Alaskan state politics, circa 1976

"You were against statehood?"

"Oh, sure.  Oh, sure.  Before then, three-quarters of the people here weren’t here.  Eight or nine hundred people ran the Territory.  Ten thousand now run the state.  Where it used to take one person to investigate you, it now takes two to four.  The state spends too much.  If a tree blows down, two guys from the state come with a chain saw.  The state has sold the state out.  To the unions.  To the oil companies.  The oil companies have more power than the legislature.  The capital move [away from Juneau] is a lot of talk.  That’s all it is, a lot of talk.  What we need is not a new capital but better legislators than we have.  I’d say leave the capital where it’s at.  The state can’t afford it.  There is no economy.  They’re dreaming about all this oil money.

That is from John McPhee’s excellent Coming into the Country, a study of Alaska recommended to me by several MR readers.  Here is a short 2002 piece on switching the capital of Alaska and the oddity of putting it in Juneau.  Here is a useful map.  Here is a picture of Juneau and from the air.  Googling "Juneau traffic report" does not in fact bring up any traffic reports.


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