Thursday, January 04, 2007

Angelo Villagomez: A National Disgrace

Ai adai, Nancy Pelosi.

I've got politics on the brain. Sorry.

On the way home from playing soccer at American Memorial Park this afternoon I listened to the local news on the radio. David Cohen, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Insular Affairs, was on live discussing the upcoming minimum wage hike. Before he was interviewed by the anchor Chris Nelson, they played a video where incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi calls the CNMI and the CNMI Resident Representative, Pete Tenorio, a National Disgrace.

If I heard her correctly, she went on to call everything about the CNMI a National Disgrace (hence the name of this post).


The video in the clip was shot while the Speaker was campaigning for reelection. Her stump speech must have hit a nerve because she won 80% of the vote in 2006.

As for doing something about having your say on (edited for the sake of anonymous commentor) the impending Federal Takeover, Mr. Cohen suggested that average people in the CNMI, people who own businesses, workers, students, government employees, etc, go to DC to tell members of Congress about what life in the CNMI is really like.

I have a better idea:

Start a blog. Join the We Love Saipan Network. Link back to the Saipan Blog. That is something that every single person in the CNMI can do. Some staff member in DC will find you, I promise. For many of us who don't have the option of flying to (like me) or even calling (OK, I can do that) DC, that may be your best option.

That's really all I have to say about that.

In related news:

There is going to be a big protest tomorrow organized by a local Overseas Worker group. They want to show their support for a Federal Takeover. The protest is at 5 PM in front of the Horiguchi building in Garapan. I'll take some pictures and report back on it...but I can't stay too late because...

Saipan Singing Superstar finals are tomorrow! Woot!


Anonymous said...

Angelo, are you upset with the 1.)Planned minimum wage hike? or 2.)Federal immigration? or both?

You can't be serious that you'd like to keep the CNMI minimum wage at $3.05/hour? You can't be serious thinking $3.05 is a living wage? Come on man...its a joke! If I remember correctly, the proposed bill will phase in the minimum wage over a several year period of 50 cents a year or so. Its totaly fair. The CNMI has needed this for years!


Saipan Chamoale said...

Like the majority of the people on this island, I would like to see the minimum wage go up; it is long overdue. However, I think there is a better way of doing things.

I'm not against fixing our labor and our immigration problems, but I'm not ready to hand them over to the federal govermnent yet, either.

Has the CNMI truly done nothing to address these problems? No, of course not. Has the CNMI done all that it could do to address these problems? Unfortunately, the answer to this is no, too.

Unfort, I'm a nobody and I don't get to influence these types of decisions. Like most people on this island, I just have to sit back and watch to see what happens.

Anonymous said...

you want a hike in minimum wage. you feel it is long over due. you state that you as an individual can not do anything other than sit back and watch as things pan out. thus far nothing has happened on this front and the people in control have made no headway. a force now presents a possible solution to the low wage problem and you label it as being "rammed down our throat". ?

now if you were making minimum wage, that force that is "ramming the hike down our throats" may look like a savior. but of course while you sit back and watch the grass grow you do it with a bit of a heftier paycheck in your back pocket than the $6,344/year (before taxes) that a minimum wage earner in the CNMI has to stretch to try and get by on.

$6,344/year --- inhumane? perhaps

Angry Sicilian said...

Hey slut.. I think you need to clarify your stance on this or possibly let it slide...

Viva Pelosi!

Saipan Chamoale said...

Yes and yes...and yes. I want to raise the min. wage, but I want the CNMI to do it, not the federal government.

I repeat, the majority of people on this island want to raise the minimum wage. People just disagree on HOW it should be done and who should be the one to do it.

Does that clarify?

Anonymous said...

"The current minimum wage in the Commonwealth is $3.05 per hour ( as
of July 1, 1997) for all sectors of the economy."

1997?? about 10 years ago... yes you are right the cnmi should be the one to do it. i am assuming you mean our cnmi government. perhaps they will get around to the wage issues after a few more junkets to hawaii to figure out how to spark investment in the cnmi, or after a few more trips to the p.i. to link up with possible power privateers, or after they get done passing legislation to increase power rates, or...

10 years ... 6,344/year ... wait on the cnmi to do it? don't hold your breath. they saw this coming for years and they twiddled their thumbs and did nothing to forward any cnmi based legislation. matter of fact they squashed a law that was in place to slowly raise the minimum wage.

high time for someone to "do" instead of sit and watch and see what pans out.

clarify? yes, it clarifies the overwhelming attitude of a majority of the people in saipan... "i can only sit around and wait and see what the guys in charge do. what can i do about it?"

Anonymous said...

write letters to congress? fly over and visit them in d.c.? create blogs to stop the wage hike?

where was all this assertive effort over the last 10 years?

nobody was lobbying our cnmi legislators, sending emails to them, writing up blogs , or anything else in an effort to correct a grossly off the mark minimum wage.

Angelo said...

Blaming everything on bad politicians gets you no where. There are no such things as bad politicians in a Democracy, only bad voters.

What can you do?

Well, usually what you do is first get rid of the guys in charge...but who do you replace them with?

Other options that have worked in the Mainland:

1. go on strike (the most common method)
2. form an overseas worker union
3. a voter forced ballot initiative (they did this in Florida in 2004)
4. strike again
5. lobby, lobby, lobby (usually not very effective unless you have gobs of money)
6. bring in more partners
7. protest (not really effective, but gets your message out)
8. hold rallies (mostly used for finding out who your supporters are)
9. get your campaign into the press (very effective if you can message it right)

Any Liberal friends care to chime in?

This is an interesting topic. I don't mind if you comment anonymously.

So let me pose this question:

What should the CNMI do NOW to grow the economy and take care of her workers and taxpayers?

Anonymous said...

The islands that time forgot is about to be brought forward into the current time-frame of the rest of the US.

Why expend all those various tactical efforts when the Feds can arrive at the same end within 1 week of taking charge.

10 years worth of lost progress corrected in 100 hours. Vaguely familiar to the 100%+ power hike to bring us up to speed and then some.

Let's see:
Raise power rates excessively --- gain better power? Nope. Stress the entire islands populous? Yep, businesses and citizens.

Raise minimum wage dramatically --- gain a higher level workforce and shift the burden on gov't as a sole source of well paid jobs to the private sector? Perhaps. Not to mention the effect a local workforce making federal minimum wage will have on circulating the newly acquired disposable income. Reduce our reliance on foreign labor? Perhaps in time?

Our band aid approach days are slowly passing. Now it is time for the harsh pain involved in ripping the band aid off. The fresh air we receive afterwards will allow for a speedy healing.

Saipan Chamoale said...

Got some Neosporin?

Anonymous said...

Angelo, I have a quest for you: Get a hold of the Minimum Wage Analysis binder that is sitting on a shelf in the conference room of the Saipan Chamber of Commerce. If you can get it...Publish it on your blog. I'm interested to see what it concludes???


Anonymous said...

Those of you who think that minimum wage was intended to be a living wage are just plain wrong. Minimum wage is designed to be an entry level wage for unskilled, and under educated persons. If you want to make a living wage, get an education, choose a field that is in demand for your profession, move somewhere where they have jobs in that skill, work hard and show up for work early and go home late... and maybe you will have a chance to earn a living in this world. Or move to San Francisco and beg in front of Nancy Pelosi's office and you can probably get along just fine. The way I see it, if minimum wage can help a college student pay room and board, then it has done it's job.

Anonymous said...

...or just be born rich like most rich people!

Anonymous said...

As someone who knows a little about immigration in the CNMI, who deals with it day in and day out, I can honestly say that smaller in this instance is better than a huge bureacracy, run from afar. It may not be perfect, but it isn't completely broken and it's being tweaked and worked on every day. As far as minimum wage goes, 3.05 isn't a livable wage, BUT to suddenly hike it up all at once will tank the CNMI economy... slow and steady wins the race.