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Letters to the Editor

Posted: Wednesday, July 24, 2002

No one will be prosecuted for loss of retirement funds

In only last seven months you have lost in excess of $3 trillion, and no one will be held liable for the loss.

In the old days, many companies and unions offered you a guaranteed pension. When some company or union abused or lost those funds, they were prosecuted. Not so today.

Today's corporate heads and your trusted lawmakers created a new plan.

Retirement plans today are structured in a manner that legally mandates your money be available as corporate assets. You are advised to "diversify" and "buy and hold," yet your investment options are severely limited and structured to funnel vast sums of money back into certain corporations, with the attendant, not unsubstantial, fees to manage those funds going to a few select financial fund companies.

The present administration has even asked you to invest more, as it is your patriotic duty to do so.

The $3 trillion has not disappeared. The way the stock market works, someone has cashed out, and it wasn't you.

Happy retirement. Oh, and don't forget to vote, they want to do it again.

Paul Zimmerman

Kasilof

KRSA's detractors ask valid questions; they deserve answers

In a recent letter to the editor, Brett Huber of Kenai River Sport Fishing Association stated that detractors from the Kenai River Classic were vocal and not informed. I found this shot at those who question the Classic to be very interesting and without merit.

What Mr. Huber failed to tell the readers is that myself and others have asked for a full accounting of KRSA actions and budgets so we can become more informed. I wrote a letter to the Clarion over two months ago requesting how Classic monies are spent, the number of members in KRSA, the dues generated and how KRSA paid for the Board of Fish meetings and consultants in 1999 and 2002. Mr. Huber failed to call me or reply in any forum. Mr. Huber, if you want to take shots at people who ask you questions and then fail to answer when they do, you are being deceptive at best and not honest at worst.

Since my original letter I have learned from the KRSA 1999 IRS tax filing (last one available I could obtain) only $7,000 came from membership fees, less than $40,000 came from pull tab operations and almost $400,000 came from Classic-related activities.

Therefore, I ask the question again -- how can you pay for consultants at the 1999 Board of Fish meeting, staff and involvement with allocation issues without using Classic money for these allocation fights? The same question applies to 2002. I believe the 1999 tax filings point out that the questions being asked are valid.

As a side note, my home sits on a bluff across the Kenai River from where Classic guides picked up their guests. Seeing them run down the river without concern for the damage they cause by their boat wakes to my banks appeared downright contradictory to me. I will end up moving my house back from the riverbank while the habitat protectors of KRSA continue to despoil the river.

Aaron Morse

Kenai

KRSA could learn something from its 'uninformed' neighbors

Brett Huber's recent comments regarding his opponents "uninformed" position is radically unfair and little more than name calling. Those who oppose Kenai River Sportfishing Association are not ignorant peasants waving pitchforks at the elitist castle. We know when we are being short changed.

The Kenai River and its salmon are a common resource, owned by all of the residents of Alaska. The state acts as the executor of the will of the residents. Under the Alaska Constitution, all residents have equal access to the Kenai River and its fish, subject to state management to prevent undue stress of a limited public resource. Members of KRSA are a subset of the owners of the Kenai, but their actions are of those who wish to possess the river solely.

First, the introduction of catch-and-release fishing, while wonderful for the business model of guides, does nothing for local anglers except drive them off the river. Locals don't fish for salmon for sport, but for meat. Catch- and-release does not put meat on the table.

A guide is not so much interested in actually "catching" salmon, but rather in the possibility of catching one. Guides make their money by putting butts in the boat, regardless of how many salmon are caught. Therefore, catch and release sounds good to the guides, and not to local anglers.

So, second, KRSA jumps in and says, "We are conserving a resource!" Why does the resource need conserving? Because it is under stress due to potential overfishing. What is the source of that stress? Is it the local, resident anglers fishing for food? No.

According to figures, resident, noncommercial anglers take only a small portion of the salmon runs each year. The stress comes from commercial use, including the guides. Although lobbying as one unit in KRSA, Kenai River guides are independent businessmen and operate as such. Harvesting from a common resource, it does not make sense for a guide to sit out a day or a run to "conserve" the run because some other guide will simply take his place and make his money.

It is the exact same situation faced by commercial fisheries on the open sea. So KRSA proposes catch and release to preserve their incomes while at the same time "conserving" their common resource -- because they are the ones stressing it. But, again, at the expense of the resident fisherman.

A third issue exists that I have not heard addressed (but maybe I am not widely enough read). KRSA wants locals to know what a benefit guiding is to the local economy and the jobs and income it produces, both directly and

indirectly. This is true. But guides also produce negatives for the local economy:

1) Local residents are pushed off the river by the influx of outside anglers;

2) Local highways and roadways become congested by more traffic than they were designed to handle, without the benefit of enough additional funds to expand to handle the higher volume;

3) Local services (restaurants, stores, gas stations) are overwhelmed by increased activity and cease to function efficiently. Anyone who has been in Fred Meyer on a weekend over the last couple of months has seen this in action.

But these costs to the local residents are not paid for by guides or KRSA, and the current model does not allow local services to expand to meet this high volume efficiently because it isn't profitable to do so.

So before Brett Huber starts telling his neighbors how uninformed they are, he had best take a step back and perhaps open his ears, at least a little. We aren't the hillbillies he makes us out to be.

Sheryl Nelson

Soldotna



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