To the editor: I suppose we should be grateful for Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s change of heart in reinstating money for the elderly, preschool kids, reaching an agreement with the University of Alaska and reducing some of the damage he had already caused. But I am not grateful.
Instead, I am convinced our governor is incompetent, maybe spiteful, but hardly a leader for our state moving forward. Recently, he admitted that, in the past few days “what became pretty clear, I think, to everybody is that Alaskans value our elders, our seniors and we value our children, our youngest.” That was his epiphany? Wouldn’t a governor, going into this budget crisis, have been familiar with those qualities of the Alaska I have lived in since 1972?
The chaos he created with his massive cuts, his decision to divide the Legislature physically with a call for special session in Wasilla, his absence from public scrutiny when leadership was essential and, finally, his lack of concern for the damages he caused reflects a lack of leadership. Some damages from his actions are irrevocable: research scientists leaving for greener pastures; stress to the health of elderly and students, who thought they had been abandoned; and businesses already retooling for a smaller economy. And what other costs have there been by not working with the Legislature earlier? Is anyone keeping tabs on the cost of the special sessions, the costs of administering retroactive payments or the cost of a recall? He might have thought he had a strategy, but his absolute lack of consideration of Alaska voices earlier in the process proves to me he is not the right person for the job.
Regardless of the outcome of a final budget, his poor performance to date and lack of empathy for the most needy of our residents are reasons enough for me to hope the recall effort continues.