Voices

As the Legislature dodges the bullet and heads home, I can only think how much harder it will be next year. Using up our budget reserve and other slush funds, while praying for another boom, will not get us out of this hole.

This Legislature did not cause the problem. That decision was made when we started spending our fortune and removed our state income tax from the books.

As this Legislature will soon discover, we can cripple our entire state government and not balance the budget. Yes, if we were to fire all state employees, we would still lack $1 billion a year because of the unwise generosity of allowing Alaskans to be virtually tax-free...

Clem Tillion

Long ago -- in the mid-'60s -- my political science professor assigned his students "Who Governs?" by Robert Dahl.

"Who Governs?" was read all over the United States, not just the eastern liberal enclave where I attended school. Dahl, a Yale government professor, was one of the best known academic political analysts of his time -- and his time lasted decades. He died in 2014 at age 98.

The premise of his book was brilliant -- the eternal question of who governs could be answered, at least in the United States, through an examination of one community, New Haven, Connecticut, where Yale is located...

Michael Carey

Observing legislative sessions regularly as I do, one quickly learns the body’s strict adherence to order. Its deep commitment to the rules , and its fastidious attention to the record was the format I so admire. Admired until midnight Sunday, when the Legislature tossed out due process, the rules, and its attention to the record.

It is unfortunate, despite all the guidance for due process provided by our Constitution, statute, and regulations on this subject, and despite public opinion echoed in newspapers, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled in the 1980s that Alaska lawmakers can break laws with impunity that apply specifically to their own process. (see Abood v. League of Women Voters)...

Tara Jollie
World remembers 1915 genocide

Kids running carelessly by the pond …

Men in fancy moustaches playing backgammon and sipping coffee …

Ladies chatting as they prepare mouthwatering vegetables and kebabs to grill …

A happy Armenian community thriving in the peaceful Armenian city of Urfa and neighboring Armenian cities until … the Ottoman Turks invade and commit the first horrendous act of the 20th century: the Armenian Genocide.

“The Turks have traversed there, all is ruin and mourning.” — Victor Hugo, “Les Orientales” (1828)

April 24, 1915: My maternal grandmother was a 4-year-old when the mass killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks began. When the Turks invaded her city of Urfa, they separated the men from the women...

Alaska Dispatch News

Dear citizen, if you kill someone, whether by vehicle or gun or other means you will be investigated for murder or some lesser crime. Life is too precious for our police not to investigate. That is not to say you will be arrested. An arrest requires probable cause to believe you committed a crime. But an investigation to determine if you committed a crime will occur...

Frank Koziol

In 1958, the U.S. Army released an educational film on the Distant Early Warning System. The system, known as the DEW line, was built as a series of radar sites along the North American Arctic to alert Washington of an impending Soviet attack. In its opening lines, the documentary describes the North as “desolate, savage, remote. A wilderness of unending barren distance … Not too bad for caribou, but no place for human beings.”...

Victoria Herrmann

Last weekend the Alaska Legislature voted against the confirmation of Soldotna resident Robert Ruffner for a seat on the Alaska Board of Fisheries. Ruffner is well respected locally, statewide and nationally for his work on habitat and clean water issues and their relationship to providing good salmon rearing conditions. He is also a resource user who participates in the sport and personal use fisheries. With his scientific background he was probably the best-qualified applicant this position has seen in a long time.

So what went wrong? Kenai River Sportfishing Association decided it would not be able to wield power and influence over the Fish Board process as well if Ruffner was a sitting member of the board...

Dwight Kramer

Anchorage stinks.

Americans discard approximately 25 percent of the food and beverages they buy. On any given day Alaska’s largest city, perched on the edge of bear country, holds nearly a thousand tons of rotting food.

When the odiferous waste inevitably attracts bears, the most popular solution is not to move the trash, but to punish the bears. It’s as if we don’t want to inconvenience the people who are causing the problem.

This strategy has been pursued for the past century, ever since Anchorage was founded. It hasn’t worked yet...

Rick Sinnott
Legislators are not good role models

How is it that legislators seem to get away with claiming to be education advocates who care about kids when they are running for office, and then go to Juneau and cut education in ways that make it impossible for all students to succeed? Who are these people, each year proposing bills to continually dismantle public education? Even people like me, who pay attention, have trouble keeping track when they sneak in last-minute revisions without public testimony. The governor and legislators’ offices are being flooded with calls from across the state asking that they not cut education funding, but these impassioned calls are being ignored. Alaska has spoken. Do you not hear us, or are you just not listening?...

Alaska Dispatch News

Alaska’s schools are bearing the brunt of Alaska’s fiscal crisis, but that crisis should not serve as a rationale for violating the public trust. Our problems stem from an economy with no real diversity, a legacy of over-spending, and blind reliance on a volatile commodity in declining supply -- oil...

Michael O'Brien