Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Monument Flashbacks I

This is a video of Dr. John Joyner at the Coral Reef Task Force in Hawaii last year. Check out Steve McKagan's Youtube Channel for more videos like it. He hosts them for use on the Marianas Conservation website.

Pew National MonumentThat website is hosted using CNMI government tax dollars and was designed by Division of Fish & Wildlife employees.

I hope those guys hang on to all that memorabilia.


Now that the monument is declared, I guess I can share some of my favorite stories from the campaign.

The first one I'll share happened the week that Jay Nelson and Matt Rand came to Saipan to help me kick off our outreach campaign. We didn't plan it this way, but the week we chose to start giving our public presentations (the first of 115 formal public meetings) just happened to be the week of the 140th meeting of WESPAC.

Our very first presentation was to a joint session of the Legislature. I sat in the back as Jay plowed through our first version of the power point presentation with the local senators and representatives. Our second presentation was at the governor's office. In attendance were the governor's Military Task Force and Strategic Economic Development Council (SEDC), which included representatives from the Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch, the business community and the community at-large.

Some of our strongest supporters were in that meeting. Lynn Knight, who was one of our earliest and strongest champions, was there representing Tan Holdings and the Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands, Ike Cabrera and Ken Kramer were there representing the Marianas Resource Conservation & Development Council, and Marian Aldan-Pierce was there as the Chairwoman of SEDC and President of DFS.

Now that I think of it, some of our longest holdouts were there, too, including Senior Policy Advisor (and WESPAC Advisory Panel Chair) Ray Mafnas, Division of Fish & Wildlife Director Sylvan Igisomar and the Senate legal counsel.

So anyway, we burned through all of our handout material in those first two meetings and had to make more copies to give to the rest of the people we were scheduled to meet. If memory serves me right, we went straight to Pacific Quick Print after our meeting at the governor's office and made a $1000+ order. What can I say, we gave out a lot of information. Each packet had at least 20 double-sided color copies.

Inside Pacific Quick Print there is a small display showing some of the products they make. The samples on display are either pieces that are flawed or extra. Hanging on the display that day was a button similar to Sylvan's button posted above.

The conversation that took place next is a conversation that can only take place on Saipan.

Me: Who made these buttons?
Shopkeeper: I'm not supposed to share information about our other customers.
Me: Was it John Gourley?
Shopkeeper: Yes.
Me: How many did he make?
Shopkeeper: 20
Me: Thanks.

Turns out Gourley was handing them out at the WESPAC meeting.


Anonymous said...

As my grandfather once said "Never pick a fight with an old man. He has nothing to lose and he will just bloody well kill you!"

bradinthesand said...

none of the old men killed anything except their credibility.

Anonymous said...

"What's in your wallet?"

Jeff said...

I get really hostile when educated people, and I can tell Joyner is smart and educated, mislead less informed people. No indigenous fisherman is going up there to feed his family. He knows it. He lies about it, and he does it for money, and not nearly enough money.

The rest of that sorry crew in the picture doesn't bother me as much. They're under all kinds of pressure to kowtow to the CNMI's moronic leaders to keep their government jobs and toe the ignorant line. I'm not sure they even know better, but Joyner does.

bigsoxfan said...

I'd hope that Joyner wasn't too happy with way his words were transcripted onto the utube feed. If he does like the way he sounds, then lay him out on Middle Road while his buddies run out of their offices. I'm sure he can trust them to give him a little artistic lee way..
Next question is; How can we work to disband the Western Pacific Fisheries Council?

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

You can't disband WESPAC, but we can elect a pro-environment governor to put better people on the council. We get 2 of 13 council seats. Right now there are no environmentalists on the council.