What others say: Trash the capitol move idea

  • Wednesday, January 14, 2015 4:39pm
  • Opinion

Last week, Sen.-elect Bill Stoltze, a Republican from Chugiak, went public with his plans to file legislation that would move the Alaska Legislature from Anchorage to Juneau. The capital would still be in Juneau, but the capitol would depart.

We have nothing against Sen. Stoltze; he’s no doubt a smart man. Unfortunately for him, he’s bringing forward a dumb idea. As the state stares at a multibillion-dollar fiscal gap and cancels projects to make ends meet, the last thing the state needs is to spend time and money examining a capitol move — let alone the cost of the move itself.

Should the Legislature decide it has ample time to discuss a move of the capitol, there are other pressing items it should probably take up:

— Moving Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson to Southeast Alaska;

— Naming an official state color;

— Another joint resolution asking for Mount McKinley to be officially renamed Denali;

— and proclaiming an official state chewing gum.

Stoltze’s bill will go nowhere — Gov. Bill Walker has said he does not favor moving the capitol, and Stoltze’s proposal will be opposed from every Juneau legislator and (we suspect) many others tired of Anchorage being the tail that wags Alaska’s dog.

Bills like Stoltze’s have come and gone with past legislatures. In January 1999, Rep. Vic Kohring of Wasilla prefiled a bill similar to Stoltze’s plan. “I just thought I’d file the bill and see if we can get some dialogue going,” he said at the time. “Whether we get it through is, like in the past, somewhat questionable.”

Kim Elton, who would become a senator from Juneau at the start of that Legislative session, said bills like Kohring’s take so much effort to fight that they divert attention from worthy efforts. “The frustrating thing about these is you spend an awful lot of time and energy on something like this,” Elton said at the time.

What was true then is still true.

Capital, and capitol, move bills are wasteful. They divert attention from worthy legislation and gum up the Legislature’s workings simply so Anchorage-area legislators like Stoltze can preen before their constituents.

There is too much to be done this session. The Legislature must examine marijuana regulations. It must examine schools and public safety. It must manage the state budget.

Starting on the third Tuesday of the month, it will have 90 days to do all of this. It has no time to waste.

— Juneau Empire,

Jan. 13

More in Opinion

A “Vote Here” sign is seen at the City of Kenai building on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Voices of the Peninsula: Get out there and Vote!

The League of Women Voters on the Kenai and Kenai Peninsula Votes created this voter guide for the mayoral election

Taz Tally. (Photo by Christina Whiting/courtesy)
Point of View: I stand with drag queens

I changed my perspective when I saw my first drag queen show in Montreal in 1964

U.S. Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka and former President Donald Trump stand on stage during a July 2022 rally in Anchorage. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Tshibaka’s insincere defense of democracy

There are a lot of possible explanations why fewer votes were cast last November

Capitol
Opinion: Humanism and the billionaire class

Compromise is the right thing to do and they should do it.

tt
Opinion: The challenged truths of 3 elected representatives

“Politicians lying is nothing new.”

This photo shows the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: The wrong way to define demand

And as glaciers go, the Mendenhall is only a minor attraction.

Zachary Hamilton (Courtesy photo)
Borough mayoral candidate: ‘The best is yet to come’

Zachary Hamilton is running for Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor in the special election

Love, INC in Soldotna, Alaska, provides homelessness prevention and housing services to people on the Kenai Peninsula. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Opinion: COVID relief funds help homeless children in Alaska

We need to sustain this kind of investment.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy holds a press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: Alaska must act now to capitalize on carbon markets

Alaska has vast forests and coastlines that can provide natural carbon management

1
Opinion: MLK Day clinics offered in the ‘spirit of service and advocacy for equality and social justice’

Attorneys across the state will be spending their holiday as “A Day On, Not a Day Off”

The M/V Tustumena comes into Homer after spending the day in Seldovia in 2010. (Homer News File)
Opinion: New federal funding could aid Alaska Marine Highway System

The evidence is clear that the AMHS is in grave danger of failing and moving into Alaska’s history books

(Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: I’ve seen the union difference

As a community we can show solidarity…