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Letters to the editor (4/19/12)

Alaskans should be wondering how ALEC influences legislation

Shannyn Moore's comment on the "model laws" developed by ALEC (which is funded by large corporations and the right-wing Koch billionaires) and proposed by the Republican members of our legislature should be frightening to any voter in this state.

Rep. Keller's claim that the legislation drafted by ALEC includes "both industry and public priorities" is misleading -- at best. It appears from recent reports that ALEC serves almost exclusively corporate and conservative Republican interests -- there is almost no public participation or review of any "model legislation."

Every Alaska citizen should demand that Rep. Keller and Sen. Dyson disclose the costs of their trip to the 2011 ALEC annual meeting and who paid for it. In addition, they (and all Alaska ALEC members) should make available to any interested Alaskans any information they have access to or have received from ALEC on any legislation proposed in the 2012 legislation session.

Only then will Alaska voters have a fair opportunity for real public review and input on this "model" ALEC legislation.

-- Brad Owens


Photographers are teaching bear not to fear people, and that's bad

Everyone would love to get the iconic Alaska photo of a black bear up close on a beautiful sunny day in the woods. But the legions of photographers and gawkers who have been lining Campbell Airstrip Road the past week to see the local bear are putting the bear's life and the community members' lives at risk.

My family (with two small children and two dogs) lives in Stuckagain Heights, and daily there have been people standing in the middle of the road sometimes only a few feet away from the bear. The bear is showing no fear of us. How long is it going to be until a child is attacked, or the bear gets shot getting into a house? Today it was trying to get into a car.

This is not going to end well.

-- Andrea Bateman


Police department shouldn't be investigating itself in Rollins case

I seldom agree with Paul Jenkins. However, it's hard to disagree with his April 15 column.

I belong to a fraternity which holds fraternalism in high esteem nationally but not to the extent of harboring criminals and breaking laws. Paul's suggestion that the mayor abandon the national police fraternity to investigate and whitewash our local police fraternity is not a major attack of commonsense but should wake up the entire community.

This investigation is guaranteed to next year approve the law-breaking stance of last year. That's exactly why they were summoned.

Collectively, we need to inform the mayor to bring this mock investigation to a halt and find an independent source for the project and supply them with full authority to point fingers and recommend which heads should roll. Any police department harboring sex offenders deserves no less. Surely someone beyond a policy wonk is at fault for a cover-up here. Let's get busy and clean up the dirty laundry.

-- James W. Crippen


Jenkins off in APD probe column

I read Paul Jenkins' April 15 column, "Group picked to probe APD is as wrong as it can get," top to bottom, curious to see how he would connect the IACP stance on gun control to their investigation of the case of an Anchorage police officer getting away with seducing and raping women in his custody for far too long, but no connection was made.

Is Mr. Jenkins perhaps confused about the meaning of "gun control," or was this a misguided attempt at a humor piece?

-- Lars Opland


Treat animals we eat humanely

Many thanks for publishing Nicholas Kristof's account and commentary on the horrific factory farming practices used on egg-laying hens (column, April 14). Brutalizing animals lower down on the food chain that nourish and sustain us is cruel and unethical. By contrast, so many indigenous cultures deeply respected and literally thanked the animals they killed for food. After all, all life is connected, and all mammals and birds share certain basic feelings, instincts and needs.

I'm certain that if people actively saw and knew what goes on behind closed doors in the animal agriculture business (to millions of animals daily) there would be a huge out-cry to reform the system. This kind of discussion is at least a start to insisting on more humane treatment of the animals we depend on for food. I hope that readers will contact their congressmen about this vital issue, and consider buying "cage-free eggs" and "free range" chicken at the supermarket.

-- Connie Hoskins