To the editor: These days, the editorial pages of this newspaper overflow with letters from irate constituents, all protesting our governor’s unprecedented severe budget vetoes. At the risk of offering a diametrically antithetic opinion, certain to draw the ire of other more authoritative expositors, I humbly wish to go on record for commending Gov. Mike Dunleavy for his rare leadership and foresight. How many gubernatorial administrations have passed with our legislators simply “kicking the can down the road” and refusing to fulfill the duties of elected office?
Finally we have selected a man as the CEO of Alaska who is unafraid to perform the tough job for which we chose him — indeed, to actually balance the budget and not to spend any more revenue than we take in. What a novel idea! Now if only we could convince the federal government to do likewise.
Years ago, a distinguished elder statesman from Alaska proposed an idea about how we can encourage our 60 legislators to do their duty. He exclaimed that we should lock them all in an ATCO unit in Wasilla and turn down the thermostat. “Maybe then we will get some work out of the SOBs!”
Back in the ’80s, the Alaska Department of Transportation assigned me as a heavy equipment operator to a remote duty station at 66 mile Steese Highway on Sourdough Creek. One evening, this gentleman, along with Bobby Miller, stopped in on their way to Central to visit my working foreman, Don Bascom. As I respectfully watched and listened, all manner of serious matters were laid on the table and circumspectly dissected. After they departed, Don identified the rather outspoken man as the famous Joe Vogler, head of the Alaskan Independence Party and onetime candidate for governor.
In the editorial pages of the Daily News Miner, dated July 27, 2001, a correspondent named Paul Barrett quoted what he aptly called “Vogler’s Legacy.” I think it’s time for a reprint.
“In the ’70s I thought Joe was crazy.
“In the ’80s I thought Joe was eccentric.
“In the ’90s I thought Joe was interesting.
“Too late, I found the truth: Joe was right!”
Don’t blame me; I voted for Joe!