Infrastructure deficit!


Should have joined the choir celebrate the issuance of the first casino license and transfer of $30 million to pay back the unconstitutional cut of 25 percent from retirees’ pension. Well, I picked two young coconuts to rehydrate as two prominent issues danced in and out of my mind:

The huge infrastructure deficit (land, water, power, sewer and roads) to aid the construction of nearly 3,000 hotel rooms. No appropriations!

The ironic closure of more casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey, from 12 down to four. You wonder if the guys ever read materials on industry trend?

The revenue decline included help from the state treasury of some $261 million and the impending unemployment issues of some 32,000 employees.

“The mistake in Atlantic City is we put all of our eggs in one basket,” state Senate President Stephen Sweeney said, adding that diversification was beginning decades late and will require a major investment.

The state has long guaranteed Atlantic City a monopoly on gambling within New Jersey’s borders, but gambling revenues there have been declining due to increased competition from new casinos in neighboring states and the lingering effects of the financial crisis. The monthly report from the state Division of Gaming Enforcement issued Wednesday shows that the trend is continuing, as July’s take declined 7.7 percent year over year.

Pennsylvania, which only legalized casino gambling in the past decade, has replaced New Jersey as the state with the second-largest gambling industry. More casinos have been proposed in New York. Yet revenues have been disappointing across the region. In New Jersey, they have declined by around half from a high of $5.2 billion in 2006.

Most disappointing for investors has been the performance of the casinos’ new online gaming businesses. The prospect of online revenues has kept several casinos open despite declining income.

“A lot of these casinos have been unprofitable for quite some time,” said Alex Bumazhny, an analyst at Fitch Ratings.

Casino industry heads south
Boggles the mind that while this industry is headed south we enter into it quizzing “what’s north?” Definitely troubling! Have we dumped the term “planning?” I mean, whatever happened to conscientious leadership?

There’s definitely a serious anomaly in the way the elected elite has disposed of socio-economic issues stuck in unidirectional dystopian mañana. Any conscientious and reasonable citizen would cringe in exasperation how quickly the elected elite plays into the hands of their “new bosses” who definitely aren’t “we the people.”

Why a policy destined to get killed because of the lack of planning for CIP funds to build water, power, sewer and roads? Or do you wish to blame it on serein, you know, fine rain after sunset without clouds somewhere nearby?

The development of a country anywhere in the world begins with proper emplacement of basic infrastructure. Without water, power, sewer, and roads, what good is the casino industry and all the hoopla of raking in millions? This humongous oversight and setback won’t do any of the planned projects any justice in the near term. And we’re only talking infrastructure not the more challenging suprastructure.

New Jersey casinos are shutting down due to nearby competition. How would we fare against Macau, Seoul, Manila, Singapore, and in two years, Japan? There’s that strange feeling we’d dovetail You Are My Sunshine with Red Sails In The Sunset. Isn’t this an issue to contend with in the near term? Dalai `ste na diskuidu! Sussss!

Impending brownouts
The new projects require lots of power, water, a new sewer and road systems. While the new requirements emerge the Saipan power plant is in “critical state.” It means an increase in the number of power outages, the creation of unnecessary expenses, dangerous risks, hardship for power consumers, and a critical impact on Saipan’s economic growth, according to CUC’s Power Division manager Gary Camacho.

“It is very difficult for our community that our power is unreliable, not knowing when you’re going to have power, and even nowadays the weather doesn’t have to be bad to have power outages,” Camacho said. He added that CUC’s primary lines are severely dilapidated, affecting the power distribution in 26 villages on Saipan. Do you add load to the grid when the suspect system slowly breaks down? Federal review is most urgent at this juncture!

What if a major storm hits? How long would we live without power? Will it be three to six months? Why the persistent passing of layers of hardship to the multitude as a direct result of the lack of conscientious leadership?

Suspect retirement plan
Politicians have just driven the “settlement fund” into the ditch. Surprisingly, Rep. Mariano Taitano would offer a new one for current government workers. Let’s start by you fixing the current program first, sayu? The history of your performance leaves much to be desired. I seriously doubt that your pipe dream could be a “cash balance” program.

Go ahead and join Parks and Recs in its cleanup project. You bankrupted the Fund, CHC, CUC, PSS, NMC and every other C. Did you forget we could read and comprehend our materials too without buying into your inverted logic? Anyway, the recent proposal is good fodder for when beer begins to run out at a barbecue. Oh, add “biba” to lace it up, you know, one final journey into the sunset.


I walked up a cliff that meets huge virulent and merciless waves from the deep blue. Behind me are the rolling hills of the island or history; straight-ahead is the vast expanse of the future. It was a difficult tug o` war with the moment. It felt like a defeated warrior attending to serious wounds. Would I survive or turn statistics? Just as I turn to leave, I was reminded of an adage, “Today is the future!” What’s ours? Troubling, isn’t it?

John S. Del Rosario Jr. | Contributing Author
John DelRosario Jr. is a former publisher of the Saipan Tribune and a former secretary of the Department of Public Lands.

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