Thursday, June 22, 2006

Guv and Lite Guv, Live and Let Live

I'm pretty sure my target audience has dropped down to Ted Turnbuckle from Homer and 'Dutch' Degausser from Dillingham who both are on the beach with an ingrown chest hair each.

This old Southeast Alaska school-house was structurally good, but put to a different use. Some fisheries bodies politic in Alaska are the same. They should be sent to the nearest cannery and put on the slime line.

Alaska resident fishermen and coastal Alaska fishermen from other states are off the line, peddal to the metal, in just about all fisheries now. I got some nice chum salmon flown in today to try fixing a few different ways. A hot-shot young Chef here, and myself, have some ideas for finished products.

So I'm down to talking to seafood brokers and retired crabbers. But even retired crabbers are hard to find at their computer this time of year. There's always some deck to climb on somewhere. With all due respect to the Gubernatorial candidates in Alaska, I guess I'll talk politics while the fishermen are gone. This way I'll greatly reduce the chances of them telling policician jokes about me later.

Stephen Taufen's column in AlaskaReport got me going today I guess. My gosh, if Ethan Berkowitz could pull off all that his fisheries advisor told him to say, on the candidate for Governor's behalf, there would be no problems, mate. But ya gotta back up a sec. Tony Knowles doesn't have an agreement with his Lite Guv running mate by a long shot. This prescription for the industry's health could have been gleaned right out of my blog. And to all of a sudden "see their pain" when referring to fishermen he may have talked to recently, where was he the last thirty years?

But back up again. You have the fisheries advisor to Ethan, then the Lite Guv candidate himself, then you have the Gubernatorial candidate. The recommendations came from the advisor apparently. Think how much more stock you put in a member of your immediate family than in a second cousin. Heck, I don't even know any second cousins, much less want them advising me on important matters. Maybe on the brand of hotdogs at some family reunion. Maybe.

If Ethan Berkowitz thinks sending a letter, on what we have been telling him all along, will help him help Tony, well, thats really wishful thinking. Tony has no obligation to use Ethan's plagarized thesis whatsoever. Look at the current Lite Guv, Loren Lehman. He was a setnetter from Nikiski, he's a sharp guy too and a pretty straight shooter, but did that slow down one of the lead architechs of privatization of the resources, Governor Murkowski? Less than a light breeze would a state ferry.

Tony Knowles has shown his stripes the first time, and the second time. You gotta say, fishermen are smarter now. I don't know Sarah Palin, the other leading candidate for Governor of Alaska, but if she just lets these other guys hang themselves like they are doing, she'll win by a landslide.

As Stephen so aptly put it, it's going to take a breakthrough in the ethics arena to straighten out the mess Alaska has gotten itself into. Like that famous Petersburgite, Sue Paulson, said many years ago, "yes, we butter no parsnips." Actually that's a little spin on what she said, but the point is, fishermen (remember the Kodiak NPFM council meeting?) and at least Sarah Palin, have no intention of doing the Texas two-step around all the issues and not be pro-active for Alaska.

Is all someone has to do to turn the state around is sit in the Governors office and say we're going to do the right thing. Tony Knowles had two chances to say that already. Sarah exhibits the desire to be that kind of Governor. Of course those stripes could fall off in half a year, you be the judge. I'm sure not going back up there without a real "right thing" Governor. When I worked for state government I told the Director of the Office of Commercial Fisheries Development, a Dem., that I intended to do the right thing. That got nothing but a howl of laughter.

Do you know how much more productive state government would be if there was a climate of trying to actually help people, and not just buy their affections with a bone or two thrown their way once in awhile? (Mostly this attitude just gives the public white elephants.) And all the time they give away all the meat for political favors. That's what Tony did, remember?

Tony will certainly get all the loot to campaign with. Everybody else is going to have to rely on a lot of volunteers. I remember an old guy standing by the main highway in Juneau for a month before an election and he was leading in the polls a few days before the election. The guy wasn't even a candidate. He was just fooling around.

And look for a lot of folks to be changing their tune slightly with Sarah leading in the polls. It'll be time for some folks in Juneau to start posturing like mad. We just need to remember what they were or weren't saying a few months ago. Maybe I'll quickly go to Juneau and make up a title like, "President of the American Fish and Shellfish Harvesters Union Amalgamated, LTD." like so many other political aspirants do. Heck, nobody ever came around to ask if there was an election anyway.

The only legitimate voice for fishermen are the Regional Seafood Development Associations which are state sanctioned, and who monitor the elections. What few of them there are, anyway. But like I hear, the young fishermen didn't cut their teeth on a mandatory tax for "fuzzy marketing." They are the ones who object to a 'new tax.' It's not much of an issue with the older guys who got used to not seeing 1% of their landings.

And you have areas of the state where there is an unearthly battle for control of the fishermen's "boom-box." I use that expression because my two kids that are in wheelchairs used to fight over control of the boom-box. There wasn't much else to fight over, so the point of simply being in control was pretty plain. Whether any music got going or not.