Newspaper's stance on moving fall session doesn't hold up

Posted: Tuesday, July 17, 2007

It was not a great surprise to read in the Anchorage Daily News that the paper is beating its drum for the fall special session to be held in Anchorage ("Next meeting: Oil Tax session should be within easy reach of Alaskans," published July 5).

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But, frankly I was astonished at the arguments.

Argument 1: A greater population equates to more people accessing the session.

I can attest that at the June special session in Anchorage there were not long lines of folks competing for seats. In fact, there were probably no more than 50 people altogether, similar to the number of folks who view the Legislature in action in Juneau. But what was more important than the lack of bodies was the lack of "Gavel to Gavel." That meant thousands of people were denied access to the proceedings via television.

Argument 2: A small "isolated" town is more susceptible to corruption.

It isn't by chance that the majority of states have their capitals located outside their population centers. I am sure there are many reasons for a certain geographical detachment, but one is that the large pressure groups don't have quite the ease of access they might have in the large cities.

According to the ADN, Anchorage's ordinary citizens would be more scrutinizing. The newspaper must be talking about its 50 citizens in attendance, because no one had access to "Gavel to Gavel." Clearly it believes its ordinary citizens would intimidate not only the actions of those less scrupulous legislators, but those Big Oil lobbyists who were now only a few blocks away.

Juneau has the facilities. Juneau is the historic capital for all Alaskans. Let's dispense with meaningless arguments and support our capital in Juneau.

Rep. Andrea Doll


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