An idea whose time has not yet come…

Word has reached me from our nation’s northernmost state that at least some Alaskan politicos are once again mulling over the possibility of relocating the capital from Juneau to some place a little more accessible to the state’s general populace (as well as to a select number of Canadians).

This is an idea that’s been roundly kicked around the state of Alaska for decades.

Proponents for the relocation point out that Juneau’s even more off the beaten track than most other Alaskan cities, many of which haven’t been seen for years. Juneau, they claim, is too far away from bustling population centers, is practically inaccessible by land and reportedly has fewer sushi restaurants per capita than, say, Cupertino.

It’s pretty obvious – at least to those of us with even a modicum of political savvy – that only an idiot would consider moving state government from a prime location such as Juneau.

Sure, Anchorage and Fairbanks are metropolitan hot spots when it comes to population, industry and culture, but Juneau has got to be a paradise for politicians.

Inaccessible by land?

Bonus points right there, amigos.

When your capital is hard to reach, there’s considerably much less chance that pesky do-gooders will be able to insinuate their way into your legislative strongholds to make a lot of silly demands and generally become nuisances.

On the other hand, serious constituents – lobbyists, for example – can usually afford to fly in or arrive on a luxury cruise ship.

When it comes to politics, being a little off the beaten path is always preferable to being in places such as Sacramento or Salt Lake City, where hordes of constituents can easily find you when they break out the ax handles and storm the capitol grounds.

If you don’t believe me, just ask California Governor Arnold “Now What?!” Schwarzenegger. If he’s feeling particularly candid – or harried – when you pose your question, I’m sure the governor will tell you that there are days when “inaccessible” sounds like heaven.

(Or he’ll simply boot you down the Capitol steps and then head out for a secluded bunker near Hayfork…).

Having a state capital that’s, like, 157 miles from everywhere, also eases relations with the federal government.

In general, when nosy federal bureaucrats or special select committees from Washington, D.C., decide to go plodding through state government business in great gum boots, they prefer to do it in places like Miami, Lake Havasu or Atlantic City. They tend to shy away from places where men are men, women are adept with harpoons and frostbite is considered an everyday occurrence.

So the congressional investigators stay away from Juneau and opt, instead, to periodically ship in snowplows, large crates of cash and the occasional freighterload of avocados.

Is this a politician’s paradise or what, amigos?

Now if they could just hustle up some sushi restaurants…

Originally published March 20, 2005

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