Monday, July 10, 2006

The Alaska Governor's race is about right and wrong vs. right or left

Like the old saying goes, "The only thing worse than beating a dead horse is betting on one." The predominant mind set about how to govern Alaska has caused a shambles in the fishing industry, is nearly costing Alaska it's oil wealth to some half-baked deal with oil behemoths, causing good government employees to flee, etc.

Fishermen being away from their desks in the summer is as bad as having their boats iced in.

Would you want to do good work and save the taxpayer money if your boss was jetting around on the taxpayer nickel to meet his yacht all over the place?

There's a lot of indication that voters won't be betting Alaska's future on the "same 'ol, same 'ol." They want to bet on themselves. They just need to get someone running things in Juneau who will let them do that. No more, "I have to make these tough decisions," which is code for "I have to make these ridiculously rich folks happy or I'm sunk. I have nothing else going for me and the voters will throw me out if I don't spend gobs of these rich guys' money to make me look good."

As an aside, another term for the listing of the "Most outrageous understatement or double-talk." The Native Americans appropriately called it "speaking with forked tongue." They were closer to the truth than anyone at the time imagined. The 85% of Americans that now profess to be Christians admonish to not walk around with a forked tail. But the new statement that joins "rationalization" and "water policy" is none other than "crew jobs have been reduced." And this from our own favorite Dr. Gunnar Knapp of the Institute of Social and Economic Research of the U of A. Guess who his boss is in Juneau?

The "billion dollar boys" need to wake up to the new realities of instant communication of every slight gaff and slight of hand. Your "internet" doesn't take until tomorow to reach you as Senator Stevens thinks.(Boy, everyone sure smells blood on that gaff. He's not likely to live that down.) But that's how it is anymore. There are dozens of ways to get your news that weren't around when these guys came to power, and I don't think they realize it. They sure don't know how it works.

Here's an e-mail from a reader that speaks of the new consciousness of fishermen in Alaska. The sooner we can empower fishermen themselves, instead of compromizing and self-appointed "fishermen's representatives" and seafood processing concerns, the better off Alaska will be. The Regional Seafood Development Associations are the only groups that can say they represent the rank and file fisherman and their families living in Alaska, and elsewhere. Their elections are monitored by the State.

Hi John,

"I use what passes for my free time volunteering for what I think is important for mine & everyones kids. Our family, like most, are having to work harder and longer these days trying to make the mortgage. Sure do appreciate all you do to keep us informed! Like many others, we feel we have to sleep with one eye open with all that is going on, and feel that your insight has been a vital element in our defense in "tracking the cheetah." ( re; S.Dochtermann, T.Haines) We all must inform & look out for one another."


This brings two points to mind.
One, fishermen's wives need to get more involved in their husbands affairs while they are out fishing. The guys write me full bore up until the starting gun of the new season, then silence. Then I get a tentative e-mail once in a while from the wives. Guys and gals, your competition is still at their desks!

That competition is mostly in the form of groups like the Pacific Seafood Processor's Association who has lobbyists in Juneau and Washington D.C. working nonstop to eek the most out of the value of the fish for themselves. How they do that is unfolding all the time on this web site. Politicians are involved and if they don't hear from the fishermen for long periods, guess who they listen to. The only chance I ever saw was for the RSDAs to hire full time, professional staff to represent them all the time. That would also trump the fishermen that pretend to represent lots of other fishermen, or ignore a host of important issues.

Ladies, you have a chance to really help your menfolk by keeping up on the issues and letting other fisherwives know what is going on too. The kids are really important, and I cherish the times my mother took us kids to the Slough swimming or mountain climbing in the summers, but keeping up on the issues won't take up much time. And by all means don't forget to vote in the Primaries August 22.

The other point is that, now is the time to start thinking about whether right or wrong is what you really want to hear candidates talk about, or rather just right or left. I can't heap enough praise on Juneau Senator Kim Elton for talking like this. And of course, both me and him are going to get it from the vitriolic champions of "business as usual."