By a 5-4 vote the Kenai Peninsula Borough stopped a push by the city of Homer to designate the Sterling Highway from Skilak Lake Road to Anchor Point as a state Scenic Byway. Led by Grace Merkes and Paul Fischer, the citizens of Sterling and Kasilof realized their road was in jeopardy of being controlled by outside interests and put a stop to the proposed measure.
After carefully researching the 1995 scenic byway law signed by President Clinton, it became apparent to the concerned that the "stakeholders" (i.e., the Sierra Club, Cook Inlet Keepers, etc.) could control the "viewshed" (as far as the eye can see) of the "designated corridor" through the "planning committee."
This would relieve the local private property owner of any control over his/her own property.
The constitutionality of the scenic byway law has yet to be challenged. Opponents of the National Scenic Byway program point out that the idea of using public money to give to certain communities that adhere to specific doctrines has no merit within the U.S. Constitution.
Over the last 40 years the original intent of our Founding Fathers has been under attack. The original intent was limited federal government, not the bloated system that currently exists. By defeating this byway push, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly has begun to roll back the spread of big government, one little step at a time.
A special thanks should be extended to Ron Long of Seward who cast the deciding vote. He upheld an assembly tradition of refusing to override the wishes of the areas most affected by a proposed measure, in this instance, the communities of Sterling and Kasilof.
Robert K. Wall
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