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

Since the regular legislative session is about to end, if meaningful progress is not made on implementing the marijuana initiative, the proverbial can will be kicked down the road until next session. This leaves a handful of entrepreneurs, innovators, and aspiring industry leaders left in limbo not knowing what they can or can’t do, and what will be or is legal...

Tim Kacillas

We in Alaska know only too well how a power outage can damage our heating systems in winter. That’s why so many of us have generators. The long-term development of the fledgling film industry in our state is currently “frozen” and we need to ensure short-term concerns don’t create permanent problems. We need to keep the “generators” running by not supporting Senate Bill 39, which completely eliminates incentives for filming by changing the “freeze” to a “kill.”...

Mary Katzke

In its National Strategy for the Arctic Region, the U.S. government identifies the state of Alaska as one of two key partners. Further, President Barack Obama's more recent executive order establishes a coordinating body within the federal government to liaise with Arctic partners, and fundamentally with the state. Partnership has yet to be defined, however, and with the U.S. chairmanship of the Arctic Council, it is all the more crucial...

Nils Andreassen
Legislators put prisons before schools

The state of Alaska pays to incarcerate a prisoner at a cost of $136 per day per prisoner, or $49,800 per year, according to 2009 data.

On the other hand, the state believes the price of public education is too high and the Alaska education system should do more with less, which means less teachers, less pay, more students per class, etc.

Over the past three years, the Anchorage School District has cut 266 administrative or support positions and used the savings to close the inflation gap and add 61 additional teachers in our classrooms in order to improve the performance of every child, to ensure at least one year’s academic growth each year. This is a net reduction of 205 positions or about 3.57 percent...

Alaska Dispatch News