The tangentangen is full of brown, crackling, dried seed pods. Breadfruit trees are laden with huge ripe fruits. The nights are still cool and comfortable for sleeping, but the days have become hot and close--the kind of heat that leeches the energy out of you and makes you want to take a nap.
Immigration -- There may be a court challenge to the CNMI's recent enactment, P.L. 17-1. If you are an alien in the CNMI or an employer of foreign workers in the CNMI, and you want to join forces in challenging the law, you might see a lawyer now. Low income persons can apply for help at MLSC. Others with middle or more income could check private lawyers like Mark Hanson, Rob Torres, Steve Woodruff, Colin Thompson, Richard Pierce (or any attorney of your choice).
CNMI politics--Still as disruptive as ever. The AG's office seems to be an arm of the Governor's Office, rather than an office serving the interests of the people. I now favor an independently elected AG. I worried that this would only make the office more political; but it now seems to be so political that "more" is impossible. I worried that legal work is not well-understood by the community and the opinions publicly stated would often lead to unconstitutional and unfair results; but the office is being used for unconstitutional and unfair results in the hands of the Governor, without accountability, so the people may be a better choice! I realize that the people re-elected the Governor, so there is little likelihood of real improvement with an elected AG; but it is remotely possible that such election would provide a measure of independence that is currently not present, and that would be healthy.
The CNMI budget--We're going to see the new CNMI Constitutional provision in play this year, and it won't be pretty. Governor Fitial will have a proposed budget by April 1. But the pressure on the Legislature to pass a budget by October 1 may force concessions no one likes.
Some ideas for what our CNMI Legislature could be focusing on now:
1. We have too many government employees--and the cuts should be at the top first, where expense is greatest. Constitutional protections may apply to those in office, but if our CNMI Congress would pass legislation now that lowers these salaries, we will at least see savings in the future. Do it!
2. They could change to a part-time Legislature. And eliminate the municipal councils. We don't need so much government. We can't afford so much government.
3. They could LEGISLATE a list of essential public services, so that the Governor cannot unilaterally decide who gets money and who doesn't based on his own preferences, all under the guise of what is essential, if and when the budget doesn't pass. No more continuing resolution.
We want a rational process, not unmitigated and unrestricted politics.
Community--The SSHS Manta Ray Band concerts on 3/26 and 3/27 were a success. Great performances, reasonably good attendance, successful fundraising. Just one small complaint: fundraising should be transparent. When you've set a specific goal ($140,000) for your trip to Carnegie Hall, you should be telling and showing exactly how close you are to the goal, on a regular basis. You shouldn't dodge specific questions like 'how much more do you need to reach your goal?'with vague assertions like 'we're close.'