As the Betster writes this, 93 days have passed and the Alaska Legislature still hasn’t passed a budget or solved the state fiscal crisis. That would be the fiscal crisis everyone has been talking about for the past two years.
Meanwhile, construction workers have been doing external work on the Alaska Capitol. The Legislature faces a real deadline, one to be enforced by burly men and women in hardhats with big tools. Inside work commences on May 2.
So where will the Legislature go should it not finish its job by then? It’s time to revive the suggestion box for Alternative Legislative Meeting Places. If you recall the last time this came up, we had a few good ideas:
• Move the entire Legislature — representatives, senators, aides and lobbyists — to that mothballed U.S. Navy base in Adak;
• Put them up in an old pipeline camp full of Atco trailers and Quonset huts somewhere on the North Slope;
• Book an Alaska state ferry and travel the Marine Highway System until adjournment.
Yours truly likes that last suggestion. Legislators not living in port towns would learn the importance of the ferry system. They’d all be living closely and have to get along and set aside their differences. Put them on the Homer-Seldovia-Kodiak run on the Kennicott and after a few Gulf of Alaska crossings, they’d be so seasick they might even pass an income tax.
They might also come to appreciate this wild and wonderful corner of our planet, a good way to prep for Earth Day activities this weekend. Come home soon, senators and representatives. Your families and friends miss you. It’s time to enjoy this amazing spring, maybe with some fun stuff like these Best Bets:
BEST WE LOVE YOU BET: Show some love for Ma Earth with Earth Day activities this weekend. At 7 p.m. Friday the Kachemak Conservation Society holds a free Earth Day Gathering at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center. Arctic adventurer and filmmaker Bjorn Olson talks about his winter fat-bike expeditions. At 8 p.m. Saturday, the conservation society also sponsors a concert by Ray Troll and the Ratfish Wranglers at Alice’s Champagne Palace. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door.
BEST CLEAN-UP SEASON BET: The streets are getting swept, flowers are coming up and everyone seems to be out in the yard working on gardens. Help spruce up the Homer Public Library at 10 a.m. Friday with its War on Weeds. Bring garden tools. And hey, while you’re at it, if you see any trash along your walks, take a bag along to pick it up.
BEST BIG TOUR BET: If the Legislature had been holding session on the M/V Kennicott, they would meet the Tidelines Ferry Tour artists, a group of four creative souls visiting Alaska coastal towns as part of a residency. Sponsored by the Sitka Island Institute, artists Teri Rofkar, Chantal Bilodeau, Allison Warden and Michelle Kuen Suet Fung perform at 7 p.m. Monday at the Bunnell Street Arts Center. At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday they hold a Climate and Culture Conversation at the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies.
BEST WE HEAR YOU BET: Bunnell artist-in-residence Gwendolen Chatfield has been in Homer this month creating an aural folk map of our town. Hear what she has come up with in a concert at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Bunnell Street Arts Center.