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As August 28th quickly approaches, the most expensive issue on the ballot is the vote on Ballot measure 2. The ballot measure, if passed will create a new coastal management program for the state, which will be formally called the Alaska Coastal Zone Management Program.
Alaska, with its coastal areas far out-stripping any other state in terms of sheer size, claiming over a third of the total United States coast, is the only coastal state without a management program. The program that the state previously had was severely gutted during the Murkowski administration then ultimately died in the legislature last spring when it sun-setted and no agreement was made for re-funding or authorizing the program.
The ballot measure to re-establish the Coastal Zone Management Program was submitted to the Lieutenant Governor’s office last October by Juneau Mayor Bruce Botelho and other supporters. Botelho stated the reason for his action then according to Sitnews, “When the old program expired, Alaskans lost their say in how we manage our coastal resources. We introduced this initiative because Alaskans deserve a voice in what happens in our waters and industry deserves a predictable, streamlined process for developing Alaska’s coastal resources.”
Although the measure seemingly has support amongst the population, with support coming from former Governor Tony Knowles as well as the Alaska Federation of Natives, that support did not translate into large amounts of dollars.The funding for the main campaign in favor of the management system, the “Yes on 2!” campaign, is far behind the “No on Ballot Measure 2” campaign. Any two of the top five contributors to the “No” campaign more than equals the war chest of the entire “Yes” movement.
Recent numbers show campaign funds available for the pro-management campaign to be approximately $200,000+, while the anti-management campaign has its war-chest swollen with nearly $1,500,000. Campaign dollars for the “No” campaign come mainly from large enterprises such as Conoco-Phillips, Shell, BP, Exxon Mobile, the Alaska Miner’s Association, the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, Fairbanks Gold Mining Inc. Donlin Gold, and the Resource Development Council.
Monies for the “Yes” campaign come mainly from sources such as the North Slope Borough, Bristol Bay Native Corporation, the Municipal of Skagway, and Robert Gillam, as well as numerous other individual contributors that gave much smaller amounts, many times less than $100. The “Vote Yes” campaign can claim as many as 40 Alaskan Mayors as support, and at least 20 Representatives and Senators.
The “Vote No” campaign has managed to drown out its opposition with ads flooding the airwaves. Its opposition led by the Alaska Sea Party have been much less visible to the viewers eye and only aired their first ad on Monday while the “No” campaign has been airing for weeks.
The “No” campaign has aired ads with oodles of red tape and has even brought back the wolf in sheep’s clothing that is featured on flyers. The Wolf in Sheeps clothing figured prominently in the “Clean Water” campaign of 2008.
Despite the lack of campaign dollars, one supporter of the ballot measure , the Cook Inlet Keeper has cast out on their own campaign for the initiative and began posting their ads on their FaceBook page. The bare-bones effort, bares all in support of the campaign for coastal zone management. While their ads cost considerably less than the campaign ads that are opposed to the measure airing on television, the grassroots “Vote for the Coast” ads online are much more popular online then their counterpart.
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