I was in the fortunate position of being in Anchorage when the architectural designs for our new capitol building were unveiled. The response from Anchorage's design community was so positive; it was a delight to read the newspaper. This was in contrast to the response that our mayor's bold vision has met with in other venues.
It's easy for Juneauites to find ourselves somewhat risk-adverse when it comes to the capital. No matter what we say and when we say it, it seems to open up the can of worms that has "capital move" on the label.
But the only way we will be able to get rid of that can for good is by taking control of the situation. In the past, Juneau residents have prided themselves on being forward-looking. Years ago, when I was doing research for a newspaper series on Juneau's past, I read some wonderful stories about our can-do-attitude. These include the creation of our first library, funded by community donations and subscriptions paid by users; or the doctor and mechanic who got together during the polio epidemic and made an iron lung out of a garbage can. More recently, I'll always remember the Douglas volunteer firefighters' fight to ensure that their new fire hall included a new library, despite the additional cost.
We need to come together as a community to support our mayor, and his vision - not blindly, but thoughtfully and by educating ourselves. My first reaction to the photos of the capitol designs was not overwhelmingly positive, but when I took the time to look at them in more detail, I found myself seeing elements in all the designs that are exciting and functional.
Thanks, Mayor Botelho, for leading us forward. I hope we can find ourselves, if not standing next to you in all cases, as least in solidarity behind you.