On Dec. 4, Sarah Palin will become Alaska's top program manager. As she assumes her duties and responsibilities, Gov. Frank Murkowski's overt arrogance and obtuseness (he still doesn't get it), his lack of meaningful communication with his constituency and his surrounding himself with yes-people and cronies should be her model for "lessons learned, which should not be repeated."
Murkowski refused to recognize his total lack of experience as a program manager and fired everyone who had the audacity to give him honest feedback and wise counsel. He apparently thought he knew everything about everything and seemingly still believes he is above the rule of law, a frightening specter for all Alaskans.
During Ms. Palin's campaign, she said Alaskans deserved the best deal obtainable for a gas pipeline contract as soon as possible. To accomplish this, she should recognize her own lack of complex program-management experience and surround herself with the smartest, most experienced management team she can find, who will always give her honest, constructive feedback. Also, she should spend some of the state's money to hire a top-notch legal team with extensive oil or natural gas industry experience to help her negotiate a definitive gas pipeline contract in the best interests of Alaska.
A few million spent to accomplish this contract would be a good, long-term investment of state funds. (Her legal team's remuneration incentive might be conditional on how good a deal it negotiates for Alaska in a reasonable period of time.)
In addition, once she is governor, Palin should convince Alaskans they still have a democratic form of government. The "king" and at least two "princes" were removed by the voters. She should remove others, who were not affected by the electoral process, but who subscribed to Murkowski's philosophy or policies, and who will give her a bad name if they are allowed to remain in her new administration. Cleaning house is a definite requirement to enhance her gubernatorial image in Alaska and in the United States.
She should reconsider the costly and divisive "roads and bridges to nowhere." They represent apparent incestuous political favors and a "development-at-any-cost" policy, which the Last Frontier cannot afford. The development of Alaska should be a carefully thought out, planned and integrated, long-term process.
Finally, she should also reconsider her position on aggressive aerial killing of wolves and bears, and Murkowski's Board of Game's allowing trophy hunting in Alaska's wildlife sanctuaries beginning in 2007. These practices violate the Alaska Constitution's provision of equal access to Alaska's natural resources, while denigrating Alaska's tourism image on an international scale.
* Richard Hahn is a Soldotna resident.