Proposals would give lobbyists even more influence in Juneau
What makes an amateur into a professional? Standards are strict for athletes and hookers -- accept money and you are a pro.
So far, Alaska is more lenient on lobbyists: A paid lobbyist can go to Juneau and lobby up to four hours per month before being declared a professional. As such, he must pay a $100 registration fee and be subject to lobbyist regulations. A registered lobbyist can only contribute to his own district's legislators. Aye, there's the rub.
House Bill 106 and Senate Bill 89 hope to drastically change that in favor of the lobbyists. Both bills greatly increase the number of hours spent in influencing legislators before registration is required -- and thus before the contribution restrictions kick in.
To put it in perspective: a prostitute could establish her own brothel and still be considered an amateur!
Juneau is far, far away. Lawmakers are inundated by special interests. They see very few of their individual constituents. If you are being paid to go there, your bosses can afford to pay the $100.
We should not loosen the purse strings on lobbyists' contributions. Alaska voters need an advantage to combat the influence of special interests. Inform yourself of the issue at www.akvoters.org/ and click on "hot button issues." Then scream loudly and help stop this raid on the power of the ballot box.
Alaska elected mushroom farmer; now we will reap what we planted
We're out traveling, but I am keeping up with the latest in Alaska via the Internet. The view is not good.
As I have expounded upon for more than 10 years now, there has to be a three-way approach to getting Alaska's fiscal house in order.
First, there has to be orderly and honest downsizing of state government and state-funded programs. Since the budget cannot be cut enough to solve the problem, we then would need new taxes with the income tax being the fairest. Lastly, the dividend would have to be reduced to free up funds for state needs.
And any politician for any office that told you anything else would be treating you like a mushroom.
Well, we elected the mushroom farmer anyway, and he is piling on the compost. The first proposal (that should be last) was to raid the permanent fund earnings. Now come an array of regressive tax proposals.
And worse: unplanned, dishonest helter skelter budget cuts aimed mostly at areas and programs that some special interests dislike. I think the proposed cut in the longevity program is a misdirection move (as in magic) to hide behind while they do other dastardly misdeeds.
If the resource development proposal could have actually been converted to compost, we would have had a new export.
Frankly, I did not vote for Frank, so at least I can say I did not swallow his composting. However, like those who put him there for four years, I am stuck with him, too. Next time around maybe more people will be wary of mushroom farmers.
William J. Phillips
Kenai (observing from Laughlin, Nev.)
Peace marchers not being honest in their protests against war
The peace marchers are more obvious than they think. They say they are marching for others. They are marching for the people of Iraq, and they are marching for our troops. That is why they march for peace.
Yet, their signs are angry and accusatory toward only our president.
The bottom line is that "Our Troops" do not feel their support. In fact, our troops feel the exact opposite coming from these folks. I wish the peace marchers would be more honest with the world and with themselves about this subject.
The truth, appears to me, to be that they march against, not for, anything. They march against the president because they do not like his policies. They march against the war because they are pacifists.
Now, please do not misunderstand me. I do not think it is wrong to be against the policies of our president. That is their right.
I, also, do not think it is wrong for them to be pacifists. That, also, is their right, their choice, in a freedom-loving country.
What I do believe is wrong is for them to hide behind their political persuasions and their pacifism by saying they are supporting our troops. Why are they not more true to themselves and more open and honest?
I can only conclude that it is because they are ashamed to be what they truly are. They are ashamed because of Sept. 11, 2001.
I will not accept their rhetoric that tells me they march for our troops. Our troops march for them!
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