More bridge shenanigans
I might excuse Sen. David Wilson, R-Wasilla, from his last-minute insertion of $4.5 million into the Senate capital budget to try to re-start the Knik Arm Bridge, because he was not around to review 13 years of dubious financial schemes. However, he should be smart enough to listen to the conclusions of the Legislative Budget Office, which called the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority's population and toll forecasts "unreasonably optimistic," and the U.S. Department of Transportation, which turned down loan and grant applications seven times.
The facts: Alaska does not have a spare $2 billion to spend on the bridge. The bridge is not "shovel ready," the design is only 35 percent complete. Proponents' ever-shifting financial schemes rely on unlikely federal loans and grants, as well as impossibly derived toll revenues. You can't bank on tolls from traffic that can only fit on a four-lane bridge, but only pay to build a two-lane bridge!
Far better to use the $4.5 million (and $21.3 million for the Juneau road extension) for police, prosecutors, and drug treatment facilities to actually do something about the rising crime problem.
— Bob French
VA clinics offer excellent care
I am a veteran of the Navy and the Army. As a veteran, I receive benefits from Veterans Administration hospitals and clinics.
I have been receiving care at the Anchorage VA clinic for 21 years. I am very happy with all the services. This the best health care I have ever received in my life. The staff is consistently superlative in all areas. I have never been in any health care facility like this where morale is so high.
When they say, "Thank your for your service to our country," they not only say it, they show it.
Thank you, Dr. Ballard. Thanks to all the staff at the Anchorage Veterans Administration Clinic.
— Spruce Lynch
Living in hypocrisy
Alaska is a great land, full of contradictions. I grew up here, so I'm used to it. We celebrate vast wilderness and our economy is based on resource extraction. I'm only half-joking when I say that because my dad is a miner and my mom is a botanist, they balance each other out. When I notice a paradox, I pause to tease apart contradiction, in search of insight. That's why I'm asking you to pause with me to consider Alaska's oil and climate.
Thawing permafrost, altered migrations, and receding glaciers are subtle when compared to the billions of dollars needed to resettle Alaska communities threatened by erosion. Entire towns needed to move yesterday, but they are stuck, because our state doesn't have the money — so we look to oil to fund climate mitigation.
I grew up in the post-oil boom bubble of Alaskan prosperity. But oil isn't the only way, and it's reckless to base our economy on a single resource. Alaska's economy went down the tank with the price of oil. We must diversify to establish a resilient economic base that can weather the volatile oil market. Can we shift our economy to be regenerative, not extractive?
— Margi Dashevsky
Future Nobelists in the Legislature
Alaska House Reps. Matt Claman, D-Anchorage, and Chuck Kopp, R-Anchorage, in their comment, "Continuing our commitment to building a safer Alaska," (ADN, May 11) write that to improve public safety, we need to "get to the root cause of why people commit crime." Really?
If they solve this problem, I believe they both would get a Nobel Prize.
— Rudy J. Budesky
Legislature fails again
A picture is worth a thousand words. The legislators fail on a crime bill, fail on reducing spending and win on taking part of Alaskans' Permanent Fund dividends for the third year in a row. Congratulations!
To top it off, in the newspaper, we get a photo of two lobbyists scouring over bills. No wonder! The good old boy network is alive and well. I used to think I was who the Constitution referred to when it said "We, the people." Truly sad.
— Jeffrey Carlson
A modest proposal on mining
When I read an article or opinion, I always consider the source.
Since Deantha Crockett is wedded to the Alaska Miners Association, her recent opinion article could be construed as propaganda. I read Alaska Business Monthly. I wonder how many citizens are aware that in order to produce one ounce of gold they must convert as much as three or four tons of rock into dust, which is then sluiced using cyanide and mercury to extract that tiny ounce of gold, the residue.
The material is then moved to tailings pits, where they will remain full of poison for maybe a thousand years. They build a dam (usually earthen), which is subject to failure due to the natural processes of nature. Most of these mines are situated near rivers and streams, which can capture any runoff, thus killing the river.
So what happens to those gold bars next? Most of them wind up in a deep hole under banks in New York, London, England, Switzerland, Germany or other financial centers, where they are placed on pallets, and every day, the gnomes who work there move bars back and forth because the pallets belong to different countries and the balance of trade changes every day.
Since the miners know how much gold is in the ground, why don't they just leave it there and assign the value of it to the financial wizards? Every day we could transfer an acre from the U.S. to Switzerland or whomever it's owed to. This way, we could quit making the Earth look like the moon, full of giant, lifeless craters.
Please pay attention. The Earth depends on us and we on it.
— George Trudeau
A matter of survival
I agree with Dave Cuddy's ideas on how to help the poor, but my question for him is this: What are underpaid or unemployed families supposed to eat while waiting for his idealistic goals to be attained?
— Wendy Withrow
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