Sunday, October 19, 2008

In the news again -- Ron Hodges

I walked into my local Barnes and Nobles, which nicely is just across the street, and was looking at the many new offerings when this book caught my eye. I knew there had to be a Saipan section, and sure enough there is. And wouldn't you know it, the principal source on that chapter was none other than persona non grata himself Ron Hodges, who is quoted rather extensively. The overall mood captures the depressed economic state of the CNMI, but some of it, there were several sources, was a bit exaggerated with suggestions that the place is especially violent playing up the Mafia angles and suggested there are hordes of people with broken thumbs and such from gambling debts. The book does a good job of explaining the depressed pricing of Saipan real estate, and it uses the staggering difference in the cost of building the Hotel Nikko and what it just sold for, it might have been hundreds of millions less I can't recall, to illustrate the point.


Chamberonomics said...

Hi Jeff, I hadn't checked your blog in a few weeks and lo and behold.

Steve sent me an email when the book hit the shelves that I was famous now, but have not read it yet.

Perhaps I check Amazon now.

Were there any good pics of Saipan?

PS It was a week filled with tragety in Saipan :(

rh said...

Hi Jeff,

I have now read the book and one glaring point that has changed is the Chinese influence, which will be eliminated by the new US regulations. The prelim regs are out and Chinese (and Russian) tourists will no longer get visa waivers. So, that means 1/4 of our population will be leaving unless they can afford an investor visa, which the feds treated us kindly with. Foreign nationals are not required to pay US investor visa prices (500k in rural area like here) and may reside here with a retiree visa (100k and US has no retiree visa program) and the NMI investor visa (250k) will all be allowed to stay through the transition period. The wording indicates their status will be determined later, or intergrated into the US program.