What others say: Location, location …

  • Monday, April 11, 2016 4:01pm
  • Opinion

Here we go again.

Seeing the growing likelihood that Gov. Bill Walker will call Alaska’s Legislature back into a special session to deal with the state fiscal situation, the Alaska Senate this week passed a resolution requesting the governor to please, please, please locate the session somewhere besides Alaska’s capital city of Juneau.

The resolution sponsored by Sen. Bill Stoltze, R-Railbelt (er, Chugiak), sites ongoing repairs at the state Capitol as one reason for wanting a special session to be held outside of Juneau. The other is that the “majority of the state’s population, along with the majority of legislators and staff, resides along the road system.”

Stoltze’ s resolution, which was approved by a 13-7 Senate vote and now is being considered by the House, supports a special session in the “least costly” and “most accessible” location on Alaska’s road system.

It’s worth noting there’d be no need for a special session if Stoltze and his peers would buckle down and deal with the state’s fiscal situation during the regular legislative session that’s scheduled to end on April 17.

And if Stoltze believes that a special session outside of the capital city would produce results any quicker, he’s quite forgotten the 2015 fiasco in which the Legislature gaveled out of a Walker-called special session and reconvened one of its own — in Anchorage. It took until June 11 for the Legislature to finally conclude its business. Apparently, the comforts of hearth and home wreak havoc on railbelt legislators’ ability to focus.

As for the cost issue, it should be noted that the senators who supported the resolution also voted down a proposed amendment by Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau. Egan’s amendment would have required the Legislature to certify that the non-Juneau location would be less expensive than Juneau for a session of equal length. If cost really was the issue, wouldn’t the Legislature want to be certain the cost would be less elsewhere?

It’s also worth noting that Stoltze and the other senators supporting this resolution actively sought legislative office, knowing full well that the Legislature meets in Alaska’s capital city of Juneau. Really folks, if you don’t want to go to the workplace, don’t run for the office.

We hope Gov. Walker, if there is to be a special session, requires it to occur in the rightful capital city of Juneau, not in some ad-hoc site along the Anchorage-Wasilla corridor.

But, if another location must be considered, we’d like to suggest the Alaska Marine Highway System — the road for much of the rest of Alaska.

We can’t take credit for the idea, but agree with the commenter who proposed that legislators ride the AMHS ferry Tustumena back and forth between Kodiak and Dutch Harbor until their business is finished.

The Tustumena, unfortunately, is undergoing maintenance in Ketchikan now through mid-May, but a good alternative would be the AMHS ferry Kennicott. The Kennicott is operating between Juneau and Kodiak through mid-May, and its accommodations for 450 passengers would provide ample room for legislators, their staffs and legislative support personnel.

— Ketchikan Daily News,

April 1

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