Readers write: Letters to the editor, Aug. 28, 2014

Alaska Dispatch News
LETTERS: Readers weigh in on a variety of topics in the news, including the trans-Alaska pipeline, whether Joe Miller has his sights set on 2016, and executive compensation in the UA system. Pictured: A postcard showing the preparations of contract mail carriers getting ready to leave Circle City with a load of mail bound for Ft. Gibson, Alaska Territory, circa 1900. U.S. Post Office, Smithsonian National Postal Museum image

Gamble’s income surge a travesty

It is hard to imagine a better-expressed piece on the travesty of University of Alaska President Patrick Gamble’s recent “income surge,” than John Havelock’s commentary (Monday). How any competent group pretending to be a Board of Regents could justify this is beyond appalling. Who are these people? Oh yeah, they are all appointees of Sean Parnell. As an emeritus professor at UAF, I can only lower my head and sing a canticle of woe for my beloved university. This is beyond disgrace and below dishonor. It is a betrayal of everything a university should be: not greedy, not mercenary, not venal and grasping for money. A university must seek to open, wise, spreading curiosity, exemplifying the love of learning. Where are any of these in this pathetic money offer?

The board of regents has cursed us with the worst example imaginable at the worst of times. Gov. Parnell: where are you? 

— Rich Seifert, UAF Professor emeritus

Please print news, investigative pieces

Why are newspapers losing readership? Because they have stopped printing investigative reporting. They print history, news that was reported on TV two days prior. Where were the election results from Aug. 19? With respect to politics, the newspaper could be a valuable source to help the readers sort out the truth vs. rhetoric from people running for office, or ballot measures. Where is the news of the past 24 hours? News stories from two days ago aren’t worthy of print, unless there is something new to report on the issue.

— Steven Lyons

Are oil companies going to reinvest?

Now that the voting is over and the oil companies are going to start filling the pipeline again, my question is: How many barrels of oil can the pipeline safely pump today? With the closing of several of the pump stations, they obviously can’t pump 2 million barrels a day now. Are the pipeline owner companies going to reinvest the millions of dollars it is going to take to rebuild the pipeline to its former state? Or is the money going elsewhere? Food for thought.

— Arthur Parrish

Miller still campaigning?

I read with interest Mike Dingman’s assessment of Joe Miller’s prospects for 2016. Does that explain why Mr. Miller’s campaign signs are still standing?

— Ken Flynn

Hard to fathom troopers’ reasoning

Alaska State Troopers obtained enough automatic combat assault rifles from the Defense Department to outfit a company of the U.S. Army and now use them as daily patrol weapons. In addition, they have a specimen of the law-and-order vehicle of choice in Apartheid-era South Africa sitting in their parking lot. The Casspir was regularly used by the South African Police to oppress black people who were demanding justice and equality before the law. They were a common sight in the townships. The very idea that this vehicle was brought here to Alaska with the intent to quell disturbances should appall any moral person. It should be either publicly scrapped or donated to a civil rights museum.

ADN reported troopers also diverted $858,000 from anti-meth and other law enforcement programs so they could buy three armored personnel carriers to be deployed in a state with a limited road system. Do they plan on scoring a military surplus Apache gunship so they can airdrop it where it is needed? If the troopers are so good at cost-cutting that they were able to set aside $858,000 for these three boondoggles, then they are clearly swimming in a pool of unneeded state money.

They’re called the “Alaska State Police,” not the “Alaska Police State,” and their budget should reflect that difference.

— Bill Scannell

Cap needed for public salaries, bonuses

Marcelle McDannel’s commentary (Aug. 12) on public salaries contained a lot of good information and opinion, and I agree with general thesis that public service should not compensate with salaries competing with the private sector. Having worked in local, state, and federal agencies (including five years in elective office) for 55 years, including 45 in Alaska, in jobs including chief executive, I have the following comments (paraphrasing Ms. McDannel’s three categories):

Elected officials salaries should go higher than $100,000 only to be comparable for their subordinates. Same for appointed public officials.

The president of UAF is a special case because he is a special guy with a sterling background. The UAA chancellor is another special guy. A factor in the case of the UAF president is, nationwide in the last 12 months, there has been a rapid escalation in university president salaries. In our case, I would suggest negotiating for a bonus not to exceed $100,000 with a commitment to remain at least five years. In his case, he additionally gets a federal retirement of at least $200,000 per year. At his level he just needs to know we appreciate him.

— Douglas A. Stark

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, 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.