Senatorsgreenspun.com : LUSENET : 1998 Guam Elections : One Thread
Why do they need a lot of Senators for a small island like Guam?
-- Daniel Lee (email@example.com), October 08, 1998
Well there are a lot of reasons why we need "a lot" of senators for this island (Guam). I don't think 15 is a lot of senators. I didn't even think 21 was a lot. You have to remember Guam's unique situation. On Guam, for the most part, there are only two governments: the federal government and the territorial government (Gov Guam). States on the other hand can have multiple goverments (i.e. state, county, city/municipal, as well as the federal government). Each of these governments or bureaucracies have specific duties such as public safety/health, education, welfare, etc. Also, each of these governments have elected law making bodies (state legislature, city council, district council). So, on Guam there is only one "local" government to take care of all these issues instead of the 3 that a state might have. I think that people forget this sometime. Sure a city with the same amount of people might have a government half the size of Guam's but it has the county and state to fall back on. Hope this made sense, if it didn't sorry because my brain is fried : )
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 08, 1998.
Too bad the poor guys neva win. That's why we always have these second and third generation re-treads.
Frank Blas Jr.
Jim Espaldon Jr.
-- (email@example.com), October 08, 1998.
Add to the second generation retreads: Judy Won Pat and Francis Santos.
But to reddog's point about 15 or even 21 senators not being too much because they take on the duties of a state and municipal government: that's an argument that a lot of senators make, and on its face it makes sense.
However, looking at other facts, I have to disagree. Look at how many hours the senators actually spend working, instead of the campaign related things they do (weddings, fiestas, funerals, fundraisers, dinners, lunches, etc.). I bet they don't put in half a work week. I have relatives who work in senators' offices, so don't tell me otherwise.
Then look at how many bills they put out even in half that work week. They must be in the 800s now, and my guess is we didn't need half that many bills to effectively govern this island. Do the bills right the first time, then you wouldn't have to go back and revise them three more times.
I'm not saying all senators put in 1/2 weeks and write bad bills, but a lot do, and I'm not sure that the one or three that do a good job justify a 21 or even 15 senator legislature. There are a lot of things that senators do (constituent work) that might not really be needed.
And if you look at the state/municpal government thing, it only makes sense if you have millions of citizens like states do. But Guam has 150,000 people, the size of a town, and I don't think we need that high a senator to citizen ratio. I think we're amply represented.
-- Lighthouse (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 08, 1998.
You have a valid point about some of the senators not doing their job. I'm sure we've all seen it in one form or another. But what it all comes down to is distribution of power at the legislative level. I have been and always will be opposed to the reduction of the number of senators for many reasons.
I think it was just a ploy for Mr. Forbes so he would get re-elected. Part of his so-called initiative was to cap the legislative budget at 2% or something like, I really don't remember what the figure was. The other was to reduce the number of senators from 21 to 15. Since the budget was already capped there are some controls over salaries, office supplies, etc.
The 15 senators that get elected have a lot more power than the 21 senators did in this legislature. That one vote can really turn the tables against someone. Think of it this way: what if we get 10 carl cronies and another 5 that aren't. We'll be screwed big time.
With 15 senators it is a lot harder for "newcomers" to get into the legislature. I'm afraid we'll keep getting the same 15 dickheads year after year. With 21 it is more likely for fresh faces to come into the political arena.
Don't get me wrong. I think that the senators could be doing a better job. My only concern is that with fewer senators the likelyhood of corruption might even be higher than it is now.
-- (email@example.com), October 08, 1998.
You've made a very good point about the concentration of power when we reduce the number of senators. Allow me to address this:
First, let me clarify that my point wasn't that senators are doing a lousy job. They might be, but my point is that they don't work full work weeks because there isn't enough WORK for them to do all week. We don't need 21 senators to do the bill writing and debating this island requires.
Second, reducing the # of senators does indeed concentrate the power into fewer senators, and that increases the chances of corruption. The more power a person has, the greater the temptation for corruption. The governor is an example of that.
But giving each senator more power won't necessarily lead to more corruption. If we elect the right people, and properly research their records, past actions, etc., then it's possible to have relatively little corruption. Not every governor is extremely corrupt (probably all are a little) but the one we have in office seems to have let the power get to his head. We as voters have the responsibility to get this person out, for the sake of our government and ourselves.
What the concentration of power in fewer senators really means is a greater responsibility on voters to make the right decisions, on the media to give us the proper information, and on people's movements to ensure that corruption doesn't stay in the government.
We can't shirk our responsibility. Don't forget that this November.
-- Lighthouse (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 09, 1998.
I wish I had as much faith in Guam voters as you do Lighthouse :) I may vote for the "Right" people but what about everyone else whose pare is running for senator? My pare promised me he will pave my road and give my son a job. That's the mentallity. So I guess Joe Cruz is going to vote for 15 of his pares and cousins. I'm gonna vote for who ever is gonna give me a job and do the right thing for Guam because it's the mauleg thing to do. Just kidding.
-- (email@example.com), October 09, 1998.
I HAVE to have faith in the voters -- that's what democracy is based on. The only way a democracy works is if a large part of the voters are smart enough and ethical enough to make decisions about matters that affect their lives. If they aren't, then a democracy is useless.
Yes, there is a "pare pare" mentality on Guam, which unfortunately extends to the political system. As people see the extreme side of the pare pare system in politics -- King Karl using tax dolars to get his friends and family very wealthy -- I'm hoping they'll see why this doesn't work. Once we all understand that, we MUST tell the politicians that we won't stand for the old system. A few people must not benefit at the expense of everybody else.
Each one of you must give this a lot of thought. Sure, voting for your cousin may seem right, or voting for someone who will pave your road for your vote might seem attractive, but is it really right? Would you want someone else being elected, no matter how incompetent they are, because they have more relatives than anyone else? Would you want someone else using your money to buy votes by paving a few people's roads? I sure don't.
Voters of Guam, do what is right. A democracy is useless otherwise.
-- Lighthouse (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 10, 1998.
It's sad when you ask someone who they're voting for and they say 98 because he got thier cousin a job. No one is watching you in the poll!
-- The Guam News (email@example.com), October 11, 1998.
Lighthouse this is the 1st time I dont agree with you. How dare you say Judy Won-Pat is a 2nd generation retread! Judy Won-Pat is among the few educated senators in the legislatures. She's the only one who sends her KIDS TO PUBLIC schools and the only one who fights for education. She puts the money where her mouth is. If you want to be accurate, why not mention that Madeleine blondie was elected only because of her husband and $. No Chamorro would have ever voted for if she was Madeleine Zein the newsbroadcaster. Too think that Carl Punkass thought he was so hot to run in 70s against Ricky. Carl has no backbone. His ads say he is poor, but if he really never forgot where he came from, why not put his 6million to use and help out others than use the government money to buy votes
-- Upset (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 12, 1998.
You're right. I didn't mean for the Judy Won Pat and Francis Santos comment to be offensive -- I was just adding them to the list of second-generation senators. Judy did seem to be a good senator -- last term. This term, she has done nothing, and I don't think a defense could be made for her performance over the last two years.
As for your comments about Karl, you're right on.
-- Lighthouse (email@example.com), October 12, 1998.
Yes, a defense can be given for Won-Pat Borja. The tragic death of her husband, Mel. This would be a reasonable reason, not an excuse. Add Marcel Camacho, who has reduced himself to harping the fact he's former Gov Camacho's immediate nephew. Both Camacho boys, Felix and Marcel are hedging that their name and relation to Gov Camacho is their winning ticket. Marcel, your use of govt resources to sell a seminar on I Tano Ta is classic Politician. You lost my vote! Felix, I really wish you were not running with Joe Ada. It just brings down the team a notch. You haven't been a very productive Senatro, and You know it, Man. Anyway, Good Luck Joe!
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 24, 1998.
Tony, I mean Lighthouse, what happened to the Mark Forbes exchange?
-- Dan Courts (email@example.com), October 28, 1998.
Melissa, I mean Eloise,
I don't know where the Mark Forbes exchange is. Perhaps it was in one of the threads I deleted when I reorganized. If I find it, I'll let you know. Thanks for asking.
-- Lighthouse (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 29, 1998.
I think Mark Forbes is a horrible senator. He doesn't do anything till election time, and then he tries to pass some bogus initiatives. I dislike Mark almost as much as Karl. Get them both out of office!
-- (email@example.com), October 29, 1998.
In my opinion, character does count. As far as the senators go, I question the character of Senator Cruz. Many folks don't know his background, ie. while married, carrying on with his daughter in law, getting her pregnant, and after his divorce, marrying her with more children. Seems like a betrayal to his family. Notice in the PDN pullout this week he declined to present any family background. Why? Recently he asked the court to reduce his alimony which the court declined. However, it is quite possible that Cruz will make it back with his large campaign warchest and very capable political operatives who can put a positive spin on him. Character does count, we can get by with 15 senators quite well, but not Cruz. My opinion.
-- Jim (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 30, 1998.