Monday, January 4, 2010

When Citizen Activists Show Up at Public Meetings in Alaska, They Can Force Change

There's an important meeting in Anchorage on Tuesday evening. Before I write about it, though, look at these pictures:

Here is the annual meeting of the Matanuska Electrical Association members in 2008, at Colony High School:
Here is the annual meeting of the Matanuska Electrical Association members in 2009, at Palmer High School:
What do these images have to do with an upcoming meeting in Anchorage? Plenty.

In the Mat-Su Valley and Eagle River, people who were tired of the way our electrical utility was being mismanaged took matters into their own hands. The battles have taken years, but we've finally got a responsive and responsible utility board, with some fairly progressive ideas, and many cost-saving measures in place. What had been a very irrational utility board and management scheme has been replaced by a more forward-looking set of people.

It wouldn't have happened in this reddest of areas of Alaska, without many people devoting thousands of hours to the campaign.

Tuesday evening, there's an opportunity to do the good battle against regressives. Here's how AK Muckraker put it:

The Anchorage Fish & Game Advisory Committee will hold its election meeting

January 5th at 6:00 pm

Anchorage School District Education Center, located at 5530 E Northern Lights Blvd, in the School Board room.

Last year the conservation community rallied to elect three members to the committee and what a difference it made! In one short year those three members successfully passed conservation proposals to:

Support the expansion of the Denali Wolf Buffer Zone;
Restrict Nonresidents from hunting in predator control areas;
Support the proposal to end wolverine trapping in Chugach State Park

These are incredibly positive changes, and if those who do not support conservation are elected to the open seats, they will undo the good work that has already been accomplished. We cannot let that happen.

So, put on your activist cap, grab your friends and give an hour or two that will have an immediate positive impact on your community, your state and the wild creatures that share our home.

AKM's article on this goes on to describe the issues at stake in detail. She also provides information on some of the outstanding candidates and board members who will be standing for election.

As I understand it, the Anchorage meeting and the advisory group for whom you would be voting includes areas outside of Anchorage as well as Anchorage itself. More information coming soon.

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