Alaska Dispatch News: Clem Tillion: Alaska’s oil should not be its only future
I did not intend to say much on the subject of Ballot Measure 1, but when I received a call from a TV reporter who was looking for an old-timer who was voting no, all I could say was, “Keep looking!” I, for one, am a yes vote. This is not to say ACES should not be looked at by the lawmakers. It’s sloppy in spots, but I hardly think giving our resources away is the way to solve the problem.
When I ran for the Legislature back in 1962, oil only paid a 1 percent royalty. The first big find at Swanson River on the Kenai Peninsula did not return enough to the state to pave the North Road from Kenai out to Swanson River. It did make millionaires of several people, and this I do not object to, for those who put their money on the line and win should get a fair reward.
Alaska Dispatch News: Vote Yes (#SB21); Alaskans have no bananas
The banana, a fruit common in the republics of the tropical isthmus south of Mexico, was not well known in the United States or Europe until the late nineteenth century. In the 1890s, a few, well-funded entrepreneurs found that they could reap enormous profits, using dirt cheap Honduran and Guatemalan labor to harvest and load bananas on ships for this entirely new market. The men who developed this trade formed political alliances with key elites in the region taking government out of the equation in distribution of profits. This experience gave rise to the phrase “banana republic” to describe a form of government dominated by a few private corporations.
The Territory of Alaska had equivalent experiences, first with the great copper and gold mining enterprises of the Guggenheim trust and then with domination by the canned salmon industry. At the constitutional convention, Bob Bartlett, a key figure in the statehood movement and later U.S. senator, famously warned the delegates against letting a repetition occur in the infant state.