The Washington Monument strategy and ADF&G

Photo courtesy m01229, Flickr, Dec. 27, 2012

The Washington Monument strategy dates back to a threat made by National Parks Service Director in 1969 to close the Grand Canyon and Washington Monuments in response to threatened budget cuts. I first remember it being used in 1981 as a technique to make the Reagan budget cuts as painful as possible.

It was most recently used nationally by the Obama regime in 2013 to crank up the ugliness of Sequester budget cuts to painful levels. 2013 was the first time anyone had gone after the military commissary system, but no problem to the political hacks orchestrating the operation from the Obama WH.

The proper legislative reaction to this sort of abuse of public trust is to remove the vehicle for bureaucrat payback from control of the Executive. Typically privatization is the most reasonable approach. When the need for funding disappears, so does the need for public employees who are abusing the public trust.

More recently it appears that the technique is coming home to Alaska. The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) slashed its snow clearing staff in response to current budget festivities. Rep. Shelley Hughes took them to task for that in the pages of Alice Rogoff’s fish wrapper a couple weeks ago.

It also appears that Sam Cotton’s Alaska Department of Fish & Fame (ADF&G) is pulling the same stunt with Sport Fish. Over the last few months ADF&G made a couple announcements that they would be shutting down fish weirs on some popular rivers and streams. They were going to be cutting back on the stocking program for lakes and streams. These actions impact literally every Alaskan and tourist that grabs a rod and reel. Interestingly enough, they announced no such cutbacks for their support of commercial fishing.

Actual expenditures in FY2014 for commercial fisheries were $68.8 million. This climbed to $73.1 million in 2015. The Governor’s 2016 amended budget was $71.3 million. Sportfish totals were $42.6 million in 2014, $48.8 million in 2015 and $48.5 million in 2016. Hatcheries are around $6 million of the Sportfish totals. You can find the component summary here:

Looks to me like the Governor’s commfish –heavy appointees to ADF&G are doing their level best to maximize the budget cutting pain to anyone with a rod and a reel while taking excellent care of their commercial fishing buddies, which is little more than a local version of the Washington Monument Strategy.

Perhaps it is time to privatize the weirs, salmon counts and hatcheries, paying for them with fishing license revenues and give these self-serving political hacks something else to do.