Tuesday, March 27, 2012

When All Other Arguments Fail, Scream Louder

So I went to an event last night and talked to a WESPAC dude from Hawaii and we chatted about many of the things John Gourley included in his latest love letter to those of us who want to see a healthy ocean for future generations.  I sometimes wonder if they ever read our campaign materials.  Like ever.  I read all their stuff, it's only fair.

I learned something during my time advocating for the Mariana Trench Monument that has been very helpful in my work across the Pacific: Nobody reads long letters.  Well, not nobody.  John's friends will read it and my friends will read it.  John's friends will slap him on the back and say how smart he is and tell him he's doing a great job.  My friends will get heated and email each other and say we have to respond.  The federal managers of the monument will also  read the letter and some will allow themselves to get steamrolled with criticism from someone with not one, not two, but three current contracts with WESPAC.

But nobody else will read the letter.  Long letters in the newspaper are not an effective communication tool in the Pacific (or anywhere, really).  If that were the case, then Ron Hodges and Ambrose Bennett would be governor and lt. governor right now.

I don't want to be dismissive of Mr. Gourley because he has the potential to bring many good ideas to the table, but he loads his letters with so many half-truths and contradictions (i.e We successfully negotiated for everything we wanted and we are to be congratulated, but we didn't get anything we wanted and it's the environmentalists' fault).  The same is true for many of the other people listed in the WESPAC directory living on Saipan.  The Northern Marianas has legitimate concerns in the management of the monument, but those concerns are not being addressed because we're arguing over the public comment collection method.

The goal, however, of Mr. Gourley is not to make comments on improving the management of the Trench.  The goal is to completely block management of the Trench.

Any the irony that I just wrote a long letter should not be lost.

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