunales peticiones de desahucio contra pastores que se independizan. La controversia sobre la homosexualidad ha añadido otra causal de separación entre iglesia y concilio. La Iglesia Presbiteriana, al admitir parejas del mismo sexo como miembros activos, se convierte en la más reciente confesión en sufrir éxodo de pastores y fieles. Estos se están agrupando en nuevas confesiones independientes con nuevos templos.
Entre las corporaciones y bienes que estarán en litigio hay instituciones educativas administradas por entes religiosos. En ese sentido será un doble litigio. Por un lado, la titularidad de las escuelas, y por otro lado el asunto doctrinal y de principios. Ya algunas escuelas de ese tipo están exentos de seguir los reglamentos del Dpto. de Educación, pero al entrar en el litigio esa situación podría cambiar. Son escuelas que no aceptan la filosofía humanista del DE, y más recientemente, los conceptos como enseñanza de género. Si la titularidad de esas escuelas pasa a nuevos administradores, estos podrían pedir la acreditación de esa agencia y de agencias federales, lo cual obligaría a cambiar los reglamentos de conducta.
El 2016 se perfila como uno de récords en litigios legales relativos a concilios, templos y pastores. Divorcios, muertes de pastores, reclamaciones de concilios contra pastores y viceversa. Tal vez por ser año electoral la prensa no le dé tanta cobertura. Pero no por eso tendrá menos importancia que los eventos que ocurran en la Iglesia Católica. En vez de observar estos litigios y escándalos como entretenimiento y fuente de bromas, debemos reflexionar y buscar el propósito original del cristianismo. El Lío de los Pastores ha comenzado.

+ + + + + + + + + +

Michael CastroPertenecí al Concilio M.I. y al M.M.M. Todo lo que reseñas aquí es cierto. Con una diferencia. La mayoría de los concilio pentecostales mantienen políticas de tranparencia con excepción del Movimiento Misionero Mundial que no muestra a sus feligreses reportes de finanzas. Es un total misterio lo que hacen con el dinero que recogen de ofrendas y diezmos. Precisamente fue cuando comencé a preguntar que me comenzaron a marginar y tuve que irme por la presión que metieron desde adentro.

Sobre el traspaso de propiedades la cosa funciona como una mafia tanto en el MI como en el MMM (no se si los demás funcionan igual). Se sigue el esquema de dejar que un hombre “abra una obra”. La persona seleciona un lugar y construye un templo. Para construirlo necesita dinero y el concilio se lo presta ¡con intereses! y cuando termina de pagarlo la propiedad pasa a manos del concilio. Si el pastor se queja lo mueven a una iglesia más pequeña o lo ponen “en disciplina” prohibiéndole predicar o ministrar dentro de los contornos del concilio.

Esther Romero  – Mi madre yo acabo de terner una separacion y saque de mi vida a una persona q pertenece a uno de esos concilios por precisamente ver como su mente estaba adoctrinada, que dificil es ser la nota discordante en una orquesta. Vienen tiempos dificiles para toooodos. Gracias Alexis Morales Cales y Michael Castro por contestar una de mis dudas y que nadie me responde.

Eugenio Madera  – ¿QUIEREN PONERLE VERGUENZA AL MOVIMIENTO RELIGIOSO? QUE LE APLIQUEN LA LEY. LO ESPIRITUAL NO PAGA IMPUESTOS, LO MATERIAL SI. ¿SABEN LO QUE SIGNIFICA UN 10% Y AHORA SUMADO AL IVU? AQUEL Q QUIERA PREDICAR QUE LO HAGA GRATIS, PARA HABLAR NO HACE FALTA DINERO. Y SI SOMOS CRISTIANOS SE LO DEBEMOS A QUE NO NOS DIERON OPCION CUANDO NOS INVADIERON.

Toward A Better Future in Puerto Rico

INSIDE THE BILLION-DOLLAR BATTLE FOR PUERTO RICO’S FUTURE

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INSIDE THE BILLION-DOLLAR BATTLE FOR PUERTO RICO’S FUTURE

 

By JONATHAN MAHLER and NICHOLAS CONFESSORE – DEC. 19, 2015

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/20/us/politics/puerto-rico-money-debt.html

 

The money poured in by the millions, then by the hundreds of millions, and finally by the billions. Over weak coffee in a conference room in Midtown Manhattan last year, a half-dozen Puerto Rican officials exhaled: Their cash-starved island had persuaded some of the country’s biggest hedge funds to lend them more than $3 billion to keep the government afloat.

 

There were plenty of reasons for the hedge funds to like the deal: They would be earning, in effect, a 20 percent return. And under the island’s Constitution, Puerto Rico was required to pay back its debt before almost any other bills, whether for retirees’ health care or teachers’ salaries.

 

But within months, Puerto Rico was saying it had run out of money, and the relationship between the impoverished United States territory and its unlikely saviors fell apart, setting up an extraordinary political and financial fight over Puerto Rico’s future.

 

On the surface, it is a battle over whether Puerto Rico should be granted bankruptcy protections, putting at risk tens of billions of dollars from investors around the country. But it is also testing the power of an ascendant class of ultra-rich Americans to steer the fate of a territory that is home to more than three million fellow citizens.

 

The investors with a stake in the outcome are some of the wealthiest people in America. Many of them have also taken on an outsize role in financing political campaigns in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision. They have put millions of dollars behind candidates of both parties, including Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush. Some belong to a small circle of 158 families that provided half of the early money for the 2016 presidential race.

 

To block proposals that would put their investments at risk, a coalition of hedge funds and financial firms has hired dozens of lobbyists, forged alliances with Tea Party activists and recruited so-called AstroTurf groups on the island to make their case. This approach — aggressive legal maneuvering, lobbying and the deployment of prodigious wealth — has proved successful overseas, in countries like Argentina and Greece, yielding billions in profit amid economic collapse.

The pressure has been widely felt. Senator Marco Rubio, whose state, Florida, has a large Puerto Rican population, expressed interest this year in sponsoring bankruptcy legislation for the island, says Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut. Mr. Rubio’s staff even joined in drafting the bill. But this summer, three weeks after a fund-raiser hosted by a hedge-fund founder, Mr. Rubio broke with those backing the measure. Bankruptcy, he said, should be considered only as a “last resort.”

 

And this past week, House Republican leaders said any financial rescue for Puerto Rico may not come until the end of March.

 

The fight over the island’s future is stretching from the oceanside neighborhoods of San Juan, where a growing number of wealthy investors and financial professionals have migrated in recent years to exploit generous tax breaks, to Capitol Hill. Their efforts are being closely watched by financial institutions, labor unions and policy makers on the mainland, where many ordinary investors own Puerto Rican bonds through mutual funds.

 

Some warn that Puerto Rico could be a test case for the rest of the country, paving the way for troubled states like Illinois to escape unsustainable debts.

 

Stephen J. Spencer, a restructuring expert representing Puerto Rico bondholders including some hedge funds, said letting the government renege on agreements with hedge funds and other investors would set a dangerous precedent, undermining the integrity of the bond market.

 

“It’s really a wealth transfer from the bondholders to the municipalities,” Mr. Spencer said.

 

Others fear a different precedent: A handful of wealthy investors, they argue, are trying to rewrite the social contract of an entire United States territory. Puerto Rican officials say they have already cut public services and slashed central government spending by a fifth to keep ahead of payments to the hedge funds and financiers.

 

“What they are doing, by getting all the resources for themselves, is undermining the viability of Puerto Rico as a commonwealth,” said Joseph E. Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist. “They want their money now, and they want to get the rules set so that they can make money for the next 20 years.”

 

A BET ON RESURGENCE

 

Along Ashford Avenue in San Juan’s Condado district, newly renovated hotels gleam beside shops like Gucci and Cartier. Slightly to the west are new high-rise condominiums, known as WeCo, or West Condado, by an enterprising real estate agent originally from Manhattan. Still farther west, not far from the Capitol in Old San Juan, a new development named the Paseo Caribe makes a more explicit pitch to potential buyers: “The Puerto Rico Advantage: Sun, Sand and Zero Taxes,” the development’s website promises.

 

This was supposed to help solve Puerto Rico’s problems. The commonwealth has been in a depression for over a decade. Pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers have fled the island, followed by young Puerto Ricans looking for jobs, draining the island’s work force and tax base. Forty percent of the island’s residents live in poverty.

 

Three years ago, in a bid to lure financial services firms and other employers, Puerto Rico’s governor at that time, Luis Fortuño, a Republican, signed laws intended to turn the island into a domestic tax haven. Americans who relocated to Puerto Rico, spent at least half a year there and brought their company with them would pay no federal income or capital gains taxes.

 

Private-equity magnates, hedge funds and investment advisers began moving to the island. They settled in Condado and a handful of coastal enclaves like the Dorado Beach Resort, where the billionaire investor Toby Neugebauer, who provided $10 million to the presidential campaign of Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, bought a home.

 

John Paulson, the hedge fund investor and leading Republican donor, snapped up resort properties and fading resort hotels, betting on a resurgence. Puerto Rico, Mr. Paulson told an investor conference last year, would become “the Singapore of the Caribbean.” This spring, at his urging, the island even rented a booth at the hedge fund industry’s annual conference at the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas, where two attractive women pitched Puerto Rico’s charms to guests.

 

 

It was not the first time that Puerto Rico had turned to Wall Street for help. For decades, the island had been borrowing money to pay its bills. Puerto Rico’s bonds were particularly attractive to mutual funds because they were exempt from federal, state and local taxes in all 50 states. But in 2013, after the island’s general obligation bonds were downgraded, they caught the attention of a different sort of investor: hedge funds specializing in distressed assets.

 

These funds began buying up the debt at a steep discount, confident that this was a bet they could not lose. Not only were the bonds guaranteed by the Puerto Rican Constitution, but under a wrinkle of federal law, the island’s public corporations and municipalities — unlike those of the 50 states — do not have bankruptcy as a recourse.

 

When the investment bank Lazard hosted a discussion for investors on Puerto Rico in October 2013, so many people showed up that some had to stand. By the next spring, as the island’s economic situation worsened, virtually no one else was willing to lend to Puerto Rico.

 

A round of spending cuts and tax increases by Gov. Alejandro García Padilla, the Democrat who succeeded Mr. Fortuño, had not produced enough cash to keep up with the island’s earlier debts. A prospectus circulated for the March 2014 bond offering — which raised the $3.5 billion that Mr. García Padilla hoped would buy time for a recovery — warned in boldface type of “significant risks.”

 

Nevertheless, some of the biggest hedge funds kept buying, drawn by the promise of what was a 20 percent return, based on the interest rate coupled with the tax exemption. Mr. Paulson’s firm purchased bonds in March 2014, as did Appaloosa Management, founded by David Tepper; Marathon Asset Management; BlueMountain Capital Management; and Monarch Alternative Capital, said Puerto Rico officials involved in the sale.

 

The recovery never arrived. The $3.5 billion ran out. And Puerto Rico now owes its creditors in excess of $70 billion, a bigger debt load than all but two states. As much as a third of it is owed to hedge funds, according to some estimates.

 

THE BANKRUPTCY OPTION

 

Early this year, with Puerto Rico’s economic outlook darkening, the island’s nonvoting member of the House of Representatives, Pedro R. Pierluisi, made what he thought was a modest proposal.

 

He introduced a bill that would change federal law to allow Puerto Rico’s struggling municipalities and public corporations, such as the island’s power authority, to declare bankruptcy. It would affect only about a third of the island’s debt, Mr. Pierluisi told Republican colleagues in Congress. It would also give Puerto Rico the same right as most states and leverage against creditors — so-called Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection. And it would cost taxpayers nothing.

 

Republicans in the House seemed receptive, as were some conservative groups. Even some of Puerto Rico’s other creditors liked the idea: If public corporations could shed some of their debt, it would free up more money to repay other bondholders. (The power authority’s financial troubles were being felt on the island, and not only by locals: Last summer, one of Mr. Paulson’s luxury hotels lost electricity, briefly forcing the use of a backup generator.)

 

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Mr. Blumenthal was an enthusiastic supporter of the bill. Eager for a Republican co-sponsor, his staff turned to Mr. Rubio. One of three Latino members of the Senate, Mr. Rubio had won a large portion of Florida’s Puerto Rican vote in his 2010 race, and he was now about to announce his presidential campaign.

 

“We were given to understand by his staff that they were very interested in the bill and in fact were going to co-sponsor it,” Mr. Blumenthal said in an interview. Puerto Rico’s government officials also believed Mr. Rubio intended to support the legislation.

 

In the weeks that followed, the staffs of the two senators worked together on the legislation. “To give them credit, his team made contributions to the substance of the bill,” Mr. Blumenthal said.

 

But opponents were organizing against the measure, led by firms that owned debt from Puerto Rico’s power authority, according to federal lobbying records and other documents. Among them were two mutual funds — Oppenheimer Funds and Franklin Templeton — and hedge funds, some specializing in distressed debt: the D.E. Shaw Group and Angelo Gordon, along with Marathon and BlueMountain.

 

The hedge funds were among the largest in the world, with a combined tens of billions of dollars under management. Some of their founders and principals were also donating large sums in the presidential campaign. David E. Shaw of D.E. Shaw has given more than $800,000 to Mrs. Clinton and groups supporting her campaign. (Mrs. Clinton has called on Congress to pass the bill.) John Angelo of Angelo Gordon has put a quarter of a million dollars behind Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey. And Richard Ronzetti, a partner at Marathon, has given $30,000 to groups linked to Mr. Bush.

 

Proponents of the bill mounted their own campaign, recruiting island businesses, bankruptcy experts and groups like Americans for Tax Reform, which argued that forgiving some of the debts would be better than plowing additional federal money into the island. Mr. García Padilla’s government hired SKD Knickerbocker, a public-affairs firm with close ties to the White House.

 

But the hedge funds hit upon a novel lobbying strategy: Mobilize conservative opposition by attacking Mr. Pierluisi’s bill — and by implication any broader bankruptcy attempt by the island — as a “bailout.” Because allowing the island to restructure its debt would cost their investors money, the funds argued, it was no different from the much-reviled taxpayer-funded bailout of the big banks after the financial crisis in 2008.

 

Puerto Rico could not now gain access to bankruptcy protections that it had not been entitled to when it borrowed the money, the funds argued. And, they suspected, there was still revenue hiding within the island’s opaque books, as well as cuts to be made to its oversize bureaucracy.

 

In a letter circulated to Republican staff members in February and obtained by The New York Times, representatives for BlueMountain, a $22 billion firm headquartered on New York’s Park Avenue, warned that the bill would put the bondholders at a disadvantage in any fight over Puerto Rico’s debt. Bankruptcy, they said, would inevitably prioritize those with pension claims over the island’s creditors, as had been the case when Detroit declared bankruptcy in 2013.

 

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“Chapter 9 proceedings bail out Puerto Rico on the backs of the very bondholders Congress incentivized to invest in Puerto Rican municipal bonds,” they wrote.

 

Reaching out to lawmakers and to Republican presidential candidates, the financial firms quickly recruited allies. Tea Party groups, usually the harshest critics of Wall Street lobbyists, joined the fray.

 

The bill was “nothing but a backdoor, taxpayer-funded bailout for Puerto Rico,” Jenny Beth Martin, the national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots, wrote in a March letter to the House Judiciary Committee. (Asked in an interview to identify the taxpayer funds at risk in the bill, Ms. Martin said, “I don’t know that I can answer that.” She added: “It’s more bailouts for bad decisions, expecting us to help take care of things that we should not be responsible for.”)

 

The pressure put Mr. Rubio in an awkward position. Tea Party activists had helped elect him in 2010, wealthy Wall Street donors had embraced him as a rising star in the years since, and he was now entering an intense Republican presidential primary campaign against better-credentialed conservatives.

 

When it came time to introduce the legislation on the Senate floor in July, Mr. Rubio held off. “We delayed the actual formal introduction of the bill while we were waiting for a final answer from Senator Rubio, and at some point, we said: ‘We need to go. Does he want to be a part of it, or does he want us to go ahead without him?’” Mr. Blumenthal recalled. “The answer we got was, go ahead without him. We never learned why.”

 

In September, on the eve of a campaign visit to Puerto Rico, Mr. Rubio abandoned the idea entirely In an essay on the website Medium and in Puerto Rico’s largest daily newspaper[1], he wrote that bankruptcy should be considered only as a “last resort” if the island first took “significant steps to fix its budget and economic mess,” echoing a refrain among Republicans in Congress.

 

Mr. Rubio’s move was welcome news for bondholders, some of whom have supported his presidential campaign. Monarch’s founder, Andrew Herenstein, co-hosted two fund-raisers for Mr. Rubio’s presidential bid, one over the summer in the Hamptons, the other in Manhattan in October. A spokesman for Mr. Herenstein declined to comment.

 

A spokesman for Mr. Rubio said his views on the legislation were unrelated to campaign donations. “Given Marco’s interest in Puerto Rico issues, our office did the due diligence of reviewing the bankruptcy bill, as well as other possible solutions, and meeting with stakeholders,” he said. “Marco ultimately decided not to support it, because he believes Puerto Rico’s leaders should first pursue other fiscal reforms with Chapter 9 being a last resort.”

 

UNSUSTAINABLE

 

n June, 16 months after the hedge funds had come to Puerto Rico’s rescue, Governor García Padilla rattled trading floors around the country. Puerto Rico, he said, was in a “death spiral.” It could no longer pay its debts.

 

Only weeks earlier, his administration had hired as an adviser the retired judge who had overseen Detroit’s bankruptcy. Puerto Rico had also released a report by a former chief economist of the World Bank, warning that its debt load was unsustainable.

 

In October, amid the impasse over Mr. Pierluisi’s bill, the Obama administration weighed in with an even more ambitious plan. It proposed to create a new form of bankruptcy for United States territories, which would restructure all of the island’s debt — and put all of the financial firms’ investments at risk.

 

Relations between Mr. García Padilla and the hedge funds he had once courted soured, and the investors intensified their fight. Several more hedge funds hired Washington lobbyists. Puerto Rico, now looming as potentially the biggest government bankruptcy in American history, the lobbyists warned, could carve a path for cities and states around the country to escape their debts without reforming their governments.

 

Hedge funds commissioned their own economic study of the island’s finances, which concluded that further cuts to public spending, in particular to education and health care, would allow the island to keep up.

 

Some of the investors also tapped into an existing network of conservative nonprofit groups that in recent years has become a major conduit for moving large, anonymous contributions into lobbying and campaign activity.

 

This fall, a conservative group called the 60 Plus Association, based in Alexandria, Va., unleashed a wide-ranging media and lobbying effort against a restructuring and Governor García Padilla, whom it accused of “manufacturing a crisis” and trying to “extort” money from Congress.

 

The group cast the victims of a bankruptcy as ordinary Puerto Ricans and retirees who owned government-issued bonds. In November, 60 Plus recruited a group of these individuals, calling them “Main Street Bondholders,” for a news conference in San Juan.

 

“Do these folks look like vultures to you?” asked Matthew Kandrach, the vice president of 60 Plus, who apologized for not speaking Spanish. “I want the governor to see these faces.”

 

Exactly who the group was speaking for was unclear. Puerto Ricans own less than a fifth of the island’s debt, according to government officials. And while 60 Plus claims to represent millions of seniors, most of the group’s revenue comes from a few large, anonymous contributions, according to its most recent tax return.

 

Two Republicans briefed on the arrangement said 60 Plus had been recruited by the DCI Group, a Republican public relations firm that specializes in “AstroTurfing” — orchestrated lobbying campaigns designed to look like grass-roots efforts. DCI’s clients include the hedge fund BlueMountain Capital, which has been one of the most aggressive opponents of federal intervention in Puerto Rico.

 

DCI declined to comment. Asked about the arrangement, Mr. Kandrach responded: “When it helps us better serve and represent our seniors, we are proud to partner with firms such as DCI who offer valuable logistical support to getting our message out.”

 

Hedge fund executives and their allies also pressed their case in private meetings with key members of Congress and their staffs. The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Utah’s Orrin G. Hatch, met with a representative for funds owning general obligation bonds, as well as with Puerto Rico officials. Several firms with investments in Puerto Rico have been among the leading sources of donations to Mr. Hatch’s campaign and leadership PAC in recent years.

 

In early December, Governor García Padilla made a final plea to Mr. Hatch’s panel for bankruptcy relief. “This is a distress call from a ship of 3.5 million American citizens that have been lost at sea,” the governor said.

 

Mr. Hatch was unmoved, reading a long statement raising doubts about the wisdom of bankruptcy. He suggested that broader changes to Puerto Rico’s government were necessary.

 

A little more than a week later, Mr. Hatch blocked an effort to bring Mr. Pierluisi’s bankruptcy legislation to a vote. He soon offered his own proposal: To respond to the island’s humanitarian needs, Congress would provide $3 billion to Puerto Rico if it submitted to federal financial oversight. It was the approach favored by bondholders. It was also, in effect, a bailout.

 

Supporters of the bankruptcy bill clung to the hope that congressional leaders would insert a provision in its end-of-year spending bill allowing Puerto Rico to restructure at least some of its debt. But when the bill was unveiled on Tuesday, it contained no such language.

 

The island remains in negotiations with the financial firms that own its debt. Without the possibility of bankruptcy, its only leverage is the threat of default.

 

The House speaker, Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, said on Wednesday that lawmakers would try to come up with a solution by the end of March.

 

A reckoning could come sooner: On Jan. 1, bond payments of $1.4 billion will be due. No one is quite sure if the island can pay.

 

[1] https://medium.com/@marcorubio/toward-a-better-future-in-puerto-rico-1ba5fb9fc367#.dfjg937s6

 

A THEME OF DESPAIR (Teachers Talk About Themselves)

 

 

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A THEME OF DESPAIR (Teachers Talk About Themselves)

from

“Teacher and Child: a Book for Parents and Teachers”

by Dr. HAIM G. GINOTT, New York University

1972

 

A group of teachers met to discuss life in the classroom. They were young in years and experience but already disillusioned. Some of them thought of dropping out and quitting the profession. Others decided to stay on but quit caring. All of them vented their feelings with authenticity and vigor. They pulled no punches.

 

ann: After one year of experience, I’ve decided: I am not fit for my job. I came to teaching full of love and fantasy. Now, the illusions have evaporated and the love has gone. Teaching is not a profession. It’s slow murder, death in daily installments.

 

BOB: Welcome to the club: “The Postgraduate Dropouts.” If I told you how I hate my job, you would think I am crazy. I am a music teacher. I love music. It’s my life. But I dream of burning the school and playing the fiddle at the fire. I detest the principal, I despise my supervisor, and I hate the system. I want to get out fast and alive.

 

clara: I am so sad I could cry. I am disappointed and disenchanted, because I expected so much. I wanted to do good. I wanted to change the child, the school, the neighborhood, the world. How naive! I smiled at rattlesnakes and they bit me, and now I too am full of poison.

 

doris: I thought I loved kids, especially the children of the poor. I was aching to plunge in and give them my best, make up for their deprivation, convince them that they are smart and worth­while. Instead they convinced me that I am dumb and weak.

 

earl: I had no illusions, so I’m not disappointed. I knew the kids were rotten and the system corrupt. I never expected my efforts to make a difference. You are all so heartbroken: you wanted to empty the ocean with a broken ladle and you found out: mission impossible.

 

doris: Why did you become a teacher?

 

earl: It’s a job. If you don’t take it to heart, it’s not that bad. I like short hours, long vacations, and fringe benefits.

 

clara: God save us.

 

earl: Don’t get sanctimonious with me. I’m not the one who hates his job. I know the system and have no false hopes. It’s a racket. I don’t like it but I don’t fight it. I live with it and get all I can from it.

 

 

 

florence: Every day I come to school full of energy. I return home half dead. The noise drives me mad. It drowns out everything: my philosophy of education, my theories of learning, and all my good will. It stupefies me and blinds me. And all the time I am aware that I am under surveillance by Big Brother’s probing eye and ever-present ear.

 

grace: Every day I say to myself, “This is going to be a peaceful day. I am not going to get in­volved. I am not going to be provoked, lose my temper, and ruin my health.” But every day I lose control of myself in the classroom and return home depressed and disgusted with my­self. Like a computer, I follow programmed instructions, I obey coded commands: “Yell your heart out. Get hysterical! Go mad!”

 

harold: I want to educate children to work for peace. The irony is that I am continuously embroiled in battles with them. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

 

earl: Are you trying to be rational? To make sense? It’s a mad world. School is a perfect preparation for this world. To approach the system ration­ally is like trying to kill yourself by rules of reason.

 

doris: I work in a poor neighborhood. People are prompt to take offense. They suspect you are slighting them. I have learned to listen and nod my head. I’m afraid to talk.

 

Ann: I tried to be fair to all children, but I soon found that attitudes are stronger than inten­tions. I could not stand the bullies and the wise guys. I suppose they too needed sympathy and guidance, but I couldn’t help them. I felt more like killing them, and they knew it.

 

Earl: Strange, I like assertive children, but I can’t stand the weak and meek and runny-nosed. I get angry at their whining. “Why don’t you wipe your nose, stand up and fight?” I want to say.

 

harold: The gulf between knowledge and practice is almost unbridgeable. An ancient philosopher said, “Authority allied with affection is more powerful than that founded on force.” Yet we use force and instill hate. Our principal says, “Let them hate you as long as they obey you.” But we all know that children do not learn readily from a teacher they hate.

 

grace: Perhaps I didn’t teach the children much, but I’ve learned a lot about myself. I never knew I was so middle-class. I never suspected I had such strong needs for order, neatness, and quiet. I was confronted with wild kids, much more energetic than I. After a while, I couldn’t stand the yelling, the fighting, the profanity. I felt embarrassed and humiliated. And I suf­fered anxiety and panic. This was my autumn of anguish, my winter of discontent, my spring of despair.

 

bob: You are a poet. No wonder the system kills you. It murders anything decent in us. There is no place for sensitive people in public schools.

 

grace: I could not get used to their language and conduct. The wanton destruction, dirty messes, and four-letter words! For some of my children “mother” is only half a word. Most of the year I was on the brink of a breakdown, fighting my anger and panic. I used to pray each morn­ing, “Please, God, don’t let me go mad in front of the children.” The battle for self-control exhausted my energy. It left me drained, emo­tionally and physically. I agree with Bob and Earl: teaching belongs to the tough and to those who don’t care.

clara: I didn’t fail teaching. It failed me. Every day I prepared my lessons and was eager to teach. Every day something happened that dis­rupted my plans. It takes only one clown to infect a class, one smart aleck to ruin a lesson. Hell, I hate these kids.

 

IRA: Your trouble is that you entered the field of education –

 

clara (interrupting): You are damn right.

 

IRA: with missionary zeal and a rush to the rescue. You “adore” little children and want to save their poor souls.

 

clara: What’s wrong with that?

 

ira: You make a lousy teacher. You are easily hurt. The children activate your own past pains, and you melt in your own misery. The first require­ment of a teacher is strength. Then you can be good.   If you are weak and good you only engender sadism and invite attacks.

 

earl: I agree with you. I have seen teachers oozing love and creating hate.

 

doris: Isn’t our love good enough anymore?

 

ira: Loving is a complicated process. Children accustomed to rejection are frightened by love. They are suspicious of closeness that is forced on them. They need a teacher who is willing to remain at a safe distance.

 

BOB: Thanks for the mini-course in child psy­chology. But you do make sense. I too have noticed the failure of overeager, over involved teachers. They are enmeshed in stormy rela­tions. They are distressed if a child feels un­happy and overjoyed if he makes progress. Teaching is their personal pursuit of happi­ness. They use pupils to gratify private needs. They often go from too-intense positive to too-intense negative feelings. The child gets confused.

 

doris: I notice that we have moved from discussing our feelings to talking about other teachers. What about our attitudes toward teaching now that we have had some experience?

 

ann: I look back in anger at the last year – the wasted time, the listless hours, the long con­ferences, the futile talks. Our principal loves vagueness and adores ambiguity. He delays decisions and postpones life. Whenever he is pressed for action, he retreats into more words, which become more and more abstract. Talking to him gives me the sensation of drowning in a sea of words.

 

harold: I visited a prison last week, and I came back bothered and burdened. I can’t escape thinking about my responsibility as a teacher. Every adult murderer was once a child who spent years in school. Every thief had teachers who presumably taught him values and morals. Every criminal was educated by teachers. Every prison is a dramatic demonstration of the fail­ure of our system. We need to take a good look at the landscape of our responsibility.

 

DORIS: I remember how teachers taught us dis­honesty. They never accepted a simple truth. They insisted on a lie that was both believable and interesting.

 

HAROLD: Education is a lost cause. There are solutions   but they’ll   never   be   used. Effective remedies require a fundamental change in the system. The bosses will never allow it.

 

earl: The whole system of education is built on distrust. The teacher distrusts the students. The   principal   distrusts   the   teachers.   The superintendent suspects the principals, and the school board is wary of the superintendent. Each authority sets up rules and regulations that create a prison atmosphere and an implicit charge that everyone in the system is dishonest or incompetent or irresponsible.

 

doris: That’s how students become con men. They learn to figure out what the teacher wants and give it to him. The teachers dope out what the principal wants. For instance, my principal is not interested in how I teach or what kind of person I am. If the records of attendance and grades are in order and on time, he is satisfied.

 

ira: Your stories sound so depressing. I wonder why millions of teachers keep on teaching year after year. They can’t all be confirmed masochists. Are there no satisfactions in our job?

 

doris: You tell me, if you can.

 

ira: I certainly can, but I’m not sure if it’ll convince you.

 

doris: Go ahead, try me.

 

ira: O.K. I have difficulties just like you. But I also enjoy feeling needed, getting to know what makes children tick, and learning to under­stand myself better.

earl: You have it down pat, don’t you?

 

ira: Sorry it sounds pat to you. To me, it rings more like an agonizing appraisal.

 

earl: Any more words of wisdom?

 

ira: Plenty! But I’ll share with you only one truth: There is no place for cynics in elementary school. The young need protection from adults with stone souls.

 

karl: Bravo. Bravissimo. That’s the spirit, Dr. Spock.

 

Bob: I freeze every time the principal enters my class. This cold fish tells me to be warmer with children. I’m too somber, he says. I need to be more alive. With him around I feel dead. He has sympathy for the poor children, he says. Well, I am poor. Why doesn’t he show some sympathy for me? Why doesn’t he demon­strate warmth? Right now, I myself could use some warm words.

 

HARold: My supervisor loves books and papers and research. Only people he hates. He knows all about education in ancient Athens and in medieval Rome. But how to supervise a live teacher—that he doesn’t know.

 

ann: Our faculty is full of people killing time, waiting for retirement. They are old at middle age. They are bitter, going nowhere and crying over their spilled lives.

 

doris: One old teacher keeps giving me advice: escape while you are young. Look at me and run for your life. Teaching will kill you. It’ll murder your spirit, drain your energy, and cor­rode your character. The daily battles with children, the constant complaining by parents, the ceaseless carping of the A.P.—what do you need them for? Choose yourself a respectable career.

 

harold: I became aware that college failed to pre­pare me for my job. Teaching children takes at least as much skill as flying a jet. In college they taught us to drive a tractor, while telling us it was a jet. No wonder we crash every time we try to take off.

 

doris: How true. My professors talked about chil­dren’s   needs,   parents’   needs,   and   society’s needs. I wish they had made me aware of my needs. They made me believe that children come to school with a terrific thirst for knowl­edge. All I had to do was to quench their thirst. Now I know better. Children come to school to make my life miserable, and they succeed.

 

bob: We all feel deeply disappointed, because our initial experience is not what we had expected. Teaching is like taking a plane to a tropical island and landing in the Arctic. It’s quite a shock to expect sunshine and to face a long, cold, polar winter.

 

clara: Is there no hope at all for education?

 

earl: There ain’t. Get it through your head, girl, and you’ll live longer.

 

IRA: If there is no hope for education, there is no hope for humanity. I can’t accept such nihilism. I have faith in our ingenuity and inventiveness. Solutions will be found in education itself—in better education, in different education.

 

“VISTAS EN ALZADA CONTRA MAESTRAS” por Alexis Morales Cales

2015-12-22

 

 

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VISTAS EN ALZADA CONTRA MAESTRAS

por Alexis Morales Cales

6 de noviembre de 2015

https://www.facebook.com/groups/785914934857300

http://www.metro.pr/locales/imputan-de-maltrato-institucional-a-maestra-por-incidente-en-escuela-de-gurabo/pGXogk!pvdPljmFbzO3I/

http://www.primerahora.com/noticias/policia-tribunales/nota/selibradejuiciomaestraacusadademaltrato-1099791/

https://suarezepr68.wordpress.com/2015/07/29/acusada-vilificada-y-finalmente-exonerada-el-caso-de-dora-ivellise-alves-troche-maestra-de-cabo-rojo/

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Ante el fracaso de la podrida División Legal del DE acusando maestros, recurren con las fiscalías a vistas en alzada. En las vistas preliminares se encontraron múltiples contradicciones de parte de los testigos de cargo y hasta admisiones de conspiración. Jueces no encuentran causa para juicio. Pero la División Legal del Dpto de Educación sigue empeñada en fabricar casos contra maestros y apela la decisión de no causa…

Ya se ha visto como la División Legal del DE valida intercambios políticos, económicos y sexuales dentro de la agencia. Pero quieren aparentar ser justos y ejemplos de moralidad. Usan padres y estudiantes delincuentes para acusar maestros.

Un criminal juvenil junto a una madre de mala reputación pueden acusar a un maestro cuando les da la gana. La División Legal coge el caso. Al ver que no tiene base, inventan la base, Por eso están año y medio o dos años entrenando testigos, dictándoles lo que tienen que decir para someter cargos por maltrato. Una maestra agarra por un brazo a un maleante que intenta agredirla es acusada de maltrato. Como agarrarlo por un brazo en defensa propia no constituye delito, la División Legal le añade que lo agarró por el cuello y casi lo estrangula. Durante dos años van ensayando el texto de la acusación para entonces someterla. Casos como esos se dan constantemente en la descarada División Legal.

En estos momentos hay pendientes dos vistas en alzada. Una en Cabo Rojo contra la maestra Dora I. Alves Troche. Otra en Caguas contra la maestra Dayana Morales Acosta. En ambos casos se habia declarado NO CAUSA. Pero la División Legal apela buscando inventar nuevos argumentos.

Me consta de personal conocimiento la forma criminal en que opera la llamada División Legal. Con decir que una ex directora de esa oficina estuvo presa. Luego se determinó que tenía problemas mentales, y eso la salvó de una sentencia, pero así ilustra quiénes componen la División Legal. ¿Cuántos enfermos mentales han sido contratados allí? Y siendo una ofcina legal uno esperaría que todos fueran abogados con licencia. Pues pregunte cuántos en esa oficina y en las regiones educativas son abogados.

Conozco el caso de una en la casi cerrada Región Educativa de Arecibo, que era policía y la pasaron a la División Legal. Amiga íntima de Ángel Arce, por cierto. Esa ayudo a fabricar casos contra personas inocentes, y como dije me consta de conocimiento personal. En el caso de esa investigadora, fue usada por Arce para evitar que se evitara la investigación de casos de compraventa de niñas en las escuelas de la región. Y no es que ella fuera delincuente, es que no tenía ni un curso de leyes como para trabajar en la Division Legal, y hacía lo que el depravado Arce le dijera.

El pozo muro que llaman Division Legal del Dpto. de Educación está por reventar. Las vistas en alzada solamente contribuirán a la evidencia por violación de derechos civiles.

“PIDAMOS REVISIÓN DE LA LEY DE MALTRATO” por Alexis Morales Cales

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PIDAMOS REVISIÓN DE LA LEY DE MALTRATO

por Alexis Morales Cales

13 de diciembre de 2015

 

Hay una acción que las organizaciones magisteriales deben hacer con urgencia. Dije organizaciones magisteriales, no contratistas magisteriales.

La llamada Ley de Maltrato Institucional se está usando para cometer muchas injusticias. Sin entrar en méritos de ningun caso en particular, la ley es demasiado ambigua y oscura. Cualquier cosa es maltrato institucional. Antes de esa ley, había delitos específicos. Que se podían investigar rapidamente y determinar si se había cometido el delito. Pero con la Ley de Maltrato, se depende de interpretaciones a veces traídas por los pelos. Y se le da todo el peso al denunciante, sin verificar credibilidad.

La ley es tan ambigua que desde el momento en que se denuncia hasta el momento en que se radican los cargos pueden pasar uno y medio o dos años. Porque la División Legal revisa una y otra vez la querella a ver de qué se puede acusar a un maestro. Y entrevista una y otra vez a los acusadores, para entrenarlos sobre cómo declarar para que se pueda aplicar la Ley de Maltrato. Y maltrato puede ser algo tan simple como decir que una nena salió mal en un examen porque la maestra no le explico bien.

Tengo información privilegiada directamente desde las cercanias del Califa. El jefe del Estado Islámico de la educación ha dado directrices para que se acuse al mayor número posible de maestros. Algo asi como las cuotas de multas que se les dan a los policías de tránsito. Y los sherif de la División Legal están saliendo a buscar querellas en vez de esperar a que le lleguen. “Dime a qué maestra le podemos radicar cargos. Por lo que sea, ella es la que tiene que defenderse”.

Por eso urge que las organizaciones magisteriales de verdad cuestionen la ley usada para abuser.

Al Califa se le olvida que tuvo que implorar llorando para que no radicaran cargos criminales por violencia doméstica. Y se le olvida que en los casos federales hay unos cuantos dedos señalándolo.