Reader asks: What if?

Posted: Friday, May 11, 2007

I pulled up to the drive-through window at the Soldotna McDonald’s and ordered a Big Mac, fries and chocolate shake. Then the person taking the order asked me if I was a resident of Soldotna. Thinking that McDonald’s was sure collecting a lot of personal information, I casually replied, “why yes.”

“I need to see your ID,” she replied.

Then without expression she said, “That will be ..., please pull up to the next window.”

At the next window my curiosity was percolating about the residence question, so I had to ask. “What happens if your not a resident of Soldotna?”

He looked at me a little strange, smiled and said, “Oh then you would pay a lot more.”

“Pay a lot more? What do you guys have prices based on, residence?”

“That’s right, you get a 30 percent discount if you’re from Soldotna and regular pricing if your from anywhere else,” he said.

“Wow, when did you start that?” I asked.

“Back when the city of Kenai started giving only Kenai residences a discount on launching boats and parking cars,” he said.

“I guess it pays to live in Soldotna, huh?” I said.

“Yeah I guess so,” he said.

This little make-believe encounter has not really taken place YET, but it could be in all of our futures if the city of Kenai takes our federal governments lead and begins discriminating against Alaska residents according to their residence. This kind of thinking is being spawned by our federal government and attempts to inflict priority access to our public natural resources according to residence. Do you want a future of getting a different price for products and services based on the place you live?

Once Soldotna residents are offended by the city of Kenai’s discrimination, it will not take long for Soldotna to discriminate against Kenai residents. Once Anchorage residents are offended by both cities, it won’t be long before they are discriminating against Kenai Peninsula residences. Once Seattle sees Anchorage’s discrimination, they will then discriminate against Alaska residents. And so the discrimination spreads across the nation.

Is this the kind of nation you want to live in? One where you hand over your proof of residency along with your cash or credit card? Residency-based discrimination is just as unethical as discrimination based on the skin color or ancestral background.

Most people can no more control where they live than they can control their skin color or ancestral background. Most folks live where they do because of the job they are qualified to do. Most people cannot just wake up one morning and decide to change careers. Careers determine residency and government should not be using something you have little control over to decide if you deserve priority access to public natural resources.

Don’t give in to residency discrimination.

Don Johnson


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