Thursday, February 09, 2006

Alaska needs a makeover - not

Alaska's leaders are concerned that people have negative view of their state. So Governor Murkowski who appointed US Senator Murkowski intends to hire a PR firm. Associated Press reports. He thinks the problem is with us - you and me - that we just don't understand, not anything that anyone in Alaska did. He appointed his daughter to the US Senate - squeaky clean, he is. Governor, you might want to look around you. Senator Ted Stevens has one purpose in life - to get all the pork he can for his state and his friends. He is a very senior Republican, so he heads the appropriations committee and has the power. Also the state's only Congressman - Don Young - is in a similar position. Now Alaska does need more federal funds than most states because of its isolated and strategic location. There is a lot of coastline to watch over, though the threat of Russia is much less than that of the Soviets was. But they have so much oil royalty money that they don't pay state taxes. Instead the state paid each man, woman and child $845.76 last year and every year. The pork busters caught Stevens and Young appropriating hundreds of millions of dollars for projecst to benefit very few people. The "bridge to nowhere" would link Ketchican to Gravina Island that has 50 people and their airport. John Fund reports in the Wall Street Journal:
Before her father stepped in to ensure the bridge would be built, Sen. Murkowski lamented it was "very difficult to stand here as an Alaskan and not take this [criticism] personally." Indeed, the issue was personal in a sense. It turns out the senator's mother, Nancy, who is also the governor's wife, is co-owner with her three siblings of a 35-acre parcel of land on Gravina Island. Critics charge that the bridge will spur development, increasing the value of the Murkowski property, which is one of the few privately held plots on the island.
Then there is Congressman Don Young's highway:
Another beneficiary of Governor Murkowski's decision to plow the state's share of federal transportation dollars into bridges is a controversial $223 million span near Anchorage that would connect that city with a nearly deserted port. The bridge will be called Don Young's Way after Alaska's lone House member, who also serves as chairman of the House Transportation Committee. It could be Don Young's way in more senses than that. The Anchorage Daily News reports that Art Nelson, Mr. Young's son-in-law, is part owner of 60 acres of what he described as "beautiful property" on land that will be opened up to development by the bridge. "A bridge would change everything," reported the Daily News. "Don Young's Way would . . . make the land much more valuable." Mr. Nelson, told the paper he did discuss his partial acquisition of the 60 acres with Mr. Young. One of the other owners of the land is fisheries lobbyist Trevor McCabe, a former legislative director for none other than Sen. Stevens. Until last October, Mr. McCabe was partners with state senator Ben Stevens, the son of Ted Stevens, in a consulting firm called Advance North that represents salmon fishermen who are regulated by the state Board of Fisheries, which is chaired by none other than Mr. Nelson, Rep. Young's son-in-law.
I support oil drilling and production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which they all want. Now draining the federal budget for their parochial state is bad enough. But they are doing it for personal gain and favors for their friends.

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