Capital debate is getting old

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Just as some Americans refuse to accept the result of the Civil War 145 years ago, some Alaskans refuse to accept the results of several voter initiatives regarding moving the capital from Juneau to another location in Southcentral Alaska. Ever since statehood, we Alaskans revive our own little civil war every few years, pitting one region of the state against another.

Moving the capital was the subject of the very first ballot initiative ever to make it to a statewide vote. Furthermore, it was the subject of the second and third initiatives to make it onto the ballot. We have voted on this issue more often than any other single issue in the history of our state. It was rejected six times, most recently in 2002. It did pass once in 1974, but then voters rejected all subsequent attempts to finance any move to a new location.

Today this rather old and stale subject of moving the capital is back in the news again, stirred up by Juneau's desire to improve the capital city and Capitol building and prodded by some politicians grandstanding to improve their public image.

Alaskans have debated the location, the costs, and the right to know the costs of such a move ad nauseam. Do we have to agonize over this issue once again? Just as the Civil War was decided 145 years ago, this issue has been settled. Repeatedly. Not just once, but many times.

I believe that the community of Juneau is sincere in its efforts to build a new capitol building, and they should be able to plan for the development of their city. The community, and especially the mayor and other Assembly members, should be applauded for their foresight and efforts.

No city should be subjected to the type of continuous threat that the city of Juneau has been subjected to for almost 50 years, and no city should have to fight the same fight over and over again.

It is time to move on. We have lots of other much more important challenges to solve together. Let's not waste our time, money and energy yet again. The community of Juneau deserves better and needs to be able to move forward and plan for a stable and brighter future.

Uwe Kalenka


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