Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pågat 'Sweeteners' Discussed

Marianas Variety

Pågat 'Sweeteners' Discussed

Therese Hart
May 26, 2011

Local activists and many island residents continue to question the sincerity of military and federal officials who speak of the buildup, even after officials assured them that discussions and plans on the Pågat issue are aboveboard and transparent.

A September 2010 email correspondence obtained by Variety among former Joint Guam Program Office Executive Director David Bice, Joe Ludovici, who has since taken over Bice’s position, and Capt. John Scorby, executive assistant to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Energy Installations & Environment, gives a glimpse of the strategies and mindset of the military with regard to the Pågat issue.

Scorby emailed Ludovici on Sept. 27, requesting that Ludovici provide a brief of Pågat to include “sweeteners” the Undersecretary needed for a briefing.

“At the DON staff meeting today with the Under, he asked that JGPO develop a brief on possible ‘sweeteners’ to get us over the Pågat issue. He indicated that this was going to be briefed at the next GOC, currently scheduled for Oct. 21. I don’t have a due date, but he indicated he was looking for the brief ‘soon.’ I’ll get more fidelity on that one.”

Bice responded, stating he had a discussion with “Ms. P last week,” and believed a “successful Route 15 acquisition strategy will require elimination all impacts to Pågat historic village in the near term, and finding mutual accommodations with race trace until expiration of land use license; ‘book end’ COA.”

Bice further wrote, “We can get all of the land eventually, including an SDZ (surface danger zone) over Pågat; we have to be patient and build trust with the community first.

“Groups opposing Marine relocation are successfully seizing on Pågat as a means to gain legitimacy with the public – need to take the issue off the table to isolate them.

“Sweeteners will be needed to garner GovGuam/Legislature support to remove firing range restrictions on Rt. 15 properties and to obtain Legislature approval of Chamorro Land Trust lease of properties below the cliff-line. Some members of the Legislature will attempt to block all land acquisition until other issues with Fed Govt are resolved – need to give Legislature a deal they can’t refuse.”

Speaker’s reaction

When Variety shared the email with Speaker Judi Won Pat, her reaction was quick, pointed, heated and then, resigned:

“This shows how disingenuous they are, and it seems they are engaging in some type of covert activity. ... They say they are being honest and upfront with us, yet, here’s proof that they are conniving behind our backs.

“We respond to the DEIS and FEIS, because they asked us to. We play by their rules and this is what they do to us. It’s very hurtful. We’ve been very trusting. They tell us that they’re listening to us. Perhaps this is the problem. We’re so trusting, we’re so welcoming; and yet, this is what we get from them.”

The Speaker said she was reminded of a past incident when We Are Guåhan member Cara Flores Mays was having lunch at a local restaurant and overheard a conversation between military personnel and Guam residents, one of them, Lee Webber.

“They treat us like we are the enemy and we’re not. We want this to work for our people too. Is that too much to ask. I’m very upset about this,” said Won Pat.

Won Pat was referring to a November 2010 conversation that Mays overheard, which included then-Joint Guam Program Office Director of Communications for Washington D.C. and Guam Paula Conhain, Lee Webber, a former Marine, and Lt. Col. Aisha Bakkar of the Marine Force Pacific Public Affairs Office. Conhain has since been removed from this position.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Hurao Academy Day of Service


Day of Service at Hurao Academy
Sabrina Salas Mantanane
May 18, 2011

Guam - Dozens of employees and managers from various island companies took the day off to give back to the community. The Lina'la Hurao Sagan Kotturan Chamoru is a dream come true for Hurao Academy founder Ann Marie Arceo, who said, "We're moving we're going to accomplish it we're moving it we're doing it, Guam. Si yuus maase."

On nine acres of Chamorro Land Trust Commission property at Ypao Point close to 80 volunteers from Chugach, Home Depot, Behr Paints, Matson Imco, Pepsi, Baldyga International Group, Isla Paint and Coating, and Frontier Plumbing Supply participated in a day of service. "We're going to be painting, scraping digging anything that we need to get this going for the summer," Arceo noted.

That's the immediate goal: getting facilities ready for the Hurao Summer Camp, where students will apprentice here at least two to three times a week. The bigger picture, according to Hurao teacher and visual artist Rafael Unpingco is, "We plan on making it a cultural immersion center through the arts we have eight buildings and we want to break down the disciplines that way. Just to kind of get apprenticeship programs going do things fro the community and also teach the community the language and other cultural practices."

From painting, landscaping, fencing, water blasting cabinet work and other tasks. It's through Hurao and Linala's corporate partners that they're able to get the project off the ground and according to Home Depot general manager Rhett Garon and Chugach's Western Pacific regional manager Ray Llaneta they're happy to help. "I think its extremely important from a cultural standpoint as far as the perseveration with the move of the troops over to Guam we want to make sure that we help to establish a center where people can come and kind of learn the ways of the older Chamorro people as far as arts and the music and the language," Garon noted.

"This is about culture and this about the people of Guam," stated Llaneta. "We live here we're part of the community; the leaders in Chugach Alaska Corporation feel that its very important for us to give back to the community and I'm very proud and honored to be part of that."

If you'd like to help Hurao, according to Arceo they're always there on the weekends. Stop by if you'd like to volunteer.