Sunday, September 27, 2009

Outer Limits of Term Limits

I was going to write separate pieces about the SOLdotna City Council elections and the borough-wide term-limits ballot proposition, but when I started to think about it, the fact that every council seat has a challenger running against an incumbent (or has two new candidates squaring off) completes the argument against any sort of need for term limits.

As you listen to ACT, they say we need term limits for several reasons: to oust entrenched politicians, to get fresh blood involved, and to have elected officials listen to the will of the people. Never mind that term limits are just another way to restrict your freedom by taking away your right to vote for the candidate of your choice; forget about the dedication and experience of those who have been involved in government; and please ignore that when we elect someone, that IS the will of the people in that district. Oh, and don't confuse them with the facts that in recent borough elections incumbents HAVE lost to challengers (John Williams, Betty Glick, John Davis, Mike Navarre to mention a few).

So, here in river city, there are folks who are unhappy with the way the mayor and city council have handled the cemetery issue. What is there to do? Challenge the status quo and present candidates for the city council that offer us a different perspective. Democracy at work. If people feel strongly enough about something, our system of government, especially on the local level, allows for people to get involved and be the change that they seek.

Have you noticed that ACT doesn't present candidates for office? Their excuse is that they don't present candidates. Oh, I see. They feel strongly about issues and want to unseat incumbents, but they don't want to bother actually running against an incumbent.

You may wonder why ACT has its no-candidate policy. Exhibit A would be Vicki Pate, one of ACT's loudest mouths in an organization of loud mouths. She ran for school board a few years ago and was thoroughly trounced in the election. Of course, she had to say a few words about why she was running and her reasons were simple: she wanted to do away with public schools and cut all of its funding. Those in ACT have one basic agenda - cut their taxes in order to cut government. But they do want all of the government services that someone else has to pay for: police, fire, health care, road repairs, snow plowing and etc. They just want the tooth fairy to pay for it all. Or you and me. Once they actually speak about what they want to accomplish, the only ones that are going to vote for them are those on the fringe.

ACT is all about having the minority rule. Remember the first borough initiative that they managed to pass? It required a super majority (61%) of the vote for the borough to authorize any spending over $1 million. That means that the minority (41%) controlled the will of the rest of the voters.

Rather than put a candidate against Gary Superman in Nikiski, they hope to term-limit him out so someone can run unopposed for that seat. Ron Long and Pete Sprague won their assembly seats by well over 60% of the votes in their districts, but Ron is now term-limited out and Pete will be out the next cycle. Clearly these candidates have the support of the citizens, but they don't agree with ACT's agenda. Since no candidate that espoused the ACT agenda would find much support in SOLdotna or Seward, ACT is trying to get their way by removing candidates that they don't agree with by term limits rather than by a direct challenge.

ACT is all about suppressing your vote and about taking away your freedoms as a way to accomplish their goals.

And that is exactly how tyranny works.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Kaladi's Censored Colors

The old Kaladi Brothers coffee house off of Kobuk is one of SOldotna's few gathering places where you can pretend that you live in an open-minded funky sort of town. The clientele does represent the community and is most certainly a mixture of right wingnuts and artsy free-thinkers and all points between.

Every month a featured artist displays some local art. This month, Adam Green has some of his prints adorning the walls and they are expressions of color and youth. A few are provocative: two women kissing, off-shore oil derricks and submerged trees. The one in pictured above is a silhouette of a dancing woman. Yep, as you might guess, she appears to be nude. Not that it matters, but it is less explicit than imaginative. Heck, sometimes some of the baristas here wear more revealing outfits. And no, that is NOT a complaint!

But SOLdotnans complained to Kaladi Cooperative headquarters (907.344.4480) and now the print is sashed with the 'Censored' banner.

You can buy coffee at any fast food place, or at either of the grocery stores or other such sterile environments throughout town. But K-Bros is the only place in town where you might relax, BS with friends and enjoy some local art. But those who would control your mind have now decided what should and should not be allowed here.

Exhibit 1,246 why you're SOL in SOLdotna.

Addendum: Another one for the cause - K-Bros let the censorship sash come down. Once again, the power of righteous indignation prevails.

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