Groups from all sides in Alaska are opposing Proposition 1

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July 13, 2010

By Kyle Maichle

ANCHORAGE, Alaska: Proposition 1, known as the Alaska Anti-Corruption Act, has seen a wide coalition of groups and individuals opposing the measure despite increasing calls to stop corruption in state government[1].

Groups including AARP, the Alaska AFL-CIO, and the Alaska Chamber of Commerce are united in opposition to Proposition 1 which is scheduled for the August 2010 primary ballot. The united opposition is over two issues: how the ballot measure is worded and a wealthy donor from New York City that has spent millions of dollars to influence the measure's passage[1].

Alaskans are at issue with Howard Rich, a wealthy real-estate developer from New York City that has spent millions of dollars to influence the passage of anti-corruption ballot measures in other states. Rich spent money in 2008 to influence the passage of anti-corruption measures in Colorado, Montana, Nevada, and South Dakota[1].

Also, Alaskans have questioned how the language of the proposition is worded. The language debate comes over a provision that would ban government contractors and their immediate families from donating to any political campaign. Unions including the AFL-CIO feel that they are unfairly treated as they are considered contract holders if the proposition passes. Any union that engages in collective bargaining would be considered to be a holder of a government contract. In addition, those who hold no-bid contracts would be affected the passage of the measure[1].

Rich defended the intent of Proposition 1 in a email he sent to Stateline. The real-estate developer said that any person who holds a no-bid contract and donates money to campaigns that support government contracts is considered to be corrupt. However, local government associations see cause for concern. Wayne Stevens, the President of the Alaska Chamber of Commerce, said that the passage of Proposition 1 would discourage local governments to lobby state government. Stevens pointed out a provision of Proposition 1 that would ban taxpayer money from being used by local governments towards lobbying activities. In addition, Stevens said that most elected officials at the local level only receive minimal travel stipends. This would force elected officials to pay more out of pocket costs for travel according to the head of the state's leading pro-commerce group[1].

Despite low voter turnout is predicted for the August primary, it's yet to be seen if the bi-partisan opposition will prevent the passage of Proposition 1[1].

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