Solutions to state problems require strong candidates

Posted: Wednesday, June 04, 2003

The Clarion pointed out the failure of the Legislature to deal with fiscal problems. Voters are much to blame for this, since the collective we elected them. There used to be a term "yellow dog Democrat" that referred to mostly southerners who said they would vote for a yellow dog before they voted for a Republican. The problem is now reversed in Alaska. We have a majority of voters who will only vote for a Republican no matter how poor a candidate they may be.

We don't have far to look for an example. During the session I sent e-mails to Rep. Kelly Wolf concerning Murkowski's push for relaxing laws on lobbyists and his lack of an orderly plan to downsize state government. Wolf sent a response ranting against "deadwood" in state government. He again referred to "deadwood" in another response. Knowing using this term was counterproductive to downsizing state government I sent the following e-mail message to Wolf. (I copied it exactly as is from its attachment to Wolf's response. Quotes added.)

"Rep. Wolf: Be careful using the term 'deadwood.' There are many local people who consider your summer program a waste, thus making your position deadwood. Even more people, considering the performance of the Legislature, think legislators are deadwood. Our glorious leader has absolutely no plan to downsize state government. He may meat ax things, then the following legislative session be forced to ask for supplemental appropriations. To have an honest orderly downsizing of state requires the cooperation of current state employees. Otherwise cuts will be made at the delivery of service levels in order to cause the public the most pain to cause legislators the most pain to force legislators to restore cuts. Calling them deadwood will not win any cooperation. It maybe be good campaign bull pucky, but it is not smart policy."

Here follows the exact response from Wolf as copied from his e-mail to me. No editing or changes by me other than to add quote marks at the beginning and end!


"Who the hell helped you when you were a kid. When adults turn there backs on kids for there own self interest. That's sad.

Keep the program I started out of this or you can talk to there lawyer concerning slander ... and keep kids out of it to!!!!!"

I angrily responded to Wolf's diatribe asking if he had trouble reading. I pointed out the shouting matches he had with callers on KSRM's Sound-Off about his summer program before the election. The employees he called "deadwood" would take just as much offense as he displayed in his diatribe. He did not respond. I forwarded a copy of his e-mail verbatim to the Legislative Ethics Committee. The only issue for them was whether he used his office computer and official e-mail account. (He did.) The use did not rise to the level of a serious complaint. The threat was not an ethical violation. I told them to forget it.

To the conservative voters who will only vote for a Republican no matter what, you can take solace in the fact that Wolf is a product of the public school system. He is your living example of how bad you think the public school system is. To Republicans voting in the next primary pick a better candidate. If Alaska is to get its fiscal house in order, we have to have the best working in Juneau!

William J Phillips


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