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Most see promise of economic improvement

By Zita Taitano HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety, Mar. 11, 2010) – Although there has been opposition expressed against the military’s expansion on Guam, a recent poll done by University of Guam students shows that the general population is still in favor of the buildup.

The survey was conducted last week and was comprised of about 255 participants interviewed in person.

Dr. Ron McNinch, the instructor for the class, indicated that from what was gathered, the military buildup was seen by many to enhance the island’s financial situation.

The question asked was what good things would come out of the military buildup.

Of the 255 questioned, 81 percent answered a better economy; 48 percent cited more jobs; another 48 percent indicated more money; and eight percent felt there would be better infrastructure.

"What it tells us is that the people on Guam understand that the military is going to bring in more jobs, more money. The public understands that positive. It also shows that the island having a negative attitude about the military is not true," McNinch said. "The public has an understanding of these issues and it’s unfortunate some leaders don’t."

Another question asked in the poll was what bad things will come out of the military buildup.

The results showed that 67 percent felt there would be more crime; 55 percent said there would be overcrowding; 25 percent said there would more traffic; 15 percent felt there would be an impact on culture; and 13 percent selected land issues.

McNinch said he understands that people are worried about crime and that the poll definitely shows that concern.

"Whether it is a valid fear or not, that is a question," he said. But he doesn’t think it’s going to happen.

"What is going to happen is we’re going to have a lot of people come here because of the military buildup. But crime isn’t going to go up because of the military," he said.

The professor went to say that he is critical of some lawmakers’ actions and feels they have dropped the ball with regard to the military buildup and Guam’s status.

"Every bit of it is connected. Every bit of it is all pieced together. The moment the military buildup came on the horizon, they should have a laundry list to give to the federal government. They simply didn’t and it’s just a shame. At that point, they have their attention, the federal government’s attention. The senators instead decided not to use the little time they had and this is unfortunate," he said.

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