Blogs by Rep Bob Lynn

Blog site of Representative Bob Lynn, Alaska House of Representatives,District 31 Anchorage, Alaska. Blogs consist of public comments during legislative sessions, speeches, political commentary, as well as personal observations, and some journal type entries. Comments are invited.

Location: Anchorage, Alaska, United States

Member of the Alaska State House of Represeentatives since 2003. US Air Force, Retired; military bandsman; F94C interceptor pilot; Vietnam service as radar controller (Monkey Mountain), radar site commander(Pleiku); Government Contract Management; Public school Teacher, Retired. Married 55 years to Marlene Wagner Lynn, 6 children, 20 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild. Member St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Church. Former Tucson Arizona policeman, Ambulance Driver and Mortician's Assistant, Realtor (currently on referral status).

Saturday, July 30, 2005


Most of us hope for an appropriate gas pipeline with a pipeline contract that will benefit Alaska for decades to come. The governor and his negotiating team appear to be in the final stages putting some kind of deal together. A bigwig in the oil industry told me yesterday that a proposed and long-awaited contract for the gas pipeline could be a fait accompli within weeks. I hope so, and I hope it’s a contract with appropriate safeguards for Alaskan interests (that means the citizens of Alaska), as well as attractive to our business partners on the other side of the table.

If that’s the kind of gas pipeline contract that’s laid on the table for public and legislative scrutiny, it will sell itself to the public and their representatives. Advertising (the commercial variety of political spin) the pipeline contract product will hardly be necessary

I read that the state is putting out a request for bids for an advertising agency to “sell” the gas pipeline contract to the public – and, by extension, to their elected representatives. But similar to the words of Ronald Reagan, “Well, there they go again!”

I have a big problem with public dollars of a publicly funded school district, municipality, or state being spent to advertise a government product, be it a school bond, a percent of market value payout (POMV) of permanent fund for government services, or a gas pipeline (whatever its route). How can someone on the other side of one of those issues combat a bottomless pit of governmental advertising dollars? They can't. There's no level playing field.

And please don’t tell me it’s not government “advertising,” it’s just a providing of “information.” By that logic, those of us who spend money advertising our political campaigns, aren’t really advertising, we’re just providing “information.” That would be disingenuous for a political candidate, and it's no less disingenuous for the state to call their advertising just “information.”

There are appropriate ways for the state to inform the public about a pipeline deal. The administration should provide public briefings throughout the state, as well as newspaper, television, and radio talk show interviews. Copies of the proposed contract - both in full and summary versions - should be made easily available to the public. Legislators should make themselves available for public input, and public testimony should be encouraged at committee hearings. Just like everything else the state does, there should be full disclosure – and it shouldn’t happen behind closed doors.

Let’s examine any gas pipeline contract on its own merits - not the merits of a cute jingo, motto, or slick television commercials. If it’s a good contract, or even halfway reasonable, advertising (or whatever spinmeisters want to label it) is unnecessary.


Anonymous francis said...

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4:34 PM  

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