By Steve Polson
Kodiak, AK – I am a second generation Native American Indian. I am a professional fisherman who was born and raised in Kodiak, Alaska. I and the people of Kodiak are outraged by the way we are being treated by government authorities here and across the State of Alaska. Our so called “public servants” who have turned “Gestapo” are extorting money out of citizens here by writing tickets and imposing huge fines for the slightest offense, particularly in the fishing industry. Driving around Kodiak people look like they have been “beaten into submission.” A car pulled over is all too common of a sight. Excessive stop signs, ridiculously low speed limits, and now the seatbelt rule, keep virtually every driver eligible to get stopped. Safety? Or just easy money?
It has been brought to my attention that the District Attorney in Kodiak has been making deals, with those unfortunate citizens who have been cited by our local “Gestapo’s.” In one case I know of a father who was pressured by the DA to buy two hand-held Global Positioning Systems for the National Guard in order to keep Minor in Possession charge off of his son’s record. The DA would not allow proper alcohol testing. The same man is currently going rounds on a fishing violation, wherein he is being coerced into pleading guilty so his fine doesn’t go up. It appears the DA and Judge Steve Cole work together by using threats of, “if you don’t pay the fine today it may go up.” These are men that swore an oath to protect our rights and give Due Process and Equal Protection.
It has also been brought to my attention that the Kodiak Police and the Alaska State Troopers on different occasions have pulled guns on minor children for skateboarding and ATV riding. What message are we sending to our youth? These Public Servants are to serve and protect us as they swore an oath to do this. The Police have become nothing more than revenue agents and Uniform Commercial Code enforcers for the City and State. These heavy handed intimidation tactics need to end immediately. These public servants work for us and who wants to pay their salaries for this treatment in return?
On June 2, 2005 Alaska State Trooper David Anderson came on my boat without permission because I shook my head while he was waiting to come on board and look at our licenses. He asked if I would like him to check my life raft, emergency beacon (EPIRBS), fire extinguishers, first aid kits, survival suits and flare kits. He then came in the cabin where I was sitting and stated, “If you want to be an asshole, so can I.” The other people present described his behavior as hostile and aggressive. What I and all the other small independent fisherman are seeing and experiencing across Alaska is a constant harassment and intimidation by the authorities, including constant surveillance, ticket writing and huge fines for the slightest offense. Virtual framing of pot cod fisherman went on this winter with a short closure notice and bad weather, not allowing fishermen to get out and retrieve their gear. The patrol vehicle Woldstad knew this, but still confiscated fishing gear, and imposed large fines.
How do these public employees get away with abusing the citizens? The simple answer is because we let them. It is time for the citizens of Alaska to say enough is enough. We need to send the strong message to all public employees that they work for the people and that if they can’t comply with their oath of office they should resign. If they can’t comply with their oath of office and will not resign then we will continue to expose them and their disgraceful corrupt behavior with a louder and louder voice until they are forced to resign out of shame. It is time to stop sitting around saying, “there is nothing we can do.” Most importantly, never confront a corrupt public official alone; take a group of five or ten people with you, especially in court. Help end this systematic and fraudulent abuse. I am asking all who read this article and have like problems to call and share their stories of abuse by corrupt public officials with me.
Steve Polson • 360-273-3407