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The automatic doors at LaGuardia Airport swooshed shut behind me on Christmas Eve in 2008. Inside, it was warm. Outside, cold winds gathered force as they whipped through the concrete corridors of New York City and onto the faces of people unlucky enough to be on the street trying to get home. I was no longer one of them, and I never would be again. I was moving — finally, permanently — to Anchorage...

Alli Harvey
Public wages help economy

The better standard of living our city servants enjoy, the more our community benefits from that. Those wages and benefits they earn are spent back into the economy, which fuels local business growth. Everybody wins. I feel any time you try to take away the workers’ collective voice, which gives them some strength, with laws like AO 37, you weaken the workers’ position, which will ultimately reduce their earning potential, and in the end weaken our businesses and community as a whole. AO 37 is an attack on workers with an intent to break up their unity so they are left to go it alone. In the animal world there is strength in the herd. This is no different.

— Dennis Traylor Anchorage...

Alaska Dispatch News

I recently returned to Swat, in northern Pakistan, two years after the Taliban shot Malala Yousafzai, the valley’s most famous citizen, for speaking out for children’s education, and especially for girls.

I went back to Swat to see what had changed in the two years since my visit and to assess the local impact of Malala’s shooting and her subsequent worldwide fame. I was struck by changes in education, art and community pride, which her example has inspired.

On Oct. 10, Malala became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. She will share the award with Kailash Satyarthi, a children’s rights activist from India...

Shehla Anjum

Last week, a young man named Peter John Henry was charged as an adult after admitting to the murder of his foster father Marvell Johnson. Henry is 16 years old. Marvell was 64. Two lives ended prematurely, one in death and the other in what almost surely will be a very long prison sentence if he is convicted. What makes this sad situation even more tragic is that Henry was a foster child. Johnson was one of those silent heroes in our community, a foster parent trying to give children with less than a good start in life a chance to heal and achieve some measure of peace for him or herself...

Elise Patkotak

A newcomer to the Last Frontier asked my Dad, "Mr. Carey, just how long do you have to be in Alaska before you become a real Alaskan?" Fabian didn't hesitate - "Just long enough for your brains to freeze."

The back-and-forth over Republican Dan Sullivan's qualifications as an Alaskan brought this quip from yesteryear to mind. Sullivan isn't the first candidate for major office to face criticism of his pedigree. Republicans routinely called Sen. Ernest Gruening a carpetbagger during his campaigns in the 50s and 60s, although Gruening had arrived in the territory in 1939...

Michael Carey

Just when you thought nothing could distract us from the ongoing drama of the state election in November -- The whole world changed for LGBT couples in Alaska. The beer was flowing and glasses were clinking at bars across Anchorage on Sunday night. Many people, regardless of their own sexual orientation headed out to celebrate U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess’ decision that Alaska’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

Before you let anyone try to paint Judge Burgess as an “outsider” or “liberal activist judge,” keep in mind that he attended UAF in 1978, graduated with an master's degree in business in 1982 and was nominated for the U.S. District Court by President George W. Bush...

Mike Dingman
Remember the Golden Rule

Whenever I visit my son and his in-laws in Australia, they ask me about American resistance to the idea that health care is a human right — “what’s wrong with those Yanks?”

Admittedly, this administration gutted its feeble excuse for a national health care plan to appease the medical associations, pharmaceutical corporations and insurance conglomerates even before bringing it to the negotiating table.

But “big medical” continues to squeal like a castrated hog. Why? Because despite its glaring flaws, “Obamacare” has silently conceded that in a just and civilized society, access to medical treatment shouldn’t be determined by the size of one’s bank account. Our corporate rulers demand such heresy be eradicated...

Alaska Dispatch News

Janis Joplin used to sing a lyric, “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.” Yes, Janis, your words ring like a bell. Too bad no one is listening. November elections are coming up and like the brain-dead we truly are, some of us will probably trudge to the voting booth to do our “patriotic duty” and cast our votes for the brain-dead, money-grabbing candidates we must choose from.

Do you really want to know which candidate you should vote for? OK, here it is, folks ... none of them. There is not a single Alaskan candidate worth a single vote. Why? The vote is irrelevant. This is no longer a democracy. Money dictates politics now, not “We the People,” and if you don’t believe that just ask the U.S. Supreme Court and the Koch brothers...

John Connor

Anchorage voters, please vote yes on Municipal Proposition 1 (AO 37). It is designed to authorize the mayor and the Assembly to get municipal employees compensation in line with the private sector. It may need some amendments but it is in substance solid. A no vote by the public will send the message of "carry on."...

Tom Fink

Ballot issue No 1 this November election addresses a classic case of a government “solution” searching for a problem that doesn’t exist. Hopefully, the people of Anchorage will vote no on this issue and repeal the unnecessary and unreasonable labor law known as AO 37.

AO 37 was an ill-conceived ordinance passed in 2013 to dramatically change the rules of collective bargaining for municipal public service workers for the first time in more than 35 years. And what was the problem with the respective bargaining rights of the municipality and the unions? The answer is -- nothing. One need only look at the long-standing history of the previous labor ordinance to see why...

Tony Knowles