Just don't do it

Posted: Friday, November 09, 2001

Dan Travis' view on the review process in Juneau (Tuesday's Empire) is one that needs to be repeated to make sure that everyone understands it.

"Life in government, naturally risk-averse in the best of circumstances, is now defined by procedure. When in doubt, have another round of process. Anyone upset? Have a hearing. Still upset? Have another hearing. Still upset? Order a new study or organize a task force. Any disagreement, resulting from a process that's lasted years, is blown up into a claim of unfairness. No one worries about actually getting things done. Nor does anyone analyze whether anything important came out of all the hearings or whether the minute detail of an environmental impact statement, often hundreds of pages long, illuminated or obscured environmental concerns. The process has become all-important to the detriment of decision making. Doing things right trumps doing the right thing. The end result is that no one is happy except bureaucrats. Does this sound familiar? The road out of town, the second crossing, bears, noise, long-range fiscal plans, ad infinitum. Come on Juneau. For once, do the right thing."

Protect that pristine environment of North Douglas Island for the enjoyment of present and future Juneauites. The proposed new golf course. Just don't do it!

My point, of course, is that if his advice on process (i.e. don't drag it out) is followed, doing the "right thing" just might not be the thing that he prefers.

Richard Renninger


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