Before you criticize and publicly try to shame the American Memorial Park on Saipan and the federal government for minor maintenance issues, perhaps you should look at the conditions within your own house.
While you hurl contentious rocks, you are most definitely standing in a glass house—a house where sidewalks in every CNMI-funded park have areas that are elevated by roots that are trip hazards; a house where large portions of the concrete are missing or have sunk on the sidewalk between the last Command Post and Suicide Cliff, like portions large enough for someone to fall in and literally roll down into a ravine, especially if you walked through there at night (Maybe you should look for some of the island’s missing persons at the bottom of that hill but that’s another subject. Back to your glass house); a house where concrete benches are cracked; where trash cans overflow and litter is everywhere; where public showers and restrooms either don’t work or are nonexistent; where there is no lighting on the sidewalks (walk through American Memorial Park at night if you want to see how that’s done right).
You are lucky OSHA doesn’t eat your lunch over this and all the other safety hazards at CNMI parks and public areas—a house where the day after any festival the grounds look like someone intentionally spread trash for hours and it stays that way for days on end; a house rife with abandoned buildings because you suck at managing real estate or any permitting process; a house where cows are not only allowed to defecate all over the parks but also on the graves of brave veterans that gave their lives so you have the freedom to spew your ungrateful BS; a house that allowed an eyesore casino to be built in the ideal central location for festivals (imagine that); a house that has been provided hundreds of millions of dollars in federal disaster funds but yet you complain how a federal park manages its resources. Like literally federal dollars are feeding your constituents while unemployed due to COVID-19. Does CNMI pay unemployment insurance like every other state? That answer is no. Does CNMI reap the benefit of unemployment checks anyway? Yes.
So again, you complain about the upkeep of the American Memorial Park, a federally funded site, and yet you continue to hold your hand out accepting federal funds because you clearly can’t manage your own affairs. Why do you want the park? It’s blatantly obvious. So you can charge admission fees, charge vendors to have booths, and continue to line your pocket through the guise of community betterment.
You want to know why the federal government or the American Memorial Park doesn’t allow events to be held on its properties? It’s not because they don’t want to better the community. It’s because self-gain or profit on a federal site violates countless federal laws. I’m sure if all the site use request or festival use request wasn’t a ploy to make money, the memorial park would be more willing to entertain those type of events.
That said, if you think the veterans in this community will stand idle and let you or anyone else profit on ground that is supposed to honor the sacrifice of nearly 3,500 soldiers, sailors, and marines, you are mistaken.
Mica F. Cochran
Capital Hill, Saipan