Thursday, February 18, 2010

Can Gov. Parnell Reverse Decades of Neglect Toward Alaska's Rural Schools?

About this time last year, in what were the first signs of an uncontrollable death spiral by the Palin administration, Sarah finally went to the lower Yukon, to "investigate" aspects of the midwinter crisis there. She went in Franklin Graham's private plane, supposedly also hauling Jerry Prevo along with. No doubt they discussed mass conversions from Russian Orthodoxy, Catholicism and other fairly mainline faiths to Graham, Palin and Prevo's less loving, perverted version of Christianity, as they sat next to their boxes full of cookies and Bibles. I doubt they discussed the continuing violation by the State of Alaska of a 1999 court decision that mandates almost a half billion dollars of renovations, repairs and new construction in Alaska rural schools.

This past week, Gov. Sean Parnell, along with Sen. Lyman Hoffman (D), Rep. Bob Herron (D), Sen. Donny Olson, D-Nome, and Rep. Neal Foster, D-Nome, toured several lower Yukon and Kuskokwim schools. Parnell, afterward, asking the legislature for about $300 million to attack the worst of the worst projects, should have been more forceful in observing that the Alaska legislature has been no help whatsoever in resolving the worsening problems.

Federal funding of Denali Commission projects has fallen from $141 million in 2006 to $61 million for last year, and is slated to decrease further under the budget presented by the Obama administration to Congress. Alaska, with a surplus from last year of about a billion dollars, needs to step into the brink to a point. And Sen. Begich has steered tens of millions of stimulus funds toward other projects long slated for the bush.

But school construction, renovation and repair are state and district responsibilities. While lawmakers in Juneau have been chary to obey the court mandate for over a decade now, citing one excuse or another, they really do have a moral obligation to enable Parnell's proposals to be fully funded.

Almost all of Alaska's vast wealth comes from the rural areas, while the material benefits of that development, extraction and removal move directly to the state's three largest urban centers - Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau. Urban Alaskans tend to be among the greediest people on earth when it comes to ways to obfuscate this startling reality.

Thank God the grifting crazy woman and her sleazy televangelist cleric buddies have far less of a voice in these projects now. It is interesting that one year after Palin was planning on forcing AG Talis Colberg out and replacing him with the racist, anti-Native Wayne Anthony Ross; seeking to replace Democrats in the legislature with people who were really Republicans; and twittering and emailing her rural advisor to only report "good news" from the Bush, that Parnell has chosen to visit the area in party with locally elected Democratic senators and representatives. Palin was constitutionally incapable of even thinking of doing something like this once she had seen the unabashed adoration, smoldering hatred, sheer nuttiness and apocolyptic fervor in the eyes of her hundreds of thousands of worshippers on the 2008 presidential campaign trail.

Articles on the visit by Parnell and legislators to the lower Yukon and Kuskokwim:

Alaska Dispatch

Alaska Public Radio Network
Arctic Sounder
Delta Discovery

image - concrete blocks and rocks shoring up the corner of a school buildiong in Alakanuk


Anonymous said...

It's a huge step in the right direction. The harm Palin did to Alaska knows no bounds...

alaskapi said...

somewhat dated but important part of the backstory