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‘I know how to fight’: Breast cancer survivor’s recall notice over license plate rescinded by governor

Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 7:00 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s office said they will rescind the recall notice on breast cancer survivor Donna Logan’s breast cancer awareness license plate.

Logan said she was told the governor and head of the Department of Motor Vehicles would call her to apologize.

Logan had been in a dispute with the Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles over a recall on her license plate.

The plate in question is one of the state-issued breast cancer awareness plates. It says “1 BOOB” on it. Logan said she’s had the plate since they became available in 2014. The recall came with a notice in the mail, and a new plate that she said she isn’t putting on her car.

“I don’t know this, but I suspect that this is just the nature of some kind of computer screening tool and it popped out and nobody has really gone through these with carefully reading them and making an assessment,” Logan said. “That’s my hope anyway, that that’s what it is.”

Before the governor’s office’s response, the Alaska Department of Administration responded to questions from Alaska’s News Source via email saying that a personalized plate is subject to a recall after being issued if either a citizen complains about it, or if it is in conflict with Alaska statute 2 AAC 92.190. It governs what kind of personalized plates the state can issue.

If a plate is subject to a recall, the department said a review panel examines the complaint and specific plate involved and renders a recall decision.

A department spokesperson clarified that, in this case, it received a complaint from a resident about Logan’s license plate.

The department added a definition of the statute, which includes language that says the department will not issue a personalized plate that displays symbols in a combination that “demeans an ethnic, religious, or racial group, or that is otherwise vulgar, indecent, or has sexual connotations.”

It wasn’t very long ago that the DMV was dealing with license plate issues that dealt with hate speech and racism. Logan said she doesn’t think that her license plate comes close to the bar set by those.

The license plate is like a badge of honor for Logan. It’s also accurate.

“I was diagnosed in 2009, and I tell people I had the full meal deal,” she said. “I had a mastectomy, chemotherapy radiation, hormone therapy, but I’ve been hopefully clean from cancer ever since.”

Logan is a strong advocate for breast cancer awareness, which is the entire point of her plate. She and the plate have even been featured in a Providence Alaska Medical Center breast cancer awareness campaign.

A shot of Logan when she was featured with her license plate in a Providence Medical Center...
A shot of Logan when she was featured with her license plate in a Providence Medical Center breast cancer awareness campaign.(Providence Medical Center)

“I actually have people stopping me at traffic lights, rolling down their windows and saying, ‘hey! My mom was a cancer survivor! How ya doin’? I love your license plate,’” Logan explained.

Logan said she’s more annoyed than upset. She said she didn’t want an apology, just to be left alone and to be allowed to have her plate.

“My reaction is, ‘DMV, I’m a cancer survivor. I know how to fight,’” Logan said with a laugh.

According to the reply from the department, anyone contesting a license plate recall has 30 days to request an administrative hearing. That hearing is their opportunity to state their reason for contesting the DMV’s decision, which is considered before a final ruling.

Copyright 2021 KTUU. All rights reserved.

Editor’s note: The article was updated with information from the Alaska governor’s office.