AD Main Menu

Readers write: Letters to the editor, Aug. 13, 2014

Alaska Dispatch News
Pictured: A July 25, 1939, telegram to Acting Reindeer Superintendent Sidney Rood in Nome detailing specific sled dogs needed for outfitting the Third Antarctic Expedition of Rear Admiral Richard Byrd. U.S. National Archives image

Jewell is heartless, wrong on road 

I was appalled at the attitude of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, who refused to understand the need for a road from King Cove to Cold Bay. To watch a child or adult with a major life-threatening issue and not be able to get help is incomprehensible. As a registered nurse I have worked in that remote area and have had many sleepless nights with just such worries.

Her reasoning was way off-base. I am not sure what it will take to help her understand how little this road will be used. It would be gated and locked at all times, only opened to allow badly injured and/or dying people access to medical help to save their lives.

I cannot believe Secretary Jewell is so heartless.

— Cynthia Toohey
Anchorage

Inmate deaths deserve GOP’s attention

It was a huge disappointment for this registered Republican to only see Democrat legislators at the July 15 legislative briefing on inmate deaths in Alaska’s correctional facilities. Chaired by Sen. French, the other attendees were Sen. Berta Gardner, and Reps. Andy Josephson and Geran Tarr. The Anchorage LIO director confirmed that Rep. Chris Tuck, another Democrat, was patched in by teleconference.

This hearing was meant to gather information about the rash of deaths of inmates while under state care.

Why were Republican legislators not in attendance? Had they been, they would have witnessed the cynicism that emanated from the Parnell administration officials as they repeated their standard line of these deaths being just business as usual. They would have heard the powerful testimony of family members whose loved ones died in our jails under questionable and preventable circumstances.

The job of legislators includes holding administration officials accountable when public dollars and programs are mismanaged.

The Department of Corrections currently is the largest mental health provider in Alaska. The data reported at the meeting is that 65 percent of the inmate population has some form of mental illness.

The Alaska correctional officers union sounded the alarm years ago. They asked for help from Parnell administration officials and legislators, to no avail.

I ask again — why did Republican legislators not care to take part in the July 15 hearing and ask  administration officials  about deaths that occurred under their watch?

— Andree McLeod
Anchorage

Collusion birthed SB 21 giveaway

So, oil production is up. I’ve got a feeling it’s a set of numbers that is pretty easy to manipulate. Remember 18 months ago when the tankers were returning to Valdez half full? This happened for at least a couple months. The story was that there were two refineries that were shut down for repairs and therefore, couldn’t process the oil. As I recall, it turns out that one refinery was down for a few days and the other was never down at all. This intentional sleight-of-hand was some kind of maneuver to control oil output and/or prices. The list of sneaky, back-door, questionable processes and events used to get SB 21 “approved” is long. This alone is good reason to repeal the giveaway and start over.

— Tom Mitchell
Anchorage

Incentives will keep industry in Alaska

I remember in the early ’70s, before the TAPS pipeline was built, there were a lot of pro and cons if the pipeline should be built. It was decided in the U.S. Senate in favor by one vote cast by Vice President Spiro Agnew.

Today we cannot imagine what Alaska would be like without the oil industry.

I managed Alyeska Resort during the pipeline construction and lost half my staff including cooks, mechanics due to the high wages the workers earned on the North Slope.

Today I feel we Alaskans are fortunate to have the oil industry.

However with the decline of oil production flowing through the pipeline we must provide incentives for the industry or in 5 to 10 years there is not enough oil to operate the pipeline.

Then we are all out of luck and may face a major depression and recession for all of Alaska.

So I will vote no on Ballot Measure 1 and certainly hope the oil industry will appreciate the support of the residents of Alaska and continue to invest and increase production.

Don’t kill the goose that laid the golden egg.

— Chris von Imhof,
former CEO of Alyeska  Resort
Girdwood

Big Oil’s stranglehold broken by ACES

Oil is the lifeblood of Alaska. It affects every facet of Alaska’s operation.

We all agree on that. Almost everyone wants them to succeed. 

Big oil wants maximum profit for their shareholders. Alaska’s constitution requires maximum profit for the state, their board versus our representatives. Therein lays the problem. 

Big oil favors the Republican Party with financial support and after the “rigged” redistricting election Republicans were in control and they rewarded Big Oil with SB 21. 

They also favor Republican organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce and are its main contributor. In return, the chambers support Big Oil. The chambers then put pressure on their members to support their benefactor.

Anyone with some sort of business connection with Big Oil also feels compelled to support them so they don’t lose favor.

I also support the oil companies but not to the point of bankrupting Alaska.

Under ACES the big three finally lost their stranglehold on the Slope and new oil companies emerged. The Republicans are attributing their new production to SB 21.

Vote yes on Ballot Measure 1.

— David Ulmer
Anchorage

Borough budget not sustainable

When I read the North Slope Borough piece detailing pay raises it brought to mind the larger reality that the oil will run out and when it does the North Slope Borough government will evaporate with it. Though all of them are no doubt good and deserving folks (I spent my time in Barrow and enjoyed it greatly), their region produces nothing beyond oil. Nothing.

 So then, what is the “second act” that supports the NSB resident’s grandchildren and future generations? What sort of Permanent Fund or plan for the future is the NSB putting together for them? They have built a wholly unsustainable economy and if it stays on present course we will see implosion and exodus when the cash pile has burned to the ground.

 $378 million to govern and attend 9,700 residents is $39,000 for every man, woman and child, year after year. With another dozen federal agencies gushing cash into the community, subsidized U.S. mail service, and the state of Alaska spending staggering sums on schools, power equalization and the like, I’ll bet a family of five burns through half a million dollars a year just to exist there. Sadly for them it won’t last much longer. What then? 

— Bob Lacher
Wasilla 

Treadwell is most electable, best  choice for Alaska’s next senator

I have worked the last four legislative sessions in Juneau and have been able to closely observe and/or personally know all four candidates. 

Lt. Gov. Treadwell is a modest guy and doesn’t like to draw attention to himself. Mead is electable and out of the three he is the only candidate that’s been elected and won the majority vote of 39 of our state’s 40 House districts. As a friend, Mead has impressed me by being an honest, intelligent, experienced, religious, family-loving guy who isn’t afraid to stand up for what he believes in. He is the type of conservative senator we need in Washington. Alaska needs true representation to tell Washington we don’t want Obamacare, we don’t want gun control, and we don’t want ridiculous federal overreach by the EPA that doesn’t let Alaska responsibly use our resources. 

Alaska doesn’t need another moderate Republican senator such as Dan Sullivan would be, we already have Lisa Murkowski. Joe Miller said he won’t back the GOP winner and is ready to do exactly what Lisa did to him, hypocrisy. 

Alaska needs to replace Mark Begich by electing Mead Treadwell. 

— Elijah Verhagen
Nenana

It’s not a tax, it’s payment for our oil

I’m voting yes to repeal SB 21 as it doesn’t hold the oil companies to anything. They are huge multinational entities that are going to make decisions on what is market-wide best for their stockholders and I think that obviously conflicts with what is best for the majority of Alaskans. They are spending millions to convince us otherwise and have the support of their employees, business partners including Native corporations, unions, and even many politicians who all rely on them for funding. 

It’s not a tax anyway. It’s what they are paying for our oil. ACES may need adjustment, but at least it ensures we share in windfall profits when oil prices surge as they will again with the unrest in our world. I just don’t trust the big three oil companies. They will sell out to smaller companies as their profits fall and then we’ll be left with a mess to clean up.

— Tim Pritchett
Anchorage

The views expressed here are the writers' own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a letter for consideration, email letters@adn.com, or click here to submit via any web browser. Submitting a letter constitutes granting permission for it to be edited for clarity, accuracy and brevity.