GONG SHOW: “A MATTER OF TRUST”

It’s a matter of trust — in the case of why the veto override amendment that is once again on the Fono agenda, is bound again for failure.

Currently, two senators have proposed a measure that would give the Fono the authority to override the governor’s veto of legislation that’s been approved by the Fono.

And, because the measure seeks to amend the local Constitution, it will require approval by voters as well as the U.S. Congress.

For those who don’ t remember — this will be the Fono’s fourth attempt to get the right to override the veto of the governor on legislation they have passed.

The first was in 2008, which was narrowly defeated by 22 votes — with a yes vote of 6,137 and a no vote of 6,159. The defeat was said to be the lack of public awareness and understanding of the issue.

The second was in 2010 when the veto override amendment was included in the more than a dozen proposed amendments to the constitution approved in the 2010 ConCon that were put together in a package vote of “yes” or “no” — they were not individually presented. The package vote resoundingly rejected all the amendments.

The third was in 2014, which also saw an overwhelming “no” vote of 74%. The defeat was said to be the way public awareness was handled, with the one-sided explanations by the administration, which sup- ported the referendum.

However, even more importantly was the opinion voiced by the public in discussions that took place in 2014 — that members of the Senate are not elected by popular vote, but selected by traditional leaders of their respective county councils; and therefore the public was hesitant to give the senators the right to override the governor’s veto, as it was seen as a by-pass of their (voters’) right to have a say in governing.

Moreover the feel of the ‘no’ movement was directed at the Fono, as a whole — meaning the public did not seem to trust the Legislative Branch of Government to ‘do’ the right thing with this ‘veto override’ power; and instead would use it as a way to ram their agenda down the governor’ s throat, which indirectly was ‘our’ throats — the voters.

And while the governor was not necessarily trust worthier than the Legislative politicians, at least he was elected by the majority of the general vote — one of our voices to governance.

So — in simple terms, I think the issue begs the question: Whom do you trust to have your back?

I know, who I trust... GONG!

And then there are the new taxes and fees the government is looking at implementing through proposed bills currently before the Fono.

Here’s what I would like know: When did it become acceptable to us that government can raise taxes and fees to finance it’s overspending without giving us some serious discussion — let’ s see an itemized list, with value included — about ‘cut backs’ on ASG spending.

Government is saying that their monthly nut is $10Mil, and their collections are only around $7Mil — God bless them for their honesty. However, while it is admirable, I think it should be a ‘no go’.

Why? I can honestly say: it’s a matter of trust! Do we believe they are going to follow up after the taxes and fees are raised with expense cutting measures?

Honestly? When even the Legislators are asking for a pay raise? And, only stopped short of giving themselves one last year, after the people staged public protests?

Maybe this is the carrot on the stick the Administration is offering the Fono — pass the revenue raising bills, and you’ll get your raise?

Who knows? After all — it’s a matter of trust... GONG!

 

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