The media has tremendous power to shape public perception. And with this power, comes an ethical responsibility to ensure that facts are checked and a balanced view is presented to the public. This is what differentiates a true media outlet from an organization that spews propaganda. When it comes to the topic of solid waste receivership, editorials from the PDN resemble propaganda.
A recent editorial published in the Pacific Daily News headlined, “Don’t end receivership until GovGuam is prepared,” demonstrates a clear and continued bias on this issue. Below, we point out the facts in order to balance any misperceptions that have been created:
Misconception #1: Solid Waste Receivership has been good for Guam
FACT: While Receivership has improved trash service for those who can pay, it has been costly and has put Guamanians a QUARTER-BILLION DOLLARS in debt.
Solid Waste Receivership has cost Guamanian families over $200M. In addition to this, household trash fees for working families have increased from $6 per month to over $30 per month – more than a 500% increase. This has made trash service unaffordable for many residents, which has contributed to an illegal dumping problem on Guam, with much of the illegal dumping happening over Guam’s Northern Aquifer.
FACT: The Pacific Daily News has not held the Receiver or the Federal Court accountable to the same standard it holds your local government.
– While past PDN editorials object to government debt for fixing life-saving community challenges like GMH, they have been silent on the quarter-billion dollars in debt the Receiver paid for a landfill that experts have said has been “over built,” and many residents cannot afford.
– While past PDN editorials have been critical on increasing government pay scales to the national average, they have remained silent on the Receiver paying individual employees a salary between $200,000 to $400,000 per year.
– While past PDN editorials have objected to increasing gas prices by a couple of pennies – to fix your crumbling village roads – they have remained silent on your trash fee rising over 500% from $6 to over $30 in the past few years.
– While PDN editorials continue to praise receivership for environmental fixes, they ignore the rising consequence of increased illegal dumping over Guam’s Northern Aquifer because many residents can’t afford the current rates.
– While PDN editorials often hold government officials accountable for inefficient government expenses, they have not once reported on the road to Dandan that was built in error and cost Guam tax payers millions more than it should have. Nor have they commented on the quarter-billion dollars spent on the landfill that many experts have said was overbuilt and cost Guam tax payers millions more that could have gone to our children’s education.
Misconception #2: Government of Guam needs to “hurry up” to end receivership.
FACT: The Receiver has delayed the transition process and stands to make millions more from the people of Guam, if receivership is extended.
For the past three years, after a recommendation from Public Auditor Doris Flores Brooks, the GSWA Board of Directors has pushed hard to hire a staff and manager to work alongside the Receiver, with the understanding that the day will come when the baton is passed from Receiver back to GovGuam. Despite the Public Auditor’s recommendation and the board’s best effort, the Receiver rejected this positive transition effort and the federal court agreed. As a result of the Receiver’s timeline, the local GSWA General Manager started his job only this month, three months prior to the end of receivership. Any perceived delays by the court are the result of it not adopting the recommendation of Public Auditor Doris Flores Brooks, Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson, and a very competent GSWA Board.
Despite the unnecessary roadblocks that the Receiver has placed in front of your local government, the Administration remains confident that together with the GSWA Board of Directors, Attorney General, and Senator Tom Ada, legislation will be passed in the coming months to address any outstanding issues by the court that deal with employment and budget.
It is time for receivership of solid waste to end. It has cost every man, woman, and child over a quarter billion dollars in debt, increased rate payers’ fees by over 500%, made trash rates unaffordable to many, and has increased illegal dumping on Guam.
While the PDN editorial staff may not believe that the Guamanian people are capable of governing themselves, we do.

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