Covenant Party and Governor Under Attack








October 31, 2010

Today's papers are filled with letters to the editor attacking Governor Fitial, his corrupt administration, and his supporters.

Frederick Prosser called the Covenant Party desperate, and he blasted the governor for speaking in Carolinian on television and not translating the ad. He also said:
The Covenant Party program that they showed Monday night was a slap in the face to all intelligent voters on the island. Just look at who they had on the panel: two men with federal criminal records. Does this make you wonder just how creditable they are? Just what is the connection between the governor and the convicted crooks on the island? Does he not have any supporters who have not been in trouble with the law?

Look at the tent they set up next to the early voting station. I may be wrong, but I do not recall that it matters who owns the land. The intent of the law was to keep anyone from campaigning within 300 feet of the voting place. Where are the feds? This is a federal election. They should be making sure that all the rules are being followed.
Ron Hodges wrote a letter reminding people of the responsibility to vote, and he also criticized the governor:
Finally, the decent citizens of the Northern Marianas islands earned their right to vote for representation in the U.S. Congress. Even though Governor Fitial exerts undue influence in employment here, including our public schools, it is the responsibility of every U.S. citizen to vote and to protect that right for others, especially their privacy.

America didn't become great because of that stunning red, white, and blue ensign; America became great because of its citizens and whether or not the CNMI becomes a great community will depend on the citizens here. It is each citizens' duty and responsibility to report impropriety in the election process so that we can close the curtain and vote with absolute anonymity; nothing else is acceptable. I hope every registered voter in the CNMI casts their vote Tuesday so that our delegate to the US House of Representatives can boast the highest percentage of voters of any state or territory.
An especially poignant letter is addressed to the racist CNMI Descent for Self-government and Indigenous Rights. It should be read by all:
I am so appalled and disgusted by the one-page ads printed in the newspaper in the last few days. I am so offended by these ads. I am shocked at how blatantly racist and small-minded the ads are. I am so afraid that there are people out there who truly believe in this bigotry.

I am only half indigenous. Does that mean I am nothing to you as well? My husband is a foreigner, so my children are only a quarter indigenous, does that mean they deserve less respect?

Being indigenous should not be the only thing that makes a person worthy to be counted in this society. That should be the last thing on this list. How about being honest and truthful? How about performing a job with fidelity and commitment? How about doing the right thing for all of society not for just a chosen few?

These people whom you so degrade have been the foundation of our island since we opened our doors so many years ago. They built the very infrastructure we depend on. They have built our homes. They have taught us in schools. Many of these people raised us while our parents worked. Now these same people raise our children for the same reasons. They clean our houses, yards, farms, and road sides. They report our news and deliver it too. They feed our animals and sometimes even us. They nurse and doctor us when we are sick and ailing. They spend time caring for our manamko, even more than we do sometimes. They are our family. They are our friends. They are our children's friends. They are all of these things, yet they have no voice.

Stop making this election about race. This election must NOT be decided by racism and fear.

The person who wins this election MUST represent ALL people of the CNMI; not just Chamorros and not just Carolinians; ALL PEOPLE.

Leila Fleming Aldan Staffler
Kagman II, Saipan
Fitial Defends Ada Contract
Fitial thinks complaints about the sole-source ARRA contract are nonsense. Really? When tax dollars are involved everyone has a right to question, criticize and complain if they suspect illegalities. Where in any other state has federal ARRA money been sole-sourced to an individual who at the time of receiving the contract did not even have a business license?  What evidence does the governor have that if a RFP (request for proposal) was announced for the ARRA job, that other qualified candidates from the CNMI and the mainland would not have applied?

Fitial says everyone should be happy with the contract:
“This thing is saving the CNMI [money]. Can you imagine if we let Mike Ada continue that office in Commerce? That's coming out from the local revenue. This one is coming out from the ARRA because certain percentage of the ARRA fund is authorized for administrative costs. This is standard. They have been doing this since I was in the Trust Territory government in 1969 until 1978,” Fitial told Saipan Tribune in an interview at a Covenant Party gathering in Susupe for the party's delegate candidate, Joseph N. Camacho.

The IPS contract is for 18 months.

“Everybody should be happy with that contract because the government does not pay for it. I'm referring to Mike Ada's contract,” he added.
Wrong. I am not happy because I am paying for it.  All U.S. taxpayers are paying for it. It is time that the U.S. citizens in the CNMI were required to pay federal taxes just like the rest of us do. Then maybe the people would understand why tax payers expect accountability, ethics and integrity with all federal spending. I am not just referring to the Ada contract, but the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs contracts, Commonwealth Health Center contracts, Public School System contracts, and every federal penny that we, the U.S. taxpayers, spend or have spent in the CNMI.  I expect no less accountability for federal spending anywhere in the U.S.

Why does the Administration have the attitude that the CNMI is always above the law, always owed something, always able to stab Uncle Sam in the back with one hand and have the other out for more, more, more federal funds?

The attitude that the U.S. taxpayers need to continue to pour federal dollars into the CNMI when the CNMI residents, who are also U.S. citizens, do not pay federal taxes, needs to end.  CNMI residents need to consider revenue generating taxes whether sales taxes, property taxes or revenue generating fees.

More Questions on the Upcoming Election
The Covenant Party's practice of giving out free gas vouchers for those who help the Covenant Party is being questioned. I imagine that any illegalities would depend on where the money for the vouchers is coming from. Is the Governor's Office or CNMI funds paying for the vouchers or the Camacho campaign?

"Desperate" may be the correct label for the actions of the Administration and Covenant Party in recent days, The governor tried to discredit Congressman Sablan by labeling him a "follower" based on Govtrack.us website.   This means nothing.  Of course, not every member of Congress can be called a "leader" especially junior members.  Congresswoman Bordallo is also labeled a "follower" as is Congresswoman Donna Christensen . So are Rep. Don Young and other long-time members of Congress.  More relevant than the "leader" or "follower" label would be what Sablan has accomplished for the CNMI, what committees he serves on, and to note that he is esteemed and respected by his colleagues.

The Saipan Tribune reported:
Of the 441 members of Congress, there are at least 163 who are more of a “follower” than Sablan.

They include senior and long-time members of Congress, including Natural Resources Committee chair Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), Rep. Donald Young (R-Ak), and Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam).

GovTrack said Sablan missed 31 (or 10 percent) of 323 roll call votes since Jan 15, 2009.

But Sablan fares much better than Guam's Bordallo who missed 177 or 22 percent of roll call votes and American Samoa Delegate Eni Faleomavaega who missed 324 or 41 percent of roll call votes since Feb. 8, 2007.
All of the papers say that Fitial granted interviews at the Covenant Party gathering. Maybe he was drinking because his remarks are really out there.

U.S. Attorney James Benedetto will monitor the CNMi election. From the Saipan Tribune:
Benedetto has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer for the District of the Northern Mariana Islands, and in that capacity is responsible for overseeing the District's handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters in Washington.

“Every citizen must be able to vote without interference or discrimination and to have that vote counted without it being stolen because of fraud,” said U.S. Attorney Alicia A.G. Limtiaco yesterday. “The Department of Justice will act promptly and aggressively to protect the integrity of the election process.”

In order to respond to complaints of election fraud or voting rights abuses on Nov. 2, 2010, and to ensure that such complaints are directed to the appropriate authorities, Benedetto will be on duty in this district while the polls are open. He can be reached by the public at (670) 236-2980.

In addition, the FBI will have special agents available in each Field Office and Resident Agency throughout the country to receive allegations of election fraud and other election abuses on Election Day. The FBI can be reached by the public at (670) 322-6934.

Complaints about ballot access problems or discrimination can be made directly to the Civil Rights Division's Voting Section in Washington at 1-800-253-3931 or 202-307-2767.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I loved Leila's letter to the editor today. She said what so many of us thought and felt when we saw those full page ads: disgust, anger, and sadness at the bigotry and fear tactics being exploited by Joe Camacho, Ben Fitial, Oscar Rasa, and the rest of the Covenant gang.

Reading Leila's letter reminded me that there are still plenty of sane, caring people on this island.

Anonymous said...

It's govtrack.us, not govtrack.com. It's a third-rate website anyway.

Wendy said...

Anonymous 6:10 -Thank you for the correction.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else think it's kind of bizarre for Frederick Prosser to attack the Governor for speaking his own native language?

Anonymous said...

No. The Governor being the Governor, should provide addresses in the most common language.

Anonymous said...

So I take it you would object to the Governor of California speaking Spanish?

Anonymous said...

There are three official languages in the Commonwealth.

N.M.I. Const. art. XXII, § 3, available at http://www.cnmilaw.org/constitution_article22.htm.

Anonymous said...

nationalism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings.

Anonymous said...

The NMI is under the US Flag so English should be used. Even in the Phil. when the President (or spokesman) gives a televised news conference it is in English.