Readers write: Letters to the editor, Aug. 18, 2014

Alaska Dispatch News
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Oil companies are not the enemy

To those who are urging repeal of the current oil tax structure, I say enough with the “us” and “them” mentality. The oil companies are not the enemy. They are our partners in developing our oil. Oil production is moving in the right direction for Alaska residents and the companies.

Don’t sabotage the progress. Vote no on Ballot Measure 1 on Tuesday.

-- Marilyn Borell
Anchorage 

Early childhood program successful

On Tuesday, Aug. 12, Alaska Dispatch News ran a story on the results of UAA’s prioritization process. In the article, it was shared that a number of programs would be under “further review.” Among them was a reference to early childhood development as being one of many programs and certifications that may be phased out. While this information is technically accurate, it does not provide a complete picture, which the faculty in Early Childhood Education wishes to comment on and clarify. 

The Early Childhood Education program at UAA is a strong and vibrant teacher education program that serves 258 bachelor degree students, 11 post-bac students, and 103 associate degree students. Both the bachelor’s and associate’s programs were categorized by the prioritization committee as programs to “consider for enhancement” based on the high-quality inputs, strong outcomes and its efforts to meet the high external demand in the state for teachers serving students from birth to grade three. As a result of the success of these programs and a desire to continue to produce early childhood educators who are committed to excellence, the choice was made to discontinue efforts that promoted the certificate. Thus, it is not a failure of the program but instead a recognition that efforts and resources are being directed toward the programs that reflect the rigor needed to help ensure students are properly educated to meet the needs of students and families in the state. We are proud of our program, our students and our contribution to the community and hope that others, too, will see our work in a similar positive light. 

— Dr. Kathryn Ohle 
on behalf of the UAA Early Childhood Education faculty
Anchorage

Speak up for West Bank Palestinians

I went on a tour to Israel and the West Bank last fall before the current explosion in Gaza. My Palestinian guide recently shared with me a poem for peace:

“Even if you aren’t sure what the answer is, speak up.
 “Even if you doubt it will make a difference, speak up.
“Speak up to help show the world there is an alternative to violence, racism and vengeance.
“Speak up for Palestinian and Israeli children who are terrified to go to bed each night.
“Speak up because enough is enough.”

Through U.S. support of Israel we all also support the world’s largest active concentration camp, Gaza; the retention of stateless West Bank Palestinians in refugee camps (going back to 1949); the wall being built to separate/isolate the West bank; and the continued building of illegal settlements, displacing even more Palestinians.

Speak up and tell our congressional delegation that continued U.S. support for Israel must be tied to correcting and reversing the Israeli enslavement and gross mistreatment of Palestinians.

-- Thomas Petersen
Anchorage

Treadwell neglects office

Lt. Gov. Treadwell oversees the Division of Elections and its mission to carry out fair, unbiased elections. But the man in charge of elections, Treadwell, put his personal interests above the public’s and has been too busy running around in a race for the U.S. Senate to pay attention to the job he was elected for in the first place.

The Wall Street Journal quoted Treadwell regarding U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan, “… I just don’t think he should have run. … He’s just not ready. You know, if he’s going to spend some time in Alaska, there’s plenty of other elections he could have gotten under his belt before the U.S. Senate race.”

However, it’s Treadwell who should not have run.  
Treadwell was elected to serve us and make sure election workers provide elections that are on the up-and-up. Instead, he’s neglected his duties while he’s traveled and raised campaign funds here and yon.  

For instance, most expect a lieutenant governor to conduct his/her business beyond party lines. But not Treadwell, who carelessly planted himself as the chair of the Alaskans for Romney Steering Committee in the 2012 presidential election. How’s that for providing Alaskans uncompromised elections, free of any bias.

The creation of Treadwell’s exploratory super PAC revealed a deeper and more disturbing development. It became obvious that his focus wasn’t on the job he was elected to do.  

After Treadwell announced his intent to run for the U.S. Senate and again after Sullivan stepped down as natural resources commissioner, Treadwell should have resigned to prevent conflicts between his job and his campaign and to ensure Alaskans fair, unbiased and uncompromised elections. He didn’t.

Treadwell’s reckless decision to neglect his current office while running for another, coupled with his official and personal conflicts, have corrupted the integrity of our statewide elections.

Treadwell is unfit for office.

-- Andree McLeod
Anchorage

SB21 is contemptible piece of legislation

Always complaining about stability in taxes — speciously — the oil companies were the driving factor in pushing the PPT with their bought and paid for Corrupt Bastards Club.

They got caught in 2006 and ACES resulted, the first time in years Alaska was able to get ahead and the Big 3 were making record profits themselves. But they always want more.

So they directed Republican politics (Randy Ruedrich) to divide and gerrymander the state, and they primaried Republicans opposed to the travesty of SB21.

So a Superior Court judge called the Legislature that passed this vile bill “illegal.”

Yet here we sit arguing about what has to be not only a contemptible piece of legislation but arguably a tainted and illegal one.

In the meantime Parnell and the Legislature are gutting everything not associated with their far-flung megaprojects, and they are certain to bankrupt us fully.

This will leave us begging to the Big 3 Sugar Daddies and all the other big corporate entities in this formerly sovereign state whose goals will be achieved when we become a vassal state. This is what’s at stake on Tuesday.

-- David Otness
Cordova

Tax oil without driving away investment

When people ask “can you trust the oil companies?” the answer is actually quite simple. Of course you can. You can trust them to do everything in their power to maximize profits for their shareholders. That is a guaranteed certainty, and in politics those are rare. Beyond that, a dose of skepticism is healthy. 

As Alaskans and the owners of the oil resource, the best policy is to tax every dollar that we possibly can from the oil industry. As a resource-rich state, our future depends on maximizing the benefits from the resources that are exploited. But that comes with one caveat — to tax as much as possible without driving away the investment necessary for long-term prosperity.

We know that every year under the ACES tax regime, oil production declined. Big time. Meanwhile, in the first year under SB21 the production decline was halted. SB21 appears to be working. Let’s give it a chance. Our future depends on it. Vote No on Ballot Measure 1.

-- Jason Moore
Anchorage

Parnell did his job on SB21

First of all Gov. Parnell did not give away anything. What he did do was spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire consultants and experts to help him and his departments craft a bill to change the oil industry’s tax structure, which he then submitted to the Legislature, as he should. It’s his job.

Then the Legislature spent hundreds of thousands more dollars to hire their own consultants and experts and going on fact-finding trips to get a good idea of the issues. Then they put the bill through the whole legislative process and then brought it to a vote, as they should. It’s their job.

Now the losers of that vote are using fear mongering and misinformation to turn this into an emotional issue, which it is not, in an effort to get you to vote yes to repeal all the hard work, time and money spent by both sides to bring SB21 to a vote. Please vote no on one and send this issue back to the losers of that vote because quite frankly, it’s their loss.

-- John Gallipeo
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.