Letters to the Editor

Posted: Tuesday, September 11, 2001

Les Palmer misleads public with comments in Sept. 7 column

Re: Les Palmer's Sept.7 column:

You are right, Les, a dead fish is a dead fish whether whacked on the head with a rock or allowed to die after you've played with it for awhile.

But please get things straight.

The proposal I wrote says no fishing in the major "spawning beds" not "spawning streams" as you wrote, which misleads the public.

Also, be aware there is a move to take back our rivers.We are fed up with hundreds of thousands of pounds of fish flying out of here. That represents food that should be on our tables, as Bob Penney likes to say.

Steve Vanek

Ninilchik

Opposing prison one thing, misinforming public another

We are responding to Mr. Van Hatten's letter which appeared in the Sept. 6 issue of the Clarion. It is unfortunate that Mr. Van Hatten did not identify himself as a state correctional officer and union activist. There has rarely been a public meeting during which Mr. Van Hatten has not stated his personal opposition to government-private sector contracting for prison services.

It is no secret that government employee unions are philosophically opposed to government outsourcing, believing that private companies threaten government jobs. While Mr. Van Hatten is entitled to his personal views, his letter shows that he is sadly misinformed.

I have personally assisted in the preparation of the operating budget for the proposed Kenai prison. Entry level correctional officer wages and benefits will indeed total $35,000. More experienced officers, managers and many professional services positions will be paid higher. It is important to note that a correctional facility is like a small city. In addition to security positions, the proposed prison will require a wide variety of functions such as health, education, maintenance, food services and information systems. The salary for these positions meet and often exceed prevailing community wages because of Cornell's strong benefit package.

With regard to hiring, Cornell Companies has made a commitment to recruit locally to fill as many of these positions as possible. In contrast to Mr. Van Hatten's claims, we do support the Alaska Police Standards Council and will contractually commit to train our Alaska prison employees to those standards. Moreover, all Cornell Company employees are required to meet the hiring and training standards of the American Correctional Association's Commission on Accreditation for Corrections. Contrary to Mr. Van Hatten's claim, Section 085.210 of Title 13 (Alaska Administrative Code) does not require polygraphs. Cornell Companies does not use polygraphs to screen new employees.

Mr. Van Hatten urges the public not to commit the borough to multi-million dollar debt. The proposed Kenai prison facility is not a privately owned prison. It will be owned by the Kenai Peninsula Borough and paid for by the state of Alaska through a 25-year lease with the borough.

Cornell has never used prison labor to construct a prison and no prisoners will be used in the construction of this facility. The operations will be contracted to a private prison operator and the prison will operate as an integral part of the Alaska Department of Corrections. Only Alaska prisoners will be housed in this facility.

We hope that the operator of the prison will be Cornell Companies and we look forward to addressing all of the concerns of the community and to developing a positive relationship with our Alaska state corrections colleagues.

Marvin Wiebe

Senior vice president

Cornell Companies Govenor's dismissal of Katie John suit betrayal of Alaskans' trust

The governor's dismissal of the Katie John lawsuit constitutes his upholding and defending federal law, the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, and by doing so is breaking his sworn oath to defend Alaska's Constitution and Alaska laws.

In 1996, the Alaska Supreme Court unanimously held that the federal government has no authority to attempt to regulate Alaska wildlife and fishing on state lands and navigable waters. This remains Alaska law.

Knowles' failure to uphold and defend Alaska's Constitution while giving favoritism to one racial group violates his oath of office. He has betrayed all Alaskans and should be impeached.

William (Bill) Waugaman

Former Alaska legislator

Fairbanks

Something is wrong, but trouble not with out-of-state fishing visitors

I recently visited the Kenai River on a sport fishing vacation with our friends. They live in Sterling. We were having a great time fishing for reds, and then I read the letter to the editor entitled "Lawless visitors ruin Fishing."

I, too, started visiting Alaska in the early '90s. I've seen glaciers melt away, i.e., Portage Glacier. I've seen the king and sockeye salmon disappear also. The other species that we have not seen many or any of are the Russian reds!

Intentional snagging is against the law! Why then does every tackle and bait store in Soldotna and Sterling sell snagging hooks? About hooking fish and "handing the rod off to every member of the party": Is that like handing the dipnet off to every member of the "party" so they can "bonk" the fish on the head. (Remember the Dodo Bird?)

After I read your letter, I started looking at license plates at all of the fishing "hot spots," and one out of 25 cars, trucks and campers was from out of state.

Something needs to be done all right; putting the blame on just the visitors is wrong.

Don't bite the hand that feeds you!

John DeCorsey

Two Harbors, Minn.

Election offers opportunity to change Homer for the better

The city of Homer is in desperate need of a change of direction. We have a chance to commence this by electing new council members in the upcoming election.

The incumbents, John Fenske and Mike Yourkowski, have proposed and sponsored ridiculous ordinances such as: a city business license, harbor fuel tax when we are trying to entice more use of our harbor facilities, a discriminatory B & B bed tax as well as others. What next? Don't be surprised at fees and garage sale permits, as well as tax on the goods sold.

These two city councilmen have played a big part in the fracturing of this community, both inside and outside the city, to the point that it may never heal. If ever a change were needed it is now. We can't afford more of the same.

Roy E. Hoyt Jr.

Homer



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