I had chicken and she had a caesar salad.
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?
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 coverageI 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?
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
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:
...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?