Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 106

05/03/2005 08:00 AM House STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 283(STA) Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 189(STA) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
Scheduled But Not Heard
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
HB 277-GAMBLE-SPERL UAS JOINT USE FACILITY                                                                                    
8:04:40 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON announced  that  the first  order  of business  was                                                               
HOUSE  BILL NO.  277, "An  Act naming  the Charles  Gamble Jr.  -                                                               
Donald Sperl Joint Use Facility in Juneau."                                                                                     
8:04:42 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BETH  KERTTULA,   Alaska  State  Legislature,  as                                                               
sponsor of HB 277, thanked  the committee for so promptly hearing                                                               
the bill and presented Senator  Kim Elton and Representative Bill                                                               
8:05:06 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KIM ELTON, Alaska State  Legislature, noted that 35 years                                                               
ago,  he would  have introduced  himself as  "U.S. 50203352"  - a                                                               
draftee of the U.S. Army who  served in Vietnam from 1969 through                                                               
1970.  He  introduced the parents, sister,  and brother-in-law of                                                               
the late  Donald Sperl.   He  said the  Sperl family  has brought                                                               
some  of  the memorabilia  of  Donald  Sperl  to share  with  the                                                               
committee.  He also introduced  the family and friends of Charles                                                               
SENATOR ELTON  said Charles and  Don lived their entire  lives in                                                               
Juneau,  Alaska, and  joined the  army and  ended up  in Vietnam.                                                               
Charles was  born November 16,  1948, and died October  28, 1969,                                                               
as a  result of a helicopter  crash in Vietnam.   Donald was born                                                               
January 12,  1948, and died May  8, 1968 from wounds  received in                                                               
the line of duty.  He noted that  both of the men would have been                                                               
his age if they were still alive.                                                                                               
8:07:53 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR ELTON reported that the  joint use facility - both armory                                                               
and student recreation  - will be completed on  the University of                                                               
Alaska campus in July [2005].   He offered his understanding that                                                               
the facility will be  the only one in the nation  that is used as                                                               
both  a university  recreation  center  and as  an  armory.   The                                                               
facility  is  being built  with  federal,  state, and  university                                                               
funds.  He  stated that naming the facility  after Charles Gamble                                                               
and Donald  Sperl will  be an important  reminder [of  what these                                                               
men have sacrificed].  Senator  Elton shared that during his last                                                               
visit to  Washington, D.C., he  visited the Vietnam  War Memorial                                                               
and  found the  names of  both Mr.  Sperl and  Mr. Gamble  on the                                                               
wall.  He concluded, "It would  be very, very important, I think,                                                               
for  the community,  if we  could honor  them locally  instead of                                                               
just in our nation's capital."                                                                                                  
8:09:08 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  BILL THOMAS,  Alaska State  Legislature, said  he                                                               
knows both families well, having  met them after he returned from                                                               
Vietnam.  He said, "It took me  18-20 years before I had the guts                                                               
to go see the  Sperl family."  He explained that  he grew up with                                                               
"Donny," meeting him on the  basketball court during high school.                                                               
He said  he went to  college with Donald Sperl.   He said  he was                                                               
drafted to  Vietnam on  December 7,  1966 as  U.S. 50202962.   He                                                               
related a story of running into  Donald and Charles on his way to                                                               
duty.   Both men were  serving as medics.   Representative Thomas                                                               
stated his support of HB 277.                                                                                                   
8:11:47 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  ELTON, in  response to  a  question from  Representative                                                               
Gardner, confirmed that Donald Sperl  and Charles Gamble were the                                                               
only two  men from  Juneau who  lost their  lives in  the Vietnam                                                               
War.   He  stated for  the  record that  the effort  to name  the                                                               
facility  began about  the same  time  an agreement  was made  to                                                               
build it,  about three years ago.   He revealed that  there is an                                                               
institutional  bias  within  the university  to  name  facilities                                                               
after university  folks, and  there is  an institutional  bias to                                                               
name armories after  those in the National Guard.   He emphasized                                                               
that  both  of  those  biases  are appropriate.    He  said  it's                                                               
important  for the  record to  reflect that  while these  are the                                                               
only two  ... young men  from Juneau  who died in  Vietnam, there                                                               
are people  from Juneau, and  around the state who  are presently                                                               
serving  in Iraq,  and if  any harm  should come  to them,  he is                                                               
certain that  Representatives Kerttula and Thomas  would join him                                                               
in welcoming additions to the names  on the building.  He said he                                                               
thinks  the naming  of the  facility  is especially  appropriate,                                                               
because it's a facility designed for  young men and women both at                                                               
the university and serving in the [National Guard].                                                                             
8:13:58 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  ELTON, in  response  to a  question  from Chair  Seaton,                                                               
confirmed  that  the  borough assembly  passed  a  resolution  in                                                               
support of the naming of the facility.                                                                                          
8:14:12 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KERTTULA  noted  that  the  university  did  have                                                               
concerns because normally  the board of regents  and students are                                                               
involved.   However,  she noted  that Chancellor  Pugh has  asked                                                               
that  the rooms  within the  building remain  available to  name.                                                               
She  said she  thinks that  was  a gracious  compromise from  the                                                               
8:14:50 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON noted for the record  that he saw the chancellor nod                                                               
his head in agreement to that statement.                                                                                        
8:15:06 AM                                                                                                                    
WALTER A. SOBELEFF, JR., testifying  on behalf of himself, stated                                                               
that [the  Vietnam War] was  largely unpopular and  veterans from                                                               
that war  have "just gone by  the wayside."  He  said recognition                                                               
given to  Donald Sperl and  Charles Gamble  is long overdue.   He                                                               
noted that there  is a memorial to a dog  on Juneau's waterfront.                                                               
He spoke of the sacrifices of the men and of their families.                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON  assured  Mr.  Sobeleff that  he  would  find  wide                                                               
support for the bill.                                                                                                           
8:16:22 AM                                                                                                                    
CARLOS C.  CADIENTE, testifying  on behalf  of himself,  told the                                                               
committee that Charles Franklin Gamble  - also known as "Skoogie"                                                               
- was one of his best friends.   He said Charles was a full-blood                                                               
Alaska Native.   Mr. Cadiente  listed the  names of the  late Mr.                                                               
Gamble's parents and sisters.  He  noted that Donald Sperl was an                                                               
outstanding varsity  athlete.   He said  both Donald  and Charles                                                               
were  loved  by  all  their classmates  at  Juneau  Douglas  High                                                               
School, and  both had  the ability  to bridge  all people  in the                                                               
community together.  Mr. Cadiente  said he and his father debated                                                               
the  Vietnam War;  he  said  he believed  that  war  was not  the                                                               
answer.  He  said his father was devastated when  Charles died in                                                               
MR. CADIENTE  shared a  photograph of his  father next  to "panel                                                               
17-West  of   the  Vietnam  Memorial,  where   Charles'  name  is                                                               
inscribed.   He stated that it  would be a great  tribute to both                                                               
Donald and Charles, who made  the ultimate sacrifice, to name the                                                               
new building in their honor.   He noted that Charles' family also                                                               
approves of the  naming of the building after both  their son and                                                               
Donald Sperl.   He added,  "I ... think  that naming in  honor of                                                               
Charles and  Don would also be  a belated thank you  from all our                                                               
Alaskan communities  to all  those who  have served  in Vietnam."                                                               
Furthermore,  he  opined that  it  would  honor all  the  Alaskan                                                               
soldiers  who  are  currently  in  harm's  way.    He  urged  the                                                               
committee to support HB 277.                                                                                                    
8:18:58 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON said  he knows  it's difficult  to testify,  and he                                                               
emphasized  how   much  he  appreciates  the   efforts  of  those                                                               
testifying, as well as of [those who serve their country].                                                                      
8:19:05 AM                                                                                                                    
KARYL D.  "BUNNY" LINDEGAARD, testifying  on behalf of  the Class                                                               
of 1965 and herself, said  meetings are being held in preparation                                                               
for a 40-year  reunion this year.  She said,  "We will be missing                                                               
Donald Sperl."                                                                                                                  
LORRAINE  DAVIS  had  her  testimony read  by  Karyl  D.  "Bunny"                                                               
Lindegaard as follows:                                                                                                          
     I will  be out of  town tomorrow,  until May 12.   Just                                                                    
     wanted  to say,  "thank  you" for  this opportunity  to                                                                    
     express   support  naming   the   new  facility,   "The                                                                    
     Sperl/Gamble Armory."   What a tribute  to the families                                                                    
     and those  of us  who went to  JD-High with  these men.                                                                    
     Please feel  free to use  my name in support  of naming                                                                    
     this facility ....                                                                                                         
MS. LINDEGAARD  continued with  her testimony.   She  said Donald                                                               
Sperl  and Charles  Gamble  were  young men  of  character.   She                                                               
listed Donald's qualities.  She said  that people will be able to                                                               
explained to  others the reason  the building is named  after the                                                               
two men.  She stated,  "They were men of responsibility, respect,                                                               
courtesy, and honesty,  and that those values  might be displayed                                                               
through their  names and  through their  families' names  on that                                                               
building, I thank  you for any thoughtful  consideration you will                                                               
8:22:14 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON closed public testimony.                                                                                           
8:22:24 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN moved to report  HB 277 out of committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  the  accompanying fiscal  notes.                                                               
There being  no objection, HB 277  was reported out of  the House                                                               
State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                               

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