* DC delegation in town
Governor Eddie Calvo wants to assure Guam stakeholders that he recognizes Linda Aguon as the State Historic Preservation Officer, said Arthur Clark, the governor’s director of policy yesterday.
The assurance came after Senator Judi Guthertz sent a letter to the governor urging him not to be pressured into signing the programmatic agreement.
The governor and Guam lawmakers will also meet tomorrow with a high-level delegation from Washington D.C. to discuss the programmatic agreement and other military buildup-related issues.
Local leaders will meet with Navy Undersecretary Robert Work; Assistant Secretary of the Navy Jackalynne Pfannenstiel; Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Dr. Dorothy Robyn; and Assistant Deputy Commandant of the Marine Corps, Brigadier General Robert Ruark.
“We were given the impression that you are edging closer to signing the Programmatic Agreement with perhaps some attached language discussing Pagat and the miserly pledge by DOD to attempt to obtain federal funding for a cultural center,” wrote Guthertz. Guthertz cautioned the governor that “anything you write that could be remotely construed as acquiescing to Pagat being included in the military firing range plans would undermine our ongoing federal lawsuit. With our lawsuit by our Guam Historical Preservation Trust regarding Pagat ongoing at this time, it is very hazardous to add new language into the mix. We should restrict ourselves to support for the language contained in the lawsuit,” added Guthertz.
Phillip Leon Guerrero, the governor’s deputy communications director, said yesterday that the programmatic agreement is “going through a thorough review and that’s why the governor asked for an extension so this can be done properly and thoroughly.”
Leon Guerrero reiterated that the governor “has made it clear that if the PA is not in the best interest of the people, it won’t be signed.”
A source who is very familiar with the programmatic agreement process urged Guam leaders not to be intimidated by the Navy’s deadline. The source responded via email: “I hope everyone involved in this dispute understands what the Navy's ‘deadline’ means. Peremptory and arrogant as it may be, it does not mean that if Guam doesn't sign the Navy's silly PA the Navy can charge ahead with its program. If the PA is not signed, then the Navy must either (a) conduct ongoing standard Section 106 review of individual projects the PA would otherwise have covered, or (b) assert that the deployment is a single undertaking and seek the comments of the Advisory Council, then decide what to do with them -- a fairly complicated and politically fraught operation in itself.”
The source further wrote: “I don't think the people and government of Guam should be frightened by the Navy's deadline. Nor pay much attention to it.”
The PA is an agreement between the government of Guam and the military, which if signed, would give authority for the military to treat and handle cultural and historical artifacts on lands designated for the military buildup.