Pay more attention


Posted: Thursday, January 04, 2001

I was appalled to see a picture of the Alaska electors voting in Anchorage (Empire, Dec. 12) and learn that ours was the only state in the union that did not hold the event in its capitol. Ken Koelsch's letter to the editor on Dec. 20 expressed the feelings of many Juneauites, myself included.

I made some calls to see how this happened. Mayor Smith said the Assembly wasn't aware of the plan until after the fact. She said the best thing was to forget about it because we don't have to think of it for another four years. I'm 82 years old and may not be here in four years. I don't intend to forget about it. Why didn't the assembly know in time? Where were Hudson, Kerttula and Elton and the Alaska Committee when these plans were being made?

When I spoke with Director of Elections Janet Kowalski, she said the plans were made last August. She was quoted in the Empire as saying, "We thought it was a great opportunity to encourage public involvement." Well, that public involvement belonged in the capitol, not Anchorage. Miss Kowalski also informed me that it was, "poor judgment." I can't believe this poor judgment hinged on the cost of one airline ticket. The difference in the cost of flying three people to Juneau versus flying to Anchorage is minimal. Had the assembly or the Alaska Committee known in time, they could have made up the difference. If Elections was worried about the weather, which is another excuse for Capitol Creep, they could have come down early.

The Associated Press story going out all over the U.S. just reinforced the general belief that Anchorage, not Juneau, is the capitol of Alaska. My concern is the future. Juneau must be more diligent because we cannot count on any state agency to protect us. Even the lieutenant governor's office, which oversees elections and is on record as wanting to keep Juneau the capital, did not protect us. Juneau, we're on our own and we should pay more attention.

Amy Lou Barney


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