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Readers write: Letters to the editor, Feb. 12, 2016

  • Author: Alaska News
  • Updated: July 8, 2016
  • Published February 12, 2016

Clear the air for all Alaskans

There has been a dark cloud looming over the people of Alaska for far too long. A cloud that could easily be lifted, but if it isn’t, it will continue to affect the well-being of thousands of Alaskans across the entire state.

Only 50 percent of Alaskans are currently protected by smoke-free workplace laws. For over a decade, Anchorage community members have enjoyed the freedom of breathing clean air while they work. Areas in the Kenai Peninsula, Mat-Su, Fairbanks-North Star, and Kodiak boroughs though, do not have the same local health powers that Anchorage has to make comprehensive smoke-free workplace laws a reality for their residents.

Senate Bill 1, currently before the Legislature, would protect all Alaskans from secondhand smoke and aerosols in the workplace. In 1985, Alaska Airlines became the nation’s leading example of smoke- and nicotine-free workplaces and flights. We can continue to lead the nation in being a smart, healthy example of what a state should be by passing this law for all of Alaska.

We are in desperate need of a positive change, and this bill can be that change. Employees across this state are tired of having to work in a cloud of smoke and risking their lives just to do their job. Alaska’s politicians represent their communities in which they live, and this is what the communities want. It’s not against people who smoke; it’s just asking them to take it outside. It’s respecting all who work, visit and interact with our state’s workplaces. It’s respecting the indoor environment in which people spend countless hours. It’s respecting Alaska and it’s respecting ourselves.

Our Legislature has the power to lift the clouds. Bring some light to Alaskans during this dark time of year and pass SB 1.

— Katie Steffens


APOC only as good as its staff

In the 1980s, when I was the executive director of the Alaska Public Offices Commission,the commission understood it could not function effectively unless those who sought direction from its staff were able to rely on that direction.

If someone came before the commission with an apparent violation and said, “we called the staff and did what they suggested we do.”

If the staff confirmed, but the commission felt that — as a policy or interpretation of statute — the staff’s suggestion was incorrect, the commission would tell the respondent, “We’re sorry you received incorrect direction, but thank you for doing as the staff directed. Don’t do that again.”

To the staff, the commission would say, “Don’t give anyone that suggestion again.”

— Theda S. Pittman


Move to the Atwood Building


Keep it simple, stupid.

Move to the Atwood Building.

Liars figure; figures don’t lie.

— Terry L. Chambers


The views expressed here are the writers' own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a letter under 200 words for consideration, email, or click here to submit via any web browser. Submitting a letter to the editor constitutes granting permission for it to be edited for clarity, accuracy and brevity. Send longer works of opinion to

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