Marianas Variety

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Editorials 2018-August-10

Beyond blah

RECENTLY the Office of Youth Affairs and the Public School System held a conference for local student leaders who presented research topics “that address many social and economic needs in the Commonwealth.” Well and good.

But for future youth conferences, there should be a more comprehensive discussion about the issues. As a lawmaker noted, many of the topics considered by the students are already “on the table and are being discussed” on Capital Hill. In fact, many of them had been first raised years ago. For example, the creation of a veterans center. It would be more interesting and more informative for everyone, and not just the youth, to know its estimated construction cost, the cost of operating it each year — and who’s paying. What are the proposals currently “on the table”? In June, Congressman Kilili reported that President Trump had signed legislation mandating a feasibility study for a veterans health clinic in the NMI. What’s the next step? How can the NMI speed up the process?

At the recent youth conference, it was also pointed out that the island should have a shopping mall. Perhaps in the next gathering of youth leaders, an economist should be invited to talk about this and related subjects such as 1) the costs of doing business in the NMI; 2) why should an investor open a mall on island; and 3) is there a consumer market for a mall on Saipan? Maybe there could also be discussions on how a market economy works, how prices, including wages, are set, and why some countries are more economically advanced than others. Moreover, the students could take a close look into the economies of each of the Micronesian islands — the NMI, Guam, the FSM, Palau, the Marshalls, Kiribati, Nauru — and find out how are they different or similar, and why, and the economic and other challenges they face.

Just like other concerned citizens today, the local youth want to be taken seriously. Some of them also say they want to change the world. Sure. The first step then is to know how it works.

The persistence of blah

LISTENING to some of the campaign rhetoric — which will surely be more extravagant if not shriller as we approach E-Day — one is amazed by the long list of problems and concerns that, we are told, will be solved if certain candidates are elected to work for a government…that cannot even enforce an anti-littering law…or manage a hospital or power plant without running them into the ground.

This may be news to some people, but it is the improving economy that is providing more funding for many of the government’s obligations. If the economy tanks, again, then we will, again, be reminded of how worthless campaign promises are even if spoken by someone noble and pure of heart.

What actually works

ONE of the truly admirable government entities we have is Joeten-Kiyu Public Library. Largely untainted by politics, JKPL consistently provides invaluable services that are deeply appreciated by community members. JKPL, moreover, continues to come up with new programs and activities for young and old alike. Thank you JKPL and its ever-helpful staff and director.

It is also not too late to point out that this year’s Liberation Day festivities and Agricultural Fair were well-organized and well-executed. Congratulations to the planning committees!