Timing is everything they say!
Jeannette Rivera-lyles | Sentinel Staff Writer
April 25, 2008
The financially strapped Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico has a new patron in New York senator and presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton — just weeks before the island’s Democratic primary.
The Cornell University-operated observatory in the northwestern part of the island risks being shut down if it doesn’t find new sources of funding. The National Science Foundation, which has supported the facility until now, announced last year that it would cut most of its budget for the facility by 2011.
A bill filed by Clinton last week seeks to reverse that decision by requiring the NSF to reinstate the funds.
Foundation officials said that, although the observatory does “good and unique science,” the foundation can fund less than a third of all of the proposals it gets.
But supporters of the observatory point out that a funding initiative by the Bush administration may double the NSF’s budget during the next 10 years.
Clinton’s action was welcomed in Puerto Rico, but island supporters of Barack Obama questioned the timing. The commonwealth will hold one of the nation’s final Democratic primaries June 1. It has 55 pledged delegates that both candidates are going after vigorously.
“Arecibo has been in peril for a while now,” said Andros Lopez, an attorney and a co-director of the local Obama campaign. “That she, by chance, finds about it now is an example of the type of old politics that Obama wants to change. The timing is more than suspect.”