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Two birds, one stone

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by John Davis

Two important issues can be solved with one special election.
 
Yesterday's news is still today's headlines as Acting Speaker, Senator B.J. Cruz now says he wants to move forward with Bill 66.  First of all, Bill 66 was introduced on February 17th of this year and could have passed or failed on the session floor if the issue was pursued by the lawmaker or committee with proper oversight.  Why wait 10 months?  Aside from the fact I support the passage of Bill 66, lets look at other issues that can be resolved if a special election were to be held within the next couple of months.
 
The first issue up for voter approval during the special election should be to fill the vacant senatorial seat Matt Rector will leave behind aft the Guam Election Commission de-certifies Rector's election results.  The second will be determining whether or not the people of Guam are in support of the upcoming military buildup.
 
FIRST ISSUE: Matt rector
 
I'm still not sure why election results for Matt Rector haven't been de-certified already; lets take a look at what we know.  We know Matt Rector lied when he filled out his application to be a senatorial candidate when he did not disclose his prior conviction for misdemeanor burglary over 20 years ago.  Rector's conviction, even if he remembered to tell the truth would have taken him out of the running as a senatorial candidate.  The Guam Election Commission set precedence after senatorial candidate Ivan Carbullido admitted to being convicted of a crime before he became a candidate for senator.  Carbullido's primary election results were decertified by the GEC and Carbullido was taken out of the race.  For this reason and this reason alone, Rector's election results from the primary and general elections should be decertified and a special election should be held to fill that seat he's just keeping warm for someone who qualifies to fill it.  The confirmation that rector did not disclose information about his conviction was confirmed by the Guam election Commission.
 
You want more; I'll give you more.  Another reason Matt rector's election results should be decertified if the fact that he also lied in 1992 when he applied for a teaching position in the Department of Education.  This was 9 years after he pled guilty to charges of burglary.  How could someone forget they were arrested after 9 years, let alone 23 years?  Rector indicated on his Government of Guam application that he was never convicted of a felony or misdemeanor crime.  The confirmation that Rector falsified his application came from the Department of administration.
 
Now that GEC Legal Counsel, the Attorney General's Office and the Guam Police Department have launched their own investigations on Rector, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out.  In case these investigation comes to a stand still, the speaker of the Guam legislature has the authority to deal with Rector and his lies because the Speaker controls the house.  If the Speaker orders the Ethics Committee to further investigate the issue all they'll need is proof rector lied and if they need copies of the documents confirming Rectors lies, I'm sure they can be obtained with a simple request.  The question is what will happen when the GEC, AG, GPD and the Legislature confirm Rector lied and does not belong in the legislature according to existing public law?
 
SECOND ISSUE: Bill 66
 
Bill 66 is a good start towards ensuring the federal government is aware of how the people of Guam feel about the military buildup, but I believe the existing legislation needs more clarification.  If Bill 66 is passed on the session floor and is signed in to law by the governor, two questions will be asked during a special election.
 
The first question asks, "Do you support the military build up on Guam?"
 
The second question asks if voters want "authority to be given to the Guam Ancestral Lands Commission to lease ancestral Spanish Crown Lands and the Chamorro Land Trust Commission to lease Land Trust lands to the U.S. Military?"
 
The problem with these two questions is they need to be completely separate from one another.  In the proposed legislation, language states that you are not to proceed to answer question number two if you answer "no" on question number one.  What if I'm not in favor of the military buildup on Guam, but I'm aware that if we aren't able to lease our lands to the feds, then they'll take land they need by force anyway?  Shouldn't I be allowed to vote on both questions since they are so close to home?
 
This is why I offer an amendment Bill 66.  In my amendment, Section 4 shall be deleted and the following language will be inserted to read:
 
Section 4.  The questions put to voters shall be:
 
Vote only ‘Yes' or ‘No'.  Do not fill in more than one answer, if you do, your vote will be invalid.  Please choose one answer.  After you have answered question number 1, proceed to question number 2.
 
1) Are you in favor of the Military Buildup on Guam?
() Yes
() No
 
Vote only ‘Yes' or ‘No'.  Do not fill in more than one answer, if you do, your vote will be invalid.  Please choose one answer.  After you have answered question number 2, proceed to question number 3.
 
2) Shall the Ancestral Lands Commission be granted the authority to lease Ancestral and Spanish Crown Lands to the United States Military?
() Yes
() No
 
Vote only ‘Yes' or ‘No'.  Do not fill in more than one answer, if you do, your vote will be invalid.  Please choose one answer.
 
3) Shall the Chamorro Land Trust Commission be granted the authority to lease Chamorro Land Trust Lands to the United States Military?
() Yes
() No
 
I believe this amended language clarifies the gray area in the existing legislation.  Question 1 is non-binding and does not require lawmakers to do anything just because the majority of voters are or aren't in favor of the military buildup.  Questions 2 and 3 are binding though.  If the majority of voters want to authorize the ALC and CLTC to lease Spanish Crown Lands and Chamorro Land Trust Lands, then lawmakers are required to create legislation to that effect.  If voters choose otherwise, lawmakers must ensure our lands are not leased to the U.S. Military.  The catch:  the feds can always just take the land by using powers of condemnation.

The views and opinions expressed in KUAM Columns do not necessarily reflect those of Pacific Telestations or its advertisers

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