DHS Needs to Move

September 25, 2010

The federal lawsuit by Fitial and his anti-federalization gang of truth benders helped to delay the issuance of regulations concerning the CNMI-only guest worker program, but DHS has run out of time and excuses according to two U.S. Senators and two U.S. House members. In a letter addressed  to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Department of interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Senator Bingaman and Akaka and Congressman Rahall and Sablan asked for the departments to move forward to implement P.L. 110-229 in regards to the CNMI Nonimmigrant Investor Visa Classification and the CNMI Transitional Worker Visa Classification.

Read the letter:

As the letter points out, promised deadlines for the issuance of final rules have come and gone and the delay has been detrimental to the CNMI economy.  While not the only contributing factor to the dismal state of the CNMI economy, is it one important one. Other factors contributing to the failed economy include the world-wide recession; failed and flawed policies of the Fitial Administration; unwise government spending; delays in issuing a balanced budget by self-serving, casino-backing Speaker Tenorio and Fitial supporters in the CNMI House; the failure to make plans for increasing revenue knowing that the garment industry was exiting; nepotism in the CNMI government; and political games.

The delay also impacts tens of thousands of foreigners whose lives and future remains clouded in uncertainty. Foreign workers are barely surviving while they wait for the chance to be granted status after serving the CNMI for years, decades or more.

Those of us who sent comments to DHS by January 2010 expected the regulations to be issued within 6 months of the end of the comment period.  (Read my comment: Wendy Doromal comment to DHS.)

Issue the regulations!


The Saipan Blogger said...

You forgot SARS! SARS is causing much of the downturn!

Anonymous said...

We thought that Fitial and his cronies claim that Greg Kilili does not have allies on Congress. This certainly proves them very wrong.

Anonymous said...

Which “failed and flawed policies of the Fitial Administration” would those be? Your unsupported political bias is showing.

Wendy said...

No unsupported political bias anonymous Fitial supporter at 10:04

1. wasting millions to sue the federal government
2. wasting money on “special” consultants and lobbyists
3. pursuing unreliable investors who don’t deliver
4. failing to identify reliable sources of revenue (sales tax and/or property taxes, etc.)
5. allowing CNMI government agencies to support his candidate at publicly advertised political rallies
6. placing political supporters and relatives in government positions for which they are not qualified or needed
7. refusing to scale back government departments
8. keeping unnecessary agencies and departments when there are no funds (indigenous and Carolinian Affairs could be consolidated or ceased until revenue increases)
9. failing to comply with Open Government Requests resulting in costly lawsuits
10. Supporting unconstitutional P.L. 17-1 that will result in a costly lawsuit

Readers are welcome to add to the list…

Anonymous said...

1. The Covenant Section 903 lawsuit fees didn't even reach a million dollars. And had it succeeded, it would have prevented the absolute devastation of our economy caused by federalization, saving many times that amount. It was a long shot, but worth it to display our resolve in standing strong to build an economy of economic opportunity.
2. Check your OPA figures. The Fitial administration has spent less money on outside consultants and lobbyists than any CNMI administration since 1992. As for the “special” title in various advisors, those are established by law. What authority does Obama have to install so many more in the White House?
3. Unreliability of investors who don’t deliver are caused primarily by failed federal minimum wage and immigration policies and lack of regulations. Before that, it was the uncertainty of pending federalization.
4. Reliable sources of revenue (sales tax and/or property taxes, etc.) require a growing economy that Fitial has been advocating, but has been decimated by misguided federalization policies. You can't squeeze blood out of a turnip.
5. Any errors by a single candidate in observing required protocols, or even a political party in failing to inform members of technicalities cannot be attributed to the Fitial administration except by those of a political vindictive bent.
6. Governmental appointments are constrained by the limited talent pool in the CNMI, further reduced by the extraordinary political hatred fomented by those like the federalizers such that many qualified individuals refuse to work for the CNMI government under Fitial, especially at the very low salaries offered. So political supporters and relatives are often the only people who can be found to make these sacrifices of public service. “Unneeded” positions are a myth of political opponents, but never substantiated. Fortunately, economic austerity may result in some reduction of inefficient staffing levels formerly done for humanitarian reasons but no longer affordable.
7. The Fitial administration has scaled back government departments more than any other in CNMI history.
8. Some “unnecessary” agencies and departments (such as Indigenous and Carolinian Affairs) are mandated by the CNMI Constitution and not within the authority of the Governor to abolish by fiat. Also, even in times of trouble, our culture is an anchor to keep us from drifting away, and may prevent further increases in crime. The CNMI is the worldwide homeland of these people, and we must not repeat the Native American experience.
9. All reported lawsuits have shown full compliance with the Open Government Act. If you are aware of any reported cases where the court has indicated governmental non-compliance, kindly cite to them.
10. Public Law 17-1 is within the residual CNMI authority under the CNRA until November 28, 2011 and the issuance of any contrary regulations by DHS. The feds know this and will not bring a meritless case.

While it is easy to generalize about political opponents, the facts show most such attacks on Fitial and his crew to be unwarranted.

Wendy said...

10:57 And WHO is showing bias and spin? PLEASE!

Anonymous said...

Should the Alien workers need to organize another activity/gathering to ask the USCIS to implement the rules that were long delayed?

Just a thought...

Anonymous said...

noni 10:57am:

1 - really? it didn't reach the millions? i beg to differ. double check your facts before you spew your biased nonsense. it is well over 2 million already and still growing. the lawsuit funding continues to this day. it started over a year ago.

2- another lie. fitial and this administration and his cronies in autonomous agencies are spending well over any administration in history and taking in the least. just the legal counsels fees alone outweigh any administration in history: Jenner & Block, Matt Gregory, Gregory Baka, Val Alepuyu, etc... do you really want me to do what the OPA has not done adn list out these individual figures for the numerous amount of legal eagles that this administration in paying for? tsk tsk tsk. and then you got all the non legal "special assistants" and all the "consultants" in all of the various departments.

3 - another lie. minimum wage? give me a break. you really drank way too much of the kool aid.

4 - take another sip. more spin and lies.

5 - did you not read the 271 pages? did you overlook the part where angel spins? another sip.

6 - drink up.

7 - you must be smoking weed. or is it the ice being distributed by this administration?

8 - drink up.

9 - many and the lawsuits are coming. you drink a bit more now.

10 - another one headed your way on this case too. gulp!

you are a twisted ad demented being. just what the governor asked for. don't forget to hide your legal fee's invoice to him along with the other documents.

Anonymous said...

Also heard that Seimer the one time volunteer gets a salary now to lobby in DC

Anonymous said...

Lynn Knight is lobbying too

Anonymous said...

Fat salaries for crooked cronies while the good people of the CNMI suffer payless paydays.

laughing so hard i'm crying said...

Noni 10:57,

The Governor's wasteful anti-federalization lawsuit has far exceeded a million dollars, including:

-- the $50,000/month retainer to Jenner & Block, which we have been paying consistently and against our will since June 2008 to the present day (whip out your calculator, quick, and multiply $50K x 29mos and remember, that's just the retainer)

-- extensive travel back and forth between Saipan and D.C. and lord knows where else for the insufferable Siemer couple so they could lobby for the corrupt special interests strangling the good people of the islands, all on our dime

-- all resources expended by the Attorney General's Office in protecting the interests of the worst administration the CNMI has ever seen, and fending off Open Government Act lawsuits to hide from the people how much of our money was being spent in the effort to deepen our collective misery fear and uncertainty while Fitial and his cronies get fat.

laughing so hard i'm crying part 2 said...

As for the rest of your outrageous lies...

2. Fitial has appointed some of the most corrupt, inept people to "specially advise" him in areas about which they know nothing - to name just two examples: Tom Salas, Special Advisor for Renewable Energy, a convicted felon, now facing new charges for extortion, and Dolores Aldan, Special Advisor for Political Affairs, Fitial's loyal yes-woman who was rewarded nicely for taking the fall for him in Massage-Gate.

3. Unreliablity of investors is actually caused by corrupt and incompetent politicians who don't do research, and happily give away the farm for a kickback.

4. Reliable sources of revenue, and the economy, have rapidly deteriorated because people with bright minds, initiative, and a shred of integrity can't stand the corruption and failed policies of the Fitial administration. So they leave.

5. Fitial & Company have violated far more than just election "protocols". They have violated election law. Buying votes is illegal.

6. At least you acknowledge that qualified people refuse to work for Fitial. On that point we agree. Let me tell you why: everyone that works for this administration, sooner or later, gets tainted. Or bitter. Or old. Or fat. Or all of the above.

7. Fitial has massively increased the deficit more than any other administration in the history of the CNMI. In other words, HE OVERSPENT, and set a record doing it. So please, take your lie about Fitial "scaling back" and choke on it.

8. Ike Demapan and Angie Mangarero don't do ANYTHING. They have done ZERO for the local culture, and even less for "crime." Unless you mean they contributed to the rising crime rates, which wouldn't surprise me, actually, considering the rest of the criminals in the cabinet.

9. The government routinely ignores Open Government Act requests. Not every case of noncompliance makes it to court. Failing to respond to a request is still against the law.

10. PL 17-1 is patently unconstitutional. It will be struck down one way or another. Promise.

laughing so hard i'm crying part 3 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Failed Policies? Like removing qualified long time employees and replacing them with unqualified ones. Like putting at jeopardy NMC, PSS, Fish and Wildlife, ARTS, ARRA and other grants funds. Like using employees as tools to sway legislature and causing grave damages to the economy. Like having no real plans or vision for the economy. Like lying during campaign about all the investment that was ready to develop here. Like all the illegal activities that staff have been busted doing. Like fighting against a national marine monument. Like taking female prisoner out after midnight to get massaged. Those policies

Wendy said...

The Fitial Administration broke the law by not responding to my OGA request. Too bad I can't find an attorney to take the case pro bono...

Anonymous said...

See Kristi Eaton, “Dollars spent on NMI lobbying decreases,” Saipan Tribune, Tuesday, April 14, 2009, available at http://www.saipantribune.com/newsstory.aspx?cat=1&newsID=89378 .

Just because there are allegations and rumors of lobbying, and people choose to exercise their First Amendment freedom to support our Commonwealth, does not make them lobbyists.

Likewise the unsupported claims that the CNMI continues to pay Jenner & Block for the Covenant Section 903 lawsuit do not make it so.

P.S. Please remove 10:56 post above. It appears to be a duplicate caused by the same error messages that lost points 1 to 4 by laughing so hard i'm crying part 2, which hopefully will be reposted by the commenter.

Wendy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Tell you what, anonymous 6:52 we'll put in an OGA request to see who is and who is not lobbying.

Anonymous said...

Laughing, Part 2, is up. Blog software doesn't make it easy! Thank you, Wendy.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Monday, September 27, 2010 1:58 PM said...

just the legal counsel[’]s fees alone outweigh any administration in history: Jenner & Block, Matt Gregory, Gregory Baka, Val Alepuyu [sic], etc... do you really want me to do what the OPA has not done [and] list out these individual figures for the numerous amount of legal eagles that this administration [is] paying for?

Mr. Gregory’s few cases on behalf of the CNMI since re-entering private practice have been on a contingency basis for a percentage of the recovery. If the Commonwealth doesn’t get paid, he doesn’t get paid.

Former long-term CNMI Acting Attorneys General include C. Sebastian Aloot, Robert B. Dunlap II, Maya B. Kara, and Gregory Baka. At least one of them was paid the full statutory salary of the AG during such service, while Mr. Aloot was awarded a lucrative $120K contract by Governor Froilan C. Tenorio after his time in office. Mr. Baka sought and received neither, simply drawing his salary as Deputy AG, and no more.

Ms. Alepuyo was hired by the independent NMIRF, not by the Fitial administration, to sue the CNMI. She got a $231M judgment for the retirees on behalf of the NMIRF, which Bruce Jorgensen is now trying to pilfer for attorneys’ fees by bringing wasteful duplicate proceedings in federal court (if the Ninth Circuit will let him).

Are your “facts” for the other nine points any more accurate than those for #2?

Turning back to the original focus of this blog post thread, Wendy and Kilili are 100% correct (as Governor Fitial has been saying for months) that “DHS needs to move” on those transition program contract worker regulations. I hope the letter Congressman Sablan co-signed will have exactly such a positive effect!

Anonymous said...

Noni 12:29pm:

You said, "Mr. Gregory’s few cases on behalf of the CNMI since re-entering private practice have been on a contingency basis for a percentage of the recovery. If the Commonwealth doesn’t get paid, he doesn’t get paid. "

You are absolutely right. And he is most likely doing so illegally.

Wouldn't this be one of his recent contingency case dealings?


Settled a 10 million dollar lawsuit for 2 million. What did he get outta that on 33% contingency?

You disgust me!

Anonymous said...

Noni 12:29pm:

You said, "Ms. Alepuyo was hired by the independent NMIRF, not by the Fitial administration, to sue the CNMI. She got a $231M judgment for the retirees on behalf of the NMIRF,"

Of which not one single cent has been collected. She is still being retained by the NMIRF. Last I heard the fee was $30,000/ month. You seem to know so much. Is that a good deal?

"which Bruce Jorgensen is now trying to pilfer for attorneys’ fees by bringing wasteful duplicate proceedings in federal court (if the Ninth Circuit will let him)."

Bruce Jorgenson, is not pilfering anything. He is handling the case for free and will let a judge decide on just compensation when all is said and done.

Val has COST the NMIRF more than a million dollars for herself alone.

Looks like ALL my facts are pretty accurate.

Should I start rattling off the amount you are now getting on your contracts with the government for representation?