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November 21, 2011 @ 8:08 pm

Beyond the Fence Episode 93

Episode 93 “Military Noise Mitigation: Strategies of Community Resistance and Engagement”

(hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames with production assistance of Daisy Demapan) airs 11/18/11.

An increased military presence in Guam means increases in noise related to construction projects, DoD buildup generated traffic, DoD operations, and live fire and maneuver training activities.  Noise mitigation is a concern on both sides of the fence that has been discussed in Civilian-Military Task Force meetings, Environmental Impact Studies, DoD scoping meetings, public hearings, community meetings, Environmental Impact Studies and now the draft Compatibility Sustainability Study (CSS) recently released by the Matrix Design Group, Inc., an interdisciplinary firm which provides engineering consulting, including project management and client representation, to both private and public sectors.  The Guam CSS is an effort “to prevent or reduce potential incompatibilities between military installations and surrounding areas while accommodating  new growth and economic development, sustaining economic vitality, protecting public health  and safety, and protecting the operational missions of the installations.”

While some may view flight noise, for example, as a welcome ‘sound of freedom’, other residents ---especially those in the northern heavily populated villages of Yigo and Dededo where the military buildup is concentrated --- are increasingly concerned about immediate and long-term cumulative effects of DoD generated noise and activities on their quality of life, health and safety, and property value. The US Environmental Protection Agency validates these concerns in their finding that the final EIS for the relocation of Marines from Okinawa to Guam underestimates the extent of DoD related noise  and their impacts on the civilian community.

Today’s episode examines different, yet inter-related, strategies of community resistance and engagement in recent months regarding military noise mitigation:  through the local legislative process,  public protest, and community education to promote public input on the draft CSS.

We begin with an interview with Senator/Dr. Aline Yamashita (, a first- term Republican senator and author of Resolution 24-31 signed by the Governor in March 2010.   This is followed by an interview with Maga Haga Trini Torres (, spokesperson for the Taotaomona Native Rights Group which organized protests on Ocotber 12 and 13 seeking action on Resolution 24-31,  and statements from members on location as they protested the relocation of fighter jet training exercise from Okinawa to Guam at the front gate of Anderson Air Force Base.  We conclude with comments from Leevin Camacho ( about why WeAreGuahan is organizing additional community education meetings on the  draft CSS and from Jen Crisostomo (, who facilitated the small group discussion on noise concerns and mitigation alternatives at the November 16 Yigo village meeting.  Other ‘compatibility sustainability’ findings and recommendations of Matrix Design Group, Inc. discussed at this meeting were affordable housing and land use and health (which is addressed by Matrix in a separate CSS study).

Matrix Design Group, Inc, has announced that the deadline for public comment on the draft CSS is extended from December 9, 2010 to February 10, 2011.  [To view related documents and to submit comments on line go to or e-mail For more information about WeAreGuahan community education meetings on the draft CSS and other activities, go to]

November 21, 2011 @ 8:07 pm

Beyond the Fence Episode 92

Episode 92 “Keeping the Promise:  The 9th Annual Guam Veterans Creative Arts Showcase” (hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames with production assistance of Daisy Demapan) airs 11/4/11.

According to the Veterans Affairs Office, there are between 12-16,000 US veterans in Guam.  This number is expected to increase with the military buildup.  As this number increases, so will the responsibility of the federal government and of local communities in Guam and the region to help veterans when they return --- especially those who have been in combat and those who have suffered sexual violence --- as well as the spouses and children of veterans.

This weekend the Vet Center in partnership with the Council on the Arts and Humanities is sponsoring the 9th Annual Guam Veterans Creative Arts Showcase at the Agana Shopping Center.  It kicks off this evening, Friday, November 4  with a reception and program of performing arts from 6-8 p. m. and continues through Saturday and Sunday with exhibits of other creative arts.  The showcase features the work of more than 30 veterans from every branch of service [For more information, call 472-7161].

This showcase is part of the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs to recognize veterans for their creative accomplishments and to educate and demonstrate the therapeutic benefits of the arts.  This event provides an opportunity for the community to learn about the the role of the Vet Center in “keeping the promise’ to our veterans and for veterans to share their creativity and provide political and social commentary using diverse medium of expression.  This event also invites us to critically  reflect on the importance of another promise still unfulfilled --- that is the moral and legal obligation of the United States to the peoples of Guam as a non self-governing territory.

Program guests are Ms. Catherine Illarmo, social worker/team leader  at the Vet Center and originator of the annual showcase. The Vet Center is located at the Reflection Center in Hagatna and is a community-based branch program of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that supports local vets. This is followed by interviews with two featured Chamorro artists and veterans, Mr. Alejandro (‘Al’ ) Teodoro Blas Lizama and Ms. Melinda Quichocho.

Ms. Illarmo ( ) brings to her role as team leader at the Vet Center over 30 years of experience as a social worker on both sides of the fence. In addition to working at the Department of Youth Affairs and the Department of Public Health & Social Services, she also worked as a social worker with the Family Advocacy Program at Anderson Air Force Base -Guam.

Mr. Lizama (e-mail not available) is a well-known artist, activist, historian, master recycler and passionate supporter of research and  preservation in the service of Chamorro heritage. He was drafted into the US Army in 1965 at the age of nineteen and served one year as an infantryman in Vietnam. He learned silk screening and ceramics at the Guam Rehabilitation Workshop and studied mechanical and architectural drafting and anthropology at the University of Guam.  This led to his interest in pointillism, or intricately detailed pen and ink drawings of Guam, its people, resources, environment and cultural artifacts. The Latte Stone and Lusong artifacts are his favorite subjects because they provide tangible evidence of the existence and resourcefulness of the original inhabitants of Guam. He retired from the Department of Parks and Recreation after 25 years where he participated in projects to survey and preserve historical sites in the Marianas and Hawaiian Islands. He participates annually in the Guam Veterans Creative Arts Showcase.

Ms. Quichocho ( served in the US Army from 1989-1993 and from  1993-1996 also served in the Guam National Guard.  She is currently employed as a Marshall in the Superior Court of Guam. She developed an interest in singing and dancing at a young age and has been a performance artist with the Natibu Dance Academy for the past 8 years.  This is the 5th years she has participated in the Guam Veterans Creative Arts Showcase and is one of the featured performers at the opening reception and program.  We conclude this episode with a musical selection by Johnny Sablan entitled An Gumupu e Paluma (When the Bird Flies) which was selected by Ms. Quichocho for the closing performance this evening.

November 21, 2011 @ 8:05 pm

Beyond the Fence Episode 91

Episode 91: “Political Status Options and Guam’s Economy”(hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames with production assistance by Daisy Demapan and Marie Auyong) airs 10/28/11.

On September 20, 2011 the Guam Young Professionals ( of the Guam Chamber of Commerce ( orwww.guamyoung hosted an educational roundtable for members and interested individuals entitled Guam’s Quest for Economic Stability: How Our Economy is Affected by Our Political Status. About 100 people attended this two hour roundtable held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and moderated by Jay Rojas, GYP Chair.  The featured speakers were an economist, two attorneys and a tax expert: Joseph Bradley, Chief Economist, Bank of Guam; Juan-Carlos Benitez, President, Washington Pacific Economic Development Group; Neil Weare, attorney with the Litigation and Policy Council, Constitutional Accountability Center, Washington DC; and Joe Arnett, Tax Partner at Deloitte & Touche, LLP.

This episode features excerpts from this roundtable conversation. In the first segment, these experts discuss the political status ‘frameworks’ or ‘spectrum’ of options, the steps toward political status change, and the interconnections of visa waivers/human rights/national security interests.  In the second half, they comment on Guam’s duty free status and tax structures, trade decisions and the global economy, Guam’s mirror tax code and the need for tax reform, and revenue sharing/the differential treatment of non-states under federal programs (e.g. Medicaid and Supplementary Security Income (SSI) and provide closing comments. They emphasize the importance of examining the decolonization experiences of other insular areas, community education on political status options and leveraging the military buildup to Guam’s advantage [additional comments by these experts on Guam’s political representation options within the US framework, attractiveness to foreign investors, tax reform, and cost- of-living and the Jones Act are included at the end of this podcast].

Public discussion on this important subject continues today with a Guam Legislature forum on “Guam’s Quest for Decolonization” from 8:30-2:30 p.m. at the Speaker Antonio R. Unpingco Legislative Session Hall.

November 21, 2011 @ 8:04 pm

Beyond the Fence Episode 90

Episode 90: “Celebrating Palau’s Independence, Rethinking Free Association with the United States” (hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames) airs 10/21/11.

On October 8, 2011 the Palauan Community Association of Guam (PCAG) came together to celebrate the final dismantling of the United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands in 1994 and the 17th year of Palau Independence.  The day of festivities was held at the Paseo de Susana park in the capital of Hagatna, nestled between the baseball stadium and the site of a small replica of the Statue of Liberty.  This event also marks the 17th year of Palau’s controversial freely associated status with the United States.  The Compact of Free Association is a negotiated agreement which provides US funding to Palau in exchange for US full authority and responsibility for security and defense matters.  A renewal of the Compact is now awaiting approval in the US Congress which will provide $250 million dollars to Palau over 15 years. Where is Palau today on its ‘road to independence’? What do Palauans in Guam think about the political status of free association? What happened to the conditional nuclear free provision in the Palau Constitution?  What are the lessons to be learned for the peoples of Guam as we pursue political decolonization?

In the first segment of this episode, we feature highlights from the morning program of the Palau Independence celebration.  We begin with a welcome chant Chesols performed by Jovanni Tudong followed by excerpts of the welcoming remarks by Ted Iyechad, PCAG President; a summary of Palau’s history entitled “Road to Independence” by Davis Tewid, PCAG Vice President; a Moment of Silence in Honor of Fallen Palauan/American Soldiers (Jaycee Melwat, Meresebang Ngiraked, Philton Ueki, Jasper Obakrairur, Sonny J. Moses, John Flores & Adam Q. Emul); and excerpts from the keynote address of Honorable Johnson Toribiong, President of the Republic of Palau. This segment concludes with the National Anthem of Palau.

[The PCAG program also included a proclamation signing and remarks from Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio and presentation of a legislative resolution by Vice Speaker Benjamin ‘BJ’ Cruz and Senator Vicente  ‘Ben’ Pangelinan, 31st Guam Legislature.  The bountiful lunch showcasing the delicacies and displays of different states was accompanied in the afternoon by cultural performances, decoration contests and the 2011 PCAG Outstanding Citizen Awards.]

Following these program highlights is my interview with Mr. David Tewid, PCAG Vice-President who is a long-time Guam resident and Palauan-US citizen who holds a B.A. Economics from the University of Hawaii. In anticipation of the military buildup projected for 2014, Mr. Tewid retired several years ago from a program coordinator position at the Department of Public Health & Social Services to pursue real estate full-time.

I also interview Dr. Donald R. Shuster whose publications provide the primary source for Mr. Tewid’s presentation. Dr. Shuster is a professor at the Micronesian Area Research Center, University of Guam.  Although interested in the entire Micronesian region, he specializes in the Republic of Palau. He has published a number of journal articles and books about elections, the compact,  Roman Tmetuchl, baseball, and Father Felix Yaoch, S.J., and is currently working on a biography of Thomas Remengesau, Sr.  One of Shuster’s publications cited in this  interview is “Palau’s Compact: Controversy, Conflict, & Compromise” ISLA:  A Journal of Micronesian Studies, Vol. 2, No. 2/Dry Season 1994.

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November 21, 2011 @ 8:01 pm

Beyond the Fence Episode 89

Episode 89:  “Moving Towards the Political Decolonization of Guahan: Realities and Possibilities” (hosted by Dr. Michael Bevacqua) airs 10/14/11.

In recognition of United Nations Day (October 24) a public forum to examine Political Decolonization will be held on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 from 5:30 -8:30 at the CLASS Lecture Hall. University of Guam.  This forum is sponsored by the Division of Social Work, in partnership with the Guahan Coalition for Peace and Justice.  We Are Guåhan will provide live streaming at the following link:  Featured speakers for this forum are: Dr. Carlyle Corbin, United Nations Advisor and Internationally Recognized Expert on Decolonization, who will present on "The Role of the United Nations in the Self-Determination Process" and Attorney Julian Aguon whose talk is entitled "Defrosting the Self-determination Imagination:  The Trajectory of Right Under International Law." [As an added bonus, an edited recording of the October 19 public forum is included at the end of this podcast. ]

Program guest is Dr. Carlye Corbin ( and

Dr. Corbin is the Executive Secretary of the Council of Presidents of the United Nations General Assembly (CPGA), and an international advisor on governance, self - determination and multilateral diplomacy.  He presently serves as advisor to the U.S. Virgin Islands Fifth Constitutional Convention, and is on the faculty of the Institute for Future Global Leaders of the University of the Virgin Islands. He has had a distinguished career in territorial political development, serving as Minister of State for External Affairs of the U.S. Virgin Islands Government, former Washington Representative to the Governor, and the territory’s representative to various United Nations multilateral bodies including the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). He was a member of the territory’s previous Political Status Commission, and former Secretary-General of the Offshore Governors’ Forum comprised of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He has also served as a United Nations self-determination expert and political advisor to the U.N. Decolonisation Committee, and governance expert for the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) in three island territories.  He is the author of four United Nations studies, and numerous scholarly articles on political and constitutional evolution as well as founder /Senior Editor of the on-line Overseas Territories Review and its printed publication Overseas Territories Report providing information and critical analysis on development issues affecting Pacific, Caribbean and other non-independent countries.

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