Alaska editorial: Looking for good in light of scandal

Posted: Friday, May 11, 2007

This editorial appeared in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:

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Last week's indictments of sitting and former legislators along with VECO Chief Executive Officer Bill Allen's admission of bribery in federal court Monday have thrown a collective knot into Alaskans' stomachs.

Gov. Sarah Palin called this a sad episode in Alaska's history, but it's more than sad, it's purely sickening.

But, ugly as this diagnosis might be, we can at least be thankful this illness has been confirmed.

Now it's a matter of discovering how far the illness spread, curing what may have been infected, and making sure we can resist further infection.

This is a time for calm judgment and careful diagnosis, however.

The most recent elections already helped a little by bringing in fresh leadership. An election can cure a lot of ills, stronger ethics rules can dissuade future problems, and other necessary steps may become evident with time.

Our state is still in a strong position to continue with its gas line plans, and while ordinary folk will always have their suspicions of the rich and influential, we can not allow unwarranted suspicion to spoil what has otherwise been an extraordinarily productive and healthy relationship for the people of Alaska.

There are many, many more good people and companies working in and for this state than there are corrupt ones.

The VECO case and indictments should be instructive as they play out in court and more details are revealed. The challenge to Alaska will be to emerge stronger and healthier for the experience.

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