Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Lunch with Wendy

I had lunch with Wendy Doromal yesterday.

I had chicken and she had a caesar salad.

THE END

...just kidding.

Wendy emailed me a few weeks ago and told me that she was coming to Saipan and that she'd like to meet me. I guess she reads my blog.

She called me yesterday and took me out to lunch. (That's right, folks, she bribed me with chicken...and it worked)

It turns out that Wendy teaches in the Orange County Public School system. I am a proud product of OCPS. Go Winter Park Wildcats! She also knows several of my friends in Orlando, like Sandra Diaz who works at (worked at?) Dandelion Communitea Cafe and Representative Scott Randolph, my former roommate.

Small world, huh?

So.

Wendy has been a thorn in the side of the CNMI government for well over a decade. Here is a letter to the editor in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin written in 1997 by they guy who used to have Charles Reyes job:

Northern Marianas got unfair coverage

Congratulations for a masterful job in helping the Filipino Coalition for Solidarity further exploit "Katrina" in its effort to publicize the current campaign to remove the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands' (CNMI) local control of its immigration and labor policy (Star-Bulletin, June 6).

This "coalition" that claims to monitor human rights abuses in the CNMI from its 3,900-mile vantage point is the same organization that maintained two years ago that literal slavery existed in the CNMI. This is the organization that continues to recycle "documented" stories of CNMI labor abuses by former Hawaii resident Wendy Doromal, who hasn't even been here since 1995.

The only problem is that Doromal's idea of documentation is writing down allegations she hears, much the same method as is used by your reporter in this story. Those accused then stand convicted with no right of appeal.

Of course, real prosecutors can't work like this and one would hope that reporters would not as well. The pat, heart-wrenching stories often collapse in the face of some tough, skeptical questioning of both sides. Skepticism seems to be in short supply at the Star-Bulletin.

Mark M. Broadhurst
Public Information and Protocol Officer
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
I can't believe that 10 years after this was written, the government is still using the Chewbacca defense. Jack Abramoff has $11 million of our tax dollars and we're paying lobbyists and propagandists $30,000+ per month and we're still saying that these are recycled arguments? WTF, mate?

Well, Wendy is back. She's in the CNMI taking testimony from Filipino, Bangladeshi, and other contract workers. She published her preliminary findings in the Saipan Tribune today.

I'm looking forward to the government's response.

She's holding a meeting of nonresident workers and their US citizen children at Kilili Beach today at 5:30. She's looking for more testimonies from people to backup her support for Federalization. I'd go take pictures, but I have something to do tonight that is much more important than this whole Federal Takeover/Human Rights Abuses/George Miller hates the CNMI issue:

Coed Soccer!

...and we're back.

Most people have already taken sides on this issue. Either the CNMI is full of pedophile, serial human rights abusers or we are a petri dish of capitalism, a shining beacon for the rest of the world to follow. While I would argue that the world would be a happier place if everyone had just one taste of my Auntie Connie's chicken kelaguen, I think the truth lies somewhere in between the way Wendy sees us and how Tom "what, you call that money laundering?" Delay sees us.

Not that people aren't getting screwed.

The contract workers aren't the only ones getting a raw deal. A lot of Chamorros and Carolinians are losing out, too. The recent creation of Taotao Tano is proof.

Now, I doubt this will ever happen, but wouldn't it be great if Taotao Tano and Dekada could sit down and work out their differences? They'd realize that they agree on 95% of the issues that they are concerned with. They both want to be treated with dignity, earn a living wage, care for their families, have access to health care, and live in a crime free, safe community. The only difference is that the Taotao Tano members are "local" and the Dekada members are "guest workers."

Can't we all just get along?

19 comments:

Jeff said...

Amen on that last point. Dekada and Taotao Tano should have been together the whole time.

dengre said...

Glad you had a chance to meet Wendy.

The workers and the locals are both being screwed by the old guard Pirates of Saipan.

The economic system depends on separating and abusing both communities. It depends on keeping each group suspicious of the other.

Dekada and Taotao Tano do share a common foe in Fitial, Tan, Pierce and the rest of the gang.

Change is coming. We have a moment to shape it. You on the CNMI have far more power now than those of us on the mainland.

Think of the civil rights movement in the South in the 1960s. Do you ignore the movement or support it?

That is your choice.

Freedom for all is a good thing.

There is no reason to fear it.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Embracing this, is what makes us Americans.

The Foreign Contract Workers on the CNMI are human too.

They have rights.

Embrace it.

It will set you and the CNMI Free.

Cheers

SPN Lifer said...

It looks like the government has already issued its "response" through the Governor's testimony in Washington on July 19, 2007.

http://energy.senate.gov/public/_files/TestimonyGovernorFitial000.pdf

SPN Lifer said...

The link got cut off.

http://energy.senate.gov/public/
_files/TestimonyGovernorFitial000.pdf

SPN Lifer said...

Is there an HTML tag that will turn something into a "live" link?

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

Come to the blogger meetup at Java Joes at 7 tonight and I will show you how

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

Dengre,

I understand your frustrations with the Tan Holdings garment factories, but Tan Holdings has many other businesses, all of which are very good for the CNMI.

I haven't met Willie, but I have met Richard once and I see Jerry all the time.

With the exception of the garment factories, which I do not have first hand knowledge of, I have nothing but good things to say about Tan Holdings.

They employ many locals, pay taxes, provide services that the CNMI needs, support local sports, and support Beautify CNMI.

I do hope that those who broke Federal Laws are held accountable; I just caution you from painting with too broad a brush.

Anonymous said...

dude,
wake up. your friend willy with all the great cnmi businesses is the same chap that housed his workers in the containers that he received his material from. you need to research and hold people accountable for their past actions. unless you want to join your awesome governor in his defense of ambromoff's great work for the cnmi? where is the difference. jesus f chirst the guy fucked up don't defend him.

Anonymous said...

that's right he is buying you off by supporting your cause... hmmmm you the one that shuns the lobbying effort by your cnmi now being eaten alive by the same tactics.

Anonymous said...

What does federal takeover really mean?

Growing up back home with the locals, I've noticed that it's all about the land. Anything that has to do with Federal takeover, they "locals" automatically think that it will strip away their land.

It's time Taotao Tano realize that giving visa's to Dekada doesnt have anything to do with losing their land.

I had alot of locals come up and say, "we don't support stateless individual because I want my kids to own land when they get older" Being born and raised on saipan, I've heard this over and over again in parties or just whenever I talk with the manamko's.

Even though I feel it's unfortunate that saipan lose alot of economic opportunities from the land issue, I think the locals should be able to keep their land. That's all they have left of their history.

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

Can you take a reality pill?

I don't think Jerry Tan helped create NMIFA two years ago in anticipation of my blog popping up a few years later.

People who broke federal law should be thrown in jail. The sooner the better.

Still, the things I said about Tan Holdings are true. With the exception of the garment factories, they are a tremendous asset to the CNMI. We'd be up shit creek without a paddle without Tan Holdings providing jobs and tax revenue.

Why is it wrong to say that? And if I've been bought off, why am I only making $350/week?

Can someone please buy me off? I could really use a new pair of shoes.

pete said...

Dengre is correct. A great moment in the CNMI's history is unfolding right infront of us now. Everyone in the CNMI should decide which side of history will they be in.

dengre said...

Wow, you are a cheap date.

The Tan family was phasing out their garment business on the CNMI ten years ago. It is only part of what they do.

They are a supply chain company. They move things. Clothes, fish, money and people.

They have a piece of the action on most of the bonds required for most of the guest worker. They also get a piece of the action from everybody who travels between China and the CNMI.

There are many other scams as well.

They co-created the economic system on the CNMI with folks like BenTan Fitial (who took credit for the creation of the current guest worker system in his recent testimony to Congress).

Can they really buy you off with a few kind words and a donation to Beautify CNMI?

That would make you a cheap date.

At least Fitial held out for the house on the hill.

Come on, you are smarter than that. Dig a little.

The truth is out there.

SaipanLin said...

anonymous... please identify yourself

your words are "tough" but hiding behind them is cowardly

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

D-unit:

How the hell do you know about the house on the hill?

Anonymous [#006] said...

spn lifer:

To make a link, do the following.

I'll use brackets [ ] in the description in the following paragraph instead of the greater than or less than signs < > that should actually be used, for purposes of explaining and not having the computer try to act on them:

You use the [a] command, beginning with just the [a . Then leave a space and then use HREF= followed by no space and then the URL in quotes followed by the ] . After that use your link title (with no spaces before or after it) and then the [/A].

So your link above would look like this:

Governor's Washington Testimony

Angelo, it's not like the ownership of the house on the hill is a state secret, visible as it is to anyone driving north on Beach Road. In fact, that's usually one of the first questions a newcomer asks upon seeing it.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Sorry Angelo, you're not allowed an independent thought about Jerry Tan or anthing else.

Dungre is paid to see that a steady stream of NEGATIVE PR is funneled in regarding the CNMI, so it doesn't matter that you have found something positive, or something neutral or, heaven forbid, something actually good.

Your job is to represent it as something horrific, or lacking that, at least something negative. This stance will continue unabated until the dung's handler has called the ferret off.

So be sure to 'embrace' him.

Cheers, ...right.

dengre said...

Ah Bruce

once again you score points with your rapier like wit.

Ouch.

Cheers

ps: I do this stuff for free, nobody has ever paid me a dime. I know it may be odd to consider, but I do not like neo-slavery under the American Flag.

Oh, and as a Libertarian, how do you feel about this story:
AG: Alien workers may not own businesses

Seems sorta Stalinist to me...

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Sure dungre, you're just a concerned citizen worried sick about the goings on in a rock pile thousands of miles away from your own backyard. (snorts)

Which backyard purveys more slave oriented legislation in an afternoon session than the CNMI could produce in a thousand years.

Re business opportunities for foreign workers. I think it stinks. It could be improved by being repealed completely.

I think America's invasion, without provocation of a half dozen countries in the last decade or so stinks far worse. Why not spend some of your quality, free, protest time over in front of the White House bemoaning a real slave master?

I don't recall Saipan's army killing any babies this week, what about yours? Seems sort of Hitlerian to me.