8:20 am Nov. 5, 2012
The Somos el Futuro winter conference for state legislators, scheduled to take place in Puerto Rico, will proceed as scheduled, despite the damage to neighborhoods in New York City, Westchester and Long Island.
"Yes the conference is still going on as planned," a spokeswoman for Somos, Stephanie Rodriguez, told me via email this morning.
The conference has become an important get-together for candidates, lawmakers, union bigwigs and operatives, who mingle on sunny beaches and cut deals over salted margaritas.
Check-in for guests of the conference is set to begin this Wednesday—the day a nor'easter is expected to bring winds up to 50 miles per hour and could potentially knock out power to some New York residents who just got it restored.
The following day, there's a golf tournament, followed by a reception that evening hosted by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, whose lower Manhattan Assembly district was hit particularly hard by the storm.
On Friday evening, the conference will have "An Evening of Solidarity in Memory of the Victims of Hurricane Sandy."
One lawmaker whose district was impacted by the storm said the hotel where the conference is taking place is not giving refunds to people who made reservations. This same lawmaker told me it would be political suicide to go to the event.
UPDATE: A spokesperson for Public Advocate Bill de Blasio said he canceled his plans, telling me by email, "In light of what's happening here and the continued relief efforts Bill decided not to go."
UPDATE: A spokesman for mayoral candidate and former city comptroller Bill Thompson said he will not be attending.
UPDATE: A spokesman for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said he's not attending. "There are lots of issues in the district that he is dealing with right now, after the hurricane."
And a spokesperson for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said she too will not be attending.
UPDATE: A spokesman for Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said he will not be attending the conference because of the hurricane and clean up efforts.
UPDATE: Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., a former member of the Assembly, said he will not attend the conference.
UPDATE: A spokeswoman for Hakeem Jeffries, the Assemblyman and Democratic nominee for the 8th
10th congressional district in Brooklyn, said he "will not attend the Somos el Futuro conference this year due to pressing needs in district."
UPDATE: And now it's canceled.
Statement from Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, Chair of The New York State Assembly/Senate Puerto Rican and Hispanic Task Force
Given the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy and the ongoing storm recovery efforts, the 2012 Somos Winter Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico that was scheduled for November 7 - 11 has been canceled.
My colleagues and I believe it is imperative that we continue to work on getting all of our constituents the assistance they need to fully recover as quickly as possible.
The New York State Assembly and Senate Puerto Rican and Hispanic Task Force is committed to rebuilding our coastal communities and other areas of the state hit hard by the unprecedented destruction of Hurricane Sandy.
The Task Force will be scheduling a conference in New York City next month to address the devastation brought to our communities.
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