Coastal zone measure fails

Property tax exemption measure passing by narrow margin

Voters from the central Kenai Peninsla were split on Ballot Measure 2, which asked if a coastal zone management program should be re-established. Early statewide results showed the measure as failing. 


Also Tuesday, the “yes” vote on Ballot Measure 1, which would allow municipalities to raise the residential property tax exemption to $50,000, held a slight lead, 50.7 percent to 49.3 percent.

With 61 percent of precincts reporting, 61.8 percent of the vote was against Ballot Measure 2 and 38.2 percent for it. 

The fight over Ballot Measure 2 became the most expensive campaign in Alaska this election. More than $1.7 million was raised. Most of that was by the opposition group “Vote No on 2.” Resource development and industry groups largely bankrolled the group’s effort. That caused the group behind the initiative, the Alaska Sea Party, to cast funding for the opposition as being led by outside interests.

Alaska had a coastal management program for decades, but it ended last year, after the Legislature and governor failed to come to terms on its reauthorization.

In Soldotna, Andy Mitzel said the Ballot Measure 2 brought him to the polls.

“I voted for it. Half the reason I voted for it is because it’s the oil companies and the mining companies that don’t want it; they’d rather run amok. Someone has to keep an eye on them,” Mitzel said.

Sheryl Nelson voted against the proposition. 

“I don’t know if I really felt strongly, but I did vote against proposition 2, the Coastal Management Initiative. When I read through the material I didn’t think it sounded like a good idea.

“There was a lot of discontent associated with Ballot Measure 2. They’re two very strong different camps there: the pro development folks who think we need to develop everything versus the folks who thinks there needs to be some type of coastal management.

Guy Holand said he didn’t feel the the coastal management measure had been properly vetted. 

“Action of that sort needs to be set in the House of Representatives down in Juneau, and then we can bring it up and take a vote.” Holand said.

In Kenai, Val and Elizabeth Allen,  said they voted on the Democratic primary ballot and for ballot measure 2. When asked why they said “follow the money” in unison.

Elizabeth said those who want to keep a coastal management program from being established had “big money” and that isn’t good for all Alaskans.

“I think it is an imperfect law, but it is better than nothing,” she said. “We need something for a local say and even if it’s imperfect, they’ll fix it. They’ll work hard.”

Bruce Wolf said he voted against coastal zone management because there were enough coastal laws that should be “cleaned up” rather added to.

“We don’t need more laws,” he said. “We have more on the books than we can deal with.”

In Kasilof, Harold Hoyt said he could not vote yes on Proposition 2 because it was too convoluted.

“It just seemed like there was one thing after another of what they thought they were going to do, but they weren’t sure what things were going to cost,” Hoyt said.

He said there were too many unanswered questions in the ballot, and he was alarmed that it proposed hiring so many employees and spending so much federal money based on what said was an incomplete document. He said there were too many “what’s” and “what if’s” in the 18-page document.

“It’s awfully complicated for the ‘yes’ vote,” he said.

Suzanne Fisler agreed, though she voted yes.

“It’s not a perfect piece of legislation,” she said, “but I don’t necessarily have a lot of faith that our legislature’s going to go anywhere to provide costal communities with an opportunity to voice an opinion about the development in the costal zone.”

In Nikiski, Dan Wolverton said he voted no.

“I got a feeling it’s going to cause a lot of litigation a lot of lawsuits. There’s going to be a lot of confusion trying to put something like that into practice. It seems pretty complicated for just throwing it out there to have everyone vote on and understand,” Wolverton said.


Clarion reporters Brian Smith, Jerzy Shedlock and Dan Schwartz and Rashah McChesney contributed to this report. Associated Press material was used in this report.


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