Letters to the Editor

Posted: Monday, October 07, 2002

War leaves little time for problems at home

I recently ran across this old radio commentary I did at the close of the 1991 Gulf War. How sad that it remains as applicable today, as another George Bush prepares to once again escalate the killing.

It seems that the killing in the Middle East is over -- for a while. That's certainly reason to celebrate. But history shows that leaders can't afford too much peace. Governing a nation well is far more complicated and demanding than bludgeoning an enemy into submission. War, better than anything else, obscures failed policies at home and stifles dissent.

Fear, hatred and war against other nations have always been used by leaders -- to subdue their own people.

Aristotle knew it. He observed that "The tyrant ... is obliged to make war in order to keep his subjects occupied and impose on them permanent need of a chief." Saddam Hussein and George Bush know it, too.

Occupied with war or an enemy abroad, people have little time for problems at home. Budget deficits, inflation, taxes, unemployment, government secrecy and corruption, the young, the old, the poor, the homeless, the sick, the environment -- all yield to the larger issue of national security.

Thirteen hundred years after Aristotle, nothing's changed but the technology.

People still crave leaders, and in their eagerness to follow, create tyrants. Leaders still impose their will through war, and it's still the common folk who willingly fight and die for the cause. The killing may be over for now, but until people reject the idea that they must be led -- until it's citizens who lead and public officials who follow -- there will be little chance for lasting peace in this world.

Power and control, not peace, is the business of leaders.

Mike O'Meara


Clarion's small-minded tactics manipulate outcome of vote

I find it interesting that your paper tries to debunk the feelings of the people the news media created. I recently watched as time-after-time this paper intentionally used obvious untruths, engaged in promoting its own views and using tactics which rigged the election for the view of its publishers.

Getting Gary Superman to write and then publish an Op-Ed piece that was full of errors, lies and mistruths can only make the participants bitter. Shame on Superman for his lies and for those like him who also lied, and shame on you for encouraging the lies.

I applaud Mr. Bagley for his comments to the paper. It was clear that when your paper wrote the article and put where it landed, it was intended as a "get even" statement against Bagley.

Your paper deserves the criticism. Such small-minded tactics to manipulate the election makes you no better than those you criticize. Indeed, it makes you worse, because your job is to inform, not to steer.

Mark D. Osterman,


Is tax break soon to come?

Now that we've voted to keep the food tax in place and Mr. Bagley has won re-election, when can we expect the reduction in property tax that he said we'd get if we voted against Proposition 4?

Bob Phillips


Idea for increasing voter turnout

I think that (when possible) the Kenai Peninsula Borough election should be combined with the Alaska state election. It would be more cost effective and would likely increase voter participation in local elections.

Peter McKay


Economics lesson: the higher the taxes the lower the revenue

Kenai will have to learn the costly way that high taxes lessen tax revenues and lower taxes increase revenues. Everyone should move out of Kenai and turn the area over to the taxing, ever-more-revenue-needing grubbers.

I once fished the inlet and trapped the West Foreland area in the 1950s and '60s. From the news about politics in Kenai, I sure am thankful to not be there now. No surprise, politicians would destroy heaven.

Ken Tapp

Carter, Okla.

Political party affiliation has no place in nonpartisan races

The Kenai Peninsula Republican Women is a political campaign group listed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission. The Kenai Peninsula Republican Women membership of local men and women raise campaign funds in alliance with the Alaska Federation of Republican Women and the Republican Party of Alaska. The Kenai Peninsula Republican Women printed and inserted into the Peninsula Clarion a flyer that endorsed and urged voters to select Republican candidates for nonpartisan municipal offices. The flyer named party candidates for mayor, assembly representatives and the school board.

The timing of the flyer did not allow for a timely response before the election because of deadlines of the local papers.

In the Kenai Peninsula Borough regulatory code, these positions are deemed to be nonpartisan.

An unaligned candidate, running a campaign in a nonpartisan manner, is at a distinct disadvantage having to compete with party-backed opponents. Mobilization and fund-raising capabilities of the major parties create an enormous obstacle that an unaligned candidate must face, an obstacle one shouldn't have to contend with in nonpartisan elections.

Whether this practice is somehow allowed under our present campaign finance reform laws or not, it is unethical at the least. One certainly should not expect to have to compete with party politics in a nonpartisan election. Does the Alaska Federation of Republican Women and the Republican Party of Alaska condone and endorse this insipid practice?

A public response from the Kenai Peninsula Republican Women, the Alaska Federation of Republican Women and the Republican Party of Alaska concerning this practice is warranted.

This letter to the editor was submitted on the evening of Sept. 30 before the polls open, so these thoughts will have had no effect on this "nonpartisan" election. But maybe there will be consideration before the next "nonpartisan" election.

Paul Zimmerman


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