MacKinnon supporters doth protest too much

Posted: Friday, January 05, 2007

Recent letters have derided the Juneau Empire for reporting on John MacKinnon's direction of the Department of Transportation at the same time there was a mad rush to steamroll a road, pun intended, to his family's mine property just before former-Gov. Frank Murkowski took off in his jet.

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Some letters fault and quote the Empire. Some letters call the Empire anti-road or anti-capital. Some letters imagine some dark conspiracy of the Empire's publisher, associating the Empire with tree huggers and union goons.

There's a beauty - the Empire's anti-development agenda. Next we'll be reading letters extolling Robin Taylor's excellent management of the Alaska Marine Highway System. What a laugh.

What's not funny is the blatant denial these letters demonstrate regarding the implications of politicians and/or their appointees benefiting directly from spending millions and millions of dollars of public money.

How about former-legislator-turned-lobbyist Rick Urion's Dec. 15 letter to the editor revealing an apparent disregard for the notion that the public trust requires the trust of the public? He writes as though it's a complete coincidence that MacKinnon has found himself in an office that may add to his good fortune by virtue of the direction of the agency under his control. Why doesn't Urion, a former elected official, conceive of this potential dilemma?

In a related story, the FBI is investigating some of Alaska's trusted elected officials because they may have violated the public trust or the law. It's all part of a culture that many voters are tired of and hope to change with each election.

And then there's our own gaggle of local fear mongers continually raising the specter of a capital move to try to further justify this regionally unpopular and self-serving road. To borrow from Al Clough's letter (Dec. 20) - talk about a school of red herring.

Every dime we waste on this boondoggle is an investment in the resentment of Juneau haters across the state. And who could blame them? How much more clean drinking water or affordable energy or improved ferry service would be possible with the millions Murkowski devoted to the MacKinnon mine access road?

Thank you Empire for printing some inconvenient truths, even if it embarrasses our beloved, but naked, emperors. Regarding the pitch of the howling and indignation in the pro-MacKinnon letters, they doth protest too much, methinks.

Clay Good


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