Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Angels of the New World

Jaime Vergara penned an editorial on Columbus Day about Tina Sablan and me.
So what new world are we entering into these days? What historic crossings are being made? OK, first, the title of this article. Less I am accused of writing this as a veiled endorsement of the candidacy of Angelo Villagomez for Mayor of Saipan, my immediate response is an emphatic “No,” because it is hardly veiled at all! Angelo, of course, is singular; “angels” in the title is plural. Now, are we clear?


I was teaching a three-week crash CNMI overview in my 6th Grade Social Studies Class a year or so ago, when the Marianas Marine Monument was being fiercely debated on island and beyond. Having previously extolled the virtues of Angelo's efforts with the Beautify CNMI folks, I took the opportunity to invite Angelo to speak to the class.

His first statement was an attention-getter: “I am not a government employee. Nor do I have any plans of becoming one.” That was dropped like dead weight without any further explanation, though it would be obvious to his captive audience who have imbibed deeply by then on the notion that to coast through the local economy with ease and comfort is to become a government functionary, and here came one of renown going against the grain! The then XO for the CNMI's effort to engage local support for the declaration of the Marine Monument up the northernmost islands being mulled by the Bush White House at the time, took his audio-visual tools and proceeded to regal his audience with his imaginative skills and succinct yet comprehensive grasp of the relevant subject.

This past Wednesday, our young ruffian (we mean this in its proper noun meaning, of course) donned a jacket and a tie to join island casuals before the Saipan Chamber of Commerce to share a few sound bites and quotable quotes on this current foray into elective office. Angelo sure has a knack for going against the grain even when the vilification of his threatened elders raises new heights. Beyond partisan politics and the entrapment of ego-satisfaction and personality cult, he appears to be wading into the arena of servant leadership role in public service.
Thank you, Jaime.

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