That was an old TV game show – for several years hosted by Johnny Carson — that centered on which member of the team would best answer questions based on the subject of a string of questions.
For example, if the host said the subject was Cruise Ship Waste, the team would decide which one would be “trusted” to answer questions about output and standards and a rather flexible system of handling various chemical substances. Then the questions were asked with money given for correct answers.
“Who Do You Trust?” was played on the Senate Floor today. And, although I didn’t pretend to know the answers, I certainly know that I didn’t see any Senators who did either. I’m talking both sides here. And I didn’t leave with any trust in DEC to pay attention to much of anything except the commercial and political issues.
Anchorage’s Bill Wielechowski came up with a long list of variations to state standards that he said DEC and the cruise ship operators are already doing outside the mandates of the law. His point was that no explicit standard is precisely followed, and the legislature shouldn’t allow things to go further astray.
Eagle River’s Cathy Giessel didn’t answer the questions in a way that made me more comfortable, but she made a good attempt, with the message that the best response to doubt is to pass the bill.
Here’s the point. There are a lot of questions that neither side can answer. I doubt if anyone can answer every challenge that has been made to this bill in the short time it was on the capitol’s second floor. I also think a lot of legislators voted for or against this bill without even trying to pretend they know what it will do.
So what’s the rush?
Instead of having to decide “Who Do You Trust?” this bill could have stood a lot less rubber-stamping of the governor’s agenda, less panicked hyperbole by the detractors, and less reliance on an executive branch department that really hasn’t shown any job-related competence.
It is possible that after a couple more weeks of hearing questions and reliable answers, I might have seen today’s vote as a real point of pride. I’m not tied to either side here. But the way it was pushed at me, now only a member of the public, it made we want to puke over the rail.
By the way. Look for the governor to sign the bill in the next couple of days. It’s already on his desk. I am not confident in a government that rushes this quickly to make a decision with so little true knowledge.