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Quid Pro Quo!
Peter Wells Scott

Perhaps, the three most famous words used in succession are "I love you." But every struggling law student is remiss if the Latin phrase "quid pro quo" is not committed to memory. "This for that" forms the underlying framework for all negotiations, be they on a country-to-country, baseball player to agent, husband to wife basis, or kids playing marbles in the street.

U.S. President Bush and Russian President Putin met in Genoa, Italy, and agreed to tie U.S. missile defense plans to talks on reducing nuclear stockpiles. Whether the number is 3,500, or a more economically feasible Russian number of 1,500 warheads, the end result will be a product of negotiation, this for that.

Ever since Alan Greenspan brought the U.S. financial markets to their knees at the peak of the NasDaq heyday of 5000 with his "irrational exhuberance" comment, stock aficionados have stayed glued to his every word. His mid-July comments have been no different. Kind of an implied quid pro quo.

The NasDaq is now trolling at a dismal 2000. "The economy was growing at an unsustainable pace." DUH! Who don't know that! "The adjustment occurred much faster than imaginable." "Considerable inventory imbalances occurred last year." "Eventually the high-tech retrenchment will subside." Left unsaid was the fact that all of the glamour stocks, including Cisco, Microsoft, JDS Uniphase, Oracle, Juniper, Amazon, you name it, currently have excessive inventories that have a stranglehold on their bottom lines.

Kind of like plowing the streets of Bangor, Maine in mid-winter after nature put two feet of snow on the ground. The retrenchment of high tech will indeed take place, but not before the streets of Wall Street are cleared of the excesses.

Two principal quid pro quos are being played out in the streets and byways of Puerto Vallarta. The proposed convention center has been a political football ever since Sports Classic chairpersons Howard Kelsey and Gemma Garciarce of the Sheraton Hotel brought the annual event to our shores.

That was eight years ago. A perferred location on the beach has been shuffled back and forth with one at El Salado. The latter has focused the enthusiasm and resistance of environmentalists, who want to keep intact a vestige of Vallarta's natural habitat. Eventually there will be a center, even if it is the result of embarrassment as Nuevo Vallarta finishes the race before we do. Undoubtedly the product of quid pro quo.

According to architect Cachi Perez, the infrastructure of Vallarta is so antiquated that the city is in immediate peril of dying, "Se va a morir." The first infrastructure was created in 1908 when there were 2,000 people. The second, involving the Malecon, commenced in 1928, when Vallartenses numbered 5,000. Today there are 300,000 inhabitants, augmented by northerners who continually are seeking their place in the sun. Cachi started Vallarta's library on Francisco Villa with a blueprint and a dream, and now is facing a much greater self-imposed task of creating an infrastructre capable of meeting the needs of the 21st Century.

From expanding the Malecon to the north and south, providing for underground parking at strategic locations such as Parque Hidalgo, to increasing the size of the civic center Los Arcos by four or five times, to increasing the shoreline, to creating adequate public facilities ... Cachi has embarked on an enormous dream. And, he is doing it pro bono. Oops! That's another Latin word. Means gratis, free, no pay!

To those putting their shoulders behind the convention center, and to the revitalization of Vallarta's infrastructure, we lend the words of Mahatma Ghandi: "If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it, even if I may not have it at the beginning." No quid pro quo!

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