Monday, March 31, 2008

Faleomavaega Fiddles While Pago Pago Burns

It is getting more unbelievable by the day. As I suspected, Eni's strategic decision to publicize his bombshell of switching positions on the next wage raise by releasing the news just ahead of the long Easter weekend worked as he planned. By the time the daily paper published again on Monday, it was all forgotten. Not a peep all week thereafter. Same with the island's most listened to newscast, which also was on a three day weekend hiatus.

To further underscore that Samoa News really does not understand, they buried the ramifications in a page one story in today's paper wrapping up the governor's weekly radio call in show on Saturday. The headline of the article is "Governor appeals to Eni for help for displaced workers." But the story should have been headlined "Canneries Set To Leave" because the real news is in this quote:

Togiola also revealed that he was informed by the canneries that if the next 50 cent hike goes into effect, the canneries will leave the territory and the administration is working with the canneries to prevent this from happening.

The startling news was handled as almost an after thought. One might think in view of the circumstances that Faleomavaega would have cleared his Easter recess schedule (formally called a "district work period" by Congress), either to be home to explain what is going on, work with the canneries and governor to find a solution or to stay in Washington to redouble his efforts to find a solution to the problem.

But it's all business as usual for our wandering delegate. According to story datelined Majuro yesterday, Eni just spent six days in the Marshalls conducting a field hearing. Six days. Can you imagine? The recent field hearing conducted in American Samoa was confined to a single afternoon. The subcommittee got in on a Thursday night, paid some courtesy calls on Friday morning, held a hearing for three hours Friday afternoon, called it a day and went over the Western Samoa for the rest of the weekend until plane time. In contrast, The Marshalls gets six days of his time.

But will the American Samoa media cover any of this? Don't count on it!!

Meantime, Samoa News this morning also reports a newcomer is jumping into the congressional race. Some retired military enlisted officer who works in an administrative job at the college. They must be high fiving and breaking out the champagne in Eni's office. It's just what he hoped for when he rammed through a bill to let him win elections by a plurality. The anti-Eni vote now can be split between the newcomer and veteran politico Aumua Amata, thus giving Eni yet another term to continue his globetrotting. And so it goes.

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