News-Miner opinion: The effort to recall Gov. Mike Dunleavy from office is real. It isn’t some marginal drive by just a few people who don’t have any real hope of success.
The governor should take it seriously. Whether he is or isn’t, we on the outside don’t know.
What is known is that as of Friday, the recall effort has obtained 18,198 signatures of the 28,501 needed to complete the first step of the process. It did that in just nine days.
Those who have started the push to remove the governor only a few months after he took office have managed to unite groups that aren’t normally aligned. That alone should say something about the seriousness of the recall effort.
A recall is a lengthy and divisive process. A better course would be for the governor to recognize that he has gone too far and to compromise, to acknowledge the message that Alaskans are sending him about his budget actions.
What can the governor do to perhaps take some of the fuel out of the recall drive’s engine?
He can do what he so far hasn’t done well: Explain his vision for Alaska and, in particular, for the University of Alaska.
He can begin by explaining why is he so insistent on a $3,000 permanent fund dividend at the expense of cutting so much from the state government and the university. He can explain why he is so opposed to looking for new sources of revenue.
A large number of Alaskans — and it is large, judging from the protests and turnout at legislative hearings — have the same questions.
The governor shouldn’t fear admitting to a mistake or two or three; the electorate can be forgiving of politicians who show the genuine human trait of being wrong from time to time.
The governor could do himself a favor by holding a televised address to Alaskans to explain himself. He — not his aides, and especially not his likely temporary budget director, Donna Arduin — needs to do the talking.
Will that mollify Alaskans who have been heading to the recall sign-up sheets? That’s unknown, but it certainly can’t hurt.