Cruz Bill to Enter DOA Building in Historic Register

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Cruz Tries To Save DOA Building

via news release

Cruz Bill to Enter DOA Building in Historic Register

 

(April 26, 2015 – Hagåtña) Upping the ante in the fight to save the distinguished Manuel F. L. Guerrero Building (Guerrero Building) from demolition, Vice Speaker Benjamin J.F. Cruz will introduce legislation tomorrow morning to enter the landmark into the Guam Register of Historic Places—an act that would require Guam Historic Preservation Review Board clearance before any activity affecting the building is undertaken.

With new firepower, Cruz continues to promote cultural preservation and fiduciary conservation following the placement of the demolition bill, Bill No. 32-33 (COR), on the Legislature’s agenda for April session, which will be called to order tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. The inclusion of the demo bill as introduced comes as a surprise given the presentation of information obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, indicating that public safety assessments were conducted only after the demolition was decided.  

“Bill 32 has been rushed to the floor with the full weight of the administration and its allies,” said Cruz, who has staunchly fought the demolition and has argued that the replication of a Spanish-era governor’s palace as part of Adelup’s various infrastructure projects for the fiscal year, does not warrant the destruction of a building that symbolizes Guam’s early accomplishments in self-governance. “Because of that, I know that fighting it with this new bill may be futile, but my colleges deserve a real choice; it’s essentially a matter of suit up or shut up.”

Introduced in January, the demo bill—an act to remove the Guerrero Building from the Guam Capitol District listing and adds its demolition as an authorized Hagåtña restoration project funded by Hotel Occupancy Tax Bonds funds—justified as its legislative intent the mitigation of harms that could arise from the building’s structural deficiencies. These deficiencies, as claimed by the bill’s sponsors, were never properly established even after the round table hearing in March wherein Cruz exposed the factual discrepancies between the bill’s justification and the subsequent information received by his office.

Documents submitted by the Department of Public Works and Guam Environment Protection Agency and findings in a published archaeological survey reveal that the building is neither confirmed to be structurally unsound or laden with hazardous materials, nor is it physically obstructing the planned reconstruction of the governor’s palace to original dimensions, location and orientation.

Until recently the sponsors of the demo bill suggested that the measure would receive continued discussion because of several unanswered questions. Matters that remain unresolved include the cost of future projects contingent on the demolition of the Guerrero Building to include the cost of an expanded replica of the palace, a specific funding source for these projects, and the possible acquisition of long term debt that these projects require.

“With millions of dollars available to preserve our historic places, and make them economically useful at no cost to the taxpayer, we have to ask: why the rush?” said Cruz, whose persistent opposition is echoed by several members of the community including vocal island leaders. “Why did the administration decide to call for the demolition of this building even when its own analysis says that building is structurally sound, and why did the environmental review calling the building hazardous come weeks after the demolition bill was introduced?”

Cruz has suggested, alternatively, the rehabilitation of the Guerrero Building, which would provide 53,000 sq. ft. of office space, saving taxpayers millions in rental costs; the building’s former occupants (Guam Department of Education, $355,573; Department of Administration, $474,924; Guam Regional Transit Authority, $75,000) spend close to $1 million annually on office space.

The referenced documents are appended. For more information, call the Office of the Vice Speaker at 477-2520 or 687-7567.

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(April 26, 2015 – Hagåtña) Upping the ante in the fight to save the distinguished Manuel F. L. Guerrero Building (Guerrero Building) from demolition, Vice Speaker Benjamin J.F. Cruz will introduce legislation tomorrow morning to enter the landmark into the Guam Register of Historic Places—an act that would require Guam Historic Preservation Review Board clearance before any activity affecting the building is undertaken.

With new firepower, Cruz continues to promote cultural preservation and fiduciary conservation following the placement of the demolition bill, Bill No. 32-33 (COR), on the Legislature’s agenda for April session, which will be called to order tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. The inclusion of the demo bill as introduced comes as a surprise given the presentation of information obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, indicating that public safety assessments were conducted only after the demolition was decided.  

“Bill 32 has been rushed to the floor with the full weight of the administration and its allies,” said Cruz, who has staunchly fought the demolition and has argued that the replication of a Spanish-era governor’s palace as part of Adelup’s various infrastructure projects for the fiscal year, does not warrant the destruction of a building that symbolizes Guam’s early accomplishments in self-governance. “Because of that, I know that fighting it with this new bill may be futile, but my colleges deserve a real choice; it’s essentially a matter of suit up or shut up.”

Introduced in January, the demo bill—an act to remove the Guerrero Building from the Guam Capitol District listing and adds its demolition as an authorized Hagåtña restoration project funded by Hotel Occupancy Tax Bonds funds—justified as its legislative intent the mitigation of harms that could arise from the building’s structural deficiencies. These deficiencies, as claimed by the bill’s sponsors, were never properly established even after the round table hearing in March wherein Cruz exposed the factual discrepancies between the bill’s justification and the subsequent information received by his office.

Documents submitted by the Department of Public Works and Guam Environment Protection Agency and findings in a published archaeological survey reveal that the building is neither confirmed to be structurally unsound or laden with hazardous materials, nor is it physically obstructing the planned reconstruction of the governor’s palace to original dimensions, location and orientation.

Until recently the sponsors of the demo bill suggested that the measure would receive continued discussion because of several unanswered questions. Matters that remain unresolved include the cost of future projects contingent on the demolition of the Guerrero Building to include the cost of an expanded replica of the palace, a specific funding source for these projects, and the possible acquisition of long term debt that these projects require.

“With millions of dollars available to preserve our historic places, and make them economically useful at no cost to the taxpayer, we have to ask: why the rush?” said Cruz, whose persistent opposition is echoed by several members of the community including vocal island leaders. “Why did the administration decide to call for the demolition of this building even when its own analysis says that building is structurally sound, and why did the environmental review calling the building hazardous come weeks after the demolition bill was introduced?”

Cruz has suggested, alternatively, the rehabilitation of the Guerrero Building, which would provide 53,000 sq. ft. of office space, saving taxpayers millions in rental costs; the building’s former occupants (Guam Department of Education, $355,573; Department of Administration, $474,924; Guam Regional Transit Authority, $75,000) spend close to $1 million annually on office space.

The referenced documents are appended. For more information, call the Office of the Vice Speaker at 477-2520 or 687-7567.

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