Thursday, February 12, 2009

Speaking on behalf of the Friends

When I gave the interview that appeared in today's Marianas Variety, I was not speaking on behalf of the Friends of the Monument. Jun, the reporter, stuck a recorder in my face after Tuesday's Rotary Club meeting and asked me a few questions. I never said I was speaking on behalf of the Friends. I thought I was speaking as Angelo Villagomez, environmental champion.

Just wanted to clear that up.

I want to comment on the article in this blog post. I've posted it in its entirety below if you want to read it first.

So, do I think it makes more scientific sense to protect an entire ecosystem rather than a patchwork of postage stamps? Absolutely. Is that something I want to begin working on right now? Probably not.

There are a number of things that need to be worked out with the monument that we have right now. We need to focus on getting the benefits that were promised to us. Let's get that visitors center. Let's get that enforcement/research boat. Let's get a few local people hired as monument staff. Let's begin work on the draft regulations.

Once some of those benefits start trickling in, then we can start thinking about extending the protections to the full Exclusive Economic Zone and protecting the entire ecosystem.

I promise you that one day the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument will extend out to 200 miles. It will protect all of the seamounts, hydrothermal vents, whales, and other unique life within its borders. That day may not be for 2, 20, or 200 years, but I promise you that that day will come. And when that day comes, I also promise you that it will again be supported by a majority of the people of the Commonwealth, much as today's monument is supported by our political establishment, our business community, and most of our residents.

Here is the full article:
Friends of Monument yet to decide if they will pursue original proposal

THE Friends of the Monument will not lobby the U.S. Congress to implement the proponents’ original proposal for the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument.

Angelo Villagomez of the Friends of the Monument said even during the Bush administration their group did not lobby Congress.

“We worked with the Bush administration,” he said.

Ask if they will lobby the new administration of President Obama, Villagomez said: “That has yet to be seen.”

He said even if their group decided to move forward, they have yet to know who they will work with in the new administration.

He said what their group is interested to know the benefits that CNMI will get from the monument.

They want to see the establishment of a visitor center and the creation of federal jobs for local residents, he added.

The Friends of the Monument have yet to meet to discuss what next step they will undertake after the declaration of the monument, Villagomez said.

He is hoping that the CNMI leadership will seriously focus on the benefits that can be derived from the declaration of the monument, adding that the Friends of the Monument will continue to cooperate with local officials.

Last January, Gov. Benigno R. Fitial appointed three representatives to the advisory council for the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument — Benigno M. Sablan, a member of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council; Joaquin P. Villagomez, a former member of Wespac’s advisory panel; and Sylvan O. Igisomar, the director of the Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Villagomez commended the CNMI leaders and the White House for the monument declaration.

With the creation of the advisory council, he said he is hoping that the CNMI will continue to inform the people how the monument is going to be managed. [emphasis mine]
That last paragraph makes no sense. I never said anything like it. If I was going to make a statement like that, it would be something to the effect of "I hope this monument management plan drafting process is open to the public and not simply the purview of political appointees."


Jeff said...

Dude, did you hear that Lil Hammerhead is Roberta Guerrero? She was seen today editing her blog at Java Joes. She's going batshit now that she's been outed. Maybe Stanley will buy her a drink at Godfathers.

Donna said...

I think u should stay out of this storm forming.
I care.

lil hammerhead said...

I'll give you that you are significantly more intelligent than Jeff is.. so I'm sure you're thinking what I'm thinking right now. Motec is going to be eating some serious crow. I bet he has a visible lump in his throat right now in fact.

On to the post at hand.. whether it is the time yet or not, I'm not sure. At some point, however.. I would hope that the Friend would continue to push for the monument they envisioned.

Saipan Writer said...

Angelo, good post. I saw the headline and didn't even want to read the article, because I knew the reporter did not get things exactly right.

You need to remember that the Variety was never a friend of the Monument. When you speak to their reporters, you need to be especially careful and clear. You can even ask to see an article before it's printed to clear your quotes, although they may not agree.

And your comments here make a lot of sense.

Jeff-stick to the topic, please. :-)

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

Yeah, I know. Zaldy kept calling it a federal takeover.

Jeff said...

Roberta, it sounds like you're getting very uncomfortable being out in the open. Sorry for that. It's such a bitch having to fight fair.