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Everything you wanted to know about the papier-mâché commission but didn’t know whom to ask

Tall Tales By Robert “Bob” Klitzkie

Papier-mâché is a composite material consisting of paper pieces or pulp, sometimes reinforced with textiles, bound with an adhesive, such as glue, starch, or wallpaper paste.

Today, papier-mâché sculptures are used as an economical building material for a variety of traditional and ceremonial activities, as well as in arts and crafts.

During World War I, papier-mâché was also used as combat decoy. In 1915, the British began to counter the Germans’ highly effective sniping. Among the strategies developed by the British was the use of papier-mâché figures resembling soldiers to draw sniper fire.

To make papier-mâché you will need: newspaper, plain flour, water, salt, table covering, emulsion paint, Vaseline and a paintbrush.

If you’ve borne with me so far, you know the ingredients for papier-mâché.

Last month I told you that the Commission on Decolonization was like papier-mâché;it looks solid from a distance but up-close, there’s nothing there.

Who are the commission’s members? Easy. Just go to the commission’s website and there they are. Right?

Wrong! The website is filled with separatist propaganda, but it does not have the names and pictures of members, phone numbers or email addresses (other than those of Melvyn Borja, the executive director).

If you know where to dig around in the GCA, you’ll find this:

a) The governor is the chairwoman and appoints two more members;

b) The chairperson of I Liheslaturan Guåhan’s committee with responsibilities over federal affairs is the vice chairperson unless legislative committee chairperson is not able to serve on the commission as not Chamorro, then another member of the legislature is chosen by the legislature.

(c) The speaker appoints one member;

(d) One member from minority;

(e) One member from the Mayor’s Council;

(f) One member from the independence task force;

(g) One member from the free association task force;

(h) One member from the statehood task force.

The law states: “No person shall be eligible to serve as a member of the commission unless that person shall be qualified to vote on the plebiscite for political self-determination.” Read: “Chamorro.”

As Butch said to Sundance, “Who are those guys?!” If you don’ know whom to ask, here they are:

My own experience and investigation show that, with one exception, none of them have any role in the public affairs of the commission.

On July 25, I gave a speech titled “Critical Race Theory, Separatists and the News Media,” which apparently didn’t sit well with Melvin Won Pat.

Won Pat sent out a press release, which was published by PNC News. “In a statement, the commission described Klitzkie’s statements as ‘misleading and uninformed.’”

The commission was referring to my remarks on Guam’s decolonization and self-determination.

I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for: “The call, notice and minutes of the meeting wherein the commission approved the text of and authorized the transmittal of the press release which was the subject of the PNC news article of July 26.”

I received this response: "No meeting was called for the formulation of a response.”

This exchange shows that Won Pat is untethered by the necessity of the commission’s approval when he takes on a citizen guilty of decolonization wrongspeak.


Apparently, the 11-member commission (with two vacancies) is but window-dressing for Won Pat, or the functional equivalent of papier-mâché. It looks good from a distance, but further examination shows it has no substance.

The commission has a budget of close to $1 million.

Mixing metaphors: Are we pretending that we have a real orchestra when what we really have is a one-man band?

Bob Klitzkie is a former senator and Superior Court of Guam judge pro tem. He hosts the talk show “Tall Tales,” on KUSG-FM (93.3 FM) weekday afternoons from 4 to 6 p.m.


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