Santini has been mayor of the Puerto Rican capital since January 2001. As reported by the Montreal Gazette
, he faces a challenge in next November's election by Rep. Carmen Yulin Cruz.
Crime is a major issue on the island and last year there were 1,117 homicides in Puerto Rico, many of them committed on the streets of San Juan and the surrounding area. But the mayor insists the capital is safe. And he is determined to show that it is.
Last week, AP
reported the mayor will spend some nights sleeping in a bus in various San Juan neighbourhoods. Joining him will be his wife and three children. Santini is determined to prove crime has not taken over his city.
On Monday, Governor Luis Fortuno signed a new penal code into law that increase the penalties for a variety of offences. Fortuno was quoted in the Las Vegas Sun
as saying, "These penalties are both fixed and more severe and that's what we are looking for. We want to bring peace of mind back to the good and decent people of Puerto Rico."
The Sun also reports that the 1,117 homicides last year was a record for Puerto Rico. Crime on the island has been increasing for several years since becoming a transshipment point for drugs coming from South America and headed to the American mainland.
An anti-crime march is scheduled for Aug. 12 and it is expected that tens of thousands of people will participate.
Santini's plans to sleep on the bus is not the first time he has done something that AP labeled as "quirky." As Digital Journal
reported, last December the mayor sent out Christmas cards showing his happy family standing behind a mounted jaguar that had an antelope by the throat. The picture went viral.
As part of his re-election campaign, Santini plans to cook a rice-and-beans dish on the bus for residents in the areas he will be spending the night in.