The attraction of a free T-shirt drew hundreds of people to visit the offices of the Citizens For Economic Diversity.
Leaflets inviting voters to register at the CFED offices in Tamuning were handed out at the Liberation Day parade on July 21.
In exchange for personal details visitors to the Century Plaza offices got a free pro-Proposal A T-shirt.
Proposal A is the gaming initiative that will be on the Nov. 2 general election ballot.
Lou Aguon-Shulte campaign coordinator for the pro-gaming group said the response almost cleaned out a first order of 1 000 shirts and CFED has ordered more. The T-shirts were designed by Glimpses Advertising which has CFED as its client.
About a dozen of those who registered were interested enough to show up at the launch of CFED’s public information campaign at the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa on Aug. 10.
Introduced as “the grassroots campaigners ” and “grassroots supporters ” the individuals asked several questions concerning the Act to Establish the Guam Casino Gaming Control Commission concerning licensing at casinos and the appointment and salary of commission members. Sitting among the T-shirted group were Jose Terlaje mayor of Yona; Ken Santos president of Blaze Out Fire Protection; and Willi C. Byerly an independent contractor vice president of Guahan Napu Inc. a non-profit organization of surfers and body-boarders and husband of Letitia Law-Byerly public information officer at the Guam Visitors Bureau. Neither Santos nor Willi Byerley expressed unreserved support to the Journal.
No incumbent senators attended the launch but two senatorial hopefuls did: Sylvia M. Flores and Harold J. Cruz. Cruz told the Journal he supported Proposal A. “It’s controlled regulated and it provides an alternative funding source.” He said the commission should work with welfare authorities to establish a list. “Anybody on public assistance should not be allowed to gamble.”
Present from CFED were Jay R. Merrill chairman of Market Research & Development Inc. who wrote the casino gambling initiative and who narrated the Power Point presentation; Robert A. Perron general manager of Guahan Waste Control Inc. which does business as Mr. Rubbishman; Censio Tan C. Vy president of Benson Guam; and David B. Tydingco president of the Guam Hotel & Restaurant Association and chairman of the Guam Visitors Bureau who acts as the group’s consultant. Not present were Gordon Chu vice president and general manager of Unity Development Inc. and president of CFED; and David J. Lujan president of DNA Inc and secretary and treasurer of CFED. Both were reportedly off-island. Manfred H. Pieper general manager of the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa; and chairman of the Guam Hotel & Restaurant Association; and Victor Hoon general manager of the Palace Hotel Guam also attended. Media organizations represented included the Pacific Daily News the Marianas Variety Guam Business the Journal and KUAM TV8.
The presentation took attendees through the issues in CFED’s education campaign stressing several points in the Guam Controlled Casino Gaming Act both through the presentation and in response to questions.
The launch was relatively informal and questions were encouraged.
Available to the public is printed material that includes a leaflet on frequently asked questions and a short summary of the act.
A CFED mass media campaign is planned and various CFED sponsored events including raffles and concerts. Merrill said according to a poll conducted by his company 55% of the population supported controlled casino gaming and CFED was aiming at a target of 60% in favor. “We think that’s doable. We’re going to work hard to do that.”
Merrill said there was “Plenty of time for both sides to pitch what they feel is right and wrong.” He said the CFED campaign was costing “around what a senatorial candidate would be spending — $100 000 is what has been raised so far. We’re financing this campaign through the businesses involved.”
Aguon-Schulte originally a volunteer is working with a staff of volunteers. She said many of the campaigners were unemployed. “They are looking to this for some sort of return career opportunities. They are willing to get themselves trained.”
The Guam Election Commission will now have the funding to conduct the education campaign. Gov. Felix P. Camacho used his authority to transfer $25 000 to the commission on Aug. 10. Proponents of Proposal A believe this is insufficient for an education and would like to see an independently funded impact study of casino gambling.
Editor’s Note: Glimpses Advertising is the sister company to Glimpses Publications publisher of Marianas Business Journal.