We haven't heard it for a while, but several times in the past, some people have wondered out loud if village mayors should be phased out. The idea always goes down the drain.
Guam likes its village mayors. Even though Umatac, with just 700 residents, has a mayor just like Dededo with 40,000+ residents.
Historically, the islands didn't have rulers over the entire island. Each village had its maga'låhe. So all government was local.
Under the Spaniards, although there was a governor of all the Marianas, each village had its officials, though they all took orders from the Governor.
The Americans kept a village leader in place, though they eliminated some of the Spanish village offices, like the village agriculture supervisors and such. Under the U.S. Navy, the village leaders were called commissioners, which survived all the way till the title was changed to mayor in 1990.
So we're used to our village leader, call him or her what-may. The mayor is the person we go to for the personal touch in government. He or she deals with citizen needs first-hand, dressed in their t-shirt and shorts, from their pick-up truck, all hours of the day or night. And we like that.
Man Burukento i Taotao Siha
So I wasn't surprised when some people, who had been to the legislature's inauguration, told me that the mayors' ceremony was more boisterous and noisy. The audience loves their mayors, and they expressed it.
"Biba! Biba!" filled the air. There's a word that will probably not disappear any time soon.
As long as there's politics on Guam.