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Saturday, September 20, 2008

PAY ATTENTION: PART TWO

Basic physical human needs: food, shelter, clothing, water.

Shelter: Everyone dreams of owning a home, but in the CNMI it's a nightmare. It's a frustrating day. We have a home but we can't afford to live in it. We've unplugged the dryer, the oven and every other electrical gadget that isn't being used. We unplug the TV, the modems, the fans, toaster, coffee maker, etc. etc. We use the heater 30 minutes in the morning. We run the AC a few hours at night. We turn all the lights off unless we need them. We don't listen to music because we'd have to use power. Forget about baking, we only eat what we have to when we have to eat. We have a gas stove and only a few lights on at night. We live by kilowatt hour, always vigilant of consumption. Yet, when our power bill comes in, we pay anywhere from $715 to $830. We are not alone. Our utility company has been scandalously mismanaged and we're paying for it. It's a slap in the face to every tax paying citizen.

There are people in our community who cannot even afford to turn on a light bulb. They rely on elected officials to run the government responsibly. They cannot afford solar water heaters or fancy wind turbines. Heck, they can barely afford to put food on the table. What do they do? How do they live? Why aren't we sick and tired of listening to the same old rhetoric?

When I vote next time, I want to know what you're going to do with my taxpayer dollars. I want to know what alternate forms of energy you're going to research to ensure we have reliable, sustainable power. I want to know how you'll be accountable for your budget. I want to see you roll up your sleeves and furrow your brow and sweat sometimes; I want to see you just as mad as I am when you find slackers hiding in the crevices of government agencies and when you discover mismanaged funds. If I'm going to bubble you in, you better not keep me out of the loop.

Pay attention. Because we can't afford to live like this any longer!

9 comments:

KAP said...

What about term limits? You lose 'institutional memory' and people who 'know the ropes', but that's not always a bad thing.

Boni said...

Not sure how long is long enough. I wouldn't even be able to suggest a logical limit. It takes one year to learn the ropes in the house, after that you have five-six,maybe seven months of actual "in the trenches" time and then the last 3-4 months are all about campaigning again. Those were my observations, but they may not be too accurate.

Jeff said...

I always wondered how accurate those meters are as well.

Hee Jae said...

Let's not forget all the broken promises of the most promising politicians across the globe. We need to track the records of success before voting.

Para i familiaku said...

Three or four years ago, nobody cared about how much kilowats they were using, and not too many people were concerned with their utility bills. Nowadays, (almost) everybody keeps a daily log of kilowats consumed! That is crazy! Only in Saipan, do you check your meter box before you go to work...
Crazy! ridiculous! Obsurd.

VOTE FOR ME... LOL
kidding..

KAP said...

I was just thinking with my fingers about term limits. For every Tina Sablan, there are at least a dozen candidates who just want the job and can't think past "development" and "support education"

CUC tried to tell us we owed thousands of dollars on a building when we had the main turned off for months while we renovated. They kept insisting it was the wiring, which was magically fixed when they replaced the meter.

Boni said...

Did you have to pay for the charges? I am always curious about how complaints get handled.

KAP said...

That isn't a very good precedent. No one was staying there and we had plenty of witnesses. We went 'Saipan style' on the renovation-- meaning no power tools.

We said we'd file a protest...

KelliOnSaipan said...

Great post, Boni. You should send it in as a letter to the editor. And maybe put in a request for a new meter - that just doesn't sound right at all.