Sinking Ship

March 14, 2012

The Retaliation Begins. . .

Governor Fitial has been steering the CNMI into a deadly storm for years. It seems now so much damage has been done, that it may be impossible to bail out the sinking ship.

The battle between the CNMI Governor and Rep. Froilan Tenorio, head cheerleaders of the Saipan casino movement, and the CNMI Senators from Rota and Tinian, who killed the Saipan casino bill, is heating up. The governor's lap dog, Attorney General Edward Buckingham declared that the CNMI Department of Finance can deny paying a subsistence allowance to the senators.

It is not like the senators should even get such an allowance on top of their $39,000 salaries and discretionary funds of $78,000 –especially when CHC is near bankruptcy, PSS cannot pay its bills, CUC cannot collect enough to buy fuel, and the retirement fund is on the verge of total collapse. Certainly both the executive and the legislative branches need to make cuts, but it is the timing of these remarks could be in question.

Fitial threatened to yank money from the senators for killing his pet casino bill. He called them "stupid" and said, "They're gonna suffer for it because of what they did.  The governor added:
“Like I told you, politics is the root of all our economic and social problems in the Commonwealth. And we got to get rid of these politicians who only care for themselves. They are very up to date in requesting for their subsistence allowance, in advancing for their subsistence allowance. They don't give a damn about the livelihood of their own people,” Fitial said.
It seems every time another politician fails to do what the bully governor wants, he retaliates. Just like the time the AG went after the wife of the public auditor after Pai released an unfavorable report. Not very subtle.

How can a governor who schemed with a felon (Jack Abramoff) to skim $11 million from the CNMI to pursue a futile lobbying scheme; took a masseuse out of prison for a massage; covered up violations of the Hatch Act; hired expensive attorneys and consultants to sue the U.S.; and was involved in acts said to be illegal call another politician stupid? How can a governor who probably has spent as much time off-island as he has on island this year criticize expenditures? Who doesn't "give a damn" about the people?

The people of the CNMI supported the governor and re-elected him a second time ignoring his corruption, racism, unwise decisions, and self-serving agenda. Now they seem amazed that he called the senators stupid.

I am not amazed. I was not amazed when Rep. Froilan Tenorio called the senators "crazy" either. On March 8, 2012 Tenorio was interviewed on KSPN and said:
"Those senators are crazy. I think they understand the situation, they just don't give a damn. They don't care. I'm gonna suggest to the governor, Governor, please declare state of emergency and reprogram money from Tinian and Rota.' Why? If the senators from Tinian and Rota do not want us to find additional revenue to run this government, then whenever we need money, you know, in a crisis we need to take it from Tinian and Rota."
Outrageous, divisive, childish, and oh so Froilan. Can anyone forget the headlines when he was governor and told DOI's Assistant Secretary of Interior for Insular Affairs Leslie Turner to "Shut up!"?

Like hot-headed Tenorio, the overbearing governor has been making outrageous statements for years. But seeing him look like he was ready to explode as he spat out the angry words on the KSPN news  was more telling than reading his words in print. Listening to his remarks on KSPN, it seemed like he attacked not only the senators from Rota and Tinian, but the people of those islands. No one should expect an apology from this arrogant bully, but one is in order if he actually was including the residents in his "stupid" comment, and not just his political foes.

Senator Manglona fired back by attacking the governor for ignoring the retirement fund's demise. The CNMI government owes the retirement fund $300 million. The senator noted that the governor did not attend the court hearing on Tuesday. He further attacked the governor by calling his proposal to sell golf courses to potential investors prone to corruption and "scary".

Something good may actually come out of this battle. Maybe one of the offended politicians will get so ticked off by Fitial that they will expose some of his plots and underhanded deals resulting in his removal.

Can such an unpopular governor and leader of the Republican Party really afford to anger the Rotanese and Tinian senators and people before a major election? Seems like a rather, well, stupid move.


It's not your money! said...

Those who wish not to be bullied need only stand up for themselves. In this case, the senators labeled "stupid" by the governor are two-thirds of the CNMI Senate. They could band together and impose a virtual stranglehold on all legislation favored by the governor. They could seek cooperation from sympathetic Representatives in the CNMI House and pass legislation on the budget that strips the governor of all his unlimited reprogramming authority and other questionable authority they so spinelessly ceded to him during the past five years. They could refuse to appropriate any money for the OAG until it is presided over by someone with independence and ethics. In short, as one of the three co-equal branches of the CNMI government, they have the power not to be bullied. In the past, they have talked tough, but have always caved in the governor's demands. Let's see if they have the guts to do what the voters put them there to do. Or maybe they'll just put a few more names on the stupid monument to CNMI leaders.

Wendy Doromal said...

It's not your money! Excellent comment. They could (and should) do all of these things, but will they? Someone should send them the roadmap that you laid out here. It is time to say "no more" to the corrupt governor, his AG, his expensive consultants and his overpaid attorneys. No one even challenges his refusal to follow the Open Government Act anymore. I too, hope that the legislators realize the time is short and they must act now.

Capt said...

12:49, very good comment and suggestions. I would love to see many of what you stated happen. If for nothing else but to send a message to this fool (Gov.)and, in a way, reign him in.

the teacher said...

Misleading is an interesting choice of words. The Governor has threatened to withhold pay from Senators unless they support his casino, and while I agree with eliminating the Senates funny money, it is extortion or bribery, something this administration is quite experienced executing(see Jack Abramoff scandal US House of Representatives).

I bigger issue here for the Senate and Governor to ponder is that the Governor wants to block 26 million a year in SNAP aid to our most impoverished people, opting for him to have full control of the current 10 million funding. That iseems like a 16 million dollar crime of depraved indifference targeted against hungry children of the CNMI.