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Readers write: Letters to the editor, Aug. 19, 2014

Alaska Dispatch News
LETTERS: Readers weigh in on a variety of topics in the news.

Indebted to rescue effort

On Monday, Aug. 11, our son was separated from our family at the peak of Mount Baldy. I am deeply grateful to all who helped reunite us. My thanks to the state troopers who coordinated the rescue, the APD officers who ran up the mountain (with gear!), the search and rescue team, the KTUU team that broadcast his information, and to the Alaska Air National Guard crew on the helicopter that located our son.

Most humbling was the community response. Thank you to every hiker and family that came out to assist. The sheer numbers and enthusiasm of the searchers was amazing.

In short, the help we received was swift, well-coordinated, and led to a happy ending. I am indebted to all who helped.

— Patricia Gifford
Eagle River

Appreciation for Sinnott

As an Alaska Department of Fish and Game area game manager, Rick Sinnott was tasked with the important and difficult job of managing urban wildlife and urban residents. He did an excellent job. I submit that since his retirement he is doing an even more important job as a knowledgeable and articulate spokesperson for wildlife issues. It is critically important to have individuals observing and reporting on current wildlife problems, policies and issues. It is even more so when we are saddled with the current Parnell administration that appears bent on removing the role of Fish and Game in protecting our public wildlife resources. 

Rick’s report on threats facing wildlife refuges (ADN, Aug. 14) is a perfect example of current policies of the Parnell administration. It is obvious far too many changes to Fish and Game management policies are coming down from the governor’s office rather than originating within the Fish and Game Department in response to real world problems.

Thank you, Rick, your work is appreciated.

— Russ Redick,
retired Alaska Department of Fish and Game sport fish supervisor
Anchorage

Partisanship set aside

With all the political negativity and gridlock these days, it is really refreshing when our elected officials work together for the common good. 

An excellent example during the last legislative session was the recently signed law to bring long overdue, common sense corrections system reforms to Alaska. Sens. Johnny Ellis and John Coghill, two political opposites, put aside partisan differences and passed major legislation to control costs and enhance public safety, which are the goals of the Smart Justice movement that started in Texas and is now expanding nationwide. 

There is more work to be done to reduce recidivism and deal with addiction and mental health issues and others in our prisons, but Ellis and Coghill deserve our thanks for a law that achieved rare unanimous votes in both the Senate and House.

I hope other legislators will follow this example, set aside partisanship and egos, and work together for Alaskans.

— Cheryl Lovegreen
Anchorage

Doogan still ‘tells it like it is’

Thanks so much for bringing back Mike Doogan to We Alaskans on Sunday. He always makes me smile.

I used to always look for his column when he wrote for the Daily News. Then he was our state representative from 2007-2012.  His constituent newsletters would  “tell it like it is” with humor.  I’ve really missed them!  His current column again “tells it like it is” with humor.  And by the way, I always vote.

— Nancy Heynen
Anchorage

Poop scoop bags work

Hats off to Parks and Recreation for tending University Lake poop scoop bag dispensers and the dog walkers who clean up. This year the dispenser boxes usually have bags, and the lake walk is very clean because bags are available. The University Lake off-leash walk is cleaner by far than bike trails not in a dog park. I walk both daily.

—  Clair E. Dalton
Anchorage

Exercise your rights, or else

The privilege, right and responsibility to vote in elections to select our representatives who enact our laws should me made mandatory. A 30 percent turnout of those registered to vote is disgraceful and detrimental to a true representative government.

Is it time to penalize those qualified citizens that do not participate in elections? Maybe a loss of the PFD might encourage better citizenship.

— George Barrett
Anchorage

Suggestion: 2-week political cease-fire before elections 

What if political candidates were required to go silent for the two weeks prior to every election? Citizens would welcome the break from the repetitive ads, signs, debates, speeches, rallies, and automated phone calls. There would be no polls taken or published — the public could think for themselves, ponder the issues and decide how to vote, free from outside influence. If editorials, columnists, and media reports were required to abide by the same rule of silence, it would allow them to focus on other important news. Our entire society could take a deep breath before elections and enjoy an intermission from the intensity of the political process that seems to get more out of hand every year. We voters are quite capable of reading, researching, understanding and discussing issues on our own.

Rather than spend time and money on ads, travel, and mailings during this time, candidates could donate what they might have spent to their choice of schools, charities, research, grants, scholarships or any entity that exists for the improvement of our society. They and their teams could spend those weeks catching up on whatever business and occupations they’ve set aside during the campaign. If they volunteered for causes in their communities and worked beside their fellow citizens, they’d have an opportunity to listen to the real folks. And we’d get to observe them in an environment where actions speak louder than words. 

Especially appealing would be the relief from the candidates’ ugly personal criticisms of each other that escalate unpleasantly as election day nears. 

Some will undoubtedly argue against this idea, citing the need for free exchange of ideas, the value of our democratic process, freedom of the press, our right to assemble, and the need to be as well informed as possible before choosing our next leaders. That’s a valid point. But the intense competition of the campaigns, the huge sums of money spent, the negativism, the hours spent focused only on this, can be seen as out of control. 

Some of us believe it would be better to channel a portion of that campaign time and money back into society, while giving us relief from the barrage of campaigning. We’d like to see the candidates as real people, sorting clothing at the Salvation Army, donating blood, tutoring disadvantaged children, doing their own grocery shopping, and back on the jobs they’re being paid for. 

To repeat — we are quite capable of reading, researching, understanding and discussing on our own. Give us an intermission.

— Mary Wasche
Eagle River

Alaska hospitality in action

My wife and I recently spent time in Anchorage between outings in the Alaska Bush.  On one backcountry excursion we both fell ill and returned to Anchorage to seek medical attention at an urgent care clinic. With no car, we were dependent upon taxis and maps. While sitting in the lobby of the clinic with our duffels, a concerned woman asked about our circumstances. We explained our predicament. Within minutes, the woman, Linda, had consulted with her husband, Stewart, who offered to take us to a pharmacy to get our required medicine. What should have been a quick in-and-out at the pharmacy turned into an hour-long marathon, but Stewart waited patiently for us nonetheless, and, upon our return, Stewart drove us to our downtown hotel.

This visit to your city of Anchorage will forever prompt pleasant memories for us. Not just for its beauty and abundance of activities offered, but now for the kindness of two of its residents. Thank you, Linda and Stewart, for your generosity to these weary travelers.

— Linda and Wayne Sanders II
Akron, Ohio

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.