Sen. Elton crossed line in newsletter

Letter to the editor

Posted: Monday, April 23, 2007

Never having had the dubious honor of either meeting or conversing with state Sen. Kim Elton, D-Juneau, you can imagine my surprise to discover that he had inexplicably and irresponsibly implied that I wasn't a true Alaskan in his March 23 newsletter, following my protest at a joint session of the state Legislature.

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Subsequent e-mail exchanges with Elton found him either in denial or hopelessly obtuse regarding his flagrant abuse of office.

What gives Elton the authority to engage in unwarranted surveillance of my professional life? What gives Elton license to publicly disclose the supposed terms of my employment in retaliation for simply expressing my First Amendment rights? While Elton is certainly free to pontificate endlessly in his newsletter about "the definition of a sourdough," I'd suggest he attend to issues more pertinent to his constituency than my work life.

First of all, my livelihood is none of his business. Secondly, I pray that his shoddy investigation into my personal circumstances does not reflect his legislative prowess since his pronouncement that I'm a "temporary resident, in town on a 13-week nursing contract" is completely groundless and false.

His actions, however, do raise serious questions about his motivation and purpose in outing me. A more serious and principled man would have addressed the substance of my denunciation of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, as an enabling accomplice to President Bush's illegal and immoral war in Iraq. Instead, Elton chose to inappropriately fixate on whether I'll be "around long enough to qualify for a dividend." Huh?

Like some bygone civil rights-era Southern politician who routinely accused Northern activists of coming in and "agitating our Negroes," one can only hope he was not resorting to intimidation as a way to circumscribe the methods of dissent employed by Juneau's increasingly prominent and effective anti-war movement.

In any event, Elton owes me and the public an apology for using his elected office to recriminate against a constituent exercising his constitutional rights and for defiling the reputation of Alaska as a state known for its libertarian sensibility. We'll be waiting to hear from him.

Albert Petrarca

Juneau



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