When you get stuck along Beach Road, better take the Middle Road. This is a website for those who choose to tread Saipan's off the beaten path. * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * + * +

May 2, 2008

SOCA 2008: Vacant seats, bickering, and photo ops

It's interesting to note that there were lots of vacant seats at the 2008 State of the Commonwealth Address...This is so unlike the previous years when the venue was filled to capacity.


No jubilant applause...just obligatory applause...and nobody stood up at the end of the governor's address and the Washington rep's address.

Is it the economy? Is it distrust with the governor or the resident representative? Is it apathy? Is it something else?

The governor cited 3 options in dealing with the inevitable signing into law of the CNMI federalization bill --

1. Litigation -- challenging S. 2739 in court. Who will shoulder the cost of the litigation? The taxpayers? or the governor himself?

2. Negotiate regarding the implementing rules and regulations -- which is a must, not an option, governor.

3. Amendment/repeal of law -- what else is new with CNMI leaders?


The governor's speech writer has no one-liner to describe the real "State of the Commonwealth" or the state of the economy...No 'pretty darn good' or 'pretty darn bad' or 'sky is falling'...

The governor also blamed the Legislature for CUC's $1.2 million monthly operating deficit.

Towards the end of his address, the governor said, "During the last eight years we have done a dismal job in Washington in educating members of Congress and their staffs about the Commonwealth -- its location, history and needs."



He underlined the word "dismal."

When he read this part of his address, Washington Rep. Pete A reacted with a sarcastic smile...

Governor Fitial went on to say that "we must do a better job in the future."

Pete A is running for a delegate seat.

Before delivering his address, Pete A stopped by Fitial's place and shook his hands...I wonder what he told the governor...

After the not-so-spectacular SOCA 2008, Pete A and Fitial repeatedly shook hands for the cameras...of course, they were not sincere about it.


Here's a complete text of Gov. Benigno R. Fitial's 16-page speech:

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STATE OF THE COMMONWEALTH ADDRESS
Governor Benigno R. Fitial
May 2, 2008

President Reyes, Speaker Palacios, Honorable Members of the Legislature and
People of the Northern Mariana Islands
Before I begin my address, let us pause for a moment of silence to remember and honor our ten fallen service members who have perished in the Iraqi war zone. Four have been added to the list since I spoke last year:
PFC John Derek Flores
CPL Victor M. Fontanilla
CPL Joe Junior Gogue Charfauros
Seaman AnaMarie SN. Camacho
[SILENCE]
The service and sacrifice of these young men and women will never be forgotten.
****
I am here today to report on the State of the Commonwealth. I will start with our economy, then review the Government’s response to our declining revenues, and conclude with a discussion of the Commonwealth Utilities Corporation and federal legislation.
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[The Commonwealth’s Economy]
Last year I talked about Kumho Asiana’s ambitious plans for its LaoLao Bay Golf Resort. Yesterday I had great pleasure in attending the ground-breaking ceremony for this $60 million dollar luxury golf resort project. They are now on their way to build up to 120 high-end villas, and a new clubhouse and teahouse.
These three drawings will give you some perspective on the venture. The first drawing is the entrance to the hotel in LaoLao. The next faces the green on the 18th hole with the hotel on the left side. The third drawing shows the view of the hotel from above the 18th hole.
The confidence of Kumho Asiana in the Commonwealth is reassuring evidence of our eventual economic recovery. Kumho Asiana is a multi-billion dollar conglomerate, with more than two dozen subsidiaries, and is now the fifth largest family-run company in South Korea.
Our efforts to increase investment over the last two years have produced other successes as well.
• Just a few days ago MRDC took an important step toward obtaining the permits necessary before construction can begin on its Tinian project. MRDC plans to build the 405-room hotel casino Matua Bay Resort on the island and a 18-hole championship golf course –at an estimated cost for the first phase of $179 million dollars. The company hired one of Japan’s most distinguished architects to design the hotel casino resort. Here are some drawings reflecting his creativity. The round structure in front is the casino itself layered into several floors. The interior is a spacious innovative design.
• The Bridge Investment Group recently announced that it has scheduled its groundbreaking ceremony for its project in June. When
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completed, the Tinian Oceanview Resort and Condominiums project will consist of a 301-room hotel and 268 condominium rooms at an estimated cost of $40 to $60 million.
• Under its new owners, the former Nikko Hotel – now the Palms Resort Saipan – will undergo extensive renovations beginning early this summer. By focusing on one wing at a time, Palm Resorts Saipan plans to keep the hotel open during this period.
Our visitor industry is showing positive signs of fighting back from the decline in arrivals last year. In December Northwest started a new daily daytime flight from Osaka to Saipan. By this one flight alone, we anticipate an increase of more than 20% in Japanese visitors during 2008.
Asiana last year added four additional daytime flights from Seoul to Saipan and, later in the year, added flights from Busan to Saipan four times a week. We have seen rapid, double digit growth in South Korean arrivals over the past two years and we expect more progress in the coming years.
I was very impressed to hear that the Rota community turned out in the early morning hours earlier this week to welcome the first of 40 charter flights from Japan to that island. These flights are sponsored by Kinki Nippon Tours and Continental Airlines. The Rota charter flights are fully booked, which will bring about 8,000 tourists to Rota.
We are continuing as well to develop the growing markets in both China and Russia. I am confident that visitor arrivals this year will be at least 15% greater than the arrivals in 2007, providing a needed boost for our hotels and other businesses catering to tourists.
Looking beyond next year, we hope that the Commonwealth will share in the economic benefits resulting from the military buildup on Guam. I
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have directed all CNMI agencies to cooperate fully with the different environmental studies of our islands being conducted by federal officials. We anticipate receiving a draft Master Plan for the CNMI later this year. We read in the media about possible military uses on Tinian, Pagan, the most northern islands, and recently Goat Island. The Lt. Governor and I believe that the military planners should discuss these issues with Commonwealth representatives before – not after – they formalize their draft Master Plan.
Our expedited drawdown of federal CIP funds will also contribute to improved economic activity in the next few years. Between January 2006, when this Administration took office, and April 30, 2008, the Commonwealth drew down a total of $51 million dollars – 46% of the cumulative balance available for our use. Within the next six months, we will be implementing about $39 million dollars of our CIP funds towards projects that will stimulate our economy. By Spring 2009, the CNMI will have an Infrastructure Plan in place to satisfy the requirements necessary to qualify for future water and waste water infrastructure funding from the federal government.
[Response to Declining Government Revenues]
Now let me turn to the serious problem of declining government revenues.
I have just received approval from the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury for our plan to implement the federal stimulus legislation. As a result, the Commonwealth expects to receive about $16.1 million dollars to cover our payments to eligible CNMI residents. Under the law, tax rebates will be
5
paid in the amount of $600 per individual, $1,200 for joint filers, and $300 per eligible child. Our plan is to begin issuing the first batch of checks by the end of this month. The Commonwealth Treasury will certainly welcome any increase in revenues due to this large infusion of cash into our economy. Even so, it is unlikely that this will be enough to offset the anticipated negatives for the current fiscal year. It remains my strongly held view that this Government should not engage in deficit financing. As shown by this chart, we have consistently tried to keep our expenses in line with revenues. I regret that it looks as though we are unable to do that in the current fiscal year. We have been unable to reach agreement on an austerity program with the Legislature.
We have tried to adjust to the declining revenues without reducing the essential public services in the CNMI. Let me illustrate some of the difficulties. The current projected expenditures in 2008 are $171 million dollars and that will have to be reduced. For 2009, the budget will be set at $160 million. All three branches of government have lived with reduced funding in recent years. But the Executive Branch has been reduced the most. From expenses of $109 million dollars in 2005, the Executive Branch has been reduced to $83 million dollars for 2008-- a reduction of
nearly 25%.
We have tried to protect our most essential public services from significant reductions. But we have been able to do that only with respect to our public school system. Looking ahead to fiscal 2009, the Executive Branch is reduced further from $83 million dollars to $74 million dollars. The Legislative Branch is allocated an increase in funding. In summary, we have made significant
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reductions in the Executive Branch, but we are trying to protect essential public services.
As a result of these budgetary decisions, we have reduced the number of government employees, especially in the Executive Branch. The number of employees in the Government declined from 4137 at the beginning of fiscal year 2006 to 3216 at the end of fiscal year 2007 (last September) – a reduction of about 22%. We have reduced that number to about 3,116 in 2008.
Despite these limitations, I am proud of the way in which many agencies have stepped up to the challenge. Let me mention a few of them:
• The Department of Labor is a totally new and impressive department. For the first time in nearly 15 years, it is current in the handling of labor cases. The status of nearly all foreign workers has now been determined and those that are not employed are being repatriated. The Department has a new computer system that upgrades its ability to keep track of all transactions in the foreign worker labor pool. It has a new website where our citizens can see what jobs are available. It has a new system for citizens to bring their complaints to the Labor Department. The enforcement of the new law has been vigorous but fair, and has produced immediate results. Foreign workers who try to enter the CNMI on phony documents are now put on a return plane home. Persons who do not have real businesses are being denied the right to hire a foreign worker.
• The Department of Finance after months of difficult negotiations finally reached agreement with the Internal Revenue Service that
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resulted in the payment to the CNMI of $26.4 million dollars of income tax payments. The receipt of these funds enabled us to issue long overdue refund and rebate checks to our taxpayers in December 2007. For this year I am assured that refund and rebate checks due this year will be paid.
• The Office of the Attorney General has established an Office of White Collar Prosecution staffed with two attorneys and four investigators. I supported the creation of this Office in order to emphasize our determination to prosecute government corruption. I recognize that developing these cases is often difficult, where they involve proof of criminal intent and eyewitnesses or participants are reluctant to testify. The new unit has had several successes to date – involving the Lawncare case, the Kagman High School Fraud, and the ongoing prosecution of a large-scale CUC billing scam. I expect more such prosecutions in the future.
• The Northern Marianas College has a new President whose efforts I fully support. We are determined to help the College maintain its certification. I have dedicated $380,000 to NMC to fund critical staff requirements and renovation and repairs. I am exploring a plan to leverage federal CIP funds so as to provide the needed operational funds for the College. During the past year, the College played a leading role in establishing the strategic workforce action team (SWAT) aimed at bringing together the agencies committed to providing more, and better, training for our young people ready to enter the workforce.
• The Commonwealth Health Center opened its Center for Public Health and Dialysis – the most modern center of its kind in the
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Western Pacific. The Health Center was inspected and again certified by Medicare as providing quality healthcare. I am committed to the delivery of high quality, affordable healthcare services in the CNMI.
• The Defined Contribution Plan for government employees has been in successful operation for more than a year. The Plan now has more than 500 participants. We are committed to strengthening the Defined Benefit Plan. We have worked with the Retirement Fund and CDA to agree upon an initiative to authorize the issuance of pension obligation bonds. The proceeds from these bonds will reduce the Government’s unfunded liability to the Retirement Fund. I ask the Legislature to enact this initiative.
[Commonwealth Utilities Corporation]
Now let’s talk about CUC.
[Current Rehabilitation of Power Plant Facilities]
We are near the end of a rehabilitation project to address the serious maintenance and repair needs of our three power plants. We thank the Department of the Interior, Office of Insular Affairs, for the $6.5 million grant in mid-2007 to help us address the many problems of Power Plant 1.
CUC and its contractors have worked with a schedule defining the tasks and setting deadlines for the eight engines in Plant 1. As reflected by this chart, the completion date is set for September of this year. The red bars show pending rehabilitation. The green bars show completed work. The yellow bars show ongoing work. We are on schedule. With this program we will have increased the total megawatts from 28.7 to 81.2 in six months. When this work is done, CUC
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will be able to produce electricity up to 90% of its capacity – an efficiency level
not seen for many years.
[Fuel Costs and Customer Rates]
We all know how fuel costs have increased over the past two years. At this time last year, the cost of a barrel of crude oil was about $70. You can see from this chart that it is now approaching $120. CUC was permitted under its charter to set rates that would reflect the increased cost of its fuel and did so until the Legislature intervened.
Last year the Legislature voted to override my vetoes of six proposed laws.
Four of these bills negatively affected CUC’s cash flow. The most important of
these was Public Law 15-94, which substantially reduced the electric rates and
charges for residential customers.
I vetoed this legislation because I feared it would drive CUC into insolvency. As a result of these laws, CUC is presently operating at a deficiency of $1.2 million per month. It was unable to find money to pay for a full shipment of fuel in April. There are no funds available in the Commonwealth to subsidize CUC.
Since the new Legislature convened in January, we have urged it to repeal Public Law 15-94. The House of Representatives agreed with this approach. But the Senate declined to go along. I still believe that the quickest means of providing some relief to CUC is to repeal Public Law 15-94. I appreciate the recent action of the Legislature in passing Bill No. 16-79, which provides for a six month suspension of Public Law 15-94. I plan to sign this bill promptly.
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[Action by the Public Utilities Commission]
Three of the five members of the Public Utilities Commission have been appointed, enough to provide a quorum and to get organized. I will be proposing candidates for the two additional positions in the near future.
The Commission has authority under its statute to provide interim rate relief. The CUC is now in the process of preparing a request for rate relief that is needed to put the agency back on an economically sustainable basis. It could be filed as early as next week.
The Commission is an independent agency. It will make its own determination of what evidence must be provided to support a reasoned and appropriate decision. The agency is authorized to retain such professional assistance as it needs to do the job. I am confident that the members will perform their tasks with distinction and expedition.
[Short-term Needs of CUC]
CUC has serious short-term cash needs even if relief is provided by the Legislature or by the Commission. Appropriations are needed to assist CUC over the next three or four months. The Secretary of Finance and I will be conferring with the Legislature about how best to achieve that objective.
[Privatization of CUC]
Privatization of CUC still remains one of my important objectives. But I recognize that certain steps need to be taken before we can seriously revisit the privatization question. First, we need to complete the rehabilitation program and make certain it has achieved its goals. Second, we need to consider further a performance management contract as a useful first step in professionalizing our management of the utility. Third, we need to make certain that we produce a RFP
11
that addresses all of the problems identified by the Public Auditor in upholding the protest to our last RFP on this subject.
Lastly, we need to persuade the Legislature that privatization must be presented in a way that ensures all qualified candidates a fair and equal chance at
success. In that connection, I believe that there is no place in such a process for
preferences for local concerns. I would like to see the Legislature eliminate all such preferences across the board, but certainly in any privatization effort involving the critical services now performed by CUC.
[Alternative Energy Sources]
We have an RFP outstanding with respect to alternative energy sources. More than a dozen companies have expressed their interest in submitting proposals across a wide range of green technologies – wind, solar, biodiesel,ocean waves, and geothermal. The present schedule provides for submission of proposals by May 16, 2008. We believe that this RFP can withstand any protest
and look forward to having the various proposals evaluated carefully and professionally.
[Federal Legislation]
During the past year I have spent much of my time in dealing with the federal proposals relating to minimum wage and immigration in the Commonwealth – as a witness in three Congressional hearings and in many meetings with Members of Congress and their staffs to explain our position on the issues.
I was greatly assisted in these efforts by the Commonwealth’s business community. I would like to thank the former and current presidents of the Chamber of Commerce – Juan Pan Guerrero and Jim Arenovski – for their
12
willingness to step up to this challenge and represent their members so ably. In
addition, I would like to thank Lynn Knight, President of the Hotel Association
of the NMI, for her dedicated contributions on behalf of the Commonwealth. Let me briefly summarize where we stand.
[Minimum Wage]
When Congress increased federal wage levels nationwide last year, it directed that the Secretary of Labor file a report in early 2008 examining the impact of a second 55 cent increase scheduled for May 2008 for American Samoa and the Commonwealth. The Department’s report was based on the best available data. It concluded that “it seems likely that the current economic decline may be made worse with any future minimum wage increase for the CNMI.
Members of the Senate Energy Committee have supported the deferral of this increase, both during and after the hearings on February 28, 2008, in which I testified.
However, deferral has been opposed by both Senator Kennedy and Representative
Miller. In a letter to the Secretary of Labor, they were very critical of the
Department’s report. In particular, they complained about the lack of reliable data to support the Department’s conclusions regarding likely injury to the economies of the Commonwealth and American Samoa. In light of this opposition, we are not
optimistic about obtaining this deferral.
As an alternative, I have developed, along with my good friend, Congressman
Faleomavaega of American Samoa, a program for economic relief for both insular areas. It is our way of dealing with our current economic problems and to offset the likely consequences of a second increase in the minimum wage level. We have asked the Appropriations Committee to support an amendment to provide $15 million each to the Commonwealth and to American Samoa.
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We do not know what the eventual outcome will be in the Appropriations Committee. But we have done our very best to protect the Commonwealth’s interests.
I intend to pursue these issues with Interior Secretary Kempthorne. We will ask
the Secretary to obtain funds to conduct regular and detailed studies of the economic
factors affecting the insular areas – the same kind of economic studies that are
available to every State and local community on the Mainland and in Puerto Rico.
Without such reliable data, we will never to able to counter criticisms like those from Senator Kennedy and Representative Miller regarding the Department of Labor report.
[Immigration and Labor Legislation]
The House of Representatives approved Senate Bill 2739 a few days ago – on April 29, 2008. It now goes to the President for signature. I will not make any final decision on the Commonwealth’s response until the legislative process is finished.
The legislation in its present form is far more damaging to the Commonwealth than the proposals that were originally considered by the Senate and House Committees. We continue to believe that the legislation will do serious damage to our economy – increasing the likelihood that we will remain in an economic depression for many years to come.
In any situation like this, there are three courses of action that can be pursued
individually or simultaneously – litigation, negotiations regarding the regulations, or seeking new legislation. I am in the process of consulting with the Legislature, the business community, the indigenous community, and other interested parties about
these options.
Many have urged me to challenge the federal legislation in court. They are
concerned about its impact on our economy, where about 75% of our workforce
consists of foreign workers. They do not believe that this legislation is authorized by the Covenant. They believe that it denies our right of self-government over our local
14
economy and workforce. They believe it is contrary to the U.S. Constitution, because
no local community on the Mainland has been, or could be, subjected to such controls
over its local economy.
We all know that litigation is a difficult and controversial alternative. There is
both vigorous support and articulate opposition to this course of action in the
community. I respect this range of views.
The second option is preparing to participate to the fullest extent in the drafting
the regulations implementing the new law. We cannot afford to sit back and wait for
the federal agencies to solicit our opinion regarding the regulations.
One group has already responded to this challenge. Representatives from Guam
and the CNMI have joined forces in the new Marianas Integrated Immigration Task
Force. The members represent the visitor industry bureaus and the hotel associations
of both communities, joined by Mel Gray, Director of the CNMI Division of
Immigration. They are concentrating on the law’s provisions for a joint visa waiver
program in which both Guam and the CNMI can participate. Unless the regulations
implementing these provisions are drafted in a sensible manner, neither Guam nor the
Commonwealth will be able to develop the full potential of the Chinese tourist
market.
I welcome the plan of the Chamber of Commerce to establish a committee of its
members to undertake a similar task, with a focus on the foreign worker provisions of
the new law. The goal is to ensure, to the extent possible, that the legislation as
implemented will do as little damage to the CNMI as possible.
The third option – amending this legislation – should become available when
the Congress considers immigration reform for the Nation. This is likely to happen
next year with a new Administration and a new Congress. We believe that the unique
problems of this small island community – and its unique guest worker program—will
be better understood by the immigration experts in the Judiciary Committees of the
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two Houses of Congress than was the case in the shaping of the legislation that was
just approved by the Congress.
[A Lesson for the Future]
Our experience with the Congress during the past 16 months produces one
important message for the Commonwealth.
During the last eight years we have done a dismal job in Washington in
educating Members of Congress and their staffs about the Commonwealth – its
location, history, and needs. During the past 16 months, representatives of the
business community and my Administration have met with representatives of more
than 45 Members of Congress. Time and time again, they were told that these offices
(and the Members) had never heard of the Commonwealth. Under the circumstances,
it is not surprising that we were not able to muster any significant support in dealing with our minimum wage and immigration issues.
We must do better in the future. We must assign a higher priority to ongoing relationships with Members of Congress and their staffs. We cannot afford to relax and respond only when an emergency arises. It may be that having a Delegate in Congress will help address this problem, if we elect someone who has the energy and ability to put into the new job. But the problem is larger that any one person. This
November a new Congress will be elected. We need to be ready with a program for welcoming the newcomers to Washington and for educating them about our Commonwealth.
Conclusion
We are a strong and resilient community. We have taken many major blows over the past few years. I intend to face our challenges during the
16
next year with only one goal in mind – to protect the interests of this Commonwealth and achieve the potential envisioned by the Covenant.
Thank you

18 comments:

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Dismal (underlined) sounds like a reasonable adjective to me under the circumstances.

The photo is not indicative of the turn out. Overall, the room, once the party started and the late comers arrived, looked pretty full from where I sat.

The large, expensive, glossy photo op book purchased at taxpayers expense to aggrandize the presence and hype the chances of reelection for the WashRep was ill conceived and not much appreciated by the crowd I sat with.

Other impressions follow.

bradinthesand said...

i filmed the whole thing am putting it on youtube.

glend558 said...

Well I guess all that money for lobbyists was wasted, damn what a travisty. All those trips and delegates and they don't know who we are. Another SNAFU by the governor!

downthedrain said...

The Governor here is a disgrace in every respect.

Bruce is correct about the room being near capacity. The seats were at least 80% full and some stood along the wall in the back.

Lobbyists, losers, and abusers support this circus clown.

Marianas Pride said...

If Governor Fitial plans on using our tax dollars to fight federalization, he will see another side of litigation hopefully...a class-action lawsuit by the CNMI taxpayers! If he wants to use attorneys to fight federalization, I suggest he use his "volunteer" dynamic duo, Deane Siemer and Howard Willens. I certainly had no reason to go to the circus we call a State of the Commonwealth. As predicted, Governor Fitial said nothing out of the ordinary and told us nothing we already don't know. Governor Fitial's greatest failure is in his ability to plan and prioritize. By consistently putting fighting federalization ahead of solving our power crisis, he has ensured that he stands no chance of getting re-elected. Unfortunately, I have yet to see a gubernatorial candidate who shows the tenacity to bring change and the intellect to properly plan for it.

The best thing for the CNMI at this point is to seek honest and upstanding citizens capable of reclaiming our broken government. Down with the OBN! Up with fresh faces and honest individuals! For those who say they don't want to run, I ask you this: if not you, then who? If not now, then when? We need bold, honest, intelligent leaders who can inspire. Are you one of them? Remember, change begins with you...

PNGed twice said...

"Our experience with the Congress during the past 16 months produces one
Important, but now meaningless message for the Commonwealth.
During the last eight years we have done a dismal job in Washington in
educating Members of Congress and their staffs about our corruption and abuseswirling about the Commonwealth – its
location is like being in a hidden sweatshop, history of abuse, and public relations needs. During the past 16 months, representatives of the
business community and my Administration have met with one representative of more
than 45 Members of Congress, but those f&cking secretaries never leave our distorted messages. Time and time again, they were told that these offices
(and the Members) had never heard of the Commonwealth, which is the way we have long kept this sh&t swept under the rug. Under the circumsizances,
it is not surprising that we were not able to muster any significant support in dealing
with our minimum wage and immigration issues. I can’t believe we must now pay those f&chin Chinese and Filipinos.
We must do better in the future. We must assign a higher priority to ongoing relationships with new imerging markets that have not heard of our record of abuse and share it with Members of Congress and their staffs. We cannot afford to relax, respond, and pay those people only when an emergency arises. It may be that having a Delegate in Congress will help address this problem, if we elect someone who will lie and spread misinformation like our ass kissing chamber leadership has the energy and ability to do the new job. But the problem is larger that any one person. This
November a new Congress will be elected. We need to be ready with a program for welcoming the newcomers to Washington and for educating them about our Commonwealth." Ben F




I think lobbyists and advocates from the CNMI and beyond did a fine job communicating the message of reality here. Perhaps some Jr. staffers have never heard of Saipan, but most Congressional members certainly know the story of shame spread on the decent people of the commonwealth by big business and this administrations close relationship to them. Do you think it was coincidental that only one Congressman met with the Saipan Chamber during their duping attempt in the summer of 2007(actually 3 House members were quoted that no House member would meet with them)? Do you think there are any members of the US Congress that have not heard of Ben F, Allen Stayman, David Cohen, Willie T, Wendy Doromal, Jack Abramoff and this whole sorted affair?

This administration could have blocked federalization with real reform, like Tina's bill, early in 2007, but in my opinion, the greed of our slave driving business/hotels and our association with corruption swung the hammer. No one should take more blame than Ben Fitial.

Had the administration formulated a plan and sent some credible reps to Washington DC, the NMI would have kept control of labor and immigration, but sending the likes of Dick, Lynn, and our unscrupulous chamber was a strategy mistake that ended our unique position.

In conclusion, the new Washington Rep will have power and authority to submit amendments to s.2739. I would guess this is why our Governor has tried to smear Pete A., so the chamber crowd can put some yes man in DC. Don’t put one of our criminals to represent the decent people of the NMI.

Anonymous said...

That is hilarious Hodge(assuming you are PNGed twice), you should have written the state of the NMI address...funny stuff!

Ron Hodges said...

The best thing for the CNMI at this point is to seek honest and upstanding citizens capable of reclaiming our broken government. Down with the OBN! Up with fresh faces and honest individuals! For those who say they don't want to run, I ask you this: if not you, then who? If not now, then when? We need bold, honest, intelligent leaders who can inspire. Are you one of them? Remember, change begins with you... Ed Propste

This is an inspiring quote worth remembering. Strong work Ed.

We are in need a bold dynamic leadership unafraid to act with unwavering love for our beautiful home.

glend558 said...

When mentioning the CNMI in the halls of congress and no one seem to know where or what it is just mention Jack Abramoff. They then will reply, "Oh Yeah I remember now!"

g00$e_banger said...

Honest and upstanding citizens? This is politics kids. Honesty is the quickest path to the bottom of the political cesspool. What you really need are ruthless, power lusting, murderous dagger wielders who never sleep and can see in the dark and lie with saintly sincerity. People who can fuck you in the ass with rusty barbed wire and leave you hopelessly in love.

They must, of course, be brought to share your political vision. This costs, but that's how it works.

If honesty was a political virtue Jimmy Carter would be a hero and Ralph nader would be in the White House.

KAP said...

Just Curious. Doesn't this passage from the end of the speech sound like "we need more lobbyists?"

It may be that having a Delegate in Congress will help address this problem, if we elect someone who has the energy and ability to put into the new job. But the problem is larger that any one person. This November a new Congress will be elected. We need to be ready with a program for welcoming the newcomers to Washington and for educating them about our Commonwealth.

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

Let's just send everyone in Congress a link to Brad Ruszala's blog.

Anonymous said...

Kap, yes it sounds like 'we need more lobbyists' who are aligned with the Fitial administration and not the likes of Pete A.

This governor delivered a speech saying we will get our share of the economic stimulus package from the feds beginning this month, and thanked DOI/OIA for grants to help fix the nightmare that is CUC, and then said he's also looking at suing the feds for federalizing CNMI immigration.

by the way, Brad has found his calling....

KAP said...

Heh, maybe OIA will give us a grant to sue Homeland Security.

Anonymous said...

or a federal grant for the CNMI to hire lobbyists to block or suspend implementation of the federalization law.

Deep Pockets said...

Marianas Pride said...

“If Governor Fitial plans on using our tax dollars to fight federalization, he will see another side of litigation hopefully...a class-action lawsuit by the CNMI taxpayers!”

That's real swift, Ed. Let's see how much more money we can spend from the Commonwealth Treasury so lawyers like Dekada Shyster, OBD&B, Rex Kosack, and Mailman & Kara can live in and pay for ridgeline mansions.

Let's don't prosecute crime, waste, fraud, and abuse so the CNMI can defend frivolous lawsuits.

Whether you agree or disagree, anti-federalization litigation is within the lawful purview of the executive branch.

If any actual such complaint is meritless, be sure to point out why -- if and when it's filed.

Anonymous said...

Challenging federalization in court would be the epitome of a frivolous lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

Just because anti-federalization litigation would be "within the lawful purview of the executive branch" does not mean that it would not be one of most pointless, futile, dumb-ass ideas in CNMI history (and there's a lot of competition). Wasting money that the Commonwealth does not have is not within the "lawful purview of the executive branch."

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About this site

This site is the Saipan Middle Roaders' blog--the wannabes, the frustrated ones, and the repressed ones...

There are several thoughts that have been written on paper, online or on the walls of every NMI building's bathrooms.

This site is for the geeks, for the shameless bitches, and for the restless drunks.

This site is for everyone.

Disclaimer:

Posts on this weblog are entirely the authors' opinions and views only.