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Letters to the Editor

Posted: Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Sen. Ward should answer allegations in advertisement

Sen. Jerry Ward has to go if he cannot stand up right now and show proof to the people of the Kenai Peninsula before the Nov. 5 general election that he did not commit these criminal acts which were brought out against him in the two-page ad Oct. 11, in the Peninsula Clarion. The law of the land clearly states, Sen. Ward, that a person is innocent until proven guilty and you, Sen. Ward, are no exception.

Sen. Ward, you have plenty of time before the Nov. 5 election to clear your alleged good name of all those alleged criminal charges which were brought out against you. Sen. Ward, please don't start your attack on the good citizens of the Kenai Peninsula by stating on KSRM Radio Sound Off that this was just another way of those people mudslinging you just before the November election.

You were the very first person on KSRM's Sound Off on the very same day the Peninsula Clarion printed the two-page paid advertisement about you, and you did not put any defense whatsoever about the criminal charges. Why?

Sen. Ward, mudslinging and factual basis are two separate issues being addressed here, and clearing your name of these alleged criminal charges should now be your top priority. People here on the Kenai Peninsula are getting very nervous about your alleged past and present lifestyle.

Sen. Ward, trying to pass off these alleged criminal charges which the "Kenai Peninsula Citizens for Honest Government Opposed to Anchorage Senator Jerry Ward" brought out against you as being mudslinging tactics will not cut it with the voters come the election.

Sen. Ward, now is the time for you to step up to the plate and face the music regarding these serious allegations facing you. And if not, start packing your bags, for your days here on the Kenai Peninsula as being the people's choice to represent them in Juneau as their state senator are over. Your choice.

James Bounds

Kenai

Ward effective senator; Clarion treats only Republicans badly

Jerry Ward has been an effective senator for our area. He was a leader in stopping the Knowles-Ulmer tax plan that would have cost most families $2,500 to $4,000 per year in taxes and loss of permanent fund dividend monies. Sen. Ward was also a leader in bringing extra monies this year for education to our area despite a budget crunch. He has been proactive for commercial fishermen and is endorsed by the NRA for his efforts to protect our rights to bear arms and to hunt in Alaska.

Despite having a policy supported by all journalism associates to not accept slanderous ads or letters, the Clarion accepted an ad against Sen. Ward that was also unethical, untrue and illegal. This same behavior also happened in the Judy Salo and Sammy Crawford elections a few years ago where Republicans were slandered in the Clarion. More recently, the target was Mayor Dale Bagley who was also treated unfairly and unethically. Only Republicans are slandered.

Besides the slanderous attacks, the Clarion has refused to print some letters to the editor from Republicans, has deleted sentences, has allowed liberal activists to print letters over the maximum allowed and has called Republicans to ask where they obtained their information, and twice has asked me to take names and negative information of liberal candidates out of letters that were factual and not slanderous.

The Clarion has crossed the road from being biased to being part of a liberal machine that wants to win at any cost. They are in danger of losing reader confidence, subscribers, advertisement monies and being boycotted. We deserve a fair and balanced paper that is not disgusting.

Donald Szepanski

Soldotna

Contributions from Anchorage interests are Issue in Ward race

As chairman of the Kenai Peninsula Citizens for Honest Government Opposed to Anchorage Senator Jerry Ward, there are several matters I would like to respond to that are the subject of questions being asked by Mr. Ward's local cheerleaders.

First, the state regulations that allow an individual to give $100 or less to a group or candidate and remain anonymous recognizes that for economic and other reasons, people have the right to participate in the political process without disclosure of their name. If one gives over $100, to the $500 limit, then one's name is made public. This exception has been on the books forever, and in fact, based on three APOC reports filed by the Jerry Ward campaign to date, there are 52 individuals who have given to Mr. Ward's campaign, and whose names have not been disclosed. Therefore, it seems strange and somewhat hypocritical for Mr. Ward's public spokesman to raise this letter when in fact the Ward campaign follows the same practice, a practice allowed by the campaign laws.

The real issue is the tens of thousands of dollars that Mr. Ward raises from his Anchorage interests. Those dollars are not loyal to the Kenai Peninsula or our interests. No matter how thin you cut the salami, at the end of the day you have a big money, out-of-town career politician who is trying to buy a Senate seat at our expense and that is not in our interests, and it is wrong.

Ron Johnson

Kenai

Catch-and-release disenfranchises one class of anglers for another

Doug Vincent-Lang's op-ed in Sunday's Clarion, "Catch, release fishing offers dependable opportunities," is at best only half true, at

worst, a complete misrepresentation of the facts. If your idea of "fishing" is hooking a fish, taking pleasure in its frantic efforts at freedom, releasing it to do it again, and wastefully killing some in the process, then, yes, catch-and-release offers dependable opportunities to do that.

However, if your idea of fishing is catching a fish to put on the table, then catch-and-release fishing offers no opportunity at all -- zip, zero, nada. If you want to eat what you catch, Vincent-Lang's idea leaves you out in the cold.

A catch-and-release fishery, that is a fishery that allows only catch-and-release, is a selfish fishery in which a whole class of fishermen is disenfranchised in favor of another class of "anglers."

Many fishermen simply don't consider it fishing if one is not fishing to put a fish on the table. Fishermen wanting to fish to eat their catch are kicked out, told they can't do that in favor of anglers who just want to catch fish, let them go and kill some in the process.

Moreover, the state's Sport Fish Division is well aware that some Alaskans find catch-and-release offensive. In a Sport Fish press release dated June 22 of this year, Sport Fish notes, "Many local residents are concerned about catch-and-release fishing practices. Yupik people feel these practices are disrespectful to fish and are in conflict with their traditional ethics." One doesn't have to be Yupik to find catch-and-release distasteful and disrespectful to the fish.

The truth is that any fishery that can stand catch-and-release can stand some restricted harvest for food. All fishing, whether fishing for food or catch-and-release, kills fish. Rather than selfishly exclude one type of angler in favor of another, all that needs be done is to restrict the ability to harvest a fish for food to the point where total mortality, the mortality of fishing for food and the mortality of catch-and-release, falls within acceptable limits.

But fishery managers and the sportfishing industry doesn't like this fair and equitable way of allowing both kinds of anglers a dependable opportunity to fish. Selfishly excluding Alaskans who want to eat their catch allows a greater number of anglers for fun on the fishery. That such exclusion is grossly selfish and unfair is not a problem for these folks because the bottom line of such "dependable opportunity" is not equal access, the bottom line is dollars.

The Sport Fish Division and Board of Fisheries should manage Alaska's individual fisheries to provide dependable opportunities to all Alaska's anglers -- those who want to eat what they catch and those who want to catch and release. It isn't hard to do; both can be accommodated by restricting methods, means, times, etc. to restrict harvest.

Favoring one group of anglers over another, excluding many Alaskans from their traditional fisheries is what's got us in the current mess with first run Kenai kings.

John Nelson

Soldotna



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