Kevin to Alan, 9/24/97

From: Kevin
To: Alan
Date: 9/24/97
Subject: Instead of around the world, couldn't we just go through?


An interesting idea, to put (edited) versions of our correspondence on the gig page. We (i.e.: you) could also encourage visitor contributions.

While reading your running commentary on my latest message I could hear in the back of my mind those old familiar voices from the past - "Oh...wise guy! Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk." Very funny! Thanks for the flattering, although undeserved, comment about my writing - I enjoy doing it. I have done a lot of it as a prosecutor involved in appellate work. I could say something about knowing the prose and cons of criminal practice, but I am barred from that type of humor.

It is election time here, where the Mayor, Governor, Legislature and Washington Representative all appear to be up for reelection. More and more political signs crop up all the time, sound trucks slowly cruise the neighborhoods trailing billboards advertising candidates and playing popular Chamorro music. Every candidate advertises ALL their family names on their signs, hoping for some additional name recognition. The problem with this approach is that many of the candidates have family names in common, but no one wants to lose the chance for one additional vote. The process leads to some strange results. For example, Sablan and Castro are very common names. One candidate for mayor apparently somehow ended up with the name George Pitu. His signs read "Jose Castro Sablan, better known as 'George Pitu' for Mayor." Who would vote for an alias? My next favorite sign advertises two candidates at the same time, one for mayor, the other for senator. They read "Pedro C. Arriola and Pedro S. Arriola." While they claim "Integrity, Compassion and Concern" as their platform, the most prominent advertisement states "No Gimmicks". The coup de grace of their signage consists of a 20 foot by 3 foot long banner proclaiming "Two Petes are Better than One." They have also mounted a Burma Shave-style motif of placing "Two Petes..." signs bearing individual words in a series along the roadside for the usually inattentive motorists to read while they are disregarding the traffic. Like they said, "No Gimmicks." There is a severe mix-up in party identity to compliment the candidates. Apparently, the Democratic party held the Governor's Office when Republican President Gerald Ford signed the Covenant Establishing a Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands in Political Association with the United States. In honor of the auspicious occasion, the Democrats promptly started calling themselves Republicans. The previous Republicans are now the Democrats. The Mayor of Saipan is an Independent. The candidate that appears to have the tightest lock on what really concerns today's voters is Pete Reyes, whose entire platform is summarized by the simple phrase that is now his hallmark, "Why Not?" Who knows? On the other hand, the people here are truly excited about the political process. Perhaps it is because they were subjugated for so many centuries, and because this is not a part of the world known for political tolerance nor expression. On Fridays, when most people are heading home for the weekend, political supporters of all the candidates line each major intersection for a couple of hundred yards - hundreds of people waving signs, greeting the cars, and chanting their favorite's name. It is an enthusiasm rarely seen outside a political rally on the mainland.

Hard to believe you are expecting temps in the 30's tonight! Here, the sun is scorching during the day, and nights are still in the 70's. I guess the sun is starting to make its way south, and is closer that it was earlier in the season. No typhoon activity recently. David, the most recent, was too far away to have much effect on local weather although a storm 1000 miles away can still give us some rainy days. Even a distant storm generates hazardous surf warnings because of the residual increase in wave action and the fact that the Marianas are in an area of very dangerous currents. We're looking forward to the start of planting season in December(!) and hope to raise some vegetables and flowers.

What is a "sound mod?" Did you try out my Twin this summer? What kind of pickup are you going to put on your vegematic? Let me know.

Give the usual greetings, embraces, etc. to all. (I trust you know who gets which).


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