I talked with the reporter, Junhan Todeno, at the Beautify CNMI graffiti meeting last Monday. The first story to come out of that conversation concerned the travel budget of the Mayor of Saipan. This is the second.
Junhan was not very familiar with the work Beautify CNMI has done over the last four years and was asking me questions about our activities. Then he asked me something along the lines of, "and do you think this will help you get elected?"
My answer to that question is in bold below, along with the entire article.
Villagomez: Beautify CNMI non-politicalI mean it when I say that Beautify CNMI transcends politics. We invite people of all political stripes, ethnicities, citizenship, and religions to help us make these islands a better place to live and visit. We work with all types of businesses, organizations, and government agencies to accomplish our mission, too. The story cites the International Coastal Cleanup Day and the Boonie Dog show, but forgets to mention that we're working with the Division of Environmental Quality and PAWS, respectively.
MONDAY, 07 SEPTEMBER 2009
BY JUNHAN B. TODENO - VARIETY NEWS STAFF
BEAUTIFY CNMI executive officer Angelo Villagomez may be runing for office, but he says their group cannot be used for political purposes.
“Beautify CNMI transcends politics,” said the Democratic Party’s Saipan mayoral candidate.
Rep. Tina Sablan, an Independent senatorial hopeful, and Labor Deputy Secretary Cinta M. Kaipat, one of the ruling Covenant Party’s two senatorial candidates on Saipan, were among the founding members of Beautify CNMI.
Villagomez said they may have different political affiliations, but they all agree that Beautify CNMI is good for the island.
“This is a non-political entity,” he added.
Villagomez said as a candidate, he is hoping that voters will “look at my education, my work experience, my management experience and my commitment to the island. I want the people to vote on the candidate that they think can do the best for the island and can work hard for them.”
He believes his record shows he can do a lot of things as mayor.
“And I can do it much cheaper,” he said.
On Sept. 19, Villagomez said Beautify CNMI will help initiate the International Coastal Cleanup Day.
Besides its regular cleanups, the group plants trees, paints over graffiti, repaints bus stops and even the old lighthouse on Navy Hill.
Beautify CNMI also tackles animal welfare issues, including stray dogs. It has co-hosted a dog show for three consecutive years and helps raise funds for the adoption and care of stray animals.
Will Beautify CNMI help me get elected? Maybe, but only because it shows my experience building coalitions and getting things done. Will Beautify CNMI still be around after the election regardless of the election results? Absolutely!
The one thing that was left out of this article was the praise that I heaped on Governor Fitial for his support of Beautify CNMI. I have been critical of the Fitial Administration at times, but when it comes to his support for Beautify CNMI he has been a champion. When we were first getting started he directed his Cabinet to give us "whatever we need." More recently he gave permission to government workers to participate in the Island Wide Cleanup during regular working hours.