Letters to the Editor

Posted: Wednesday, April 18, 2001

It's not easy for young professional to get high-paying job in Soldotna

About a year ago I remember reading or possibly hearing on the radio about the Kenai Peninsula Borough's concerns that many of the people aged between 25 and 35 were moving out of Soldotna. The reasons for this were obvious, and the borough duly recognized that the lack of high-earning jobs was the principle reason for the exodus.

Now the reasons for concern are also pretty obvious. If the people most likely to earn good money are leaving, then that leaves us with mostly unemployed or retired citizens who are mostly exempt from paying city taxes; therefore, revenues will go down and services will suffer. The few hundred people employed by the state, borough and school district are not enough to support two cities. I acknowledge that the supermarkets are big employers, but minimum wage is not enough by itself to afford the tax bill necessary to keep the area's services going.

If you are not earning $35,000 to $50,000 a year, then you are not in the bracket of people I'm talking about. It doesn't matter if that's OK for you. Great and good luck to you, I'm very glad you're happy, but without the big earners, the taxes will not be collected, and the standard of services will go down.

I remember laughing when the city and borough promised that they would be working to make sure that more high-paying jobs will become available, so that the traditionally highest earners in today's society would decide to stay in Soldotna.

The reason I find this so amusing is that, like many of the people living here, the only place I can find work is Anchorage. Oh, I've tried many times to apply for the various jobs in my field (computer engineering), but to no avail. I don't really stand much of a chance, as there seem to be so many highly qualified people living in Soldotna, it's truly amazing.

I have degrees in computing and electronic engineering. I've worked alongside engineers from companies like Sony, IBM, Intel, AT&T, Lucent, the list goes on. For over a decade I've supported PC and mainframe networks, set up and supported modern telecommunications equipment, and given technical support to the aforementioned companies. But somehow every time I apply for a job, someone with superior qualifications, someone more suited to the needs of that organization, gets the job ahead of me. I know this because that's what it says in the letters they keep sending me.

All I can say is that places like the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District must be impossible to break into, with the level of expertise they have working for them. I am truly in awe of the people they hire ahead of me, as it seems I am so far down the list, I don't even rate a reply to my applications, let alone an interview. If I bother to apply for another position with them, I will enclose a envelope, stamped and addressed as the only logical reason for their lack of response must be that the human resources department can't afford to.

So like many of the other people in my age group, I find that I must now look at leaving Soldotna, and move to Anchorage. I find this particularly sad, because the reason I emigrated from England to America was to come to live here, in Soldotna. I think it's a wonderful place to live, as long as you enjoy the quiet life, and I do.

However it seems that I will never find work down here, and the trek back and forth from Anchorage every weekend is becoming very old. Some people manage to keep going for years, and I admire their tenacity, but it's not for me. So, goodbye, Soldotna, and good luck to those other 25-35 year olds, looking for employment, hanging onto the words of our local politicians. All I can say is that your chances aren't looking good, as I haven't seen any evidence of the economic development that was talked about last year.

Andy Bright, Soldotna

Do speed limit signs mean what they say or are they meaningless?

I was wondering if there is an addendum to interpreting the speed limit signs.

It seems that there must be a tolerance given of which I am unaware. It appears that 95 percent of the vehicles on the road pass me, literally. The tolerance seems to be plus 35 percent, minus zero.

I usually set my cruise control right at what I think is the speed limit (as per those numbers on the signs along the highway) and I feel as if I'm in a slo-mo movie and the rest of my fellow travelers are at speed.

I've also observed that it seems that the youth on the way to the high school, ladies on cell phones in SUVs, and gents with macho trucks are given an extra 10 percent above the rest of the populace. Why? The mystery evades me.

In any event, please let me know if I am uninformed as to this addendum as I hate to be left out.

Bill Thompson, Kenai

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