- By Aline Yamashita
At this writing, 49 of Guam’s children who are all grown up have filed sexual abuse claims. While healing won’t occur with monetary gain, perhaps knowing that attention is focused on the wrong will help the victims believe they weren’t at fault. The courage it takes to speak up against people in power is heart-wrenching. And, even if the constitutionality of the statute deems these people unable to collect, the nakedness of the issue is glaring. Ti mamaigu si Yu’os.
While nothing as significant, Families First! introduced a measure to widen the parking slot by 6 inches. People with walkers, strollers, and, even big purses struggle to remove themselves from their cars with dignity and without banging the next car. My colleagues supported the measure. Some business folks spoke up saying that customers choose where they want to go – and, will consequently deal with parking issues. I disagree. Options limit many choices here. Like, where do you buy clothes for those over 6 feet tall?
But the point about that measure was I wanted it to be retrospective. I wanted all businesses to widen their slots. Legal counsel advised that doesn’t work. Go forward but not backward.
It didn’t matter. The measure was vetoed.
As I read the articles on getting the Home of the Sharks rebuilt by transforming it into a charter school, I shook my head. How can we not get a property rebuilt with urgency? How do we not follow the processes and get it done? Just as crucial, how does SSHS merit being a charter school? Charter schools are intended to provide alternatives to the traditional school programs. Speaker Won Pat spoke consistently about the intentions of her initiative. Now, if they propose to make SSHS a fine arts school, that’s different. If they get the required 60 percent of the current staff to convert SSHS as a fine arts school, that’s different. But I haven’t heard anyone raise what the Yigo school would be chartered to do. A fine arts school, a school of technology, a school of construction – there are many possibilities. But to proclaim SSHS as a charter simply to get it rebuilt contradicts the Charter School intentions.
Let’s switch to recreational marijuana. When I first read the proposed measure, I shook my head. There was lukewarm support for medicinal marijuana. How did we jump to the full gambit? Now, that the federal folks are shifting gears on consequences of state choice on the marijuana issue, policy makers are taking a breath. Sadly, though, medicinal marijuana is still not accessible. My buddy Dylan and his mom continue to live in California where Dylan is getting the treatment to help his seizures. And his dad continues to live in Barrigada. Not a way for a family to be. As well, for all those veterans who may be able to enjoy life just a bit more with medicinal marijuana, we should put ourselves in their shoes. It’s our turn to serve them.
Yes, policy and procedures may take time to get it right but know that time is pretty much up.
Aline Yamashita is an educator and former senator. Send feedback to aline4families@ gmail.com.