Let's decide message, spread it far and wide

Posted: Sunday, August 19, 2001

It's been sad to read Juneau's debate over the capital move in the media recently. It seems to me that the capital move is such a threat to Juneau's livelihood that our response to it should unify us, not divide us. Instead, the capital move has become a wedge in our community, and created a lot of finger-pointing and accusations.

When I picked up the Anchorage paper last week while I was up North, I was shocked to find an AP story (picked up from the Juneau Empire) in which Juneauites were blaming members of our community for losing support to keep the capital. It seemed as if we'd already lost the fight and were trying to find someone to blame.

When folks in our community make negative statements about our image in other Alaskan communities, it only serves to reinforce those perceptions. Especially when it appears in the Anchorage paper! It seems to me that we need more information to better fight to protect the capital. We need to engage in a fully modern campaign. That means figuring out what message will convince the rest of Alaska that keeping Juneau as the capital makes the most sense. We need to use state-of-the-art focus groups and polls to test various messages and hone in on the best one. Then we need to get that message out far and wide.

Hopefully, we've gotten rid of all of our collective frustrations through the recent bout of finger-pointing. I hope Juneau is ready to stand together behind a single message on why the Capitol belongs here. That's the only way we can, and will, win.

Marc Wheeler

Areawide Assembly Member

City and Borough of Juneau

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