Saturday, March 15, 2008

(Reality) Check, please

Everyone on Saipan is excited about the Marines moving from Okinawa to Guam. Billions of dollars, and some of that money is bound to trickle down (oh, you've heard that one before?) to local businesses. There's even talk of having a warm base on Tinian.

Not so quick, folks. There's an interesting article on TheHill.com: With limited power, Guam delegate faces daunting obstacles on Marines transfer.

It seems we've been hearing the Pentagon spin and it's not a done deal. Madeline Bordallo has been working the House and she's got a lot of friends. Still, she only votes in committees and has no say in the U.S. Senate. In fact,
“Everybody on the committee will look out for her,” said (Hawaii Rep. Neil) Abercrombie, adding that he could only hope that Hawaii Sens. Daniel Inouye (D) and Daniel Akaka (D) would act as her surrogates in the Senate. At this point it is unclear whether the two senators will champion the issue, though Bordallo considers Inouye her mentor on Capitol Hill.
It's interesting stuff, but I was more intrigued by another Abercrombie comment:
“Be careful what you wish for. Guam will become one giant base. Guam is a tiny, little place.”
Which brings us to Tinian. Most Marines probably wouldn't vote locally, but even a small staff would likely influence elections that are usually only decided by a few votes.

Saving the best for last

Most telling, for me, were a couple of comments unrelated to the proposed base. For instance "The average member would not know much" (about Guam), according to Mississippi Rep. Gene Taylor. Georgia Rep. John Linder chimes in: "I know where it is located, I know what it used to be, but I don’t know what it is now." I wouldn't be surprised if they knew more than their average colleague.

That's bad news for the CNMI. If Guam, with a hundred year relationship, is that far off of the Congress radar, what kind of attention are we going to get, even with a non-voting Delegate? Well, maybe they've heard of our garment industry.

1 comment:

lil_hammerhead said...

The base-move is a mixed bag. If you've lived around the outskirts of bases.. you'll understand what I mean. Not to mention the added social and cultural concerns that will be unique to Guam. As a mom, I don't know how "keen" I'd be on raising my four daughters next to a base. Well, I do know.. I wouldn't.