Letter to all Senators June 7, 2011

From: Tim Rohr <timrohr.guam@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Jun 7, 2011 at 1:08 PM
To: "Adolpho B. Palacios" <senabpalacios@gmail.com>, Aline Yamashita <aline4families@teleguam.net>, Anthony Ada <vanthonyada@gmail.com>, Ben Pangelinan <senbenp@guam.net>, Chris Duenas <duenasenator@gmail.com>, "Dennis Rodriguez, Jr." <senatordrodriguez@gmail.com>, Frank Aguon <aguon4guam@gmail.com>, "Frank Blas, Jr." <frank.blasjr@gmail.com>, Judi Guthertz <judiguthertz@pticom.com>, "Judith T. Won Pat" <speaker@judiwonpat.com>, Mana Silva Taijeron <senatormana@gmail.com>, Rory Respicio <roryforguam@gmail.com>, Sam Mabini <info@senatormabini.com>, "Sen. B.J. Cruz" <senadotbjcruz@gmail.com>, Tina Muna-Barnes <tinamunabarnes@gmail.com>, Tom Ada <office@senatorada.org>
Cc: editor@mvguam.com, zita@mvguam.com, "David V. Crisostomo" <dcrisost@guampdn.com>, Oyaol Ngirairikl <odngirairikl@guampdn.com>, Kevin Kerrigan <kevin@spbguam.com>, Mindy Aguon <mindy@kuam.com>

Tim Rohr
PO Box 9001
Agat, GU 96928

June 7, 2011

TO: Senators of the 31st Guam Legislature


Dear Senators of the 31st Guam Legislature:

This is a matter of great concern to all who hold the office of Senator. As you are aware, the Organic Act of Guam requires the Legislature to keep a journal of all daily legislative activities (Section 1423b), and that the journal "shall be open to public inspection".

After three months (December 2010 to February 2011) of requesting a copy of the journal for the legislative session held on November 26, 2010 from the Clerk of the Legislature, and being told that it was not available, I sent a letter on March 17, 2011 to Speaker Won Pat asking her assistance in procuring a copy of the journal I was requesting. (Letter attached 14)

Speaker Won Pat replied to me on March 23, 2011 advising that the document I requested "may be available in 3-4 weeks." (Letter attached 15)

On March 24, 2011, I replied to Speaker Won Pat that the availability of the document in "3-4 weeks" would mean that a total of five months would have transpired between the session in question and the public availability of the journal, and that such a delay, in light of the law, was totally unacceptable, and especially in light of her recently introduced Bill 90-31 which would require all public agencies to post the minutes of their meetings to their agency's website within ten days. (Letter attached 16)

Speaker Won Pat DID NOT REPLY.

On April 4, 2011, the Pacific Daily News ran a story entitled "Legislature's openness questioned", by Oyaol Ngirairkl The story quoted Speaker Won Pat as saying "...it's not like they (the clerks) can work on transcribing the meetings from the audio or video all the time..." (Story attached 19)

On April 5, 2011, I wrote Speaker Won Pat and advised her that I was not asking for a transcription of the meeting, but the journal (the minutes), which as you know is NOT a transcription. (Letter attached 20)

Speaker Won Pat DID NOT REPLY.

On April 27, 2011, I again wrote Speaker Won Pat and advised her that I had rather easily, and within four working days, obtained copies of journals from the 28th, 29th, 30th, and 31st Guam Legislatures. Since the particular journal I was requesting was the second to the last session of the 30th Guam Legislature and I had obtained a copy of the journal from a subsequent session, there appeared to be an unwillingness to release the journal for the particular session I was asking for. (Letter attached 22)

Speaker Won Pat DID NOT REPLY.

On May 10, 2011, with the "3-4 weeks" promised by Speaker Won Pat in her March 23, 2011 letter now expired and still no journal, I sent a REQUEST FOR INFORMATION UNDER THE SUNSHINE REFORM ACT to Vince P. Arriola, Executive Director of the Legislature and once again requested the journal for the legislative session held on November 26, 2010. (Letter and fax confirmation attached 23)

As you are aware, the law requires that a request made under the SUNSHINE REFORM ACT be honored within four working days, and, if the request cannot be met within that time, an alternative arrangement must be made with the person making the request.

It is now, June 7, a full four weeks since I sent my FOIA request to Mr. Arriola. Mr. Arriola neither provided the document nor has he contacted me to work out an alternative arrangement. 

This is a violation of the Open Government law. 

And it is also another chapter in a very long history of chicanery and cover-ups in regards to Bill 54-30, a history I began documenting in January of 2010. (For your reference I am attaching the initial part of that history as Exhibit A 03)

It is quite obvious that either Speaker Won Pat has no respect for the law, is simply careless, or she has something to hide. 

It is hoped that among the fifteen senators I am sending this email too (with supporting documents) there is at least someone with the integrity to demand that the Guam Legislature comply with the Open Government Law, which, if we are to continue to think of ourselves as a democracy, is perhaps the most important of all laws, since only public accountability separates a free society from despotism and tyranny.


Tim Rohr 

cc: Pacific News Center, KUAM, Pacific Daily News, Marianas Variety