Dan Kendall: Vote yes for a constitutional convention

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By DAN KENDALL

My family moved to Alaska in 1956. I spent my childhood in Valdez, my teenage years in Spenard, and the rest of my life in Chugiak. The constitution for the new state of Alaska was being prepared when we arrived. The Democrats were the party in charge of Alaska at the time, so they provided the most input for the formulation of our new constitution.

One of the provisions of the constitution was to present to voters every 10 years a question. “Should there be a constitutional convention?” If the answer was yes, this started a process of electing delegates, holding the convention, legislative review and voters saying yes or no on the proposed amendment. Alaska has been a state for over 60 years.

This is the first-time, “Outside,” interests have paid attention by pouring in millions of dollars to oppose Alaskans holding their convention to decide the future of our Alaska. The number as of, October 3, is $2.25 million, with large portions coming from the National Education Association and the Sixteen Thirty Fund, according to financial disclosures.

I need to pause for a moment to educate newer Alaskans as to what the term “Outside” means. Let me use a few phrases to help.

“If they don’t wave, they are from Outside.”

“When you travel to the lower 48 states, you travel Outside.”

“We are Alaskans, we don’t give a darn how they do it Outside.”

The issues that need to be addressed by a constitutional convention are as follows:

Rank Choice Voting: This method of voting was created by ballot initiative in the 2020 state election. This was initiated and funded by “Outside” money. This basically eliminated the primary election process that had been in place since statehood. RCV is set up to favor the incumbents. Please do not assume the newly elected legislature will fix this tragedy.

Permanent Fund Dividend: Gov. Jay Hammond signed a bill in 1980 creating the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation for the purpose of managing investments from oil royalties. That year Legislature also approved the first Permanent Fund Dividend program, and the first dividend check of $1,000 was distributed two years later. The legislature also set up a formula for the PFD distribution to individual Alaskans. This formula was followed until Gov. Bill Walker vetoed the full amount in 2016. We cannot count on the legislature to provide Alaskans with the full amount.

Read: History of the Alaska Permanent Fund-Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation

Education: The Anchorage School District has proven to us today that they cannot teach reading, writing and arithmetic at the third-grade level. This important issue must be addressed by all parents here in Alaska.

Shocking: Reading scores in Anchorage dropped between fall and winter of 2021 – Must Read Alaska

Let’s not listen to “Outside” groups. Why is the National Education Association spending money to tell us what to do.  Why is the. “Outside,” Democrat Party oriented group, Sixteen Thirty Fund, pouring huge sums of money to change our constitutional processes? 

So today I am asking my fellow Alaskans to vote YES for a constitutional convention. We need to do what is right and good for our children and future Alaskans. We don’t care how they do it “Outside.”

Dan Kendall lives in Chugiak, Alaska.

28 COMMENTS

  1. Dan,
    The representatives elected as delegates to the convention will be dumb or dumber than our now-elected representatives. There is no single issue important enough to open that Pandora’s Box.
    My fellow conservatives don’t seem to realize that there is no guarantee things won’t be worse..
    And the PFD issue is bullshit. Putting the PFD into the Constitution GUARANTEES future taxes.
    The PFD is the siren song of Socialism.
    It is destroying the very purpose of government.

    • People afraid to take big risks gain nothing. Plus paraphrasing Ben Franklin, those who trade freedom for security deserve neither.

      You’ve got to get over your PDF obsession.

    • Well stated. Thank you. We don’t need a CC to fix K-12. Nor do we to end RCV. As for the PFD, it is the biggest public policy failure in our history and should be eliminated.

    • “…….If we have a convention, religious conservatives are going to try to strip this privacy right out of the constitution. It wasn’t long ago that many states had laws banning the sale of contraceptives, banning interracial marriage, and criminalizing adultery and gay relationships. The right to privacy in our constitution protects us from such morality laws…….”
      Which is it? Privacy, or Morality? Quit the scare tactics and ideological key words. The baby killing industry has been bandying the “privacy” BS for the past half century even though killing a baby in the womb has absolutely nothing to do with privacy in any way.
      Should I be able to murder somebody in the privacy of my own home? Why not? Because the victims family and friends will be harmed?
      Ditto abortion. A woman doesn’t become pregnant independently. A father has legal responsibilities with regard to his children. He also must have rights, too, and that includes the right for his child to be brought to natal term without being intentionally killed.

      • NO. Conservatives love privacy more than the left. Your privacy is more protected with Constitution loving conservatives than alternate left leaners. Just a fact.

      • The right to privacy ends when your conduct harms another. Roe v Wade recognized that, but determined that early abortions did not harm a person because a fetus was not considered a fetus until it was capable of living outside the womb. That is why even under Roe v Wade states were allowed to prohibit late term abortions.

        It is not scare tactics to bring up morality laws that prohibit purchasing contraception, criminalize adultery and same sex relationships, and ban interracial marriage. Those laws were common in the U.S. and were only thrown out after the U.S. Suprem a court found them to be unconstitutional because they infringed on a persons right to privacy. The recent decision overturning Roe v Wade decided that there is not a right to privacy in the U.S. constitution, calling into doubt the validity of the past cases that struck down these morality laws.

        I have no issue with persons of faith choosing to live their lives according to their religious convictions. Sadly, in the past, they felt compelled to impose those beliefs on everyone else through the enactment of morality laws. The right to privacy in our state constitution protects us from that sort of overreach in Alaska. If we hold another constitutional convention, the right to privacy clause will be on the top of the list of changes by religious conservatives.

        If you believe in libertarian principles, you should vote no on holding a convention.

        • Imagine a circle. Imagine a second circle. Place a label, your choice, over each. Might they overlap? Who precludes this from happening? Is this a Venn diagram? Are circles oppositional? Prove it. This is what’s wrong with your thinking. We get the “Right to persuit of happiness/personal conscience” – even hedonists get this right under the US Constitution and “Absolute right to defend our life and liberty”. We have a right to freedom of speech especially political speech to attempt to persuade one another though they may be intractable or even untrainable or educateable. Your disbelieving self may not remove these rights from others without paying for these usurpations in this republic. Did they teach you that in the military?

  2. The Alaska Constitution is just fine. The last thing we need to do is allow millions in outside money to sway Alaskans whom to elect as delegates.

    Dividends, and Rank Choice voting are issues that are addressed by legislative (or initiative) action.

    We don’t need Soros, or the other liberal morons spending millions to advance their dark agendas. Don’t think for one moment that these people wouldn’t want to, for example, weaken our individual right to keep and bear arms. I use that as an example because Alaskans amended our Constitution and improved our right to keep and bear arms through legislative, then voter approval 25 years ago. That’s the best way to modify our Constitution- if needed.

    • Anyone who thinks the legislature will protect the PFD or reverse Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) clearly does not understand politics. The legislature is the exact body that has violated the statutory PFD distribution law these past eight years, stealing millions of our dollars to fund government. They will not stop until they have absconded 100% of our dividend. The only way we guarantee any PFD check for future generations is to include the distribution formula in our constitution.

      The legislature will not change RCV because every single person elected to state office on November 8 will have won through the RCV process. It is how they got elected. They will never change a system that provided their victory.

      Sorry, they only way to fix these problems is through a constitutional convention. Vote YES on November 8.

      • Craig, you forget how the RCV came to be. Alaskans can do an initiative at any time that further modifies the way we elect officials if the legislature refuses to act. Or not. No changes to the Alaska Constitution needed.

        Finally, this thing with the desire to change the Alaska Constitution just so people can get bigger dividend checks is doomed. Why? It is up to the Alaska Legislature to appropriate money. We’ve had massive multi- billion dollar deficits for years because we give away our oil like a banana republic. We’ve drained almost $20 billion from savings that were built up under ACES. Now that that money is gone, do you propose a income tax to subsidize a dividend? Or would you want to pay a state sales tax too? Madness. We don’t need new taxes, and we don’t need to change the Constitution and risk the millions in outside money that will be spent to change the Constitution in ways I guarantee you will not like.

        There is way, way too much at risk. Beware of unintended consequences Craig.

    • Here is something to think about: If dark money from ‘outside’ is fighting a con-con…that means that THEY have something to fear. They are afraid a bunch of conservatives will succeed in making changes that go against their anti-freedom/anti-America agenda. If they thought liberals could easily get in there and make different changes, they would be in favor of the con-con, wouldn’t they?

      • Kathy, you are not thinking this through. Who is “they”? There is a group called “Defend our Constitution” and the folks that are donating are Alaskans, people like Vic Fischer who helped write the Alaska Constitution. Another is Bill Corbus, a former Revenue Com. who donated $25,000. One heck of a donation for a private individual.

        But I think some fail to understand is that if the voters open this door (phase 1) you have NO idea what liberal groups will decide to spend millions to influence what our Constitution looks like (phase 2, and phase 3). These people like Soros, have billions, and a proven record of destroying our country.

        Vote “no”, and we don’t take that chance.

  3. I support voting YES! for a constitutional convention. The current elected or soon to be legislatures have neither the will or the votes to fix the issues this state has today. Only the people can fix it in a convention. And if the delegates can’t fix it, no harm, no foul.
    Then the people get to vote yes or no on any proposed amendments.

    Vote YES for the constitutional convention.

  4. There is no doubt in my mind that if we have a constitutional convention, the religious right will try to strip away the right of privacy in our state constitution. The right to privacy is a fundamental human right that anyone who considers themselves to be a libertarian should vigorously defend. This right prevents the state or local governments in Alaska from sticking their noses in the private affairs of people and their families. As long as you aren’t hurting someone, what you do in your own home or on your own property is off li it’s to government regulation.

    If we have a convention, religious conservatives are going to try to strip this privacy right out of the constitution. It wasn’t long ago that many states had laws banning the sale of contraceptives, banning interracial marriage, and criminalizing adultery and gay relationships. The right to privacy in our constitution protects us from such morality laws.

    As others have said, holding a convention would be like opening up a Pandora’s box. Who knows what other bad ideas would be put forward if a convention is held. There are other ways to amend the constitution without holding a convention. If amendments are needed, they can be proposed and voted on without holding a convention in which all bets are off as to what a new constitution would look like.

    • The killing of a fetus, much less an infant on the cusp of a full-term delivery, is not a matter of “privacy”, Rick, so please stop peddling that specious and disingenuous argument already.

      • Stop mis characterizing what I said Jefferson. I did not say that the right to privacy permitted or supported late term abortions Even before it overturned Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court recognized that at a certain point a fetus was considered to be viable and thus became a human so that states could protect by prohibiting late term abortions. The battle over abortion was fought over 5he question of when the developing fetus should be considered a human such that the state had an interest in protecting it. The Supreme a court took the approach that the fetus became a human when it could survive outside the womb. Some religious folks believe that life begins at conception, and that a fertilized egg should be considered a human. They want to ban morning after pills that are taken shortly after intercourse and prevent the fertilized egg from implanting in the uterine wall. So you are wrong to claim that the Supreme Court ever allowed late term abortions based on the right to privacy, and wrong to say that Atherton right to privacy in Alaska’s constitution allows late term abortions.

      • I will add that late term abortions are exceedingly rare, and are performed when the fetus has died or is dying, or the mother’s life is at risk. Those procedures have nothing to do with the right to privacy

    • Are you afraid of the will of the people? There will be a referendum to approve the results of any convention. I thought the left was in favor of “the democracy”?

  5. I don’t know which way to go on this. I really believe there are fundamental flaws in our state’s Constitution that ought to be fixed. On the other hand, it’s obvious that the same dark money providers who currently oppose the ballot measure for a Constitutional Convention will inundate the state with cash to take control of the process, if it passes.

  6. Please vote ‘YES’ for the convention. All of the problems mentioned above have been around for years. The legislators will fix them? Really? The same ones that have not fixed them all these years? Right….

    There are safety layers built into the process. We select delegates and submit our proposals through them. Those proposals are voted on The ones that are accepted are then voted on by the public. It’s NOT an overnight process. There are several ways of stopping bad ideas during the process so don’t be scared to try to improve on some of the shabby laws/rules we are stuck with.

  7. I call BS. The right to privacy nor the right to keep and bear arms will ever be voted out by aAlaskan voters. Bringing those things up is just fear mongering. I have voted against a convention 3 times in the past but I’m voting for one this time. I see no other way to free ourselves of the gridlock but to take the pfd out of the equation. I don’t care what formula gets put in the constitution but the legislature has proven over and over again that they cannot be trusted to follow the law unless they have no choice. Also Judges should be at least term limited and should not picked by the Bar Association.

  8. To those who think the legislature will fix stuff…our conservatives in the legislature have been trying to “fix stuff” for 7 years. Each time, they can’t get enough support from rhinos/status quo types. Or, should they actually get close, they are bullied out by this, that, or the other thing. Sometimes even un-constitutionally going against the legislature’s OWN rules! Often, the legislature goes into overtime over such issues costing the state gobs of money. And still nothing is “fixed”. It’s high time for a con-con. This is an opportunity to have open discussions. Maybe some will pass, maybe some will not. Remember, the VOTERS get to vote before anything is legally changed.

  9. I am voting YES for all the reasons cited in the article, plus the chance to reform our corrupt judicial system. I am in favor of restructuring the Alaska Judicial Council from a majority makeup of lawyers to a majority makeup of private citizens. If we can’t do that then lets totally abolish the Council and hold elections for judges and magistrates! The cozy little club that lawyers and judges have carved out for themselves needs to go!

  10. Simply look at the individuals / groups that oppose this action.

    Should you agree within their ideology, by all means, vote no.

    But if you disagree within said ideology, vote yes.

    I shall be voting yes.

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