Initiative ensures Alaskans seat at table

Shannyn Moore

A few years ago, Sarah Palin was asked which founding father was her favorite. She answered, "You know, well, all of them."

My favorite founding father was William Woodford. He fought alongside his friend George Washington in the French-Indian War. Afterward, Woodford brokered a peace treaty between the Virginians and the Cherokee that was honored for over a decade.

Woodford was a general, and before the Revolution started he and Washington corresponded about the coming struggle. A letter lining out how to conduct troops was signed, "My compliments to Mrs. Woodford; and that every success may attend you, in this glorious struggle, is the sincere and ardent wish of, dear Sir, your affectionate humble servant, George Washington."

That "glorious struggle" Washington mentioned was not "taking their country back." It was about creating a new country and seizing sovereignty. Woodford led the first battle of the Revolutionary War and won. He was wounded at the Battle of Brandywine, recovered and returned to the war to be captured during the siege of Charleston.

He died in captivity and the British buried him at Trinity church in New York City.

You see, I think the founders of this country aren't just the men who survived to sign the Declaration of Independence but include those who gave all because they dreamed that great document would someday be written.

I am a direct descendent of William Woodford. For me, it's not about getting scholarships from the Daughters of the American Revolution. I feel that bloodline boil when our sovereignty is threatened.

Alaska's had a Coastal Management Program since 1977. Republican Gov. Jay Hammond signed it into law. For 34 years the program facilitated coastal development. It considered both science and local input. The Coastal Management Program ensured, promoted and protected state and local sovereignty when it came to development decisions.

When it was up for renewal last year, the House Republicans virtually eliminated local input and tipped the balance in favor of multinational corporations. Among several astounding changes to previous programs, they sneakily changed the definition of local knowledge and defined it with scientific evidence. Their new definition created the controversy that failed to pass muster with the Senate. It boiled down to five words: not contradicted by scientific evidence.

The old plan considered both scientific evidence and local knowledge. One didn't trump and exclude the other. That's a big problem and the reason over 30,000 Alaskans signed a petition to put Proposition 2 on the ballot.

These days science is a commodity for sale to the highest bidder. What's to stop Shell from paying a junior biologist to write a slanted paper that would contradict 10,000 years of local knowledge? Their "scientific evidence" needn't be peer reviewed nor published in a respected journal; just written by someone with a science degree.

Prop 2 is on the ballot because of Alaskans. The No on 2 folks? Mostly Outsiders. They raised $776,000 -- $1,267 of it came from three Alaskan citizens. Their campaign disclosure reads like an international Olympic roster: three corporations from the United Kingdom, two from Japan, five from Canada, Monoco, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, and Norway. Oh, team USA was represented too: The Koch brothers from Kansas, Texas, California, Florida and Idaho. The Pebble Partnership kicked in some cash. They don't want to hear from Alaskans in Bristol Bay.

Shell threw in $150,000. Don't they value local input from Alaskans along the Beaufort and Chukchi coasts? I guess they want silent partners while drilling in their back yard.

The cruise ship industry is throwing in. They hate it when Alaskans protest their pumping a boatload of last night's buffets into our waterways along with the dry cleaning fluid.

What projects were shut down in Alaska because of our 34 years of coastal zone management?

Oh, there weren't any.

The No on 2 folks like to say the ballot measure is "more red tape." Really? Are Alaskans "red tape"? Are Alaskans fighting to keep fish farms out "red tape"? Is a Native elders' knowledge of walrus feeding habits "red tape"? Are commercial fishermen in Cook Inlet wondering where a coal chute is going to be placed "red tape"? Who the hell are these Outsiders, many of them foreigners, telling us we're RED TAPE?

Are you falling for that?

If you don't have a seat at the table, you're the meal. Our founding fathers lived this for years until they fought to evict the table lords and wrote their own menus.

For all the things we don't agree on, I'm hoping you realize the issue of sovereignty shouldn't be politicized or put up for auction during an election.

Sincerely, the great-great-great-great-you-get-the-idea-granddaughter of Gen. William Woodford,

Shannyn Moore can be heard weekdays from 6 to 9 p.m. on KOAN 1020 AM and 95.5 FM radio. Her weekly TV show can be seen Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. statewide on ABC affiliate KYUR Anchorage, KATN Fairbanks and KJUD Juneau.

Shannyn Moore