The latest firestorm of controversy on Saipan concerns the government's installation of power poles along the main road on the North end of the island into Marpi and the veteran's cemetery. The community, at least some members of the community, think the power poles are an unnecessary eyesore. The Fitial Administration doesn't seem to care and continues to erect them despite protests.
In the grand scheme of things, what are a few power poles anyway?
Probably nothing, except that a tried and true political strategy for garnering votes on Saipan is to hand out free homestead plots to dedicated supporters. Combined with the fact that the Fitial Administration has already bulldozed forest to survey potential plots, and well, you do the political calculations.
So in all likelihood, the next time I live on Saipan the green hills of Marpi will have transformed into the grey slums of Marpi, indistinguishable from the poorly planned, rat infested villages in Koblerville and Kagman.
I've noticed that little by little the island gets more degraded and very few people seem to care. The power poles, and the flame trees that were damaged or killed in order to make way for their installation, are just one drop in the bucket. The dozens of trees cut down along Beach Road in front of Marianas High School and Hopwood Junior High School have made their neighborhoods more barren and have added to the urban blight. The unnecessary expansion of Isa Drive will lead to more runoff, increased accidents, and pedestrian deaths.
All this happens while elected officials bang the drum of We Have to Improve Tourism. So they go on taxpayer funded vacations to improve tourism instead of picking up a garbage bag, a shovel, or a paint roller.