Readers write: Letters to the editor, May 9, 2016

About time for major GOP revolt

The Republican Party has become inconsequential. Paul Ryan not supporting Donald Trump is not surprising. Isn't he the one who didn't want to become Speaker of the House but yet he accepted the position, and when it came to voting on the new budget he did not stand up for the American public. He rolled over, apparently afraid to stand up to Obama.

All the hoopla about making sure Trump would endorse the future presidential nominee during the primary, now the so-called established Republican Party is balking about endorsing Trump.

The American people are the real Republican Party, not the establishment that has caved in the last eight years and done nothing for Americans. I thought when we won both houses things would get done but no, the so-called establishment did nothing again.

There appears to be a major revolt in America and it is about time.

— Rolf L. Bilet


Long, ugly summer ahead

We now have presumptive party candidates for the November presidential race. It feels like what we have seen is nothing compared to what is coming. The "Donald" campaign created an image needed to garner the party nomination. It will be interesting to see how phase two of the "Donald" presidential image will try and garner the majority needed to win the November presidential election. My only comment is if he couldn't even instill enough American values in his own siblings to be sure they could vote in New York how does he expect to rally a majority of Americans to want to follow his lead. It's going to be a long, ugly summer.


— Bob Kniefel


Singling out medical professions weakens student opportunities

As a classroom teacher in public schools, I'm concerned about the rights of my students' parents. I am fortunate to work at two schools with fabulous parent volunteers who work diligently to help make our community schools the best they can be. They volunteer to work with students in classrooms. They volunteer to teach writing and art lessons. They set up and share science experiments. They share information about their careers, their history, and their cultural stories. They work on our site councils and in our Parent Teacher Organizations to enhance our community schools in a multitude of ways. As guest teachers, they help us instruct in every academic area.

Now, HB 156 has a clause that establishes roadblocks for one group of our parents. While all other parents are able to volunteer to the best of their ability without additional restrictions, those who work in the medical profession and volunteer to help teachers instruct our health curriculum will be asked to first submit their credentials publicly to the local school board for approval with at least two weeks notice prior to volunteering in the classroom. Now, instead of asking those parents to sacrifice their time to come into help teach, we are also asking them to first sacrifice more time and submit their medical credentials to a school board.

No other parents have this requirement. Even when we ask our parents who have careers in politics to come in and guest-teach about government, they don't have to submit their credentials to the school board first. Why are parents in the health profession being singled out? Who is next? Do our school boards have time to micromanage such a guest list? What will be the objective criteria for boards to approve or deny credentials as worthy of volunteer access to their child's classroom?

I'm confused. If the school board has approved the curriculum and the state has approved the teacher's certificate, why do any guest volunteers have to spend their time submitting their credentials to the school board in order to volunteer in our classrooms? HB 156 has added on amendments that cause hardship for a select group of parents and needlessly adds a layer of government-controlled micromanaging that is at best a useless waste of time and at worst a scary foretelling of Big Brother to come.

— Amy Jo Meiners

2016 Alaska Teacher of the Year


‘Oz’ displayed talent galore

Congratulations to Anchorage Community Theater and Hope Community Resources for the charming adaptation of the "Wizard Of Oz" presented at ACT Tuesday by Hope students. There was talent galore on display from the excited actors and their imaginative homemade scenery and costumes to the unique teaching gifts of outreach coordinator Matt Fernandez and his crew of helpers from ACT and Hope.

Add in the fun and learning by all, and the cheering families and friends that filled the theater, and it was a perfect show of "community" at its best.

— Susan S. Williams


Help end needless deaths of mothers around the world

One has to look, but there is bipartisan work being done in our U.S. Congress.

With the urging of RESULTS partners, more than 140 Democrats and Republicans, including our own Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young, have co-sponsored the Reach Every Mother and Child Act of 2015 (SR 1911 and HR 3706). This legislation, if made into law, would pave the way for the end of preventable deaths of moms during pregnancy and delivery, and the deaths of their children, by 2035.

From Anchorage to Afghanistan, the birth of a child can be the most hopeful day of a parent's life. Every parent wants their child to live and thrive.

Astonishingly, the number of children under the age of 5 dying annually from preventable causes has been cut in half since 1990. Today these deaths still number 5.9 million. There is more work to be done.


The REACH Act will require USAID to support countries to save more lives through quality prenatal care, management of labor and delivery and basic treatments needed for child health. It's time now for Congress to turn bipartisan work into action. By passing the REACH ACT, USAID will be directed to end unnecessary deaths no matter who is president. USAID has already implemented a number of the suggested reforms such as increasing transparency, focusing on the most vulnerable countries, and creating new and innovative funding sources to stretch dollars to save the most lives.

If the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations work quickly to take up this bill Congress can help make sure every child in the world — regardless of where they are born —- has a chance to survive and thrive and become contributing members of their community.

— Mary Martin


Air bag anxiety warrantless

The latest recall of millions of vehicles due to dangerous air bags seems to be a tempest in a teapot generated by those who make careers of alarming the population. According to the figures I can access, Takata air-bag malfunctions have killed 12 people in the last 10 years, the latest in January 2016. Something like 139 were injured. Figures from the National Traffic Safety Administration state air-bags saved 2,213 lives in 2012 alone. Assuming an average of 2,000 lives saved each year, air bags have saved something like 20,000 lives over the same 10 years. So the odds are about 2,000-to-1 an air bag will save you rather than kill you. Frankly, I would have expected a far higher fatality rate than that just considering normal quality control errors. Faulty tires and leaky soup cans have killed many more people than faulty air bags.

But if you all really need something to worry about, other than a Trump presidency, just have at it. I have better things to do with my remaining years.

— Don Neal


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