The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

Rocking the Boat


The following is from the editorial page of the March 12, 1987 Seward Phoenix LOG.

TOWN MEETINGS... We’ve noticed in reading other newspapers from around the state that many legislators have returned to their home districts to explain to the voters what’s happening and what could happed to state government as the legislators grapple with the budget crippled by declining oil revenue.

We’d like to see our legislators back in Seward to explain how they intend to vote when it comes to making the budget cuts. If nothing else, to listen to the voters on what they view as important.

As in every part of the state, we’re faced with the reality of budget cuts. School programs are going to be cut. Highway maintenance funds are being cut. Municipal assistance is being cut. We can go on and on and on, but the message is the same. The state is cutting back. On the front line are our legislators and they should be here to explain what programs or projects will be favored.

We realize our legislators are laboring under a 120-day session limit and that it’s already half over. We realize that as adjournment draws nearer, the pressure will be on. But we really don’t think they should be voting on the budget without meeting the voters face to face.

Perhaps the problem is they think there’s no forum form which to address the voters. Phooey.

Perhaps they think it’s not necessary to come back because all they have to do is listen to our lobbyists or wait for us to visit them. Read the constitution.

Perhaps there’s just too few of us on the Eastern Peninsula. Look at the close election.

Perhaps it’s just to cold to travel. Wear a coat.

Perhaps the election is too far away and they think our memories are short. Well...

OTHER OPINIONS: HERE’S TO PARKS... In the long, bitter debate over expanding Alaska’s national parks and refuges, many feared “locking up” more land would hurt the state’s economy. But if recent statistics are any indication, Alaska’s national parks are already adding a growing boost to the state’s economic future.

More than one million people visited our national parks last year. That’s a 16 percent increase over the year before, and a 55 percent increase over 1983.

Most visitors went to long-established parks, such as Denali, Glacier Bay, Klondike Goldrush and Sitka Historical parks. But two of the parks created in the 1980 D-2 law, Gates of the Arctic and Kenai Fjords, had the biggest rates of growth.

Many fears that the national parks would harm the state’s resource development has subsided. Those industries have their problems, but he main culprits are uncertain markets and stiff international competition. As the resource industries struggle, though, national parks are showing they can help Alaska’s economy.

That’s because Alaska’s blend of modern conveniences and nearby wilderness give our state a drawing card few other places can match. Some Alaskans still resent the parks and wilderness areas. But Alaskans of the future will be glad the nation had the foresight to protect them.

— From the Anchorage Daily News


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