Letters to the Editor

Posted: Friday, July 20, 2001

One battle won, but real fighting on prison issue has just begun

We, the Peninsula Citizens Against Private Prisons, won our first major battle to prohibit the estabishment of a private for-profit prison on the Kenai Peninsula. We forced the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assemby, through our ballot initiative petition, to write an ordinance that will bring this question to the voters and taxpayers.

This ordinance comes up before the voters on Oct. 2. Vote no. You can stop the assembly from pursuing this project for two years.

As you will soon see, the second phase of this battle will begin to come into play. What Cornell and the assembly will do next remains to be seen. Do keep in mind that Cornell has a contract for the planning and promotion of this project using our tax dollars.

The next time you go to vote for your representative be sure you know where he or she stands on the private for-profit prison and halfway houses. This will help prevent and protect us from readdressing this issue again in two years when the sunset clause can take effect.

We've had such a diverse group of individuals that have come together in support of prohibiting these types of institutions and those who signed our petition because they felt that this needed to be decided by the voters.

Thank you to the individuals who stepped up to testify at the public hearings and to those who signed our petition and to those who beat the pavement for signatures. This could not have been accomplished without you. We gathered in 27 days more than the 1,008 signatures that were required for getting this on the ballot in October.

We would like to thank the Public Safety Employees Association for its support at the public hearings and the written information on failed attempts of privatizing prisons in other states. Our thanks also goes to Joe Josephson, attorney at law, for advising the Peninsula Citizens Against Private Prisons on the legalities involved with the assembly's decision to adopt its own ordinance.

My special thanks and appreciation go out to James Price for making it possible for all of us to put our names on this ballot initiative petition.

This is one of the most important issues that we have come face to face with in our communities in years. Please encourage those who are not registered to do so and to vote no on giving the assembly permission to fund and support this private for-profit prison with our tax dollars.

We will still have to remain diligent in our efforts to prohibit these types of institutions from being established, because of the two-year sunset clause.

The battle has just begun. But don't get discouraged. Get out there and vote no on Oct. 2. It will make a difference.

Vicki Duggin (one of 30 co-sponsors for this initiative petition)

Nikiski



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