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Mar 10, 2008

Kudos to EE of MV!

Here's an article written by the famous EE of Marianas Variety:
Beautify CNMI! fundraising concert on March 27

By Emmanuel T. Erediano
Variety News Staff

BEAUTIFY CNMI! and the Hotel Association of Northern Marianas Islands will hold a fundraising concert on March 27 at the World Resort Hotel in Susupe that will feature ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro of Hawaii.

The Variety’s report on Friday incorrectly described the event as an anniversary dinner.

Beautify CNMI! volunteer Angelo Villagomez — who is no longer the executive director of the Mariana Islands Nature Alliance as incorrectly reported on Friday — said HANMI is the event’s co-sponsor.

Friends of the Mariana Islands is a community partner, but “they are not Japanese” as stated by Friday’s report.

The ticket price — not “prize” — for a child under 12 is $15 and $25 for an adult.

Beautify CNMI! is selling tickets, not giving out prizes.

Tickets are available at the Marianas Eye Institute, the Century Hotel and the World Resort Hotel.

The coalition started out as a series of cleanup and tree planting campaigns on Saipan two years ago, and consists of volunteers who are trying “to make the CNMI a better place to live.”

Also this month, the group will give out the Beautify CNMI! Steward and Beautify CNMI! Champion awards to recognize the individuals or groups who have been environmental leaders during the past 12 months.

Last year’s Environmental Champion winners were Public School System teacher Bree Reynolds, Mariana Islands Nature Alliance board member Kathy Yuknavage, and local activist Capt. Carl Brachear. The winners of the Environmental Steward award were elementary school student Adam Sablan and the volunteer group Friends of the Mariana Islands.
Maybe the editor was clipping his nails when EE submitted the previous article. Just a thought.


Anonymous said...

You pick on your pinoy brother as if you are a pulitzer prize writer. If I had a dollar for every grammatical error or syntax faux pas you have committed, I would be a rich bitch. Rev, your writing is nothing to brag about. As a female journalist working here, I know ee. Your attacks on him are cruel and unjust. Shame on you puto!

Saipan Middle Road said...


Anonymous said...

At least we report fairly and objectively, unlike your garment wanna-be newspaper, the Willie Tan Tribune. Rev, you and Brad match. You are both gay and are in love with yourselves.

rev said...


lil_hammerhead said...

Wow, that was pretty bad. I read it and thought you guys were joking. You weren't.. that's a real article. ?

It is terrible, but not nearly as bad as the racist homophobic nonsense spewing from the mouths of the idiots above. They have to be the product of abusive neglectful and unloving childhoods combined with a 3rd grade education level.. that is the only decent reason I can come up with.

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

Calling two gay guys gay is not homophobic. Rev just likes older white guys in their 40's.

Anonymous said...

Rick Jones, bitch!

KAP said...

Wow, that article's gotta be entered in some contests. It's a sure price winner.

Cruel maybe, but unjust? The article should have just said nevermind, everything I wrote Friday was wrong.

Umm. I guess you're gay by definition if you're in love with yourself, Rosie.

rev said...

;-) (to angelo)

Marianas Pride said...

What the world needs now, is love, sweet love...

Gay, straight, black, white, green, fat, skinny, tall, short, round, square, apple, orange, dog, cat. Could you imagine how our world would be if we all looked the same, acted the same, and agreed on everything? We'd be politicians! JK.

Rev, I got nothing but love for ya.

rev said...


Mr. Civility said...

I'm really sorry I don't like coffee. (!)

bradinthesand said...

"Rev, you and Brad match. You are both gay and are in love with yourselves."

well, wouldn't that make us asexual?

my, my, my...

and hey, i call out e.e. all the time but his level of consistency kind of begs for it.

like i've said before, he's probably not a bad guy. he just isn't a good reporter.

in this instance, i give him credit for writing this follow-up piece. he could have just put out an erratum section.

good job, e.e.

...i don't think i've ever typed that...

Anonymous said...

Are both newspapers supporting HANMI and will unsuspecting participants be informed that HANMI is currently involved in a lobby effort to freeze the already slave wages in the CNMI to 3.55 per hour until 2015?

Escuse me but I the the villian here is our slave driving employers.


Anonymous said...

That is "excuse" and signed Chamberonomics.

bradinthesand said...

"At least we report fairly and objectively, unlike your garment wanna-be newspaper, the Willie Tan Tribune."

my question to you:

how objective was the reporting regarding the federalization and move for residency status?

the answer:

not very...

more like phox news than anything. the only thing that was fairly obvious was that you had an objective other than reporting the story as it was.

...but it's okay. it's all over now but the shouting.

the truth is that every reporter adds his or her slant to every story.

we could go through each paper, story by story, but that would be more akin to a class than a worthy midday activity for an apparently narcissistic former reporter, like myself.

unfortunately, neither paper does much, if any, follow-up on press releases.

i understand why: story quotas, deadlines, and the all too luring easy road.

it happens.

in the case of the story posted, a phone call would have made the difference between doing the job right and having to write the story again.

Anonymous said...

What do you expect when you pay a reporter $3.55 and hour and house them in a pig sty in Dandan next to the boss's mansion. A putz is what you pay for and a putz is what you get.

bradinthesand said...

...don't forget free health benefits and three meals a day! that makes $3.55 sound a whole lot better than it is.

and btw, the tribune pays its reporters more than that, provides much better than a pig sty for housing, as well as health and meals.

not to locals though. we got the same rate of pay but had to pay for our own housing, health and food.

locals actually lost out on that deal, not the contract workers.

Marianas Pride said...

Brad, I don't think meals are included for guest workkers unless you are working at a food joint or a hotel.

bradinthesand said...

i know because i was working at the tribune everyday when my coworkers had their hot meals delivered in lunch boxes.

on several occasions, i asked to be included in that deal and was denied.

bradinthesand said...

...later the company said that it deducted $50 from their monthly salaries for the meals.

i asked for that deal, too. again, i was denied. also, i was told that it was "filipino food" and that i probably wouldn't like it.


i saw it, smelled it and damn sure would've liked it!

rev said...

i'm surprised and wondered why. it was in the contract. but not all avail of this "privilege" since the food was mostly crap and just a leftover meal from hotels...;-) (well it felt like it was...)

it was an awful "privilege" because though it was subsidized, the barracks and the quarters were awful (but better than MV). The company had to squeeze three people in one room, can you believe that...thus people move out and do not avail those meals and quarters.

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

The benefit that irks me is the 100% health benefit. Nobody in America has 100% health, but here it is (was) required.

I think the new labor law changes that. Instead of paying for all health coverage, it forces the company to purchase health insurance for the worker...but I don't know how much is covered.

bradinthesand said...

"i'm surprised and wondered why. it was in the contract. but not all avail of this "privilege" since the food was mostly crap and just a leftover meal from hotels...;-) (well it felt like it was...)"

hey rev, when you made the same money we did and had to factor in the cost of rent, health benefits, and food, you'd try to get the meals, too.

hell, three hot meals a day for a grand sum of $50/month? i was all in for that.

there were times when i literally lived on a bag or two of those cheap ass pancit canton noodles a day to get by.

smelling those hot meals come in was pretty shitty when you've got a rumble in your stomach and no money in your pocket.

as for the less than luxurious accommodations, it's called the "barracks" and not a fully furnished apartment.

when i was living in the barracks back in my army days, i had a roommate, too. no big deal.

while it's not the military, guest workers come here on assignment. it's like a temporary mission in which one sacrifices their home life for an income.

granted, it's not for everyone, but it's a way to save money. it all works out for those "on assignment."

at one point, i even asked to get a room in the barracks to help keep my $400 rent payments in my pocket.

nope. it wasn't an option because they wouldn't allow me to check in. i saw the rooms above the tribune, and they weren't that bad.

sure, they're not suitable for a family, but it was fine for singles bunking up while trying to make a living in a foreign land.

a better life is definitely out there. that's why not everyone is up for it.

trust me, the locals had it worse.

rev said...

while i empathize and understand how you feel Brad, it is indeed a big question when fair and equality are being raised here most of the time.

the reason why we were wondering why you were working for them. Now I heard that the new publisher is looking at getting reporters from the mainland.

I believe the new publisher is not aware of the salary of reporters in the mainland. I researched before on this and Hawaii e.g. Big Island is paying at least $3,000 a month for their newspaper. Can the tribune pay for the mainlanders, i don't know. Look at your case.

However, we also have to look at another picture here. How does the garment workers barracks work? The company houses them and i wonder what type of arrangements? Have you seen their barracks? Their conditions....

bradinthesand said...

"...we were wondering why you were working for them"

i enjoyed the job, the freedom, and the connection to the community. as a reporter, i was able to be a part of so many things here on saipan, tinian, rota and beyond.

the job was great. the pay was not. but there were benefits aside from pay that kept me happy.

sometimes i miss it. i just don't miss being dirt ass poor doing a job i loved.

...and i didn't mind a good challenge with management from time to time. i was happy to stand up for all of us when necessary.



while i've never seen the inside of a garment worker's barracks housing, i have been friends with many people who work there.

i never heard them complain about their conditions. perhaps because they knew what they were getting into when they left.

or because they are too prideful to discuss their situation. it could also be a little of both.

Jeff said...

Perhaps the question you should ask Angelo is why is the U.S. the only rich country in the world where not everyone can see a doctor?

Contract workers aren't robots, so the logic is pretty obvious. They're going to get sick eventually and not be able to pay medical bills on $3.05, so businesses would just be sticking it to the taxpayer. The other question is why weren't local workers offered a health plan. The CNMI government sold out its own people, but that's hardly news. They're trying to do it now with the minimum wage. Brad, love you, but it pisses me off that you repeatedly play this off as a contract worker v. local worker issue with the implication that somehow contract workers are getting a fair shake because of this. You should address your grievance to the ones culpable -- the local government. The fact that contract workers got some raggedy barracks and lousy food that they were charged for, and you couldn't, isn't their fault and it isn't them you should direct your understandable hostility on this point.

bradinthesand said...

no hostility towards the contract workers at all. just putting everything into its proper perspective.

and yeah, the government allowed there to be that sort of difference between the salaries.

now it's up to them to right the wrongs.raising the minimum wage is one thing, but leveling the playing field for local workers is another.

Marianas Pride said...

Brad, you are always welcome at my house, just not in my bedroom. Jk. Certainly you mut be making a good salary at PTI now as I know they pay well. Your experiences as a reporter are something you can always tell your kids and grand kids about or include in your memoirs. Life is not easy. Unless of course you are related to George w Bush or Dick Cheney...

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Or Ted Kennedy or George Miller.

Anonymous said...


Friday March 7, 2008

Beautify CNMI! to mark 2nd year

By Emmanuel T. Erediano

BEAUTIFY CNMI!, the coalition of people who, in the spirit of volunteerism, came together two years ago “to make the commonwealth a better place to live” will hold its anniversary dinner on March 27.

Co-sponsored by the Hotel Association of Northern Marianas Islands, Beautify CNMI!’s 2nd anniversary dinner will be held at the World Resort Hotel, according to USDA-Resource Conservation and Development coordinator, Ken Kramer who is a member of the coalition’s conservation committee.

He said he has ordered 1,000 bumper stickers that they will give out together with each ticket they are now selling for the event.

The “Protect our coral reef” sticker also tells the people that “what we do on the land can affect our marine environment.”

Kramer said most of those behind the Beautify CNMI! coalition are still joining cleanup activities around the island.

He said he and Mariana Island Nature Alliance executive director Angelo Villagomez are actively coordinating cleanup and other related activities with other Beautify CNMI! volunteers.

Tina Sablan who chaired the coalition’s recycling committee, is now a member of the House of Representatives while former Rep. Cinta M. Kaipat, who chaired the legislation committee, is now the Department of Labor’s deputy secretary.

Beautify CNMI!’s community partners include the Japanese community represented by Aya Matsumoto and the Friends of the Mariana Islands.

The tickets for the fundraising event are available at the Marianas Eye Institute, the Century Hotel and World Resort. The prize for a child under 12 is $15 and $25 for an adult.

rev said...

;-) clincher there is the prize...

minor mistake but cute...

dekada lawyer said...

Brad, you have repeatedly asserted that the news coverage on "federalization," Dekada rallies, the Unity March, and related subjects was biased. That is just nonsense that could not be supported by any kind of objective analysis.

Certainly there often was plenty to be desired in the coverage, but it hardly slanted in any particular way -- just sloppiness that I could complain about just as easily as anyone on a different side of the issue.

The only reason you perceived the coverage as slanted is because the facts that were being reported were truths that you did not like and opinions (reported neutrally) with which you disagreed.

Your criticisms of EE certainly have been valid, but your criticisms of the the media coverage related to "federalization" is no better than EE's reporting.

Funny how you have never said anything about the virtual news blackout of the Unity March by KSPN-TV.

dekada lawyer said...

Gosh, this has to be EE's best work ever. Detailed, precise, thorough.

Most importantly, I have to give him credit. So far as I know, this is the first time EVER that he stepped up and took responsibility for his errors.

He certainly did not do so with respect to his notorious and ridiculous story on the the anti-federalization motorcade.

dekada lawyer said...

Brad, your job working for the Trib was like mine when I was a Peace Corps Volunteer. Sure, we didn't come out here the same way, but what we were doing was not something that was career oriented, to support our families, or building economic security. We were not functioning at the bottom of Maslow's pyramid (regardless of how impoverished we may have been) but at the top. It was for experience of life and personal, even spiritual, growth.

There is a HUGE difference between that and where foreign national workers (to use the new official nomenclature) are generally.

On the matter of the benefits the FNWs got that you were refused, it was illegal for the Trib to deny you those benefits. The law required (although no enforcement mechanisms were ever put in place) that "resident workers" either receive the same benefits or the monetary equivalent. That a Tan company might violate the law, though, I'm sure would come as no surprise.

A cynic might assert that big companies heavily dependent on a subservient alien workforce have an interest in maintaining divisions between voting locals and disenfranchised foreign workers, and especially resentment on the part of the former toward the latter. The effect on the legal and administrative regime obviously tends to the subjugation of the foreign worker.

The same cynic would explain that is the very reason why the Resident Workers Fair Compensation Act was never enforced.

dekada lawyer said...

I don't think I have ever before seen a reporter write a confession ....

dekada lawyer said...

Brad writes: "raising the minimum wage is one thing, but leveling the playing field for local workers is another."

Actually, the two are closely related. The whole thing could readily have been addressed over a decade ago (when the economy was booming and, as the U.S. Dept. of Labor report notes, wage increases are readily absorbed with barely an economic ripple).

Nothing really prevents it even today, except the business and political communities are not really on the ball. Instead they pursue a myopic policy of fighting against minimum wage increases and "federalization" -- to preserve fatter short-term bottom lines for a few major players -- without regard to long-term welfare or overall economic health.

To understand how minimum wage is related to leveling the playing field, one needs to be aware of a few key facts.

First, under the FLSA (federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which includes minimum wages), benefits that are "usually and customarily provided" to workers, for the benefit of the worker not primarily the employer's convenience, can be included in determining employer compliance with the applicable minimum wage. Nothing prevents similar provision from being made in the CNMI Minimum Wage and Hour Act (MWHA); indeed, in that context the provisions could be readily tailored to local needs and conditions, in contrast with the FLSA regulations, which are complex and tailored to the mature economy of a metropolitan nation.

Years ago, the Hay Group did a labor study in the CNMI and found the effective wage for the average contract worker inclusive of "benefits" was around $5.50. There were no real questions about the validity of the study, although it was recognized that there was some unevenness in the applicability of the findings to particular workers.

As Senate counsel at the time, I recommended that the local minimum wage be raised to $5.50 or $5.75 hour with provision to allow deduction from wages for mandated benefits (so long as the net not fall below $3.05 hour) or inclusion of the benefit in determining compliance. This would have the effect of assuring a meaningful wage for local workers in the private sector and provided a simple, self-regulating economic mechanism to ensure comparable real wages between "nonresident" and "resident" workers.

Based on the Hay Group study, the net financial and economic effect of that proposal in principle would have been zero, although there would have been a fiscal benefit to the government. Of course, it would result in a cost increase to businesses that had been evading their benefit responsibilities to alien workers, but in that regard it only would have meant a leveling of the playing field in the business community as well as across classes of workers.

The recommendation was ignored (obvious from the fact that it took Federal action to change the minimum wage). Indeed, all attempts to increase the minimum wage in those days were shot down "by any means necessary" (that, I guess, is another topic).

To sum up, the Resident Worker Fair Compensation Act (never enforced but also incorporated into PL 15-108) is a clumsy alternative dependent on bureaucratic implementation.

This is also why it is critical that the incremental minimum wage increases remain in place. As Jane Mack has pointed out, if anything, the rate of minimum wage increases in too low, too slow.

I strongly recommend that everyone fax letters to Senator Bingham and all members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee urging them to leave the minimum wage increase for the CNMI alone.

If American Samoa wants special industry committees and their own minimum wage structure, fine. That is not our concern. There are, in any event, hugh differences between the economies of the CNMI and American Samoa and the economic environments in which each operate. I am aware that many economists have concluded that special industry committees do not function as intended and the only meaningful effect produced is to depress wages without any commensurate economic benefit. In short, they are a political gimmick.

Still, that fact is essentially irrelevant to us. The bottom line is there is no more justification for the CNMI to piggyback on American Samoa than there was for American Samoa to be piggybacked on the CNMI, which was the Republican trick (and nothing more than that) to try to embarrass Democrats and throw a monkey wrench into the process.

bradinthesand said...

great points, stephen. i have to look up all of the articles to prove my point, but they're there.

the stories are clearly slanted in both papers. it's a point of view bias and i understand it.

hey, i did the same when covering the little league world series by insisting on using taiwan instead of chinese-taipei.

in fact, i even tried to inject a little more of the same into the most mundane of sporting events.

a couple of years back, the pic had a 3-on-3 soccer tournament where each team chose the name of a country.

one of the teams chose china and another chose tibet. after all but the championship was decided, the two met in the finals, with tibet winning the crown.

my opening, which was edited out of existence, went something like this:

"after suffering from years of oppression from communist china, the people of tibet found reason to celebrate on Sunday as their unofficial local representatives downed china, 4-3, to take the annual pic soccer tournament."

i don't remember exactly how i wrote it, but it was something similar to that.

it didn't make it in the paper...

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