A happy medium for city size   Leave a comment

A happy medium for city size: When it comes to populations of Alaska cities, less can be more – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: Editorials.

I don’t know who wrote this, but it’s definitely a different writer than the usual editor. Maybe it’s the new publisher.

And, I agree with her. Fairbanks should fight to maintain its more frontier Alaska zeitgeist and a lower population makes that easier to do — except ….

Fairbanks already is at a gross disadvantage in the Legislature against Anchorage. The entire state is balanced against that behemoth and that’s not a good thing for the state or our community. What the editorial doesn’t mention is that we are also losing population to the Mat-Su, which is very much aligned with Anchorage.

The resources of this state are controlled by the Legislature. Anchorage gets it all even though the resources constitutionally belong to everyone in the state. Fairbanks needs the natural gas pipeline, we need it to come from the North Slope because if it comes from Cook Inlet, Anchorage will control the supply. We need roads. We need to maintain the main University campus here, and trust me, Anchorage would like to dismantle it and move it to Anchorage.

So, the population standing of Fairbanks against Juneau and the Mat-Su matters for funding needed projects, not just here but throughout non-Anchorage Alaska, and for not forcing the values of Anchorage — a big city — on the rest of our more rural state. Juneau and Mat-Su are a great deal more cooperative with the Interior when they aren’t in the cats-bird seat, but as Fairbanks slides in population (driven by insane space heating and electrical costs), it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain any sort of coalition of smaller communities against Anchorage.

The solution would be to turn our resources over to the boroughs or to start sending every Alaskan an $18,000 check for our share of the royalty oil and then charging us a state income tax. It would put all communities on an equal level, but that’s not going to happen, so population matters.

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