by Ken Quintanilla
Guam - A week and a half since last meeting, the Guam Election Commission held its regular meeting to discuss several matters that have surfaced going into the November general election. Comments for or against Prop 'A' are due this Saturday and as of Wednesday, three comments have been provided on the initiative - one in favor of the initiative submitted by Tumon resident Mark "Paps" Martinez, one against the initiative submitted by Archbishop Anthony Apuron and the third from Albert Silos, whose submission asks more questions on the initiative rather then arguing for or against it.
The Commission however advised GEC executive director Maria Pangelinan to write back to the archbishop, notifying him that his comments needs to be 500 words or less to be considered, whereas the GEC's legal counsel also wanted clarification whether he was writing in his individual capacity or as the head of the church. The comments are needed for an informational pamphlet that has to be mailed out to voters by October 7. The GEC estimates the pamphlets to cost about $75,000 to include printing and postage costs. The agency further noted they have yet to receive any comments from the inititiave's proponents.
Relative to finances, Pangelinan noted that the GEC is still waiting from the Bureau of Budget & Management Research to release $100,000 in reserves to be used for primary election expenses.
The board meanwhile addressed Raymond Mundo's letter to the GEC, rescinding his decision to withdraw his candidacy for mayor of Mangilao and ultimately decided to still take him off the ballot because he committed a crime of moral turpitude, specifically a misdemeanor theft conviction dating back 15 years ago.
As for former governor Carl Gutierrez, he submitted a letter to the GEC informing them of his decision to step down in the public auditor race in which they accepted and will no longer be on the general election ballot. The law meanwhile still requires incumbent public auditor Doris Flores Brooks to remain on the general election ballot.
As for ballot production, it is on-going in which the GEC hopes to send out uocava ballots this week. There will be two ballots for the general election - the partisan races including Congress, legislature, mayoral and vice mayoral and a straw poll for president of the United States. A second ballot is for non-partisan races for the Guam Education Board, Consolidated Commission on Utilities, public auditor and the judicial retention and the bingo initiative.
Meanwhile, the GEC has received a number of letters from candidates stating they intend to run as a write-in for the general election - Jonathan Diaz for Congress, Rosemarie Aquiningoc for mayor of Asan-Maina, Joseph Taitano for mayor of Yigo, Frank Cabrera for mayor of Piti, and Joseph Salas for vice mayor of Agat. Diaz, Aquiningoc, Taitano and Salas ran and loss in their respective races in the primary election.
The GEC reconvenes next Monday.