Perhaps the most troubling bit of flotsam to wash up in the storm over Ballot Measure 1 is the claim that boatloads of dark money are being poured into the fray by its mostly green, Outside supporters, and the stunning lack of transparency.
It serves as a reminder of the danger in settling complex public policy issues by ballot initiatives — something all the rage among the uninformed who believe direct democracy a panacea for our political ills. Initiatives allow easy “yes” or “no” answers to complicated questions rather than having them addressed through a reasoned, thorough legislative process.
On its face, the measure appears little more than a quick way to kill Alaska’s huge, vital economy by regulating it to death — all in the name of protecting salmon that may, or may not, need more protection by regulations that may, or may not, work. Like most initiatives, this one — surprise! — serves Outside anti-development interests.