Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Some Thoughts on our Marine Monument

The Marianas Variety recently announced that Governor Fitial has named his three candidates for the Mariana Monument Advisory Council. Nominated: Benigno M. Sablan, a member of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council; Joaquin P. Villagomez, a former member of Wespac’s advisory panel; and Sylvan O. Igisomar, the director of the Division of Fish and Wildlife.

I can only say how very disappointed I am in our Governor for nominating three people who opposed the creation of the national marine monument here.

Note, the Variety would have the three men already in these positions, reporting incorrectly in its headline that Governor Fitial appointed them to the posts: Governor Fitial does not appoint the members of the Mariana Monument Advisory Council. He nominates them for appointment, which will be done by the U.S. Secretary of Interior and the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

Both Angelo and Lil Hammerhead have good posts on the subject. I agree with Lil's sentiments, but I like Angelo's less-emotional, more dealing-with-reality-as-it-is thinking.

Angelo's take (paraphrased by me):
The nominations should be based on principals, not personalities.

Principals could include designating people in key positions related to the monument. Yes, even Sylvan Igisomar, who, as head of DFW, holds a relevant governmental office.

Principals could also include nominating people who are excited and energetic about the national marine monument and who would work tirelessly to make it the best it can be. That's not likely to be any of the three named.

Principals could even include nominating the Attorney General, since the first order of business will involve legal work and drafting regulations, etc.

But picking political supporters who backed you to the hilt in your uninformed (some would say wilfully ignorant) opposition to the creation of a monument--that's not principaled, that's just cronyism and personal politics.

And there is that small bit that two of the three are not "officials of the government" so do not technically qualify for nomination, per the original designation of the Monument. See page 6 of this official Federal Register publication of the designation. (Sorry, the page loads slowly.)

So, the actual appointment will by the Secretaries of Interior and Commerce-new Obama officials. As to the two people who will make the final decision about the Mariana Monument Advisory Council, we have some information to process. President Obama has already announced his choice of Ken Salazar for the post of Secretary of Interior. We don't yet know who will be chosen for the Commerce position in the Obama Administration.

I have no opinion about Ken Salazar, although the reports are decidedly mixed when asking conservationists about him. It may be likely that Governor Fitial's nominations will be approved, but until that happens, we need to stay tuned.

More monument news:
The other news in today's paper about the monument was that out-going Secretary of Interior Dirk Kempthorne designated the Division of Fish & Wildlife as the lead agency in managing the monument. This is different than the management procedures for Papahanaumokuakea Marine Monument, where NOAA Sanctuaries has the lead.

I'm still trying to get a line of what this will mean.

At least it means Wespac will not be the lead agency. :-)


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

The Attorney General is a good suggestion. Yes, it is 1:20 AM and I am still awake. I'm too excited to sleep. It's like Christmas.

Lil' Hammerhead said...

My point was.. this great thing has been handed us (the monument designation), why not appoint people who will help take full advantage of it? The people I listed, and there are certainly more, are people who have proved they can organize and carry forward plans, they are also tied to the monument via their backgrounds/careers. Why appoint folks who have been, and will likely continue to be, adversaries of the real purpose of the monument. I personally believe none of the individuals want the monument to succeed.. they vehemently stated it couldn't, wouldn't and served no purpose, so how will they now serve the real purpose of the monument? Short answer.. they won't.

Saipan Writer said...

Yup, Lil. I agree with those sentiments.

But we have to accept the reality that we are temporarily stuck with Governor Fitial being the one who will nominate candidates for the Advisory Council. And it is painfully obvious he's still against the Monument, except as a Wespac-sabotaged deal.

And I didn't mean to suggest you weren't rational and were only emotional. Sorry, the post sounds that way.

But I echo your sentiments, too--with the idea that principals to use in selecting nominees include those who are excited and energetic about the national marine monument.

Perhaps we should all write to the Secretary-designate of Interior and voice our concerns.

Lil' Hammerhead said...

I know you understood SW. I just like reiterating my frustration with this continued absolute stupidity. Your post gave me one more avenue to do that.