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Tony's Bologna

Tony's Balogna - Protestors against exploratory oil drilling in ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge)

This was an entertaining scene. After returning from Kotzebue and Nome, we had a free day in Anchorage to visit museums and parks and shop. We stopped to eat lunch at this deli because it was one of the few with outdoor seating on one of Anchorage's rare sunny days.

Within 15 minutes of our arrival the two characters above standing in front of the television camera with their backs turned to my camera appeared, pacing in front of the deli holding signs reading "Tony's Baloney" [sic] and "Alaska Interest Research Group." We had no idea what it was all about, as the cryptic signs were obviously designed to make the curious engage the protestors in conversation, so before the television crew arrived, one of the other patrons started a conversation.

We learned the deli was owned by Tony Knowles, the Republican Governor of Alaska. President Clinton had just dedicated the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in northeastern Alaska as a national monument to prevent exploratory oil drillings there. It takes an act of Congress to create a national park, but national monuments are created at the President's sole discretion. With his administration coming to a close and Congress under Republican control, it would have been difficult to pass a bill making ANWR a national park, so Clinton used his presidential privilege to dedicate it as a national monument. In either case, ANWR became restricted government land and there would be no drilling. This infuriated Governor Knowles, prompting him to write a letter to Clinton expressing his displeasure, which the Anchorage Daily News published, thus irking these environmental protesters, who stood in front of the deli expressing their displeasure with Governor Knowles on the local news. Ironically, when the TV crew left, the protestors were quick to follow.

Now that the ANWR oil drilling controversy has gained national attention and I have a better understanding of the situation, I'm opposed to the drilling, as well, but if I had known the deli was owned by Governor Knowles and known his stance on the ANWR drilling, I still would have eaten there - sometimes nothing but a whole wheat club in an outdoor restaurant on a beautiful sunny day in Anchorage will do, but bring your sunglasses, because the sun never rises very high in Alaska and has a way of always shining in your eyes. 

Our waitress quipped, "We don't even sell bologna here."  

 

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