Street parties and leashes

Posted: Friday, November 29, 2002

I write in support and acknowledgment of Becky Carls (Nov. 26) and Steven R. Schlaffman (Nov. 27) for their letters. I commend their wit and intelligence in arriving at the points they made.

Becky Carls had real civic initiative in researching out the discrepancy of Election Day reports of extraordinary voter turnout by those manning the polls, and the final published report of mediocre turnout. Juneauites do deserve a pat on the back for what was logically heavy voter involvement - even a street party in celebration of this level of care for each other!

I suggest that the Division of Elections heed Becky Carls' logic. They should run a computer sort program between registered voters and those holding a drivers license or state I.D. The registered voters who show up unmatched should be sent a verification form in the interest of voter roll accuracy. Those who respond should get a simple thank you award. Those who don't should have their names published as people who will lose their voter registration and need to reapply to support effective democracy.

Steven H. Schlaffman is right that the Juneau Assembly owes the people of Juneau an explanation for a $100,000 expenditure of Juneau taxpayers' money for lobbyists. We just elected legislators to represent Juneau with what may prove to be one of Juneau's greatest actual voter turnouts. Now the tradition of lobbying is usually defended because of its use in educating legislators in "diverse issues." But this conceals apparently widespread lack confidence in our form of representative government - because legislator education could be done with less bias.

I assert that the Juneau Assembly has the following choices: 1) Don't pay for lobbyists and insist that Alaska legislators regulate lobbying - particularly that which blocks actual constituent and area representation - as instructed by the Alaska Constitution itself; 2) place Juneau's compensated lobbyists under the jurisdiction of our three elected lawmakers to give them direct administrative support; 3) continue to sabotage our form of government by insisting on an expensive dependence on lobbyists to effectively represent Juneau's interests.

Stuart Thompson

Auke Bay



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