Shameful behavior

The Koblerville basketball court ribbon cutting ceremony symbolized the commitment of Gov. Torres, Precinct 1 representatives, and our business partners to provide our youths and southern community a safe and functional facility. It was an occasion of celebration to acknowledge and to extend an appreciation to IT&E/IP&E and the E-Land Group for their generosity that made the rehabilitation of the facility possible. The ribbon cutting ceremony was truly an occasion to showcase the fruit of our partners’ contribution and to officially make the facility accessible to our youths and members of our community. This is what ribbon cutting ceremony is all about. Such occasion is never about taking credit or about glorification as one representative desperately feels the need to be part of.

What I fail to understand, however, is why would someone who criticized the project would expect and demand to be invited to participate in celebrating the success of the project. As I recall, the representative criticized the $15,000 donation from IT&E/IP&E a day after the companies issued the $15,000 to the contractor. That support went to refurbishing the dilapidated court, installation of a new fiberglass backboard with net, LED lighting system and, among others, the replacement of the old, rusty dilapidated chain link fence that was unsafe for our youths and community. With additional support from the E-Land Group, the dilapidated tin-roof spectator pavilion was completely replaced with a fully concrete structure to sustain strong wind loads during typhoons. This, too, offers safety to the residents as they do not have to worry anymore about flying tins coming from the basketball facility that normally occurs during a typhoon. While it was disheartening to learn of the representative’s criticism of the project, Gov. Torres and all those involved remained focus on the rehabilitation of the facility. And now that the project is successfully completed, the representative expected to be invited so that he can be part of the “glorification” that he desperately longs for?

By the way, the representative was at the ceremony. Among those that were called upon to participate in the ribbon cutting were dignitaries that were present. But you will not see him in any of the photos taken at the event simply because he chose not to participate. Instead, he stood afar from everyone, frowning at the celebration of a successful community project. Moreover, all dignitaries present were invited for a photo session immediately after the ceremony. I personally asked a coworker to invite the lawmaker to join the team. He could have humbled himself and joined in on the “glory” that he expected to be a part of. I suppose he finds greater glorification in attacking and criticizing people. That is what he is good for and that is okay. It does not bother me at all because while he gets a hard on off his verbal diarrhea, Gov. Torres, along with the rest of our community leaders, continue moving forward with the “real work” that truly matters. And that is advancing the welfare of our people.

While the representative’s character as an attacker is amusing, his angry outrage is appalling and, quite frankly, embarrassing. What is more shameful is his demand to be invited to future events and his angry threat against Gov. Torres. It is unbecoming of an elected official. I was once a staffer of 16 years at the Legislative Branch but never have I seen or heard of an elected official being angry for not being invited nor demanding to be invited. And to threaten a governor so that he can be invited to future functions? How amusing. Honestly, I don’t know nor heard of anyone else on this island that becomes belligerent if one is not invited to a function. It is not our island way and, quite frankly, it is beneath our character. That is shameful and demeaning. Besides, I didn’t know that being a representative entitles one to being invited. Instead of demanding for an invitation, he should be jumping on opportunities to support programs that benefit our people.

What is not surprising is the representative’s common practice of dragging innocent people to advance his political grandstanding. He lashed out at the governor and accused him of politicizing the occasion when, in fact, the governor had no involvement in the coordination, preparation, and in the delivery of invitations. The last time I checked, the only one politicizing everything and anything is the representative himself. And as far as his expectation of the governor’s Cabinet and assistants extending him a courtesy call for an invitation? I can only assure the representative that those hardworking men and women are dedicated to advancing the governor’s programs, aimed to enhance public service and to improve our people’s welfare.

I understand that every elected official has his or her own program. Whatever that may be, whether I agree with it or not, I respect the initiatives and the work put into it. The beauty of democracy is that I get to choose those that are important to me. Gov. Torres and other elected officials are focused on economic upward mobility, meeting current government obligation while retiring past obligations, local workforce development, expanding tourism arrivals, improving existing infrastructures while developing new ones, the list goes on—all focused on making a positive impact on our people’s lives. As a citizen, these programs are important to me. While there remain challenges, our elected officials continue the work without a bark and without the need for credit and glorification. The only elected official making a big deal about his “trash program” is the angry representative himself, which by the way, a program that is funded by public funds and not by his personal money. And yes, I am talking to you, Edwin Propst.

The old adage “respect is mutual” is not rhetoric. It is the foundation of our cultural institution that defines us as a people and as a community. It would have been more sensible if the representative had expressed appreciation to the contributing partners that made the rehabilitation of the basketball court possible. They are sincere in their commitment to making the facility safe and operational for our youths and community. $15,000 is a lot of money. The outrage that consumed the representative would have been best diverted to extending gratitude to those that made the project a success and to celebrate the benefit that the newly renovated facility provides our community. It is truly sad that he instead chose to focus on his self-inflicted emotional injury and on self-gratification.

The project is a benefit for Precinct 1 residents whom he represents. Ideally, it should not make any difference to him if he is invited or not. He should praise the project because it is good for our southern community, including those that voted him into office. His live appearance on mass media demonstrates his childish mentality over a project that didn’t matter how it became a reality but rather the benefit it provides to the public.

I expect him to respond in his usual behavior because he feeds off of bullying and intimidating those that do not agree with him. I don’t have time to go back and forth because I am doing work on X, Y, and Z. The representative may continue to be wrathful if he so desires.

Q: Does the project benefits our community?

A: Yes, it certainly does.

Q: Why then is Rep. Propst very angry?

A: I don’t know.

Despite his angry, hateful, and distasteful temperament, a friend I remain.

Glenna SP Reyes
Dandan, Saipan

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