Marianas Variety

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    Monday, August 26, 2019-9:46:54P.M.






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Editorials 2019-February-08

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THERE used to be a time when most people turned on their TVs to watch local talk shows.

In the 1990s in the NMI, “Jon Anderson Live,” which aired every Wednesday night on KMCV Channel 7, was must-see TV.  In those years, Jon would fly in from Guam every Wednesday morning, and upon arriving at the Saipan airport, he would proceed to Marianas Variety’s office in Garapan to get the day’s copy of the newspaper, and talk shop with the publisher and the reporters.

His TV show on Saipan never flinched from the day’s burning controversies — or controversial personalities. It was informative and entertaining. The host himself was elegant, handsome, genial and with a pleasing yet authoritative voice. More important, he knew what he was talking about. Throughout the Marianas and the Pacific region, Jon was a respected and much-admired journalist.

On Guam, where his broadcast career began in 1977, Jon was the “father of talk radio,” and editor of the island’s Marianas Variety until his retirement in 2014. He passed away on Feb. 1 at the age of 76.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife and children.

No choice

THE local economy has been hit hard by Yutu. The lingering uncertainty over federal labor and immigration rules is also not helping.

Not surprisingly, there has been a delay in the transfer of funds to PSS and perhaps to other government agencies as well. The government’s budget, as we all should know by now, is based on projected revenue which has to be generated primarily by the local economy.

At stake are not only the funds for PSS and other critical public agencies. Since the economy improved a few years ago — thanks mainly to an increase in tourist arrivals and the entry of a Saipan  casino investor — the CNMI government has been able to make timely pension payments to its retirees through the Settlement Fund or SF. As pointed out by its trustee, the SF owns a consent judgment totaling over $700 million which the SF may enforce against the CNMI government in federal court if the Commonwealth fails to timely pay its obligations due under the settlement agreement.

Clearly, the CNMI government and the local business community must continue to find ways to prevent another economic crash — or at least to somewhat cushion the blow. IPI’s hotel-casino project must be completed. IPI will continue to be under a microscope, but that’s how it should be. All businesses should also acknowledge the volatility of U.S. politics, and the possibility that the CNMI could get caught — once again — in the conflagration.  Lobbying in the nation’s capital could help, but effective lobbyists usually cost a lot of money that the CNMI may no longer have. This means that the governor and the congressional delegate, who serve the same constituents, have to work together. Businesses must continue exploring new technologies — including automation and outsourcing — and other U.S. visa programs or other sources of qualified workers in the face of the federal government’s unreasonable if not punitive labor and immigration diktats.

Doing nothing is not an option.