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Readers write: Letters to the editor, Aug. 29, 2014

Alaska Dispatch News

Quick response shows dedication

Recently I emailed a comment on a pending ordinance to Anchorage Assembly members. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed that I received prompt replies from no less than six of them, Assembly members Traini, Flynn, Demboski, Evans, Gray-Jackson and Petersen. Each addressed the concern I raised. At a time of cynicism over public officials, it is worth recognizing such positive examples of dedicated, responsive service.

— Mark Worcester
Anchorage

Pebble can wait; preserve the land

It seems everyone wants to make the debate about Pebble mine about right and wrong, a black and white issue, one is either “for” the mine, or “against” the fishermen. Are we sure this is the proper way to look at it? Or is there another way to look at it that makes clear our own values and debunks the controversy?

If there were no copper or gold in the Pebble mine, if there were no canneries or tourists, there would still be the people living on the banks of the Nushagak and Kvichak rivers, traversing the Bristol Bay and living as they have lived for literally thousands of years, living off the land and with the land, in a balanced harmony that remained undisturbed for centuries. 

Today, there seems to be a rush to grab the earth’s riches for ourselves, for a few years of prosperity. Riches that ultimately belong to God. We are willing to destroy not just a small group of people’s way of life, not just one culture’s lifestyle in favor of another’s, but we have the potential to eliminate an entire nation in a type of cultural genocide not seen in recent memory.

Let Pebble wait. 

The copper and gold aren’t going anywhere, and perhaps one day we will discover a safer way to extract them from the earth without the risk of endangering an entire ecosystem and an entire culture. Until that day comes, we need to consider the potential harm to a way of life older than our nation, older than our appearance even on this hemisphere. 

Preserve the land — land that God created — and let Pebble wait.

— Right Rev. Bishop David Mahaffey
Orthodox Bishop of Sitka and Alaska
Anchorage

Keep AQR; careers depend on it

I am writing to say that I think it would be a travesty to no longer support the Alaska Quarterly Review.

I currently am a tenured professor at SUNY Brockport, and without the support, affirmation, and encouragement of the magazine, I would not have been successful. I published a poem in the magazine which became a part of a published book of poetry, “Blind Date with Cavafy”; I also published a piece of nonfiction that became a part of a published memoir “All Screwed Up.” All this thanks to the magazine; it gave me credibility. For both of my books, the editors pointed out AQR as being a strong reason why they initially decided to read the manuscript.

It goes without saying that Ronald Spatz is one of the best editors I’ve ever worked with. In these days, with so much stuff on the Internet, it is rare for an editor to make a phone call to see how they can best serve the story. He did just that and worked with me collaboratively to better the piece. In my 20 years of publishing, I’ve never had an editor do that.

AQR is one of the few magazines that brings out the best of writers and the literary community.

— Dr. Steve Fellner
Brockport, N.Y.

Division on race is created for control

I am sick and tired.

I am sick and tired of our government defining race rather than the individual.

I am sick and tired of the media defining race rather than the individual.

I am sick and tired of race baiters.

Division is sought by our government, church, and media so as to control us.

Please do not give them that satisfaction.

They want to control you through what they think you are, not who you are.

Live as an individual, not part of whatever group they think you should be.

— Randy Lee Harkins
Anchorage

Parnell should lead, release report

So, the 1,000-page report on the state of the state’s National Guard, the Office of Complex Investigations edition, with chapters on sexual assault and more, has been on our “Governor/Commander-in-Chief-Denial’s” desk for a week now. Since there’s not been even a hint of when the contents will be made public, one might begin to wonder how 1,000 pages could get lost on one man’s desk. At least our fearful leader has a tough coin  toss facing him — whether ’tis nobler to release the report now and risk some chips falling against him before the November election, or wait until after the election and spin the delayed release accordingly. When I was in the U.S. Air Force, there was an ongoing emphasis (albeit with mixed results) on “core values.” One version went like this: “Integrity. Service before self. Excellence in all we do.” Pick one, guv, and remember, integrity means doing the right thing, even when no one is looking. The right thing? Shed light on what was discovered hiding under the Guard’s rocks — release the report.

— Keith Muschinske
Eagle River

Begich throws up smoke screen on vote

Regarding the first debate between Sullivan and Sen. Begich, I found it rather interesting that Begich regards his vote on SB 21 as “private” when asked directly on the question. Shouldn’t he be proud of his stance (yes or no) on such a hot topic in our state? As one of our state’s U.S. senators, I would think he would want to be clear to the people of Alaska how he stands and how he voted. Seeking Big Oil money support and liberal votes by throwing up a smoke screen is a slippery slope.

At least Dan Sullivan is confident in his stance on SB 21 and lets the voters of Alaska know that.

—  Preston Rudderow
Anchorage

UA should be proud to be AQR home

I am a poet who lives and teaches in Miami, which as you know is about as far away from Alaska that you can get and still be in North America. Despite the distance, however, I read Alaska  Quarterly Review religiously, as it contains some of the finest writing being done in the U.S., by both established and emerging writers.

Every issue is of immense value to me. In fact, I often track down the books of the writers I read in AQR, since their work is so fine. The editors are keenly alive to the best of what’s being written today—work that appeals to writers and academics like myself as well as to average readers. This is extremely unusual in a literary magazine. In fact, I often share poems and stories from AQR with my students, most of whom are beginning creative writers hoping to be inspired and engaged.

AQR is simply one of the very best literary journals available today. I believe the University of Alaska should be extremely proud to be home to such a wonderful journal. I am writing to voice my support for your continued (and even increased) funding.

— Michael Hettich
Professor of English and Creative Writing
Miami Dade College
Miami

Begich showed right values, behavior

I attended the senatorial debate last night at UAA, and have concluded that from here on out, I will concentrate my energies on getting Sen. Begich re-elected, not because he is a “real Alaskan” — we’re all immigrants here, except for the Alaska Native people — but because he seeks collaboration, practical solutions, and reasoned behavior. He is not prone to fear mongering, as is his opponent. He respects Alaskan voters enough to discuss the complexity of complex issues, instead of driving home points with nasty sound bites. I have deeply disagreed with Sen. Begich on some issues in the past, but last night I witnessed the strong contrast between his values and Sullivan’s, and am convinced that it is absolutely critical at this moment in our history that we re-elect the man who truly has our interests at heart: Mark Begich.

— Cristy Willer
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.