What others say: Public housing changes emphasize purpose of assistance

State officials should be commended for beginning to fix a broken — or at least damaged — public assistance housing system.

The turnover in public assistance housing has stagnated because the system discourages recipients from improving their income. If they make more money, they pay more for their apartments.

The new system will base public housing assistance on the market value of an apartment instead of a recipient’s income.

The system change is prompted by the number of able-bodied renters in subsidized apartments not transitioning out of assistance. It used to be the system had a three-year turnover rate, now it is eight years.

When transitioning does not take place, or the transition takes more than twice the time it did, that means a line of needy families develops and cannot be assisted. Alaska has thousands of families seeking housing assistance who cannot acquire it because of the sluggish system.

Alaska Housing will address the situation by increasing the percentage of the market value of apartments that renters pay over five years. By year five, renters will be required to pay 100 percent.

The elderly and the disabled will not be subject to the renewed effort to move renters into more lucrative opportunities in the workforce and out of public assistance.

But those who can work and choose not to will be encouraged to move along through the revised assistance system.

This revision will reemphasize that public assistance is not a way of life, but a hand up and out in a time of need.

— Ketchikan Daily News,

Nov. 5

More

What others say: Obama’s legacy a mixed one

President Barack Obama leaves office Friday after eight years as the most consequential Democrat to occupy the White House since Lyndon Johnson. And unlike that Texan, whose presidency was born in tragedy and ended in failure, Obama will not have the ghost of the Vietnam War haunting his days and eating his conscience as LBJ did all the remaining days of his life.

Read more

Op-ed: Trump won the news conference

Donald Trump should do press conferences more often. Not for the country’s sake, certainly not for the media’s sake, but for his. He really shouldn’t have waited 167-plus days to hold one, because the man gives great sound bite. Although I’ve participated in probably thousands of these staged encounters as a reporter, they’re not my favorite way of getting news — you almost never get any. The guy at the podium controls the proceeding. He can get his message out with little challenge from the assembled journalists who are limited to a question and a follow-up, maybe. Politicians can bob and weave through that without any of us landing a blow. And that’s our job: to penetrate the canned responses to their version of the controversy du jour and get at whatever truth they are hiding. Besides, Trump — who uses contempt for the media as a weapon, his preferred way to discredit reporting that displeases him —has a wonderful forum to do that. At the very least he should hold these confrontations as a supplement to his Twitter tirades. And frequently. It’s his opportunity to hold the media hostage as they cover live his rain of abuse on them.

Read more

Good luck in Juneau

The 30th Alaska Legislature gavels in on Tuesday, and we’d like to take a moment to wish our Kenai Peninsula legislators good luck over the coming months in Juneau.

Read more

Ready to weather the storm

If there’s a bright spot in the recent headlines regarding Alaska’s economy, it’s this: on the Kenai Peninsula, the bad news isn’t nearly as bad as it could be.

Read more