Truth or Consequences (41): Black-ball, Tinian & Cannabis | Views section

POOR Tinian, as I’m sure most readers would agree that Tinian’s Pika Festival could have been much MORE successful and MORE inclusive with MORE people coming from Rota and Saipan. The REAL problem is that the Governor and the Republicans literally “Blackballed” me (totally rejected) because the Governor did not follow my advice, which was to offer “travel vouchers to local tourists to visit the other islands for events like Pika Fest to HELP their tourism industry. Surely if the governor could pay Korean airlines and tourists, he could do it for the locals. He should have listened to my advice because our “market of the local-inter-island tourism” would actually BOOM with the locals now visiting the other islands which they can no longer do due to the high cost of travel. All I can say is “Poor Tinian and I I told you” – AGAIN!

This Governor does not care about “what is RIGHT, APPROPRIATE AND NECESSARY” even when it is DESERVED, especially true when HE cannot get credit. I’ve told readers before that the LAST thing this Governor wants to see is Ambrose M. Bennett get CREDIT for accomplishing something at CNMI, and he’s not alone, which is sad and pathetic. But as an African American, I saw and experienced being Blackball, which is really a derivative of “prejudicial behavior” and it was even predictable, but I can deal with it. But the problem is that people suffer the consequences because they (the Governor and the Republicans) blocked Ambrose and his ideas as we just saw with the Pika Fest which could have been exceptionally BIG for a lot of locals and Tinyan.

I’ve read about the mayor of Tinian who talked about ‘petrol vouchers sponsored by Senator Edith and others’ but he should have complained that the governor isn’t helping his island MORE with its Pika Fest tourism effort, as the Governor still has a few HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS or more to spend to strengthen and supplement our economy and the senators from Tinian have not done or said anything either. However, to the mayor’s credit, we know why he didn’t, he’s a republican and can’t figuratively complain about their king. What is really sad is that the people of Tinian are the ones who have suffered the most from the Governor’s FAILURE to act, so remember that judgment day is about “WHAT they failed to do and what they did wrong”. There is virtually nothing GOOD the Governor and Republicans can claim to have done and they have been wrong SINCE – for TRUE!

The Reality of Cannabis Bottoms

I read the article about the cannabis industry which has brought in a total of $655,790.43 in revenue so far and the 32 jobs that have been created which is all good and I hope businesses make good profits. But my concern, as an economist, is the “end result”, ie HOW MUCH PROFITS did WE make, people, and by my calculations, WE went INTO THE HOLE! But that was not stated in the article or in the legislature as far as I know. As an experienced presenter, I know how essential it is to show “where the BEEF is” because window dressing is fine, but if there is no beef (true progress and/or profit), so it’s just window dressing or worse, which is a “half-truth.” I didn’t expect the industry to do any good given the Covid pandemic but I wish they were MORE honest and upfront in reporting as it was an obvious oversight than I think not that the Legislative Assembly even noted. .

Based on gross receipts, the CNMI only collected between $6 and $10,000 in actual taxes while WE the people pay the director alone $74,000 a year, which does not include what WE pay commissioners and operating expenses. There is also the Cannabis Commission LOAN that I have not heard of and its status. WE need to know if the loan has been repaid. But I can understand why the main thing has been overlooked with the Republicans obviously overseeing the Cannabis operation because the main thing is that WE the people have actually LOST money after paying the Cannabis Commission and the Director whose combined annual salaries are virtually EQUAL to the amount of revenue earned by the companies. I can’t help but keep track of this industry as it was part of MY baby as I did MOST of the heavy lifting doing research for the Colorado Senate, promoting and educating the public in the media and helping to draft the legislation itself. What’s worse is that I’m solely responsible for including the hemp industry which has much more potential for generating income and well-paying jobs than cannabis tourism, but TAYA is doing it all because I’m black- ball but YOU suffer.

The only thing that gets me is HOW I was “Blackballed” by the Governor after he used me to pass the legislation because he wanted HIM and Sixto to get ALL the credit. He even chose people who didn’t lift a finger or say a single word to help me when I was doing the heavy lifting. I don’t hate, but I’m disappointed, which helps fuel my efforts to get rid of this Governor Black-ball because he also Black-ball, others like the people he fired because they were joining Arnold & Dave. WE the people need to have NEW and BETTER leaders who don’t care about Blackball people and don’t care who or where the idea came from – DEMOCRATS really are our one and even BEST hope!

To be continued: One people One Direction.

The author is an economist, political scientist, retired teacher, former CNMI Board of Education member, James Madison Fellow (US Constitutional Scholar), a Fulbright-Hays & Humanities Scholar who resides in Kagman III.