Mayor’s comment no laughing matter

Posted: Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The following statement was read into public testimony at the April 4 borough assembly meeting:

Last assembly meeting, representing the Alliance of Concerned Taxpayers, I stated, “The mayor claims the people promoting Props 4 and 5 did not know what they were doing. We are those people, and we know exactly what we are doing. We are giving taxpayers the opportunity to have a greater voice in the size of their tax bill.”

In the March 26 Peninsula Clarion, Mayor John Williams gave his reply to that statement, which was: “If they did know what they were doing, then, to me, it amounts to domestic terrorism in an attempt to subvert government.”

This is a very serious accusation, and we are not laughing.

Recently, at a dinner meeting sponsored by the University of Alaska, Mayor Williams announced he has files on “each one of those ACT members.” What is he doing with this information? Is he conveniently slipping our names to the FBI as “domestic terrorists”? What gives the mayor the right to label people “domestic terrorists” who were legally using the political system and following all the rules?

Labeling someone as a “domestic terrorist” can disrupt lives. Just ask Sen. Edward Kennedy, Rep. Don Young or Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, who were all placed on the No Fly List in error. If you are an everyday innocent person, it is virtually impossible to get off. That’s especially crippling in Alaska. Does this mean I will not be able to visit our daughter at Christmastime?

Perhaps Mayor Williams will back down and say he was just joking. Let’s remember that Sen. Trent Lott, former Interior Secretary James Watt and ex-Agriculture Secretary Earl Butz, were all forced to resign because they told an offensive joke or made racial comments to the wrong audience. This is much more offensive and damaging than an off-color joke.

Mayor Williams’ comments put the Kenai Peninsula Borough in an untenable legal position. A loose cannon should not be left to roll around the ship of state causing damage. His comment should not be taken lightly. We are not laughing, and neither should anyone else.

Does the assembly agree we are “domestic terrorists? If so, where is the resolution in support of this position, or was it done in secret? At the very least, the assembly should consider censuring Mayor Williams. If you remain silent, it can only be construed as support for Mayor Williams’ unfounded claim.

Vicki Pate


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