By Lee Webber
The three major items on election platforms have historically been, public health, public safety and public education or some derivative of them. This has not changed for nearly as long as I can remember on Guam.
But for some strange reason the voting populous (apparently suffering from collective memory loss) doesn’t seem to mind that these same three major issues have been horribly neglected for the same amount of time.
It is almost as though they are intentionally neglected by politicians so that they can claim them as platform issues on which to get elected or re-elected.
Or, as someone once said, “GovGuam is the place where good ideas go to die.”
Take for example Simon Sanchez High School where there have been problems of one form or another since the structure became a school. And, to date no one has moved seriously and successfully enough to actually fix the problems for the Department of Education and our children.
Just a few days ago the superintendent of the Department of Education admitted that nine currently uninspected schools would remain that way until the end of the school year in 2024. So much for education being a priority for political leadership (and I use the word leadership loosely) since they do not seem to really care if nine of our schools lack the ability to pass proper inspections required to maintain a safe environment to which our children are sent to supposedly learn and grow.
Then take the Guam Memorial Hospital and the way it has been used and abused as a political football during the same period of time. The old hospital crashed and the Catholic Medical Center was taken over and turned into Guam Memorial Hospital. It was then allowed to be used as a political dumping ground for employees and essentially run into the ground by far too much political intervention and confusion.
Far too many spoons in the kadu.
Now, even though the original hospital site has all the needed infrastructure, the current administration wants to build a medical center, essentially, in the middle of nowhere requiring infrastructure that presently does not exist in the proposed location. We really need a new hospital and the old hospital site would be just fine and quite frankly, now would be good!
You can tear down the sections of the old hospital that cannot be repurposed and use them and surrounding areas for hospital supportive needs (notice I did not say wishful additions).
Now what about public safety?
Well we now have a police department that really needs somewhere between 400-500 personnel that struggles with around 200 people. I can recall when we had close to 500 personnel keeping Guam safe.
Come January, I am told that a law sponsored by former Senator Pedo Terlaje will take effect and all uniformed service personnel with 25 years of service will be capable of retiring at full retirement. What sort of adverse impact will this have on our police department? This, at a time when drug problems and their ensuing crime issues are rearing their ugly head?
It is high time that the people, voters on Guam, stand up and say they have had enough of the government foolish wastefulness driven by elected officials. It’s time to demand more and better thinking results from the people who are squandering our valuable tax dollars in their efforts to get re-elected so they can continue to nuzzle up to that fat hog called GovGuam.
It is time for a part-time legislature that goes into office aggressively working together to move Guam forward. A legislature that can and will have the power to override any power hungry administration.
It is time to make Guam great again!
Lee P. Webber is a businessman and civic advocate, the former publisher of the Pacific Daily News, a former president and publisher of the Honolulu Advertiser, and a former director of operations for USA Today International/Asia