Thursday, April 19, 2007

Come-ons from the whores on Seventh Avenue

Does it really take a visitor to say that prostitutes are still overrunning Saipan? It seems so. That D. Martinson letter in the Tuesday Saipan Tribune doesn't say anything new: (I'd link to it, but there's a glitch in their archive.)
First, I can't tell you how many times I was propositioned in Garapan by prostitutes--you call them masseuses--for sex. Why is this permitted? Can anyone give me a good reason? Am I to understand that elected officials, business owners, and police department can't do a thing about it? I find that hard to believe. Tip No. 1: If you want Japanese tourists to return, clean up Garapan of prostitutes. Every single last one must go.

It's obvious on Cpl Derence Jack Road, where I'm writing this now. A fine memorial indeed. I guess the politicians have more important things to worry about. By the way, has the Zoning Board gotten anyone to sponsor their adult zoning legislation yet?

I've always been ambivalent about prostitution: a 'victimless' crime and all of that la-di-da. In an ideal world, maybe. In reality, and particularly Saipan's reality, no. Exploitation, abuse and drug use are rampant. The government has consistently shown that it is
institutionally incapable of controlling those abuses.

A few days after we moved I watched a Chinese man strolling down the street speaking on a cellphone. He kept stopping in various strategic locations, checking out the activity in front of the 'massage parlor' and other places. Naturally, I became curious, wondering if he was setting up a raid on a rival. No, he was evidently breaking in a new working girl. She came around the corner next to me and sauntered down the street getting constant instructions over her cellphone. Style points, I guess.

Now, I intentionally made it obvious that I was watching; I really don't think this activity is going to do much for our store. His response? He eventually entered the store, cellphone attached to his ear, and strolled up and down the aisles checking prices. Then he left without a word, cellphone still going. Maybe I'm too sensitive, but the message I received was that I was an interloper in an established territory.

Now, these Fujien gangs usually just extort, strong-arm and intimidate other Chinese, so I'm not worried about that. Maybe that's why they get away with running roughshod over the legitimate Chinese. I do think my idea about photographing the regular girls just to harass them into moving along would be ill-advised.

I mentioned the incident to a friend about a week later when the same man strolled by and was told he had been down in Chalan Kanoa recently. From all appearances, he was collecting protection money.

I picked the song lyric, of course, partly because of Corporal Jack and partly because another section of Seventh Avenue before it reaches Times Square is the garment district.

Thanks to the garment industry, Saipan now has a large Chinese community. It's not going to go away. Some of the businesses are very good; I deal regularly with half a dozen of them. But this government has never been able to control its small businesses. How many more beauty parlors, karaoke bars, poker parlors and auto repair shops are going to be touted as 'investment'? Gee, I almost forgot massage parlors.

When the Chinese horde first arrived, the usual sleaze you would expect piggybacked in. Take your pick, the government couldn't or wouldn't control it. About as much success as with the Yakuza earlier, I'd say. Given that track record, I'd suggest leaving the casino business to Tinian. They picked their poison.

A very bright man who recently sold his business just came back for a visit. We were talking about all of the new buildings going up while hundreds of old ones stand vacant and derelict. His concise summary: "Oh, you mean the Korean Green Cards?" Bingo. We'll probably need the space to house the Korean mafia.


rikitikitembonosarembo said...

Rumor has it that the Chinese, too are cooking "ice" now, instead of smuggling it in. Those little shops behind DFS and around the .99Cent Store sell more than just zigzig by the leaf.

KAP said...

Sigh, I've got to ask, you know... isn't anyone monitoring the precursor chemicals?

On the bright side, I guess there will still be a manufacturing industry here. Maybe they could take the garment factory seats on the Chamber of Commerce.

CNMI Blogger said...


Re whether Zoning has found any lawmaker willing to sponsor legislation, I was quite perplexed when that story came out. You see, I insisted that Beautify CNMI! add Zoning as one of its committees because I believe we should have it. The decision was made to make Zoning a subcommittee of the Legislation Committee, which I chair. Hence, Steve Tilley of Zoning became my co-chair of the Legislation and Zoning Committee.

I was not aware that the Zoning Board couldn't find a bill sponsor and I don't recall being asked. As I said, I was surprised that Steve didn't ask me directly since he knows I fully support zoning.

So, shortly after reading in the papers that they couldn't find a bill sponsor, I contacted the Zoning Board and offered to sponsor the bill. I was told that Rep. Frank Dela Cruz already beat me to the punch, so I let it be.

I also attended a couple of the Zoning Public Hearings and extended my full support of zoning.

It might interest you to know that Rep. Waki and I were invited to be part of the Garapan Revitalization Group that's led by the private sector (Hyatt and Tan Holdings) to clean up Garapan's tourist district--block by block. We have a plan to help change the type of crowd that thrive in the area by putting more lights there, sprucing the area up, and fixing the roads. In other words, we would beautify the place. Wis us luck!

Saipan Writer said...

This is such a tricky topic.

It's hard to express on-the-ground observations without sounding racist. So KAP, your post probably steps over the line, but I'm pretty clear that your opposition is to prostitution and the crime that goes with it (trafficking, extortion, blackmail, drugs, and violence).

And I agree with that opposition and the need to consistently attack the problem.

Most of the prostitution depends on alien labor, as the prostitutes, and as the pimps. We can't control our immigration. We need U.S. takeover. That won't remedy the problem completely, but it will help.

Although we would benefit with zoning, this isn't a zoning, beautify CNMI problem. This is an immigration, public safety, police and prosecution problelm. And it needs to be addressed as such.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Saipan Writer is correct, if we only had US immigration there would be little or no prostitution here. Why just look how well they have done on the US mainland. There are not more than 20 (or 50) million illegals there because of the sterling job that Homeland Security and it's predecessors have done.

No prostitues, no drugs being smuggled in. There is no alien labor problems in the States either. The gov has got it wired in.

We provincials out here could not hope to cope with this simple, local, police problem.

Gimme a break. Those clowns at US Immigration haven't a clue.

Jeffrey C. Turbitt said...

The U.S. has a large border with a fairly poor country full of people dying to get in. That is the essence of the U.S. illegal immigration problem. Saipan doesn't have that, but it lets lots of people in and doesn't do very well at tracking them down when they don't leave when they should. From the standpoint of fewer people coming in and being left untracked due to lack of funds, the feds would do better, certainly not perfect, but I'm sure better than the CNMI. Saipan Writer is correct, I believe, in hoping U.S. immigration takes over to reduce the problem Kap raises. It won't completely solve it of course, but it should help.

Bruce constantly rails against government because it is inefficient, and that is true. I'm a liberal and I agree with that. What is also true is that private industry takes advantage of public money and that is how you end up with private industry scandals like Walter Reed Hospital, Enron, and Halliburton getting billions in no bid contracts in Iraq. This isn't even getting into the issue of their former CEO using public powers on a war with a dubious premise that has massively enriched Enron and other oil companies. Speculating about their motives is speculation of course, but the profit numbers and the cause can be empirically verified.

A lot of private industry essentially steals from the public trough more egregiously than the welfare mothers that the Right likes to rail against, but it is easier to demonize the welfare mother, which no one wants to be, as compared to the rich corporations, whose money and power most people aspire toward and envy. In a purely capitalist system following the basic rules of economics, Bruce's ideas on efficiency and government make sense. In the real world where government borrows and spends billions on things the founders never dreamed, and lobbyists and tv and influence peddlars of all types rig the game it simply doesn't work. I mean is it an accident that the government parties are routinely at Willy Tan's Fiesta Resort where the governor was a former executive. No, the field is not level. This is the issue I'd like economic right wingers to address.

Incidentally, Ed and Bruce are very entertaining writers for people I seldom agree with.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Thanks for the kind words, Jeff. Your take on the total numbers of wannabees and proximity of access are absolutely correct. I still don't buy that the bigger, less responsive bureaucracy of USHS would do a better job, but there is definately room for improvement. Lets also notice that the total numbers argument works both ways. There is a tiny and statistically insignificant number of true illegals here, even as compared with the total number of Saipan arrivals, not to mention when compared with total US immigration numbers.

Regarding big industry influence and other insider money grabs, please remember that it would not be possible with out the aid of the
govenment's big tax gun or the assistance of the reams of legislation and regulation designed to specifically grant boons and unequal access. Once in, the only thing you can reasonably expect is that they will, with the help of their friends on the outside, steal as much as they can get their hands on. Which is why we should allow their grubby mitts on as little as possible.

Even that greatest of economic buggaboos, the monopoly, would not be possible without the express aid of a government, gun in hand, to authorize it and maintain it's existance.

I'm with you, Jeff. I would like to see the Rights, and the Lefts and evryone else with a marked tax buck in their pocket be forced to openly and completely disclose where they got it and where it all went. We would all be aghast if we knew the full extent of the thievery. Our only consolation is that out here, our governmenistas are pikers and amatures by comparison. A US Senator can steal in an afternoon coffee break what the CNMI produces in total for the year. (:-))

Saipan Writer said...

I've been here for more than 20 years. I opposed U.S. immigration take-over until the Babauta adminstration. I had hopes in them, and felt they were our best chance to ever clean things up. When they failed, it became appararent to me that we (CNMI) cannot take care of our immigration and foreign labor problems (and our lack of incentive for local labor).

Because the CNMI is small, influence is easier to peddle, personal interests are stronger in their effect on administration, and those who would likely push for change are more wont to move away instead of stay and fight.

Yes the US has problems. But US immigration (and labor) here would likely work about the way it does in Guam and Hawaii. And quite frankly, those places look better--they still have prostitution and problems, but they seem to have less of it than we do in relation to other things. They have more going for them to counter the criminal element.

And there's no doubt that women (and men) who marry US citizens here would be better off under US immigration, getting a green card from the get-go and not having to worry after 10 years of marriage and a few kids about being deported if they get divorced. If we want to promote respect for human beings (and I do), we need a system that treats people with dignity. And that's not the one we have.

No governmental system is perfect. I'm not delusional. I don't think the U.S. takeover would result in paradise restored. But I do think it would address some of the problems we presently have without creating worse problems, so that we would be better off than we are now. (G.. help me. I hate US immigration and I'm arguing for it! But really, I do believe it will be better than our current system.)


Jeffrey C. Turbitt said...

The right was nowhere near as horrible as it is now back when being a Republican stood for "fiscal conservatism." Once they put that coalition together of holy rollers, corporations and gun nuts that was so effective in winning elections, the fiscal conservatives were totally drowned out. The size of government is astronomical, and those in power are selling the store to their buddies.

Health care costs are killing American businesses to the point where GM can't compete because the Japanese subsidize health care. We subsidize soldiers and global police -- we spent more on the military than the rest of the world combined. I don't remember the exact number, but I believe like $2,000 per GM car goes to health care for auto workers. That is a comment on the expense of health care. That system is hosed, and that is why Toyota is kicking their butt. Lee Iacocca is out eviscerating Bush on this right now.

The end result is that competitiveness has suffered, education has suffered and there is a $9 trillion debt that is scandalous. No one has really talked about the debt since Ross Perot and that is 15 years ago already, and the problem has only gotten worse. These three factors have me very pessimistic over America's future. I suppose they we can live off the wealth we accrued for a while, but you have to worry about the future.

KAP said...

Some 20 years ago I was assigned what I considered a 'puff piece' about INS on Guam. In the course of the interview I stumbled across what was (to me) a far more interesting story. I don't remember the exact numbers, but for the years they provided figures there were regularly hundreds of "out of status" aliens on Guam--that was the jargon then.

Racist? Don't tell my daughter in law, she'd be crushed. I called them Chinese because those were the malefactors I was describing.

When you allow a (relatively) large amount of immigration from any country without proper vetting, there will be problems. That's the area where I think the feds might do better.

Oh, and my wife tells me Rep. Waki provided the light on our street corner, so I can testify to your efforts. It's a shame it has to be done that way, but much appreciated nonetheless.

Jeffrey C. Turbitt said...

What happened to this blog? This was one of my favorites?

KAP said...

Sorry, Jeff. I'd like to say it's time, but not really. More like a scheduling thing. Seems like what little computer time I get in is spent on housekeeping like updating, fumigating my inbox, cleaning out ads and tracking cookies and reading news. I haven't answered an email in ages.

bradinthesand said...

And that's just news about the Garapan whores. How abot the ones on the Hill?

**Badda Bing, Badda Boom**

I can tell you plenty about the ol' runaround with the ladies of the night and what a bunch of baloney it is.

Read back in the paper (actually either of them) and find out when the prostitution issue became a public one when we broke a story about it in the Trib (early 2003).

Too funny.

Had I not mentioned it as a story idea in a meeting it wouldn't have hit the front page as a result of the three of us working on it.

Prostitution on Saipan isn't anything new. Hell, it's on Tinian and Rota as well. Oh, and did I mention Guam? Just look for the Christmas lights.

The difference is that the politicians only latched onto prostitution because we made it "hip" to deal with.

Then HANMI jumped on talking about how the tourists made a fuss about it.

Nope, sorry Lynn K.

It was more like her personal feelings on the matter.

The tourists wanna get that cheap piece of ass (sorry about being so crude) on Saipan. That's why a number of them come here in the first place. The only problem is that sometimes the girls would hit people up ON BEACH ROAD IN FRONT OF DFS when they were with their families. That’s tacky for the tactless.

And to say that tourists in Garapan are mad that the girls come out and “harass” them is ridiculous. Why do you think single guys are roaming the dingy streets at all hours in the first place? It’s probably for the same reasons you’ll find $20-80 ATM withdrawals after 2am.

Gimme a break.

And KAP was accurate about referring to the girls as being Chinese. Drive around Garapan anytime at night, but do it everyday for a week. It shouldn't take all seven days for you to figure out the "Who's Who" of Garapan prostitutes.

Back in 2003, I came up with the story because it was so funny that the government said that it was working on the "problem" and finding it difficult to solve.

All you have to do is go there and see what happens right in front of your face.

The stuff that happens on the side streets in other villages is another story.

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