Letters to the Editor

Posted: Friday, November 29, 2002

Annual fishing derby promotes government deals, not conservation

The highlight of the Kenai River Sportfishing Association's recent newsletter crows of netting big benefits for the Kenai river, while netting lots of fish.

The underlying motives leading to the purported success of KRSA's various Kenai River Classic tournaments deserves our scrutiny and censure. That the derby, and by extension, the river itself is co-opted to facilitate political access to powerful congressional leaders and federal department heads who decide policy and control our nation's tax revenues should give pause to those who champion the tournament's successes.

Sen. Ted Stevens described it best in a July 5 Anchorage newspaper story when he said, "We invite people we think can afford to put a contribution into the till and people they want to meet."

Investigation into the invited guest lists and various sponsors of past tournaments reveals a predomination of U.S. and international corporations with self-serving and sometimes contentious relationships with our government. Last year's guests included a veritable who's who of weapons defense, aerospace and missile contractors with a demonstrated appetite for highly lucrative government contracts. These people definitely come to fish for something.

Senate appropriations members and the heads of federal agencies who control spending and influence foreign policy decisions are not so coincidentally in attendance. These people come to discuss what there might be to catch and what the best lures are to use.

So while KRSA crows about improved catch-and-release rates, a 68-pound fish retained on the first day, entrants catching as many as 14 kings or 349 total kings landed, I'm curious about the affected policy decisions,

weapons systems approvals and the billions of our tax money that will change hands.

Habitat protection and stewardship of the river is, at best, an afterthought in most of these participants' endeavors. It's time to strive for some less duplicitous ways to promote conservation efforts.

Paul Zimmerman


KCHS should appropriately honor cheerleaders' accomplishments

The Kenai Kardinal Cheerleaders won first place at the state competition for the second year in a row. Way to go, girls. I'm so proud of you.

You would think their school, Kenai Central High, would be equally as proud. Last year when the cheerleaders won first place, the then principal ordered a banner to hang in the gym, to recognize their accomplishment for KCHS. This banner was never taken out of the box! It is not hanging in the gym with the football, basketball, track, wrestling or swimming banners. Why is that, KCHS? What is the big deal with putting the banner up on the gym wall! Show these girls, you, their school, are proud that they were judged the best in the state for two years straight!

This year after winning state, the current principal and the athletic director feel there has to be a meeting to decide whether the girls are worthy of a banner in the gym. This meeting isn't open to the public. I did not know this was a private school. This is a dishonor to these girls' athletic ability!

It's a shame that these female athletes were able to accomplish so much and receive so little recognition. If not a state championship, then what standard needs to be met to be recognized as a banner-worthy team?

I think this is very small, petty and totally pathetic of these school representatives to reject these athletes' accomplishments for the only sport at KCHS to bring home state trophies two years in a row in at least 25 years!

Jackie Taylor

Proud parent of a KCHS cheerleader


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