Letter: Line item veto, reduction of Navajo Council is needed

To the editor:

Navajo voters have witnessed for themselves why it is imperative the authority of the presidential line item veto is severely needed along with a reduction of the council to a manageable number.

Over time, due to the ungainly performance of the Dineh Nation Council under the Speaker, the presidential line item veto is not only vital, but a measure we need desperately if we are to ever regain countrol of our Dineh Nation Government.

Along with a majority of Navajo voters, I too, have always believed that the current government system is probably okay and for the most part served the best interest of the Navajo people. Though it is not the best system relative to government accountability, notwithstanding the system, it is the people (delegates and Speaker) we elect into office that has made this system perform badly.

Most people fear a nuclear war, but it is not nuclear weapons we fear; it is the people who potentially control the buttons who are the feared ones.

It used to be when you read about the disastrous events occurring to other tribes, it was natural for Navajos to feel sorry for those tribes, at the same time, we were quick to reason that would never happen to Navajo people.

We believed we were stable and unified - were we ever wrong! It's important to be sensitive to the Council's concerns, but you don't want the tail wagging the dog. The President - not the Council or Speaker - should make the final tribal decisions. If you changed that one element in our system, that would go a long way, but of course, we still need qualified candidates to fill the positions.

It is for reasons such as we have just witnessed along the irresponsible budget decisions and legislative actions of the Council, with urging from the Speaker, that the Office of the President needs to play a critical role in lawmaking, and provide an important check on the Council and Speaker.

Is it not the act of placing President Shirley on leave that is at issue here, but the irresponsible behavior of the Dineh Nation Council under the leadership of Speaker Morgan leading up to the reckless decisions of diverting scarce Navajo Tribla program funds away from vitally needed services into their own budgets primarily just for their own self-interests. It had nothing to do with being leaders, nor was it about doing right by the Navajo people, or about taking care of the Dineh Nation's fidiciary responsibilities.

Despite the fact that President Shirley is not someone one could say has been a president of good judgment, particularly in the realm of tribal nation building or a leader fighting against global warming and climate change, he has yet to make a major impact in these areas after more than five years in office.

Once we approve the line item veto for the Office of the President and reduction in the Council, our focus should turn to how we go about grooming future leaders so we do not end up back in this ill advised situation.

Wouldn't it be nice if our Navajo education systems; K-12 schools, Diné College, etc. had a farm system for grooming up and coming young tribal leaders?

Unfortunately, they are more interested in maintaining the status quo and for recycling failed superintendents and for keeping board members who are there for their own self interests and Navajos keep getting further and further behind and falling into disastrous situations.

Wallace Hanley

Window Rock, Ariz.


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