Readers write: Letters to the editor, May 25, 2016

Don’t criticize selflessness

I am the mother of a 16-year-old teenager who is going on the St. John United Methodist Church mission trip to South Africa at the end of May. This trip was mentioned in Chris Thompson’s article “Why Short-Term Mission Trips May Do More Harm Than Good.”
Thirty young adults and 10 adults are giving up two weeks of their summer to help complete living quarters for the people of Ocean View, South Africa. They are also helping to improve soccer fields and related structures for a local soccer organization. Money has been raised specially for the purpose of this trip and many of the teenagers have worked very hard for the last two years to earn their own money to pay for their travel expenses.
For someone to write that these teens and adults may be doing more harm than good is heartbreaking to me. We constantly fault the younger generation for being self-absorbed. Here is a group who will make a huge difference in the lives of the community of Ocean View, and they are being criticized for it. Chris Thompson owes these selfless people an apology.
— Carla Wight

Veterans deserve the best care

“Some people wonder all their lives if they’ve made a difference. The Marines don’t have that problem.”
That quote by President Ronald Reagan can be expanded to include all other branches of the U.S. military.
After hearing Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald downplaying veteran wait times at VA hospitals by comparing them to wait times for rides at Disney theme parks, I am infuriated.
Alaska seniors are getting the shaft these days by our Alaska Legislature. Many of these seniors are veterans. Regardless of age or status in life, veterans must be treated with the highest degree of dignity and respect — including receiving appropriate, timely and top-level health care.
To our veterans and current military: I honor you, I cherish you, I hold you in the highest esteem and wish for each of you a safe “Welcome Home.”
— Jacqueline Fries

Classroom drones is old news

I noted with some confusion your story entitled “One Anchorage high school school is bringing drones into the classroom.” For years, graduating seniors of my acquaintance have been complaining to me that much of their instruction has been conducted by drones, so I don’t see that this is an innovation.
— Doug Miller

Oil employees should abstain

In light of all the trouble the legislators are having trying to fix the oil tax in order to fix the budget:
All members who work for oil companies should recuse themselves from voting on oil tax matters.
That I think would changes things.
— Louis Dupree

Listen to people, not lobbyists

We all want the same thing, a healthy and thriving Alaska. I believe most Alaskans also want our state to be independent from corporate interests, lobbyists, and outside money. Residents around the state gave impassioned testimonies during session about what’s important for their quality of life, jobs and their government. So, I ask the legislators as they work toward compromise on a state budget, to hear the people, not the lobbyists.
The budget should not unduly impact the poorest or most vulnerable and should consider both rural and urban residents. Put Alaskans and our wishes above the corporations, special interests and megaprojects. It is time to stand up to bullying from big industry and to change the culture of corporate dominance over our state and way of life. Listen to the people. Act for Alaskans.
— Lori Hanemann
executive director 
Alaska Public Interest Research Group

Sen. Meyer oblivious to

interests of constituents

In Sen. Kevin Meyer’s commentary he, in bold text, wonders why our governor introduced issues “ranging from insurance to foster care.” He later, in the paragraph, writes, “Count me as confused.” Well, that’s because he is not only confused about the business of governing, but as a major shill for Big Oil and as someone who enjoys the many benefits of government insurance he apparently doesn’t realize te gravity of his constituents’ situation.
My wife pays $1,305 a month for a policy with Moda Health — with correspondingly high deductibles. This is equal to her Social Security. She hasn’t been to a doctor in over a year. And Moda is abandoning Alaska next year so we can only imagine the rates that the last man standing will charge. We will probably drop insurance after her checkup next month. These are our lives, and not some oil-tax credit that costs all Alaskans more money. Plus, doctors are refusing both Medicare and “Obamacare.” Mr. Senate President should ask his receptionist, who loyally insists he loves to talk with constituents, to make a few calls.
We love Alaska but have to seriously consider a move out of state because of prohibitive health insurance. So Sen. Meyer should count himself clueless and listen to his governor who has his constituents’ best interests at heart.
— Bruce Scotland
Eagle River

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