Voices

I’d like to reclaim climate change from the list of touchy topics, including religion and politics, that we avoid bringing up with strangers. Views on climate have become a marker of identity, like those other subjects. ADN’s survey on Alaskan climate change attitudes , which I saw in an advance copy, shows that how you feel about climate science depends on your party, gender and age. Older Republican men tend to say humans have no role in changing the climate. Younger, non-partisan women say we do. This is strange, because whether humans are changing the climate isn’t a matter of faith, like religion, or a matter of values, like politics. It is a matter of fact in the physical world. One side has to be right and the other wrong, regardless of how strongly either feels. At this point, I’...Charles Wohlforth
The four Walker children and the five Mallott children are products of Alaska’s public education system. Tessa Walker Linderman, who pursued her master’s and doctorate degrees, says the best teacher she ever had was her Honors English teacher at West High School in Anchorage. Toni Mallott, the lieutenant governor’s wife, taught for two decades in Alaska’s schools. We have some of the best, most dedicated teachers right here in Alaska. We also have enormous challenges. Too many of our young people are leaving school early. Alaska has some of the lowest high school graduation rates in the nation, especially among our low-income students and students with disabilities. The cost of education in Alaska is high, especially in rural parts of the state. We must do more to make the cost of a high-...Gov. Bill Walker,Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott
This has got to be the worst time in Alaska history to be in the legislative majority. There’s no money for ill-conceived, poorly vetted projects in legislators’ districts. The state’s budget crisis is so severe the usual tricks of substituting anti-abortionism or pro-gunism for actual governing won’t suffice to fool the rubes back home. The majorities in each house will determine whether we will have a meaningful state fiscal plan. Proposals to squeeze a few bucks out of the mining, fishing and oil industries are getting the stink-eye from lobbyists, who have descended on Juneau like a biblical plague. Talk of changing the Permanent Fund to divert earnings to pay for some government expenses has led to threats of tarring and feathering any legislator who would consider the idea. To make...Shannyn Moore
There are few things that could make me forget my blood oath to defend the U.S. Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and to bear true faith and allegiance to the same, but my granddaughters being drafted for combat likely would send me into the street with a very bad attitude. While the notion of again drafting men in this nation is, in my mind, indefensible, it is beyond comprehension a developed nation such as ours could become so unraveled, so mealy, so amoral and cowardly it would consider, even for a the briefest instant, forcibly sending its young women -- its daughters, its granddaughters, its sisters -- into combat. That it would even consider doing so before the last able-bodied man has fallen is shameful. That it would do so in the name of political...Paul Jenkins
Gov. Walker’s recent appointment of three individuals to the Alaska Board of Fisheries seems to send the message “Let’s move on.” 2015 was unique for Alaska fisheries, especially in Cook Inlet. Many things happened to make people unhappy. The Alaska Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit by the Cook Inlet Fishermen’s Fund, commercial fishers, who asked the court to require the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) to provide more red salmon fishing time for them in the setnet fishery regardless of the impact on the Kenai River late-run king salmon. The court upheld the discretion of ADF&G managers to protect the kings. This significantly cost the setnetters. Next came the court’s rejection of an initiative to ban setnet fishing. Sports fishers had pushed for an initiative to ban...Karl Johnstone
Donlin Gold has been a hot topic of conversation given the recent release of the project’s draft environmental impact statement (EIS) by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Much of the general public is becoming aware of the project and familiarizing themselves on its attributes for the first time. But for those who call the Yukon-Kuskokwim region home, and for Calista Corp. shareholders and descendants, Donlin Gold has been an ever-present entity, topic of conversation and ally for the past 20 years. As stewards of the land and owners of the resources, we do not take such a significant project lightly. Under the Alaska Natives Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), Calista is mandated to responsibly develop our shareholders’ natural resources to improve their socio-economic lives. Donlin Gold has...Andrew Guy
Leaders of the Alaska Senate know what we need to improve higher education: Get more concealed guns in the dorms and classrooms of the University of Alaska. According to Fairbanks Sen. Pete Kelly, the UA Board of Regents is infringing on the right of people to carry concealed firearms to chemistry labs, concerts, the library, basketball games and parties in the dorms. The state House, to its credit, has put aside all bills that don't deal directly with money matters, but not the Senate. This sideshow comes at a time when the Legislature is preparing to cut millions from the university budget, reducing academic programs and cutting jobs. Legislators refuse to say how big the cutbacks will be, but look for decreases that will degrade future opportunities for thousands. This is a critical...Dermot Cole
Fishing lives and fishing wives are set to be showcased for a national audience — one as a documentary and the other, on reality television. The first, an hour-long feature called “Last Man Fishing” , focuses on the lifestyles and challenges facing our nation’s small-scale fishermen. “We’re from Indiana and we realized there is a disconnect between the consumer and where their fish is coming from,” said JD Schuyler , who is co-producing the documentary with his wife, Kelley. “We want to bridge the gap of people appreciating seafood, while also understanding the struggles of the small-scale fishermen.” The Schuylers, who have long been involved with the sustainable foods movement, first made the connection with the fishermen/co-owners of Sitka Salmon Shares, a “boat-to-doorstep” seafood...Laine Welch
Rural Alaskans will suffer most if our PFD shrinks Wow! Another Native leader sells out and forgets the culture. Political and corporate leaders are willing to use the Permanent Fund to save the Alaska economy at the expense of rural Alaska. God save the culture bearers. — Fred Wemark Anchorage Wohlforth was right about Hanley and the eduction board Charles Wohlforth was spot on when he wrote his article on Education Commissioner Mike Hanley. Mr. Wohlforth tuned in immediately to what the real issue was with the commissioner: Sen. Mike Dunleavy and the State Board of Education leadership, Chair James Field and First Vice Chair (and chair heir apparent) Sue Hull. I can tell you from personal experience that if you cross Sen. Dunleavy, you can bet the axe will fall not far from where you...Alaska Dispatch News
It’s no secret that most of the politicians in Juneau look longingly at the Alaska Permanent Fund to solve the current budget crisis. That’s one reason Gov. Jay Hammond wanted a dividend. Defending the dividend means defending the fund. The reality is that politicians whose election campaigns are paid for by a wealthy few don’t represent the folks for whom the PFD is an important, even critical part of a family budget. At the same time, the people are persuaded to think the income tax is an abomination, even though it is the normal source for public income and expenditure throughout the United States and has no negative effect on a large majority of the population that pays little or none. Of course, the majority complain about the tricks and exemptions at the top. Fix those rather than...John Havelock