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Madman disapproves of Prop. 1

Posted: Friday, October 29, 2004

Low Tide By Brandon Loomis

I'm the dense one around here, I guess, because I don't see how making it harder or more expensive to get a voter initiative on the ballot secures the capital in Juneau or saves us from the whims of the dreaded Outsiders.

If you're planning on voting for Ballot Measure 1 on Tuesday, chances are you've heard that it's an antidote to perpetual efforts to wrest the seat of government from us and put it nearer population centers up north. It's not a crazy notion. Logic tells us that forcing petition drives into more communities statewide and forcing them to get a minimum of 7 percent of the number of voters in each district makes it harder for Anchorage to call the shots. I just don't think the logic carries through to the end and immunizes us. I suspect I could sign up 7 percent of Juneau's voters to support dishing off the capital, and believe me, many in Ketchikan and Sitka would sign just to see you cry (and to beat your diminished basketball team).

It's costly for Juneau to battle capital-move efforts, and it's natural to look for a tall obstacle. But voters have weighed in on moving the capital before, and so far they've given no indication they're willing to pay for an unnecessary move to some strip mall in suburban Southcentral Alaska. Is it really worth diluting direct democracy and, ironically, favoring monied interests (animal rights, oil, all kinds of heathens from the Lower 48 come to mind) in an initiative process that so far has not been abused in this state?

Perhaps it is telling that legislative minority Democrats, including Juneau's Rep. Beth Kerttula and House candidate Bob Doll, wince at the implications of an amendment that sounds nice but might not be after all. Pass Ballot Measure 1 and the Legislature retains more of the state's balance of power. Juneau can defend the capital on its merits.

•••

I like salted peanuts for a number of reasons. One is that they are a most American food, and they go perfectly with watery American lager. One is that I love baseball stadiums and, for that matter, any place where you can throw your garbage on the floor. One is for what that great American, George Washington Carver, did with them. But another, and the most important, is that they're adaptable. I approach each one with the assumption that I will crack the shell between my thumb and forefinger and discard the shell. But something like every fifth peanut has different ideas. And so, I eat every fifth peanut shell, happily. That's where the salt is.

Thursday on this page my colleague Korry Keeker made a desperate plea to save the late Charles Schulz's stale comic strip, which he uses as a blankie to remind him of innocent times. Peanuts, he said, was threatened with exile from the Empire's pages unless readers spoke out.

One day isn't enough to judge the public pulse, but here's the one reader response I've seen so far: "Peanuts was never a favorite of mine, but I stopped reading it entirely when Schulz died for the same reasons I rarely watch the same movie twice."

We'll stand by for more comments, but here's what I say. Peanuts ain't adaptable. Peanuts ain't funny. Peanuts ain't even salty. Choosy readers will choose change.

• Brandon Loomis is city editor of the Juneau Empire and can be reached at brandon.loomis@juneauempire.com.



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