Local supporters of the signature drive to get the reinstatement of coastal management on next year’s general election ballot are working fast and furiously to gather enough signatures from the Kodiak Island Borough. Statewide, nearly 26,000 signatures of qualified voters are required to get a citizens’ initiative on the ballot, but they can’t all be from large population centers like Anchorage or Juneau – 10 percent of voters in the most recent general election from three-fourths of the house districts in the state must be represented on the petition. In Kodiak, organizers are trying to collect 500 signatures.
The state’s Coastal Management program went out of existence on July 1st of this year because opponents in the State House and Governor’s office could not come to agreement with project supporters in the State Senate. As a result, three local officials from coastal communities launched the Alaska Sea Party to pressure the legislature to reinstate it, and failing that, to put the initiative on next October’s ballot. Organizers include Kodiak Island Borough Mayor Jerome Selby, Juneau Mayor Bruce Bothello and Kenai Peninsula Borough Assemblyman from Homer, Mako Haggarty.
Kodiak Island Borough Assemblywoman Chris Lynch is helping distribute petitions and gather signatures.
— (Coastal 1 27 sec "My biggest reason … needs to be a priority.")
Lynch, who is the owner of the Rookery, also manages a lot of engineering projects and has had a lot of experience with the Coastal Management Program:
— (Coastal 2 31 sec "I do a lot of permitting … a lot easier to do that.")
Lynch says that given the number of projects coming up in the borough, a Coastal Management Program would help provide an avenue of input for locals:
— (Coastal 3 21 sec "I think it is important … this strengthens that say.")
The Alaska Sea Party has a deadline of January 17th to gather the 26,000 signatures needed – that’s when the state legislature convenes. Lynch hopes showing that much public support might spur reluctant House members into passing Coastal Management legislation:
— (Coastal 4 13 sec "If we can get enough signatures … that Alaskans show they care.")
If organizers do not gather enough signatures by the deadline, they will miss getting the measure on next year’s ballot and will instead have to wait and try again for the 2014 general election.