Saturday, March 17, 2012

Not One More Acre

We Are Guåhan launches “Not One More Acre” initiative

            The Department of Defense controls almost 36,000 acres on Guam – more than ¼ of the entire island – and it wants more.  After being sued by We Are Guåhan, the Guam Preservation Trust and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, DoD conceded that a Supplemental EIS was needed.   Today, We Are Guåhan launched a “Not One More Acre” initiative to encourage participation in the upcoming scoping meetings, scoping period and Supplemental EIS process.
“In addition to cultural impacts, an increase in traffic, safety concerns and an increase in noise, our community needs to be aware that every single option that DoD has identified requires the acquisition of more land,” said We Are Guåhan member Cara Flores-Mays.
The organization’s initiative includes the launch of http://www.notonemoreacre.com, a website dedicated to information related to the Supplemental EIS such as maps of the 5 alternatives at Pågat and Fena that DoD is considering for the site of its firing range complex.  Despite being required by law to consider all “reasonable alternatives,” DoD has eliminated every single site for firing ranges except for two: Pågat and Fena aka “Naval Magazine.”  “DoD is still considering taking Pågat and building a firing range complex there,” continued Flores-Mays.  “DoD has just added Fena and the surrounding area as another option.”    
We Are Guåhan is also encouraging people to sign its petition opposing the acquisition of any additional land on Guam.  “DoD’s current footprint is bigger than Umatac, Merizo, Inarajan and Talofofo combined,” said Flores-Mays.  “Whether it is 100 acres or 2,000 acres, DoD does not need any more land.” 
ATTEND a meeting
* Saturday, March 17 from 1 to 5 p.m., University of Guam Field House, Mangilao
* Monday, March 19 from 5 to 9 p.m., Southern High School, Santa Rita
* Tuesday, March 20 from 5 to 9 p.m., Yigo Gymnasium, Yigo
SIGN the petition
http://www.notonemoreacre.com/
SUBMIT a comment
http://www.notonemoreacre.com/submit-a-comment/
SHARE the site
http://www.notonemoreacre.com/
If you would like to help gather signatures for the petition, please email Cara Flores-Mays at cflores@weareguahan.com to request an official petition form.
Si Yu'os Ma'ase!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Demilitarizing the Pacific

NATIVE VOICES #3: 11/9/11, 7pm, Halau O Haumea, Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies.


DEMILITARIZING THE PACIFIC: a roundtable featuring scholars & activists from HAWAII & GUAHAN, including JULIAN AGUON, LISA NATIVIDAD, TY KAWIKA TENGAN, TERRI KEKOʻOLANI, & KALEIKOA KAʻEO. Hosted by CRAIG SANTOS PEREZ.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Guam Decolonization at the UN

Decolonization Commission testifies before UN
Posted: Oct 18, 2011 4:56 PM
Updated: Oct 18, 2011 7:10 PM
KUAM NEWS
by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - Island leaders are continuing the push for self-determination. Just recently a delegation from Guam appeared before the United Nations and over the next couple days meetings and seminars will be held to discuss the process of decolonization.

Before the United Nation's Committee of Four in New York, Commission on Decolonization executive director Ed Alvarez and Speaker Judi Won Pat presented testimony regarding Guam's quest for self-determination. From October 4-6, Alvarez says he let the committee know the time is now to strengthen Guam's relationship with the United States. "We let them know that we were serious about embarking on this question for political destiny," he said. "We let them know about the brief history of what's happened and that it's time, it's time to modernize the relation between Guam and the United States as far as political status."

Speaker Won Pat meanwhile appealed for the assistance of the UN. In the political evolution of Guam and suggested three steps for the consideration of the committee, including to rebuke administering powers that continued the practice of colonialism; dispatch a special mission to Guam to provide information to the people of Guam on the role of the United Nations in the process of self-determination; and recognize Guam and other non-self- governing- territories as member states of the United Nations.

It's been 30 years since the UN has dealt with decolonization with 16 colonies currently remaining, including Guam. "The other was to present a plan, a call for action by this committee because they have decided to make this the third decade and I've asked not to make this just a third decade, which is 30 years, but they pass a resolution to make this the final decade in which then they should be able to eradicate the colonies," said Won Pat.

Although it may be costly to send delegates to the UN, Won Pat adds the Guam Legislature will continue efforts for decolonization by spearheading a series of conferences regarding Guam's political self-determination. She adds a presence must be made to continue dialogue and educating them about Guam.

Moving forward, international advisor on governance and former minister for external affairs for the U.S. Virgin Islands Dr. Carlyle Corbin is on Guam to provide training on the UN process and a history of other countries who had gone through decolonization. He says other territories are in the same situation and there are various stages of political evolution and modernization that need to be addressed.

He said. "This is important to know because we're not all isolated in that respect and what we can do together and with the information we can exchange is always useful. It is also important to have to the highest degree possible common message and common information and moving forward so that the message coming from five or four is stronger than coming from one."

Corbin has served for more than a decade as a United Nations expert on self-determination and will discuss his experiences with relating issues in Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the CNMI and the Virgin Islands as well. The seminar takes place on Thursday at Adelup from 2-5pm. Alvarez says the Commission will reconvene its meetings once the governor returns from off-island.

Meanwhile, Alvarez says he didn't get any specific feedback from the UN, but requested the committee send experts to Guam in order to reignite the discussion on self-determination. He also hoped that the next Regional Experts Seminar could be hosted in Guam, which would enable the international community to see the great potential of the people of Guam.

Meanwhile Dr. Corbin is scheduled to speak tomorrow at the University of Guam where a public forum explaining political decolonization is being held. Dr. Corbin will speak on the topic of the role of the United Nations in the self-determination process.

Also speaking is Attorney Julian Aguon from the Guahan Coalition for Peace and Justice. Aguon will talk on the topic of "Defrosting the Self-Determination Imagination: The Trajectory of Right Under International Law". The forum is being hosted by the Division of Social Work in partnership with the Guahan Coalition for Peace and Justice. It's scheduled for 5:30 to 8:30pm at the Class Lecture Hall.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Protest This Thursday

Mon., Oct. 10, 2011: 9:00 PM

The Taotaomona Native Rights, Island organizations, and interested persons will be holding a peaceful demonstration to protest the awfully loud and harmful noise pollution by the U.S. Marines' jet fighters training on Guam.

Wed. Oct. 12, 2011: 2:00 - 3:30 PM @ Legislature Building, Hagatna: The Senators need to stand up for the safety and protection of the people of Guam.

Wed. Oct. 12, 2011: 4:00 - 6:00 PM: @ Guam Delegate's Office, across & in front of the Delegate' Office, on Marine Corps Drive, Hagatna: The Guam Delegate needs to stand up for the safety and protection of the people of Guam.

Thurs. Oct. 13, 2011: 3:30 - 6:00 PM: Andersen Air Force Base, across front gate: The U.S. military, which includes the U.S. Marines, need to stop using Guam as their dumping ground; and, they need to treat the people of Guam with respectu.

Instead of holding their training in Japan, the U.S. military is transferring the U.S. Marines fighter jets training manuvers to Guam, in order to relief the Japanese people from the awfully loud and harmful effects of the noise pollution by the jet fighters in training. Some 400 personnel including those from the Marine Aircraft Group 12 will participate in air-to-air and air-to-ground jet fighters training manuvers.

Members are requested to attend. Persons interested and concerned about the noise pollution and safety are welcome and urged to attend. Please bring water bottles and umbrellas. If you are bringing signs, please focus the message on the purpose of the protest. Thank you. For additional info, contact Trini: 477-0638.

Si Yu'os ma'ase',
Trini Torres
Pilong Maga' Haga,
Taotaomona Native Rights

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

GYP Political Status Panel

Not a very diverse panel in terms of ideas.

***********************

Panel: Determining political status a lengthy process
Wednesday, 21 September 2011 01:02
by Geraldine Castillo
Marianas Variety News Staff

AN EDUCATIONAL roundtable discussion was held yesterday, exploring the various political status options for Guam and their respective effects on the island's economy, commerce and trade.

The symposium, “Guam’s Quest for Economic Stability: How Our Economy is Affected by Our Political Status,” was held at the Hyatt Regency Guam and organized by the Guam Young Professionals (GYP), a committee of the Guam Chamber of Commerce.

A four-man panel comprised of experts on political status and economy was led by moderator Jay Rojas, chairman of GYP.

Among the panelists were Neal Weare, Litigation and Policy Council for the Constitutional Accountability Center in Washington D.C.; Joseph Bradley, Chief Economist, Bank of Guam; Juan-Carlos Benitez, President, Washington Pacific Economic Development Group; and Joe Arnett, Partner in charge of tax services for Deloitte & Touche LLP.

The educational symposium provided different analyses of political status options and how they affect issues such as economy, tax, commerce, immigration and more.

“I think it's important when talking about the different statuses to really recognize that they each have equal dignity,”

Weare pointed out. “The opportunities they each present certainly are different. But in terms of what they offer for Guam, I think that they all offer [an] advantage over the status quo, primarily because they put Guam back in the driver's seat.”

"Content"

Weare spoke about how Guam has been “content” in letting authority rest in Washington and how Guam hasn't had any say in decisions that would affect the island.

“Whether we pursue integration, where we have a meaningful voice in participation in that process, or we pursue a separate relationship where we're able to control our destiny and negotiate in an equal playing field in the federal government ... I think either of those options would put us far ahead where we are now.”

Each of the panelists agreed that serious discussions on yesterday’s topic pose a lengthy process before a decision could be made.

“As far as Congress is concerned, we are an unincorporated territory, we're part of the United States and they're the ones that have the ultimate decision,” said Benitez. “So, the idea of one plebiscite granted independence or statehood or anything in between is probably not gonna occur with Washington's blessing ... it's gonna be a step process.”

Meanwhile, Bradley pointed out that indeed, a process has to take place. In that regard, there must be a selection of status, and preceding that selection, there has to be an education campaign that identifies the different statuses. As soon as that status is selected, Bradley suggested, a constitution must be formulated in order to tell Congress what we want.

“Once that constitution is drafted, it becomes a matter of selling it to the Congress,” he said.

Lots of Work

When it came to discussing how to bring up what would be determined as Guam's political status, Benitez stated there is a lot of work to be done on Guam's behalf.

“Washington really wants to help the territories,” stressed Benitez. “It's not their number one priority. We need to do the legwork for them. Unless we come in and provide them with the answer on how to help us, they're not gonna do it on their own. ... We need to know what to ask for and what is doable.”

Arnett, on the other hand, added that the process of deciding Guam's political status needs to continue, though it is a timely process.

“I think the military buildup gives us more leverage ... more opportunity to put our thoughts together to express our needs to Washington,” he said.

“We're all pretty much on the same page as far as where we want to be,” said Rojas in concluding the symposium. “We do have the power to control our future, and a lot of what we want, we can actually take to the table – in the form of negotiation, so long as that plan is actually concrete and stable. ... We have that opportunity to become that catalyst for change.”

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Massive Layoffs Possible for GovGuam

"A Message to GovGuam Employees"
Governor Edward Baza Calvo
The Marianas Variety
August 12, 2011

Good afternoon my fellow GovGuam workers,

Twenty years ago in 1991, the government we work under started becoming more expensive to operate than the cash coming in to operate it. Over those past 20 years, government leaders did everything possible to keep the government afloat. It started with more applications for federal grants.

Some last 'til today. Some ran out of funding. Then, government startedpaying its vendors late so it could have cash for payroll. And when that was not enough, government started using the people's tax refunds to pay for
your paychecks.

That bill to the people is now $280 million.

The only reason this government hasn't collapsed is that it's used the tax refunds of 44,000 people to pay your paycheck. I know that's not your fault. Most of you work very hard, and you earned that paycheck every two weeks. It is your employer who has written you an empty promise. Your employer gave you a job, but never told you that at some time, because of his or her
actions, the money for your paycheck will run out. And your employer also never told you that the money being used to pay you was money that belonged to someone else.

Worse, there have been periods in the last 20 years, when your employer knew that the money was running out, that your employer decided it was okay to appropriate millions in unnecessary expenses, like subsidies, travel and pet projects. At one time, there were 700 employees at the Legislature.

There used to be over 200 employees at the Governor's Office. This government even paid for a medical referral office in Manila that allegedly turned out to be a night club. When the money started to run out, your employer didn't decide to save it so that there would be enough money in the future for your job. Your employer didn't even put away the money needed to pay people their tax refunds.

As a matter of fact, your employer took that money to pay you your salary.

My fellow GovGuam workers, I have the unfortunate duty and responsibility of being the first of your employers to tell you the hard truth. We cannot take from people's tax refunds any longer. Thousands of them are suffering because they can't get medical care. But, even more practical than that, it has come to a point where there's not only insufficient cash for refunds,
there's nearly not enough for payroll.

The writing's been on the wall for 20 years. Yet, your employer did nothing to make government more efficient and less costly. No substantial action was ever taken to reorganize government and streamline it. If this had been done small steps at a time over the last 20 years, then today I wouldn't have to make the decisions I am making.

Unfortunately, everything has come to a head. This government is more expensive to operate than the cash coming in. It is with deep regret that a reduction in force is necessary through layoffs. Now, to be clear, I have decided against a 32-hour workweek. For one, it does not solve the problem that government is too expensive to operate because at some time, we would revert back to a 40-hour workweek. Second, it is not right to apply these measures across the board. That would destabilize critical education, health
and safety services provided to this community.

On that note, I want to assure any of you who may feel that there are some bad apples in the government who are spoiling the bunch: I've given strict instructions to your director to ensure that employees who underperform or conduct themselves against the rules go through the adverse action process.

I also want you to know that my office is not exempt from this. As a matter of fact, we've already reduced the number of positions and people here at Adelup, and we will be terminating more. When we came to office, we knew we needed to set the example and make the sacrifices before anyone else. That is why we reduced the workforce at Adelup by 16 percent, from 95 employees
to 80. I am also terminating more positions at the Governor's Office.

There is also a misconception that Department of Education should not be cut. While I am not imposing a 10 percent cut on DOE, I've received plans from the Interim Superintendent and the Guam Education Board of cuts that are being considered to non-essential services. That is the key here. I am very clearly prioritizing the education, health and safety agencies - but I
fully expect those agencies to eliminate waste and redundancy so funds can be used to hire teachers, police officers and firefighters, doctors and nurses. This is one government. We must all do our part to promote more efficient services to the people, especially in the priority and critical areas.

By tomorrow, every government employee under my purview will receive a general notice of pending layoff. This does not mean you will be laid off. It merely informs you of the possibility of a layoff in your department. It provides you with options and alternatives you may wish to explore. Thirty days from then, individual layoff notices may be sent to those slated for layoff by the Department of Administration HR division. This will be based on the plans submitted by your director. Please keep in mind as well that the elimination of your position may not mean your job is eliminated.

Classified employees have bumping rights. Your performance and your seniority will be factored into the assessment. And you certainly have due process and priority placement rights.

I wish it were not this way, but it is. If there is anything calming I cansay to you, it would be this: First, we are not looking to layoff a large percentage of the workforce. We're not looking at a 25 percent cut, or even a 10 percent cut all at once. That would be devastating to the economy.

Wherever we can, we are exhausting all avenues to cut costs before laying off classified employees.

We also won't just drop laid off employees. Every effort will be made toward job placement in the private sector, small business development or getting laid off workers through college. This community desperately needs more professionals like teachers, law enforcement officers and nurses. We hope to reorganize and streamline government to a point where we can afford
to get these professionals to provide critical services.

This government, your employer, has been sick for 20 years. No one ever gave it medicine. Year after year, it got sicker and sicker. Government needs some bitter medicine to survive. It won't taste good at first, but at some point, it will be the sickness that goes away. Rightsizing this government will provide you the job security you so rightfully deserve... so that none of your future employers will ever have to make the decisions I am making now. I'm sorry that you've been misled all these years, but I can't take back the past and magically right its sins. I can only try to make things better now. And I will, because I will not suffer your children and
their children to a future bankrupted by the sins of the past.

I ask for God's blessings over every one of you. Thank you.