Politics as usual and a clarification from Monday

Posted: Sunday, June 24, 2001

Our story on Gov. Knowles' "must have" legislative scorecard in Monday's paper may have given the governor a bit too much credit for the final bill. Overlooked was the fact that HB 260's primary sponsor was Rep. Eldon Mulder. The co-sponsor, Rep. Beth Kerttula, also deserves credit for striking a fair compromise in an 11th-hour, bipartisan effort to hammer out an agreement that all parties could live with.

The governor's version of a cruise ship bill, HB 183, originally introduced in March, failed to receive a hearing and differed greatly from the final draft of the successful bill.

The special session called by the governor did generate solid legislation, although some can argue that the session was unnecessary and a workable bill would have come from the next session anyway.

It is unfortunate that both parties seem to direct so much of their energy toward politicking rather than doing the people's business. The reality of the democratic process, however, accepts that quest for power and influence is always at the forefront of most issues that pass through the center of government.

Alaska is a big state with big concerns - transportation, health, education, resource management and long-range fiscal responsibility, to name a few. If our politicians were to put as much creativity into solving these problems as they devote to redistricting, we would be ahead of the game.

The Reapportionment Board's just-released proposal will see further wrangling as lawsuits will inevitably be filed over the next month. There is the possibility that final district lines won't be resolved in time for the fall 2002 elections. The last go-around took three years to resolve. It may be time to review the reapportionment process and install reasonable limits that would eliminate the opportunity for Rube-Goldberg style engineering.

Alaska Airlines scores Washington, D.C., route

Elsewhere in today's issue is the great news that Alaska Airlines has gained approval to begin service to Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., this fall. This coast-to-coast route is a big coup for Alaska and for Alaska Airlines.

In a relatively short time frame, an effort was launched across Alaska and the Pacific Northwest to marshal support for Alaska Airline's quest for the coveted D.C. route. The rally cry produced fantastic support from all sectors including the business community, our state and federal elected officials, customers and employees.

Alaska Airlines provides a vital link between Alaska and the rest of the world. The addition of this important east-west route will greatly benefit the long-range economic opportunities for Alaska.

Don Smith

dssmith@juneauempire.com



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