In the interest of fairness, I thought I should reprint Jesse Lujan’s weekly editorial column from the Marianas Variety. Senator Lujan publishes his views in the newspaper every Thursday, and this time around he takes on the recent claims made in the PDN by Dr. Nathaniel Berg. It’s a wonderful piece of writing, that truly lays out what Jesse Lujan is all about:
Berg Will Be Exposed
There has been some controversy generated by Dr. Nathaniel Berg over statements in articles about me that were published in the early 1980’s more than 20 years ago. The main thrust of Berg’s efforts have been to publish articles which contain statements attributed to me that I am a medical doctor. Berg has extensively published this information on his radio talk show on K57 and pushed for and obtained front-page article coverage in the statesider-owned Pacific Daily News of this fact. I have denied and continue to deny ever representing myself as a medical doctor and cannot account for and should not be required to account for inaccuracies of news reporters in their articles.
According to Berg, he has pushed for this publicity to ensure that I have the moral legitimacy to become chairman on the legislative committee on health should the current chairman, Dr. Mike Cruz, be deployed to Iraq. In that event, as the vice chairman of the committee, I would step forward as chairman. Berg and others like him are petrified of that possibility because I would have the full power to fully investigate what I believe to be questionable dealings at the Guam Memorial Hospital. Berg and his cronies have threatened and in my opinion attempted blackmail against Dr. Cruz and me in am attempt to derail our investigation into the potential financial shenanigans at GMH.
Therefore my moral authority to chair the committee on health is not Berg’s true motive. His true motive for threatening to publish and publishing what he considers to be embarrassing facts about me, is to prevent me from pushing forward to get to the bottom of what I consider to be his questionable sweetheart contracts with GMH. Berg also intends to deter me from investigating and bringing into public view questionable business dealings he has had with at least one member of the GMH board of trustees.
This member of the board may have played a critical role in granting Berg those lucrative GMH contracts in the first place. If Berg obtained contracts from the GMH board of trustees and then entered into business dealing with any member of the board, it could potentially be considered bribery and should be investigated and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Additionally, in my opinion, Berg has also improperly used his friendship with Dr. Landstrom, who is on the Medical Examiners Board, to limit competition to his practice to the detriment of the people of Guam.
He did that by possibly participating in an effort to delay and ultimately deny a Filipino cancer specialist from practicing in Guam. It is exposure of this potential malfeasance that motivates Berg to try and embarrass me.
You might ask why have these shenanigans by Berg not been investigated and placed on the front pages of the statesider-owned newspaper and radio station talk shows on Guam? Where are their investigative journalists? When it comes to malfeasance by statesiders, the stateside-owned news media on Guam is exceedingly silent and even absent. If Chamorros or Filipinos had perpetrated these possible Berg shenanigans, there would be no doubt Berg’s contracts and business dealings with at least one member of the board of trustees of GMH, would make front-page news and would be the main topic of discussion on K57 talk shows. Instead we have seen the statesider-owned newspaper on Guam focus on defending one of their own – the past administrator of GMH. This is an administrator who could not even keep papers cups in the emergency room of GMH. Even when exercising the most basic common sense by any manager, a first priority should be to put basic supplies in the hospital operating rooms and emergency room.
Let me put Berg and his cronies on notice. I am still coming. You can bet on the fact that I will continue to expose your shenanigans. You can threaten, you can blackmail me, and you can do whatever you want to do to me. As long as I have a breath in my body and the people of Guam give me their confidence, you will not get away with using our hospital as your private piggy bank while our family and friends are dying in a substandard and mismanaged hospital facility.
Well, I guess Senator Lujan is a true Republican. He’s a uniter, not a divider. All that diatribe about ‘statesiders’ and their corporations are code words, designed to push the buttons of the electorate. They mean outsiders, foreign devils, people not beholden to the pare system. Last time I checked, Guam was not only part of the United States, it was fervently patriotic. I sure see enough of those magnetic yellow ribbons festooning automobiles on Marine Corps Drive. So why lay down such vitriol against a fellow American and loyal American businesses? What is Lujan’s agenda? Perhaps Lujan is taking a cue from the Republican play book and manufacturing a ‘wedge issue’ to divide the electorate? No, everybody knows Republicans never spread the seeds of discord and rancour; that’s a trick of the liberal mainstream media. Republicans are uniters not dividers.
This editorial lays bare the Government of Guam’s true intentions. Less than two weeks ago, the Chamber of Commerce and GEDA sponsored an economic development forum that touted Guam as the ideal destination for ‘statesider’ businesses to locate. Lujan’s vitriol exposes how readily the local government puts the wedge issue into play. I guess all that administration talk of enticing mainland businesses to invest in Guam is really just a snow job. The fact of the matter is this island is controlled by a very few elite, who control the political agenda, the economic development and the social catastrophe that is Guam. This ruling junta is quite content with the way things are on Guam and why shouldn’t they be? They’re on the top of the heap, and they’ve stacked the deck against the rest of the population. They can pay lip service to the idea of courting national businesses, but they are quite content to control their little island monopolies and fiefdoms.
Sorry, I was veering off into wingnuttery there. Let me get back to Senator Lujan. Laying the blame of GMH on a fellow Republican official like Bill McMillan by fingering him as part of an evil statesider cabal with nefarious designs on Guam is pretty low. Anybody going into GMH with a reform agenda is facing off against a powerful and truculent foe, the entrenched bureaucracy at the hospital. Like most of GovGuam, the staff at the hospital are a restive and statist bunch, fiercely protective of their positions and salaries. It is well nigh impossible to fire a GovGuam employee, as indicated by the recent tussle concerning a woman that cannot be laid off from Public Works despite the contracts she rigged and possible fraudulent activity that occurred while she was at the Guam International Airport Authority. Instead she got a new job with higher pay in the government bureaucracy.
McMillan threatened the status quo at the hospital, and his position became untenable. The staff was engaged in an outright revolt against him, with physicians refusing to treat patients, nurses threatening walkouts and vital equipment mysteriously failing for weeks at a time. But his problems were nothing new. Previous administrators met the same resistance and failed in the same way.
Nothing is going to change at the hospital because the powers that be like it that way. Let the proletariat masses tire themselves out in unending struggle against each other while the political and economic elite sit tight and enjoy their fortunes. Senator Lujan is the lap dog of the elite, barking and snapping at their beck and call. After all, if it weren’t for them, he’d still be handing out towels at Tarza to tourists. Such is the way of the world, and Guam.