Tom Hawkins was interviewed by Karen Brewster and Bill Schneider with videography by Deborah Lawton and Aaron Elterman of KUAC radio/tv, Fairbanks on June 10, 2009 at the Marriot Hotel in Anchorage, Alaska. He has worked as a land manager for the federal government, the State of Alaska, and Alaska Native corporations. He was an original member of the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority board of trustees formed in 1994 and served until April, 2009. He also chaired their resource management committee for many years. In this interview, Tom discusses dealing with the land aspects of the mental health trust settlement when he worked for the State of Alaska, Department of Natural Resources, assessing the trust reconstitution, and his role as a trustee with the Mental Health Trust Authority.
Digital Asset Information
Project: Alaska Mental Health Trust History
Date of Interview: Jun 10, 2009
Narrator(s): Tom Hawkins
Interviewer(s): Bill Schneider, Karen Brewster
Videographer: Deborah Lawton , Aaron Elterman
Transcriber: Carol McCue
After clicking play, click on a section to navigate the audio or video clip.
Section 1: His personal background, education, military service, and coming to Alaska and getting involved with land related jobs.
Section 2: Employment in Alaskan land management.
Section 3: Working for the Federal State Land Use Planning Commission and the State of Alaska, Department of Land and Water Management.
Section 4: Dealing with the mental health trust lawsuit while working for the State of Alaska, Department of Natural Resources.
Section 5: Working for Jim Gottstein on reconstituting the mental health trust lands.
Section 6: Becoming a trustee on the Mental Health Trust Authority Board and what the board has accomplished for improving Alaska’s mental health system.
Section 7: Working in public service jobs, and the effects of the mental health trust lawsuit on the delivery of mental health services.
Section 8: Getting appointed as a trustee of the Mental Health Trust Authority.
Section 9: The legal battle between the State of Alaska and the federal government over navigable waters.
Section 10: His response to public criticism of the State of Alaska’s land disposal process during the mental health trust settlement.
Section 11: Complications in the process of determining land value and the appraisal system used in the mental health trust settlement.
Section 12: Working on the mental health trust lands settlement, and becoming involved with the Mental Health Trust Authority Board of Trustees.
Section 13: Duties and responsibilities of the Mental Health Trust Authority Board of Trustees.
Section 14: His personal contributions to the Mental Health Trust Authority Board of Trustees.
Section 15: How he became interested in land management as a career.
Section 16: Some complicated land management decisions he worked on at the State of Alaska, Department of Natural Resources.
Section 17: Relationship of Native corporation land selections to the Mental Health Trust land settlement.
Section 18: The reasons for the Mental Health Trust lawsuit related to the re-designation of land and not providing funding in exchange.
Section 19: Final thoughts on why the lawsuit happened and why the Alaska State Legislature acted the way it did.
Click play, then use Sections or Transcript to navigate the interview.
After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.
Section 1: KAREN BREWSTER: I'm Karen Brewster, and I'm here in Anchorage with Tom Hawkins. Today is June 10th, 2010. And also joining us is Bill Schneider, and Deb Lawton and Aaron Elterman from KUAC are doing the videography for this interview.
Tom, thank you for joining us to talk about Mental Health Trust issues. So to get us started, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself, when and where you were born, growing up, your family background.
TOM HAWKINS: I grew up in Western Washington in a little town named Lake Stevens, and went to school in Walla Walla, Washington, went to college. And then got drafted. Spent some time in Southeast Asia, which was a pretty instructive time because I worked with artillery, and knowing where you are is real critical.
So maps, which I'd always been kind of fond of, sort of played a role in my ‑‑ in my military service. Not by their design, but it just turned out that I was good at figuring out exactly where I was because I was afraid of blowing myself up if I didn't.
And I came back to graduate school after the Army and spent ‑‑ primarily, graduate school paid better than most of the jobs I was initially able to get because of the GI Bill. And so since going to school was the one thing my mother approved of that took the least effort, I was very determined to use all 48 months of credit that I'd earned from my service.
Since they didn't really pay you to go to Vietnam, they paid you afterwards if you came back, and I tried to take advantage of that.
I ended up coming to Alaska in the 1970s. And my first job was with the Corps of Engineers, and my masters degree eventually came from the University of Alaska in Public Administration, although when I was a student there, there wasn't really a UAA, it was primarily done in other school buildings around the city.
And we all sat in tiny desks at Wendler Junior High for some classes, and went out to the military base for others.
But the program was particularly good for me because it was primarily adjunct professors, and so they all had sort of day jobs and were teaching because of love or whatever, but it was easier to relate to somebody who was a labor lawyer during the day and a labor lawyer teacher in the evening. And so I enjoyed that quite a bit.
I worked a year for the Corps of Engineers, I worked a year for the Department of Natural Resources back in the early days, in the land management division.
And then I saw this advertisement when I was walking one day at lunchtime where they would train you to be a land law examiner, which, when I read the description, turned out to be not much different than what I was actually doing at the state, but I was called a water resources assistant. And basically, you adjudicate people's claims for land based on a set of rules that apply to that particular set of land.
But what was nifty about the BLM job was it started out with public land law training in Phoenix, Arizona, in the winter. And it struck me that even as a short‑time Alaskan at the time that going to Phoenix for three months in October, November, and December was a pretty good deal.
So I decided, even though it didn't pay better, it looked like it started out with some history about public land law. And in fact, the class turned out to be quite a bit of fun because we went back to the acquisition of the public domain, the Gadsden Purchase and the Louisiana Purchase, and how we acquired all of the country's land, including Seward's Icebox, and then traced forward the disposal of that land under the variety of programs that were administered by the BLM.
What we were being trained to do was to adjudicate applications filed by Alaska's Native corporations and by the State of Alaska. And so at BLM, I was a land law examiner adjudicator, and basically processed applications for lands selections.
And unfortunately, the Bureau of Land Management in the early 1970s had kind of gotten out of the business of disposing of land. In fact, the Federal Government really hadn't been doing it wholesale since the early 1900s.
And so to be hired to be an expert at giving out what turned out to be close to 150 million acres of land really didn't set well with the majority of the folks in the Bureau. And so even if you were good at it, you weren't necessarily appreciated because the pie that they would eventually manage was shrinking in big chunks, thereby dwindling from like almost 300 million acres down to something in the 70, 80 million acres category.
And so the adjudicators weren't sought out for lunchtime dates because we were in the business of putting the management folks at the agency out of business, or at least minimizing the business.
Section 2: I spent a number of years at BLM, but was sort of intrigued by the thought of working for a Native corporation, and I saw an advertisement for a position in Dillingham for the village corporation there named Choggiung Limited.
And Choggiung is a Yup'ik word that means Place Where the Water Gets Salty. And if you're familiar with Dillingham, it's right ‑‑ two rivers flow together, the Wood River and the Nushagak River, and dump into Bristol Bay, and eventually into the Pacific Ocean.
And so I traveled out to Dillingham, and you know, the folks there were friendly and a lot of fun, but unlike most people who get together, $8 million and 300,000 acres of land, they weren't altogether clear what they were going to do with it.
And although the original board was primarily small business folks, it was sort of the initial admonition of the job was we don't know what it is you do but here's the place we've got for you to do it.
And I spent about six years working for the Choggiungs, but there was a little gap in the middle, and then that little gap, I worked for the Federal State Land Use Planning Commission. And that was a pretty interesting opportunity to see things on a bigger scale because the Planning Commission was making advice to the Congress as to which lands should be reserved for parks and refuges, and that came about in the 1981 to '80 Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.
And so that was pretty fun to work because they were putting together a lot of studies where other minerals were and where other values were, and you got to look at sort of all of Alaska, and so I enjoyed that.
Section 3: KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. We're back.
TOM HAWKINS: All right.
KAREN BREWSTER: So we had you working at the State Land Use Planning Commission, and what exactly were you doing for them?
TOM HAWKINS: Everybody was an analyst, I was a land use analyst, but primarily, I was there because of my experience with the Native corporations, and one of the charges of the Planning Commission besides advising Congress on the D‑2 legislation was to advise Congress on how well the Claims Act was unrolling, particularly how well the agencies were doing conveying land to the Natives.
And theoretically, it was supposed to be a sudden and abrupt conveyance, but it's a pretty complicated process to move 150 million acres from one side of the box to the other. And the Native corporations even in the State of Alaska didn't really have the sophistication that would have facilitated a faster process.
So a lot of us hoped that it would be done before we retired, but in fact, my Native corporation that I eventually worked for in Bristol Bay is somewhere in the 95 percentile in terms of amount of land actually received. And so, you know, it's sort of we're down to half the distance to the goal line now, we'll probably never quite get there.
An interesting twist on this is I just attended the signing ceremony for the millionth acre. The millionth acre has finally been conveyed from the Federal Government to the State of Alaska/Trust Land Office. And ‑‑ or Mental Health Trust. And that's 56, you know, count the years, that's a long process to ‑‑ and that's just a million acres.
With the State of Alaska, it's over 100 million acres; with the Natives it's over 40 million acres. And so if you're looking for job security, this is obviously a place that you can start out young and still be at it a good time later.
When I was at the land use Planning Commission, I had the fortune of working for Walt Parker and Esther Wunnicke, and Esther Wunnicke was the federal co‑chairman, Mr. Parker was the state co‑chairman, and so the federal co‑chairman was appointed by the Secretary of Interior, the state co‑chairman by the Governor.
And they were very knowledgeable folks to work for. Planning Commission itself had, you know, 16 or 20 commissioners, and they were sort of dredged from Alaska's land history.
And so there was a lot of names that you'd seen on applications before and people who had been involved in the process of the conveyance process, and so it was ‑‑ you know, it was kind of a nifty place to work. And unfortunately, it had a statutory life, and so it went out of business as ‑‑ as planned.
And I returned to Dillingham for a while, but then I got a call from Esther Wunnicke inviting me to work for her at the Department of Natural Resources. And she had a number of ideas, but I told her I'd really like to work for the Division of Land, which became the Division of Land and Water Management, and then it became the Division of Mining Land and Water, and it's been ‑‑ but basically, it's the land division.
And so I got to be its director for the time that Esther was the commissioner.
KAREN BREWSTER: And what years were that ‑‑ was that?
TOM HAWKINS: That's a tough question to ask. I would say '83 to '87, '88.
But almost one of the first things that happened to me when I took the position as the director was I was deposed by the lawyer, then lawyer Steve Cowper, who was representing the Weiss family, et al., in the mental health litigation.
Section 4: And I had been on the job for ‑‑ well, it was like weeks when Mr. Cowper showed up, and it was kind of a shock because it made it ‑‑ it sort of made me feel like DNR had been up to something untoward in its administration of the land, and I felt kind of bad about it.
And I later spent some time figuring out that although special lands like university lands and mental health lands were a pretty small part of the state's portfolio, they were segregated and they were accounted for separately. And there was ‑‑ the Department of Natural Resources, you know, people understood that there was a different kind of land than the general grant land that people took the 103 million acres, or 104 and a half, or depending on how you count it.
And I was, I don't know, kind of taken aback that we had done something badly to folks who would be beneficiaries of this particular program.
And particularly because my both kids are in Special Ed, one for one reason, one for another reason, but all the way through school, as ‑‑ as a parent, you know, there was an extra set of papers and an extra set of things to go through with the teacher and the counselor because of their Special Ed status.
And so, you know, when I got to looking at it, it turned out that the redesignation of the lands had actually been performed by the legislature in 1978, and so it had actually been around for a few years, and there was kind of a deal cut by the legislature, and that was that the Mental Health Trust would receive a percentage of all the state's mineral ref ‑‑ royalties in lieu of the direct royalties from the million acres that they had selected.
If you think about it, what a bargain it would have been to be reaching into the bag of, like, almost 300 million acres of land and getting to pick the first million.
And sure, there were lands withdrawn for national parks already, and there were lands withdrawn for the military, but when it came right down to it, you were making the first serious nongovernmental land selections.
And I ‑‑ I've always been envious of the folks who got to do that first million acres because, you know, they talk about high grading, well, this is the opportunity for high grading when you get to go pick around Alaska and take neat stuff.
Pick up ‑‑ and of course, they went to economic centers and they selected the land around an awful lot of towns. The land that was available around towns. And they put together a pretty impressive portfolio. So I've always been envious of that as a land person to not have been in on that original selection.
But I spent, well, I don't know, I think it was just about a decade with the mental health litigation, and it drug on and on. And I think my advice to my supervisors was always you're paying both sides in a lawsuit, and both sides are your side, so it doesn't really matter who wins.
You can't win this lawsuit, even though the legislature redesignated the lands and you have to ‑‑ you know, I mean, we ought to ‑‑ we ought to ‑‑ we ought to craft a settlement, we ought to get done with this.
But settlements, both sides have to give up something. And no one wants to settle because then you didn't get the whole banana, and nobody's really that connected to the real facts of the situation, and so everyone says, oh, they settled. It sounds like, you know, you cheated or something. But, in fact, that's eventually what came about.
And I was actually one time in Fairbanks in Judge Green's courtroom and foolishly said that I would walk back to the motel after we had ‑‑ I had testified. And it was February in Fairbanks, and it was a ‑‑ my suit coat was thick, but my pants weren't, and when I got back, I was patting and rubbing because I thought, jeez, people live here.
Section 5: But ‑‑ and so it then became the process of reconstituting the Trust. And my time at DNR ended with settlement of that and some other lawsuits.
I had been retained sort of past my political appointment status just because I was knowledgeable about some of the things that had happened during my time, but in '92, I left DNR, and oddly enough, the job I found was working for Jim Gottstein, who was sort of a successor to Cowper in the litigation, and I was kind of the land man for the beginning of the reconstitution of the Trust.
And it was an interesting process because the whole story had been divided into you started out with original Trust lands, you had a million acres of original Trust lands, and that was OTL. And before long we were calling them the OTL's .
And then you had the potential substitute lands, the state created a bunch of zones of land that people could select from, and ‑‑ or the Trust could select from, and potential substitute lands, PSL, became PSL's .
And then there were the lands that weren't going to be returned. The lands that had been somehow in that short amount of time conveyed to boroughs, to Native corporations and to other people who were eager to have lands of those particular values, and those were called NRTL's , not returned trust lands.
Section 6: And so in the end, they put together a package of land, but I only worked for Mr. Gottstein for a short period of time when Bristol Bay Native Corporation advertised for a general manager or a business manager, and when I got to the interviews, there were three finalists.
And the job was originally described as chief executive officer, and somewhere along the interview process they changed it to chief operating officer.
And two of my competitors wanted to be a CEO, they didn't want to be a COO, and so they dropped out.
And so I was the only one left standing. And it turned out to be kind of fun because I had worked with a lot of these folks earlier when I worked with the village corporation, and so I went to work for Bristol Bay and I worked there for about 16 years before I finally retired.
But during that time, I was a trustee, and I was one of the original trustees and spent two five‑year terms and one four‑year non-term working for ‑‑ as ‑‑ as a member of the trustee council or the trustee group. And it was ‑‑ it was very interesting.
I ‑‑ my primary expertise was, of course, in the land management side, and I spent most of my energy overseeing the resource management committee, and I was its chairman for ‑‑ well, that stretch.
And the original trustees were selected, some because of their mental health program experience, some because of their money management experience, and myself because of the resource management background.
And so it was a pretty collegial group of long‑time Alaskans who pretty much ceded authority over, well, he's good at that, so if that's what Mr. Younker thinks we ought to do in terms of investment management, then that's probably right. Oh, and she's good at that, so if Evelyn Tucker thinks that the ‑‑ the service delivery system needs attention, I mean, that probably makes sense.
And as the resource manager, and I was kind of pleased with those early years as a lot of people get 200 million dollars and a million acres of land, and we weren't much different than those village corporations that I worked for earlier, we don't know what it is you do but here's what we've got for you to do. And the place where you should do it.
So it was fortunate we had the Permanent Fund managing the money, we had the expertise of the Department of Natural Resources to assist us in the land management or the resource management side, and it all worked itself out pretty ‑‑ pretty well.
We also had plenty of help from the Department of Health and Social Services on the program side, sort of what it was really all about, the rest being kind of the facilitation of what it was we were supposed to do, which was help the beneficiaries of the Trust.
Originally, through its land resource activities and its money management, the state had about ‑‑ or the Trust had about, oh, 10, 11 million dollars to spend, and primarily, it used it in ways to promote progress or change in the state's delivery system.
And over the years, the amount of money available grew, and I think when I left, it was somewhere in the mid 20s.
And so a collection of agencies and other nonprofit programs offered budget ideas and the Trust looked for ones that seemed innovative, seemed short term, and looked like they might generally improve things.
Some of the big ones in the beginning were like the closing of Harborview , which was a big step for the state to bring folks closer to where they were from. And simple stuff like having that kind of service available to women in the prison system where the State of Alaska had provided for mental health services for their male prison population, but not for women.
And the Trust working with the legislature and working with the administration was able to provide the seed money to make that kind of change. And a variety of things, maybe of smaller consequence, but all thought to be ways to improve the system.
Section 7: For a land manager, a resource manager in Alaska, it was kind of fun to operate again on a pretty detailed scale, and to be able to see who you were benefitting more clearly, sort of like working for a village corporation, mine had, like, 1100 shareholders. And you kind of knew who you were providing benefits to.
Our regional corporation had about 8,000 shareholders, so when you declared a dividend, you knew that it was going to those 8,000 people.
When you worked for the State of Alaska, it's harder to figure out exactly what your public wants.
And I did dozens, probably hundreds of public meetings in my decade of service at DNR, and I remember kind of more ‑‑ most clearly meetings in Talkeetna and Homer as places where the folks from the agencies were really there to be sponges for audience abuse,
and the crowd was there, maybe 10 percent of the people in the crowd liked what you were proposing, 10 percent of the people in the crowd hated what you were proposing, the 80 percent of the people in the crowd would kind of lean one way or the other depending on which group was speaking.
But it was always tumultuous, and a couple of times I thought, wow, do ‑‑ is this fun? And then you realize these people are passionate about the same thing I'm passionate about, that I've sort of built my career around, and yeah, it is fun.
It comes out funny, it comes out kind of strange sometimes in public settings, but still it's kind of worth the while if you're going to be a public manager of any sort to expose yourself to the publics that you're serving and kind of gauge their reaction to what you're doing and whether you're doing it well or not well.
So those were ‑‑ it was a fun time at the Department of Natural Resources. But it was, I think, easier from a who‑do‑you‑serve standpoint to work for the village and the regional corporation because the population of folks that you're actually benefitting is smaller, and the Mental Health Trust is ‑‑ is similar to that.
The legislature has not been mean to folks who require benefits of a mental health nature. The state has always had a mental health program, and the spending from the Trust is, you know, really kind of a pittance in the overall picture of services provided to folks.
And so, I mean, perhaps in the time of the redesignation the legislature didn't move quickly to recognize and dedicate that 2 percent royalty because they were already spending over $100 million in services that could be categorized as associated with mental health,
and particularly because the litigation expanded mental health services to a variety of ‑‑ of beneficiary groups, kind of a broader variety than kind of meets the first blush of people's definition of ‑‑ of mental health.
And so, you know, I don't think the redesignation was an ill act on the part of the legislature, I just don't think that there was the follow‑through that made people think that this, in fact, was special, it deserved special attention, and it had been special, it had been sort of pre-Statehood, and it deserved to be carefully managed and done well.
And I think under the current management regime, which the legislature, of course, endorsed, that that is ‑‑ that that's happening. I mean, the state continues to have a healthy budget for activities of ‑‑ of this nature, and then the Trust is able to offer additional opportunities to improve the system.
It was fun in those early years trying to figure out, okay, you've got this money, you've got this revenue coming in, you've got this land base, what kind of program do you want to promote, and change improvement in the program seemed to be what struck the original trustees as the logical thing to be about.
And so I think that's still kind of what motivates the Trust. It's had the same executive director throughout its history, and a very thoughtful and motivated character who has done a real good job of blending the various ‑‑ the administration and the legislature, the trustees, the various programs together and to try to promote innovation and make things better for the folks involved.
Section 8: KAREN BREWSTER: I wanted to take us back a little bit to your work at DNR.
TOM HAWKINS: Governor Knowles appointed me to a four‑year term, which was my second term, and I felt bad about that because you get to be ‑‑ I mean, a trustee term is five years.
KAREN BREWSTER: So why did you only get four years?
TOM HAWKINS: Well, that's what I wondered, but I didn't want to say anything because I got four years, so, I mean, why ‑‑ why complain. But I just thought, well, that's not fair. But it turns out that a four‑year term doesn't count as a term.
KAREN BREWSTER: Yeah, I was going to ask you, you said it was a non-term, like how can you have a non-term?
TOM HAWKINS: Well, this is ‑‑ this is something that only people in Juneau at night can figure out, but for some reason, if you don't serve a whole term, it's not a term at all. So Governor Murkowski appointed me to my second real term, and that's why I ended up being a trustee longer than the statute says you can.
KAREN BREWSTER: Oh. Because you did ‑‑ your second one didn't count?
TOM HAWKINS: Right.
KAREN BREWSTER: That's weird.
TOM HAWKINS: Yeah, that is totally weird.
KAREN BREWSTER: Did somebody just ‑‑ was there a typo that they put four instead of five years?
TOM HAWKINS: No. Somebody ‑‑ when I was sort of muttering about it quietly, somebody said, oh, don't complain. It makes you eligible to be appointed to a second term.
KAREN BREWSTER: Oh.
TOM HAWKINS: And since the politics in Alaska go from left to right, or right to left, from time to time, being reappointed isn't, you know, necessarily a sure thing.
KAREN BREWSTER: Right. But in your non-term, you were still a reg ‑‑
TOM HAWKINS: I was still a ‑‑
KAREN BREWSTER: ‑‑ considered a regular ‑‑
TOM HAWKINS: ‑‑ considered a ‑‑
KAREN BREWSTER: ‑‑ considered a regular member. That's weird.
BILL SCHNEIDER: Just one small question. Were you paid as trustees to do all that long work?
KAREN BREWSTER: Are trustees paid, do you mean?
BILL SCHNEIDER: Are trustees paid?
TOM HAWKINS: Yeah, trustees are compensated. They get up to $200 a day. And they break it into 50s. So if you made a meeting, which are usually over in about an hour and a half, you get 50 bucks.
KAREN BREWSTER: So I wanted to know more about the work you did with the Department of Natural Resources when you worked with Esther . What exactly did you do there?
TOM HAWKINS: I was director of the Division of Lands. And I think there was a Division of Water when I first came, but they were collapsing state government, so it became the Division of Land and Water. And I think they've collapsed it further down as the Division of Mining, Land and Water.
KAREN BREWSTER: So yeah, what did you do related to mental health? Like how did you get involved with the mental health side of things?
TOM HAWKINS: Well, State of Alaska manages, you know, 105 million acres of land, 1 million acres of which is mental health land. And so I was one of the land managers for the state, resource managers for the state, and you know, on a day‑to‑day basis, we made decisions on whether or not people qualified for benefits, benefits outlined by the legislature, in statute and then interpreted through regulations, and people apply for things and we decided whether or not they've met the qualifications or the criteria for earning that benefit.
Section 9: So we administered water programs, we administered land sales programs, land disposal programs. Kind of general land management programs. And then some advocacy programs where we did a long series of litigations with the Federal Government over what constitutes navigable waters, because navigability means a lot of things, but one thing it means is the bed of the navigable water body belongs to the state.
And the state tried a variety of different avenues to get the maximum definition of navigability because there hadn't been a lot of navigability determinations in Alaska.
The Federal Government was kind of content to stop with the Yukon and the Kuskokwim and call it good.
The state thought lakes were navigable, all kinds of rivers were navigable, and so what the state crafted was a series of what were called criteria cases, realizing that they couldn't afford to fight an entire litigation over every body of water in Alaska, they decided instead to fight a case that would include a whole bunch of other water bodies if the criteria in that particular case was deemed to be navigable.
And one of the big ones was the Matanuska River and its commercial use by guide operators, because kind of navigability turns on travel, trade, and commerce. And even though the Matanuska doesn't lend itself to steamships and that kind of travel and trade, it does attract a lot of people who want to float it for recreation purposes. And that was one of the state's big wins from a standpoint of establishing recreation use as a criteria that established navigability.
One of the state's big losses had to do with lakes, and kind of like how small a lake constitutes navigable. Well, the state picked a test lake called, unfortunately, Slop Bucket Lake, which is a tiny lake just off of Lake Iliamna, and a lot of floatplane operators landed there because Lake Iliamna, being a great big lake, was often too rough for people to land on floatplanes, so people would land on Slop Bucket, which was, you know, a hop and a jump from the big lake.
And the state argued that through the courts, and was not successful. The courts said, well, it's not a continuous, you're kind of hopping from lake to lake.
And so that did away with 25‑acre lakes they could land a floatplane on, but there's still argument amongst the State and Federal Government on how big does a lake have to be before it gets to be navigable.
And finally, because the Natives were coming along and the Federal Government was making the Natives take the bottoms of lakes or rivers that the state thought was ‑‑ were navigable and the state's process of adjudicating or of litigating was kind of slow moving, and so people were ‑‑ you know, all of a sudden a Native corporation in Bristol Bay is forced to select the bed of a ‑‑ of a river the state considers navigable.
Well, 20 years later when the state establishes its navigability through the litigation process, the Natives will be stuck with the acreage. Except for they won't own it. But they won't have an entitlement left to select it, so they were going to die essentially in the hole because the process of deciding navigability was slower than the process of adjudicating selections.
And so the Federal and State Government Native corporations kind of sat down and said, hey, let's ‑‑ let's come up with a category called “We'll Fight About It When It's Important.” So all these contested water bodies, with the blessing of Congress, were taken off the ‑‑ the books in terms of conveyancing.
Section 10: KAREN BREWSTER: One of the criticisms against the State DNR office during the whole lawsuit and settlement period and reselection that took so long, and their accusations that the state was purposely dragging its feet and all that. You worked at DNR. Will you talk about that from your perspective.
TOM HAWKINS: Yeah, I don't think the state was purposely dragging its feet. I mean, the process of adjudicating applications for land, and particularly to reconstitute a trust, it's a pretty complex business.
And if you think in 1956 the first million acres was selected by the state land officers, and it was 2009 when that millionth acre was actually conveyed, to get an idea, it's a ‑‑ it's a slow process. And it's not like people were being mean about it, it's just that, number one, it's not BLM's highest priority; number two, it's complicated stuff.
And particularly as time passes and there's overlaying ‑‑ when I was working for Jim Gottstein, there was a case where the Alaska Railroad claimed that ‑‑ that their easement attached to preceded, the Trust could take that title, but it was subject to this easement. Well, in fact, the Trust made a selection of that land before the easement was granted.
And ‑‑ but in order to do that, you go through a case file that is inches thick looking for the dates of those activities and when they occurred.
Land management is a complicated business, and there are ‑‑ I don't believe was ever a conscious or a stated effort at DNR to do things slowly, regardless of which side of the program I worked on.
People did the best job they could. You know, the problem with having 100 plus million acres is it needs a lot of folks to administer it in any kind of aggressive fashion.
And the legislature, you know, is ‑‑ is happy that we have resource revenues coming from state lands that pretty much float our budget, but you know, they are less eager to fund positions in the agencies to actually manage and adjudicate those applications that people are filing for this, that, and the other.
Section 11: KAREN BREWSTER: Right. I know that, too, there was back and forth about valuing the land between, you know, the beneficiary groups' interests and the state interests about how land got valued in order to decide how to reconstitute. Wasn't that a bit controversial?
TOM HAWKINS: That was very controversial. And there were ‑‑ appraising is hard work, and when you're facing, what, 8,000 parcels stretched from Southern Alaska to the Interior, that takes, you know, sort of more expertise than you can kind of find in any one particular appraiser.
And eventually, a system was worked out whereby a committee of appraisers was appointed, the folks from all sides getting to weigh in on it, and a panel of appraisers looked at the parcels and comparative sales and things kind of sorted themselves out. But you know, my ‑‑ my house is worth way more to me than what you would give me for it, and that's not different about a piece of land.
And when we're talking about a million acres sprinkled around Alaska in all kinds of valuable places, and when you're talking about resources that, okay, this land is valuable for gold, well, how do you say, yeah, this is mineralized terrain, it's likely that if you worked here, you might find that mineral.
But without expending, you know, literally millions of dollars in drill holes, you're not going to really know what that particular land is worth.
For instance, there's a recent press release out about the Trust lands in Livengood that have been under exploration for years and years and years and years, and finally a company has, you know, pieced together enough information that they are sort of positive about the gold that's deposited there. And its ease of development.
But ‑‑ so how do you value that? Particularly when you're doing your valuing way before the discovery is made. You can't get every piece of mineralized terrain as though the ‑‑ the greatest mine in the world is going to be built there someday. You can't discount.
So there's a lot of reasons to be angry. And if you're already kind of disappointed or upset about how things have gone, and you want to focus on something, the valuation process is probably as good as any to focus on because it is real complicated and real difficult.
And, you know, people make jokes about appraisers all the time. And I think it's a tough science, and they do their best, and you know, I'm bothered by the fact that people are upset about it, but I think the effort was made to develop a system that was the fairest that could be developed.
I know a lot of land exchange ideas come up from time to time. Well, we'll give you this chunk of land for that chunk of land. And so the chunk of land that you have is pretty easily valued because it was in downtown Anchorage.
The chunk of land that the other guy has is more difficult to value because it's 5,000 acres in the upper watershed of the Eklutna River. But that upper watershed is located in, you know, a state park.
And so it's ‑‑ it's attractive acreage for the public, it's attractive acreage for the owner, and so you come up with the idea of the land exchange. Well, you can't win a land exchange. Land exchanges have to come out even, or fairly close to even.
And so a lot of them fall by the wayside because everybody expects to win. In other words, I'm going to get way more out of this exchange than you are. That's never going to happen. And those all kind of turn on appraisals.
And so the effort by the state to design an appraisal system where the both sides get to nominate appraisers to be on the panel, I thought was really kind of good rather than going with one appraiser familiar with that area, or a different appraiser familiar with that area, put together appraisers that are satisfactory to both sides and that have expertise in both the land characteristics.
And that Eklutna former state office building site in downtown Anchorage exchange happened, and the values came out somewhere in the 7, $8 million range, but it was real complicated.
So, you know, valuation is a touchy subject and, you know, you're never going to satisfy everybody. It's like those meetings in Homer, Talkeetna, you know, 80 percent of the people are going to be dissatisfied, but the agency folks are trying their hardest to do it in a fair way.
KAREN BREWSTER: Well, and the reconstitution process sort of valuation was the crux of it, it was a bit of a land exchange situation on some of those lands.
TOM HAWKINS: Oh, it was. It was valued for land.
KAREN BREWSTER: Right.
TOM HAWKINS: I mean, you've got selection rights. But just even that, the audit of the mental health lands, the lands selections started while I worked at DNR. And the Bureau of Land Management provided two people and the State of Alaska provided two folks, and they spent ‑‑ or maybe a folk and a half, and they spent a year.
And in the end, after auditing all the case files, all the selection case files, they determined that the state was still owed 9,000 acres out of the million.
And so at the time, you know, I was pleased with the result, we had something both the feds and the state agreed to, and you know, we kind of ‑‑ but imagine doing 100 million acres.
And now we're not talking about value, we're just talking about did the state get the acreage that it was due. And I mean, if it takes four people one year to do an audit of 1 million acres, how many people for how many years to do 100 million?
So land management seems kind of simple, but in fact, there's a lot of intricacies. And I ‑‑ whether I'm in them or outside of them, am only, you know, highly respectful of the state resource managers and even federal resource managers that do as good a job as can be done with the equipment available to do it.
Section 12: KAREN BREWSTER: So with the work you did for Gottstein, what exactly was it that you were doing?
TOM HAWKINS: Looking over land files, studying the lands that were available, the potential substitute lands, the lands that wouldn't be retained to the Trust, wouldn't be returned to the Trust. And in the shorthand, the PSL's, the NRTL's, and the OTL's.
KAREN BREWSTER: And so that would be so the beneficiary groups would have something to bring to the table? What was the purpose of that work, I guess?
TOM HAWKINS: Well, the purpose was that in the settlement, they had to craft a package of lands or a package of land selection opportunities that were sufficiently attractive that the parties would be done.
And I think of the original million, about 400 and some thousand had zipped out of state ownership because of the redesignation, and the primary beneficiary of that were boroughs.
Boroughs were, you know, kind of new players and they all received entitlements, and all of a sudden you had an entitlement, but there wasn't any land available in your borough that had any value, and oh, look who's got it, it's the state but it's not really the state, what can we do about it. And that's what, you know, led to the redesignation so that those lands would be available. And it didn't work out, you know, or it took awhile for it to work out.
KAREN BREWSTER: Let's go back to these. How did you initially get involved with that and appointed to that?
TOM HAWKINS: The office ‑‑ the Office of Boards and Commissions prepares lists of people, and the Governor's Office makes appointments based on ‑‑ in the particular case of the Mental Health Trust, they had wanted everybody to have some kind of program sensitivity,
but they were looking for people also who had money management experience and land management, resource management experience besides program or service delivery experience.
And so those particular sets of attributes were spelled out, I think, in the settlement, and the first set of trustees was put together with those conditions in mind.
And I sort of got the resource management seat and the early chairmanship of the resource management committee, which gets to listen to the Trust land office presentation and make recommendations to the trustees if it's a big deal, or make decisions itself if it's a smaller scale transaction.
But those rules didn't develop immediately, those rules weren't the rules out of the box, it was rules that were sort of adapted over time to make sense, you know, sort of less than $50,000 land value transaction can be left up to the three or four members of the resource management commission, or committee, whereas a bigger deal would have to go to all the trustees.
But yeah, the ‑‑ the original trustees, it was fun. You know, it's always fun to be working on a new project. And we all thought of ourselves as long‑time Alaskans and wondered what the other guy was good for, and it turned out all the other guys, the women and men involved, were really smart about this, that, or the other.
And the trustees that came over time were all expert in program or had some personal connection. You know, there was a pretty caring body in terms of recognizing that it was dealing with a segment of society that was, you know, sometimes difficult to fashion appropriate services for.
And so people were thoughtful and sensitive and a lot of former commissioners and you know, people who had been active and involved in state stuff for a long time had service as trustees. Former legislators had service as trustees. So pretty thoughtful, pretty thoughtful group.
Section 13: KAREN BREWSTER: I was sort of wondering what types of decisions did the board make early on. You sort of mentioned Harborview was a project and that they have to make decisions about if a parcel of land is going to be sold off. And what other kinds of things did they do?
TOM HAWKINS: Well, those are the primary decisions. You've got a budget, you've got a certain amount of money, and you have people applying for blocks of funding for various programs, and you try to make sure that your funding decisions are serving some kind of larger purpose because all of the proposals deserve funding.
And so, you know, you have a list of 60 and you can only do 20, so you have to pick the 20 that seem to accomplish the things you're seeking. You know, improvements in the program and, you know, tests of different approaches and ‑‑ and so there's a variety of stuff on the program side.
The land management decisions are probably ‑‑ or the resource management decisions are probably easier to make because the briefings are thorough, the appraisals are current, there's not as much mystery involved, and they wouldn't have gotten to bringing it to you for your approval if, you know, a committee of the board hadn't already said, yeah, that makes sense, let's move that forward.
So generally, on the resource management issues, the trustees, you know, depend a lot on the professional assistance of the Trust Land Office and other agencies, like the Department of Natural Resources.
But you know, it seemed to ‑‑ you know, just spending 12 million bucks, even though it's not that big when you're splitting it up into a lot of 50 and 60 and 90,000 dollar programs, there's a lot of decision making that goes into that. And it's ‑‑ it always seemed to be pretty tense at those meetings.
Land management stuff didn't seem to draw as large an ire of the audience or the participants as ‑‑ as mental health and particularly as the budget capability grew, you know, all of a sudden you find yourself funding something in year 7 of what you thought was going to be a 3 year project, and you go, hold it, this is year 7 of 3, that doesn't make any sense.
This was an experiment that either didn't work or the legislature should have taken it over by now.
You know, if this is a service that makes sense, then this should be ‑‑ should be a general fund kind of thing rather than something for innovation and kind of a test bed of new ideas. So it seemed complicated to me.
Some trustee meetings were a couple of days, usually. We held one in Juneau each year during the legislative session, and go around and talk to legislators a little bit, and we held one in Fairbanks every year. The majority of the meetings were in Anchorage.
During the early days of the Trust, we traveled around the state, a couple of trustees and a few staff members, and just said, hey, this is what's happened in terms of the Trust settlement, here's what's going to happen in the future, this is what you ought to ‑‑ you know, and hold public meetings and answer questions. And that was pretty interesting.
A fellow showed up at one meeting wearing a hand‑tooled leather tie, and it was belt leather, it was a heavy‑duty looking tie. And it had BIA on it. So I'm looking at this guy and I'm thinking BIA, huh. My BIA is the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and that's who, when I see BIA, I think of. Well, his BIA was Brain Injury Association.
And you know, at the break, I went up to him and said, hey, why are you wearing a BIA tie? Trying to figure out the connection that I thought. And it turned out he was an advocate to add people with closed head injuries to the beneficiary list so that they could also benefit from the mental health programs, although they weren't part of the original litigation. So that's ‑‑ you know, that's kind of interesting thinking.
Section 14: KAREN BREWSTER: I’m interested in what you would consider some of your contributions that you've made that you're the most proud of on the board of trustees.
TOM HAWKINS: Well, I think it's fun to be in on the beginning of the lawsuit, be part of its settlement, and be part of what came as a result of that settlement. The litigation started in early '80s, my term as a trustee ended in 2009, so you know, that's quite a commitment of energy and interest and effort to, kind of, one small project.
But you know, so many projects are so large when you work for the State of Alaska that you don't really sense the ‑‑ the benefit that you're providing. And with this, you could kind of see it, you could see the litigation, you could see the settlement, you could see the beginning of the Trust, you could see the beneficiaries and how they got to participate in the Trust meetings and how the various beneficiary agencies and groups were able to avail themselves to the funding stream.
And actually, you know, promote some positive improvements in the delivery of those services in Alaska.
And so, you know, even though it took, you know, 25, 28 years, 26 years, still, you know, it's a race that you were involved with that ended, or ended on a better note than when you started.
So I'm pleased to have been a participant, but I, you know, didn't play any particularly large role, I was just sort of there, fortunately, for a long section of it, and because I got to work on it from different angles from different players, that's, you know, kind of a bonus to get to be involved in something for that long, even if you change your hats a few times along the way.
That's one of the neat things about being a land manager in Alaska is that after a career, you've worked for the state, you've worked for the Feds, you've worked for a village corporation, you've worked for a regional corporation, you kind of have a sense of the attitudes of each of those landowners and, you know, kind of what they were like to work with and, oh, I'm dealing with a person from the state.
Well, that comes with a certain set of attitudes and beliefs, just like dealing with a person from the Federal Government. That comes with a certain set of attitudes and beliefs.
And if you've sort of held them all earnestly along the way, you can appreciate the other guy's point of view a little better because, yeah, I remember when I had that hat on.
He's wrong now, but I remember when he was right. It's just ‑‑ it's sort of fun to sort of see all those perspectives on ‑‑ on your life's passion, which is managing resources in a way that benefits the public.
Section 15: KAREN BREWSTER: Okay. You just talked about your passion for land management, and one of my questions was what is it about land and land management that got you interested in doing it in the first place and kept you excited about it?
TOM HAWKINS: Well, I was a history major in college, and because of Scouting and a variety of things, primarily maybe my grandfather gave us a National Geographic subscription when I was little, and every month a new map would come, and I am a map junkie. I've always enjoyed maps and trying to understand maps, and trying to figure out things from maps.
And ‑‑ and so to be stumbling through early career choices and finding an agency that pays people to, you know, write decisions to adjudicate benefits, in this case land benefits, and it's all about maps and real estate, what a fine marriage of, you know, what you kind of like to do and the fact that, oh, look, there's somebody that pays you to do it.
And then being sent off to that federal school in Phoenix. You know, three months of ‑‑ of watching the acquisition of the public domain kind of nationally, and then how the various disposal programs worked.
How the 1872 Mining Law came about, and is still about, you know, that's ‑‑ that struck me as a nice blend between my map jones and my history background, and I was pleased to find there were paying jobs for it.
And you know, generally they, as you get older, let you do less of what you enjoy and make you manage other people who enjoy doing what you used to enjoy. And that happened to me, bit by bit I worked my way up to the heads of state agency, and finally a regional Native corporation.
My CEO for 16 years, fellow who lived in Dillingham, was also the chairman and the president, we talked on the phone for about an hour each week, usually on Thursdays. And the fact that the other two guys didn't want the interference of a CEO who I found the guy to be completely supportive and thoughtful.
And it's kind of like being a division director and you've got these section chiefs who are actually, who know what they are doing, you don't want to second‑guess their ‑‑ their decisions, their product, you want to figure out how to create a fear‑free environment for them to operate as crisply and cleanly as they possibly can, and fight for budgets so that they can have the opportunity to put folks to work to accomplish ‑‑
when you've got 100 million acres, the State of Alaska, every drawer has all kinds of applications that haven't been adjudicated yet. It's ‑‑ there's just ‑‑ there's too many programs and too many places and it's just real hard.
Section 16: I was involved in one program when I first went to work at DNR that was called Tideland Preference Rights, and this is actually a clever scheme by the packers, and what they convinced the Congress was that Alaska shouldn't be a state unless they gave previously improved tidelands to the people who had improved them.
And theoretically, the Federal Government is keeping the tide lands in trust for the state from ‑‑ from mean high water to three miles out, but in fact, all kinds of people have been building stuff on the tidelands in Alaska for a long time.
And so the State of Alaska, as part of Statehood, agreed to Tideland Preference Rights. And so if you had substantial permanent improvements on the tidelands at Statehood, you got the land underneath your improvements. And sufficient land around them to, you know, protect and maintain your improvements.
And that was a case that ‑‑ you know, a set of cases, and there weren't that many, there was, you know, hundreds of people that applied for this right, and I worked on them for a year when I was at DNR, or a couple years, and then I went away. And when I came back to DNR, I asked about them and I said, well, what's the deal on Tideland Preference Rights? Well, they are down to about 20.
Because like ‑‑ you know, we're in the 1980s now, and the ‑‑ and I said, boy, it would really be fun to finish this while I was the division director. You know, to actually get done with one of these programs.
And most of them the remaining ones were in Southeast Alaska, and so we, you know, kind of made a big deal out of trying to ‑‑ and actually, the staff ‑‑ because of something I said, I said something sarcastically like, well, we'd like them to get their land before they die.
And so they put together a song when they were conveying the last parcel of tideland preference right land that that was the hook in the ‑‑ in the song as it went along, we hope you get your land before you die.
But you know, these are ‑‑ these aren't mean people that are adjudicating these claims, they are under‑resourced, for sure, and it's complicated and kind of challenging work. And it's kind of fun to figure out. They are puzzles.
One program I administered had to do with shore fish releases, so you could have the exclusive right to have a set net at a particular site, and it would be a site that you used. Well, all of a sudden over across the inlet, there were 12 applications for 10 sites. And everybody had a fishing history.
Well, if you went back in time, and you looked at cannery fish tickets for the past 20 years, you could figure out which fisherman had used them the most, but not every fisherman used them every year. And you know, if nobody was there, you could fish it. Well, now that you're going to a shore fishery lease, it was going to be your lease.
Section 17: (Break in audio.)
KAREN BREWSTER: ‑‑ discussion on ‑‑ in these interviews is the relationship with the Native corporations and their land selections and the Mental Health Trust land selections and land issues. I don't know if that's something you might be able to talk about, how that worked or didn't work.
TOM HAWKINS: Well, Native corporations were allowed to select a certain amount of previously selected state land, or land that the state had selected previously. And I think it was up to, like, maybe three townships, but it was not land the state had taken title to, it was land that the state had selected.
And so the kind of interaction between the Native corporation and the state, you know, you'd have blue on your map for the State of Alaska lands, selected lands, and you'd have the box in which the village corporation would be able to select, and there'd be some of that blue inside the box which was the 9 townships withdrawn around each town that constituted the selection area.
And so some land that the state had selected ended up going to village corporations. I think it probably was not a real big issue. For one, the State of Alaska wanted the Claims Settlement Act passed.
The State of Alaska wanted the land freeze lifted, they wanted to get on with it, and like everybody had a deal, the state had to put something up, and putting up part of land that it had previously selected seemed, you know, within the ‑‑ within the bounds of reason.
I think the 1978 redesignation might have benefitted some of the communities or some of the village corporations or regional corporations that were closer to the built up areas where the state had selections, and they were probably part of the energy pushing the legislature to adopt that legislation.
I haven't really done the research on that, and I think it would be interesting, I really kind of think what came about in 1978 would be a good paper because the executers, you know, kind of the, okay, you've got a new law, you've got a new program, you've got to operate like this, there's not a lot of thought in what went into it. I think it would be fun to kind of figure out the machinations.
Section 18: BILL SCHNEIDER: You said that you were ‑‑ you were feeling bad when ‑‑ when Cowper came in with the ‑‑ with the Weiss case, and so it raises the question, here's ‑‑ here you're a guy that's been on all sides of this thing. How could the state not have seen this coming? How could they have let the Trust lands go?
TOM HAWKINS: Well, I think that the legislature was earnest in its promise to fund the Trust 2 percent of all royalty income. I mean, I think that was an earnest part of the equation deal.
BILL SCHNEIDER: But it obviously was against the law, wasn't it?
TOM HAWKINS: No, I didn't think it was against the law.
BILL SCHNEIDER: I mean, if the law said that these were lands that were Trust lands ‑‑
TOM HAWKINS: Well, I think it became against the law because the ‑‑ the 2 percent was never appropriated. But I don't think the idea of substituting money for land is alien to the law.
BILL SCHNEIDER: Oh, okay. So maybe you ‑‑ maybe you need to educate me a bit on this. So Cowper's lawsuit was ‑‑ was not ‑‑ not that the state had ‑‑ had given away this land per se, but that they hadn't provided the compensation?
TOM HAWKINS: Well, that was the ‑‑ that's what the state hadn't done was provide the compensation. But the litigation was about the land because obviously, if you had this really valuable land, you'd be generating revenues that would be available for programs.
But it really came down to the fact that the legislature hadn't made ‑‑ now, it wasn't that the legislature wasn't spending money on Mental Health Trust programs, it's just that nobody had made that designation or appropriation of a royalty stream to the Trust in lieu of the lands that had been taken from them by the redesignation.
And so if you're attacking the disestablishment of a trust, you go after its main asset, which were its lands. And that's what the argument was about, where are the lands, where did they go, who had them, who got them. I just ‑‑ I felt bad because I hadn't been a party to the redesignation that had happened in 1978.
Section 19: As I was about to say in answer to Karen's earlier question, I was living out in Dillingham. And in Dillingham, you know, fish are kind of what the story's about. And we kind of even missed the pipeline. You know, it was just not really all that high on what people were doing. And the fact that the legislature had redesignated that really hadn't struck any chords.
And so to be brand new on a job where you're, you know, kind of swimming in fast waters and feeling kind of anxious, and all of a sudden a guy you've heard of shows up and he's suing the state and it turns out the state in this case is the Department of Natural Resources for ‑‑ you know, which is essentially the 1978 redesignation and its results, huh.
You know, one, I didn't feel like I had done that. And number two, I thought it was a bad thing that had I been party, I would have advised against it because, you know, that ‑‑ the Trust lands were a big deal to the state, and even though they were a small part of the overall portfolio that I managed in my year and a half working for the state initially, they were a different color on the map. School lands, Trust lands.
School lands, you know, they got surveyed sections, and boy, you think, oh, cool. You get Section 16 and 36, or 16 and 32 and every township in Alaska. Well, the trip we were there was surveyed.
And so what seems like a big deal, like you know, 1,280 acres, in what's really thousands of townships isn't really that big a deal because there's not that many townships, because the township doesn't really exist until somebody drives some stakes in the corners.
BILL SCHNEIDER: Okay. That was ‑‑ that was my question, yeah. Yeah.
Well, thank you for taking the time to do this.
TOM HAWKINS: Well, I enjoyed it.
BILL SCHNEIDER: And you certainly have had a career that's been in all aspects and all sides of the issue.
TOM HAWKINS: Well, I think if you work Alaska land, you get to ‑‑ particularly if every 5 or 10 years you work for a different agency or boss, you ‑‑ you get to see things from a lot of sides, and you know, when you're carrying or wearing that hat, you believe that's the true thing.
BILL SCHNEIDER: Uh‑hum.
TOM HAWKINS: And then later, it's kind of fun to see, you know, folks come in who ‑‑ whose hat you recognize, and whose views you recognize as having once held, but not ‑‑ you know, the whole idea that the agency was mean just never really gained purchase with me.
I can understand that there was a ‑‑ and I can kind of understand the legislature, hey, we're spending $100 million there already, they are getting their 2 percent, even though we're not giving them the 2 percent, you know, like formally with an appropriation, we're spending that ‑‑ at least that amount in services,
you know, you can imagine that kind of justification being attractive to a legislator who's had a bunch of people pounding on him to do this and now there's a new set of people pounding on him to do that, and the "do this" kind of made sense when it ‑‑ when it was offered up, and the "do that" makes sense today.
So, you know, it's unfortunate that it took so long. And I just don't think that you ever win suing yourself. And particularly when you're paying both sides. Because the truth of the matter is the original million acres was more valuable than the reconstituted million acres.
BILL SCHNEIDER: How should it have been done differently, then?
TOM HAWKINS: Well ‑‑
BILL SCHNEIDER: I mean, if there hadn't been a suit, what other means?
TOM HAWKINS: Well, there was no other way short of litigation with the statute change.
Now, there could have been pressure for the appropriation, but I think the legislature would have always come to the conclusion that the they were spending 100 million over here and yeah, that should be 300 million or 500 million over here, we're doing what we should.
And you can kind of get past that. I mean, I couldn't get past that but I could imagine how you can get past that.
BILL SCHNEIDER: Okay. We better let you off the hot seat.
TOM HAWKINS: Okay.