Letters to the editor (4/16/12)

Decide on Pebble project based on mine plan, not TV ads

We should make a decision about the Pebble project based on the mine plan and not on TV ads.

The anti-Pebble groups are so eager to prevent this development that they are picking apart nothing: The Pebble Partnership has not even released a mine plan yet. The opposition is using faulty logic to build public resentment for the project.

The anti-Pebble side says that because other mines have been developed with little regard for the environment that Pebble therefore will follow the same path. This is unfair because current mining is very different from the kind of memorable, destructive mining done years ago.

We should withhold our judgment on this issue until we have seen the Pebble mining plan. Meanwhile, we can read Pebble Partnership's scientific baseline studies at www.pebbleresearch.com so we can gather accurate, impartial facts and information to form our opinions. It is better to educate ourselves with the facts than to fall prey to the many rumors on this issue.

-- Antonia Brune


Support military by paying the bill

When landing in Juneau a flight attendant included a thank-you to an onboard uniformed soldier when providing landing instructions. Spontaneous applause broke out throughout the jet, but I chose to close my eyes and thank my stepson overseas on his second deployment.

While this expression of thanks happens more frequently, I can't help but think of the double payment many of these kids face. About 1 percent of our population serves in the military. They are volunteers used in two wars for more than 10 years. As they serve (two, five, seven deployments) the rest of us allow their future and the future of others to be compromised by a growing national debt.

Tax cuts were passed by Congress before 9/11 and again after the first war started. Instead of suspending the tax cuts, the costs of war were ignored and left to our kids. Ten years and 4 trillion dollars later, we would still use our hands to applaud rather than reach for our wallets. That's just wrong.

-- Bill Tremblay


It's Mitt Romney who's out of touch with working women

Hilary Rosen, Democratic strategist with two children, has drawn fire for saying that Mitt Romney's stay-at-home wife Ann "has never actually worked a day in her life" and therefore couldn't relate to average people's financial struggles.

All honor to stay-at-home moms -- my wife has been one during most of our kids' childhoods (though she had worked a lot, for pay in the marketplace, before).

But Mitt says Ann is his channel for understanding the concerns of women. And Ann Romney -- who has multiple sclerosis and has survived cancer, so has clearly not had an easy life in other ways -- grew up rich (like Mitt) and has apparently never worked for pay in the marketplace.

Could Ann Romney convey women's concerns about health care and raising children (she has five boys)? Perhaps she could, perhaps well.

Could she convey women's concerns about unemployment and lack of income, adequate child care, good schools, health insurance, etc.? Perhaps she could -- but perhaps not as well.

That was the point. It doesn't concern Ann, but Mitt -- who is out of touch.

-- Rick Wicks


Graham's apology unreported

On Feb. 22 the ADN reported that Reverend Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, stated he was not sure if President Barack Obama was a true Christian. Asked if he would declare that Obama was not a Muslim, he replied, "I can't say categorically because Islam has gotten a free pass under Obama." His answer is divisive and lacks the mutual respect so needed within the Christian community and among the world's great religions.

In April The Lutheran magazine reported that Mr. Graham had apologized to President Obama for questioning his Christian faith. This came the day after leaders of several traditional African-American denominations and the NAACP issued a letter calling Graham's remarks "harmful to the Christian witness," aligned "with those who use faith as a weapon of political division" and a possible encouragement for racism. The NAACP statement said, "We can disagree about what it means to be a Christian engaged in politics, but Christians should not bear false witness."

It's unfortunate the ADN made no mention of Graham's apology to President Obama.

-- Carolyn Nickles


Prop. 5 was rightfully rejected The reaction to the rejection of Prop. 5 calling everyone bigots, etc. simply reaffirms my opposition to this measure. I guess bullying is OK if you are a supporter of Prop. 5.

Life under Prop. 5 would bring an end to the freedoms that have defined our great country such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Prop. 5 did not recognize that these are individual rights enjoyed by each person whether acting alone or with others.

The goal of Prop. 5 was to empower the government to force everyone to accept behaviors that people have good and just reasons not to accept. While it's true that a person does not lose their human dignity because of their actions, this does not mean that recognizing a person's human dignity requires approval of their actions. Distinctions are possible.

Prop. 5 would set up the worst kind of police state -- the thought-police state. That is never a good idea. I am so relieved that a majority of voters recognized this. -- Kristina Johannes


Civility and street sweeping, please

Is the concept of consensus totally missing in Anchorage?

Can we work at getting along, people?

Where among our leaders is the future vision for this community?

We are sorely missing a jolt to our complacency!

Now can we please get the streets swept?

-- Linda Bennett


Is cross asking for special rights?

The Anchorage Baptist Temple would like to erect a sizable cross on its property. The cross is to stand some 230 feet tall. That is an amazing height.

The height is such that, to put it in perspective, it is compared to the heights of the Conoco Phillips and Atwood towers in downtown Anchorage. Those structures are visible from some distance as one approaches Anchorage on the Glenn Highway, kind of like signposts announcing that you are approaching the city. Is it possible that the Anchorage Baptist Temple is erecting a de facto sign to advertise the Temple's purpose and location?

No business would be allowed to advertise in such a manner. There's no talk of the cross acting as an antenna or an antenna support structure. It apparently isn't to hold up power lines.

So if, at that height, it isn't to act as a sign, then what? It would appear that this institution wants special rights. But that can't be.

-- Mark Lovegreen


Financial aid is too easy to get

As a college instructor, the following are my opinions on financial aid. College freshmen should not be eligible for financial aid, only those with a sophomore standing or higher and a B average or higher. The ease of financial aid availability and forgiveness promotes unrealistic views of money, the time and effort associated with higher education and the real world (how many banks offer forgiveness on their loans?)

Too many students see only "free money," then learn the hard way of what happens when they don't maintain decent grades.

If college freshmen pay their own way, they will take their studies much more seriously.

I also feel the ease of financial aid is responsible for the nationwide rise in disruptive student behavior in college classrooms. It allows people into college who do not have the necessary maturity and academic background. Too many students see college as an extension of high school and act accordingly. The motto of financial aid should be -- "if you want it, earn it."

-- Thomas H. Morse


Highway slowpokes irritating

To the driver of the Mini Mirage camper and others of your ilk who think that some combination of your own specialness, the beautiful scenery or the condition of your four-wheeled deathtrap make it OK to drive 45 miles per hour on the Seward Highway between Bird and Anchorage, I am writing to inform you that it is illegal to hold up more than five vehicles. Use your mirrors, use your common sense, pull over, get out of the way or move somewhere that other drivers appreciate being delayed in their journeys. I usually don't experience this particular type of road rage until mid-May. Can't wait until summer.

-- Deborah Green


Prop. 5 supporters are the bigots Since the defeat of Proposition 5 all I have seen and heard are letters and complaints from those upset that this initiative was defeated. Letter after letter about bigotry, intolerance, etc., directed at those that were in opposition and voted "no" on the ballot.

However, I have seen no letters, no gloating and no celebrations from these same people. Instead, they are called "bigots."

I voted no, but not because I am a bigot and not because I am afraid of homosexuals. I voted no because I firmly believe that there was no need for another government regulation telling me what I should think, what I should do and adding to the already extensive municipal code. Apparently, a good majority in the city thinks the same.

In truth, if this city is so intolerant it surely doesn't present itself as such. It seems that, if anything, it's the supporters of Prop. 5 who are the bigots by their narrow minded opinion of people like me who voted no. Give it a rest.

-- Jeffrey Lafferty


Let's hope for big snow next year

We finally broke the snowfall record! Let's do it again next winter!

-- Doug Stark


Election do-over is needed

Say that before the election, someone with a few thousand followers in Anchorage knew that each precinct had few extra ballots. They could select half the precincts in town, then order their followers to vote a questioned ballot early at a target precinct, not their own. Voila, half the people who must vote after their day job, probably disproportionately young and liberal, are disenfranchised. For cover, you could have a friend post an ignorant message about registering the same day, on Facebook.

How can any reasonable person dispute that we need a new election as quickly as possible?

-- Gail Heineman


Ashamed of vote to discriminate

I am ashamed to be a member of the Anchorage community today where they choose to vote for their right to discriminate. We should all feel shame that our neighbors feel safe to openly discriminate against the LGBTQ community. It is a sad day for our town.

I chose to move back to Alaska from New York City just recently and today am wondering why I did. Why would I choose to live in a town that actively votes to discriminate against me? I am especially ashamed of the current protected classes of race and religion whose vote said, "I've got mine, everyone else is on their own."

Bigotry's alive and flourishing in Anchorage. For all of you who voted "No" on Prop. 5 in the privacy of the voting booth, shame on you.

-- Hilary Morgan