75-YEARS-YOUNG – Emily Doyle, age 3, is held by her mother, Anne, as she gives Smokey Bear a high-five during the U.S. Forest Service fire prevention mascot's 75th birthday celebration Saturday morning at the Sawmill Creek Campground. The celebration included games related to fire prevention and a birthday cake. The event also showcased work done at the campground as part of the Blue Lake Dam expansion project. New features include a picnic shelter, benches, restroom and landscaping. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Clear and Present

The product of the Alaska Constitutional Convention is widely regarded as a model state constitution, and indeed it has served us well all these many years.

It clearly delineates the functions of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of state government, with safeguards for the public in the efficient execution of government functions.

And yet we are now realizing a serious shortcoming in that constitution. We won’t go so far as to call it a “flaw” because the good people at that 1955 convention in Fairbanks could not imagine a time when an elected governor, regardless of political leaning, would not govern with the interest of all Alaskans at heart.

They did not anticipate that the line item budget veto power of a strong executive could, with the support of a small minority of legislators, virtually plunge the state into chaos by denying adequate funding to essential state operations.

We are now at that point in Alaska’s history, and we can’t predict the outcome.

But what this newspaper can do, and will try to do, is to put before our readers a fair and factual analysis of what is occurring, in order that they, along with Alaskans across the state, can rally to help prevent the worst outcome.

We are referring, of course, to the extreme anti-government philosophy of Gov. Mike Dunleavy, and the misinformation that he and his allies are spreading in its defense.

Last Thursday we presented on this page a column by a seasoned Alaska journalist and commentator, Dermot Cole, on some aspects of the Dunleavy narrative about the alleged fiscal crisis in state government. In fact, of course, the state does have the money, and a majority of the people, we are confident, have the will to fashion a permanent and fair solution to funding state government.

And so with this column we are introducing what will be a regular feature on this page, which will in effect be a transcript of Dermot Cole’s online blog, Reporting from Alaska.

We emphasize: Mr. Cole’s column in the Sentinel will be in the nature of commentary and opinion, and we stress that distinction from conventional news page reporting. It goes without saying that we find Dermot Cole’s commentary accurate, well-informed and insightful and, most of all, essential reading if we are to have a full understanding of the situation in which all Alaskans find themselves: a time when the governor himself is governed by an ideology that poses the threat of great and lasting harm to our state.

 

We invite Letters to the Editor about anything you read in the Sentinel, and of course we include Dermot Cole’s columns in that category.

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See Dermot Cole's Reporting from Alaska blog at www.dermotcole.com.

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