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Empire editorial: An important discussion

Posted: June 16, 2011 - 7:39pm

The League of Women Voters will host a forum at 7 p.m. Monday at the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Chambers, 155 S. Seward Street.

The purpose of the forum is to shed light on the Assembly’s proposed ballot measure which would, if passed by the Assembly and by voters, allow Juneau to opt out of the Alaska Public Offices Commission’s rules requiring certain city officials and candidates to fill out financial disclosure forms. Instead, those in the city currently required to fill out those forms would instead disclose financial information through a system created by the city. It’s certainly a topic that can be confusing, and we appreciate the League’s offer to host a discussion and we encourage anyone who can attend to do so.

The forum is not intended to debate the issue, though that type of parley may be in the future if the proposal becomes a ballot measure. Instead, several people will try to outline not just what the proposal would do, but also what APOC’s role is and what its guidelines require. There will also be speakers discussing the benefits of the Juneau ordinance, as well as those raising concerns about it. After those viewpoints are heard — hopefully in about 45 minutes — the rest of the two-hour forum will be dedicated to addressing questions from the audience.

The Empire has expressed our concerns about this proposed change before, and will do so again at Monday’s forum. But we are pleased not just with the League’s initiative in organizing the discussion, but also that voices opposite ours, as well as those offering explanation, will be given fair chances to present their thoughts without, we hope, yelling or pointless bickering. The opportunity to gather information on this issue in the relative calm of June will be valuable if Juneau’s voters are called upon to make a decision in a possibly volatile October election season.

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