Professors Susan Andrews and John Creed pen this op-ed for the Juneau Empire about the rash of corruption stories in Alaska and why they point the ways towards approving the Clean Elections ballot initiative for which signatures are currently being gathered.
The VECO Corp. scandal, in which executives at the oil services company bribed and otherwise enticed legislators to do the company's bidding at the statehouse, has made previously skeptical Alaskans receptive to the case for the Clean Elections:
Kott and company are sure making our job easier. We've been collecting signatures in Kotzebue this month as part of a statewide campaign to drive the big money out of Alaska politics. Most rural voters are eagerly signing our petition, a first step in bringing "Clean Elections" to Alaska.
If 24,000 valid signatures are submitted to the state by the start of the legislative session in mid-January, this ballot initiative will go before voters in November.
Most Alaskans we talk to understand that we have to take our government back from the oil industry and the corporate interests that have corrupted it. Compared to tolerating more of this sleaze, allocating one-half of 1 percent of Alaska oil revenues to fund Clean Elections makes a lot of sense.
Alaskans of all types -liberal, conservative, libertarian, independent, progressive, dog mushers, professionals, trades people - are appalled by these outrageous scandals. Wildly divergent voices from conservatives Gov. Sarah Palin and former Gov. Wally Hickel to progressives Rep. Les Gara and Sen. Bill Wielechowski want to try Clean Elections.
Learn more about the Alaska Clean Elections effort here.