Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Camacho to make final address: Residents want governor to discuss military buildup

Camacho to make final address: Residents want governor to discuss military buildup

By Amritha Alladi • Pacific Daily News • February 15, 2010

Gov. Felix Camacho will present his last State of the Island address today.

Some Guam residents shopping in Hagåtña yesterday gave the governor a medium rating for his last term. They're hoping he devotes significant time in today's speech to talk about what exactly the government of Guam has done in preparation for the military buildup, and how it plans to ensure the buildup is carried out in the safest way possible for Guam residents.

"I think he needs to address the point that the federal government, the United States, is a highly powerful government to deal with, and that the military in any case would not need any type of support from our government whatsoever," said Tom Delgado of Mangilao. "They will decide how much they're going to develop here on Guam, and for (the local government) to expect any kind of financial support is kind of ridiculous."

On a scale of one to 10, Delgado gave Camacho a four.

"He's never on island to address the issues that most of our people are concerned with," he said. "With the budget, with education, and I'm really disappointed with that."

And in terms of accountability, Delgado said the governor hasn't lived up to the expectations of those who put him in office.

"When he ran for office, he was talking about holding people accountable, downsizing the administration, and he's totally done opposite of that. So I'm sure that most of the people who voted for him under those terms are quite disappointed about his hypocrisy," Delgado said.

Bamba controversy

Specifically, the controversy over the actions of the governor's chief of staff, George Bamba, has tainted the governor's promise of accountability, Delgado said.

According to Pacific Daily News files, Bamba used military buildup-related grant money to pay for a port community outreach project that wasn't put out to bid.

The Office of the Attorney General last week released a procurement review finding the procurement was illegal. It suggested the governor should take appropriate action against Bamba; however, Camacho said he didn't agree with the AG's report. He said the procurement process, and not the individual, was at fault.

"He will always defend George Bamba to the utmost," Delgado said. "I mean he selected (him), so it would be kind of hypocritical if our governor -- who put these people in our community service -- if he would reprimand them in any case."

Meeting goals

Others felt the governor has truly tried to be transparent.

"He's doing everything possible. I believe that's his goal," said Inarajan resident Joe Afaisen, a GovGuam employee.

Afaisen said he feels the governor has done as good a job as he can with the resources he's been provided.

"The police are given the necessary tools. It's enough to provide the services to consumers," he said. "The island continues to move forward."


Tamuning resident Ken San Nicolas didn't seem to think so.

He found the governor's "indifference" more frustrating than negative action, he suggested.

"I think Felix Camacho was indifferent during his two terms. I don't know what he's really going to talk about (in his State of the Island address)," San Nicolas said. "Maybe it wasn't any better than Carl (Gutierrez)'s term, but indifference is like the worst thing he could have done. There was, like, no productivity."

San Nicolas said Camacho was "not at all" holding his administration accountable, citing the Bamba example specifically.

But he gave Camacho a rating of six.

For San Nicolas, it comes down to whether Camacho sufficiently addresses the issue of the buildup today, especially as the comment period for the draft EIS comes to a close this week.

"I want to hear him talk about what kind of real progress we've made in the last four years," San Nicolas said. "We've known about (the buildup) for a while. I can't say that he's procrastinating. I don't think he procrastinated. I just don't think he did anything."

"The buildup is coming in right now, and we're nowhere," he added.

"Nothing's really happened."

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