Letters to the Editor

Posted: Monday, January 07, 2002

Anti-sportfishing letter sounds like salmon hypocrisy to writer

I started reading John McCombs' anti-sportfishing letter from Dec. 20 but found if necessary to put on my hip boots in order to finish it. McCombs' personal attack on Brett Huber was not only in poor taste but also shows his total disregard for his own conflict of interests. McCombs alleges a conflict on interest in Huber's promoting the Hook-And-Release-A-Hog program. He alleges the conflict to be a program designed to restore habitat when it really destroys habitat by encouraging people to go sportfishing.

I challenge Mr. McCombs to come forward and inform our community how much money he makes each year and what industry he makes that money from? Because McCombs keeps our community in the dark as to where he is coming from, we the community must take our best guess.

I believe Mr. McCombs makes his income from canning up and selling our local salmon to Japan. McCombs accuses Huber of selling to a nonresident client while he is selling canned salmon to nonresidents all over the world! The only real difference is that the sportfish client is encouraged to come to Alaska to pick up his fish, and commercial fishing is offering to deliver it.

Habitat damage can result from sterilization gillnetting in Cook Inlet waters or by someone taking a bulldozer and digging up a river bank. Both actions can decrease salmon runs, but McCombs' own industry has sterilize-gillnetted our oceans to its current 50-year nitrogen low.

Scientists all over the world are telling the gillnetters that we need to allow more salmon to escape and die in our rivers in order to maintain healthy nitrogen levels. Gillnetters respond by saying we need to allow less escapement and can those fish up and sell them to Japan. The line of reason is "kill everything in the ocean, don't believe the ocean biologists, and accuse the sportfishermen of anything that goes wrong."

Mr. McCombs pointing of his finger at Kenai River Sportfishing Inc. only leaves three of his own fingers pointing back at himself as he sells our salmon dinners to Japan.

Nobody can take McCombs seriously as he preaches the evils of selling a nonresident a salmon here in Alaska, while he is selling 95 percent of our local salmon to nonresidents in Japan. Mr. McCombs, your anti-sportfishing argument has no merit until you stop commercially selling salmon to nonresidents in Japan or anywhere else around the world.

Once you stop being a salmon hypocrite, we may listen to your concerns about habitat. But until then, your comments are only self serving.

Don Johnson


Legislators mislead public about use, purpose of permanent fund

There are two things about our permanent fund dividend and permanent fund program that politicians, including our own representative, Drew Scalzi, keep telling us and want desperately for us to believe.

The first fairy tale that they want us to believe is that the permanent fund dividend we all receive each year is "free" money. Let me tell you that this is just not so.

All of the mineral rights that are owned by the state are in truth owned by its citizens -- you and me. We, the citizens, sell these mineral rights to various mining and petroleum interests. These sales produce royalties that are in turn deposited into the state's general fund account to assist paying for the expenses of state government.

A small part (a very small part) of these royalties is set aside to be distributed amongst the citizens of the state, which is the check that we all get each fall. This is the money that you personally realize for the sale of your minerals.

While it is unearned income, it is not "free" money. You sold something to get it. But the legislators want you to feel guilty about getting so much "free" money, and they believe you should cough some of it up to fund their fat budget.

The second phony notion that our legislators want you to believe is that Alaskans don't contribute anything to the state budget. Let me take you back to the permanent fund.

We, the citizens, fund the greater percentage of Alaska's state budget with the sale of our minerals. We, the citizens, are deliberately and purposely selling our natural resources for the sole purpose of providing money for our legislators to spend. I think that is contributing a lot.

See how much money the Legislature would have to work with if the people said no more mineral or oil sales. In addition, consider the money that goes into our state coffers from state gas taxes, state liquor taxes and state tobacco taxes.

No, don't believe our representatives when they tell you why they need more of your money. It's time to tell them all that they have enough.

Doug Ruzicka

Anchor Point

'Stevens' money' does disservice to U.S. constitution, taxpayers

Just two and one quarter centuries ago, the American colonists, under the principled leadership of George Washington, were fighting for freedom against the world's military superpower.

Today, the unprincipled leader from Alaska, Sen. Ted Stevens, fights to promote the spread of virulent socialism by using "Stevens' money" (i.e., our money). Some of the $43 million the veteran socialist plundered from our wallets for sea lion research is for scientists "to scoop up gobs of pinniped poop" (Anchorage Daily News 12/26/01). Another $500,000 is for studying chum salmon parasites, and $1.3 million is for a wood lab in Sitka.

On Oct. 24, Stevens voted to extract $15.5 billion from America's workers to fund foreign aid. Foreign aid is a euphemism for aiding and abetting socialist, communist and terrorist regimes overseas. Part of last year's foreign aid was a $43 million aid package given to the Taliban in May.

Nowhere in the U.S. Constitution does it authorize the Congress to fund any of the above. Stevens on several occasions has sworn to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution. His voting record indisputably records his disdain for that document. His oath of office was an empty formality.

George Washington would look at Stevens like he looked at Benedict Arnold.

Jim Dore


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