Alaska communities at risk of  road and airport closure

commentary by Julie Kay Smithson

Five elected and appointed (non-elected) people in Alaska are in the process
of crafting the certain demise of three Alaskan communities. These five are:
the Governor of Alaska, Tony Knowles; Alaska Lieutenant Governor Fran Ulmer;
Alaska State Budget Director Annalee McConnell; Alaska DOT Commissioner
Joseph Perkins; and Alaska DOT Northern Region Director Ralph Swarthout.
These five have decided that 'the most efficient way to balance the budget'
is to close 18 community airfields and stop maintenance -- either year-round
or in the winter months -- on 70 roads leading to remote communities. This
arbitrary and capricious action, an act of terrorism by five individuals
against their fellow citizens, includes the ONLY highway, the Steese Highway,
that connects Central, Circle City and Circle Hot Springs to Fairbanks,
Alaska, 135 miles from Central. The website for more on this is: At this website you may send a single letter to
the editor/editorial to many publications at once. Also, a single email may
be sent at once to ALL the Alaska Legislature:
Alaska Has At Least $7.70 Billion In Potential Surpluses of the Taxpayers
Money it is not using. This analysis does not, repeat does not, include the
$26+ billion in the Permanent Fund, which is approximately $41,000 per

As usual, those in power never mention the Comprehensive Annual Financial
Report -- CAFR -- of which 'the budget' is only a fraction. All the posturing
about 'balancing the budget,' when mega-billions are stashed -- hidden --
within the CAFR, is criminal, nothing less. There is plenty of money to keep
roads and airfields open and maintained; if the light can be shone on this
FACT, many lives will be spared this winter, and our fellow human beings will
not be reduced to being FORCED to move into a large city against their will.

No matter where we live in America or the world, we simply MUST help our
neighbors in the north before they are left to die by their elected/appointed
'officials.' This is America! This MUST NOT HAPPEN -- and yet, it WILL
happen, if you and I and many, many more don't rise to this challenge. There
is no time for saying "I'm too busy." Winter is serious business in Alaska --
please, help these folks with your emails, phone calls, faxes, letters -- and
by sending/delivering guest editorials to your local papers, worldwide,
letting the world know about this horrific act being committed by those in
power! As of July 6, 2002, just 86 days remain in which to stop a juggernaut
from leveling hundreds of lives and three communities, their custom and
culture and very existence. What if it were you, your home and community? If
these actions in rural areas are not stopped NOW, the time will be soon when
it WILL be you!

Miss Julie Kay Smithson
213 Thorn Locust Lane
London, OH  USA 43140-8844

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