Letters to the Editor

Posted: Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Fish farming would be economic boon to Alaska, commercial fishers

Our state lost a great economic opportunity when we banned fish farming. We did this because Alaska commercial fishermen did not want to compete with farmed salmon; however, they have had to compete with salmon farmers from other states and countries, which is one reason why commercial fishermen do not make the money they once did.

We should immediately change the law to allow people in our state to "fish farm." Fish farming would open wonderful economic possibilities to seasoned commercial fishermen because who understands salmon more than they?

Since commercial fishermen (and women) have to compete with fish farmers from other states and countries, they might as well compete with these farms from people in our own state. This could be a great business that would bring much money and jobs to Alaska. Further, these jobs would be permanent year-round jobs and not just seasonal jobs like those created by commercial fishing.

Esther Rhines


Board of Fisheries deserves thanks for choosing to make tough calls

I would like to express my appreciation for the hard work that the Board of Fisheries has undertaken over the past few years. In recent years, the board has tackled several tough issues and dealt with them in as fair and equitable manner as possible. They have developed new procedures and better methods of managing our state fisheries. But change is not always freely accepted.

Several years ago, the Board of Fisheries implemented a new committee structure within the meeting process whereby all user-groups could participate. This was a revolutionary modification to the old process, and there were many who doubted its usefulness. However, today few would disagree that this committee arrangement has proven to be an invaluable part of the process.

More recently the board developed and implemented the sustainable fisheries policy aimed at conserving and protecting our wild fisheries for future generations. We are fortunate to have a board that possesses the wisdom, leadership and foresight to recognize that we cannot continue to over-exploit our commercial and sport fisheries while protecting this resource at the same time.

The board made the difficult decision to reduce our harvest in certain areas of concern. Obviously, many of these decisions were unpopular with those affected. Some felt these decisions went too far, while others believed they did not go far enough.

Albert Einstein once said "Progress is impossible if I am only willing to do things the way I've always done them." Change is sometimes a difficult pill to swallow, but it is often necessary if we are to move forward as a whole.

I thank the Board of Fisheries for its hard work and courage to protect our fisheries of tomorrow by choosing to lead today.

Pat Carter


Overzealous law officers may be infringing on people's rights

In everyone's effort to get drunk drivers off the road we may have a few overzealous officers -- for example, going into bars and getting people out to give a breathalyzer test.

One might ponder some of our laws as anyone with a gripe against someone can call the police and give a vehicle description, where it might be parked, at a house or bar, wherever. This is hearsay. Are the courts going to function on hearsay? Consider some innocent people could have a heavy burden defending themselves with attorney fees, fines and jail time.

Also, ponder the revolving door for people with suspended and revoked licenses out on the road driving time after time. Some of the laws may be infringing on our rights as citizens. Consider where this situation could lead. Let's hope it does not lead to old Gestapo tactics. Where is the law that a person can be charged with drunk driving when they are not in a vehicle?

Vern Jones


Some reasons why few attend advisory committee meetings

The Kenai-Soldotna Fish and Game Advisory Committee is indeed stacked in favor of commercial fishing interests. There are two commercial positions, four at-large positions, and two alternate positions, all of these being filled by commies. It is one of the many reasons nobody, including the Board of Fish, takes the committee seriously.

The last meeting I attended was several years ago. The chairman at the time suggested shooting all Kenai River guides. Being a guide, I took this hatred as a serious threat. Dr. Cannava, you may call me lazy for not attending, but if you are threatened with harm do you think it is wise to place yourself in harm's way? Sir, I used to use your professional eye service until a couple or three years ago when you wrote your hateful anti-guide letter. Since then, I have spent my thousands of dollars on eye care elsewhere. Thanks, anyway. I'm happy someone is there "representing the true sport fisher." What do you mean by "true sport fisher"?

And to you, Mr. Superior to Everyone Else in the Community Butler, your arrogance is insulting. You have insulted the entire community by insinuating anyone who listens to Les Palmer is "ignorant."

Furthermore, you complain that anyone who would consider Les Palmer's opinion column has "little capacity to think critically about the important challenges that face our local salmon resources." You insult my senses. Trying to compare the Anchorage paintball ethnic crime to our local salmon user groups' conflicts is complete and utter trash.

These are but a few of the reasons why nobody takes the advisory committee seriously, and why attendance at the meetings is so bad.

Rod Berg, guide


Groups should be fully identified so readers will know their agenda

Subject: Felons buying guns.

Interesting article but only from the obvious slant it's written. If the group was a completely unbiased one, the facts and figures they quote might actually contain some validity. Since McKelvey is a liberal political thinker, and in support of such things like the Brady Bill, his organization's reporting of their "facts" are the ones they want everyone to hear. It would be nice to see disclaimers from your paper showing what the group really stands for. With a title like that, there's probably many people out there who assume it's some kind of government organization. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Stan Adams


Elected leaders should blame themselves for Enron fiasco

I fail to understand all the righteous indignation and hand wringing over the Enron "debacle," especially by a majority of our elected leaders and all those who have supported them over these past many years.

Our elected leaders, over a many years long campaign, have consistently enacted the laws that enabled the corporate entities to benefit on the backs of the people.

During the time these laws were created, allowing the current "debacle" to transpire legally, I might add, I didn't hear our elected leaders decrying the unfairness of giving, among other things, tax breaks, deduction allowances and questionable accounting reporting practices to the corporations. No, that may have meant no contribution. No, then as is now, these laws are enacted and championed as the holy grail to economic growth.

Who's economic growth?

The elected leaders who have enacted these laws continue to have widespread support by many voters. It is a certainty that they enjoy the

support of those contributors that benefit directly. Yet, now, I hear they're indignant. Sounds comforting, doesn't it?

Paul Zimmerman


Legislators waiting for miracle to solve state's money woes

The Clarion has been urging our legislators to act on the fiscal crisis. At this point it appears that all they will do is either nothing or impose taxes. They are all waiting for some miracle to solve the problems.

Based upon my correspondence with a number of legislators, it appears that reducing the size and costs of state government is not going to happen. "It is too difficult." "All the easy cuts have been made."

Reducing takes cooperation and courage. There isn't a lot of either in Juneau. If we can't have an orderly plan to reduce state government, all that is left for them to do is to start the imposition of new and ever rising taxes.

All I read in the papers is that just about every state funded entity, including the university and K-12 schools, is crying for more money. All will send lobbyists on the public purse to lobby for more money. Other special interests want more. Their collective cries destroy any voice for reason within the Legislature. The Legislature does not have the collective courage to force these groups to learn to do more with less, nor do the legislators have the courage to just say no!

The problem for most Alaskans is that if we don't reduce, but keep increasing spending, we face disaster. In seven to 10 years, at the present rate of budget growth and declining oil production, it will take all the earnings of the Alaska Permanent Fund (read that as no money for dividends) plus massive taxes to cover the costs of government.

How massive? Say in the area of $10,000 to $15,000 each for the average taxpayer. The only consolation is that all those crying for more money will have to pay the big taxes, too!

I am giving up on my efforts at urging our governor and our legislators to take the long view. They will not consider reducing the size and cost of government. They are on a runaway train without a brakeman, statesman, realist in the bunch. We are going to get high taxes and a crash and burn.

Will the last person leaving the state turn out the lights?

William J. Phillips


Tourism industry needs to pay fair share for doing business here

Subject: SB 254: Governor wants to give $10 million more of our tax dollars to tourism industry!

Gov. Knowles, I am appalled that you have proposed legislation giving our oil taxes and royalty dollars to the tourism industry. These people have historically gone out of their way to avoid paying taxes, user fees and royalties of any kind. The majority of all money spent on Alaska vacations goes outside the state. They leave in their wake water and air pollution, roads and bridges crushed under the weight of sightseeing coaches, piles of garbage and sewage for us to deal with, streams without fish and forests empty of animals for subsistence fishers and hunters.

If oil companies had received the same terms for doing business in Alaska, there wouldn't be any money in the state coffers to give every sweet-tongued lobbyist that comes along, and certainly no permanent fund to quibble about.

Do not come to me asking for new taxes, until these people are being sent a big bill for the privilege of doing business in Alaska. These people pay taxes and user fees everywhere but here. Anyone who has traveled will know this is true, so their argument that it will ruin business is nothing more than a scare tactic to avoid paying their fair share.

We are long past due putting the brakes on government spending. My neighbors and I will be urging our representatives to vote "No" on your proposed funding of tourism marketing. Shame on you for even suggesting it, and shame on any legislator that carries water for these people!

Mike McBride


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