by Ken Quintanilla
Guam - Today marked the deadline for comments on the for-profit bingo initiative detailed in Proposal 'A'. According to Guam Election Commission executive director Maria Pangelinan, only one comment was submitted on Saturday from Cache Creek Casino Resort retired manager Richard McCord, opposing the initiative.
In his letter to the GEC, McCord argues that the proponents failed to provide simple questions as to the incorporators, investors, company officers of such company wanting to establish bingo for profit. He further argues that the initiative is "vague and (has) no substance and (is) camouflaged by the petitioner(s) to eventually begin using electronic slot bingo machines."
On Friday the Committee to Keep Guam Good submitted its comments opposing the initiative as well, arguing that Prop 'A' is just another attempt by Guam Greyhound to allow for-profit bingo casino gambling only at the Tamuning location, creating a monopoly and a permanent license. The committee also warned that while the initiative purports to give 20% of net proceeds to healthcare, education and public safety, in reality there is no legal mechanism to transfer the funds as only the Guam Legislature can determine where the money should go.
Meanwhile, two comments were submitted this week in favor of proposal a from Tumon resident Mark "Paps" Martinez and retired Veterans Affairs director Juan Blaz. Blaz argued that by promoting bingo as another entertainment option, it would increase investment in Guam's tourism industry, which would create jobs and additional revenues for our government to provide needed services to all residents.
Pangelinan adds no one directly from the Guam Japan Friendship Village or anyone representing the proponents on the initiative submitted comments on Prop 'A'.
All of the comments will be presented at this Monday's GEC board meeting where commissioners will choose the top argument for and against Prop 'A' to be printed on an information pamphlet. The pamphlet will also include the GEC's Objective Analysis and be mailed out to voters by October 7. The agency estimates the pamphlets to cost about $75,000 to include printing and postage costs.
You can read all the submissions along with gec's analysis of the proposal on http://gec.guam.gov.