My husband and I have lived in Alaska (Kodiak and Anchorage), for almost twenty years – you might say we are forever Alaskans. We have not worked for a major oil company, mining company, or an environmental group. Just a couple of ordinary citizens who will be voting a definite YES for Ballot Measure 1.

 

We Stand For Salmon and all it represents to this great state, country, and even the world. Salmon is Alaska’s true sustainable gold. It provides tens of thousands of jobs from fishing, canneries, and all measure of industries that support this permanent resource, (permanent as long as we take care of it!). It has also been a part of our subsistence since beyond the dawn of time. We have the cleanest, wildest, healthiest fish found anywhere and have been the envy and bread basket (fish net) of the world. It also contributes two billion dollars annually, to our economy.

 

And yet, there are those who are willing to take a high risk gamble, by not fully investigating our streams before development occurs. They are willing to take the risky road by gambling that nothing will ever happen, no accidents will ever occur, and that corporations (oil and mining) will never do anything that is against Alaska’s best interest. Oh really?

 

As most folks (who live here) know, our streams are the lifeblood of these great fish, regardless of the harmful things happening in our oceans and to our climate. As a result of outdated sixty year old laws, a bill was sent to the Alaska Legislature. It was literally, “dead on arrival” despite enormous support voiced at the time. So, as a result, almost 50,000 Alaskan voters signed a petition to put this proposition on the Ballot on Nov. 6th. The State sued to keep it off but after an appeal by the citizens, the court system ruled in our favor and put it back on again.

 

Yes on Ballot Measure 1 supports having independent scientists review and assess salmon streams rather than scientists on the payroll of a major corporation or their subsidiaries. It also supports public-comment as many of our citizens have great knowledge about this state and it’s fish including our elders and citizen scientists.

 

There are many decent, hardworking, honest people who work for major corporations. Unfortunately, there are also many who are not so honest, especially those in charge of making profits. We are all human beings and that makes us all fallible. This is why we all need checks and balances and is what Proposition 1 provides. Ambition can be blinding. Money can be blinding. We don’t need to take a high risk gamble, that nothing can happen with Alaska’s most precious resource, our salmon.

 

This is not a political issue, it is an Alaskan issue and all Alaskans, no matter their party affiliation, can Vote Yes on Ballot Measure 1.

 

I’m sure there are those from both sides who can quote scientific data much better than I can so I will keep it simple with this old adage, “You can’t let the fox guard the hen-house!” And, you can’t let the billion dollar corporations guard our salmon streams!

 

This is a definite “David and Goliath” situation with over eleven million dollars spent against us, so every vote counts! Join us in voting “Yes For Salmon”. Vote Yes for Ballot Measure One!

 

Sylvia Panzarella, Kodiak

 

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