School board candidate Smith responds to Daily News editorial

Dear Editor:

I realize that it is foolish to argue with a newspaper editor — since you have total control over how much ink will be used to cover a story.

I agree with my opponent deploring the lack of media coverage of local citizens concerns. Too bad race has caused a reversal. My interview addressing the pressing issues for the best education for our school students ran for 15 minutes. The issue of Anchorage as a “Refugee City” was about a minute.

So the new dialogue so necessary for informed decisions shifts to the introduction of race — sad indeed.

Yes, my resurrection has prompted your news desk, editorial writer, and letter writers into the battle field. Even Shannyn Moore opened her column with her forked tongue, snippish bite “racist crap”.

From October 2002 until this spring, Anchorage received 5,993 refugees. The majority were Hmong and others were immigrants from Sudan. Most of these immigrants were children and obviously became students in the Anchorage School System. Several days ago a spokesperson from the School District indicated that it cost $17,409 to educate one child for one year. The data regarding the 5,993 refugees did not show how many were school age children so I’ve estimated that 80% or 4,795 were children.  Once these children all show up to the ASD for their education, the Anchorage School District takes on a financial obligation of over $80,000,000!  By the way — that’s 80 MILLION DOLLARS — EACH AND EVERY YEAR!

As a former 20-year elected official  I have tried both in and out of elective office to keep a close watch on the taxpayers’ money.  I believe that we as a community must try to help people in need. The question I have tried to raise — obviously poorly — is how much should a community of 300,000 people be required to pay?  Anchorage residents shouldn’t be required to take on the responsibility for almost 5,000 children from other countries!

 The art of only printing small bits of an interview is typical of media coverage of a “conservative” candidate. There’s an old saying, “write what you choose about me — but DO spell my name right.” You might even try to stop extracting portions of comments in order to inflame your news coverage.

 You editorialize that my remarks sink my candidacy.  Given the twisting of the campaign from discussing the issues from financial problems in education to that of “race,” you may be right.

I choose to leave that to our voters.


Don Smith


Anchorage Daily News