GUAM WANTS BETTER MANAGEMENT FROM NEW GOVERNOR

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Calls for Calvo to better use limited resources

By Laura Matthews HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Jan. 3, 2011) – In Guam, the incoming governor and his lieutenant must exercise better money management and maximize Guam's little available resources, some residents say.

A recent status report from the Calvo-Tenorio transition team's finance subcommittee stated there are "dire financial situations" within the government of Guam, as approximately US$96.5 million has been identified as unbudgeted and unfunded obligations.

Now, some residents say this needs to change.

They want to know more about how carefully taxpayers' dollars are being spent. They also want the government to resolve several issues now affecting the island, all while aggressively seeking out more federal dollars.

Agana Heights resident Peter Luzano on Friday said issues needing resolution are health care and education.

The Guam Memorial Hospital is having financial difficulties that are causing some of its vendors to withhold services such as trash, dietetics and pharmaceuticals.

The Guam Department of Education has had its share of funding issues this year, and some of its schools have recently been vandalized and need repair. Some schools still are overcrowded.

"I expect transparency and accountability. They have to be honest and truthful, Luzano said of the government's handling of these issues. The leaders today should give the people what they want. (They) must work together. As each election comes up there are issues, but each day everybody struggles financially. It's a rat race out there, so more jobs and more security for the unemployed. People are having a hard time looking for jobs, so more on-the-job training."

Luzano also said he'd like to see the island's homelessness alleviated, as homelessness on island has increased.

In August, the Guam Homeless Coalition's Point in Time Survey showed 1,600 individuals and families were experiencing homelessness or living in inadequate housing on Guam. Last year's survey reported 1,088 homeless people, with 182 people living in emergency or transition shelters and 906 people unsheltered, according to Pacific Daily News files.

Mark Paulino, from Inarajan, said education and health care also are issues he wants to see improvements in from the government as well.

"We expect change. We need to solve issues in education, hospital and infrastructure, Paulino said. Health care is a top priority more services and lower the cost of insurance."

He, too, said the government will need to work together to ensure there are some tangible results.

"We want them to be working together, Paulino said. They should go after more federal funding. I always have confidence in them. They need to look at our finances and get the best resources."

As Guam prepares for a military buildup that will bring about 8,600 Marines and tens of thousands of off-island workers, Lucy Tainatongo from Inarajan, said locals will need to enhance their skills.

Tainatongo said the government should look into providing more scholarships that will help students who cannot afford higher education.

"It will give opportunities for kids who want better education and can't go to college because it's too costly," Tainatongo said.

Though Gov.-elect Eddie Calvo, Lt.-elect Ray Tenorio, and the 31st Guam Legislature will be inheriting a lot of deficits, residents believe the new administration can get the job done.

"They are young and energetic, Tainatongo said of the Calvo and Tenorio team. They have strong minds. Eddie can do it I know his backbone is his dad. I am confident they will do the job."

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