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The Empire endorses

Posted: Sunday, November 05, 2000

U.S. House

Don Young's combative style doesn't always seem justified, but it gets results. His seniority makes him a pivotal member of Congress. We share his optimism and agree Alaska does have a brighter future than any other state. He's greatly preferable to his largely inexperienced and somewhat uninformed opponents.

House District 3

Mike Race offers the solid credentials of an Alaska workingman, having been employed as a commercial fisherman, truck driver, volunteer fireman, bartender and ski instructor before becoming the owner of a real estate company. He is valued as a citizen volunteer. In challenging incumbent Beth Kerttula, he focuses on what he can deliver as a Republican vs. the difficulties she faces as a member of the House minority.

A community's needs are not based and government's response to needs should not be based on party affiliation. The partisanship manifest in Congress is a model to be avoided, not emulated, at our statehouse.

Kerttula knows the issues thoroughly. She is smart, moderate, experienced and bi-partisan in her approach. She deserves re-election.

House District 4

Republican Bill Hudson knows the meaning of moderation and value of bi-partisanship. We admire his reasonable tone and his hard work on behalf of our community. He will serve us well in his next term.

Ballot Measure 1

The citizens of Alaska should not give away their right to make laws through the initiative process. For reasons explained at length in our editorial of Oct. 29, we oppose this measure.

Ballot Measure 2

We oppose this measure limiting judicial involvement in ballot measures, which uses a wrecking ball to swat a gnat.

Ballot Measure 3

Opponents describe this measure as a "legislative power grab" because it provides for legislative confirmation or rejection of a governor's appointees to boards of corporations that manage significant state assets, the Alaska Permanent Fund Board being the prime example. An appointment system can be abused by a governor or by legislators. On balance, we favor legislative review and passage of this measure.

Ballot Measure 4

Property tax caps should be set locally rather than by statewide formula. This cap would devastate the delivery of public services, including education, in Juneau and elsewhere. We vigorously oppose this measure.

Ballot Measure 5

A society that accepts alcohol and tobacco as legal while demonizing marijuana has a blind spot. This measure would regulate marijuana in the same way alcohol is regulated. Underage possession still would be a crime. The beneficial uses of marijuana for paper, fiber, food, fuel and medicine would be possible.

Except they would not.

Federal law proscribes marijuana possession. Alaska may be ready to be more realistic about marijuana, but if the U.S. government isn't, that's probably all that matters. The amnesty and restitution provisions of the measure also are troubling because they imply that it was - or should be - OK to violate a law with which one disagrees.

We oppose the measure.

Ballot Measure 6

We support this measure, which overturns the Legislature's partial reinstatement of same-day airborne land-and-shoot wolf hunting - a practice that had been banned in statewide vote in 1996.

President

There is a chance Alaska, the nation and the world will end up better off if George W. Bush or Al Gore is elected president. There is a chance, too, that economic prosperity, social equality, education, health care, the environment, and peace will erode regardless of whether Bush or Gore is elected.

The issues are more daunting than many people care to admit. Consider oil supply instability; illegal drugs; global warming; the high cost of medical care; quality of public education; abortion rights; political partisanship; military preparedness; international terrorism; the rich-poor gap at home and abroad; food supplies; college costs.

Are Bush or Gore up to the challenges of leadership? Is either nominee inspired or inspiring?

The candidates say they are. The polls say a substantial number of Americans have their doubts. We share those doubts and join the overwhelming majority of Americans who have even greater doubts about the candidates of minor parties.

Gore is the intellectual superior of Bush, but the vice president imagines himself to have been in the historical and pop culture spotlight more often than Forrest Gump. He reinvents himself from campaign stop to campaign stop. In trying too hard to please, he appears politically clumsy a serial exaggerator.

Bush's positions on issues have been more consistent yet less palatable. His vision for the nation is as limited as his experience and as scripted as a pro wrestling match. Bush reached his mid-40s still not sure what he wanted to do with his life. His father's early ouster from the White House propelled Bush on a mission of restoration.

In lieu of damning with the faint praise of a lukewarm endorsement, we were prepared not to endorse at all. The events of the past three days forced us to reconsider.

It is not merely that Bush drank and drove at age 30, as we learned on Thursday. Nor that he failed as a presidential candidate to disclose that he drank and drove and was caught.

It is that when asked in 1998 by the Dallas Morning News if he had been arrested since 1968, two years after he was involved in a minor theft while at Yale, Bush said "No." Bush covered up in 1998 what he was forced to admit on Thursday: He had been arrested for a criminal offense that Americans take seriously.

It is that Bush lied - not that he exaggerated.

It also is that Bush has made restoring honor and dignity to the office of the president a centerpiece of his campaign. And that Bush has tarred Gore for having served as Bill Clinton's vice president. This is the same Gore who chose as his running mate their party's leading critic of Mr. Clinton's behavior.

It also is that Bush says he did not reveal his drunk driving arrest because he wanted to protect his family.

Did Mr. Clinton engage in inappropriate behavior and then lie about it to protect his family?

Bush seeks to discredit the revelation of his DUI conviction on the basis of it having been revealed by a Democrat. When you lie about your criminal record, you have no room to complain about who sets the record straight, governor.

In 1998, the Empire called on Mr. Clinton to resign or be impeached on the basis of his lies. Now, suddenly and unexpectedly, the Republican presidential nominee also has betrayed our trust.

In this contest, neither Bush nor Gore was going to earn our enthusiastic endorsement. We can, however, be optimistic.

Our endorsement is lukewarm and it goes to Gore. Sigh.



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