Be careful where you cut

There’s an old adage among carpenters that you should always measure twice and cut once. State agencies should be encouraged to follow that advice as they follow Gov. Sean Parnell’s administrative order to review their existing regulations.

Parnell signed the order last week instructing state officials to review their agencies in an effort to increase efficiency, lower costs and minimize any burdens on Alaskans. Findings are due by Oct. 15. After that, agencies have been instructed to complete their reviews by Sept. 15 each year. Members of the public are to be included in the process.

Trimming unnecessary regulations certainly is a good thing, and something Alaskans love to hear. No doubt, there are rules on the books that are no longer pertinent. State agencies should be doing all they can to ensure they are conducting business in the most efficient way possible. In a press release, Parnell said that Alaskans are better served when regulations are limited in scope, plainly written and consistent with the laws they implement.

We’re supportive of efforts to ensure that state regulations do just that.

By the same token, state officials need to remember that each regulation on the books was enacted for a reason. We Alaskans think of ourselves as independent people with an appreciation for limited government, but what may seem burdensome and inefficient to one person may be an essential protection for another.

With that in mind, we hope that state regulation reviews are both thorough and transparent. The impacts of any recommended changes need to be carefully considered from multiple points of view. That might be an inefficient way to do it, but a bad cut now can cause even bigger problems down the road.

More

What others say: Obama took right tack on Cuba

There’s no solution to the half-century old Cuba problem that will satisfy everyone, but we strongly believe President Obama made the right decision to end the troubled “wet foot, dry foot” policy.

Read more

What others say: Obama’s legacy a mixed one

President Barack Obama leaves office Friday after eight years as the most consequential Democrat to occupy the White House since Lyndon Johnson. And unlike that Texan, whose presidency was born in tragedy and ended in failure, Obama will not have the ghost of the Vietnam War haunting his days and eating his conscience as LBJ did all the remaining days of his life.

Read more

Op-ed: Trump won the news conference

Donald Trump should do press conferences more often. Not for the country’s sake, certainly not for the media’s sake, but for his. He really shouldn’t have waited 167-plus days to hold one, because the man gives great sound bite. Although I’ve participated in probably thousands of these staged encounters as a reporter, they’re not my favorite way of getting news — you almost never get any. The guy at the podium controls the proceeding. He can get his message out with little challenge from the assembled journalists who are limited to a question and a follow-up, maybe. Politicians can bob and weave through that without any of us landing a blow. And that’s our job: to penetrate the canned responses to their version of the controversy du jour and get at whatever truth they are hiding. Besides, Trump — who uses contempt for the media as a weapon, his preferred way to discredit reporting that displeases him —has a wonderful forum to do that. At the very least he should hold these confrontations as a supplement to his Twitter tirades. And frequently. It’s his opportunity to hold the media hostage as they cover live his rain of abuse on them.

Read more

Good luck in Juneau

The 30th Alaska Legislature gavels in on Tuesday, and we’d like to take a moment to wish our Kenai Peninsula legislators good luck over the coming months in Juneau.

Read more