12 March 2007

Whither the reportage?

Again, I find myself disappointed with the ADN's Juneau coverage. I fail to see the point of today's story on "canny planning" getting bills passed, even though the only bill cited as having actually passed is the Susan Butcher Day bill, which I attribute more to the fact that no one felt they could oppose it than to any canny planning.

To start with, the story is factually wrong:

A sampling of House bills and where they stand:

HB 42: Raise minimum wage, adjust it for inflation.

Status: Heard but held in Labor and Commerce Committee on Feb. 23.

Check BASIS on that and you find:

Failed To Move Out Of Committee

I've made factual mistakes before so that's not the end of the world. But Les Gara has mentioned - I think - at a previous weekly press availability that his new strategy on this bill is to bring it to the full House to make representatives go on the record about it on the theory that if Don Young voted for a minimum wage bill on the floor of Congress so too would state representatives. I wouldn't have minded seeing some mention of that. (Of course, it was some time ago and it was only an off-hand comment and I haven't heard anything about it since and I'm far away from any Juneau under-currents. Nor is it even clear to me how he could procedurally bring it to the floor.) (This paragraph has been re-written after much reader feedback. See the bottom of this post for more.)

But my biggest problem is why a story like this even gets written when so much else is unwritten. I don't believe I've seen any coverage of any of the community revenue-sharing action this session or the important VPSO budget hearings or the first PPT payments and maybe only one on the renewable energy fund.

If one of the arguments for keeping the legislature in Juneau - even though it makes lawmakers more remote - is that the media will hold them accountable, I'd like to be able to read about what's important on a regular basis.

Good thing so much is now online that I can follow it there.

UPDATE/CORRECTION: This post has generated some significant e-mail comments so I just want to correct my comments about Les Gara. What I heard him say was something to the effect of "When Congress voted on the minimum wage bill, even Don Young voted for it," the idea being that when people have to go on the record like that, they're much less likely to oppose these sorts of ideas for fear of looking bad or being "embarrassed" (my word).

My general point in that paragraph, however, still stands. I wish the ADN had asked Rep. Gara about what he wanted to do with this bill.

Also, not to undermine myself or my readership here, but I am just an interested observer writing a great distance from Juneau. I have no special knowledge that anyone else in my position has, certainly not any special knowledge of Rep. Gara's plans or strategies. Thanks for reading my musings though. I always appreciate it.

UPDATE AGAIN: I completely emended the language in the Gara paragraph to make it accurate through and through. To repeat, I have no special insight into anything going on in Juneau. I never have.

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