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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Flashback – December 4, 2000-2002

Dec. 4, 2000

Amendment to full land rebate approved

Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio on Friday approved an amendment to a new law that allows the government to pay full rebate to the tax paid by landowners whose properties are acquired for public land use. Public Law 12-31 cleared potential error in PL 12-16 that Finance Sec. Lucy DLG Nielsen raised to the governor when he signed the latter law in August. The amendment clarified a provision in that law with respect to the determination of the rebate offset base and rebate offset amount on tax paid to the government from the sale of private land, according to Mr. Tenorio.

Improved facilities for tourists with disabilities pushed

Developmental Disabilities Council Executive Director Thomas J. Camacho has signified anew support to efforts aimed at attracting large groups of tourists with disabilities to the Northern Marianas but added such moves would only flourish if public accommodations in the CNMI are built to cater to this type of visitors. In a letter to Pacific Development Inc. general manager Yoichi Matsumura, Mr. Camacho said that local retail stores, restaurant outlets, streets, traffic lights, and pedestrian right of ways, including other essential public services, should be readily accessible to tourists with disabilities to be able to entice this particular tourist market. "This, however, could only be accomplished if we all partner together and combine our resources to assess and remove those practices, policies and architectural barriers responsible for preventing this innovative market from traveling to our beautiful islands," said Mr. Camacho.

Dec. 4, 2001

Proposal to lower water rates for farms chided

A Senate bill that seeks to lower water rates for local farmers in the CNMI was criticized yesterday for being vague, unenforceable and for sounding more like a resolution than a proposed law. This was the near-unanimous consensus of the participants in yesterday’s public hearing conducted by the House Committee on Public Utilities, Transportation and Communication on Senate Bill 12-122. According to Commonwealth Utilities Corp. Board Chair Edward C. Sablan, the measure sounds more like a policy statement rather than any definitive piece of legislation.

Officials rally behind council empowerment

The Association of CNMI Municipal Councils Inc. plans to continue pursuing their goal to eventually be empowered to pass local laws in their respective municipalities. This consensus was reached during a recent two-day meeting on Saipan, where the members of the group all agreed to continue with their campaign to be given the powers to pass local laws. This comes in the wake of House Legislative Initiative 12-004, introduced by House Floor Leader Oscar Babauta, which sought to grant this power to municipal councils. The initiative failed to make it to the August 6 deadline this year for inclusion in a referendum on November 3.

Dec. 4, 2002

CPA nixes MPLA terms anew on seaport expansion

The Commonwealth Ports Authority rejected anew the conditions set by the Marianas Public Lands Authority on the use of public lands for the expansion of Saipan seaport operations. In a letter to acting MPLA Commissioner Henry Hofschneider, CPA Executive Director Carlos H. Salas said the MPLA board’s approval for the use of public lands near the Saipan port and the restrictions they imposed is contrary to the ports authority’s original request. “We are asking for MPLA to convey the public land in fee to the CPA for public purposes. Use of such land would include accommodating the current operational needs of the port and for providing more space for containers as we anticipate direct calls from the United States by a major shipping firm,” explained Salas in a letter dated November 25.

CPA seeks lifting of liquor sales restrictions at all CNMI airports

In another attempt to generate additional revenue for the Commonwealth, ports authority officials will seek the lifting of restrictions on liquor sale at all CNMI airports. Commonwealth Ports Authority officials disclosed plans to ask Gov. Juan N. Babauta and the Legislature to pass a law that would allow all CNMI airports to serve liquor with no restrictions. This means that airports would be able to serve liquor on a 24-hour basis in the holding room areas. CPA officials noted that that move would generate more funds for the agency, since travelers are asked to check-in ahead of their flight schedules.

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