Alaskan Polarization Preventing Progress.

Think about it! 2/8/2012


Well, I know I’m still relatively new to the state of Alaska and in my first year in the state I’ve noticed some things about Alaska, and Alaskans. First thing I’ve noticed that there is no such thing as moderation. I don’t know if it’s because of the relative proximity to the North Pole, but when it comes to every thing Alaska; it’s pretty polarized, to the extent that it prevents progress.


In Alaskan Politics, you’re either a good God-fearing conservative, or a bleeding heart liberal……even though the Alaskan Liberal is labeled a moderate, if not a conservative anywhere else in the U.S… in point, Senator Mark Begich.

Conservative Alaskan voters are so tied to the extreme conservative label, that conservatives across the Kenai Peninsula Borough almost voted for a candidate who can barely read, just to have a “conservative” in office.


The all or nothing mindset of John Q Alaska doesn’t end at the ballot box….during the recent debate across theKenai Peninsula about the Certificate of Need application for the for-profit Kathnu Ventures Ambulatory surgical center, half of the residents said, “…this will kill OUR hospital..” and wouldn’t hear any other opinions towards the issue. The other half of residents said, “Open the center….no matter what,” and that the state had no right to intervene to determine a need for the center.


The same Alaskans that don’t want the state to intervene in a surgical center, will line up to have the state intervene and pay for new services. Many communities across the rail belt had to help tow the line for natural gas service to their areas and homes….but that’s not good enough for residents of the south Kenai Peninsula who insist that the state pay to build their line. On a larger scale, Alaskan’s are so hell bent on getting an in-state gas pipeline that when the open market, remember the Denali pipeline project, the competitor to TransCanada that had no major state funding behind it? Yeah that one that said they couldn’t market the pipeline EVEN THOUGH they were the ones drilling for the gas and producing it!


The same Alaskan’s who are soooo free market when they are getting what they want are now pushing the state legislature to pay a state group to develop an in-state line to compete with TransCanada and AGIA…who’s also receiving substantial state funding.


The Alaskan polarization can also be seen in many homes with Alaskan’s who just don’t understand why their kids and grandkids don’t want to come back home to Alaska after attending college in the big city down south, although they’re the same who will balk at any form of development or improvements to help entice that new generation to stay local. Grandma and Grandpa Alaska don’t want to see their town become a “real city” and lose the rural homestead aspect that attracted them to the area 50 years ago, and claiming that any new business will kill the mom and pop shops. Just go ask Sweeney’s or Trustworthy’s how Fred Myers drove them out of business, while you’re at it, why not ask Fred Myers how the evil Wal-Mart ruined their business.


That Alaskan polar mindset is also apparent when it comes to resource development, I’m sure that driving around the Kenai Peninsula, you’ve been behind a Subaru outback with an anti-pebble sticker on it, the talked to the driver and heard about how the state’s economy can’t rely solely on just oil and gas?? Mayor Jim Hornaday of Homer summed this opinion up best by telling the Industry Outlook Forum, “Drill baby drill……just not in Kachemak Bay.”


So we’ve got a state that’s combating declining oil throughput, continued out migration of young Alaskans, continued dependence on state funding, and blind allegiance to on particular political belief, and a not in my back yard mindset for resource development. All or nothing polarization has become the norm for Alaska.


As Frank Zappa said, “With out deviation from the norm, progress isn’t possible.”


Think about it! AMR 2/12/2012


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