Letters to the Editor

Readers write: Letters to the editor, March 19, 2018

Pebble could help Bristol Bay

An editorial in the March 14 paper requested input from Alaska Native people regarding the "Pebble Mine."

I was born in Anchorage in 1952 and raised at Port Alsworth on Lake Clark, where my father established an air service. I went with him all around the Bristol Bay region, and whoever coined the phrase "Bristol Bay — the way it has always been" is quite right: Bristol Bay has always been destitute and on welfare.
I started fishing in Bristol Bay, namely the Naknek-Kvichak district, in 1964. The Bristol Bay fishery has been in decline for many years. In 1969 and 1971, the fishery didn't even make enough to pay all of their workers what had been promised. The opponents of Pebble never mention that fishing is no longer a way to make a living in Bristol Bay.

There has to be an alternate way of earning a living. Who knows? Maybe it is the mine. After all, God put the resources here for us to manage.

— John Alsworth

Prop.1 is obscene and wrong

About Proposition 1: The whole idea that disenfranchising a minority is a matter for popular vote is obscene and wrong.

— Tim Wargo

Protect rights to help public safety

We have all hands on deck to fight back against criminals in Anchorage. Police officers and firefighters are giving everything we have to fight back against the property crime and violence that have resulted from the opioid epidemic. At a time like this, we can't afford to be distracted or, even worse, have more violence. That's why I'm voting "no" on Proposition 1.

Proposition 1 would force government-mandated discrimination on the citizens of Anchorage. Based on the long record of discrimination, we know that it would lead to more bullying, assaults and other violence. Why? Because discriminatory proposals like Proposition 1 send the clear and odious message that it is OK to target one group of Alaskans for persecution.

While backers of Prop. 1 claim they're advocating for public safety, nothing could be further from the truth. Late last year, Police Chief Justin Doll confirmed that there has been no uptick in public safety incidents as a result of ensuring basic protections for our transgender neighbors in Anchorage. And in the 200-plus cities and 18 states with laws nearly identical to Anchorage's non-discrimination law, the results have been the same: Protecting transgender people is not a threat to public safety — here in Anchorage or anywhere else in the country.

If Proposition 1 passes, it would also repeal protections for transgender students in Anchorage schools — encouraging bullying and harassment against our most vulnerable young people. We should never send the message that discrimination or violence is acceptable against any group of people. Far from making restrooms safer, Prop. 1 would put students and other Alaskans at risk of discrimination and assault.

A large part of our work as first-responders is building a culture of respect for the law and respect for one another. Let's work toward that goal — a society that respects both civil rights and the rule of law. Let's reject barbaric proposals like Proposition 1 that would make Anchorage more dangerous, particularly for students.

— Mike Stumbaugh
President, Anchorage Firefighters Union Local 1264

DUI? Debt? Vote Berkowitz over Logan

"Mayoral candidate has navigated a DUI and debt." (ADN March 12, 2018, Page A3) Navigated? Most of us do that with a compass or GPS. You win some kind of award for a euphemistic headline. Next is great spin in a subtitle: "Rebecca Logan believes voters can connect with someone who has 'learned pretty tough life lessons.' " Your statement I prefer is: "She said the experience made her believe strongly that crimes should come with consequences." I agree. Next month I'm voting for a mayoral candidate with a solid moral compass, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz.

— Jerald Stroebele

Value individual liberty? No on prop. 1

On April 3, the Municipality of Anchorage will conduct a regular election via mail. Proposition 1, alternately nicknamed the "Bathroom Bill," will ask Anchorage voters if the city should regulate access to facilities such as locker rooms and bathrooms on the basis of sex at birth, rather than gender identity.

Many arguments have been presented as to why Prop. 1 should be rejected, but we think there is one argument that is missing from the debate: government would have no right to do this. If we truly consider individual liberty to be the reigning virtue of this country, then we need to understand that government does not have a right to penalize an individual's decision, so long as that decision does not infringe on another's life, liberty, or property. In other words, you are free to be who you want, love who you want and do what you want; just don't hurt anyone else. A transgender individual's decision to use a public facility consistent with their identity is not a threat to anyone else's life, liberty, or property. Therefore, government would be unjust to penalize their decision to do so.

We do not penalize innocent people because we can imagine them committing a crime. Only when they do commit a crime, or overwhelming evidence suggests that they intend to commit a crime, is government justified to intervene. Americans made this mistake prior to the 1960s civil rights movement, when southern governments segregated bathrooms because they could imagine the horror of black men assaulting white women. Today, we can see parallels with how some people disparage the transgender community as mere criminals in disguise.

Real conservatism, as we understand it, is founded on the beautiful philosophy of mind-your-own-damn-business. Anchorage should not err when it comes to individual liberty. Anchorage should vote "no" on Prop 1.

— Ben Edwards and Suzanne Snyder