Letters to the editor (5/11/12)

May 10, 2012 

Hickel knew gas line was right

I heard kindly chuckling from the other side recently at Alaska's coming around to the realization a large-diameter gas pipeline to tidewater has always been the way to go.

Wally Hickel's 40 years of saying that should be loud and clear to anyone who's lived in Alaska for more than a couple years. Once again, his "little man" was speaking the truth to the rest of us.

Now, how about that railroad from Fairbanks to Nome?

Thanks for the heads-up, Wally, even if we're decades behind the ball you were rolling.

-- Bruce Orton

Anchorage

ASD's music department gave this student a gift of great value

This year I have had the privilege of experiencing the Anchorage School District music program with my son, who played in his sixth-grade band. I love music and was excited for my child to have the opportunity to learn to play an instrument. With the end of the school year upon us, I wanted to express my appreciation for the program after seeing how important music can become to a child.

His band teacher, Mr. Rick Zelinsky, is phenomenal and has given my child much more than the gift of music. He has encouraged and believed in my son to be the very best he can be, provided him with a new confidence and self-esteem, and has made learning fun. Because of my son's experience this year, he is excited to continue playing his instrument for many years to come.

I'm grateful that our children have these opportunities in their schools and I want to thank the entire ASD music department for their outstanding job this year.

-- Stephanie Dale

Anchorage

To clean up US government, we must wield ideas and principles

My response to Paul Jenkins' rant of May 6 ("Hijackers of Alaska GOP did Begich a huge favor") follows.

Public toleration of U.S. government corruption and oath-breaking by elected officials is threatening the existence of our country. Submissive docility toward governing measures shoved down our throats "for our protection" isn't working. Liberty and freedom have never flourished when people sit on their butts in silence. Never.

There is only one political cure. Each American needs to support going to political war using the most powerful army there is: ideas and principles.

Founding Father Thomas Paine said it best: "An army of principles will penetrate where an army of soldiers cannot. It will succeed where diplomatic management would fail. It is neither the Rhine, the Channel, nor the Ocean that can arrest progress. It will march on the horizons of the world, and it will conquer."

This election season, take pity on posterity. Please don't let real government of the People, by the People, and for the People perish from this Earth because you did nothing.

-- Stuart Thompson

Wasilla

Arctic drilling could be disastrous

Shell Oil is currently moving forward with plans to start drilling as soon as this summer in the Arctic's Beaufort and Chukchi seas. These seas are home to the entire population of U.S. polar bears. The oil industry has a poor track record when it comes to spills offshore and the consequences of an oil spill in this fragile wilderness would be disastrous.

There is no proven way to clean up a spill in the Arctic's extreme conditions. That we are so willing to put Shell's profits before the concerns for this habitat is heartbreaking. I would urge President Obama to not allow drilling in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.

-- Jedediah Smith

Anchorage

Facebook board is white, male

The financial world is standing by for Facebook's $10 billion IPO. If you take a look at the faces of the company's corporate board members, seven white men will stare back at you.

Facebook's mission is to make the world more open and connected, and 58 percent of its users are women. Most of us who use Facebook have no idea who's on the board, but now that I know there are no women or minorities, it seems more 1950s than cutting-edge.

Facebook's board should include women and reflect the diversity that is America. It should go public with a leadership team that gives credence to its own brand of openness and innovation.

I'm one of two Alaska delegates for Vision 2020, a national initiative sponsored by Drexel University. The goal is to make women's equality a reality in America by 2020. While my work is focused on equal pay, gender balance on boards is another step in the right direction.

-- Barbara Belknap

Juneau

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