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Readers write: Letters to the editor, Aug. 22, 2014

Alaska Dispatch News
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State was sold to Big Three

So for a mere $15 million in advertising propaganda, Alaskans, led by Gov. Parnell and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, sold our state and its future to the Big Three oil companies. And we thought the Russians were stupid.

— Sheila Burke
Anchorage

Run all the election results

Like Pat Wendt, I opened the paper expecting to see a list of election results and didn’t find one. Please run a list including each race and the numbers/percentage of votes. I’m hoping to see one in November.

— Cheryl Lovegreen
Anchorage

You have a right not to vote

From time to time someone suggests that voting should be mandatory. What, exactly, would that accomplish? In a recent letter George Barrett suggests withholding PFDs if people don’t vote. Does he think better people would be elected? How has mandatory voting worked in countries where it’s practiced?

I too wish more people would vote but only if they are informed on the issues. Remember, the right to vote includes the right not to vote and to accept the results of those who do.

So, if you’re not willing to inform yourself, let me and George do the voting for you.

— Laverne Buller
Anchorage

Fight corporations’ influence 

Corporations overwhelmingly out-spent the people leading up to this primary election. Corporations must not be allowed to overwhelm and crush the will of the people in elections. This corruption of our democracy must be stopped. Corporations are artificial constructions made by man. They can be bought and sold, and they certainly are not people. I thank Gershon Cohen representing “We the People Alaska” for his letter in ADN Wednesday.

So, we need a new referendum (on both state and national elections) to prevent corporations from contributing money toward any election. Please write to your representatives in support of such a referendum. In this way, we can prevent such a subversion of democracy from ever happening again.

— Daniel N. Russell
Willow

Take heed, sidewalk cyclists

I admired Alli Harvey’s piece on cyclists vs. autos in Wednesday’s ADN. It was one of the very few of its kind expressing a balanced view from both sides. I am a good driver with a spotless record, and have never had a problem involving a cyclist on the roadway. However, sidewalk cyclists have caused me some near heart attacks.

When a driver is preparing for a right turn, whether on red or green, he usually looks to his right and rear to check for sidewalkers about to step into the intersection. One can seldom see more than 20 to 30 feet of walkway but that is enough to spot an approaching pedestrian or bike traveling at normal speeds. However, a bike traveling at 15 to 25 mph can whip into view and into the crossing well after the driver has made his check and started his turn. The result can be either one hitting the other. Common sense should tell a biker to slow enough at intersections to be sure that everyone sees everyone else, and to obey the pedestrian walk/don’t walk signals.

Common sense also says that bikers should slow when coming up behind a walker but few do so.  I have had many cyclists flash by me on trails and sidewalks with no warning, and at speeds that would have caused me serious injury had I inadvertently moved in front of them.  A motorist is expected to maintain a speed that would allow him to stop if the vehicle ahead of him does the unexpected — cyclists should do the same.

— Don Neal
Anchorage

Corrupt system runs country

Politics is an extension of war, or was it the other way around? We’re ruled by gangs of hoodlums who have power to favor their corporate friends. These benefits are extremely lucrative for those friends.

Some argue whether we’re a republic, where representatives rule, or a democracy, where people rule. Since (at least superficially) people elect the representatives, it’s a pointless debate.

But more to the point, our representatives require huge amounts of cash to run for office, even to be nominated, and then to scare off challengers.

They extort this cash from corporate and other rich interests whom they have the power to favor, or not.

This entire corrupt system depends on complicated tax rules and other regulations and on extremely expensive, privately financed campaigns. To purify it will require attacking both of those roots.

But meanwhile, we might as well recognize that we live in a kleptocratic corporatocracy. Rule by representatives of the people is a thing of the past.

— Rick Wicks
Anchorage

Thanks from a Libertarian

Alaska primaries 2014, The Day After: Wow, thanks once again everyone for your support. My phone was ringing off the wall Wednesday morning, along with emails and social page messages, with well-wishers offering their congratulations on our very strong showing last night. Now, on to the general election, and let’s see if we can force Don Young into debating me versus always running from me. 

To all Alaskans, and as I told a young friend this morning, please vote for the best candidate who comes close to your personal values and cultural norms in November. If you decide on a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or Independent, then let it be because that candidate more closely represents your views on personal liberty, more so than any of the other candidates. Live free, my young and mature Alaska friends.

Regardless of the mass media’s role in often squelching our Alaska Libertarian voice, we had a great primary last night and we will have several top-notch Libertarian candidates running in the general election. Please consider real change in Washington, D.C., and if you are pro-individual freedom, then consider electing this qualified Alaskan. 

— Jim McDermott
Alaska Libertarian for U.S. House of Representatives
Fairbanks

Quarterly Review is valuable

I was dismayed Thursday when I learned that the fate of Alaska Quarterly Review is currently being discussed. For nearly 15 years I have been a loyal reader since I discovered the publication in a bookstore, possibly in Boulder, where I was living at the time. When able, I have been a subscriber; the years that I missed when not financially able to, I have filled in by purchasing back issues from bookstores and book fairs around the country. That alone shows the influence and far reach of this amazing publication. For instance, I am currently writing from my home in New York state.

I wanted to write and express my support for the English Department at the University of Alaska and this publication today. If you haven’t read the latest issue, you should pick it up today. I’m halfway through and can’t put it down.

— Venessa Hughes
Buffalo, N.Y.

Segregation seen in Alaska during WWII

In response to “Alaska’s Anti Discrimination Act: an achievement and a necessity” (Michael Carey, Tuesday): One reason why Alaskans gave widespread support to the 1945 Anti-Discrimination Act was because Alaskans had recently experienced government-enforced segregation with the influx of the “Negro regiments.” These all-black engineering regiments helped construct the Alaska Highway during World War II. 

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the icon of a racist Democrat Party, had ignored the advice of his top military commanders and refused to integrate the U.S. armed forces. Nevertheless, these “Negro and colored regiments” served with honor and distinction, completing work on the Alaska Highway ahead of schedule.

Years ago I had the privilege of becoming acquainted with a black World War II veteran who served in the segregated 95th Regiment. Among his remembrances was that he had seen more racial tolerance and good will in Alaska than he’d ever seen in the Lower 48. It made me proud to be an Alaskan.

— August Cisar
Seward

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.