Readers write: Letters to the editor, Aug. 14, 2014

Alaska Dispatch News
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Use common sense, vote yes

Vote yes on 1; it is really just a matter of common sense. Vote yes on 1 to protect Alaska’s future. Vote yes on 1, because it is the right thing to do. Vote yes on 1 and increase oil flow through the pipeline. Vote yes on 1; it just makes sense. And remember: more money in the Permanent Fund.

— Gerald Rexrode
Wasilla

Exit warnings heard before

With the non-stop barrage of TV ads paid for by the oil companies warning of dire consequences to Alaska’s economy if SB 21 is repealed, there are interesting historic parallels. In the late 19th and early 20th century, the major coal companies bought up most of the mineral rights in the Cumberland Plateau region of Kentucky for pennies per acre. 

As they established their booming and highly profitable mining operations, these companies used their influence to install loyal officials at all levels of government to insure the lowest possible level of taxation on their businesses, thereby depriving the citizens of the region of the income from their main resource to fund schools, roads and other needed infrastructure.

As William Caudell notes in his book “Night Comes to the Cumberlands,” the threat of loss of jobs in the coal mines was the constant refrain used to resist any effort to raise taxes. “The operators sometimes informed their workmen that, if people hostile to the companies were elected to these important offices, taxes would rise to such high levels that the companies would be compelled to suspend operations, thus idling their numerous employees and causing a first-rate crisis. While to enlightened minds such pretenses were absurd, they were generally accepted by the credulous miners — who dutifully turned out to vote for ‘friends of the coal industry.”

— Kim Daehnke 
Anchorage

Vote no; ACES doesn’t work

This is a simple issue for me. I am voting no, because the history on this tells us that ACES didn’t work for either side of this issue. It didn’t work because the effective tax rate under ACES made the oil less profitable than in other regions.

Oklahoma, Utah, Alabama, Texas, North Dakota, Colorado and New Mexico have all realized double-digit percentage increases in production. On average they have experienced a 26 percent increase in the barrels of oil they produce, while we in Alaska have averaged a 6 percent decline in our production, or about 11 million to 12 million barrels per year.

Imagine the tax dollars we have not realized on that lost production. Imagine the billions in investment dollars and thousands of jobs that we have lost to other states. We can no longer afford to be so proud of our resource that we push our partners to invest in other oil-producing regions. We can no longer afford to overvalue our resource in comparison to others so much, that it makes us uncompetitive in the global market. 

This is a volume problem, people, and the only way to solve that volume problem is to have a competitive tax structure. I urge you to vote no, because we have that now with SB 21.

— Eric Badger
Anchorage

End the power of super-rich  

U.S. Senate Resolution 19, “A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution (Amendment 28) … relating to contributions and expenditures intended to affect elections,” received the Senate Judiciary Committee’s stamp of approval on July 10. It now moves to the full Senate for a vote.

Economic elites, groups representing business interest, and super-wealthy donors should not have a stranglehold on our government, while average citizens have little or no influence. It is time that we return to a democracy; a government of, by, and for the people.

At last report, 46 senators co-sponsored this amendment. At least 160 members of Congress have declare their support. More than 129 national organizations, 15 states and the District of Columbia, and more than 550 municipalities have called for an amendment. More than 2 million people have signed petitions in it’s support. 

If you want Congress to work for you, join forces with the above and tell Congress to pass this bill and limit campaign donations.

— Mary Turner
Anchorage

Feds should be reasonable and extend King Cove access

I have followed the King Cove road debate with interest for years. I have personally walked most of the existing road from Cold Bay to its termination in the direction of King Cove. Seems like a reasonable solution is to accommodate the folks in King Cove by allowing  an extension of the existing road from the refuge. Then — restrict its use to emergency vehicles only. Or is that just not political enough for the combatants ?

P.S.: Good luck trying to keep it open during winter.

— Art Tilgner
Ninilchik

Begich sold out to NRA

I have known Mark Begich since he was a gofer for Tony Knowles in the 1980s. I have voted for him in many elections. But I will never vote for Mark Begich again. Why? On April 17, 2013, he voted no on prohibiting the sale of assault weapons; voted no on limiting firearm magazine capacity; and voted no on universal background checks.

By voting no Begich sold out the memories of 20 innocent children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary. By voting no Begich sold out the memories of the Aurora ‘Colorado’ theater victims. By voting no  Begich sold out the memories of all those innocents who have been killed by assault weapons. By voting no  Begich sold out to the NRA. By voting no Begich sold his soul to the devil. 

Just for the record, I own three rifles and 7 pistols.

— Phil Weber
Cooper Landing

BBNC has a mine of its own 

The Bristol Bay Native Corp. is spending a lot of money in ads saying how the Pebble Mine project “could” cause much damage to fisheries in Bristol Bay if allowed to proceed. The BBNC has a possible gold mine on their land and they are trying to develop it for mining. Obviously, if we “follow the money” we can see that the main reason for their opposition to Pebble, or any other mine around Bristol Bay is that they stand to lose money if their mine, near Chignik, is not developed.

Here is a quote in Alaska Public Media from May 2013 by a BBNC official: “BBNC is opposed to the Pebble prospect. Upon its merits, it is a project we don’t support,” said L. Tiel Smith, BBNC vice president of land and regional operations. “But there are other resources on and near BBNC land that we want to continue to explore and assess to see if we can develop them.”

I guess if anyone is going to despoil Bristol Bay it is going to be them.

— Rick White
Anchorage

Tillion is right: SB 21 is not best for state; rework ACES

Former legislator and Halibut Cove resident Clem Tillion wrote a “spot-on” editorial in Sunday’s ADN. I agree that ACES does need adjusting to best serve Alaska’s long-term interests and that a no vote is not the way to achieve it.

A yes vote will give the Legislature an opportunity to fully access the “proprietary information” that Gov. Parnell refused to give to the Legislature when they requested a consultation with the global oil consulting firm of Gaffney-Cline, which is on a state retainer. This lack of transparency in government only deepens my suspicions as to why the oil interests outspent the yes vote supporters 100 to 1.

Please remember to vote yes on Ballot Measure 1 Tuesday as this is the only time your voice will be heard.

— Mike McCarthy
Homer

Put more oil in line, vote no

A secure future for Alaska means more oil in the pipeline. It’s the lifeblood of Alaska. Last year our Legislature spent hundreds of hours coming up with a better solution called oil tax reform. It’s not only working, but it’s surpassing all expectations.

The prior model, ACES, was failing — production declined while investment went to other states with higher profit potential. That’s not surprising — we as individuals would do exactly the same. So why would we want to go back to a broken system that did nothing to put oil in the pipeline?

I know first hand that oil tax reform means more business for Alaska companies and their employees. Since SB 21 passed, we have seen a dramatic increase in work at CCI Industrial and Kakivik. Great news for our bottom lines but even better news for the hundreds of Alaskan employees we hire. When the oil companies are producing, we are all benefiting. Please vote no on 1.

— Ben Schoffmann
president and CEO of 
CCI Industrial and Kakivik
Eagle River

Mayor’s game-playing shows

Mayor Sullivan must think we voters are dumber than dirt. Are we supposed to believe the publishing of the pamphlet showing municipal worker wages in the morning paper the day after the assembly failed to override his veto of AO 37 is a coincidence?

Did anyone happen to notice how many hours some of these workers had to put in to get those wages? I bet the mayor’s hours don’t come anywhere close to the time these hard-working people put in. Give us a break. Tell it like it is without the political games.

— Diana Bauman
Anchorage

Honest leadership essential

What makes a leader? Honesty tops my list. Good looks or charm doesn’t equal honesty. Next Tuesday, Alaskans vote on “facts” delivered by people we hope are honest.

I’ve lived here a total of 45 years; 1967-1968 and 1970, forward and met some people I absolutely trust and some, not so much. At UAF  I studied, “Introduction to the Petroleum Industry,” worked on the trans-Alaska Pipeline System and for 15 years in the industry and enthusiastically supported the effort to improve Alaska through resource development.

Today, 20/20 hindsight and changed corporate ownerships have altered my support. Granted, I don’t have an industry job or retirement to protect, but I’ve never let self-interest guide my actions. Darn. 

Believe the altruistic oil representatives? Have a look at finebergresearch.com/archives/rat.html

See how Norway, another, “owner state” runs their petroleum development at swfinstitute.org/swfs/norway-government-pension-fund-global.

Honest leadership is essential. Years ago an Alaskan elder said to me, “The fish rots from the head.” Since past actions portend future actions,  vote yes on Ballot Measure 1.

— Caroline Bolar
Anchorage

Why be afraid of children?

I am appalled at the treatment of unaccompanied children arriving at our borders needing care, shelter, food, legal services and compassion. Most of these children are from Central America and are fleeing violence and poverty. Nearly half are from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico. Many are fleeing countries with the highest murder rates in the world. Many are drawn to the U.S. because they have family already here.

The U.S. government is mired in politics and doing little to help them — President Obama requested $3.7 billion from Congress to address the problem, but Congress recessed for summer without taking action. We are left with loud, hateful rhetoric directed at these children. 

Gov. Sean Parnell freaked out over an unsubstantiated report that five migrant children have been reunited with families in Alaska. That is not leadership — it is certainly not compassion or “respect.” It is pandering. When did we become afraid of children? 

Oscar Romero said, “So few have so much, so many have so little.”

Where are the voices of our leaders and faith communities speaking up for these children?

— Sharon Stockard
Anchorage

Vote yes to benefit Alaska

The corporate sponsors of “No on One” say that increased investment will slow the decline of oil in the pipeline, but the thousands of Alaskans who support “Vote Yes on One” say we will lose billions under SB 21. Guess what, both are right.

So, the real choice is between sucking the North Slope dry as quickly as possible for the producers greatest benefit (leaving nothing for our future), or getting the highest value for our resources over the long run for Alaska’s greatest benefit.

Vote yes on 1 for Alaska.

— Kerry Williams
Eagle River

Employees are impressive

We want to let everyone know how much we appreciate the guys who work for Annette’s Trucking Inc. They have been replacing the water main on our street this summer.  It’s been a mess and an inconvenience sometimes, but never a burden. The men who have been working on this project could not be nicer and more accommodating. They have gone out of their way to make this as easy as possible for us. They will always stop and explain and have never been cross or rude.

Two who have been here every day, Nathan Cross and his older cohort, have been especially impressive. Thank you Annette’s Trucking for having such great employees.

— David and Pam Lewshenia
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.