Letters to the Editor

Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2002

Vote 'No' on Ballot Measure 1

The choice about Ballot Measure 1 on preferential voting is very simple: Vote "Yes" and you permit the votes of others to count for more than yours.

Vote "No" and you protect your right to exactly one vote. Preferential voting is expensive, unnecessary and confusing.Vote "No" on Ballot Measure 1 on Aug. 27.

Sammy Crawford


Vote 'Yes' on Ballot Measure 1

Unfortunately, the opposition to Ballot Measure 1 (instant runoff voting) is using the big lie to try and defeat it. They think if they repeat their distortions often enough in their letters to the editor, people might start to believe them.

For instance, they say it is "too complicated" for Alaskans, even though millions of voters in other places currently use it without difficulty. Are Alaskans stupider than people in Utah, Louisiana, and Australia, all of whom use instant runoff voting for public elections? Second they keep repeating that it violates the "one-person, one-vote principle," even though courts and federal agencies consistently have ruled that it does meet the one-person, one vote rule.

Don't believe their campaign propaganda, the fact is Ballot Measure 1 gives more power to voters and assures that our elected leaders will have support from a majority of voters. And it eliminates the "spoiler" problem when there are three or more candidates, so that we voters will be free to vote for the candidates we truly like, instead of the "lesser of two evils." Vote "Yes" on Measure 1 in the Aug. 27 election.

Rob Arnow


Phillips has made difference; she's best choice for lieutenant governor

Over the last 30 years I have seen first hand the difference Gail Phillips has made for Alaska.

Whether it has been her involvement in the early years of the Iditarod, mining on the Seward Peninsula, operating a sporting goods store in Homer or her countless hours serving the public as a proud member of the Homer City Council, Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly or a representative in the State House, Gail Phillips has given her all to make Alaska a great place to raise families.

Gail Phillips was born and raised in Alaska and she wants to continue working to make Alaska the best place to live, work and raise families.

Please cast your vote on Aug. 27th for Gail Phillips.

I am proud to support Gail Phillips, and I proud to call her Mom!

Kim Griffith


Alaska Outdoor Council endorses Taylor, Ward, Krogseng in primary

The Alaska Outdoor Council (AOC) is an organization composed of almost every outdoor recreation group in Alaska. There currently are about 50 clubs in the AOC with total membership in the tens of thousands. Recently the AOC-PAC committee endorsed nine candidates (all Republicans) for the primary election including Robin Taylor for lieutenant governor, Jerry Ward for Senate Seat Q and Mel Krogseng for House District 33. Hal Smalley and Ken Lancaster have never been endorsed because of their positions on outdoor recreation issues.

The winner of the GOP primary will be endorsed for governor. Fran Ulmer was not endorsed because of several factors including the Knowles-Ulmer actions in the Babbitt-Katie John cases that allowed a federal takeover of our fisheries and her statement at the AOC annual meeting that, "not all people are created equal," when it comes to fish and wildlife allocations. Someone should mention her views are contrary to the Alaska and U.S. constitutions.

I'm sure she wanted this endorsement after such recent fiascos as the two campaign finance laws she broke, the U.S. Department of Commerce report giving their administration an "F" grade, the protests in Anchorage streets and the negative U.S. Department of Justice report concerning the Department of Health and Social Services, and the information that several rural public schools including Kivalina and Barrow are funded at $25,000 per student compared to $7,300 for Kenai Peninsula Borough schools and $5,000 nationally. Seemingly in education not all students are created equal according to Fran Ulmer.

Donald Szepanski

Alaska Outdoor Council Member


Private prison proposal offers reason to not reelect Sen. Ward

When an elected official refuses to acknowledge the message that residents in his district send him, it's time to not vote for him in the primary election.

Last fall, after the October election, Sen. Jerry Ward said he understood that people living in the Kenai Peninsula Borough did not want a private prison. That seemed to last about as long as him taking another breath.

During this last legislative session, Frank Prewitt, Cornell Corrections lobbyist, was seen quite regularly in Sen. Ward's office. Sen. Ward voted "do pass," when the Whittier private prison bill, House Bill 498, was in Senate Finance Committee. He and Sen. Green got into a bit of an argument about the bill, during an at-ease in the meeting. Fortunately for all of us, that bill died in Senate Rules.

However, in the five-day special session, Senate Bill 2012 popped up in Senate Transportation, where Sen. Ward is vice chairman. This was HB 498 reintroduced. Luckily, the Legislature adjourned the day after this bill was introduced.

Why is Sen. Ward so fixated on making sure that Alaska is indebted to Cornell Corrections? When he says that the state has a spending problem with its budget, is he discounting the spending that would go directly to Houston, Texas, Cornell's headquarters?

The Whittier private prison boondoggle would have cost Alaska somewhere between $850 million and $1 billion. Where do you think that money would have come from? Borough road service areas? Education? Senior citizen centers? Water and sewer grants?

The money would have come from all of those areas and more. Sen. Ward would have made sure that money went to Cornell first. Then, if there was anything left over, there would have been a legislative feeding frenzy for the scraps.

How much do you think the borough would have received then? Not much, I would suspect. Who would have to start paying more to make up for the lack of state money? You and I would.

A person that supports a private prison company over the residents of the borough doesn't deserve to be re-elected. Please vote in the state primary election. Please don't vote for Sen. Jerry Ward.

Dee Hubbard


Is there connection between KNA's financial difficulties and Sen. Ward?

A couple of questions come to mind. Most importantly, I would like to know if the Peninsula Clarion is going to report on Sen. Jerry Ward's connection to the financial difficulties of the Kenai Natives Association. Sen. Ward is running for re-election to District Q, a race for which the outcome will directly affect us.

We need to be as informed as possible before we go to the polls to decide who we wish to represent us. Many of us rely on getting our local news from the Clarion and would like to know that we can depend on this paper to keep us well informed.

The real estate company owned by Mrs. Ward has a contract to manage KNA's pull-tab parlor leases, including collecting rents, according to the Anchorage Daily News. This business was listed on disclosure forms by Sen. Ward last year.

I would like to see some explanation regarding this connection and the questions which have arisen. If Ward's real estate company received $116,000 in management fees, who, indeed, did manage and collect the rents and why does KNA President Wayne Wilson say that negotiations are under way to recover uncollected rents? I am wondering about the dependability and business management skills of Sen. Ward? Can the Clarion clue voters in?

My second question involves Sen. Ward's residency, which has been approved. Technically, he is a resident of District Q per APOC standards. I hope his supporters remember the part in which Sen. Ward took an oath stating that the mobile home in Nikiski is his primary residence. That is the aspect of the issue that is important to me, the strength of his integrity. My question is, if Sen. Ward loses his race for re-election, will he continue to live in his Nikiski home?

Just wondering. We don't have much time before the primary to make our choices, and we need to choose the candidates with the strongest understanding of good business and financial practice, the skills necessary to work with their constituents and follow representatives of our government, and the strength of character to stand for the good of the state.

Marie Rozak


Ward's past performance should lead voters to elect someone else

The race for the Kenai seat vacated by the amazingly effective Sen. Torgerson is interesting indeed. At least three candidates, Pat Hawkins, Joe Arness and Tom Wagoner are clear on record concerning the issue that divided the Kenai community last fall. They thoroughly oppose private prisons. Conversely, Jerry Ward takes in huge unearned fees for acting with his wife as real estate brokers for the near-bankrupt Kenai Natives Association. KNA would have sold the site for that prison. Ward told a community meeting last September, according to a Sept. 30, 2001 letter in the Clarion, "God sent me here tonight, to bring this prison to you." Dozens of the attendees of that meeting were said to be aghast about some of the claims he made that day, including his sharing a fantasy about being in a sweat lodge in Vietnam and having a "White Buffalo Vision." On the radio the day after the election, Ward claimed he understood what 74 percent of Kenai voters were telling him: "No means no."

Ward, reaping huge campaign contributions for years from characters who foisted off this "Rent-a-Pen" hustle first on Delta Junction, then Kenai, before moving the scam to Whittier, tried to ramrod a legislative contract for the latter unstaffable boondoggle. Tsunami-prone Whittier would have been completely unsuitable for a prison. But Ward, who gave the Legislature a "C- for spending too much," alleged he tried to hold down spending despite the "tremendous appetite" to spend public dollars exhibited by the special interests and bureaucracy, tried to force Alaska to spend $985 million dollars on this Whittier "con" job. Only a revolt by his colleagues including shouting matches at the end of session ended the idea for the past term. Apparently, his attention span is wanting: He'd already forgotten that "No means no!"

The Clarion gives three qualifications for holding the office of state Senator: past performance, skills and abilities, and character.

As a senator, Ward has been indisputably responsible for squandering the Constitutional Budget Reserve, Alaska's rainy day fund that he's used to reward his friends and patrons. As a result, Alaskans are in imminent danger of having income taxes reinstated. He has unquestionably jeopardized the Permanent Fund Dividend.

His "abilities" have been demonstrated by his threatening Delta Junction to withhold any road repair funds should they not accept his friend Bill Weimar's prison. That would have conveyed the immensely valuable Fort Greeley to private hands. Thank goodness that community and Sen. Stevens put a stop to that scheme. Yet unfounded "legislative" assurances that the state would pay a settlement to Weimar have left Delta near-bankrupt and owing $1 million to Weimar after they've already been soaked for $100,000 and immense legal costs.

Ward's a "character," all right. Teaming with John Lindauer, they scammed their way to Alaska Independence Party nominations in 1990, quickly trading their ballot positions to Wally Hickel in exchange for vastly overpaid jobs (including one for Ward's wife, until Hickel fired her) for which they were completely unsuitable.

By trading his slot, he helped defeat the legitimate Republican candidate, Sen. Arliss Sturgulewski, a candidate of uncompromising character and singular ability. Reprising the scam in 1998, Ward and old buddy Lindauer ran a joint campaign virtually entirely financed by illegal Outside contributions, once more resulting in a defeat for "his" party. Lindauer swore he lived in Alaska, almost good enough to fool the public until a couple of weeks before that election. Ward swore last year he lives in Nikiski. That's unfortunately good enough, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, for the Elections Division to allow him to run in Kenai.

If ever there was a no brainer, it's choosing a candidate in the Kenai Senate primary and general elections. Without Anchorage voters there to bail him out as they did in his primary race against Tom Wagoner, who was favored by Kenai residents, Ward finds himself long overdue for another ousting.

Frank Smith

Bluff City, Kan.

Co-chair of the AFSCME

Alaska Retirement Chapter PAC No. 52

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