San Juan assembly approves public order code; one of its members calls it absurd
By The Star Staff
The San Juan Municipal Assembly has approved a “Public Order Code for the Municipality of San Juan” with 13 votes in favor and three against that regulates noise pollution and the sale of alcohol.
At least one critic says the code, which was approved Friday, is a ridiculous statute.
“After a comprehensive analysis, we brought the Code to a plenary vote, and with a total of 13 votes in favor, three against, and one excused, we approved and presented to all San Juan residents a Public Order Code tempered to the claim of all sectors,” Municipal Assembly Speaker Gloria Escudero Morales said in written a statement.
The code calls for the sale of alcoholic beverages from Monday to Friday to be limited to between 6 a.m. and 1 a.m., while on weekends (Saturdays and Sundays) and on holidays that fall on a Monday, the sale of alcohol will be allowed between 6 a.m. and 2 a.m.
Businesses in Loíza Street came out publicly against the alcohol sale restrictions of the code because of the impact on their businesses.
Manuel Calderón Cerame, the Popular Democratic Party spokesperson in the municipal assembly, said the alcohol sales restrictions do not apply to hotel guests or to a restaurant that operates 24 hours a day with an open kitchen.
“This exclusion is the height of absurdity,” Calderón Cerame said in a written statement. “Now the Municipal Police are going to have to go around the hotels after 2 in the morning, verifying who is a guest and who is not. [San Juan Mayor] Miguel Romero not only cut $4 million from the Municipal Police budget, but now he wants to have our 655 police officers patrolling the hotels, instead of patrolling the communities of San Juan.”
As of press time on Sunday, the Municipality of San Juan had not responded to a request for comment.
Excessive noise generated in various ways is also prohibited.
The code also imposes fines on individuals who block sidewalks or limit the free movement of people.
The repair of motor vehicles or electrical appliances on public roads is prohibited. Likewise, any person who walks or conveys a pet in a public space must pick up their bodily waste using polyethylene bags, otherwise or they could face a $250 fine.
The new public order code will become effective 90 days after its publication in a newspaper of general circulation.
Regarding the environment, the code prohibits the use of ash from the burning of coal in electric power generation plants as fill material or its deposit on any land in San Juan.
It also prevents using, possessing, transporting, spraying, storing, or selling naled, an insecticide used primarily to control adult mosquitoes. It also prohibits using any product containing glyphosate, a controversial herbicide.