The ADN ran a story today on a couple of proposals in the Lege to aid Alaskans hard hit by the astronomic price of fuel oil.
In "Energy assistance debated as Bush Alaska shivers" the AP's Anne Sutton began by talking about the high price of fuel oil in rural Alaskan communities, i.e. the villages. The story then describes the two proposals, one, a direct payment of $500 to households, and another that would give a credit of $750 to every household to be applied to utility bills. Utility companies would receive a lump sum from the state as opposed to households getting a check to use toward those utilities.
Right, okay, but then what was with this quote from Kenai Republican Senator Tom Wagoner, the proponent of the $750 credit ?
"It's fair and equitable and it doesn't give out a cash payment that can be turned into bottles of whiskey, tobacco, bingo parlors or whatever," Wagoner said.
I might be seeing a thinly veiled bit of racism where none exists here, folks, but is he implying that ALL Alaskans are prone to turning a check into whiskey, tobacco or a night of bingo? Hell, I'd like to believe that he is talking about all of us. And as a Heinz-57 variety of Caucasian, I must point out that I am pretty fond of whiskey myself.
Or is he talking about the folks living in Bush Alaska, where CITGO distributed gas last year, where the majority of people are Alaska Native? Is the quote a sort of shorthand?
I believe my answer to that question can be found in the 'Comments' section of the ADN's story, where once again, anonymous racists are posting their filth. The story certainly seems to have stirred the pot over there.
So, am I reading this one wrong? I'd love to be told that I am, because despite all of my bitching, I like this place and want to believe the best about it.