Marianas Variety

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Editorials 2017-Feb-17

Long overdue

THE Zoning Office is taking some of its monitoring and enforcement responsibilities seriously by helping the mayor’s office dispose of abandoned vehicles, and giving notice to businesses that aren’t providing adequate disposal bins and proper storage screens.

These are enforcement actions long overdue. The solid waste division of the Department of Public Works and the Bureau of Environmental Health of CHCC have enforcement responsibilities as well, but it seems that they haven’t seen the overflowing trash bins visible to everyone else.

Parking woes

PARKING is now a problem in the Garapan tourist district, and this problem usually begins at the design and planning stage, so the Zoning Board’s recent waiver of parking requirements for a new development up north may be short-sighted, especially if the investors make good on their plan to build everything reported in the media.

The kind of parking permitted affects aesthetics, the environment (especially if there is inadequate drainage) as well as pedestrian and vehicular traffic. An investor’s particular needs shouldn’t preclude the public interest.

In Garapan, the administration’s apparent answer to lack of parking is to direct the Department of Public Safety to hand out parking tickets. This may discourage parking in the tourist district, but it doesn’t solve the problem which is lack of parking space. When the Imperial casino opens — what then?

Meanwhile, many Garapan streets are rutted by holes, open canals and trenching that never gets asphalted correctly. There are also unannounced road closures and detours, creating additional traffic problems. It’s possible that all this will get cleaned up and organized after the new development projects are completed — though maybe not, given lax government oversight.

Prudence first

REPRESENTATIVE Ed Propst has done a good job looking into CNMI government debt and sharing crucial financial information with the public. He is the only legislator to do so in recent memory. He also opposes generous pay increases for elected officials, a position justified by the government’s real financial state.

Let’s also point out once again that, to date, the Department of Finance has not certified the government’s revenues or the casino revenues as required by the Planning & Budgeting Act. How the Legislature can work on a new budget without these important numbers remains a mystery.