Letters to the Editor

Posted: Monday, August 06, 2001

Anglers should be allowed to keep fish, no matter how they are caught

I have a question and a suggestion.

The question is: What is the point of "escapement quotas" for salmon if sport fishermen are required to release snagged fish -- fish that are now so injured that the likelihood of them surviving to spawn is greatly reduced?

My suggestion is this: Set a limit on how many fish a person can have in their possession (a daily bag limit) and don't worry how that limit was achieved -- by hooking, snagging, spearing, bare-hand wrangling, whatever.

Commercial escapement quotas are a joke if the fish are being mangled by sport fishermen (as encouraged by the present game laws) before they ever have a chance to reach their breeding grounds. If we're going to have laws to protect wildlife species, let's at least aim to also ensure the health and reproductive capacities of these species.

Elaine Hall, Clam Gulch

Legislators would do well to resolve 'local hire' issue

Let's make a decision. What is going on with our state government? Does one become blinded upon arriving in Juneau?

As a resident of the state of Alaska for the past 23 years, I have tried to keep up with state politics as well as most can without falling asleep. As of late, those issues have been the subsistence issue, the Kenai River issue and now, again, the local hire issue.

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to work for a lot of very good companies with a lot of great people.

I was hired as a carpenter by Austin Industries in April of 2001. And, as I have for many employers in this state, I gave Austin Industries 150 percent every day. I never shirked a task, and I have completed on time every project that was given to me.

For my hard work and loyalty, I was laid off six weeks later, for what I was told was a lack of work when I was in the middle of setting forms for another concrete pour.

Later I was informed that Austin Industries had brought up its employees from Texas to fill positions that could have been filled by people who live, raise their families and have spent most of their lives here in Alaska.

I think if there is anything that is destroying the moral fabric and the integrity that most Alaskans strive for, it is companies such as this giving away the jobs that I hope someday our children could get, so they, too, can build a future here in Alaska.

So, Juneau, if you could resolve at least one issue this year, this would be a good one to think about.

I, for one, don't want to have to go Outside to visit my grandkids.

And I really don't think I need someone from Texas to tell me what is best for me, my family and my fellow Alaskans.

Mark Colby, Soldotna

Group opposed to private prison looking for help with its cause

"Do you want the Kenai Peninsula Borough in the 'prison for profit' business this October?"

That was the question asked in a public opinion survey at the Soldotna Progress Days last Saturday. More than 150 people responded.

Twenty-two were still undecided, and two dozen were for the "private" prison, but a whopping 108 people planned to vote against the prison this Oct. 2. There was no identifying banner proclaiming our booth to be "anti-prison," so although unscientific, our survey was still reasonably unbiased. The respondants had no idea they were going to be asked about the prison when they agreed to take the survey, so it was a random sample.

Many reasons were given to be against the proposed prison. Some people came from towns that had private prisons, and had first-hand experience which soured them on the idea. Others felt that the borough shouldn't be in the prison business. A few objected to making a profit on other people's misery. One man suggested watching the movie "Robo-cop": "It will show you what happens when private business incarcerates people: It isn't in the warden's best interests to ever let you out."

A retiree who worked Outside with prisons both state and private said that his study showed that private prisons averaged one guard for 30 prisoners while state prisons had a ratio of one guard to 12 prisoners. In his opinion, that posed a safety problem not only for the surrounding community but also for the guards and even for the prisoners themselves.

If you strongly agree with any of these arguments, then please join us in the fight. We don't have fancy, slick-paper, multi-colored brochures to give out. This is a grass-roots effort by people just like you. There are several

events similar to Progress Days, in the near future. We'd like to have informational booths set up at the Ninilchik Fair, Industry Appreciation Day, etc., but we need more people.

Would you like to see the Ninilchik Fair on us? We'll buy your admission in exchange for a four-hour shift at the booth, giving you plenty of time to see the fair. No experience necessary -- we'll train you. It's actually kind of fun.

Contact the Peninsula Citizens Against Private Prisons, James Price, chairman, at 776-3481 or you can reach me in the evenings at 776-8926 or by e-mail at toriip@hotmail.com

Vicki Pate, Nikiski

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