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Letters to the Editor

Posted: Thursday, January 31, 2002

New way of negotiating necessary to get district to desired destination

I am very concerned about the upcoming Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and Kenai Peninsula Education Association-Kenai Peninsula Education Support Association union negotiations.

I do not believe that the Kenai Peninsula community is interested in witnessing a train wreck. We all want to get to the same destination -- pay the teachers, staff and principals a fair and reasonable salary, which most of us agree we are not presently doing. We also do not want to continue the recent deterioration in staffing and other resources by destroying the budget to provide giant increases in salaries and benefits.

What needs to be accomplished in the next few months is a new way of thinking about the negotiations. Let's work together in a positive manner to decide where we want to end up, disregarding the budget implications. What would happen if we worked in a new negotiations model where the process of funding the payroll needs was a totally separate issue from what those needs are?

Take the word "can't" out of the negotiation process. Get rid of the negotiating team members who can only think negatively. Forget about the finger pointing, thoughts of strikes or lines in the sand, and forget about the national union negotiating parameters. This is a local problem -- let's work on it with local skills. In the richest state in the United States and one of the richest boroughs in Alaska, we can find a reasonable pay raise for our educators.

Then, as a separate process, we need to work on adequate funding for the school district as a whole. If any picketing needs to be done, it should be in Juneau by school district administration, employees and parents. Every citizen on the peninsula should be doing everything in their power to get the Legislature to accept the fact that the education system in Alaska is not receiving a fair allocation of Alaska state education resources.

I really do not want to see us end this process with neighbors unhappy with neighbors, teachers unhappy with principals, or parents angry at teachers. I am not interested in months of anxiety over whether my daughter's education is being affected by unhappy teachers or further budget struggles because of teacher salary-benefit increases. Let's get proactive and use smart, positive thinking processes to get to the best solution for our community.

Our local legislators are already supporting boosting education funding. If you would like to voice your opinion to all other legislators in the state, contact the Alaska Legislative Information Office at 283-2030. You can send a public opinion message through this office which will go to all legislators. You can also go on line at www.legis.state.ak.us to access the Legislative Affairs home page, and select the POM program.

Wayne Pattison

Kenai

Let's hope Clarion errors don't discourage applicants for council

On Tuesday, the Peninsula Clarion published a front page article entitled "Parker fills empty city council seat in Soldotna." Unfortunately, some of the information in the article has been misreported. At the meeting, both Ms. Parker and Scott McLane addressed the council. The article indicates that the only candidate to address the council was John Smallwood. In fact, Mr. Smallwood was the only person who opted not to address the council. The quote attributed to Mr. Smallwood was Mr. McLane's comment to the council. I can only assume that the comments later attributed to Mr. McLane which say "The whole thing is elitist. The only good one of them is (Mayor David) Carey," must be those of Mr. Smallwood.

Scott McLane is a valued member of the Soldotna community. He is a past member of the council and the planning commission. The city of Soldotna is fortunate to have had more than one highly qualified candidate apply for one open council seat. Decisions have to be made, and this time Ms. Parker got the nod. Hopefully, this miscommunication on the part of the Clarion will not dissuade Mr. McLane from another try for council.

I appreciate the community spirit that each candidate displayed by offering their services to the citizens of Soldotna and hope that this letter will serve to clear up any confusion about the events of the evening.

Sharon Moock

Soldotna City Council member

Assembly member's arrogance continues to insult residents

I'm sorry to have to write yet another letter concerning this subject, but the arrogant attitude of assemblyman Tim Navarre needs to be addressed.

This letter stems from Mr. Navarre's comments to the ordinance introduced by Grace Merkes at the assembly meeting on Jan. 8. He stated he does not believe the assembly is ignoring the public.

Why is it that a man in his position was not humbled in the least by the outcome of our vote on the private prison? I want it to be known that Mr. Navarre and other assembly members voted to waive the public right to vote on this bond issue.

Had it not been for James Price's time and sacrifice to secure a ballot initiative petition and the dedication of a citizens group called Peninsula Citizens Against Private Prisons, and those citizens who signed this petition, there wouldn't have been a vote.

Your pet project, Mr. Navarre, was defeated by 73.22 percent. This is the only true and absolute indicator that public opinion wasn't being valued -- that by eliminating due process the assembly could ignore us.

Mr. Navarre continued his statement by saying that several members noted that in a representative form of government, voters elected members to speak for them. Mr. Navarre, please note this, to speak for, not dictate to.

This only reinforces my opinion that those in power do need to be limited and that this procedure should be changed in order to protect the public vote, voice and tax dollar, thereby preventing conflicts of interest between the public and special interests.

I would again remind our assembly and representatives that only from the voting booth is the public voice truly heard!

To address the ordinance introduced by Grace Merkes, I propose that the early meetings be broadcast and recorded.

Vicki Duggin

Nikiski

America should start paying attention to own needs first

Hard-working, tax-paying people in the United States are getting sick and tired working all their lives and then seeing the U.S. government give away all their hard-earned tax dollars to some Third World country that hates and has no respect for the American people. The U.S. government gives away billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars and furnishes Third World nations and their dictators military hardware only to be used against the United States and its people.

There are thousands of people right here in the United States who are in desperate need of food, shelter and medical attention; however, our elected government officials all seem to be wearing dark shades and ear muffs when it comes to helping and providing for America's own people first. This is sad.

Saudi Arabia is a very good example of how our so-called friendly nations are treating the U.S. After defending Saudi Arabia from a certain attack from Iraq, it now wants the U.S. to leave its country. Why?

Because the U.S. now knows that 17 of the 19 hijackers of the Sept. 11 bombing attack on the World Trade Center were from Saudi Arabia, and yet the U.S. government still kisses up to these Saudi Arabian dictators. Again, why? Because of its oil wealth.

The U.S. totally depends upon the oil exported from Saudi Arabia and other Third World nations in order to function on a day-to-day basis. People had better start paying attention to the fact that most of these Third World nations and their dictators are not our friends, and our elected government officials had better wake up and get a grip on our own energy resources here in America, starting with the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

James Bounds

Kenai

Story on KESA, annexation issues needs to be set straight

Hal Spence's article on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly votes on the Miller's Landing-Kachemak Emergency Services Area and annexation issues contains a couple of misleading statements. I will charitably assume they occurred by error, not intent, but would like to set the record straight.

First, Hal reports that "Homer city officials and others" objected to adding Miller's Landing to KESA. There were no "others" that testified against this ordinance. Hal may have misunderstood my testimony, in which I supported adding Miller's Landing despite the fact that it may be part of the city soon.

At the end of the article Hal says "Some opponents said they are being ignored by their elected representatives." I was there, and what was expressed was our gratitude that we were being listened to for once, after having been completely ignored by the city of Homer, the state Department of Community and Economic Development and the Local Boundary Commission.

Abigail Fuller

Outside of Homer

Talkative movie-goers wreck experience for rest of audience

I would like to comment on the rudeness of patrons in the local movie theaters. I have noticed over the past year that it isn't just the young people who don't have any manners when it comes to being in the public.

Jan. 22, we attended the 4:35 p.m. viewing of "Black Hawk Down." My first husband was a Ranger and involved in the planning and carrying out of this mission and several others.

I was very interested in seeing what those missions were really like for the men involved

because they rarely talk about the few things they are allowed to tell the anxious family at home. However, the older couple seated behind us talked through about two-thirds of the movie! Their hearing must have been bad because they were not very quiet when they did talk. And I'm sorry to say that this is not the first movie that has been ruined by rude patrons!

Were these people not taught manners by their parents, or do they just not give a rip about anyone else? If they can't be quiet for more than two hours, maybe they should wait for the movie to come out on video! I'm sick and tired of paying to see a movie and have it totally ruined by these idiots!

Janet St. John

Kenai



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