There is a pattern

Posted: Wednesday, May 09, 2001

In response to Cindy Smith's Letter to the Editor (Empire, May 6), I firmly stand by my "diatribe" regarding the governor's weak resemblance of concern in the area of racism, discrimination and hate crimes. My impressions are not just based upon recent events, but I remember some behaviors on his part when he was the mayor of Anchorage. There is a pattern here.

Time and space do not permit me to address all of the points that Ms. Smith included in her letter, but I will touch upon a few of them. Regarding the governor's act of elevating the EEO office, it was exactly that - an act. I requested and received a copy of the state plan as soon as it was completed. I have yet to see very much of it implemented. I would wager that most of the current commissioners, who are supposed to abide by it, either threw it away or put it on a shelf someplace to collect dust. Out of the large number of Native tribes in Alaska, it is interesting that less than one-third of them chose to sign on to the Millennium Agreement. In their travels, the Commission of Tolerance will hear exactly the same things that local and state agencies and organizations have heard and documented over the years. We need some positive action, not more grandstanding and well-calculated rhetoric.

The State Advisory Committee of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission has tried to work with every governor and their administrative staffs in the 20-plus years that I have been a member. In my estimation, this administration has been the most uncooperative. For me, action speaks louder than words. I am not sure that passing the governor's proposed hate crime bill will offer much help for the types of problems that we already know exist in our state. There is enough legal clutter that isn't worth the paper that it is written on. It's passage will probably be a new feather of the governor to wear in his hat or to tickle his critic's noses. Meanwhile, Alaska citizens will be still suffering - mentally, physically and spiritually.

Rosalee T. Walker


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