My turn: Mat-Su wants Juneau's economy

Posted: Tuesday, May 29, 2007

This is in response to The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman editorial published in the Juneau Empire on May 24.

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I am sick and tired of the disingenuous nonsense that constantly boils out of the Mat-Su area concerning the location of the state capital. Fess up, for goodness sake! If the Frontiersman wants to take away Juneau's economy because the Mat-Su area doesn't want to have to build its own, then just state it up front. Stop clamoring about "access to government officials" or "location of the Capitol with respect to the constituents" ... blah, blah, blah.

If the editorial writer even half-believed this load of baloney, then he or she should explain why we haven't heard ANY complaints about Rep. Don Young or Sen. Ted Stevens being "too far away."

And we definitely haven't heard any complaints about how all those millions of people in California are disadvantaged because the national capital is stuck way out in the boondocks of Washington, D.C. After all, California is the population center of the United States, so the capital should be in Los Angeles, right?

There are tons of ways we can address the problems Mat-Su is clamoring about without moving the capital. For starters, why don't we try contacting our legislators during the nine months of the year when they are not in session and are kicking around town (or was the editorial writer insinuating the need for more influence on non-Mat-Su legislators?).

Next, why don't we mandate that legislators have to respond to legitimate requests from constituents in their district, whether they are received via phone, letter or e-mail? (Imagine that!)

And if that isn't enough, why don't we enact legislation that disallows any lobbyist contact with the legislators during session? Get that folks? Make the lobbyists lobby in the district just like all the other constituents. This way, when legislators go against the will of their constituents, there will be no one to blame but the legislators themselves.

As you can see, the problems that the folks in Mat-Su are claiming are the result of the capital's location are anything but. Truth be told, they just want to swipe an established economy so that they don't have to actually build one of their own. There are a bunch of contractors salivating at all the government contracts that such a relocation would require - contracts to build what we already have.

I understand the logic there (after all, it is human nature to want what others have). What I won't tolerate is the disingenuity. State what it is you really want. Why hide it? Say it loudly and proudly!

That way, when or if the capital moves, we all can start petitions to have it moved again ... and again ... and again, because every other community in Alaska will be able to make the same disingenuous arguments Mat-Su is making now.

• Patrick McGonegal is a longtime Juneau resident.

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