Bureaucrats, politicians should serve public, not vice-versa

Posted: Monday, February 11, 2008

In the Jan. 11 Clarion article titled, "Term limit ruling sought," borough attorney Collette Thompson made the following observation: "that term limits have a place: they reduce unfair incumbent advantage, promote fairer and more competitive elections, encourage qualified new candidates, dislodge entrenched officeholders, curb the power of political machines and encourage citizen service rather than career politicians."

These are, in fact, some of the good reasons why term limits have passed every time, when put before voters of this borough.

In the same article, Thompson also makes this statement in reference to the borough's legal defense to stop the enactment of term limits approved by voters in October 2007: "Specifically, the borough argued that term limits imposed on the assembly and school board served no compelling government interest and that the initiatives were not closely tailored to the government interests they allegedly served, making them unconstitutional."

Her assertion is that the Constitutional rights of borough citizens should be ignored in order to support "compelling government interests."

Article One, Section Two of the Alaska Constitution states: "Source of Government; All political power is inherent in the people. All government originates with the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the people as a whole."

Article One, Section 6. Assembly; Petition, go on to say, "The right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government shall never be abridged."

There is no reference in our constitution about local governments protecting "government interest" or that allows a borough to fight anyone petitioning it with issues they don't like.

Several questions come to my mind. Why should the borough spend a ton of taxpayer money for a suit defending the "government interest," while denying the will of the voter?

When did government evolve into an organization constructed to serve the government's interest, without regard for the wishes and will of the citizenry? The actions of our borough government demonstrate their clear failure to defend and support the Alaska Constitution.

If I were the ringmaster of that little bureaucratic circus in Soldotna, my first act would be to replace every doublespeak "government interest" defending lawyer with people that respect the constitution and the citizens that they are hired to serve.

Call me old-fashioned, but I think borough government bureaucrats (formerly called public servants) and politicians (formerly called elected officials) should serve the public, not the other way around.

Borough politicians and bureaucrats should never be allowed to put their desires before their duty to support and defend the rights of all citizens. The current situation will not change for the better without public outrage.

Mike McBride


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