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May 21, 2008

Maybe they can hire a lobbyist to kill this bill

The Marianas Variety reports today that House Floor Leader Joseph Camacho is introducing legislation that would seriously restrict the use of government funds to hire lobbyists. The hiring of lobbyists by the CNMI government has of course been a touchy subject in recent years. Here are some questions for us all to ponder: Before the government uses taxpayer funds to hire a lobbyist, does it have some sort of ethical obligation to determine whether the position that it seeks to advance is in tune with the views of the citizens? For example, just as a hypothetical, would it be ethical for the government to hire a lobbyist to kill the national marine monument proposal if the overwhelming majority of the public supported it? Does winning a gubernatorial election give one the sole right to decide which causes lobbyists should be hired for with taxpayer funds?

28 comments:

Ron Hodges said...

Hiring lobbyists to protect personal and business interests to the detriment of the local populace is outrageous and criminal.

I would like the records of who our "new" lobbyists have met with, what they said in our behalf, and how those Congresspersons voted on issues pertaining to the commonwealth.

My sincere compliments to Representative Camacho.

sidelines guy said...

"Does winning a gubernatorial election give one the sole right to decide which causes lobbyists should be hired for with taxpayer funds?"

um, yeah? what did we elect the leader of the cnmi for? that's what he does. if we don't like it, we don't vote him in again (something i strongly expect to happen in 2009).

Anonymous said...

Unless the people, through their elected representatives, decide to limit the Governor's power.

But be careful what you wish for. In that case, the power would simply be exercised by the legislators.

However, it is important to note that the people, their legislators, and their Governor all opposed federalization.

Certainly an outspoken minority of bloggers or outside activists should not make such decisions.

Our legislature and Governor, after all, are directly accountable to the people. The pundits are not.

Anonymous said...

What evidence do you have that "the people" opposed federalization? With all the money spent on lobbyists, surely they could have afforded to do a simple poll (even restricting it to US citizens) if they were confident that the results would have backed their claims. That they never did that is quite telling. The community was not united either for or against federalization.

Anonymous said...

"Certainly an outspoken minority of bloggers or outside activists should not make such decisions."

Duh. Nobody said that bloggers or outside activists should "make such decisions". We're talking about important issues, which is a good thing. Or would you prefer that we just shut up and do what our leaders tell us?

Anonymous said...

Not at all. Constituent communication with our elected leadership serves a valuable purpose.

It is only when the likes of Ron Hodges attempt to shout down or verbally attack opposing viewpoints that it becomes somewhat counterproductive.

Yet even that is still one of the virtues of free speech -- the truth will come out.

We had a poll. It was called an election. Strong evidence of overwhelming public opposition to federalization was the almost unanimous majority of legislators' views against it (responsive to their constituents), and that they were almost all re-elected. We will see if the same can be said of the principal pro-federalization official, Pedro A. Tenorio.

We should also remain ever mindful that we live in a republic, not a democracy.

Those with faith should pray for our elected leaders.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect, that's very flimsy evidence that "the people" monolithically opposed federalization. Hardly any of the candidates made federalization a major campaign issue. The one that was most vocal about it, Tina Sablan, was in favor of it and she won (defeating some candidates that were vocally against it). The most vocal opponent of federalization, the Governor, saw even allies abandon his party to save their own skin. Meanwhile, the party of another supporter of federalization, Pete A, had a much stronger election than the Governor's party. Does any of this prove anything? No, but it shows that the election results can be spun to refute your unsubstantiated claim just as it can be spun to support it. You can bet that if there was a groundswell of opposition to federalization, the Governor would have paid for a poll and waived that poll all over Washington to show that he, not Pete A, spoke for the people.

Anonymous said...

One reason that most (but not all) legislators were opposed to federalization is that it reduces the power of those legislators.

Anonymous said...

If "the people" were so united against federalization, there would have been a decent turnout at the anti-federalization "motorcade".

Anonymous said...

well, if EE is to be believed...

WTF you said...

To Anon, how does Federalization reduce the power of individual legislators?

Anonymous said...

No one has said the people here are “monolothic” in their views.

The focus on “polling,” “marches,” and “motorcades” as a very activist-oriented, mainland-centric perspective.

We are not a big city, which is where the pro-federalists mostly hail from (USA, PRC, & RP). We are still a small community, where our political representatives see their constituents on a regular basis.

The federalist apologists still pushing their “spin,” purveying the views of David B. Cohen and the Ombudsperson, are seriously out of touch with life in the CNMI.

Tina Sablan is a great person, idealistic and energetic, but she barely squeaked in.

The points being made about the voters' views reflect an outsider mentality, not those who truly understand how our government functions.

KAP said...

What's missing in the discussion here is that a lobbyist should be budgeted, not hired out of 'discretionary funds.'

As far as what for, that's pretty much the Governor's call. I wouldn't have lobbied against the bills, but hey, that's his 30% constituency wants.

Headnote 3(a) last year is another matter-- the garment factories should have done that.

And trying for the $15 million? Brilliant if it works, wasteful if it doesn't. At least they flagged it when they did it.

Al Anon said...

KAP you are out of your F#@&ing Mind! Budgeted lobbyist!!! Who are you Charles Reyes?

Anonymous said...

So the motorcade was a mainland-centric perspective? Is that the excuse why it failed so badly?

ron h said...

"It is only when the likes of Ron Hodges attempt to shout down or verbally attack opposing viewpoints."

I did not shout or attack anyone. You FFF/chamber boys/HANMI/wage blockers seldom sign your names to blog comments, and I would guess, you retain anonymity to not shame your families and their names with such twisted economic rhetoric.

If I were an administration paying lobbyists to block a 50 cent wage hike while spouting such hate and fraud, I wouldn't want to attach my name to it either. The central message from the top down has been deceit, lies, and propaganda. Most of your "crowd" had ghosts, pen names, Bamboo characters to spew your mindless economic theory of deception.

So anon, I wrote spit in the soup and signed it...what are you afraid of?

ps crawl back in your hole.

cactus said...

There is no meaningful way to tell if people are for or against something they believe they have no choice about.

Soem people who are "for" federalization are for it only because they feel it is a done deal and it is better to shut up and move on than to continue fighting a hopeless cause.

Conversely, some people who are "against" it are against it only because it is being rammed down our throats, and might not mind it at all if it was done consensually and cooperatively.

Only when the CNMI people are offered a free choice whether or not immigration should be federalized will we know how much support the idea really has on its merits.

Soup lover said...

Ron Hodges I respect your opinion but please don't spit in my soup.

Anonymous said...

"The points being made about the voters' views reflect an outsider mentality, not those who truly understand how our government functions."

It's easy to understand. Give some semi-literate morons free beer and let them borrow tents and picnic tables, get elected, take trips abroad, collect per diems, hire friends, get kickbacks, fund it all with sweatshops using third world labor and mark it "Made in the USA." Make sure to ignore the power plant, not to fund the schools to avoid enough people getting smart enough to catch on to the scam (you missed one in Tina Sablan), and for kicks, let hotels dump sewage and runoff into the lagoon. Take more trips, hire corrupt lobbyists, put poker rooms every ten feet (Luis Crisostimo anyone) to suck in the federally funded food stamp money from same semi-literate one brown toothed morons.

When it comes to haoles, and you need someone on your side who can articulate actual sentences in something resembling English, bring in and only listen to the most selfish, for sale, pale skinned nimrods (Lynn Knight, Richard Pierce, Howard Willens et al) who are devoid of conscience and get paid a small fortune to tell you what you want to hear. When their bullshit stops working in Washington, claim oppression when mom and dad from the federal government won't allow cookies for breakfast anymore.

You people deserve to be sitting in the dark eating your spam in this s**thole.

Anonymous said...

OK, “Bill Betz.” Don't forget to mention the plentiful CNMI resources, and how we're so much worse off than the FSM.

“It is only when the likes of Ron Hodges attempt to shout down or verbally attack opposing viewpoints.”

“I did not shout or attack anyone. You FFF/chamber boys/HANMI/wage blockers seldom sign your names to blog comments, and I would guess, you retain anonymity to not shame your families and their names with such twisted economic rhetoric.”

Placing multiple copies of 1000-word rants in numerous bloggers' pages, several for each blogger, is about the closest online equivalent to shouting others down one can imagine. If truly relevant to multiple threads, the least you can do is learn to “link” to your words of wisdom.

No, I'm in none of the categories you villify above, and I've never met you. But your apparent vindictiveness in writing leads me to do everything in my power to ensure that I never need to worry about meeting you or your goon cronies, either.

Lil' Hammerhead said...

The Governor was elected.. he can try to move any position he wants, using lobbyists or other legal means. Your say comes at election time.

I would say that it makes us look amazingly screwed up. We have a representative in Washington, and another Elected official is using lobbyists to, in effect, communicate with and push policy for the CNMI Government.

We will really look imbecilic if this is the case when we have a Delegate to the U.S. Congress.

Could you imagine the Governor of Utah hiring a lobbyist to bypass its state's representatives? No.

Anonymous said...

Actually, states do it all the time. They often maintain offices in Washington, too.

“Surprisingly,” Members of Congress actually listen seriously to the Governor of their state, and very few Congressmen try to run for Governor.

Squeeker said...

"Conversely, some people who are "against" it are against it only because it is being rammed down our throats, and might not mind it at all if it was done consensually and cooperatively.
"

So why act like petulant kids? It is not being rammed down any ones throat. Dont you get it? We have been BaaaaD and now we are receiving consequences for our apathetic negligence. They only are so staunchly against it because they dont want anyone to tell them what to do. Well I say we shouldn't bite the hand that feeds us. Dont deny that our record was bad.

They do NOT speak on behalf of me and my vote. Hell, I even voted for the guy. I honestly thought a business man would be good for our floundering economy. I just didn't know all the shady stuff, till it was too late.

I bet if Tina ran for an office where all the islands' votes counted, she would win hands down. Maybe she squeeked by in Pr.1, but if you add up all the people that belive in her from the precints as a whole, she would do well.

Miss Maudie said...

Tina is our ATTICUS! She is who we trust to do the right thing.

Anonymous said...

How about the "sleeping giant"? The CNMI Democratic Party. Would it have a shot at any elective public office? I mean, this political party (once dominating) has been out of commission since 1998.

Interested to know anyone's thoughts on this.

Kimo

No more Lobbyist said...

Too bad it wasn't Tina who thought of this bill.

Popular Party for Life said...

Kimo, call me and we can build up the old donkey. Unfortunately many of the party elders are in bed with Fitial.

The Daily Yapper said...

"How about the "sleeping giant"? The CNMI Democratic Party. Would it have a shot at any elective public office? I mean, this political party (once dominating) has been out of commission since 1998."

Sorry, Kimo. Unfortunately, the Democratic party is a sack of crap just like all of the other parties in the CNMI.

I know you must love those fellas but calling the Democratic party the "sleeping giant" is like calling Ben Fitial the "resting sprinter."

Neither one would be able to answer the call of duty if called upon.

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