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Of all the things that Gov. Bill Walker might say about the state of Alaska’s finances, I’ll bet that he won’t say “All bets are off.”

Not that he couldn’t find a reason to quote the memorable 1986 words of Gov. Steve Cowper, uttered at a news conference three weeks after Cowper became governor.

“There was a lot bigger deficit than we had reason to believe before we got there,” Cowper said from Texas in a phone interview about his offhand comment about campaign promises. “There wasn’t enough money for me to keep every promise. Of course everybody screamed and yelled and said I was a thief and a liar, but that’s the way things are.”...

Dermot Cole

It is unsurprising Bill Walker would rejigger an election with his new union pals and Democrats to finally pocket the keys to the governor’s mansion. The surprise is that he did it willingly -- without a gun to his head.

Who in his right mind, given Alaska’s grim fiscal reality, would want the job? A normal person would dodge it like ringworm. Perhaps Walker should follow the late Gov. Wally Hickel’s lead and have his noggin examined to prove he is not nuts.

What does Walker win? In his own words, “lean times” -- a laughably optimistic assessment...

Paul Jenkins

As the new governor’s leadership team starts to take shape, it is obvious that the partnership between Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott is different.

Who knows what agreements were made when Mallott, a longtime Alaska Native leader, agreed to join forces with Walker, relinquishing his own bid as the democratic candidate for the state’s top post. But if these early days are any indication, Native Alaskans and rural Alaskans will have more voice in this state administration than any since, perhaps, the late Gov. Jay Hammond...

Carey Restino
Accurate headlines, please

Writer Kim Dahnke was probably correct as to the frequency of my alternate scenarios occurring in Ferguson, although that makes my questions no less valid.

The headline to that reply inferred my original letter was “hot air,” which was never implied in Dahnke’s very civil letter, and is a good example of the liberties sometimes taken by the editor of the “letters” column. Perhaps more care should be taken that the headlines more accurately reflect the opinions expressed.

— Don Neal Anchorage...

Alaska Dispatch News

The Mat-Su Basin Salmon Habitat Partnership, representing 55 organizations that share an interest in sustaining salmon in the Mat-Su, hosted a conference in November. During the two days of the 2014 Mat-Su Salmon Science & Conservation Symposium, speaker after speaker gave detailed descriptions of recent and ongoing projects that are providing baseline data and documenting the scope of impaired salmon habitat in the Mat-Su basin...

Erik Huebsch

In early November the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that could profoundly hurt Alaskans who purchase private health insurance. Currently, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides subsidies to individuals, based on their taxable income, to help defray the cost of insurance premiums. For a state like Alaska, where health insurance premiums are two to three times more expensive than in other states, subsidies can reduce the cost of insurance by thousands to tens of thousands of dollars per year. Depending on how the Supreme Court rules on this case, these subsidies could be taken away and Alaskans forced to pay much higher insurance premiums...

Randall Plant
Race matters for letter writers

What if the writer of the racially insensitive letter was black, Don Neal (ADN, Friday), questioning about the Ferguson riots? Would it have been written?


— Brian MacMillan Anchorage

ASD is lying to nonproficient readers

In response to a recent letter, I too was dismayed to find that Anchorage School District’s savings was due to a loss of experienced teachers. But if staff left because of an increase in standards, I am not sad at all. I am a parent of an ASD kindergartner; I want there to be standards. I want my child reading, her peers reading...

Alaska Dispatch News

This is the season when we look more deeply at our hopes for peace. But we don’t just hope -- we give more to charities, we get together with our families, send cards, share food and sing songs about peace on Earth and good will toward all. The spirit of the season transcends differing religious affiliations and beliefs. It’s like we’re trying to realize our common dreams of a more peaceful world.

Sometimes building this spirit can feel as easy as sharing a song, but at other times, when we see the violence in our communities and around the world, it can seem like the impossible dream.

In my work with The Peace Alliance, I get to bridge the gap between our dreams of “Peace on Earth,” and the practical steps that are available to help us create it...

Lori Draper

Alaskans know that Bristol Bay is all about wild salmon. For thousands of years the people of Bristol Bay have thrived on this bounty and for more than 130 years, it has supported a major sustainable commercial fishery that supplies the world. Bristol Bay produces 50 percent of the world’s sockeye salmon, making the region of true global importance...

Sue Aspelund
Broken system is ASD’s main problem

Eric Croft’s analysis of ASD’s “funding problem” on Nov. 25 makes we wonder how much we instead have a leadership problem. He claims we are losing our most experienced teachers — because uncertain funding causes them the instability of layoffs and subsequent rehires. Has he forgotten the seniority rules of the teachers’ union? The most experienced teachers are not being laid off — the union requires the newest hires be laid off first. Experienced teachers (who coincidentally have the most seniority) aren’t going to get pink slips until everybody in front of them gets laid off, and that hasn’t happened. It is frustrating for beginning teachers to deal with job insecurity, but that’s a fact of life in almost every school district...

Alaska Dispatch News