Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Guam First Commission

Camacho's veto overridden for Guam First Commission
By Sabrina Salas Matanane
Published Dec 23, 2008

It was clear Monday morning where lawmakers were heading as they moved legislation recently vetoed by Governor Felix Camacho into the voting file. Discussion began bill on Bill 378, which would create a Guam First Commission on the military buildup.

It marked the ninth such attempt by Democrat Rory Respicio to get this commission going. The senator said, "With all due respect to the Governor Camacho and his administration, I just can't see why he would feel offended to having a Guam First Commission, of which he is the chairman, where the Civilian Military Task Force is a technical arm to the group, where everything they've been doing so far will not be changed midstream, but actually be strengthened."

Lawmakers ultimately overrode the governor's veto by a vote of 12-3.

Related links
Bill 378

Monday, December 22, 2008

Navy Forms Agreement with Guam EPA

Navy pens agreement with Guam EPA
By Clynt Ridgell
Published Dec 23, 2008

The Navy and the Guam Environmental Protection Agency have signed an intergovernmental personnel agreement that will provide the local agency with full-time assignments of Navy employees for the next five years. The agreement is designed to assist GEPA in keeping up with current and impending work associated with the increase in Department of Defense activity and military construction projects on Guam.

Omar Damian, a NAVFAC Marianas environmental engineer, will assume the first rotational period for six months. During his time with GEPA, Damian will create a web-based system to centralize and track Navy-related environmental permit applications.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Senator Pass Indigenous Fishing Rights Bill

Senators pass Guthertz's fishing rights bill
By Brant McCreadie
Published Dec 23, 2008

Senator Judi Guthertz's Bill 327 provides indigenous fishing rights, which went up for a public hearing Monday. "I am very committed to the intent of this bill and I believe it sets a program where finally indigenous fishing practices and traditions can be recognized," said the Democrat policymaker.

The vote for the bill's passage was unanimous. The new law mandates the Department of Agriculture and a fishing council made up of grassroots organizations to develop rules to allow indigenous fishermen to practice traditional forms of fishing within the preserves.

Related links
Bill 327

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tough Times

Tough times: military expansion budget tight
By Michele Catahay
Published Dec 21, 2008

Funding for the military buildup continues to look dim, according to Civilian Military Task Force member Tony Lamorena. The former Guam senator says that despite Guam's 2010 request for funding, there's been no response from the feds.

Lamorena told KUAM News, "Obviously we're not too happy about idea that the budget we submitted has yet to be entertained. But the reality is that a lot of the things we submitted in the 2010 budget are specifically to meet the demands of the military buildup. There's substantial amount of money for the port, DPW, and for various agencies that need to beef up their infrastructure prior to the military beginning the construction. We're still pushing that the 2010 budget we submitted will be entertained, but as governor stated he is disappointed by the lack of interest or movement by the federal government."

CMTF members are now working on developing a five-year budget request to be submitted to the federal government's Office of Management and Budget.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

DOD Mystery Project in Yigo

DoD’s ‘mystery’ project puzzles Guam officials
17 December 2008
By Beau Hodai
Marianas Variety News Staff

THE Department of Defense is doing environmental assessments on a non-military property in Yigo—the purpose of which remains unclear to Guam officials and to the land’s current occupants.

George Bamba, the governor’s chief of staff, said yesterday the governor is unsure if the military may be looking to expand its operations outside of existing military properties.

“It’s always been the governor’s position, reinforced by his meeting with the Joint Guam Program Office and the Navy that any developments will be within the military’s existing footprint,” said Bamba. “We were told from the beginning that they would stay within their footprint. We have no further information to the contrary.”

Military contractors are currently surveying roughly 250 acres of land being occupied by the Guam International Raceway and another 400 acres of property to the south belonging to the Ancestral Lands Commission.

Raceway general manager Henry Simpson said recent reports about the relocation of military firing ranges have raised concerns on the future of the racetrack and the ancestral lands property.

Sen. Judi Guthertz said that under the revised Draft Master Plan, the firing ranges would face to the northeast, rather than to the west, and would be located near the southern portion of Andersen Air Force Base.

Guthertz raised concerns about such plan in a letter to Major General David Bice (retired), executive director of the Joint Guam Program Office.

Simpson noted that the racetrack location and the adjacent land currently being surveyed seem to fit the bill for the proposed artillery range.

“We’re all sitting here speculating as to why and what they’re going to build and why and what they may need,” said Simpson. “They should be open to people so we can come up with a better idea. Even if they put it where we are, they are going to affect some usage of the water on the other side.”

Simpson said he would appreciate more input from the military as to what their plans are, as the Guam Racing Federation, the not-for-profit group that runs the racetrack, has invested 15 years in the track.

“I think they’re just going to sit on it and not tell us much,” said Simpson. “I don’t think anyone involved in this is antimilitary in any way. But we are people who will be highly affected by what they do and more affected than most by what they do if they take that piece of property away from us. So, it would be nice to know now, rather than five years from now, what their intentions are.”

Captain Neil Ruggiero, spokesman for JGPO, confirmed that DOD has been surveying land in the vicinity of the raceway, but could not comment on whether the military planned to use it, or what the military might use it for.

“We’re just looking at its suitability right now,” said Ruggiero. “I mean, we can’t determine anything until we determine the suitability of the land.”

“It remains our intent to maximize the use of DOD property for the military realignment. However, through the NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) and master planning processes, as well as through discussions with the Government of Guam, we have found that certain activities do not fit on DOD properties without adversely affecting the citizens of Guam,” Ruggiero added in a written statement.

“Accordingly, we have been in consultation with GovGuam officials on potential leasing of GovGuam lands. There are surveys currently taking place at various points on the island to determine the suitability of leasing lands for DOD use. The results of the surveys will not be known until sometime in the first quarter of 2009.”

Environmental assessment
Mike Cruz, manager of the Real Property Division of the Guam Economic Development and Commerce Authority, confirmed that the Navy has been assessing the Ancestral Lands Commission property adjacent to the raceway, but said the Navy has not indicated if they plan on using the land.

“We did give permission to the Navy to conduct environmental studies as well as natural resources studies as part of their Environmental Impact Statement for the relocation of the Marines,” Cruz said.

“They’ve asked our permission to take a look at the characteristics of this property in order for them to include it in the Environmental Impact Statement. Federal law requires that they take a look at all possible alternatives and they’ve indicated to us that that’s what they intend to do, to look at this as a possible alternative for the relocation of the Marines,” he added.

Lorelei Crisostomo, director of the Guam Environmental Protection Agency, said the agency is not sure what the findings or implications of the EIS will be at the time of its expected release in January. However, she said the JGPO Draft Master Plan only addressed properties already under military control.

Oscar Calvo, chairman for the Chamorro Land Trust Commission, said that the commission has not been approached by the military concerning the use of CLTC lands, but confirmed that the military has requested permission to survey the lands.

“They are looking, but nothing concrete. It would be premature for me to say it’s true or not true because they haven’t really come forward to the Chamorro Land Trust,” he said. “We have authorized them to go up there and to survey and that’s about it. Other than that, we don’t have anything concrete on that issue.”

Calvo said he has been involved with several conversations with the governor regarding potential military requests for more land.

“First of all, we don’t really want to give them any more land,” he said. “I’ve posed this to the governor—why don’t they use their own land, like Andersen or there’s a lot of military compound here that is still not being utilized.”

Feds Ask Court to Dismiss Fitial Lawsuit

Feds ask court to dismiss Fitial lawsuit
Wednesday, 17 December 2008
By Gemma Q. Casas
Marianas Variety News Staff

THE U.S. Department of Justice is asking the federal court in the nation’s capital to dismiss the Fitial administration’s federalization lawsuit, saying the governor’s arguments are “speculative and hypothetical.”

Gov. Benigno R. Fitial filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Sept. 12.

Theodore W. Atkinson, a trial attorney of the District Court Section of the Office of Immigration Litigation under the U.S. Department of Justice, argued in his four-page motion that there is no basis for the federal court to address the speculated disastrous impact of the federalization law.

“The action should be dismissed for four reasons: 1) the CNMI lacks standing to bring this action because the injuries alleged by the CNMI are not ‘concrete and particularized’ but are instead speculative and hypothetical; 2) even if the alleged harms are not speculative, the injuries alleged are too remote for the court to adequately address them at this time and thus the action is not ripe,” Atkinson stated.

He added: “The governor of the CNMI lacks standing to bring this action on behalf of the CNMI because he cannot show that he has protected ‘procedural interest’ that confers standing on him to bring this action; and 4) even if the CNMI has met its constitutional standing requirements, the action should be dismissed because the Covenant generally permits Congress to apply federal law to the CNMI and expressly and unambiguously permits Congress to apply the immigration and naturalization laws of the United States to the CNMI.”

Atkinson also submitted to the federal court 65 pages of memorandum of points and authorities to substantiate the DOJ’s position on the lawsuit which named as defendants Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Labor Secretary Elaine Chao in their official capacities.

The governor’s lawyers have up to Jan. 16, 2009 to file a reply.

According to his lawsuit, the federalization law will be disastrous to the local economy, which is heavily dependent on cheap foreign workers.

A Look at Layon

A Look at Layon
By John Davis
Published Dec 16, 2008

A group of local contractors with their eye on the prize for winning the bid for beginning stages of construction to be done at Layon, Inarajan got their potential moneys worth today by embarking on a three-mile hike through the area. TG Engineers president Tor Gudmundsen gave contractors an outline of where the road, landfill cells and earthwork will be done.

"We hiked over to this corner, the southwest corner of Cell 1, so that they could see the full site of the area that would be worked on for cells 1 and 2 and again this operation road alignment," explained Gudmundsen. He demonstrated how just outside of Cell 1 will lie Pond 3A, a storm drainage basin, that will act as a monitoring point and catch drainage and runoff, which will assist in eliminating further environmental impacts to the area.

Gudmundsen says as the landfill expands based on future needs, other basins will be built around future cells. "We've studied how the rainfall runoff discharges from the site now in it's natural condition," he continued, "and we want it to runoff and discharge in a very similar fashion as the site is developed so that we don't really change the discharge of storm water around the site perimeter."

Speaking of the need for future expansion, Layon will be able to hold more than just a pair of cells for solid waste disposal. The site actually provides for 11 cells to be constructed over the landfills projected 41-year lifespan.

But with no commitment from the federal government as to whether it will be a customer of GovGuam, Gudmundsen says although there's plenty of space at Layon for Uncle Sam's trash, the capacity plan might have to undergo some adjustments. "The sizing is based on information from 2004 and 2005 and that was before the military buildup was announced and we worked out a 41 years site capacity plan so that's subject to change now as the trash from the buildup and the Air Force and others might be also coming here," he told KUAM News.

Although we overheard certain contractors stating they might have some trouble submitting bids for the project within a short amount of time, those interested have until January 8 to submit their proposals.

Meanwhile, another field trip for interested bidders will be conducted next week.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Governor Optimistic About $20 Million Landfill Loan

Governor confident: Camacho upbeat on $20M landfill loan
By Dionesis Tamondong
Pacific Daily News
December 17, 2008

One local bank official said his bank is just not interested in lending the government $20 million for landfill construction. Another lender said it would consider the proposal if the repayment sources were more concrete.

With less than a week before the federal deadline for responses, the Camacho administration is sure some lending institutions will submit proposals to finance the Ordot dump closure and landfill construction projects.

"We remain confident that we will be able to secure the financing," said George Bamba, Gov. Felix Camacho's chief of staff. The government of Guam must deposit $20 million by Jan. 5, or some officials could face legal action from the federal government.

The Guam Economic Development and Commerce Authority has issued a request for proposals for financiers to lend GovGuam the money for the start-up projects.

BankPacific President Phil Flores said his bank won't respond to the financing request. "We're not interested. We're just not going to bid on this one."

While Flores didn't provide a specific reason for not responding to GovGuam's proposal, he said there's too much confusion over the dump situation.

"Is the Legislature wanting to build in Layon or to give the contract to (Guam Resource Recovery Partners)?" Flores asked. "So if you're lending money for a new landfill, there's always the concern that it's not going to be built."

Several lawmakers disagree with the local government's selection of Dandan, Inarajan, as the landfill site, arguing it is a potential freshwater source and is too remote for efficient use as a landfill. Senators passed a measure last month pushing for development of a privately operated landfill in the Guatali area of Piti and Santa Rita, on land being leased by GRRP, saying it is friendlier to the environment and less costly than floating bonds to develop the Inarajan site.

Pete Sgro Jr., co-counsel to Barclay's Capital, said his firm would be interested only if the repayment terms were solidified with Section 30 funds as collateral for the loan. Barclay's Capital is a division of Barclay's Bank, which has offices worldwide.

"We are seriously considering submitting a response, and if we do so, however, the response will contain terms that would include not continuing with a subordination of the Section 30 money," Sgro said. "Otherwise there is no value in the collateral."

Sgro said lawmakers made "damaging amendments" to the governor's original short-term borrowing bill.

The administration had pledged Section 30 money -- taxes paid by federal and military employees on Guam and remitted to GovGuam --to pay back the $20 million.

But lawmakers instead required tipping fees be used as the main repayment source, and a variety of funding sources -- including compact-impact money, Section 30 money and the General Fund -- as additional security, Sen. Ben Pangelinan said.

By doing so, Section 30 funds could continue to be used for other obligations, such as the overdue tax refunds and COLA payments.

"These payments are also ordered by the court and on par with the landfill issue," Pangelinan said.

Pangelinan said the amendments were made in consultation with the administration's fiscal policy team after lawmakers realized there wasn't enough support to pass the governor's original bill.

Sgro said lawmakers should go back and approve the original version of the governor's bill, which is in line with the intent of the federal receiver and the District Court of Guam.

"How can anyone ignore the consistent position taken by (Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-) Gatewood and create an amendment that will not accomplish the necessary financing because of the vagueness and lack of value of the collateral created by an amendment?" Sgro asked.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Itʻs a documentary that focuses on the illegal occupation of Hawaiʻi via U.S. militarism, laws, economy and desecration; it also highlights critical analysis of the Akaka Bill.

Bush pushes for marine reserves


In its waning weeks, the Bush administration is sorting through options that could lead to the largest marine conservation reserves in United States history.

At issue: Proposals to protect at least one of two vast reaches of ocean that host some of the most pristine coral-reef and under-sea mountain ecosystems in the Pacific. One candidate, a loose cluster of islands and atolls in the central Pacific called the Line Islands, covers a patch of ocean larger than Mexico. The other, a section of the Northern Mariana Islands, is larger than Arizona.

The administration has been heavily criticized for its stance on environmental issues such as global warming and for its last-minute efforts to ease some environmental regulations. So its interest in a bold marine-conservation move may seem surprising. But the president “has had a strong interest in the health of the oceans,” says Dennis Heinemann, a senior vice president with Ocean Conservancy, a marine-conservation group in Washington.

In 2006, President Bush established a vast marine reserve along the northwest Hawaiian Islands, the Papahanaumokuakea National Marine Monument. The monument spans an area larger than all of the country's national parks combined.

It's unclear at the moment whether the White House will take the same regulatory approach now. Mr. Bush could establish vast no-take zones, perhaps with exceptions to allow indigenous people to fish there. Or, he could merely endorse the concept of preserving these areas and punt the decision to the incoming Obama administration.

Still, hopes are high that Bush will grant full protection to these areas. “The condition of the oceans is degrading, and it's really been degrading for coral reefs. It's important to preserve these last few relatively untouched parts of the ocean,” Dr. Heinemann says.

The latest effort builds on the 2006 Hawaii designation, says Jay Nelson, who heads the global ocean legacy program at the Pew Environment Group in Washington. Following that designation, the White House asked federal agencies, nongovernment groups, and the research community for more candidates. These included deep-sea coral networks off the US Southeast Coast and a proposal to establish a string of marine protected areas along the continental shelf from Florida to Belize.

In the end, the Marianas and Line Islands were the last candidates standing.

The islands, atolls, and seamounts that would be conserved are remote. But they may also represent unique opportunities for research. In addition to its reefs, a northern Marianas reserve would include a section of the Marianas Trench, formed by the collision of two plates of the Earth's crust and home to the deepest spot on the seafloor. The area hosts 19 species of whales and dolphins. Life thrives in the extreme environments around hydrothermal vents. The seascape includes enormous mud volcanoes and pools of boiling sulfur.

The Line Islands, meanwhile, are feeding stations for migratory fish with an unexpected twist on the traditional food pyramid. “It's an amazing inverted pyramid design,” in which most living organisms sit atop the food chain instead of at the bottom, says Nancy Knowlton, a marine scientist with the Smithsonian Institution Museum of Natural History. Although organisms lower on the food chain are fewer, they reproduce more quickly and so can support a relatively large number of diners. The system gives researchers a good baseline to understand what coral-reef systems used to look like, she says.

The Line Islands also serve as a way station for 21 species of migratory birds and some 19 species of seabird, who come to feed as large fish on a feeding frenzy drive their prey to the surface. “This shows a direct ecological connection between land and sea,” notes William Chandler, vice president for government affairs at the Marine Conservation Biology Institute office in Washington.

The effort is drawing support from the tourist industry, who see the region's reefs as an asset that needs to be safeguarded, as well as from conservation groups and marine scientists.

But the proposal has generated its share of concerns. Some supporters worry that conservation measures won't be tight enough.

Meanwhile, locals have expressed concerns that restrictions will be too tight. Indigenous people in American Samoa and the Marianas were concerned they would be banned from fishing and other traditional practices. There are other worries about Washington impinging on undersea mining projects for minerals on the seafloor off the Marianas Trench. These local concerns are being addressed, says James Connaughton, head of the president's Council on Environmental Quality.

“There are a lot of people who are not quite sure what we might or might not do who are envisioning the worst from their particular perspective,” he says. The assessment team were able to reassure many people that the worst won't happen.

One concern shared by local fishermen and US Pentagon officials centered on navigation rights through any proposed reserve, particularly around the Marianas. But the president's directive to assess the potential marine reserve sites reaffirmed these navigation rights.

The White House faces a deadline of Inauguration Day next month for making any decision on the reserves. But many conservationists say they hope a decision comes by the end of the year.

CLTC property eyed for military buildup

By Clynt Ridgell
Published Dec 8, 2008

There's evidence of what land the military may be looking at for use with the military buildup. On Friday Governor Felix Camacho blasted the Department of Defense, the Joint Guam Program Office, and the federal government as a whole for not letting Guam leaders in on the various plans for the Guam buildup. The governor said he believes that the feds expect to use Government of Guam land, more specifically Chamorro Land Trust Commission parcels.

CLTC Administrator Joe Borja said he hasn't received an official request by the military for the potential use of CLTC property but he does have an idea of properties that federal officials may be looking to use as part of the military buildup. "The military, I believe, does have enough land for what they want to do, enough acreage but I don't believe they're in the right places so purely for planning purposes we're looking for some areas that they might be interested in," Borja said.

The administrator pointed KUAM to three areas that he believes the military may be considering. Based on his conclusions on properties that would make logical sense for military use, Borja said he expects the military will want property that they used to own after the Korean War and property that is in a large enough unused area away from residents and businesses.

Borja believes a piece of property near the NCTAMS area is a prime example of property the military would be looking at using. While the Navy owns property to the North and South of former Crown land which is now under the Ancestral Lands Commission, he said it would make sense for the military to utilize the Crown land along the northwest which is roughly around 600 acres.

Borja noted though that it's not the biggest piece of land the military may be considering. "The military through their contractor sub contractor did ask for permission to conduct a superficial survey of properties up north to see, you know, what the conditions of the property up North are, but there's been no real formal request other than their request for access to do superficial survey of properties up in the northeastern part of Guam," he stated.

The property Borja is referring to lies along with eastern coast of Guam in Land Trust property that runs from the Marbo Cave area, past the 76/Circle K Guam Raceway Park. Raceway Park owner Henry Simpson said he's actually heard similar rumors for quite some time now. "Just recently it became kind of a little bit more than a rumor as they've hired engineers and various people to go out... They're measuring how many plants and animals and things on the property so it seems like they're becoming more serious about it," Simpson explained. He said although they've begun surveying the property around the raceway park, he, too, has yet to receive any official word.

"I'm not anti-military by any means but it seems like they don't need to play their cards that close to their chest they could let the community know that they want that property give us time to plan for other areas or give us some kind of an idea you know if their gonna replace what we've built out there it would be very discouraging to see that much time and effort go to waste and all the people that have been involved in it so that bothers us," Simpson said.

The area, according to Borja, is roughly around 2,000 acres but it's not the only CLTC land this size that the military is surveying. Borja said they've also begun surveying land in the South that lies adjacent to Naval Magazine and Fena Lake. This property is mostly in the village of Talofofo and is roughly around what's known as the Babulao area. It too is roughly 2,000 acres so although it is by no means official, the military is surveying large amounts of CLTC property in the South and North.

Camacho talking tougher than ever about DoD

By Clynt Ridgell
Published Dec 9, 2008

Governor Felix Camacho and a couple of senators commented on what they thought about the U.S. military's plans to lease Government of Guam land. Last week Governor Camacho was critical of the way the U.S. Department of Defense has been handling the military buildup on Guam and now in light of the recent announcement that the military will need more land for the buildup the governor is even more critical.

"I believe that before the people of Guam should give up anymore of our assets, our property, our land, our territory," said the chief executive. "There's going to be some give back we have seen nothing in the way of concrete help to this government."

Senator Frank Blas, Jr. (R), like the governor, is wondering why DoD is changing its tune after repeatedly telling the public that they wouldn't need any additional lands. "I'm a little leery of that I mean what more is in their plans what happened to the utilization of the lands that they have in their footprint more importantly too is what are they going to do with the lands that are still in their footprint, that they're not going be able to be utilized why can't they utilize it and if they're not going to utilize it is it going to be returned back to the government," he shared.

Democrat Senator Ben Pangelinan is also disappointed that the DoD is only now telling the public of their need for additional land. He told KUAM News, "I think the military has to know that it's no longer that the people of Guam that they're dealing with is no longer of that generation that has been grateful for the liberation from a brutal enemy there are actually people that look and see this as a re-occupation of Guam and the military to proceed in this manner that seems to be underhanded and cloaked in secrecy is doing nothing at all to advance their mission and their relationship with the civilian community."

The Department of Defense's relationship with the island's highest elected official too appears to be strained. "So here they are we're going to come to Guam," Governor Camacho continued. "We're going to build our base it's going to be a state of the art, we're spending between Air Force, Marines and possibly Army, $15 billion, but there's nothing for the people of Guam. This is strictly DoD money and we're saying, 'Listen, you're coming here, you're impacting us, you want more land and yet you give us nothing.'"

Puerto Ricans complain of US 'deadly legacy'

From most of the last century, the Puerto Rican Island of Vieques was used by the US navy as a practice bombing range. Five years after the navy left the island, there is evidence that decades of bombings have caused serious health problems for the residents of the island. Mariana Sanchez reports. June 06, 2008

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Fallen Soldier's Diary: Jonathan Santos

Fallen soldier's diary: Santos' words speak profoundly of life and war
By Brett Kelman
Pacific Daily News
December 6, 2008

Hunkered down in a desert and surrounded by killers, U.S. Army Spc. Jonathan Santos scribbled in a worn journal he'd carried since he flew into Iraq excited and woozy on Dramamine. He wrote about wanting to live so he could go on to accomplish "great" things.

"I will write the great American novel and get hired as a professor at a prestigious university," he wrote on Oct. 10, 2004. "But first I have to make it out of this war alive ... And I will go to college and move on to do great things with my life. Look out world. I'm almost free."

The 22-year-old Guam native recorded intimate details about his 38 days in Iraq -- both in the journal and in a video diary. He was killed on day 38.

A documentary titled "The Corporal's Diary" -- created from Santos' journal and home videos -- has made headlines nationwide. It includes details about his squad mates' and his family's struggle to cope with their loss.

Yesterday, Santos' mother, Doris Pangelinan Kent, said she always keeps a copy of her son's journal by her side, so that when she misses her son, she can hear him.

"For those of us who know Jonathan, you can hear his voice in what he wrote and hear everything he hoped to do," she said. "I know it was a dream of Jonathan's to go back to Guam. He wanted to go. And so I want for the film to come to Guam so people can see who they can be proud of. Jonathan has given us so much to be proud of as a people."

Santos most recently lived in Guam from 1992 to 1997, between his father's tours of duty in Germany. He graduated from Piti Middle School in 1997, Kent wrote in an e-mail.

Santos' father, Staff Sgt. Les Santos is in active duty in the Guam Army Reserves.

Santos was recruited into the Army out of high school in 2001. He was deployed to Haiti on a mission of peace, Kent said. He was shifted from Haiti to Fort Bragg in North Carolina for training before heading to Iraq in 2004.

On some pages of his journal, Santos' tall looping letters spill into the margins of the pages. He cursed. He left exclamation points everywhere. And when he felt strongly about something, he capitalized everything.

After his layover in Germany, Santos poured jokes, musings and fears into his journal. He wrote daily right up to the end -- 38 days, 37 pages -- and injected his humor into every page.

"Tomorrow is the first day of Ramidon, the Muslim equivalent of Lent, or equive-Lent," Santos wrote in his journal on Oct. 14, 2004. The following day he was killed.

His family now lives in Bellingham, Wash., a coastal town about 50 miles south of the Canadian border. Kent and her two other sons live in a house coated with photos of their fallen hero.

Kent said without Justin and Jared, she would be lost.

"If it wasn't for them, I wanted to die, you know. I missed Jonathan so much," Kent said yesterday. "I miss him every day."

Santos became the seventh son of Micronesia to die in the War on Terror when a suicide bomber attacked a military vehicle and killed him and two others on Oct. 15, 2004.

His story is reminiscent of other fallen soldiers. He was young and aspiring. He went to fight a war in a faraway place, and he didn't come back. He missed home and home still misses him.

But unlike so many other soldiers' stories, Santos' has been preserved.

It was at that Bellingham home where Kent received Santos' military trunk containing the belongings he left behind when he died. Inside were his gear, books, his combat boots -- and his memories.

"I had never known Jonathan to keep a journal," Kent said yesterday. "I had anticipated the video cassettes and a video camera coming back. He had just bought it and he took it everywhere and videotaped everything in his life. He was just so enamored with it, I knew the tapes would be there. But when I went through the box, I found the little book."

Santos' journal comes packed with details about his deployment. His brother narrated the documentary by reading the journal over footage from Santos' camera. Together they paint a picture of an undeniably likable young man.

He was a bit of a goof. He liked video games, movies and boozy birthday parties. When the barracuda eats all the clownfish in beginning of "Finding Nemo," Santos gets angry. And like many people, he read "The DaVinci Code" in two days. It was the last book he finished, according to his journal.

Theater showings of the documentary sold out in Santos' home town when the movie was released in October, according to the Bellingham Herald. The film made waves in the nearby city of Seattle.

On Nov. 27, Good Morning America profiled the documentary and its story about Santos and another soldier, Pfc. Matthew Drake, whom he befriended in Iraq. Drake survived the attack that killed Santos, but was left physically and mentally disabled.

In the aftermath of her son's death, Kent reached out to the soldier who lived. Kent said she met with Drake and his mother so they could bond over their sons' friendship. She found Drake on a long road to recovery, with his mother suffering from survivors' guilt. When they parted, everyone had healed a little, she said.

This year was especially hard, Kent said, because as the U.S. presidential election dragged on, the deadly war in Iraq was always under debate. The casualties on the nightly news were a constant reminder of her son. She feels each loss as if it were her own.

"Every day was like reliving Jonathan being killed again and again and realizing that other mothers were hearing it for the first time that their son was gone. It was just relentless," she said, sobbing a little.

DOD Wants CLT Property

DoD eyeing Chamorro Land Trust property
By Clynt Ridgell

While most of the island is not a party to the specifics regarding the U.S. Department of Defense's plans to buildup the military on Guam, it's apparent now that the governor too has been left in the dark. In an interview with KUAM News Felix Camacho revealed a major decision being crafted without the input of Guam's highest elected leader.

What's even more disturbing is that this decision involves land.

Governor Camacho is making it clear that he and the people of Guam need a seat at the table when the feds plan the immense military buildup that will bring an estimated 40,000 new people to the island. "As decisions are made, we are simply advised of it not consultedm" he shared. One of these decisions that has sparked the governor to speak out is related to a very touchy subject on Guam.

He continued, "The question was asked will there be sufficient lands for this endeavor. They said, 'Absolutely, we have enough land in our inventory and within our footprint on Guam to make this a success'. I believe decisions are now being made that they need to acquire more land and this would have to be to accommodate the firing range."

The DoD and the Joint Guam Program Office officials have all said repeatedly that they would not need additional lands for the buildup the governor now says they are eyeing some Government of Guam property that is supposed to be used by the island's indigenous people.

"They would like to consolidate their property up north and have one contiguous operation we certainly have lands in between that that are Chamorro Land Trust lands," said Camacho.

The governor further says that he wants to protect the assets of the people, adding that giving additional land to the feds is something that shouldn't be done without first consulting the people. But it's not only the land issue that the governor has a problem with he's concerned about the lack of funding needed to beef up the island's infrastructure. "Guam does not have the resources nor do we have the capacity either financially or personally to build our infrastructure to the level that we must," he told KUAM News.

This need for a rapid buildup of infrastructure is due to the rapid buildup of the military one in which our population will also rapidly increase by over 20%. The governor says although the feds have instructed GovGuam to get with different federal agencies like the EPA, the Federal Highway Administration, the Department of Transportation and others. Only one of them have offered a helping hand.

"We have gone to Office of Management and Budget; we have made our case we've requested for monies in 2010. I've not seen anything come out of it. In fact, the only agency that came to bat for us is the Department of the Interior, which requested roughly $168 million, but every other agency failed to do so."

The governor says he understands that this buildup may be the way that DoD operates, but he also says that if they want to maintain goodwill, Guam needs a voice. "We as an unincorporated territory with no voice and no vote in Congress would be first on the chopping block when it comes to budget," Camacho said. "So where is the support for Guam where is this commitment other than verbal?"

Camacho still believes that this move can be beneficial to Guam it's just a matter of getting the finances necessary to ensure that the island's people are not overburdened. "There's a change in administration. I'm hoping there will be a change in leadership. I think that JGPO, however well intentioned they, are doesn't have enough fire power to get this thing going," the governor concluded. "I don't believe they have enough resources committed to it because it is a major initiative it is a major undertaking and between the DoD and all the other agencies.

"They are going to have to get their act together."

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

From Japan: Obama May Delay Guam Build

Written by Stefan Sebastian

Guam-- More reports are coming out of Japan that the pending military buildup on Guam could be delayed as the plan is reviewed by President-Elect Barack Obama's administration when he takes office next year.

The President of Japan's Democratic Party, Seiji Maehara, says Obama's diplomatic staff has already agreed with Japanese officials that the plan to relocate about 8,000 Marines and their families to Guam from Okinawa is “in-feasible” and should be re-examined. Maehara met with Obama's staff in a June trip to the United States. Officials with Gov. Felix Camacho's office are declining to comment on the reports for now until they can verify them with Japanese and American officials. Any delay in the buildup plan could affect the local economy and set back GovGuam's efforts to address the impact it will have on the island. However, officials say the plan for now remains on track.

The buildup plan comes under the Alliance Transformation And Realignment Agreement and calls for the relocation of the Marines and their families to Guam by 2014.

Navy cited by EPA for Clean Water Act violations

Wednesday, 03 December 2008 00:00 by Zita Y. Taitano | Variety News Staff

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has cited U.S. Navy for violations of the Clean Water Act.

Violations included discharges from the Navy’s Apra Harbor Wastewater Treatment Plant that exceeded water quality permit limits, and several unpermitted discharges to the Namo River that occurred while the Fena water treatment plant was under repair.

The infractions were found during inspections conducted on facilities at the Naval Base Guam last July.

Inspectors also learned the Navy did not fully or properly implement controls for storm water discharges from industrial activities on the base. It was also discovered that three Navy construction sites did not have proper storm water pollution measures.

Aside from the inspections at Naval Base, EPA conducted similar compliance inspections at Andersen Air Force Base.

The EPA compliance inspections at both Department of Defense facilities in Guam included underground storage tanks, solid and hazardous waste management, wastewater and storm water management and compliance with oil spill prevention requirements.

According to Alexis Strauss, EPA’s water division director for the Pacific Southwest, the matter at hand is an important factor that all military facilities on Guam must be in compliance with.

“EPA will work with Guam EPA and DoD to ensure construction and ongoing operations comply fully with environmental requirements to protect and restore Guam's environment,” Strauss said.

Lt. Donnell Evans, spokesman for the U.S. Naval Forces Marianas, said the Navy is addressing the notice of violations from EPA.

“Our environmental team is in close coordination with EPA and expects to meet all requirements and timelines associated with the submission of corrective action plans,” Evans said.

EPA worried about fund lack for buildup

Wednesday, 03 December 2008 00:00 by Zita Y. Taitano | Variety News Staff

The U.S. Environmental Protection is concerned about the federal government’s lack of commitment to fund programs to address the impact of the military buildup on the civilian community.

Enrique Manzanilla, regional director of EPA’s Communities and Ecosystems Division, noted that the National Defense Reauthorization Act for 2009 does not include pertinent funding for Guam.

The act instead contains a provision that requires a memorandum of understanding between Guam and federal agencies simply to “determine how to fund the impacts.”

“From a very practical point of view, we believe it is very unlikely that the government of Guam or other federal agencies will acquire all the resources to adequately address impacts that go beyond the military fence lines in Guam,” Manzanilla said in a letter to David Bice, executive director of the Joint Guam Program Office.

“The result could be “two Guams”-- one that’s better off within the fence line, and one that worse off outside the fence line,” Mazanilla said.

Manzanilla recalled that during a September meeting with the Federal Regional Council in San Francisco, it was noted through JGPO representative Caroleen Toyama that the DoD was expecting other federal agencies to assist in the mitigation of the overall impact of the buildup.

He further explained that the interagency discussions on overall funding are “lagging significantly” behind the project planning of the buildup, despite the time frame to begin construction in 2010.

Manzanilla said ith the change in the administration, there is uncertainty with regard to the funding requests from federal agencies for their 2010 budgets.

“Even for agencies which have included specific requests for the Guam military buildup, without strong DoD support for additional resources, we are not confident that the current approach will achieve a meaningful result,” he said.

He pointed out that if the agencies involved, such as DoD, the Department of the Interior, EPA, island governments and other interested agencies, get together, they can develop a strategy that would bring better and positive results not only for the Guam community but also DoD.

“The Guam military buildup is a high priority for EPA, especially in ensuring that the buildup benefits all of Guam. Without a well thought-out funding strategy led by DoD, the societal and environmental impacts from the military buildup may end up exacerbating already disparate conditions on Guam. We believe there’s still an opportunity to make a positive difference,” Manzanilla said.

Manzanilla is asking for a meeting with JGPO on the matter. No particular date has been set.

JGPO spokesman Capt. Neil Ruggiero said JGPO has quarterly interagency meetings with GovGuam and other agencies about the buildup and the civilian impact is among the key areas of discusssion.

The issue at hand has sparked the interest of Sens. Rory Respicio and Judy Guthertz, who have sent a letter to Gov. Felix Camacho asking him to look into the matter.

“What we need is an omnibus appropriation from the U.S. Congress for the government of Guam to prepare for the buildup,” Guthertz said.

Chamorro Land Trust, UOG team up: Agreement addresses compliance of agricultural leases

By Bryan C. Sualog • Pacific Daily News • December 3, 2008

Those with Chamorro Land Trust agricultural leases can expect visits to ensure they're in compliance with the leases, but also some help with farming.

The University of Guam, Chamorro Land Trust Commission and the Department of Agriculture signed a memorandum of agreement yesterday to address compliance and educational outreach for Chamorro Land Trust agricultural leases.

"For a number of years, since the implementation of the Chamorro Land Trust, we've had the issue of compliance on the requirements of the Chamorro Land Trust," said Joanne M. Brown, assistant director for UOG's Soil and Water Conservation program.

She said there had been issues with the ability of the Chamorro Land Trust to provide educational outreach on conservation farming, but the memorandum will offer a solution to those issues.

The agreement puts in place a cooperative compliance team that will provide educational and support programs, conduct assessments for Chamorro Land Trust farmers, evaluate the status of land leases, and provide policy and procedure recommendations to improve the commission's lease program, according to a news release.

The initial term for the memorandum will be one year, with an option to renew.

Oscar Calvo, chairman of the Chamorro Land Trust Commission, said the memorandum will help to educate farmers. He said the memorandum was an opportunity for people that want to farm, but don't really know how, to learn from experts.

"We don't have the expertise," he said. "Who else would be better than the people from the Department of Agriculture and the university to teach these courses?"


Calvo said if people on Land Trust agricultural lots aren't in compliance with their leases, they will be given a chance to correct deficiencies.

"If they do not do something about it, then that's another avenue we'll have to look at on the legal side, whether we can terminate (the leases)," he said.

UOG President Robert Underwood said the memorandum provides further evidence that the university's reach is far and wide on this island.

"A large part of our activity, I would say probably over 50 percent of our activities are involved in a whole lot of other things, including these types of service activities, development of relationships with government agencies, and private and public entities, as well as a robust research agenda," he said.