Letters to the editor (12/14/09)

Service High staff kept kids safe

I was somewhat dismayed that, in reporting the attack at Service High School, the Daily News chose the emphasize the "scary" part of Mariah Barkley's comment, "It makes everyone question whether their kid is safe. ..." As parents, of course our primary task is to do what we can to keep our children safe. However, the media emphasis on hyping fear does nothing to bring us closer together or enhance our civilization.

As a parent of a Service High School student, I want the community to know that I have great respect for the staff and students there. My daughter is receiving a great education and has met many great kids with whom I am proud to have her associate. I encourage the community to come to the concerts, debates, plays, art shows and sports and experience this for yourselves.

I want to thank Principal Pondolfino and the staff of Service High School for their prompt action in keeping our children safe during this tragedy. You have my confidence.

-- Mike Price


'Going Rogue' is a must-read

I just finished reading Sarah Palin's book, "Going Rogue." Those critical of it are wrong. After all the garbage that has been said about her it was refreshing to hear her perspective on everything. Those people who hate her will never change their minds. However, this book is a must-read for Alaskans with open minds who have questioned some of her decisions. You will then understand why she did what she did, every step of the way. She saves the best for last in her final chapter, The Way Forward. She gives all Americans hope for the future. While she doesn't say it, to me there is no doubt she will run for president in 2012. America will be lucky to have her, and all Alaskans should be proud.

-- Richard Rhyner


Tax program for oil industry makes exploration less attractive

Some say Alaska's tax program, ACES, benefits the oil industry. Industry executives say while innovative technology opens opportunities, ACES takes away "the up-side" and Alaska is no longer attractive for oil exploration. What should Alaskans believe?

Alyeska Pipeline's reality is based on one thing: pipeline throughput. Setting aside debate over policies, taxes and regulations, Alaskans should be concerned that the Trans Alaska Pipeline System now carries just one-third of peak throughput. Since 1988, throughput has declined from 2.1 million to 700,000 barrels per day and should dip below 300,000 barrels a day within 15 years.

What does future declining throughput mean for Alaskans? Fewer jobs. Lower state revenue. Reduced services. Tougher economic times for all.

Alyeska is making dramatic changes to manage decline. Our 2010 budget is 14 percent lower than 2009. We have cut 60 well-paying Alyeska and contractor positions and are spending less with local businesses. Seeking efficiencies, we will likely close some facilities and relocate jobs to Anchorage.

These difficult changes will impact individuals and communities. But every change is designed to extend the pipeline's life. While we increase efficiency, we will still invest in pipeline renewal and maintain our keen focus on safety, integrity and environment.

Pipeline throughput is a harbinger of things to come in Alaska. Alaskans must pay attention to Alyeska's reality. We are carefully changing our processes, culture and operations so TAPS can stay viable despite declining oil throughput. Alaska, its communities and its citizens would be wise to do the same.

-- Kevin Hostler

President and CEO

Alyeska Pipeline Service Company


Let's protect Bristol Bay salmon

I would like to thank the Alaska Board of Fisheries for their decision to ask the state Legislature to consider stronger protections for Bristol Bay salmon. This decision represents a positive step forward to do what is necessary to protect this crucial natural resource.

My hope is that the federal government will follow suit when it comes to a Bush administration land-use plan completed by the Bureau of Land Management that recommends mineral development on 1 million acres of federal lands adjacent to the critical salmon habitat of the Nushagak and Kvichak River drainages. Not only does this plan recommend opening lands that have been closed to development for 38 years, but it also includes no special protections for salmon and other important wildlife habitat.

The Obama administration must revisit and rework its predecessor's ill-conceived plan to include long-term protections for this world-class fishery and its dependent economies.

-- Norman Anderson


Service tragedy should teach us

As a 2005 graduate at Service High School, it pained me to see the tragedy that unfolded this week at my former stomping grounds. To see such brutal violence exhibited by a child shook me and many others in this community to the core.

What may be even more sad is that this event possibly could have been avoided. Nick Chamberlain's troubled upbringing, along with his signs and symptoms of severe behavioral issues, were obvious trigger points to have him placed in an aggressive therapy program.

Unfortunately it is probably too late to save Nick. However there are many other youths in this community who are also in need of treatment. It is the responsibility of parents, teachers, school administrators, and others to recognize these potentially troubled youths and to provide them with the appropriate treatment resources.

This event was a wake-up to Anchorage. It's time to pay more attention to the kids in this town.

-- Nicholas Money