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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Got any change?

We live on such a beautiful island don't we? It's almost paradise, almost because there is still so much that needs to be done to ensure that our environment and our way of life is protected while at the same time keeping pace with the advances in healthcare, education, politics and many more. I hate to sound so pessimistic, but we all know we've been doing things wrong for a very, very long time. All you have to do is look around you to see that we ignore the most grievous responsibilities as an island community. Responsibilities like budgeting our resources appropriately and overseeing that allocated revenue is not further mismanaged.

Government and society share this responsibility equally and we've fallen embarrassingly short. There is equal power in our vote and in our voice, or so I would like to believe. So simplistic, I know, but it all comes down to doing what's right and it all starts with you. As a citizen I'm frustrated and disillusioned. We clean up petty ads on storefront windows and ignore the prostitution that lurks on our streets. We have a plethora of poker arcades and how many libraries? There is an array of adult night entertainment, but what's available for families and children?

I'm frustrated that our votes don't always translate into true representation of our needs as a community and that when people start to make their voices heard they are attacked personally and professionally. I'm frustrated at the idea that gamesmanship will never end when there are more important things to be fought over, like seeking out renewable energy, trimming a bloated and inefficient government, holding those who squander resources accountable and demanding higher standards while providing a higher level of support.

I sat on the beach this Sunday and watched my children play in the water. The sand is still as clean as it was when I played on the same beach as a child. I realized that many things have stayed the same, which is a relief. I am a creature of habit and I don't welcome change that easily, but there is a time when everyone must take stock of what's happening internally and externally. Change is difficult, painful and necessary if we are to grow. Change must be meaningful. Change is unstoppable, like the shore at the beach that looks the same as it always has, but is undeniably shorter than when I was a little girl digging for clams.

What do you think needs to change the most?

7 comments:

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

Boni for Senate!

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

No. Boni for Governor!

bigsoxfan said...

Is she old enough?

Face it, Ms Reyes. The very fact that you can express and define the concrete and tangible issues which make Saipan a special place, put you in the catagory of; "Run, Boni, Run"

Mr. Marc said...

Boni for prez! ^_^

SharShine said...

WORD!

i totally agree that it's up to people to start making change individually...

Pragmatic Plato said...

Great post!

Need your list of names.

PP

"I wish I was Lil' Hammerhead!"

Saipan Writer said...

I'm not sure what needs to change the most, but I think we need more of a common shared vision for what we want.

And we need to vote out those who don't keep the focus on that shared vision.

WHAT SHARED VISION?
There's so much media attention on "development" and very little talk about what KIND of development... Not all investment is equal in quality, regardless of quantity. We don't need more tire shops, more poker arcades, more businesses that can survive only by paying third-world rates and insist on an economically-desperate workforce so no one complains.

Former Justice Dela Cruz is attacking Article XII, but I'm not sure we need or want the kind of investment that requires getting rid of Article XII.

Our Governor wants to stop minimum wage and federalization of immigration in their tracks, and already blames them for the CNMI's economic woes, when the downward spiral of economic woes began long before they were on the horizon.

We gabble about culture, but no one talks about viable, sustainable cultural values that guide decisions on what kind of investment we want.

Do we want to see more cultural dancers, local ukulele players, and local artists? (I do!) So we need to support them with paying jobs, a cultural center, and lots of recognition.

Do we want to see scientific research, green energy, local fruits and vegetables--we need all of this. Yet we have no scientific research lab; we're post-poning our green energy responsibilities; our local farmers are having a tough time making a go of it.

Are we tired yet of dead animals on the street? Why can't we agree on a bill that requires licensing, shots, and care for pets. If people have to pay for these things, they'll value their pets a lot more and we'll see fewer animals treated as throw-away trash.

We need to decide and get a true community consensus of shared values that we want to guide our elected leaders--education and environment before financial partners' interests. Public health and public safety before political payback and jobs for voters' families. We need to be able to say to our Legislators do your job and get a budget, investigate possible wrong-doing, and focus on priorities; stop the verbal bullying, lame excuses, and no-shows at legislative sessions. And back it up with our votes.

I think we have a voice, and we're starting to use it, starting to find it. We just need to get in tune now with each other.