OMG! The 21st Century is here

Posted on Nov 08 2019

CHCC has come up with a great idea. Way better than their idea to just not pay their electric bill. This idea lets some reasonably modern technology take the place of handwritten ledgers, rubber bands, and paste. They propose to provide “telepharmacy” services to the folks on Tinian and Rota, neither of which has a functioning pharmacy or even a pharmacist to do the pharming. By allowing a video teleconference between the patient and the CUC pharmacy on Tinian/Rota and a licensed pharmacist here on Saipan, the patient can get his medicine in a safe, vetted manner without a trip to Saipan or Guam to get that six packs of Valium. This great idea costs little, saves a lot, and solves many problems. Good work CHCC.
Now I think we should expand on this idea with an even better one. We’ll call it “TeleBoardMeetings.” This one also involves Tinian and Rota. Right now every government board of directors that has mandated members from Tinian or Rota spends tens or even hundreds of thousands physically transporting those members from their respective islands to Saipan where the seat of government is and where those board meetings are held.

If this involved just paying for a roundtrip ticket and the guy from Rota jumps on a plane, comes to Saipan and attends the board meeting, then flies home, it would be expensive. But that is not the way it typically happens. The Rotanese board member just can’t seem to get that Saipan air connection so he flies to Guam, stays a day or two for shopping and taking care of business, other business. Then he flies on to Saipan a couple of days early, rents a car, checks into a hotel—a nice one—and takes care of some shopping and some business (monkey business). Then he finally attends the board meeting but, darn it, now the plane has left so he has to go back to the bar …er…hotel and wait ’til the next day to fly back home to Rota and deliver his packages. Multiply that times a dozen or two meetings a year for this guy, then multiply that times a dozen or two other such boards that meet on Saipan and finally multiply all that times two so we can similarly accommodate the guys from Tinian. All of this typically on the government dime. Meaning you, the taxpayer, is paying for it. Are you having fun yet?

Now that we’ve saved a half million on board meetings and made life better for prescription medicine seekers on our sister islands of Tinian and Rota, I now propose one that will save millions! We’ll call this one “TeleLegislativeSessions.” Just like how big Fortune 500 companies save millions of dollars by making teleconferencing the new high tech—a secure way instead of transporting human bodies all over the place. Our little corner of the globe can do the same thing. Sure, you can see this one coming a mile away. All legislators from Tinian and Rota sit in their comfy den at home or in their snazzy legislative office on Rota or Tinian and video teleconference themselves into the Saipan legislative sessions. No need to miss any. No need for that $5,000 per month unaudited slush fund for “travel.” No need to spend millions inefficiently transporting human bodies when we can be shuffling some electrons back and forth safely, securely, and inexpensively. Until Scotty gets that USS Enterprise transporter going here on Saipan, “TeleLegislativeSessions” is the best way to keep our legislators safe and save us taxpayers millions of dollars. I feel better already. What about you?

Mommy, don’t let the bad man take away our toys!

Sitting in the dark
One of our most easily outraged legislators is at it again. This time his moral indignation has to do with landlords that do their tenants a favor and allow these, unskilled, usually minimum wage workers to “piggyback” on the landlord’s utility service agreement with CUC. Said landlords sometimes charge a fixed fee for utilities or sometimes charge a higher rate for the extra service of allowing the customer to piggyback.

Should Mr. Outraged actually ask his constituents so maltreated if they have gone over to the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. to have the utilities put into their own name, he would find that they have not. Why not? Because most can’t get them put in their name for lack of credit, lack of money for both water and electric deposits and/or having a dismal payback record at CUC at some earlier time. When a customer doesn’t pay his utility bill, who do you think gets to pay it? You, dear reader, do. I do. Even Mr. Outraged gets to pay for that bill, folded into the CUC expenses at the next rate hike hearing. Like CHCC’s bill gets folded.

Most of these renters, if thrown on their own devices, would be sitting in the dark and hauling water for toilet flushing and showers to their apartment here on Saipan. Back in Third World countries, where many of these workers come from, they would not have to worry about a utility bill or rent for their cardboard house next to the dump. Here, at least they have sanitary housing, a job, and a chance to move up.

Different people have different opinions. In my opinion, the guy who needs to go to jail is not the landlord trying to provide a service and make a buck renting out his property at a rate mutually agreed upon by both landlord and tenant, but the socialist do-gooder scum that thinks some government bureaucrat should be in control of transactions between consenting buyers and vendors of merchandise and services. Where does it end up when you allow the bureaucrats to regulate the economy? They screw it up every time. I give you Venezuela, Zimbabwe, the now extinct USSR—all died from an overdose of equal distribution outrage.

Slam dunk
Looks like the Marpi so-called public park deal, like the Outer Cove closure/Smiling Cove money extortion scheme, is a done deal. No public hearings. In one case, the deal was done under the table using a phony “emergency” declaration and under the false reason of a “safety” issue and, in the other, just ramrodding it through the Legislature with some platitudes about saving the land for future generations and no public hearings at all.

Even the Tina, the Transparency Princess, sees no reason for public debate about one of the most impactful actions to come down the pike for decades. Big tracts of public land are being forced by law to be taken away from its rightful owners, the CNMI NMDs under the governance of DPL, and deeded over to the DLNR without those constitutional protections that safeguard it now. It seems those pesky public hearings and input from stakeholders isn’t important if the land grab contains a nice tree-hugger phrase like “public parks.” Nothing to see here, move along. We’ll let you know all about it once we’ve filled in the grave and placed the marker.

No need to belabor either of these two distasteful misappropriations of the public trust. As I said, they are under-the-table done deals. Just bend over and enjoy it, sans Vaseline.

Thanks for reading Sour Grapes. Next time we’ll look at the previously promised Heritage Trail. I promise. Yeah, Bruce. Sure.


Companies and government institutions enter indigenous territories. They want lots of land for raw materials for the global market and indigenous communities around the world are seeing their lands threatened by the extractive and agro-industries, by land conservation schemes and by tourism developments.
—Nuer Bachman

I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them.
—Isaac Asimov

Bruce Bateman | Author
Bruce A. Bateman ( resides on Saipan with a wife, a son, and an unknown number of boonie dogs. He has owned and operated a number of unusual businesses and most recently worked as the marketing manager for MVA. Bruce likes to read, travel, tinker with bicycles, hike, swim, and play a bit of golf. He is opinionated and writes when the moon is full and the mood strikes.
Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.