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By J. P. Tangen
For Mining News 

Now is time to exercise your franchise

Alaska will probably remain a resource development state well into the distant future, and Alaskans need to vote accordingly

 

Last updated 9/28/2014 at Noon



All the rhetoric in the world will not be sufficient to mobilize the electorate to get off its collective derrière and fulfill its sacred duty to vote, unless the subject matter strikes a personal chord. I am mindful of the recent plebiscite in the United Kingdom where the question was up or down of whether Scotland should cease to be a part of Great Britain. Well over 80 percent of the eligible voters actually cast their ballots, and in some jurisdictions the vote approached 100 percent. We, in Alaska, should be so lucky; however, Nov. 4 is approaching rapidly, and it is time to consider the consequences of being too busy to vote.

First, there is the hotly contested senatorial race. In the current environment, it is extremely hard to see how the incumbent junior senator can hope to persuade a majority that he should be returned to Washington. He won his first election in the very tiny window between the late Sen. Ted Stevens' conviction and his exoneration of criminal misconduct, and then only by a miniscule vote. His major opponent, although untried in elective office, seems sufficiently qualified to be given a chance.

Next, the present governor stands tall in the field of candidates, primarily because the opposition parties simply are in such a state of disarray that they cannot disambiguate their message beyond being against whatever the other side supports.

Of course, the congressman for all Alaska is unimpeachable, so there is little to speak of beyond a quiet sigh. Straight and steady wins the course.

Likewise, with regard to the capitol, notwithstanding the decadal redistricting exercise, it is likely that most of the good hands that have served us well during the last session will be re-anointed, with the help of you, the interested reader. Alaskans don't have to look too deeply in the rearview mirror to see the reflection of the impossible coalition that transfixed the state senate before 2012.

That brings us to the ballot propositions. Propositions 2, 3, and 4 are, if nothing else, a brief catalogue of why we need to redo the proposition process. Prop 2 deals with legalization of marijuana, for some ungodly reason. I submit that most of us don't really have much interest in the recreational use of marijuana, and that the rest of us can readily get it with only a modest effort. The fact that the proponents of legalization want to invite the entire bureaucracy to meddle in their affairs underscores how little they understand about doing business. My recommendation is that they grow it and blow it without benefit of governmental oversight.

Prop 3 deals with raising the minimum wage. As is typically the case, this is a Trojan Horse kind of concept. Low-wage earners stereotypically are not famous for their voting records or their conscientious involvement in public affairs. Organized labor appears to be financially supporting this proposition; therefore, it is likely that this constituency perceives that it will derive a commensurate reward by its passage. Beware of gifts-bearing Greeks.

Prop 4, of course is the biggie in this field.

It calls for legislative approval of certain projects after they are permitted.

In other words, after all the regulatory hoops have been jumped through, at no small expense, the People's House would be afforded the opportunity to veto a project.

The concepts begs the question, "Why bother?" Regulatory compliance is not perfect, and it may not be comprehensive - I am sure there is an exception to something somewhere; but the Legislature has established the regulatory agencies and charged them with a mission, due primarily to the fact that most legislators don't have in-depth expertise to pass judgment on most so-called scientific standards for most projects.

The common sense approach to the regulation of projects is to hire a vast bureaucracy for that purpose and allow it to do the assigned job.

For me, dealing with the several propositions is always an easy "No" vote on all of them, not only the current ones but also every other one that comes along until it is time to consider leaving the kingdom - in that case I'll vote my conscience.

I cannot help thinking about the upcoming election without thinking about the battle for Alaska's Statehood. A significant issue then as now dealt with who will pay the bills. In 1954, then-Gov. Heintzleman proposed that Alaska be a much smaller state than what was subsequently created. Heintzleman's Alaska would not include anything north of the Brooks Range or west of the 152nd Meridian due to the lack of a population base that could support the new state. President Eisenhower was also concerned that Alaska would be vulnerable to Soviet invasion. Somehow these melodies linger on to this present day.

Alaska is a source of global resources. Many of these resources are derived from remote locations, and many more could be; yet we are constantly confronted by those who seemingly don't comprehend this basic fact.

Periodically, we get to cast a ballot on the fundamental issues that affect our lives. Rise to the challenge. Vote for our future on Nov. 4.

 

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