Story last updated at 4:46 p.m. Thursday, October 17, 2002

Pro-move group goes inactive at ex-Gov. Hammond's request
by Timothy Inklebarger
Morris News Service-Alaska

JUNEAU -- The group advocating moving the Legislature to the Matanuska-Susitna Borough or Anchorage has changed its Alaska Public Offices Commission campaign status to inactive for the 2002 election at the request of former Gov. Jay Hammond.

The change, which means the group will not campaign further to move the session or raise any more money for such a campaign, is due to a new ballot measure the group hopes to have certified for the 2004 election. The measure would prevent the Legislature from using Alaska Permanent Fund earnings without a vote of the people.

In a letter sent to Alaskans in late September, Hammond called for help in raising $50,000 to help Alaskans for Efficient Government collect signatures to get the measure on the ballot.

Hammond, who has endorsed the measure, met with the group recently and was told donations for the permanent-fund initiative would not be used for the legislative-move initiative.

"The concerns that many folks have, that the initiative that deals with a vote of the people is prompted and sponsored by a group that is also advocating moving the Legislature, is a very valid one," Hammond said.

Uwe Kalenka, president of Alaskans for Efficient Government, said he made an agreement with Hammond that any money collected for the permanent fund initiative would be used for that purpose only.

"If I make a promise to Jay Hammond, that is a commitment from me," Kalenka said.

Kalenka, however, acknowledged the promise is not legally binding. And any future legislative- or capital-move initiatives still could use funds donated to the group. Kalenka said the group does not have plans at this time for another move initiative.

Therese Bartlett with APOC said the group could form separate accounts for the two initiatives, but is not required to disclose contributions while collecting signatures for the new initiative.

Win Gruening, president of the Alaska Committee, the group working to fight the legislative-move initiative, said every person is going to have to decide whether to support Alaskans for Efficient Government on the new initiative.

He said a future move initiative from Alaskans for Efficient Government is possible. He said although the group is now registered as inactive, individuals still are campaigning in support of the move.

Timothy Inklebarger is a reporter for the Juneau Empire.

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