E-mail from Bice sparks controversy - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

E-mail from Bice sparks controversy

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by Lannie Walker

Guam - You may want to make up your own mind what kind of message is sent by the Joint Guam Program Office's former executive director in an internal e-mail regarding the military buildup and Pagat Village. The leaked message is now public and some people aren't too happy about what the exchange reveals.

It's an e-mail never meant for public consumption - dated September 27, 2010. This exchange between David Bice and other high-ranking Navy officials has elicited a strong reaction among some. The subject line reads "Brief of Pagat." In it, Bice writes that a successful acquisition of Route 15 will require an elimination of all impacts to Pagat historic village.

Senator Judi Guthertz chairs the Legislative Committee for the Guam Buildup, and says of the message, "I think whet General Bice is saying is they recognize there are some stumbling blocks on acquiring land along Route 15 and on the Pagat issue, and I think he recognizes they just need to drop the issue and forget about Pagat."

But in the e-mail, Bice continues saying the military will eventually get the land it wants. "But aren't they saying we can get all of the land eventually including an SDZ over Pagat? Well, I think he his very overoptimistic," Guthertz noted.

"Arrogant" is the word Attorney Leevin Camacho of We Are Guahan uses when he describes the tone of the e-mail, noting, "Basically what it says is in the short term let's offer some sweetners to the Legislature and the people of Guam to the government, but I think that's the exact quote is we can get all of the land eventually including a surface danger zone over Pagat."

Bice writes, "Groups opposing marine relocation are successfully seizing Pagat as a means to gain legitimacy with the public - need to take the issue off the table and isolate them." Camacho says, "To see this kind of mentality that they don't want to be forthcoming with the people of Guam, they want to offer sweetners they want to isolate groups like We Are Guahan the Guam Preservation Trust like the National Trust for Historic Preservation."

But while Camacho is unnerved by the e-mail, Senator Guthertz is reassured. "This email to me I think if you read it carefully is sort of recognition if you read it carefully that the only way they can get any land from the Government of Guam is with the expressed approval of the legislature," she told KUAM News.

Guthertz likely referring to language in the e-mail such as, "Some members of the legislature will attempt to block all land acquisition until other issues with federal government are resolved - need to give legislature a deal they can't refuse."

"For me to read that and to hear Assistant Secretary of Navy Jackalynne Pfannesteil and Undersecretary of the Navy Robert Work come out and make these promises of unimpeded access to Pagat Village - 24-hour access to Pagat Village - and then to see these discussions on how they have every intention of putting an SDZ over that area its disappointing it's frustrating and it's unacceptable," Camacho added.

John Jackson, director of JGPO, responded to the leaked e-mail, saying, "This e-mail shows that the highest levels of Navy leadership were and continue to be directly involved in finding solutions to the concerns expressed by the people and the Government of the Guam about the buildup."

But Camacho notes, "I would encourage people don't take my word for it - don't take anyone's word for it. Read the email see it in its context, see the language and tone and get your own impressions."

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