Wednesday, May 23, 2007

7 Random Facts About Me

Alright! Alright, you rascals! I see that some of you tagged me and at least one of you highlighted the fact that everyone has played the Tag Game except for me, so here goes.

1. The #5 plays a significant role in my life. I am the 5th child. My parents had 5 of us and waited 5 years before having 5 more kids. My mother gave birth to 5 boys and 5 girls.

2. I have a serious side, which is the lawyer and lawmaking, community service/activist side of me. And I have a "self-nurturing side" that creeps up on me once in a while and demands that I do NOTHING responsible for anyone else and selfishly concentrate on myself. In this dream, I blissfully go about doing things only for myself, such as work on my artwork, write a book, read more books, work on my photography, learn Japanese, Chinese, Tagalog, Korean, learn to play the uke, guitar and the piano, etc., and sleep in as late as I want to.

3. I manage the popular family band Olomwaay. Brother Gus founded this Band. I produced the Band's first hit album (She Gave Us Love) which sold 2,000 copies in 3 days! This is no joke! Gus composed the original songs "She Gave Us Love," which pays tribute to our Mom and the struggles we endured to survive after our father was murdered, and "Ta Baila Na Dos," a Chamorro Chacha song. Although Olomwaay has been on hiatus for a few years, we're making plans to dust off the cobwebs and get crankin' again. Do I hear music? You betcha! Come see the Band this Friday, May 25, which will be playing at the Karidat Fundraising Dinner at the Aqua Resort. Email me at if you're interested in details.

4. I composed the lyrics to "My Micronesia," the theme song for the Micro Games that brother Gus composed the music to.

5. I once formed a choir at a large company I worked for in Chicago. The big honchos at the company liked the choir so much that the company bought us a piano! I had fun going out with one of the company attorneys who played the piano to pick out the "company piano." We had several company "concerts" using that piano!

6. I met famous Blues singer Koko Taylor and her band on a plane back from Paris, France. The Band invited me to the Taste of Chicago, where they entertained thousands of people at Grant Park. I became the envy of the thousnds of fans there who saw the guards briefly open the gates to let me in backstage after the band's drummer spotted me and asked the guards to let me in!

7. I once did an experiment in law school that back-fired on me. During an election period for Law Council (the STUCO equivalent for law school), I noticed that they had an opening for one 3rd year representative. I secretly nominated myself and told no one except my best friend Terrance what I'd done. After we had a good laugh about it, he said to me, "You know, Cinta, you know enough people at the Law School (U of MN) that I bet you could just stop a few people in the hallways and ask them to vote for you and you'd win." I said, "What? Are you crazy? I'm going to conduct an experiment. I'm not going to campaign; in fact, I'm not even going to tell a single soul, except you, that I'm running, and we'll see what happens." Well, sure enough. For the next couple weeks or so, my opponents campaigned and posted their posters and, me? I just went about my business.

Finally, Election Day came along and I decided I may as well go and vote. The Law Council President who was overseeing the elections said to me, "The most frequently uttered expression around here is 'Cinta! I didn't know Cinta's running!!!'"

Then it was my turn to be shocked. I walked into the computer lab one evening and the lab monitor said to me "Congratulations!" I said, "Congratulations for what?" He said, "Didn't you run for Law Council? You won!" I was stunned! Honestly stunned! I raced downstairs to the bulletin boards to verify what I'd been told. That's when I learned that I beat out 5 other people for that one slot.

Okay, so how did this back-fire on me, you say? Well, after I got elected to represent the third-year law students at Law Council (law school is only three years full time), I did everything to avoid it, but still ended up being elected Law Council Secretary. Yep; that meant that after every and all Law Council meetings, while everyone else had gone off to do whatever it was they wanted to do, I got stuck staying behind to type up and distribute the minutes. Ugh! Gosh, that was a lot of fun -- NOT! :( Afterwards, I was kicking myself and repeating, "Hey, Cinta, got anymore great ideas? Anymore experiments you wanna try?"

Okay, that fulfills my 7 (useless) random facts about me, but I'm actually having more fun doing this than I thought I would that I've decided to include a bonus. No bonus? Ok. You can stop reading here. :)

Bonus Feature:

Years ago, when I was still living and working in Chicago (well, okay, Evanston), I saw this jazz musician on the Johnny Carson Show. I was really intrigued by the way he played the guitar. He didn't play it the conventional way and it didn't sound conventional either. It was like a piano playing, only there was only one person playing the GUITAR! His name is Stanley Jordan. I was hooked! I even roped some friends into driving to Indiana to see him in concert. I was too chicken to see him backstage (I was too self-conscious about this "music groupie thing"), but my older and more aggressive friend went backstage and secured an autograph for me.

Years later, imagine my delight to find out that Stanley Jordan was going to appear at one of our local record stores within blocks of where I lived. Woo-Hoo! This time, I made sure I was there in person to get my autographed albums and photos, which I promptly sent home to Gus. I said to him, "Check this guy out! You're gonna love him."

Years later, Gus got a job working for MVB. Who does he meet one day? Stanley Jordan, of course! Gus ended up spending time entertaining Stanley Jordan the whole time he was on layover in Saipan on his way to Japan! According to Gus, Stanley even gave a concert here! Now how cool is that?!

Okay, enough said. I tag Bev, Captain Carl, Lex, Marites, and Aya-san and the whole Isa-CNMI team.

Friday, May 18, 2007

My 2006 Fiscal Year Expense Report, 1/10/2006 - 9/30/2006

This is my 2006 Fiscal Year Expense Report. This report was prepared by my Chief of Staff, Daisie Camacho, and was approved by me.

I work hard to ensure that I meet the needs of my constituents. I was not aware that the Legislature was exempt from public scrutiny until this issue was brought to the public consciousness. I learned about it right around the same time as everyone else on this island. Transparency in government is essential in a healthy, functioning Democracy. Therefore, I will immediately begin work on legislation to repeal this law. If another legislator should introduce a similar bill, I pledge to cosponsor it.

My 2007 Fiscal Year Report, 10/1/2006 - Present

This is my 2007 Fiscal Year Report. It covers my office's expenses from 10/1/2006 until today. This report was prepared by my Chief of Staff, Daisie Camacho, and was approved by me.

I hope that this answers any questions that the public may have about my office's expenditures. If you need more information, please do not hesitate to contact my office to schedule a face to face appointment with me. My office number is (670) 664-8974.

My door is always open. I look forward to hearing from you, my constituents, as to how I can better serve you.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Judge Kaipat

Other than my stint as an Administrative Law Judge/Administrative Hearing Officer for the Department of Labor, I have been asked to assume the role of "judge" on different occasions.

Several years ago, I was a float judge for the 4th of July Parade.

Years later, I was asked to be a Flame Tree Arts Festival Judge to pick the winner from among the many artists who participated in the Parade of Nations.

This year, the Humanities Council asked me to be a "Content Judge" for the annual Valentine N. Sengebau Poetry Contest (I was also a judge in the first Poetry Contest that established this competition several years ago).

The Humanities Council also recently asked me to judge some high school and college essays on Article 12 of our Constitution, which addresses land alienation.

As reported recently on this blog, I just finished judging some extremely bright high school students as they competed in the 24th Annual Attorney General's Cup Speech Competition.

Last Saturday, May 12, I was a judge in the CNMI's first ever Beautify CNMI!/PAWS Best of the Worst Boonie Pet Show. Yup! You heard right. And what a blast it was! Man -- I can't recall ever laughing so much while judging! Those of you who were there know what I mean. Those who weren't, well, wished you were there. I'll post photos later.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Jun's Hair

This is Jun, my 5-year old nephew. This is what Jun's hair normally looks like.This is what Jun's hair looked like after he gave himself a new haircut using Uncle Gus's electric shaver. Poor little guy later had regrets about the particular style he chose for himself -- little bald spots on the front and back of his head -- and felt ashame to go to school. His solution? "Mama, can I just skip school and go back to sleep until my hair grows back?" What do you think happened? This request earned him a quick trip to the barbershop where he got the Kojak (completely bald) hairstyle.

Thanks to my friend Aya Matsumoto for the second photo. Arigato Gozaimasu, Aya-san.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Note To The Senate: Pass H.B. 15-131 NOW!

Okay, for months now, we've been reading articles about yet another garment factory closure. I began to write this post back in March, but held back to give "quiet diplomacy" another chance. Well, thine patience has worn thin!

This was the front page of the March 28, 2007 edition of the Saipan Tribune.

Click here for today's May 9, 2007 edition of the Saipan Tribune which reported on yet another planned factory closure and the alleged altercations that ensued following Top Fashion's announcement that it's closing its doors in July.

Now, it'll make me happy to be proven wrong, but I am amazed -- simply amazed-- that with all these factory closures, the Senate continues to "hostage" H.B. 15-131: The Large-Scale Businesses Winding up Act of 2007.

Why is this Bill important, you might say? Well, not to toot my own horn, but this is a major piece of legislation that took a lot of thought and hours and hours of hard work to craft before it was passed by my colleagues in the House last year.

I inquired with various Senators on the status of the Bill, but I ended up with answers that had fingers pointing in both directions, but never to the person I'm talking to to give me some straight answers.

Finally, Senator Maria Pangelinan mentioned to me at the State of the Commonwealth Address that she gave the Bill to Mike Earnest, Senate Legal Counsel, to review and to report out.

Last week, I also spoke to Senate Floor Leader Felix Mendiola, who assured me that he would have the Bill put on the calendar for the Senate's next session.

Honestly! I sure hope it happens sooner rather than later.

Just to add more emphasis on this Bill -- the Labor Department hailed this as an important new piece of legislation that establishes new laws on the books. The Bill sets forth procedures which an employer who has 25 or more employees must abide by in dissolving its business. In other words, this Bill covers hotels, casinos, big construction companies, etc.

This Bill also empowers the Attorney General to seize assets to ensure repatriation of abandoned employees, payment of taxes, fees, etc.

Moreover, House Speaker Oscar Babauta cited this Bill along with H.B. 15-38, the Bill that completely overhauls the Nonresident Workers Act that I have been working on with a Task Force for well over a year now, in his report to the U.S. Congress on the proactive steps that the CNMI is taking to effectively deal with its Labor issues.

In fact, in his remarks at the Multi-Purpose Complex in Susupe before lawmakers, the Governor, and other government officials and private sector officials, the Department of Interior's Deputy Secretary David Cohen mentioned H.B. 15-131 and asked me what was the hold up in the Senate. At that time, I thought that it was just a matter of time before the Bill was passed. Now, here we are months later, and that's not the case.

Interestingly, this bill was inspired by a presentation that was given to the House members by Mr. James Lin and the Saipan Garment Manufacturer's Association early last year. In this presentation, Mr. Lin forewarned lawmarkers about the upcoming closures of the garment factories.

Having come straight from a job as a Labor Hearing Officer for the Department of Labor, I realized that a proactive step towards establishing a uniform guide to be followed by all businesses employing 25 or more employees in ensuring an orderly dissolution of their businesses and repatriation of workers to their point of hire needed to be taken.

House Bill 15-131, the resultant Bill, was a product of months of hard work in drafting this legislation that included input from Jim Benedetto, the Federal Ombudsman. Below is the summary.

Summary of HB 15-131--Large-Scale Businesses Winding Up Act of 2007

Oh, and by the way, Mr. James Lin, who owns PIC, the second largest garment manufacturer in the CNMI, does not like this Bill. He thinks it's draconian and thinks I'm picking on the garment industry. No I'm not, but I can see why he would perhaps think this way.

You see, I changed the title of this Bill to be more inclusive of all large-scale business but, I originally called it "Garment Manufacturer's Winding-Up Act" only because he inspired me to author this Bill when he reported to us last year about the impending garment factory closures.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

24th Annual Attorney General's Cup Speech Competition

Rep. Cinta Kaipat and Margaret Palacios, Administrator for the Supreme Court. I was asked to be a judge for the 24th Annual Attorney General's Cup Speech Competition last Friday, May 5. I'd been a judge at this Competition before, and it's always fun to watch the CNMI's bright young minds battle each year for this coveted Cup.
This year's topic was whether the CNMI should renegotiate the Covenant to establish a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in political union with the U.S.
That's Taylor Smith, daughter of my friends Matt and Christina Smith. Taylor's opening was awesome. She spoke in 4 different languages, including Chamorro and Refaluwasch! How cool is that?!
The eager audience, which included anxious parents, teachers, and coaches.
And the winner is... Cyd Xyrene Gojar Tribiana of Mt. Carmel! Pictured above are Tribiana's coach Galvin Guerrero, Cyd Tribiana, Rep. Cinta Kaipat, and Peter Bae, a 2003 AG's Cup winner and now an accountant at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.
So, after the Competition, Senator Luis Crisostimo came up to Galvin Guerrero and announced that Mt. Carmel has won this Competition 48% of the time! What an impressive record to be held by one school. Thanks to the talents of their coach and principal Galvin Guerrero for this remarkable achievement. Congratulations Gentlemen! And Congratulations to Mt. Carmel School!
Rep. Cinta Kaipat, Galvin Guerrero, and Justice Alex Castro. After all that excitement, we all proceeded to PIC where we had quite a feast!

Incidentally, it was Justice Castro who initiated the first Attorney General's Cup Speech Competition 24 years ago when he was the Attorney General for the CNMI. Great idea!

To learn more about this Competition, click here to read this Saipan Tribune Article.

And even better, here is the text of Cyd Tribiana's winning speech.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Helping Our Visitors

Last Sunday, May 6, Gus and I were returning home from Kagman when we happened upon two stranded tourists in Papago. Meet our two new friends -- Yuki-san and Ai-san from Japan.
We returned to see if we could help as soon as we could find a safe place to turn the car around. It turned out they were first-time visitors to Saipan. They were staying at the Hotel Nikko and their car overheated on the way up the hill.
I offered them the use of my cell phone to call the car rental agency and then we exchanged contact information. Gus and I stayed and chatted with them while we waited for the car company to show up.
This gentleman from the car rental agency finally showed up with their new car and Yuki-san and
Ai-san hurried to transfer their belongings to the other car.
And the car representative took over the overheated car.
As we got back into our car, Ai-san came by to thank us and flash us this winning smile and "Peace" sign.
We said farewell and off they went on their way.
And this was the last I saw of this little green bug.

Greg Moretti Found Jessica Spinks' Ring

I didn't get a chance to read today's paper when I left the house this morning, but when I returned, I read with amused interest the story below of how my friend Greg Moretti found Jessica Spinks' high school ring on one of his scuba dives. You can click on the image below to enlarge the newspaper article which details what great lengths Greg went through to reunite Jessica of Alton, Illinois, with her ring. (Incidentally, Greg, my former head resident advisor of Robert Morris College, the first college I attended, also hailed from Alton, Illinois. Small world.)I made a mental note to have a chat with Greg about this. I was curious as to whether Jessica Spinks was ever reunited with her ring. I checked my e-mail a few hours later and found a message from Greg. It was as if he read my mind. He sent me this link.

A similar story happened to my eldest brother Cris many, many years ago. Cris lost his high school ring in the deep waters of our Northern Islands, my childhood home. A relative of ours, Tata Roman Lairopi, found the ring and returned it to him. Cris was deliriously happy and relieved to be reunited with his ring, and I am sure Jessica Spinks is thanking her lucky stars and Greg Moretti for returning the lost ring to her.Well done, Greg! Way to put Saipan and the CNMI on the map.And as a bonus for those of you who are curious about my old childhood home island up to the north, enjoy this picture of my friends Dee and Scotty on Pagan with Mt. Pagan in the background.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Video Of The First Five Months Of Beautify CNMI's Existence

Video Of 1st Cleanup Event for 2007

The members of the Crime Prevention Program of the Department of Public Safety (DPS), which includes high school kids who are in the Junior Police Officers Program as well as the Law Enforcment Explorer Program (LEEP) teamed up with my office and RC&D for this clean-up event. This cleanup, which occured on January 5, 2007, kick-started the 2007 cleanup events. We cleaned the Kagman High School area with the Junior Police Officers and Law Enforcement Explorer Program (LEEP) members. Afterwards, the group hiked down to Marine Beach. Great job everyone!

1st Beautify CNMI! TV Commercial

Thanks to Mike Tripp for this great Beautify CNMI! commercial which airs on the 6 o'clock news on KSPN TV.

Beautify CNMI!'s Year In Review Video

Well, if you haven't seen it yet, here it is -- the Beautify CNMI Year In Review Video that was shown at our One Year Anniversary Fundraising Banquet.

More volunteers helped out than were shown in this video, but it shows why Beautify CNMI! won a 2007 EPA Award in its first year of existence. There were 160 nomination and we were one of 39 winners and only one of two (Hawaii was the other winner) representing the entire Pacific! How cool is that?!

Don't forget to mark your calendars for May 5, which is this Saturday. Come to the Sabalu Market and make sure you get there before 11 a.m. receive the EPA Award. Congratulations, Everyone! Thanks to EVERYONE who contributed to us earning this Award.

And for those who haven't been infected with the "Beauty Virus," well, come on, what are you waiting for? :)

The Great Turtle Escape!

Here's a video by Angelo entitled "The Great Turtle Escape." This is one of the baby turtles that hatched just a few days ago. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Happy Hatch Day Turtles!

On April 23, 2007, I was invited to a certain beach to witness a rare sight. I arrived in time to see this huge green sea turtle making her way out to sea after laying her eggs on the beach. I watched as the Fish & Wild Life staff tagged her and was impressed with the professionalism they exhibited in conducting their duties.Last evening, I had the privilege of returning to witness a spectacular sight -- the hatched baby turtles pictured above and below -- instinctively making their way down to the sea to begin their life's journey. I missed most of the turtles as they made their escape to the sea, but I was lucky to catch sight of these little ones before they disappeared into the water.
It was exciting to see these little guys leave their nest, but I couldn't help thinking how many of them will actually survive into adulthood.
This is the last guy I nicknamed "Beautify." Have a safe journey! Hope to see you when you grow up. To learn more, click here to check out this excellent post by Angelo Villagomez.
Okay, that's the best I could do with that moon shot. :)
Bev, Cinta & Angelo. Nice hair, Angelo!

Thank You Shirley's For Exemplifying the Beautify CNMI Spirit During the 2007 Flame Tree Arts Festival

We can't stop singing your praises . . . Great Food. . .

. . . Great Staff. . .

GREAT ManagementAngelo Villagomez, Susan Macario, Jerry Tan, and Rep. Cinta Kaipat.
Thank you to Susan Macario and her staff at Shirley's Restaurant for exemplifying the Beautify CNMI! spirit all weekend during the recently held Flame Tree Arts Festival. Honda-san (ISA-CNMI), Marites Castillo(FMI), Rep. Cinta Kaipat, Susan Macario (Shirley's) and Angelo Villagomez (RC&D; MINA; and Beautify CNMI!)

Great Partners!