THE OUTSIDER (Legislative Newsletter 1970-1971) done for friends and others interested in what was going on in the Alaska State Legislature. I will only quote what might have some interest. Mostly I sent it to United Methodist friends. I denied permission to quote my newsletter, which turned off at least one person, but as I will explain, I was concerned about possible errors in my quickly written newsletter.
January 28, 1970: “OUTSIDER” Speculation #1 to United Methodist “type” brethren:
This type of communication IS NOT FOR PUBLIC QUOTATION, due to the fact that the sources are not always guaranteed to be accurate. You may recall a mistake made by the Juneau pastor several years ago on gambling legislation that was extremely embarrasing to several pastors – as we were guilty of distributing false information to our members about the voting reord of one politician. I trust I will not be guilty of the same mistake. For example, it would not help my effectiveness for you to write a legislator, saying, John S. said that you are against such and such a bill”. Even the daily record is not always 100% accurate, as a legislator can have the next day’s record indicate a change in his or her official vote.
However, I felt some of you would appreciate knowing how things are going from my point of view. If you do not appreciate this information, please let me know and I will save some stamp money.
The main area of interest for me has been “abortion” legislation.
[Comments added in 2020: It would not be correct to say that I am in favor of abortions, but I was and am in favor of “safe and legal abortions” for those who seek to have one. I spent a lot of energy on the issue in 1970 and have not changed my mind. Several woman who testified for “safe and legal abortions” in 1970 had already produced seven chldren. I found that “very” interesting. It will be very sad if we go back to unsafe abortions and the time when the rich could get abortions in other countries.]
1. It seems that the Sackett bill would be more restrictive than the current law, due to the fact that the courts will not convict a physician who performs an abortion prior to the first 20 weeks. The only problem is that the doctors are uncomfortable with the current law.
2. Senator John Rader in the Senate and several members of the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare have been working hard to put in a bill that will liberalize the current law and also have a chance of passage.
3. If any legislator is attacked personally for supporting this legislation, I believe we should support his or her right to struggle with the problem and not be subject to nasty personal attacks. I would appreciate copies of any “Letters to the Editor” which deal with this subject.
4. Many legislators are angry over this attempt to liberalize the matter to the point recommended in the enclosures. Not all of them are Roman Catholic. When the House Bill is introduced, I would suggest supporting it more heavily than the Senate Bill, due to the fact that it will have a better chance of passage and this would then put more pressure on the Senate for a decision. Rader could not find anyone to co-sponsor the bill, but please note that he did NOT ASK EVERYONE. (So Senators do need letters, too, if you take the time to write.)
5. The issue of legalized murder has been raised. This troubles those who are troubled. Where do we stop?
6. Following are some men who are troubled with the issue, but do not know how far to go: Representative John Sweet, Senator Bob Palmer, Senator Joseph Josephson. Letters to them would be most helpful, as time progresses.
7. The bill (when introduced) will pass the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare. From here it goes to the Judiciary Committee and I do not know what will happen to it there. Chairman Barry Jackson is helping draft the bill (behind the scenes) so he will support it, although at first he was opposed to liberalizing the position, according to my sources. Members of the Judiciary include: Jackson, Fink (with 10 children), Miller, Hillstrand, Kay, Metcalf, Cornelius (He will support a good bill, so little need to write him), Banfield, Harris.
8. The position of the Catholic Church is enclosed. 30,000 copies flooded the state. Let your legislator know where you stand. They will appreciate it, as it is a difficult position.
February 5, 1970 “Outsider” Letter #2
1. INTERESTING BILL INTRODUCED BY KAY & 15 others in the House.
House Bill No. 591 would amend the Section regarding liquor licenses, so that “No license may be issued…a club, fraternal organization, or patriotic organizations which exclude a person from its membership, or denies services to a guest of a member or otherwise discriminates against a member or guest of a member, because of race, color or national origin.”
Locally that will make the Elks very unhappy.
2. FULL COST OF CARE LEGISLATION
…It would be next to impossible to force something around Vance Phillips. I hope that the powers which be will take note that a good opponent for Senator Vance Phillips needs to be found prior to filing date on May 31st. He would not be as bad just as a negative member of the Senate, but he has been given the most powerful job in the system: Chairman of Finance.
3. ABORTION LEGISLATION
On my day off this week I appeared before the Senate HEW & Judiciary on SB 41 1 (Rader’s Bill) at 1:30 p.m. and the House HEW at 7:30 p.m. The Superior Court Room was jammed to capacity on both occasions. I was first before the Senate and second before the House. It would be impossible to summarize the experience briefly, but the Senate is basically hostile to the proposed legislation, while the House is eager to tackle the subject. The Commissioner of Health and Welfare has come out against the legislation “this year” and proposed that his department study it for a year.
I have probably set back the ecumenical movement a few centuries. The Catholic position, to be consistent, has to be opposed to even saving the mother’s life, if endangered in childbirth.
Please be assure that I emphasized that my testimony was for myself and not for United Methodists.
AGAIN I WOULD EMPHASIZE THAT MY COMMENTS ARE NOT FOR PUBLIC QUOTING.
February 18, 1970 OUTSIDER LETTER #3
1. Bill that struggled with definition of “recognized church”.
2. Bill related to full cost of care. “Governor has hardened his stand, so letters would not have great meaning now, but be alert to future word on the issue.
3. A proposed amendment to the Constitution of the State of Alaska by the vote of the people establishing an environmental and natural resources policy. Needed 14 votes. Got 13. It was too late to organize support for this one. Basic part of the resolution read this way: “STATEMENT OF POLICY. It is the policy of the state to protect and uphold the right of each of it citizens to a natural environment of clean air, clean water, and scenic beauty, and to encourage the wise use of natural resources consistent with the public interest. The legislature, in implementing this policy, shall include adequate provisions for the abatement of all forms of air, water, and landscape pollution and degradation.” I listed the six who opposed this Statement of Policy.
I noted that the House Bill might give the Senate another crack at the Resolution when a Senator returned from a stay in the local hospital.
4. Report on Abortion Bills. Roman Catholics opposed to letting this issue go to the vote of the people. Members of the Senate got a hot letter from the Archbishop (Ryan) of Anchorage that seemed to play loose with the facts. (2020 – For some reason, he was transferred from this position to becoming Coadjutor Archbishop for U.S. Military Vicariate from 1975 to 1985, then he was promoted as Archbishop for the Military services from 1985 to 1991. Bishop Hurley took his place in Anchorage. Oh, Archbishop Ryan also served as the Titular Archbishop of Gabii in 1975 ff. Perhaps serving the military chaplains was a safe place for a very angry person and I didn’t help much. At the time of the abortion debate, I was convinced that his angry, personal attack on some legislators assured the passage of the final bill.)
5. Senate Bill relating to being “Drunk in Public” by removing those items under “Disorderly Conduct and Disturbance of the Peace”, which relate to drinking. Still a ‘no-no’ to use profane language or make a loud noise.
6. Good social legislation introduced by Rep. Genie Chance.
March 5, 1970 OUTSIDER #4
Details of the State Senate working on an Abortion Bill which failed by a vote of 10 to 9. Needed 11 to pass. I shared comments about each Senator as they spoke. Very detailed report.
March 6, 1970 OUTSiDER #5
Fast moving developments on abortion.
Judiciary Committee in Senate introduces the Hawaii bill for Senator Rader.
House HEW finally introduces its bill. Now in House Judiciary. Representative Banfield predicts it will get to the floor of the House this session.
Representative Banfield (speech to parish men’s club today)
-Opposes lowering of drinking age.
-Favors a liberal abortion law – for others, not herself.
-Bigot bill was introduced to make a point. Will not be considered this session.
-Made an interesting point on the $250 per month pension bill. Opposes people like Elmer Rasmusson or Belle Simpson getting this much, when the state only pays $105 to a mother with one child on certain welfare programs.
Copies of both bills enclosed. You are welcome.
(P.S. Rader and Palmer shared some hate mail with me today. Rader’s letter was signed: “Not a Catholic just a Christian do you know what that means?!” Palmer’s talked about cells and hoped Palmer’s cells were removed next election.)
Investigated the right of Initiative for legislation that the legislature will not pass. It does exist. (Similar to those sick individuals (opps!) who work for a referendum on moving state capitals.)
Quoting parts out of context: “The lawmaking powers assigned to the legislature may be exercised by the people through the initiative.”…”A deposit of $100 must accompany the application.”…need 100 sponsors. Need finally 10 per cent of the registered voters. Amounts to about 8,000 signatures.
Alliace for Humane Abortions (with address) is seeking to organize state-wide. Juneau chapter is being formed next Monday a.m. Committee will be composed (I think) of the wife of the mayor, the wife of the most outstanding constitutional lawyer in the State of Alaska (Jewish) and the wife of a minister in town, who is opposed to abortion legislation or at least on the fence. Plus yours truly,
At the request of an Anchorage resident, I did some lobbying today with Bill Ray, chairman of House Finance, for SB 256. This is at the bottom of the stack, I understand and understood. Mr. Ray, in his usual clear manner, claimed not to be aware that the bill was in his committee. When this was clearly demonstrated, he immediately offered me the chance to testify next Monday morning at 9:00 a.m. This has to do with grant-in-aid for alcoholic treatment centers: i.e. detoxification centers. Any letters of this subject should go directly to Mr. Ray. Don’t mention my name, please!!!!!
Bill Trudeau plans to go with me, plus I got information today from Glenn Wilcox and Bert Hall. Soon I may know what I am talking about. If the Council of Churches would hire me, perhaps I would even becom smarter!!!!! (Smile!)
OUTSIDER #6 (undated)
I am slightly embarrassed, if I may digress a bit. Word has been coming to me that some of the brethren have been comparing my “outsider” with the legislative newsletter of the Alaska Council of Churches and saying that this one is more interesting, etc. I feel this is grossly unfair and must cease, for the following reasons:
- My motive in doing this little piece was to share some of my personal experiences with fellow United Methodist clergy. I intended it to be an “in-house” document and feel that discussion of it at the Alaska Council of Churches was out of place.
- I do not want to do the “hard work” involved in preparing an exact document, like the Alaska Council of Churches legislative newsletter. We should appreciate that this does take some exacting work. I can write this thing in a few minutes, sharing some highlights each week.
- My comments are highly editorial. I do not think it would be proper to subject anyone else to my viewpoint, in this way, unless they requested it. In fact, I made it clear in #1 that I would not send this to anyone requesting that I cease.
- There are many of us (besides myself) who are not willing to do the homework necessary to tell the difference between bills in intent, etc. I suggest that the legislative newsletter should be treated as a tool, not the end product. What I decide to support or not support should be my decision, not the decision of a writer. While I enjoyed the jokes and editorial comment of earlier publishers, let us avoid the sin of comparing them – unless we enjoy the parishioners who sin by comparing preachers unfairly.
ALCOHOL TREATMENT CENTERS: Bill Trudeau, Tom Dahl, his assistant, and myself showed up on Monday morning to talk to the Senate Finance Committee. Bill provided the expertise needed. At the end of the session, I asked for a hearing and got one for Tuesday, March 17, with Chancey Croft in charge. Had my second experience of hostility from a legislator when you disagree with him on a bad day. Representative Ray made the statement that alcoholism is caused by a “metabolism problem”. I suggested that might be an over-simplification of the problem and he responded with several items (as I remember them): “Don’t push me with a semantic problem.” “Dr. Shaffer, I did not invite you here to lecture me” and “Don’t challenge my personal beliefs.” I got the hearing and now know my state representative a bit better. No longer do I have to worry about Vance Phillips for Anchorage or Bob Blodgett for Nome. I shall work on my own backyard, so to speak. (2020 explanation: both of these Senators attacked me by name or position on the floor of the Senate.)
YOUTH HOSTEL: Six girls from Anchorage – TRAVELING TEENS – stayed in our youth hostel. They came to observe the legislature, plus obtain a bill that would forbid an organization from using the name “youth hostel” unless they are chartered by a national organization known as “American Youth Hostel”. They succeeded in getting the bill introduced…..I testified on the bill, bot did not support or oppose it – just supplied information.
PENSION BILL: The House passed a bill this week to provide $250 per month for those who have been in the state at least 25 years. The more I learn about the bill, the worse it looks. Senators may need your support in opposing the bill. John Rader is working on a “negative income tax” substitute bill. It has lots of political pressure built up behind it.
“OUTSIDER #7 (undated) NOT FOR QUOTATION WITHOUT CONSENT, ETC.)
CHURCH OF CHRIST, UNITING. (shared some information from Dr. Robert Nelson)
JUNEAU COOPERATIVE CHURCH COUNCIL formed by Episcopal, Presbyterian, United Methodist, under the leadership of Wm. Trudeau.
ABORTION BILL. I predict one more vote on the issue. Alliance for Humane Abortions received 72 signatures from the town of Skagway – total population 700, including children.
FIRST HEARING ON SENATE BILL NO. 539 “An Act providing for an alternative procedure in actions for divorce” will be held in HWE on April 1, 1970. Senator Thomas invited me to testify but I will be in Illinois. He indicated that the Bar Associiation would oppose the bill. Provides for a Family Court Master to carry out the provisions usually done by Superior Court. Provides for voluntary Marriage Counseling, if available. Eliminates the need for costly attorneys to fix the blame, etc. for cause of divorce. Should remove much of the bitterness related to some divorce cases. Attorneys would lose some money, if this legislation passes, I understand. Looks like the kind of bill we should be behind, if we have approved the new approach of the United Methodist Church in relationship to remarriage, etc.
SENATE BILL #475 is in Senate Rules. The Alaska Council of Churches refused to deal with this issue. It looks like we are in favor of freedom of religion, as long as everyone agrees with me. (See “Outsider” #3)
TENSION seems to be building up in the legislature now, as the session wears on. I may have picked a good time to be away, although I have my regrets. This will be the last “outsider” unless the session is still going in May. I have enjoyed sharing with you. I will share our reaction to General Conference, since we will be visiting that while on vacation.
SENATE BILL #494 – dealing with pre-school education for 1 to 3 year old children, as proposd by American Baptist Church and Alaska Methodist University. Needs a boost to get out of Finance Committee in the Senate, if you have some letter writing energy. Senator Vance Phillips indicated to me that he had not worked on that one yet.
INSTALLATION OF BISHOP FRANCIS HURLEY. Wm. Trudeau and myself were able to assume our proper place of rank in a procession at the installation Saturday (between the lay reader and the priests). It was an interesting ceremony. Planeload flew in from San Francisco and many were here from Anchorage. Choir used the sisters from the monastary in Anchorage on O’Mallay Road, so it was good to see them again. Archbishop spoke briefly on the confusion of identity among priests – could see no good reason for it. New bishop spoke in an appreciative way about Bishop Everett Palmer participating at the San Francisco ordination service. He will certainly add a new dimension to the work of the church here in Juneau. (2020 – and indeed he did, becoming the Archbishop of Anchorage and doing many good things. While in Juneau, some one tried to get him to say negative things about my work on abortion. He responded to the loaded question with these words: “John and I disagree on that subject. Next question?”
OUTSIDER NO. 8 (undated)
This has been an unusual session. Much will be written as to why it has lasted so long, etc. Lack of administrative leadership will be one of the most convincing reasons. The difficulty (or refusal) to set legislative priorities will be another. (2020: Keith Miller was the Governor at this time.)
I just finishd an experience which goes a long way towards explaining why many people have given up hope on the system as we know it today. HB 810, an admittably controversial measure, which would give some protection to a resident against serving in an undeclared war, stirred up much citizen interest here in Juneau. Over 100 persons attended the one and only hearing on the subject. Earl Hillstrand (State Affairs chairman) and Richard McVeigh (vice-chairman State Affairs) have effectively stalled on the bill long enough, so that it will not be considered effectively this session. Most of the hearing testimony was based on the idea of giving opponents to the war another weapon besides the ballot box and revolution: the legal system of our nation.
Hillstrand announced at the close of the first hearing that he would hold another one to hear the other side. (sixteen spoke for the bill, two against) When he was asked when, he replied: “Soon.” That was eight days ago. One hearing was scheduled, but cancelled at the last minute with no explanation. McVeigh seems to think that war made a man out of him, so everyone else should have the value he received from the military. (that is not an official statement, incidentally) He is so wishy-washy that it would be difficult to get an official statement that you could count on. (He and Hillstrand are roommates.)
The local Model Cities program is trying to get a bill passed that would allow the Dept. of Labor to keep statistics on people according to race. Four years ago native groups and others eliminated the keeping of statistics on persons by race. Today, we learn that certain federal programs need these statistics, so the native groups were educated into reversing their opinion. Confuses the politicians, to be sure.
FLASH: Who said the legislature did not accomplish anything. Notice what happened to Vance Phillips? Trick of the week! Write Vance Phillips a letter, praising his courage, etc. etc. and suggest he run for governor, senator or something like that. His vanity might turn the trick and the legislature would be rid of him. Nick Begich was criticized by Vance today; Nick came back by criticizing the former finance chairman who stopped the card games at lunchtime in the Dept. of Labor. Vance then took the floor and suggested that if Nick did not shut up, he “would punch him in the eye”.
You have probably read about Blodgett beating up a poor old 65 year old man (Bronson). I added my influence by talking Willie Hensley into filing against Brodgett for the Senate seat from the Nome-Kotzebue area. Getting rid of some of these ……might be the best contribution that can be made for the welfare of this state. (2020: I note that Willie Hensley was elected to the State Senate in 1971, so mark that up to one of my successes. I didn’t brag about it when I moved to Nome in 1974, as Blodgett was a close friend of one of my critics, the editor of the Nome Nugget.)
Anchorage Chamber of Commerce did not really conduct themselves very well on their mission to stop the spending of the oil money. They speak with forked tongue. Save the money, but give us shared revenues, sewer systems and three new buses for the airport. By the way, before I sound self-righteous, Juneau has its trouble in Bill Ray. He put out a news release recently about all the money “he” got for the Juneau area in the new budget. Maybe tht is why he gets elected. I can not think of any other reason.
I have missed writing the “Outsider”. Not too much happened since my last issue, but I did want to share some of the good news, which deals with the bad guys of this session. Earlier closing hours of the bars, against abortion, against spending money. (By the way, I note that the Chugiak resident who inspired me to enter politics briefly is running for governor under the banner of the American Independent Party. Cheers.
“The OUTSIDER” Volume II, No. 1 January 12, 1971
Shared committee assignment in the House and shared the difficulty in organizing a split Senate. I urged my readers to put on pressure at the point of your convictions.
(2020: I note that Willie Hensley is part of the process. I now remember that I send him money for his campaign. We were now rid of Bob Blodgett, who often threatened those who opposed him with physical violence. Yeah!)
I predicted that would take 3-4 weeks to break the deadlock over who will organize the Senate.
“The Outsider” Volume II, No. 2 January 17, 1971
Prediction #2: I will not make any more predictions.
SENATE ORGANIZES ON FRIDAY at 11:55 a.m. One of my contacts called to say that the Senate was about to cast a secret ballot for the Republicans or Democrats to organize the Senate. This was done with the result of 11-9 in favor of the Republicans. acting President Bradshaw continued his attempts at humor by asking the Senators the traditional question, after all ballots were stuffed in the box: “Does anyone wish to change their vote?” At this point in time (Saturday) the only definite organization is that Jay Hammond is President.
WHO SWITCHED VOTES? The “outsider” will have to be vague on this point. One theory would have it that John Rader was the one. Evidence: your reporter was going to the little room on the 2nd floor to relieve a natural urge, only to discover an intense conversation between Lowell Thomas, Jr., Terry Miller and John Rader. It ceased when the “outsider” entered. From that meeting they went to vote.
Another theory has it that two Democrats switched and one Republican switched. This was based on the keen eyesight of one observer who could tell who crossed a “t” on their ballot and who did not. We do know that Bill Ray initialed his ballot, so he could not be accused of betrayal and John Butrovich used a pen with red ink, to prove his loyalty. (all this to prove that I can find something to write about this year)
HOUSE BILL NO. 39 by Huber, Bradner and Warwick by request: “An Act relating to the selling or giving tobacco to minors. Section of the law is repealed. Those section say that it is unlawful to sell, exchange or give cigarettes, cigars or tobacco to a person under the age of 18.
The bill was introduced, read the first time and referred to the Committees of Commerce and Judiciary. In talking to Bradner, I learned the following things: This bill relates to a request from students at the High School in Fairbanks, as well as the adults. There is pressure in several communities for smoking rooms in the high school. There seems to be tension over the resulting hypocrisy – letting students do things which are clearly illegal. In addition, one has the problem of enforcement of this law, especially in relationship to the machines which sell cigarettes.
I studied this bill because I thought it might be a sleeper, but I can understand the need to remove it from the criminal statutes. If you wanted to surprise the legislators, you could support the passage of such legislation.
HOUSE BILL NO. 26 by Fischer: “An Act relating to population limitations on issuance of new liquor licenses.” referred to the Committees on State Affairs and Judiciary. This one would increase the population limitations from 1500 to 3000…
SNOW VEHICLES: One bill would prohibit the use of snow vehicles in hunting most animals…..
[Note: I would like to repeat that the comments in this highly private newsletter are not for quotation, due to the possibility of error and personal embarrassment. Thus far we have 10 subscriptions.] Of interest is a resolution to increase the Senate to 21 members and the House to 41 members. Enough of these ties, I guess…
[2020 Editorial Interlude: Seeking financial help to distribute the “Outsider” I send out a form with these possible responses:
-Life would not be the same without your publication….
-Words would not describe how I feel about your product. Please save your money & mine & remove me from your list. (I resent only slightly the fact that I have to spend $.06 to return this information to you.)
These twelve people had subscriptions. Jim Fellers, Dick Gilbert, Gene Groves, Walter Hays, Ernest H. Jones (I wonder, though, what you will have to write about without V. Phillips, Blodgett, and Bronson), Gary Lueck, Fred McGinnis, James H. Thompson, John R. Tindell, Bill & Danita Trudeau (We’ll join your funny farm), Gene Walters (I’m sure I could live without it and life would be quite enjoyable but I should keep on top of what you are writing), one unclear, but he wrote “Not really – but I don’t want to miss your Agnewese” David Fison sent a letter that he didn’t want to receive information that he was not free to use.
OUTSIDER #3 February 5, 1971
LESSON IN READING NEWSPAPERS: It is interesting to note the headlines given a repcent “SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 8” introduced by Hammond and Palmer.
Juneau Southeast Alaska Empire: “Alaska-Canada Pipeline Route Study Is Sought”
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: “Senators ask study of line through Canada”
Anchorage Daily Times: “Ask Pipeline Rerouting”
I will enclose a copy, so that you can compare the coverage. The resolution asks various departments to “provide a thorough compartive analysis of the long-range environmental and economic impact on Alaska of a pipeline from Alaska’s North Slope through Canada”. (2020-If that had happened, the EXX0N VALDEZ oil spill would never have happened. Just saying…)
Various individuals from the Kenai Peninsula are already writing Senator Palmer to indicate that he will no longer have their support, because “he introduced this bill”. The emotionalism of the reaction would tend to make a fellow feel he was absolutely right in opposing the pipeline terminus in Valdez, if that happened to be his position.
(I have some of the environmental statements considered by General Conference, if some of you want these.)
SEX BILL: You will be reading about Mike Rose (Representative from Anchorage) a great deal. He has long been a peace advocate and champion of laws which destroy civil liberties. The bill to repeal various criminal offenses will probably not pass. Many legislators agree with the intent of the bill, but would be afraid to support it publicly. The bill just states that certain sections of the statutes will be repealed.
PEACE: Mr. Rose has also introduced the bill which split the House last session: “No resident of the state inducted…may be required to serve outside the territorial limits of the United States in the conduct of armed hostilities not an emergency and not otherwise authorized in the powers granted to the President of the United States.”..Mr. Rose feels that this bill merely reaffirms the constitution. Some people feel that the bill is directed to the situation in Vietnam, which is admitting a great deal about that war, but the country is not even mentioned in the bill. The bill has six sponsors, which is five more than Mike could get on the repeal bill mentioned above.
SNOW MACHINES: I attended prt of the hearing on the bill to ban snow machines in hunting. Rightly so, the native villages are concernd about this. One man, near Kotzebue, testified that they kill less caribou now, as they do not feed 12-13 dogs now. Caribou will last one week, instead of one or two meals. Interesting testimony on the fact that most villages kill as many as are found or needed, rather than follow game laws.
It would be my guess that there will be some restrictions in more populated areas. Perhaps walk-in areas only will be created.
ALASKA HOMEMAKER-HOME HEALTH AIDE: Hearing on this will be held…You may be aware of the special interest here. This program was started as a joint project of the Episcopal and United Methodist churches here in Juneau. Others have worked with it in Anchorage and Fairbanks. Federal funding ends October 1st and then the State will enter the picture (we hope). Several special problems have occupied our energies this year. I may be asking for some legislative support on this from other areas than the cities mentioned.
OUTSiDER #4 March 10, 1971
IMPORTANT BILL OF ALASKA METHODIST UNIVERSITY.
You may not believe this, but I have spent little time across the street recently. We are working on a bill (or resolution) that would speak to the war issue in S.E. Asia. HB 131 is not getting anywhere, as McVeigh put it in Jess Harris’s pocket. (House State Affairs) Those of you who identify with the hawks will be pleased with that action. Some who will not support the bill have indicated they would vote for a resolution which expresses opposition to our involvement in S.E. Asia.
I was interested in the resolution which passed both House and Senate regarding editorial practices of certain newspapers. Bill Ray (of Juneau) moved that a copy of the resolution be sent to the Anchorage Daily Times.
There seems to be much evidence massing that the pipeline might be better if it went somewhere other than Valdez. The result is going to be two-fold: (1) several unknown people are going to be hurt financially. (2) Several programs of service to people will be cut-back drastically or completely. Several of the former are probably well-heeled. The latter will involve programs that many of us are working with right now. I guess we can’t have it both ways. The legislators are expressing regret, as they vote to eliminate programs financially in the Finance Committee. If you see some priority items, now would be the time to let your legislators know.
HOUSE BILL No. 224 is a good bill. It will help in many areas of service to people on a matching basis. Do not know its chances of passing, but it deserves some support.
SEX BILL hearing was held recently. I testified for all United Methodists in the whole world (2020-attempt at satire) right after a representative from the PLAYBOY FOUNDATION. PLAYBOY is a magazine read by many young adults in our culture…My comments were not printed in the Anchorage Times. However, they were printed in Juneau…..The pastor-parish relations committee is having a special meeting this Sunday…to discuss final plans for the trip to Africa. There may be some move to make it permanent. I wonder if I will be safer in South Africa or the Holy Land? By the way, my testimony centered on the position of hypocrisy to have a bill on the books which no one attempts to enforce. I purchased a few comic books (horror, violence and sex) available at a store in Juneau to illustrate my point. The legislators were very grateful for these books being part of the record.
I had the opportunity at attend a DEMOCRATIC CLUB dinner, in honor of all the legislators recently. The show was put on by the staff of the legislators. It was basically a satire of the legislative process. A sleeper instead of speaker; thrill instead of bills,etc. At one point they sang a song to the tune of “The Lord’s Prayer”. Talkback info indicates that the governor appreciated the humor, but Mrs. Egan did not. The words follow: “Our Governor, who art in Juneau, Honesty be thy name. The pipeline come, progress be done In Anchorage, as it is in Los Angeles. Give us this day our six percent. And forgive us our severance tax as we forgive the oilmen; And lead us not into inflation, But deliver us from pollution; for OIL is the kingdom, and the power, And the future for Alaska, Oh-No.” If you think that is far out, this was the prayer of the chaplain, to open the session: “O Supreme being, may we join together in fellowship today, for we are annointed with oil on troubled waters. O heavenly grid, help us bear up thy Standard…our Chevron flahsing bright across the Gulf of compromise…standing Humble on the Rich Field of Mobil American thinking, here in this Shell may we find Union. Amen.” I think the opinion of the staff comes through loud and clear.
OUTSIDER #5 April 29, 1971
…The division between the “develop at any price” people and the “conservationist” is still here.
Alaska Methodist University Funding Issue
Vietnam statement blocked.
Much infighting is taking place on the budget right now. The Senate version has had the careful scrutiny of C.R. Lewis and he was fairly angry yesterday when W. I. Palmer was appointed to the free conference committee, instead of himself. While many cuts have been made which will hurt program in our state, Senator Palmer is aware of ways to restore some of them in “free Conference” committee. It is good that we have at least one objective Senator, who just happens to have a daughter enrolled at Alaska Methodist University. It tends to make him more informed about certain issues.
UNTIL NEXT SESSION.
OUTSIDER #6 approximately 3:30 a.m. May 11, 1971 Adjournment
What a revelation the last few days of this legislature was for me personally: partly from reading the newspaper, partly from observing and partly from personal contacts in the halls.
The legislative process is very frustrating to those who do not hold the reins of leadership. Six persons out of the 60 control major aspects of budgetary decisions in the free conference committee to the budget. Two persons can hold out for items important to them.
Wheeling and dealing become very important in the last days. These items became important legislation to various individuals:
-Flood control project money for Fairbanks.
-Alaska Methodist University and more
Joe Josephson and Lowell Thomas Jr. worked hard and long to help Alaska Methodist University. They only had two votes (their own) with them against first passage of CS HB 415 and only 7-8 votes on major amendments (needed 10). However, by agreeing to pass the $35 per day per diem (which was tacked on to the 5% state pay raise) two more votes were obtained to hold off financial cuts until an in-depth study of higher education issues are made by the current administration. That, my friends, is an example of wheeling and dealing. Lowell Thomas Jr. plans to donate his extra $1,000 to Alaska Methodist University, I am told, hence helping overcome his disappointment at agreeing to vote for the $35 per day per diem, which I assume he opposed. Some thought the 90 day limit might force the leadership to hold to 90 days. However, some leadership is already predicting 140 days for next year. You can understand the pain of those who obtained Alaska Methodist University votes at that cost.
There are other examples of “locked-in” voting on the Alaska Methodist University issue, but I do not want to put them in writing. Perhaps some one will be curious enough to ask or study the records. (2020-not me, I can’t even remember the details now.)
A free conference addition was made to the liquor license bill which allows liquor licenses closer than one mile to the University of Alaska. That will probably upset Carrie Nation again. It is interesting to learn that our state University owns the Nevada Bar in Fairbanks, so we are already seeing ways to help the Regents on the cuts in their budget.
1.5 million will be in the budget to help build a new school in Nome. One of the first times for the state to do such in a first-class city. (50% two years later is current pattern) An interesting point is that the House Budget called for 2.5 million in the scholarship and loan fund for Alaskan students.. The Senate called for .5 million (I think). Not to make the Nome lobbyists feel badly (which they will not, I am sure), but you can get some idea of where the money for the schools in Nenana and Nome came from. Compromise on the scholarship and loan fund ended at 1.5 million.
You recall how mad several legislators were recently in signing a petition for the AFN bill, without reading the material first? One legislator let a bill pass recently which he had approved in free conference committee. Later he learned of a provision which he strongly opposed that had been added in a meeting he missed. He hollered, but he was too late – bill was on the way to the governor. He questioned the ethics of those who did not tel him what was in the bill. Wonder if he ever thinks about the fact that he did not even read the bill? Will not name the legislator, but he has written “letters to the editor” on the AFN issue.
If anyone feels that United Methodists think alike: consider the case of Representative Keith Specking of Hope and Mike Miller of Juneau. Mike is a progressive Democrat and supports most good social legislation. Keith shared recently that he thinks that HB 224 is bad Socialistic legislation. (You received material on HB 224 from Dick Gilbert) Then there is Bob Palmer, who is very responsible (from my Republican point of view) on financial matters, but his priorities are also in tune with the best in social legislative matters. I will end the analysis at this point. (some one may quote me and I consider all of the above friends), but I find the comparison fascinating. Adds a great deal to pastoral relationships, at least during the session. (2020 – while both Mike and Bob spent some time studying biblical texts, Keith Specking, based on my experience with him, did not spend much energy on biblical texts in a corporate setting. He didn’t attend worship in his town of Hope when I was the summer pastor in 1961 and he didn’t attend when he was in Juneau.)
Again, I would remind you of my desire not to be directly quoted on this material until you have done your own homework. This way I can put down figures as I remembr them and not as they might actually be. I can paraphrase comments I overhead without worrying about libel.
Speaking of libel. C. R. Lewis attempted to hurt many programs by financial cuts. Most of these cuts were restored in free conference work. He was deeply hurt not to be appointed to the free conference committee, but President Jay Hammond stuck to his desires and appointed Bob Palmer instead. (C. R. was vice-chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.) The Republican caucus can not shut C. R. completely out of power, so he is always close. He was placed on the Legislative Council (operates on behalf of the Legislature between sessions), to compromise on his shut out of great power in this session. (2020: Somewhere along the line he zapped me. W. I. “Bob” Palmer had named Father Mark Boesser (Episcopal) and myself as co-chaplains of the State Senate and when C. R. Lewis got that power, he quickly removed us. Doing it often did help build some personal relationships.)
(2020: The end. Life took other directions. Memory is weak right now. If my memory gains strength, I may add more someday.)
Also 2020: One of my favorite stories was the fact that two United Methodist women attacked me for my work on abortion. One wrote to the bishop, asking that he make me shut up. I quickly responded, with a carbon copy to the bishop, that “bishops determine where I speak, but not what I speak”. I heard no more. Over the years, I got orders from superintendents, but rarely from bishops. I even obeyed some of them.