Friday, March 21, 2014

#AKoil| A debate on SB21 ...

As I have written before on these pages, Professor Willie Hensley's graduate level UAA class on Alaska Policy Frontiers is the best college course I have taken, lifetime.  One of the reasons is his ability to bring together various historic and other themes to make the course relevant to the current issues confronting Alaska.

During those semesters I have attended, toward the end Professor Hensley has focused the class on one or two contemporary Alaska issues.  Issues arising out of the boarding school era is one.  The conflicts involving the Pebble Project have been another.

This semester, the class is going to focus on the debate over the repeal of SB 21.  As he has previously, to make the discussion as current as possible, he is bringing people in from the outside to assist in the discussion.

To that end, he has invited UAA Distinguished Emeritus Professor and noted Alaska historian and columnist Dr. Stephen Haycox and me to join the class the afternoon of Saturday, March 29 to discuss the issue.  Steve Johnson, the Director of UAA's Seawolf Debate Program also will be joining to moderate.  Dr. Haycox believes that SB 21 should be repealed in the referendum scheduled for this coming August.  I believe SB 21 should be sustained and the repeal defeated.

Given the topic and the number of requests he has received, Professor Hensley has arranged with UAA to open this segment of his class to the public and moved the class to a larger classroom.  Seating will be limited, however; the classroom only holds 84.

The details of the discussion are at the attachment above.

When I posted a notice of this discussion after Dr. Haycox and I first agreed to it, blogger Linda Kellen Biegel added a comment that Dr. Haycox would "wipe the floor" with me.  In sports that usually is called trash talk, ends up on the locker room wall and usually backfires.  I think Andrew Halcro also said words to that effect at one point before a debate before the Anchorage Chamber on sustainable budgets.  That didn't work out so well for his side.

But frankly, I think this will be less a "debate" in the formal sense than a discussion of the issues.  I have been a longtime reader of Dr. Haycox's work and greatly respect (even though I don't always agree with) his perspective.  Indeed, within the reach of the desk where I am typing this note I can lay my hands on at least three of his works.  I am looking forward to the discussion and, if you have an interest, welcome you to join us for it.  It should be interesting.