Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Alaska Tire Party!

Oops - toss another one on the proverbial fire: seems all the time gleefully anticipating an issue didn't pan out, since the sponsor of the bill (Rep. John Harris, Valdez) seems to have let all the air out of his political tires and has backed off the initiative to mandate snow tires. A local reporter just put out a brief story on how this setback has made used car tire salesmen very sad and consoling themselves with mocking the barbarian drivers of the North.
Still, thought I'd post it along with the verbage, initial sketch + reference pic below anyways, for what it's worth - guess I wouldn't be much of an artist a cartoonist if it was monumentally important to not waste investing any precious time in a drawing that in the end is pointless. Like so much in life, it was fun doing it anyways.

(Originally from 2/24/10) There they go again - after having resolved all of the other pressing issues facing our state, the Alaska Legislature is was going to try and pass a law that makes snow tires mandatory during winter. You bet tire company representatives testified:
“It’s simple. Winter tires save lives,” Kelly Gaede, president of the Anchorage-based Johnson Tire Service, told legislators."
No, actually what's simple is  what a transparent Republican sell-out this is. And gaging by the on-line revolt in the comment threads of newspapers, it's a safe guess that the bill's sponsor won't be getting invited to any Liberty Caucus meetings anytime soon. But seriously, added onto the rash of other behavior-modification laws they are attempting to pass, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see a populist revolt tipping point come to pass just like this. Except here in the yee-haw frontier everyone'll be armed to the teeth, and as opposed to the iconic and historical reference image, there'll probably be authentic Native Alaskans participating.

I'm still thinking about start my own damn political party that'll sell its own brand of "Sam Adam" tires with the logo "No Tread on Me."


  1. Nothing is simple. Here in NH I love my snow tires. I really notice who doesn't have them. Their poor traction puts others at risk. But I was unable to purchase them in lean years past. I use my own enhanced traction to stay more carefully out of the way of the less fortunate.

    Interestingly, requiring people to buy snow tires (something arguably good for them) is eerily similar to requiring people to buy health insurance. One difference is that snow tires do enhance traction, while health insurance frequently fails to provide actual health care.

  2. It is indeed more complex than sound-bites (or cartoons for that matter) allow for: I reacted strongly to the blatant (more than usual) lobbying from special interests with vested interests holding sway over our representatives.
    Plus factor in Alaska's geographical diversity measures like this and that complicates matters even more.
    I'd have to say it's one issue I honestly found myself in begrudging agreement with some legislators, one in particular, who I normally disagree with 99% of the time (damn), and that was along populist anger at yet another mandated expenditure that I personally can't afford. And that's a spot-on parallel with the health-care, which I can't afford either...
    I touch on this same issue again with an upcoming panel that's hitting the stands in the new Ester Republic this week - making the same correlation with condoms.
    In the meantime, given the driving habits of many folks around this neck of the woods it seems it doesn't matter WHAT tires they use they STILL drive like homicidal maniacs: in fact, like 4WD, one could argue it bestows too much power in the hands/vehicles of people who abuse the false sense of security. Then again, it's us careful drivers that always seem to be the ones in the way...

  3. I'm surprised that anyone would be opposed to mandatory snow tires in an area where they actually get real winter. Living in Winnipeg, I certainly notice a huge difference with snow tires.

    If you don't like the idea of not having the choice to use snow tires or not, are you opposed to cars having mandatory brakes or lights too?

  4. Good point and no - I even use seatbelts, turn signals and wipers. Then again, they came with the truck. If I had/could afford a set of snow tires I'd probably use 'em myself.

    Case in point: last week I spent an evening zipping around town with a friend in his 2WD Honda that was equipped with those newfangled Blizzaks, and it was like the evolutionary jump from water onto land, pretty amazing difference.

    And in the course of reading about this bill in question there are irrefutable statistics about the science of rubber compounds that are used in snow-tires which provide superior traction at sub-zero temperatures.

    What we need next is an Auto-Care Reform bill!

    But seriously, at a time when many folks are having trouble simply putting gas in the tank, another mandated and significant expense is at the heart of the rebellion. Plus that ol' frontier spirit that being told what to do raises Alaskan hackles I guess. Which is always good for a laugh.