I don’t know what to say today, except that I continue to be disappointed in our local leaders. This morning, I sent this letter to my village mayor. I will share it here:
Hafa Adai, Mayor,
I am a resident of Yigo who is very much concerned with your recent vote to break public law 5GCA section 8111d. I am writing on behalf of my immediate family, as well as my grandfather, Ted S. Nelson. We are disappointed that your vote was cast without notifying or discussing the issue with residents of our village, many of whom are opposed to HR4402.
Many pristine and historical sites within our Northern area are already off-limits (or incredibly hard to access) for our island residents. In addition, much of our village is already impacted by military activities. What is left of our island is truly precious. Any attempt to give it away prematurely is truly upsetting. Litekyan / Ritidian, in particular, is a unique, irreplaceable place wherein endangered plants and animals are given a chance to thrive. It is also a place where people are able to easily visit pre-contact CHamoru cave dwellings filled with the art of our ancestors, look at prehistoric fossils, visit burial sites, and learn about their history. I have taken my students there and witnessed what an important, powerful thing it is to have places like that available to our youth. Pieces of our identities and heritage as CHamoru people are stored there. The refuge should not be used, in any way, as a firing range. Most importantly, it should not be offered up behind closed doors without consulting the public.
Additionally, the land in that area is already controversial. When you vote to give that land away, you are voting to give away land that has already been taken, land that families are still awaiting justice for. When you voted in support of 4402, you voted against these land-owners and against the wishes of many in your village.
Upon closer reading, I found this:
§40128(h), Chapter 40, Title 5 GCA
The Municipal Planning Council shall act as the body politic with the power to make its own rules, establish committees, hold hearings, and to prepare, pass, and adopt resolutions. If a resolution from a Municipal Planning Council requests action from I Liheslaturan Guåhan, the resolution shall be received by the Rules Committee, or its equivalent, of I Liheslaturan Guåhan.
I am inclined to believe that your so-called resolution is not binding, since the MPC of my village (as far as I know) did not host any public hearings for our villagers to attend or to express concerns.
Recently, a petition to voice your concern about HR4402 has begun to circulate. I, along with many other relatives and friends, have signed it. Within only a few days, this petition has accrued well over 700 signatures. I would like to remind you that you were elected to represent the best interest of people in our village. I do not feel you have done that for many families in Yigo this week.
Desiree Taimanglo Ventura