Wake up Alaskans! Your rights are disappearing!
I’m a 47 year Alaska resident and very worried about our future! Rights of Alaska citizens have been seriously eroded by Governor Parnell and his administration. They are systematically reducing and eliminating public involvement in major governmental decisions. Public input is ignored. Secrecy abounds resulting in greatly increased power for the Governor. Citizens have been left with little or no recourse over decisions affecting their lives. Examples:
■ Cancelled voter passed Cruise Ship Wastewater bill.
■ Struck “conserve, enhance and future generations” from DNR mission statement.
■ Refused Medicaid expansion.
Some major policies eliminating citizen’s rights were aborted only by negative public reaction:
■ Major changes to the Pubic Retiree Health Plan.
■ House Bill 77 – Dan Sullivan “streamlined the system” by silencing public input on natural resource permitting issues.
Education and essential services have suffered budget cuts but the Governor and Legislature are obligating the State to great debt for his priorities, which received significant public opposition:
■ Juneau road $574 million.
■ Road to Ambler – Private for Canadian mining company $430 million.
■ Knik Arm Bridge $1.6 billion
■ Suisitna Dam $5.2 billion
For 30 years the Coastal Management program gave citizens and communities a say in management of Alaska’s coast, fish, and animals. It died in the legislature. A citizen-sponsored initiative to restore it was defeated as the Governor and legislators said it needed modification. Nothing was done. Alaska, with the longest coastline in the United States, is now the only state without a coastal management program.
The State initiated lawsuits against citizens. Legislation resulted in prohibitive costs for citizens and non-profits:
■ Sued former First Lady Bella Hammond and Vic Fisher for $1 million.
■ Sued Minto for removing a child from a dangerous home.
■ Attorney General Dan Sullivan pursued a case against subsistence re: Katie John.
The biggest concern is secrecy in government!
“Public access to government information is a fundamental right that operates to check and balance the actions of elected and appointed officials and to maintain citizen control of government.” Alaska Public Records Act
Governor Parnell refused to make public documents critical for controlling the power of state government.
■ Oil Tax -Two international oil consulting firms were contracted by the State to produce a model of current tax systems, potential changes to them and produce detailed reports during the legislative session. The Governor refused to release contracted reports and allow the legislature to speak with consultants.
■ Medicaid Expansion – Refused.
■ National Guard Report – A lawsuit forced agreement to eventually release the records.
Major decisions made in meetings between Governor Parnell and multinational oil companies are not public.
■ Oil Tax legislation – Created secretly and not vetted by the legislature. FOR THE FIRST TIME The State Treasury is obligated to pay North Slope companies that don’t make a profit 35 – 45% of their losses and also 35% of normal costs for companies without production until oil/gas reaches a pipeline. We receive no profit share. Look it up at #4 http://www.legis.state.ak.us/PDF/28/F/SB0021-14-5-041213–41213-REV-Y.PDF .
■ Point Thompson – Negotiations between the Governor and Exxon were secret!
■ Gas Line –“Legislators and their staff will need to sign the confidentiality agreement and complete confidentiality training prior to the sharing of confidential information and any agreements to which DNR and the Department of Revenue are a party.”
Citizen power is in the ballot box! Elect honest officials with integrity and a belief in open government who are willing to address problems and solve them in a bipartisan manner.