Thursday, November 29, 2007

Greg Cruz acting like a sore loser

It's not a lot of people and agencies that clearly stand out for their competence, trustworthiness and going above and beyond in the CNMI government. From what I saw over the last few months, Election Commission Executive Director Gregorio Sablan is one of those rare people. He managed the circus that was the CNMI election with great aplomb as supporters tried to violate the polling place space rules. He communicated extremely well with the public about the complicated district changes and the no means yes Casino Initiative disinformation campaign, as well as other matters. He provided useful information on the blogs as well. Tao Tao Tano Greg Cruz got trounced in the election, is acting like a sore loser, and he is out trying to malign this man. Cruz is wrong. This seems like a fair story and it is obvious that there is no issue here. Sablan is doing a great job.


Anonymous said...

I'm filipino and greg cruz is wrong to qestion the integrity of mr. sablan. mr. sablan is a nice man and his wife is filipino. i ask of mr. sablan to join to us in this unity march. thank u.

glend558 said...

Ditto, Jeff

Saipan Writer said...

Greg (Kilili) Sablan is doing a great job, and in a difficult climate. So it is pretty easy to spot Greg (Taotao Tano) Cruz's "slam" as sour grapes, and unfounded.

There was another "slam" in the paper yesterday, from attorney Alexis Fallon, complaining about a Labor investigation. Labor, unlike the Election Commission, is not doing a good job. So it may have escaped other people's notice that her slam was just a bunch of hooey.

Alexis complained about Labor issuing a subpoena to her Chinese newspaper client. Sorry, but they have the authority to do that; and the obligation to investigate. There's nothing wrong with it, and a "courtesy request" had been made and didn't work.

I think this may be just one more attempt to discredit the Chinese translator/ labor investigator who made the courtesy request. (I think it is the same guy [Guohou Lu] who was targeted for murder and the plant of ice.) I've met him. He's very good at translation, and I was impressed with him.

I have to wonder why anyone would complain about Labor doing something right, like issuing a subpoena to get information on a case?

Anonymous said...

Sometimes all things come in good time. We may not like it at first but see the importance of it later.

Anonymous said...

Can someone march against the high fees being charged by the US Embassy in the Philippines. $200 US dollars for a visa application fee whether they are approved or denied.

Anonymous said...

Why is what Alexis is saying "hooey"? She and her client are saying that they got one phone call asking for information by a guy who didn't properly identify himself, and the next thing they knew they were being served with a subpeona.

It would seem that you would expect the Labor Department to submit requests for documents in writing prior to issuing subpeonas.

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Sablan in elections and Sablan in oversight both seem to be doing an admirable job.

It does come off like Cruz is playing the sore loser. Hell, his vote total wasn't even close. He did worse than my pet project, the SCA, and that was a baaaad defeat.

The Saipan Blogger アンジェロ・ビラゴメズ said...

Government or not, they should have to pay for those copies.

Saipan Writer said...

It's a bunch of hooey because the decision of whether to use a subpoena (a legal process that compels production) or just a letter (a request without force)belongs to the agency making the decision, and its attorneys who advise it. As long as you make a decision within the law and consistent with the purpose intended, either way of proceeding has reasons to support it.

Attorneys use subpoenas all the time and there's no requirement that there be any prior request at all. There's nothing illegal or even discourteous in using legal process. For the other side to say that Labor "should" have done something different, shouldn't use legal processes that are available to them, is just a 'red herring.' (It's like saying a baseball manager shouldn't have put in the slugger because only a base hit was needed, and then complain because the slugger hits a homerun.)

The issue of paying is different. Copying costs are usually based on a per page rate. The government doesn't want the whole newspaper, just the notice that was supposedly published. And if a person has to testify or bring the paper to some hearing to authenticate it, they also get a witness fee.

BTW, I like Alexis. I like her taxpayer suits. I appreciate her attention to financial issues, and her willingness to sometimes help poor people. I just think on this particular issue, she's gone to the newspapers to make a complaint that really isn't something to complain about. And it puzzles me, niggles at my suspicious side, and makes my radar come up.

Armchair Lawyer said...

Thank you, Jane, for your thorough explanation of subpoenas. You are quite right. There is no obligation to issue a "courtesy" letter at all.

However, I am of a less suspicious or conspiratorial nature. I suspect the reaction was just due to inexperience, or perhaps weak client control in the face of a demand to "do something." The fact that the Marianas Variety would even print the story says something about the lack of sophistication of our press corps, a desire to curry favor with sources, or the need to fill empty pages on a given day.

Turning closer to the thread topic, having the Commonwealth Election Commission Executive Director participate in a political march would be somewhat akin to him attending a campaign rally. (!)

bradinthesand said...

...why not a march for better reporters? or a march against PHox News?

* with a wink and a smile to my friends from the press.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I checked into marking of ballots and discovered the process that was done here was different done in elections in the US.

If Greg Sablan placed a black label over ballots marked with and X then he should not have done so because according to the Federal Courts, those ballots should not be counted.

Now the question on the close races such as Guerrero and Tenorio that only had 3 votes between the the two of them from their opponents wouldn't Greg's questioning to Mr. Sablan be appropriate. I mean for the sake of saving time and money.

Now in most elections, ballots that had to be marked with an avery label were "Manually" counted and done last. If there were only about 50 ballots for the mid-term and 50 absentee ballots affected then come on guys do the math.

Anonymous said...

If there was some vast conspiracy to keep someone out, it would be to Tina. They would try to diminish someone who can be effective and someone with a brain, not someone who can't spell brain in Greg.

Kilili said...

Hey anonymous, what constitutes a valid and invalid vote in NMI elections are done pursuant to regulations consistent with the law. Voter intent is what is fundamental to counting votes. Elections are the purview of state and local governments. The federal court decision you mentioned may be that that state or locality has a law that says an "x" is not sufficient marking. Our laws does not say that and it would be a shame if the do since many, many ballots have "x" markings on them (and the machines we use recognize those as valid votes).

And, yes, all ballots that needed the review of the Election Commissioners (and where necessary black or white labels were used, since there were many that were just obvious "over" or "under" votes and no labels were necessary) were indeed counted LAST for each election district counting. The labels did not require manual counting since the machines are programmed to and are capable of count(ing) these ballots.

The federal courts does not usually get involved with election issues unless there is a fundamental problem, such as the one in Florida in Bush v. Gore (and in that one, the Supremes said that the results (not the actual vote count) gave Mr. Bush the 25 electoral votes, or where a citizen's individual right is violated. And in Bush v. Gore, the questioned ballots were from machines that "punctured" ballots not those where markings were used.

Finally, the nine (9) Election Commissioners are the tabulators, not Greg Sablan.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Election Director...I'm sorry you feel that way about "X" ballots but you can check the Supreme Court opinion that is consistently applied to all state and federal elections where the marking of "X" does not constitute a vote.

Yes it's true the the intent of the law is to count all possible votes and when a questionable ballot comes in for instance that is half marked or in the case of marking it with a pen, it is obvious to what the intent is.

However I'm sorry but I have a bunch of stuff and I hope you have the opportunity to check for yourself the courts opinion regarding ballots marked with an X.

Although X may mark the spot in some areas it does not hold true for an election. If many of those ballots had "X" filled in then perhaps you may want to get an opinion at some point in time so our elections can be consistent with our counterparts in the USA.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Director, if our machines can recognize ballots marked with "X" then I would want one of those so it would save a whole lot of time checking papers.

I don't know of any other machine that can recognize "X" from the information that I gathered.

Oh well...we got our monies worth. I do however feel that you have done a great job or rather and excellent job over the years that you have been at the helm. Keep up the good work.

Armchair Lawyer said...

Anonymous said . . .

"Actually, I checked into marking of ballots and discovered the process that was done here was different done in elections in the US.

"If Greg Sablan placed a black label over ballots marked with and X then he should not have done so because according to the Federal Courts, those ballots should not be counted."


If you really checked, you would have learned that there are many different ways the different jurisdictions in the United States do it, all of them legal if done pursuant to law and due process.

Do you have a citation for the federal case to which you refer? ;)

When the Commonwealth Election Commission (not its Executive Director) uses oval black and white Post-It Notes to ensure that voter intent is recorded by the tabulating machines, that is fully consistent with applicable federal law -- most importantly because it complies with CNMI law.

Anonymous said...

Hi This is Alexis Fallon. I did not even realize that I made it at all to a blog speculation page?!? Really the letter to Labor was more to admonish their high hand approach not to say that they did not have the power. Power used justly and fairly is more what I am concerned about. Of course a newspaper would supply information. It is a public forum. To use a subpoena means that you were not successful with an initial inquiry. The subpoena act itself shows that the recipient had not complied with an inquiry. This would be like every FBI agent would not interview a potential witness or suspect they would just hand them a subpoena or a search warrant. I cannot believe Labor could not pick up the phone and call the newspaper is that too much to ask for.