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Steve Haycox

One of the most persistent choruses heard in the debate over the repeal of SB 21, Ballot Measure 1 on the primary ballot, is that if the repeal passes, the oil industry will cease its investments in the North Slope, undertake no new exploration or development, and but for routine maintenance, leave Alaska. As a result, there will be no new oil for the pipeline, Alaska’s economy will go quickly into deep deficit and soon fail, and as jobs evaporate, people will have to pull up stakes and leave Alaska. This is a principal reason many people offer to explain their intention to vote “No.” Some people in real estate, particularly, express great fear that if the repeal passes, home values will drop precipitously, and we’ll see a general economic calamity...

Steve Haycox

It’s remarkable that though the oil industry is out-spending supporters of Ballot Measure 1 on the August primary ballot 100 to 1, the polls are showing support for the repeal three points up. It appears we are experiencing a backlash, directed against an industry that seems willing to bully and bludgeon Alaskans into accepting their agenda which is, mostly, lower taxes, which means more industry profit, and less revenue for the state...

Steve Haycox

The American government may be in some serious trouble. A Gallup poll released last week finds that confidence in all three of the branches, the Presidency, the Supreme Court and especially Congress, is at historic lows. Dissatisfaction with government performance is widespread; many people feel their leaders neither share nor protect their interests. Moreover, the intense polarization our politics developed over the last decade and a half has caused many thoughtful writers to question whether the Constitution should be fundamentally revised...

Steve Haycox

It's rather inconsistent that so many Anchorage leaders point with pride to the diversity we now see in Anchorage's schools, yet lend their support to a voucher program that would vitiate the city's, and the state's, public schools. A widely reported recent study done by UAA sociology professor Chad Farrell and colleagues found that Mountain View is the most diverse census tract in the United States. Correspondingly, East Anchorage is the most diverse high school in the nation, followed by Bartlett and West Anchorage as No. 2 and No. 3. It's important to understand that diversity doesn't mean just that there's a large population of non-whites; diversity includes whites as well as others. That being said, white people are now a minority in Anchorage's schools overall -- 44 percent....

Steve Haycox

Jack Johnson was a larger than life figure, a true Alaskan character. Born in 1926, raised on Kodiak Island, he went to sea at the age of 13. At various times he served in the U.S. Merchant Marine, in the Scottish Guards, in the Russian Army, in the French Foreign Legion, and in the Israeli Army. He ended his career as a ship's pilot in southcentral Alaskan waters. Retiring at 80, he died earlier this year.

In 1947 Johnson was in France and a bit at loose ends. He was recruited by Haganah, the Jewish paramilitary organization in British Palestine which at the time was outfitting ships to carry Jews from Europe, illegally, to settle in Palestine. In the Russian Army Johnson had helped liberate one of the death camps in 1945, an experience that seared his conscience...

Steve Haycox

Correction: Upon first publication, the following commentary stated that Riversdale Resources is partly owned by the mining company Rio Tinto, but that is incorrect. The text below has been corrected...

Steve Haycox

Cliven Bundy doesn't understand something about "federal overreach." And if he wasn't such a deadbeat scofflaw and unreconstructed social miscreant he might have started another Sagebrush Rebellion. The last one fully enveloped Alaska at a time when resentment of federal presence in Alaska ran as high as it ever has...

Steve Haycox

Brock Evans is president of the Endangered Species Coalition, a national network of conservation, outdoor, community and other groups working to protect the nation's disappearing wildlife and wild places, and the Endangered Species Act itself. In the late 1960s he worked in Seattle for the Sierra Club, as the Northwest representative; his area of responsibility included Alaska. In the early 1970s he headed the Sierra Club's new Washington, D.C., office, lobbying Congress to block authorization of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, a fight environmentalists lost. Later he was a vice-president of the Audubon Society....

Steve Haycox

2014 is a major anniversary year for Alaska. March 24 marks 25 years since the Exxon Valdez tanker oil spill in Prince William Sound; March 27 will be 50 years since the great Alaska earthquake. 2014 also marks the 40th anniversary of the start of construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.

As is widely recognized, the pipeline and subsequent tax revenue generated by oil production profoundly transformed Alaska, economically, politically and even socially...

Steve Haycox

It remains to be seen what the Alaska legislature will do this session with the Watana Dam project on the Susitna River. The 700-foot high structure, if ever built, is projected to supply 50 percent of the power needed along the Railbelt from Anchorage to Fairbanks. But three issues have taken the blush off the project for which the Legislature appropriated about $95 million last year and $66 million the year before....

Steve Haycox

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