Letters to the Editor

Posted: Friday, August 09, 2002

Graffiti vandals show ignorance with their mindless stunts

I am sickened and more than a little irate when I drive through Soldotna and see the mindless graffiti that has begun to show up around here. It seems that a person or persons unknown want to show their ignorance by defacing buildings with a paint spray can.

They evidently refer to themselves as "Mophia"... whatever that means. I think they should call themselves Mental Midgets.

One, especially, evidently has learned to print out his/her initials and is very proud of the fact that "JM" is scrawled on the side of buildings to show the city how much he/she has learned. Maybe, if he/she tries harder, he/she can learn to print out his/her whole name.

I'll bet their parents would be so proud of their accomplishments if they knew what they were doing! Right!

So, I think the citizens of our city who try so hard to keep Soldotna clean and pleasing to all of us should keep our eyes peeled for these few who want our city to look like a miniature L.A. and notify the police if they see any of this. If nothing else, the culprits could possibly have a few smears of black paint on their hands.

I know the ones who should be reading this probably can't get beyond three or four letter words, but maybe someone could read this out loud to them.

Mary Duffy, Soldotna

Permanent fund wisely invested; bridge proposal losing proposition

In a recent letter to the Clarion, Mr. Ed Martin Sr. advocates investing more of the Alaska Permanent Fund within the state of Alaska. This would convert a part of the permanent fund into a political "slush fund" dispensing money to fund questionable commercial developments, build projects the Legislature knew better than to put into the capital budget because they wouldn't pass the

voters' "smell test," etc.

In a special election three years ago, an overwhelming majority of Alaska's voters said "NO!" to the idea of using a part of the earnings of the permanent fund to help pay for the operation of state government. Mr. Martin's proposal would tap into the corpus of the fund itself which, if these "investments" lost money, would erode the annual permanent fund dividend checks received by Alaskans.

He bemoans the fact that the permanent fund has lost $4 billion of its former $28 billion in the recent stock market downturn. Those who understand the workings of the stock market will agree that while the market has its ups and downs, a wise investor doesn't pull out when the market drops. The permanent fund would not have had that $28 billion, if it hadn't been for the growth in stock values in the 1990s; to "bail out" now would be unwise. You don't have to believe me; ask any competent investment adviser.

Mr. Martin advocates "a crossing from Kenai to Anchorage." Presumably, this would be a bridge or causeway from a point on the Kenai Peninsula closest to Anchorage. He states: "The cost of the project could be returned to the permanent fund, plus interest, by a toll."

I recall that back during the first Hickel Administration (1966-68), a study was done which came up with four possible routes for bridging Turnagain Arm. As the routes became shorter, the cost of the project increased, as one might expect. Yes, that was 35 years or so ago, but to the best of my knowledge, no great breakthrough in bridge construction technology that would reduce the costs has been made. At a time when the state can barely pay to maintain the roads it has now, does such a project make sense? Ask yourself: Given the traffic on the existing highway, how much of a toll would be required to recoup the cost of construction of such a bridge?

One could calculate a "best case scenario," in which winter maintenance of the existing highway was abandoned to save money (I suspect that Seward residents would not think much of this idea), and let us say for the sake of argument 75 percent of the folks who now fly between Kenai and Anchorage decided to drive the "new,improved" shorter route instead

did so, I very much doubt that the tolls received, at a level of "all that the traffic can bear" would pay the interest on the construction costs, let alone interest and an amount adequate to retire the principal!

The permanent fund was created, and the rules for its management set up, by people like Jay Hammond and Hugh Malone, who had a good grasp of facts and a vision for the future beyond that of most Alaskans. If we abandon it to people like Mr. Martin, the results will be a disaster. I urge all thinking Alaskans to look at

the facts, and reject the self-serving arguments of those who, like Mr. Martin, need a crash course in remedial economics 101.

Jerry Brookman, Kenai

Is Tongass give-away indication of what Gov. Murkowski would do?

Recently I was informed that 11,000 acres of pristine Tongass National Forest lands in Berners Bay near Juneau would be given to private corporations via the Cape Fox Land Entitlement Adjustment Act of 2002 (S.2222). In exchange the American people would get 3,000 acres of already clearcut lands near Ketchikan and certain subsurface rights. Sounds like a fair trade-off, eh?

The Tongass lands to be privatized include Slate Lake where Coeur d'Alene Mines Corp. would like to dump tailings from its proposed Kensington gold mine. This lake is above a productive salmon stream. When the corporation leaves there, who would have to clean up the mine waste in the lake and stream -- us, the taxpayers.

No thanks, again, to Sen. Murkowski.

What will he give away to special interest groups if he becomes governor of our state?

Betty Dean, Sterling

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