Natal offers new ideas he hopes to implement were he to prevail in this year’s elections
SAN JUAN – The San Juan mayoral hopeful and independent member of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, Manuel Natal Albelo, spoke extensively with Caribbean Business about his vision for the administration of the island’s capital if he wins the Nov. 3 elections.
Natal, who is running under the Movimiento Victoria Ciudadana (MVC, or Citizens’ Victory Movement), recently unveiled his government plan online, at www.modelosanjuan.pr, where shares proposals for the five main areas of his platform: San Juan Transparente (Transparent), San Juan Habitable, San Juan Innovador (Innovator), San Juan Saludable y Seguro (Healthy and Safe) and San Juan Transformador (Transformer).
In the case of Transparent San Juan, Natal explained the strategy would establish 14 representative areas in the capital, each one represented by a municipal lawmaker who will be responsible for directly addressing the needs of all the communities in their area. The candidate stressed that the plan will seek to integrate the representatives of the other parties, redefining the traditional concepts of majority or minority.
Likewise, the candidate explained that the Habitable San Juan strategy seeks to rehabilitate and maintain the existing infrastructure and address the serious problem of almost impassable roads in the capital city.
Natal explained that the municipality has 1,983 miles of roadways. Approximately 804 linear miles of these are the main responsibility of the municipal administration. Of those, 30 are avenues, 86 are streets and 689 are local roads. The rest, including the main avenues in San Juan, are under state jurisdiction.
“Our administration is proposing a plan so that within the first 100 days we can begin the process of repairing municipal roads and at the same time demand an action plan on these roads from the central government. If the government fails to comply with the time period we are going to be setting for them to present an action plan for the people of San Juan, we will proceed to assume that work — because at the end of the day, it is happening in the municipality and it is my responsibility as mayor — and subsequently bill the central government for what the municipality had to incur for the repair of state highways within municipal jurisdiction. “
The lawmaker showed particular interest in San Juan’s land-use plan, which he called obsolete and disconnected from the current reality of the city.
Natal pointed out the importance of this plan, as it is the blueprint for the economic and social development of the municipality over the next few years.
“That plan is not updated to the reality of 2020, with the population reduction, with the closure of businesses, with climate change, with all the things that have changed in just 20 years, and we live in a completely different city than the one we had when this land use plan was made; it was a planned city for half a million people, ”he explained, adding that San Juan’s current population barely reaches about 300,000 residents.