Just like you, we work hard to find solutions to problems. We didn’t join public service to complain. We’re here to make a difference. Today, Franklin P. Arriola, Governor Calvo’s Chief of Staff, wrote to the PDN inviting fellow public servants and elected leaders to be part of the solution.
Read his column below, or on GuamPDN by clicking HERE.
Solutions always beat out problems
By Franklin P. Arriola
Gov. Eddie Calvo released a 10-point plan during his state of the island address this year. It’s a great plan. We were hoping for support from Democrat senators because some of these initiatives have been championed by Democrats over the years, like universal pre-K and shelter for the homeless.
These 10 points are solutions to hundreds of social problems on Guam. These are the problems that affect us negatively in one way or another. In my job as chief of staff, I’ve listened to the complaints senators and others have raised about the problems in Guam. There are people who are struggling without work, have no opportunities without college education, and can’t do much if they need to make sure their children are able to get home safely after school.
Many of these problems and more will be fixed by reliable mass transit. Sen. Aline Yamashita currently is heading the governor’s Mass Transit Expansion Planning Team, bringing together the stakeholders to get the pilot program going.
Every week for the past few months, I’ve been working with the Criminal Justice Strike Force, which brought together the law enforcement agencies to go after criminals. And the Guam Police Department, with the assistance of the Strike Force, has made major arrests.
Our worry about crime today will be allayed by the presence of more police officers on the roads. And our anxiety about crime growing out of control in the future will be solved when we offer pre-kindergarten to every 4-year-old.
But that’s not the only problem that will be solved with this solution. Our investments into early childhood education and into foster care will yield more-prepared students who will end up graduating and joining the workforce. We submitted the budget to make it happen, and Yamashita introduced the bill to authorize it.
Foreclosing on property for failure to pay property taxes will open the floodgate of payments for overdue taxes. To make sure we’re capturing what should be paid in taxes, we let out the contract for property revaluation to Cornerstone Valuation Guam Inc. And since the federal government won’t recognize its culpability in the dumping of hazardous waste at Ordot, we are taking them to court.
The list of problems that will be solved with the 10 solutions is long.
You can imagine my chagrin that, since the announcement of these 10 points, not one leader of the majority party in the Legislature has offered to help implement any of these solutions.
Instead, over the past three weeks, all we’ve seen are complaints from the legislative leadership. It’s just been problem after problem, some of them even manufactured, but not a single offering of a solution or even a commitment to help.
I understand the senators’ role to hold the other branches accountable. I get that. But all leaders also have another duty to actually help improve the lives of our people through action, with solutions backed by vision. Senators especially should carry this duty. They are the policymakers. If they don’t like something, they have a duty to come up with a solution.
As the guy tasked by Gov. Calvo to get the 10 points off the ground this year, I invite senators to the table to help, especially if they have no new ideas of their own. Gov. Calvo and Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio are very grateful for the support they’ve received already from Sens. Tony Ada, Yamashita, Chris Duenas, Mike Limtiaco, Brant McCreadie, Tommy Morrison, Tina MuÃ±a Barnes and Dennis Rodriguez, Jr.
We would really like the others to come to the table as well. The invitation remains open.