Valdez mayor urges Dunleavy to resign

An open letter to Alaska’s new governor

Valdez, Alaska. Photo by Emily Mesner/The Cordova Times

By Jeremy O’Neil
For The Cordova Times

Dear Governor Dunleavy:

I know you are only a few short weeks into your administration, but in light of recent circumstances, I respectfully ask you to resign. Your cringe-worthy press conference on Wednesday was a low point in Alaska politics. It hit rock bottom when you were asked whether our citizens should consider moving from the State as a response to the vision you put forward of our future, and you replied, “people will need to do what they need to do”. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined a more paternalistic, uninspired or destructive response, from our State’s highest official.

My own family has weathered the economic ups and downs in this State over several generations, and it goes without saying that stewardship at the State level has brought us to the crossroads we find ourselves today. I appreciate and sympathize with the difficult fiscal road ahead of us. Nevertheless, your proposal turns Alaskans against each other, picks massive winners and losers, and turns the hard-fought gains of over 50 years of statehood into an ash heap of lost time and opportunities. Yours is a lesson in fiscal tyranny, malpractice and folly.

You campaigned on a platform of little details and massive promises. A child’s story speaks of a village with a huge rat problem. One day a “savior” came to town with a solution to solve their infestation. We know, as that story goes, when the Pied Piper was dissatisfied with his compensation, he ran off with the village’s most precious asset, their children. I’m struggling to see how your vision of the future is not paralleled by the moral of the Pied Piper’s story. In legal circles we call this fraud in the inducement. Many of my close friends and family chose to, “vote you in, to figure out what you’re all about,” and now that we know, it’s time for you to go.

The nightmare proposal of SB 57 is a State power grab, wrapped in a malignant cost shift, wrapped in the age-old government fallacy of “we know what’s good for you, better than you do.” You would expect such tactics from extremists who ultimately turn their citizens into beggars. Mr. Dunleavy, never in the history of our state has this worked. Creating a structure of massive losers to fill budget gaps, creates division, implants fear, and hurts everyone.


When the Alaskan pioneers of the Day family landed in Valdez in 1929 to build a future, I can’t imagine they envisioned a day like today. And when they banded together with their neighbors to solidify the future of their community by conveying their land interests in what would become the site of the Valdez Trans-Alaska Pipeline Terminal, imagine what their horror would be with Wednesday’s short-term ploy to bail out the State on the backs of their family, friends and neighbors.

Mr. Dunleavy, make no mistake, your vision hits the poor and vulnerable the hardest. I am open to change my opinion, but as of right now, I can’t bear to see anymore destruction. Please resign. Good day.

—Jeremy O’Neil, Alaskan

Editor’s note: This open letter from Valdez Mayor Jeremy O’Neil to Gov. Mike Dunleavy was originally posted on Facebook and is reprinted here with his permission.