Letters to the Editor

Posted: Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Soldotna council meddling where it should not on smoking issue

It never ceases to amaze me what government needs to do for me! In regard to the Soldotna City Council proposed ordinance to ban smoking in restaurants, council members believe they need to make business decisions for business owners. Please save us from ourselves!

I am a small business owner (not a restaurant) and an ex-smoker and a reformed eight-year politician, and I could not disagree more on the proposed ordinance. I appreciate the information that council member Sharon Moock provided the Clarion, where she has been informed that some restaurants increased business after a government body banned smoking. A decision on whether to ban smoking in a restaurant should lie on the shoulders of the owner, not the government. If the owner thinks she will increase business, then let her ban smoking, not the government.

There also was a statement about the only opposition the council has heard from is restaurant owners, and I know they have received a petition in opposition. Many of those signers were like me, non-smokers.

As an ex-smoker, I know that smoking kills many people each year; my mother is dying of those effects now. Yes, second-hand smoke kills people every year; that is why when I was still smoking I didn't smoke in the house with my small children.

I have been to one restaurant in Soldotna many times and I usually eat in the bar, where smoking is allowed. The business owner made a business decision without government interference.

Like a previous letter writer stated, we live in Alaska because of the freedom that this beautiful open country offers. We need government and we support it with our recent votes and money. But we are all adult enough to make decisions for ourselves.

Kim Katsion, Clam Gulch

Setting the record straight; differing opinions one thing, lies another

After reading Mark Osterman's "small-minded tactics" opinion piece, I'm compelled to respond.

First, I had absolutely no prior communication with anyone on the Clarion staff regarding my own opinion piece on the food tax exemption. I enjoy composing and often do so when there is an issue at hand that I feel strongly about. This allows me expression on two venues, as a private citizen with First Amendment rights and as an elected official who has always made an effort to let the constituents know where I stand. Voters deserve that from politicians, and if they become uncomfortable, they know the remedy.

The writer insinuates the piece was "full of errors, lies, and mistruths." Where exactly?

I can only assume his consternation arose from my statement that this initiative could afford a family of four $200 in tax savings. The borough only taxes at 2 percent. What does that equate to with an annual food bill of $10,000? Like it or not, the Kenai Peninsula Borough has other jurisdictions within its boundaries that allows them the power to exempt out of this exemption. The reality was that had this passed, the borough alone would have been the one to absorb this exemption.

Further, I assume the writer was alluding to my comments on efforts to raise the residential tax exemption from $10,000 to $50,000. It is my opinion that this is a more beneficial avenue to tax relief for bonafide residents of the borough than the initiative would have been. Nowhere have I ever said this could be done by assembly fiat. It requires a state legislative nod, and that is something some of us have supported for some time.

Lastly, I, too, have been in on some political battles that were lost, but have never resorted to labeling an opponent a liar anywhere, let alone the opinion page of the paper.

Of course, that's your right, and a sweet right it is. You know what, we're not liars in some sort of collusive, conspiratorial activity. We're just contrary.

Gary Superman, Nikiski

Clarion only prints opinions that agree with its viewpoint

The malfeasance acts committed by the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce and city of Soldotna's elected officials, along with the malversation acts committed by the Peninsula Clarion, should not be tolerated by the people on the Kenai Peninsula.

The Soldotna Chamber of Commerce, along with the city of Soldotna and its elected officials, should all be voted out of office for the malfeasance acts they committed against their own people. These handful of individuals have completely taken over all the rights of the people. This kind of misconduct by our local, elected, public officials is nothing more than an act of piracy which they have committed against the people of the peninsula. These Soldotna city elected officials stole thousands of hard-earned tax dollars from their people to fight against Proposition 4 on the Oct. 1 ballot. The choice should have been made strictly by the voters and not influenced by a handful of city elected officials using their misleading propaganda. Better wake up, folks, and start getting the facts first hand.

Now, we have the Peninsula Clarion and its agents who also put in their two cents worth by endorsing a "no" vote on Proposition 4, which clearly shows the newspaper as being biased and prejudiced. The Clarion should keep its nose out of endorsing or not endorsing any initiatives or political figures and leave all the endorsements to the voters.

The Peninsula Clarion newspaper has a circulation of some 8,000-plus, which clearly sends out a strong message to the people of what it thinks about certain initiatives and politicians, which, to me, is nothing more than its way of trying to sway the voters over to its way of thinking, and, to me, is being biased and prejudiced. Letters to the Clarion editor don't get printed unless it fits the newspaper's way of thinking. Better wake up, folks, and start getting the facts first hand.

And, finally, we now have our most famous and outstanding borough assemblyman, Mr. Gary Superman, who had to put in his two cents worth by writing his false and misleading propaganda in the Sept. 29 Sunday Clarion, explaining to you all what he thought about Proposition 4, which was a "no" vote. The Clarion allowed Superman to publish such false and misleading propaganda just two days before the Oct. 1 voting time, knowing that the Citizens Against the Grocery Tax wouldn't have time to respond. Good job, Clarion and Mr. Superman.

I can't wait to see who the Clarion will endorse at the Nov. 5 general election for the state Senate District Q seat and state House District 34 seat. I'll bet my last dollar the Clarion's endorsement will be Jerry Ward and Mike Chenault.

Better wake up, folks, and start getting the facts first hand.

James Bounds, Kenai

The Peninsula Clarion welcomes letters to the editor. The newspaper's circulation, by the way, is 6,200.

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