'Just Say No' group hurts its cause with hip-shooting antics

Posted: Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Once in a while the debate over how best to, or even whether to, use permanent fund earnings to fund state government gets nastier than it really needs to be. The most recent foray over the line came in a release from ''Alaskans, Just Say No,'' a group of disparate political folks who believe any use of the earnings, no matter how responsible, would be a ''raid'' on the permanent fund. They fired off their missive last week after the House Finance Committee passed a resolution dealing with one aspect of the percent of market value approach to using the fund's earnings.

Of course, the fund itself is protected by the state constitution and cannot be raided by anyone, despite the claims to the contrary. Of course, a POMV is not a blank check. Of course, many people have stopped listening to ''Alaskans, Just Say No'' because of its strident approach to the issue.

But the group may have done itself irreparable

damage when Soren Wuerth, the group's treasurer, after calling Gov. Frank Murkowski a liar, said in a written press release, ''This guy has hired people like Cheryl Frasca who have been wanting the peoples (sic) dividend like a wolf over dead meat.''

Nice imagery, if ungrammatical, but way off the mark. Good grief. Anybody can say anything about an elected official, right or wrong, because it simply goes with the job. That's the heat and kitchen thing.

But to malign a public servant like Cheryl Frasca who has spent years building a reputation as a meticulous, conscientious worker goes beyond the pale. It is unnecessary and unforgivable. It is the mark of a losing cause.

Perhaps ''Alaskans, Just Say No,'' and folks like Wuerth should take a step back, breathe deeply and get a renewed grasp on what passes for reality nowadays. They are beginning to sound more and more like a fringe group whose stock in trade is dark paranoid hysteria churned up by sins real and imagined. They have, by their antics, removed themselves from the mainstream of the debate.

They are perhaps finding that hip-shooting groups such as theirs are their own worst enemies.

The Voice of the (Anchorage) Times

April 14

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