Pubdate: Fri, 21 May 1999
Source: Anchorage Daily News (AK)
Copyright: 1999 The Anchorage Daily News
Author: (1) Peter Jenkins; (2) Randy Knauff; (3) Dave Rudisill


A group of our esteemed legislators wants to limit our ability to express
ourselves through the initiative process. They claim we are not smart enough
to understand the issues and are too easily swayed by special interests.
This from a group of people whom special interest groups spend millions of
dollars annually lobbying to influence their votes. This highly intelligent,
well-informed group has not come close to solving the subsistence problem in
10 years, nor have they come up with a long-range financial plan to deal
with the state's budget problems.

When the budget is cobbled together in the remaining hours of the session,
it is doubtful that a single representative or senator has read the complete
document or understands what is in it. In the past, this has never stopped
them from voting for it. In the same vein, it is not uncommon for
legislation to be so poorly written that it has to be corrected the next
session. The concealed-carry law is an instance.

So when we express our overwhelming opinion on such issues as medical
marijuana, billboards and game management, it is not surprising that some
egotistical, special-interest-serving legislators claim they need to modify
the will of the people.

They have one thing going for them: Enough of us were swayed by their
election propaganda to send them down there.

Peter Jenkins, Eagle River


Regarding Bill Turnbull's letter of May 15:

There is a way to get a letter added to the alphabet. The people of Alaska
said they did not want a less restrictive road sign bill, so the Republican
majority of our Legislature passed one anyway.

Alaskans said they wanted a tobacco tax, so the Republican majority did
everything it could to avoid passing one.

Alaskans said they wanted medical use of marijuana legal, so the Republican
majority is trying to curtail much of that right.

Alaskans said they did not want same-day killing of wolves by flying hunters
except under extreme emergency situations, so the Republican majority is
changing that to nonemergency situations.

Alaskans want to be able to challenge some of that Republican majority's
unconstitutional bills and get some of their legal fees back when the courts
agree the Republican bills were wrong, so the Republican majority is trying
to enact a law to keep the Alaska citizen winners from getting fair money
back they wouldn't have had to
spend if the bills weren't wrong.

You can see that all you have to do is pass an initiative or show that
Alaskans have thought about it and decided they want to subtract a letter
from the alphabet. Our wonderful Republican majority will again take the
position that Alaskans really don't know how to think clearly, don't
understand an issue, or need to be lead by the ethical, astute Legislature
and will pass a bill adding a letter to the alphabet.

P.S. Polls are cheaper than initiatives. Try that first.

Randy Knauff, Anchorage


Let me see if I understand this.

Alaskans qualified an initiative to reform campaign financing. The
Legislature, to prevent it from becoming law, passed substantially similar
legislation. Then the Legislature rewrites the law, gutting it.

Alaskans passed an initiative to allow medical use of marijuana. Then the
Legislature writes new law, gutting it.

Alaskans voted on an initiative to ban wolf snaring, passed an initiative to
ban billboards and is generally threatening to pass the laws it wants over
the heads of the Legislature. So the Legislature writes two laws making it
harder to qualify initiatives and to pass them into law.

We have a $1 billion budget deficit. The Legislature responds by spending
all but the last few days of the session cutting $40 million from the budget
(leaving only a $960 million deficit).

Clearly, the Legislature holds us in contempt. I suppose lawmakers are aware
that the feeling is mutual.

Dave Rudisill, Anchorage

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