Voices

When oil prices went up in the early 1980s, Alaska spent $227 million studying the Susitna-Watana Dam, then abandoned the project as uneconomic and unaffordable. When prices went up again in the last decade, we spent another $187 million studying the same project, without having the $5.7 billion to build it. Including only projects that failed or were never completed, we have the agriculture project, the petrochemical project (I wonder how many readers remember that one), the Healy Clean Coal Project, the super-duper seafood plant that is now a church, the Knik Arm bridge (once every couple of decades), the Point MacKenzie Rail Extension and ferry, the Juneau Access Road, and the Ambler Road . I’m leaving out many others. Each time I write a column I get a bunch of additional nominations...Charles Wohlforth
Wash, rinse, but don’t repeat Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair. Oy vey! C’mon, ADN. A full page for UAA women’s basketball player Alysha Devine’s hair? When it’s cut, how long, why no braids (it’s a weapon), it’s curly, dad says keep it, no highlights, stuck to another player. And “frizz ball”? Frizz ball? With apologies to Tom Hanks in “A League of Their Own,” “There’s no frizz in basketball!” (Except for men in the NBA.) Offensive foul if The Hair swats a defensive player in the face? Out of bounds if The Hair brushes someone on the sidelines? Timeouts for Hair “adjustments”? Does The Hair get media interviews? (“What’s it like out there? Do you give 110 percent? Lots of trash talk? What about — gasp! — split ends?”) As the rock musical “Hair” said, “Gimme a head with hair/Long...Alaska Dispatch News
Recent events in Flint, Michigan, bring to mind the importance of access to safe and reliable drinking water for everyone, whenever and wherever it is needed. Anchorage is fortunate. Our principal municipal water sources are the pristine glaciers and snowcapped peaks of the Chugach Mountains. Protection of these watersheds as part of the Chugach State Park ensures exceptional water quality. Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility processes 24 million gallons from these sources daily, on average, through our Eklutna and Ship Creek Water Treatment facilities. Additionally, Anchorage operates 10 active wells, boosting peak production to 64 million gallons per day, if necessary. The treatment process, continuously monitored by analysts and operational staff, ensures removal of any contaminants...J. Brett Jokela
Would you like to see a plan to cover next year’s state budget deficit without tapping the Alaska Permanent Fund earnings, inflation-proofing or dividends? So would I, so here it is. First, consolidate and merge Alaska’s four independent lending agencies: • Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, (AHFC), net worth $1.49 billion; • Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA), net worth $1.33 billion; • Alaska Gas Pipeline Authority (AGPA), net worth $274 million; • Alaska Municipal Bond Bank, (AMBB), net worth $56 million. Total net worth of these Alaska-owned public companies is $3.15 billion. Merging them so they each can use the remaining net worth can free $3 billion to balance the upcoming 2017 fiscal year. Consolidating the independent agencies this session could make me...Jim Crawford
Thanks for the chuckle, ADN Seriously? Sarah PAC paid $66,000 for speech writing services? So what we have been hearing is the improved version! Best laugh in all of Tuesday’s paper! — Sarah Wright Eagle River Split the difference and put 2 women on $10 bill In the ongoing discussion of who to have on the new redesigned $10 bill, many have proposed having a woman on the bill. Good! But I have an even better suggestion: Have two women on the bill — suffragist Susan B. Anthony and civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks. Why not? It is a politically correct solution and would prevent a possible future boycott of the bill. — Rudy Budesky Anchorage Give PFD sunset and horizon in case Alaska regains revenue Once again the chief name-caller in Alaska, Paul Jenkins, knows better than most — including,...Alaska Dispatch News
Sport, like mythology, subconsciously structures our mind to interpret the world in certain ways. Sunday is the de facto national holiday of Super Bowl Sunday, and football, more than any other sport, organizes social reality. Football philosophers would have us to believe that football mirrors war. Not really. Football mirrors corporatism. From Pop Warner to high school, college and the pros, football creates a world view. The head coach is the CEO of the metaphorical football corporation. David Biderman, writing in the Wall Street Journal (2010), found there are about 11 minutes of action in an NFL game -- lots of time for commercials. On TV, about five to six additional minutes are shots of the head coach talking into his headset, yelling at the referee or standing with arms folded in...Alan Boraas
I hope the new education commissioner can reconsider the decision to eliminate the new statewide standardized tests for students, called Alaska Measures of Progress. Admittedly, the AMP tests and reporting could use some tweaking and improvement, but not a complete overhaul, let alone a total replacement. Forget about the financial costs, it’s the time lost that is the most upsetting. For many years, Alaska as a state has scored below average compared to other states on national academic tests. The University of Alaska system has also publicly stated that many Alaska high school graduates are not adequately prepared for college and must take remedial courses during their freshman year to catch up. The Department of Education and Early Development admirably responded to this criticism by...Natasha Von Imhof
On Monday, an Alaska Dispatch News headline read, “ Anchorage Police Department, 82 percent white, tries to diversify its force .” The race-baiters, reading nothing but the headline, immediately went to work on the mayor and the police chief, making inferences about what they assumed the article said. Callers to talk radio programs, social media commenters and those standing around water coolers insinuated the city was ready to lower standards in order to hire more minority police officers -- clearly that isn’t the case, nor is it what the ADN article said. Anchorage has great diversity. As ADN's Jerzy Shedlock reported in the article, “According to research carried out at the University of Alaska Anchorage, the city's Mountain View neighborhood is the most diverse in the country. Three...Mike Dingman
Alaska’s budget problem will improve if oil prices rise high enough in the future and oil production doesn’t fall so fast. It will get worse if oil production slides more and prices remain close to where they are now — overall state oil income could drop to zero. Every prediction combines gambling and guesswork, with no guarantees, though the professional prognosticators agree oil prices won't remain below $40 forever. They are probably right, as commodity prices are subject to wild gyrations. Exactly when prices will rise and by how much is impossible to say. There was much of value in the presentation to legislators Thursday by veteran economist Scott Goldsmith about various plans to transform the Alaska Permanent Fund into an endowment. The Permanent Fund earnings are the largest...Dermot Cole
Taking money from the PFD will put people on the streets The Alaska Permanent Fund dividend is money for the people who live here. It was decided long ago to give us Alaskans who suffer year after year up here a little pay from the interest off that account. Now Gov. Walker wants to take it from us? Not everybody is in the top 10 percent of income, Mr. Gov. Walker! I am disabled and would love to work but that isn’t so for me. I live on less then $15,000 a year. I barely make it from day to day and that PFD in October helps me get caught up on any bills I have. It helps pay house insurance, or the car insurance that the State of Alaska has forced us to have. It also gives me a chance to stock a little extra food in the house for winter or maybe fill up the fuel tank so I don’t freeze to...Alaska Dispatch News