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Editorials | ‘General ineffectiveness’

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But don’t hold your breath

FINALLY, we learn that there is a point to the recent “grilling” of the DPS chief — and that it wasn’t just about “nepotism” and related charges that have been the staple of (election year) political discourse since the post-World War II years.

Yes. That long ago. In 1950, for example, the American anthropologist Alexander Spoehr wrote that the Saipan mayor and the Congress of Saipan were squabbling over the budget deficit. The mayor’s purchase of a “new second-hand jeep” for the municipality was another controversy — besides the disbursements that were being made even though the budget had not been approved yet.  As for the “deliberations of the legislative body,” they “have been marked by endless discussion and bickering and general ineffectiveness,” Spoehr noted. That observation could very well apply to the 21st Legislature as well.

In the 1985 elections — surely one of the most spirited and contentious in CNMI history — the political opposition’s “Indictment #1” against the party in power was (wait for it) “NEPOTISM!!!”

“HOW LONG CAN THE PUBLIC TOLERATE THE FAMILIA SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT?” That was the question of the opposition which also put out a “chart” indicating the names of the CNMI’s top elected officials, their appointees, their salaries, and how they were all related to each other. The opposition back then, in the pre-Google/social media age, didn’t need to form a “special committee” and conduct a public hearing to obtain that information.

In any case, in a small island community with a small population, how many indigenous residents are not related to a lot of other local people?

And what was the result of the previous legislative “oversight hearings” and “investigations” regarding “nepotism,” “abuse of power,” “misuse of public funds,” etc., etc, several of which were backed with OPA reports?

Never mind because no one else remembers about those past “crusades” anyway?

Referring to the latest allegations of “nepotism” and “abuses of power” involving an official who happens to belong to the other political party, Rep. Tina Sablan asked her colleagues last week, “What are we going to do about it?”

Answering that question should be the point of the latest political dog-and-pony show on the hill ongoing legislative investigation.

Say cheese

AMID the more pressing and certainly more urgent problems — affecting not only the political fortunes of this year’s candidates for office, but the welfare of the people they say they serve — a House “special committee,” which traveled all the way to Rota, failed to ask even a single question to an indicted mayor of a smaller island with an even smaller population. But they all happily posed for a souvenir photo.

Meanwhile, at the legislative building on Capital Hill:

Everyone is concerned about furloughed government employees, but still not a word on how they could have their jobs back.

Everyone is also concerned about public education, but where is the measure that could provide PSS or NMC with more funding?

Everyone is very concerned about public health, but it seems that all CHCC can expect from the Legislature are its “thoughts and prayers.”

So good luck to you CUC.

And good luck to all of us.

 

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