Murkowski, keep your promise
As the U.S. Senate considers legislation that would slash Medicaid funding and strip health insurance from tens of thousands of Alaskans and millions across the country, I write to remind Sen. Lisa Murkowski to stand by her words from her Feb. 22 address to the Alaska Legislature. She stated: "We must continue to prohibit insurers from discriminating against pre-existing conditions. We must retain mental health parity." Regarding Medicaid she went on to say, "As long as this Legislature wants to keep the expansion, Alaska should have the option — so I will not vote to repeal it." She also promised to protect access to crucial services saying, "I will not vote to deny Alaskans access to the health services that Planned Parenthood provides." A vote in support of any of the currently proposed Senate bills would be a failure to uphold these spoken promises and would result in catastrophic consequences for Alaskans. We must hold our senior senator accountable and ensure her words turn into action — in the form of a no vote on any bill that repeals the Affordable Care Act without a replacement plan as she publicly promised last week, or any bill that cuts or caps Medicaid.
— Susan Fleurant
Fine Alaskans help Outsiders
On the afternoon of July 16, I was involved in a rollover accident on the Parks Highway, near Wasilla. My wife and adult daughter were in the car with me; we were all visiting from out of state. I would like to thank all the many fine people who helped us, including those who stopped immediately and helped to get us out of the wrecked car, the paramedics, the people at the Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, the state trooper, the road construction worker who brought my backpack to me at the medical center, and many others.
You are all wonderful. Thank you.
— John Miller
Wanton waste of wolves
We recently learned the Alaska Department of Fish and Game may suspend wolf control in the Fortymile area at the end of the 2017-2018 season. A recent peer-reviewed paper by state biologists cautions that nutritional stress, rather than wolves, could lead to significant population decline. But how long has this situation been known? It turns out that state biologists first raised this concern more than five years ago. The department and the Alaska Board of Game, however, have doggedly continued wolf control at all costs.
For example, annual reports to the Game Board from 2011 to 2016 reveal that rising costs coupled with less wolves taken by Fish and Game resulted in some alarming figures. In 2016, Fish and Game reported their take of 19 wolves and spending $478,300, which amounts to $25,174 per wolf. If associated "research" costs are also counted, the figure rises to $37,384 per wolf taken by the department.
Pro-wolf control propaganda can be found on the Fish and Game website "Stories of Success," featuring the Fortymile program. The story fails to admit that the final decline of the herd in 1972 was caused by excessive hunting. It also fails to acknowledge recent research by department biologists finding that nearly all of the increase in Fortymile caribou occurred before wolf control, and that wolf control did not improve caribou survival. The story should be renamed "Story of Failure."
It's time to suspend this wasteful, ineffective program immediately and allow wolves to play their role in maintaining healthy caribou populations.
— Francis Mauer
Give readers freedom of choice
Please do not stop printing opinion pieces from national commentators. I may not read all of them. I may not agree with all of them, but I want to have the choice of hearing their voices. To restrict contributors from just Alaska is a terrible disservice. It is a very small pool to draw from. Yes, I read them and I almost never take Paul Jenkins seriously, but I still want to choose to read or not.
— Jan Wyland
Process Alaska seafood locally
Why do we pay so much for seafood in Alaska when it comes from here? When we send it out to the Lower 48 to get processed and it gets sent back to us — is this the right thing to do? What happened to fish processing here? It needs to come back. Stop paying other people to do our work and keep the prices down. Let the Lower 48 pay the higher prices.
— James Christenson
GOP has lost all credibility
After watching the now typical political GOP dogma from Vice President Mike Pence last night on the Channel 2 news, I once again find myself wondering why I even bother to listen to this blatantly dishonest administration, much less believe them. These guys (GOP) have lost all credibility, and anyone with two brain cells should know all their policies cater to the rich. GOP policies seldom do what they preach. We the people will get bilked (again) and left (again) without health care. I hope our Alaska senators see through this health care charade. Let's move on folks, there's nothing to see here.
— Wayne Jones
Taxpayers can't foot jurors' bills
In regards to the article "Can village residents get a fair trial?" (ADN, July 14), the U.S. Constitution does not mention the right to serve on a jury. We cannot question the sincerity of village residents to serve on a jury to feel connected to the court system, and not just as a way for the state to pay for a trip somewhere out of the village. But, we do have the right to question whether taxpayers should pay for the service of remote jurors, which is far more costly. Limitations of juror cost do need to be considered when it is the taxpayers that pay for this privilege to serve. If the need to feel connected to the court system is critical, then villagers can pay for the transportation, hotel and food — either in full, or partly subsidized. Our state will then cover any loss of wages they may have while being away from their villages.
There are sacrifices when one lives in remote areas. The only residents that do not have this choice are the infants and elderly with limited mobility.
— Linda L. Compton
Save expense of Juneau road
The Legislature is about to begin work on the capital budget. I have recently heard that the Juneau Access Road may be part of that budget.
I have had opportunities to travel to Juneau from Haines on the Alaska Marine Highway System. I have driven the road from Juneau to Berners Bay on several occasions. The access road project doesn't make sense to me. Improving the road from Juneau to the hard rock mine just beyond Berners, and the private land in the vicinity, would foster economic growth but should the state of Alaska and federal government be paying for it? Fifty miles of road construction through some of the fiercest looking mountains and avalanche areas along Lynn Canal to a new ferry terminal across from Haines seems a little ridiculous to me. I would still have to put my car on a new ferry, travel a short distance and offload at a new ferry terminal, then drive to Juneau through new tunnels and avalanche sheds. All that just to save a few hours travel time?
I think this project has been grossly underestimated as to what it will cost. And I don't think Alaska can afford it, especially if we are cutting education, public safety and municipal revenue sharing.
— Pete Panarese
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 email@example.com.