Give legislators a chance

Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2002

The election is over and our legislators have been selected. This newspaper was full of endorsements and letters of support for the winners. Without exception, Kim Elton, Beth Kerttula and Bruce Weyhrauch have been described as good and solid choices. During their campaigns we heard things like: experience means more than party affiliation, they can work with the members of the majority, and they are effective. So why don't we give them a chance to prove themselves?

Although some of our Assembly members were openly supportive of certain legislative candidates, it is now obvious that they really do not believe our legislators do a good job for Juneau. I say that because the Assembly is once again planning to spend $100,000 of taxpayer money to hire lobbyists to do what our legislators told us that they would do if we elected them.

I think the Assembly owes the residents of Juneau an explanation. Please tell us exactly what a lobbyist can do for our city that a legislator cannot do. As I see it, the only thing they can do is give taxpayer money back to Assembly members as campaign contributions.

Maybe our system is all wrong. Possibly we should be electing our lobbyists and hiring our legislators. Frankly, if I were a legislator, I would be embarrassed by the lack of confidence.

Our Assembly members obviously believe the people who want to move the Legislature have a valid reason to want more access to their legislators. If we can't trust our legislators who live in the capital city, how can we expect others to feel differently about their representatives?

Steven H. Schlaffman


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