I grabbed dinner with my folks last week. Mom and Pop are both retired educators.

"What do you know about Erin's Law, Shan?"

Well, it's a law that has been passed in more than 20 states. It teaches K-12 students how to recognize sexual assault and to tell someone they trust. It also teaches school employees the warning signs of sexual abuse and how to help children and their families.

"Is it going to pass? I can't imagine who would be against it."

The only people I could imagine opposing passage Erin's Law in Alaska -- considering our sickeningly high rates of sexual assault -- would be sexual predators.

I was wrong. The answer is actually sexual predators and the Legislature’s Republican majority...

Shannyn Moore

Whenever I pick a jury in a criminal case, one of the questions I ask prospective jurors is, “Do you think you should evaluate a police officer’s testimony the same as any other witness?” I’m looking for jurors who thinks it’s necessary to scrutinize a police officer’s testimony rather than accept it without question. Most people agree that officers make mistakes just like everyone else. But very few believe police officers would intentionally lie...

Marcelle McDannel

Reading through a recent ideological litmus test masquerading as an election Q&A piece grilling mayoral hopefuls Amy Demboski and Ethan Berkowitz, a favorite cartoon came to mind.

Drawn by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Michel Ramirez , it depicts a short-haired, dumpy frau wearing geeky glasses and a yellow T-shirt emblazoned with “LEFT” in big, red letters. All that is needed to complete the picture is a Subaru station wagon sporting Obama, Begich and Greenpeace bumper stickers.

The caption: “We are opposed to intolerance and anyone who disagrees with us.” Absolutely perfect...

Paul Jenkins

As legislators in Juneau and Alaskans statewide debate the state budget woes and how to turn things around, the impacts of those decisions may be most felt in some of the state’s smallest communities...

Carey Restino
Demboski’s not qualified

If Amy Demboski was merely grossly unqualified (which she is), then I would be less concerned. What is more troubling is her resume inflation and her reckless willingness to pander to the most extreme elements of an electorate that doesn’t even live in Anchorage. We don’t need a caricature of Sarah Palin; we need a common sense leader for Anchorage. I’m voting for Berkowitz. — Suzanne Walsh Anchorage

Self-serving legislators

They give money to the oil corporations and waste millions on a posh building for themselves while failing to expand Medicaid or adequately fund our schools. What a mean-minded bunch of narcissistic, self-serving legislators! — Shirley Fraser Anchorage...

Alaska Dispatch News
Lawmakers not working for Alaskans

Just where are they coming from?

The more I read about what is and isn’t being done down in Juneau, I ask myself where are they coming from, cut education, cut early learning, cut advocacy for children, cut pay raises and don’t expand Medicaid. We can pay for a really nice office building for Anchorage legislators, we can give all kinds of tax credits to industry, we can sock away into the “parking account” $70-plus million, we can add funds to fight the feds on whatever.

Just who are these people working for? Not the everyday Alaskan; must be some Outside group.

— David Lewis Homer...

Alaska Dispatch News

As the Divisional Commander for The Salvation Army in Alaska, I am writing to express our support for Medicaid expansion in Alaska.

Because The Salvation Army is not a political organization but a Christian church, it is unusual for us to take political positions. However, it is one of our fundamental beliefs that before we can help others find meaningful salvation, we must first help ensure that people’s basic needs for food, shelter and safety are met. This is why we help meet these basic needs for a wide variety of Alaskans in the 17 Alaska communities we serve as far north as Fairbanks and as far south as Ketchikan.

It is also why The Salvation Army Alaska supports the expansion of Medicaid in Alaska...

Maj. George Baker

The negotiation on Iran’s nuclear energy program is not a contest between Iran and the U.S. but Iran and the U.N. We have tolerated so much kibitzing that it is not clear whether the president, Congress or Prime Minister Netanyahu is in charge. But in charge of what? The public and the Congress have forgotten that Secretary of State John Kerry is acting also for the Security Council of the United Nations. As a consequence, the continuing attacks on him have damaged American interests within the international community in lasting ways not generally appreciated...

John Havelock

Last November, voters decided it was time for Alaska to take a more sensible, reality-based approach to marijuana. They replaced the failed policy of prohibition with a mandate that the state regulate and tax marijuana similarly to how it treats alcohol. Yet, with only days left in the legislative session, the Legislature has yet to provide the resources needed to establish a regulatory framework...

Dr. Tim Hinterberger,Bruce Schulte
Who do the elected folks work for?

I thought we lived in a representative democracy where we elected folks, by geographic area, to represent that constituency as well as the interests of the state as a whole. So what is behind the current nonsense in Juneau where the so-called political leaders refuse to hold a vote on the expansion of Medicaid that recent polls show the majority of the citizens support? Who do they work for? Maybe Sen. Huggins is only being honest when he acknowledges that “Sen. Huggins works for the majority.” Not his constituency, not the state as a whole. Enough with the political games; get to work for Alaska.

— Susan Olsen Anchorage...

Alaska Dispatch News