Marianas Variety

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    Friday, September 20, 2019-5:47:27P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Editorials 2019-August-24

Word to the wise

PRECINCT 4 has two new and dynamic House members who are tirelessly serving their constituents.

Rep. Joel Camacho is, among other things, volunteering his talent and time to help beautify the northern villages while Rep. Sheila Babauta has, among other things, adopted the Tanapag Youth Center and is now seeking volunteers for an after-school program.

Both lawmakers are aware of the importance of a strong economy in generating government revenue that pays for critical public services. They are also working to provide direct benefits to community members.

However, certain government programs can only go so far. In the case of youth centers, they are likely to achieve most of their stated goals if there is strong parental involvement.

Education expert and author Kerry McDonald noted recently that in the states, it was “the expansion of government programs, particularly in education, that weakened the family, led many parents to abdicate responsibility for their children’s upbringing, and caused them to increasingly rely on government institutions to do the job for them.”

Surely we don’t want that to happen here.

A more pressing issue

THE NMI’s Republican governor recently appeared on a FOX News political talk show to basically preach to the choir on the subject of birth-tourism. (Spoiler alert: the NMI is against it.)

The governor’s primary audience, obviously, is the American president whose 902 representatives have agreed not to scrap the parole program that is crucial to the viability of the islands’ only industry, tourism. But the parole program will also be modified with “enhanced security provisions,” and the NMI must work with the federal government in addressing birth-tourism. This intent was reiterated in a CNMI House joint resolution adopted by both houses of the Legislature last month.

On Wednesday, President Trump told reporters that his administration is “ ‘very seriously’ looking into ending the practice of conferring U.S. citizenship on anyone born in the United States.”

Now we can get into college-debate mode and argue over the legal and/or moral aspects of this issue, but the fact remains: the NMI’s Republican administration is trying to stay on the good side of a Republican president who can be a valuable ally in the Commonwealth’s never-ending efforts to fend off or at least soften federal mandates that could further strangle the struggling local economy.

Congressman Kilili, who caucuses with the U.S. Democrats and echoes their concerns regarding hot-button issues, knows what we are talking about. We are also sure that 1) he is aware that workforce issues are a far more pressing concern for the NMI right now; and that 2) he is doing all he can to prevent a needless exodus of workers in October.

Another pressing issue

THE land-lease agreements of the island’s two major hotels, the Hyatt and Fiesta Resort, will soon expire, but both are willing to seek a 15-year extension. DPL said the negotiations with the Hyatt are still ongoing, and that it wants a deal that is beneficial to the hotel and the owners of the islands’ public lands, the NMDs. Right on. And right now, such a deal must be premised on an extension for the Hyatt and Fiesta Resort. It is not in the NMDs’ best interest to lose two reliable business partners that have done so much for the local community and the local economy through all these years.

The cash-strapped CNMI government simply and literally cannot afford another Mariana Resort fiasco.