Sealaska shareholders want to see change

Posted: Friday, February 20, 2009

There have been many Sealaska shareholders that want change, but their strive for change is eventually defeated.

Some concerned shareholders have run as independents or others have written letters advocating change, but after every Sealaska election, we share disgust that the same old incumbents or management slate is elected.

Yes, we need to advocate term limits, but we also need to eliminate discretionary voting and Sealaska's voting incentive paycheck. Advocating and delivering change is an enormous task when we lack the financial resources that Sealaska has. If we only strive to establish term limits, we will be defeated by discretionary voting. Until then, we will not see independents elected but rather more of the same.

Voting records of Sealaska belong to shareholders, and these records can be requested using the Freedom of Information Act. State law requires that the election records be archived by Sealaska and the inspector of elections. Shareholders need to request these records to prove how close independent candidates came to winning elections, but only to be defeated by management's allocation of discretionary votes.

It is time for shareholders to use state and federal law to our benefit. Sealaska is required by law to keep strict records. We can draft a formal letter to request Sealaska to deliver demographic reports that show how shareholders voted by directed votes and how discretionary votes were applied to defeat independent candidates.

Sealaska's records are all computerized, so we are not asking the inspector of elections or Sealaska to put on green shades to count records. But we can ask Sealaska to deploy technology that will portray how one-sided the elections actually are, and may help bring about change.

Ray Austin

Sealaska shareholder

Albuquerque, N.M.

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