Monday, September 07, 2009

Followup Questions

I received an email from the Marianas Variety asking for follow up to today's article and my last blog post:
I would like to get a follow up about the story Junhan wrote today.
Here are the following questions:
1. How does Gov. Fitial support the activities of Beautify CNMI?
2. Does Beautify CNMI get government issued funds? How much?
3. How does the fund made possible? How does it help the organization?
4. What are the things Beautify CNMI lack and how do you think should the government address it.
Here are my answers:
1. How does Gov. Fitial support the activities of Beautify CNMI?

Governor Fitial has been very supportive of Beautify CNMI activities. Recently he allowed government workers to participate in the island wide cleanup during regular working hours. His agencies have also been great participants. DEQ provides expertise and staff time to help us coordinate with cleanups, Forestry and Parks & Recreation have provided us with trees, and several agencies have volunteered for events.

2. Does Beautify CNMI get government issued funds? How much?

Beautify CNMI is a coalition and partners donate funds, supplies, and expertise to complete projects. For example, for the recent community tree planting at Laolao Bay, Kathleen Hermann of NOAA and DEQ was the main coordinator. DEQ, CRMO, and Forestry provided staff, trucks, and supplies. CRMO provided sandwiches and water. Forestry provided trees. DEQ paid for t-shirts I helped coordinate donations of coconuts and recruited volunteers. Money is not always what is needed for our projects, sometimes we just need good coordination between government agencies, the community, and businesses. In the past we have received money from MVA (about $11,500 over 4 years) and lawmakers (less than $1000) to pay for things like garbage bags, gloves, paint, t-shirts, flying in a trainer from Guam, and prize money for schools.

3. How does the fund made possible? How does it help the organization?

We get by really well with donations of supplies and coordinating with volunteer labor, but donations of cash help us to get those things that we can't get donated, like garbage bags, gloves, paint, t-shirts, prize money for schools, etc. Recently we've received donations from Bridge Capital and PIC. The Bridge Capital donation will cover 6 months of cleanups, and we also bought some paint and we're using some of the money as prize money for a contest we're going to have later this month.

4. What are the things Beautify CNMI lack and how do you think should the government address it.

Beautify CNMI lacks enforcement. Most of the people involved are community volunteers. Groups like FMI have been doing cleanups every weekend for nearly four years. I'd like to see enforcement of our litter laws. I'm not talking about giving someone a $500 ticket for flicking a cigarette butt on the ground either, there are dozens of illegal dump sites around the island. I'd like to go in and clean them out and pick through the garbage looking for receipts and papers with people's names. I'd like to fine those people.

I'd also like to see better island planning, support for a system of parks & trails, a comprehensive solid waste management plan, and the paving of roads that are affecting our coral reefs.

I hope this is a start. I have copied the other Beautify CNMI chairs. I encourage you to include their input. I've also copied Charles Reyes. Please inquire further with him about the governor's involvement with Beautify CNMI.

Angelo
Only a snippet ever gets used anytime you give an interview, send a press release, or answer questions via email. We'll see in a day or two how this one turns out.

1 comment:

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Going through the garbage piles is reminiscent of Arlo Gutherie's famous Alices Restaurant album. It's a great idea and it would work too. Then publish the findings in the paper so that illegal dumpers get a nice big dose of public shame.. A a deterrent, that is worth more than a fine and a letter of apology.