Letters to the Editor

Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2002

This passenger would gladly give up air miles for lower fares

For the past six years, I have been flying a rotational schedule on Era. A slight to modest increase in its fares is to be expected, but not 25 percent. With the summer tourist season starting, the timing is a more than a little suspect.

It seems a little odd that round-trip to Bethel from Anchorage is currently $199, while a walk up roundtrip Kenai-Anchorage is $175. Another way of looking at the strangeness is that the cost of a Kenai-Anchorage flight at $175 is just a little less than 50 percent of the cost to go from Anchorage to southern California at $429.

While your article indicated that most people would rather have the miles than lower cost, I for one would gladly give up my 120 miles roundtrip for lower fares.

Bill Newberry

Soldotna

Democrats in U.S. Senate should confirm Bush's judicial nominees

There is currently a crisis in federal courts around the nation! This crisis is that there is no judge position currently filled! These positions cannot stay unfilled indefinitely, don't you agree? These partisan games that Sen. Daschle and Sen. Leahy have been playing with President Bush's judicial nominees is nearly scandalous. President Bush has nominated over 100 men and women of distinction and accomplishment. They are solidly within the mainstream of American legal opinion and all of the pending nominees thus far have received either a "well-qualified" or "qualified" rating from the American Bar Association.

Judges help ensure that the innocent remain free and the guilty are punished. Judges make decisions that help safeguard the stability of the marketplace and address the grievances of those who have been wronged. Because of the number of vacancies in our nation's courts, Americans are being forced to wait for justice, and the burden on sitting federal judges is growing heavier. This is inexcusable!

I expect more than partisan politics from our nation's leaders. Sens. Daschle and Leahy need to end their stonewalling and confirm President Bush's judicial nominees.

M. R. Floyd

Kenai

Any subsistence solution should preserve equal protection of all

The governor recently called yet another special session to debate a constitutional amendment covering subsistence. Should the legislators find common ground this time, let us all hope it preserves equal protection under the state of Alaska Constitution and supports the tenets of the Zobel case requiring equal distribution of state resources among all state residents.

The challenge will be to uphold Article 14 of the U.S. Constitution: "No state may deny any person, under its government, equal protection of the law."

A lot of people died to protect our right to equal protection under the law. Our Congress let us down when they framed the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. Special interests have stymied efforts to challenge the federal law in court.

We applaud our state legislators who have resisted attempts to amend our state Constitution eliminating equal protection. We support anyone's right to live a subsistence lifestyle as long as they conform to the laws as they apply to all the state's residents. We do not support creating a special class of people by forfeiting our right to equal protection. We can do better!

Nick and Karen Steen

Wasilla

Subsistence proposal is disaster waiting to happen all over Alaska

Imagine Alaska surrendering all fish and game management to the federal government on all state and federal waters and lands. Imagine fish wheels and dipnets restricted to only rural residents from all over Alaska on the Kenai and Russian rivers. Imagine the end of commercial fishing, greatly reduced sports fishing, closed businesses, massive loss of jobs and greatly reduced school funding in our area. This is the reality if the Knowles-Ulmer administration and its willing accomplices in the newspaper are able to pressure passage of House Joint Resolution 41.

HJR 41 states "the policy of the state of Alaska is to recognize the subsistence tradition of indigenous peoples and to accord a priority to customary and traditional uses."

HJR 41 unfairly discriminates against urban Alaskans who want to put food on their table and borders on a racial priority for allocation to fish and wildlife. The priority also applies to all renewable resources: timber, water, berries, etc., thus threatening many people's jobs.

The rural priority applies at all times and not just in times of shortage. It is interesting to note that the bill was written by mostly rural Natives following the Knowles-Ulmer Subsistence Summit where all sportsmen groups were completely left out. Fran Ulmer staked her position by saying, "Not all people are created equal."

If you care about this, contact the legislators in the House and Senate, join the Alaska Outdoor Council and don't elect the lame duck.

Donald Szepanski

Alaska Outdoor Council

Soldotna



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