You can read a good blog post at Ken's SOS site on Fitial's plan to take over DPH by declaration of a state of emergency. And Doctor Cornett's very small hammer rant(they're still not getting it) at the Tribune.
Fitial extends the state of emergency at CUC. He's had the state of emergency in effect since May 2008--that's 1 year and 4 months already.
This new emergency declaration seems to contradict earlier reports.
When the Aggreko generators were turned off, we were told CHC was in much better shape, that CUC's power generation could definitely replace what Aggreko had provided.
The Saipan Tribune reported, on September 1, 2009, as follows:
“Today, we can safely pronounce that the Saipan power production crisis is over,” Gov. Benigno R. Fitial said in a brief ceremony in the main control room of CUC's power plant in Lower Base yesterday.
And the entire reason for the state of emergency declaration in the first place was all about that power generation issue, wasn't it? Well, that was the original excuse, but in August 2009 Fitial said it's also about hiring adequate personnel.
Of course, CUC needs to hire adequate personnel. What or who is adequate personnel? The Legislature is trying to wean the CNMI government from its dependence on cheap foreign labor; and Fitial is addicted to cheap foreign labor.
So because he disagrees with the CNMI Legislature's policies and decisions for the CNMI (which limit how many foreign workers an agency or department may have), he declares a state of emergency at CUC?
We are all captives. Fitial is determined to prove that we need our fix; we have a right to cheap, foreign workers who are underpaid and get no permanent rights and are kept forever powerless. And we're all going to suffer power black-outs and worse if we don't buy into Fitial's view of the situation.
I have no problem with hiring technicians from foreign countries; I just think we need to pay them on scale with what we would pay for local/US hires. And then maybe there will be a greater incentive, a real incentive for our residents to enter the workforce, get skills, and do the work. And we'll be treating our foreign work force with the respect they deserve.
In the meantime, we're still in a state of emergency-which is to say that Governor Fitial refuses to follow the procurement laws, the hiring laws, and whatever laws the CNMI Legislature passes. First CUC, next CHC. Those "states of emergency" are convenient for grabbing power, neh?
Then there's the bit about how the OPA has referred cases for more than $2.6 million dollars in misspent tax money for collection to the AG's Office.
1. $739,346 from Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission to UNNAMED CONSULTANT. (Why the hell don't we name names?)
2. $195,971 from Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission to "3 other individuals". (Why the hell don't we name names?)
3. $392,178 from Tinian Casino Gaming Control Commission to ??? themselves??? for questionable travel expenses in 1996 to 2001.
Perhaps it should be called the Tinian Casino Gaming No-Control Commission?
4. $1.3 million from CNMI to "different professional service contractors." (Why don't we name names?)
5. $100,000 improper payments from CNMI??? to "a surveying contractor on Tinian." (Why don't we name names?)
6. $75,000 misused by former Finance Secretary (1995-1997). (Who was that?)
7. $$$ double payments from (now defunct) MPLA to "officials of...MPLA" for per diem, etc. 1992-1994.
8. $40,000 misspent by CPA.
9. $$$ unspecified overpayments to former officials of CUC.
NEARLY ALL of these are past the statute of limitations. The AG has said so specifically about #8 and #9. But the same can be said for #3, #6 and #7. So now we have to ask, when were these violations of law first reported to the Attorney General's Office? Why does the AG not proceed with diligent action (or are they always getting the cases too late to recover the funds)?
Why does it take so long for the OPA to find these misappropriations and misspent accounts?
And why aren't we at least identifying who is behind the problem at each instance, so we have names? And why do we want casinos when the Tinian Gaming Commission is one of the biggest drains on our limited tax resources?
Found guilty on charges of sex abuse of a minor. His defense was that his 14 year old daughter was lying. This might work in some cases, but she's been a model student and otherwise fine person, and his other daughters came forward and testified against him also. For those victims from the earlier 2000 case who did not see justice when the case against Calvo was dismissed, this must be a small victory, too.
This is, after all, SaipanWriter! Walt Goodridge held a writer's workshop on Sunday, September 27, 2009.
Joe (Mango) Race brought up National Novel Writing Month! Yay! Interested in spending a month noveling? It's happening here in Saipan, as around the world, thanks to NaNoWriMo. Sign up. We write in November. (I'm the municipal liaison. If you need more information, contact me.)
And then there's Swine Flu in Yap
It must be bad, because the schools have now closed for 3 weeks.
But what's not in the news? the Philippine disaster-typhoon Ketsana. Thanks to Wendy for highlighting this story for the past 2 days.
And my own little off-topic "flashback" contribution:
I just found this bit about George W. Bush's favorite painting. This is such a laugh! As Art Blogger Bob says--narcissistic and stupid.