Letters to the Editor

Posted: Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Former mayor mourns passing of Soldotna finance director

It is with sadness that I read today's Kenai Peninsula Online edition of the Clarion. In the obituaries I read about the passing of Ms. Joel Wilkins.

I first met Joel when I moved to Soldotna in 1975 and became a Soldotna police officer. Although I was new to the community, and thought of as an outsider, Joel greeted me with that good old southern hospitality.

She invited my friend Mike Wilson and I over for dinner, which was a wonderful thing to do for two single men.

She always greeted me with a warm smile -- and sometimes a raised eyebrow -- when she had something on her mind.

Although Joel and I didn't always see things in the same light, and she didn't support me when I ran for mayor of Soldotna, she became a good friend. She certainly had no difficulty in saying what was on her mind, and I always knew where she stood on any issue. There was never a question of her integrity.

There is one thing that stood out, and that was her love for Soldotna, the people and the city that she worked for those 28 years.

My heart is heavy as I think of the deep conversations that we have had -- one in which she told me that although I was leaving Soldotna, I could never get Soldotna out of my heart. With that she was right. I will always have a special place in my heart for Soldotna, and for people like Joel Wilkins, that only Alaska has.

Thank you Joel for being a friend in time of need, for that warmth and sincerity that is a character of a true Alaskan.

Your friend for eternity!

Tom Bearup, Former Soldotna mayor

Kenai bridge should be considered during Soldotna widening project

Regarding the widening of the bridge over the Kenai River in Soldotna, many options have been studied as temporary replacements while construction is under way. The one option I have not read about is the Warren Ames Bridge.

While I'm not a civil engineer, a Department of Transportation employee, a landholder who may experience some impact with a temporary crossing, a business owner in Soldotna or a fisheries biologist, I am a concerned citizen of the area. I am interested in the best bridge being built at the lowest cost and with the least amount of impact to the river and community.

This area survived for many, many years with only one bridge. While we will all miss the convenience that the second bridge brings us, perhaps for the duration of the construction time period we can forego that convenience and rely on the existing infrastructure. I understand that some business owners would face the potential of lost revenues, and that would be unfortunate. But depending on what option ultimately is selected and the impact it might have on traffic flow, delays, etc., the entire area may experience a significant decrease in traffic.

Its simplicity is appealing, the cost a no-brainer and the additional impact on the river eliminated. I would encourage the decision-makers to consider the Warren Ames Bridge as an option.

Sherry Lewis, Kenai

FCC move will create monopolies, limit people's access to information

Last March the FCC defined cable Internet access as an "information service" rather than as telecommunications to exempt cable companies from the requirement to act as common carriers. The commission will probably make a similar ruling on DST service, which runs over lines owned by your local phone company. The result will be a system in which most families and businesses will have no more choice about how to reach cyberspace.

The next step will be to remove more governmental restrictions and allow fewer and fewer corporations to control more and more networks -- all in the name of free trade, but, actually all in the name of creating communication monopolies. This proposal is before the FCC now, and the comment period is rapidly running out.

The FCC has been steadily lifting restrictions on cross-ownership of media and communications companies. The day when a single conglomerate could own your local newspaper, several of your local TV channels, your cable company, your phone company and offer your only route to the Internet may not be far off. The result of all this will probably be exorbitant access charges. Broadband providers which face neither effective competition nor regulation may well make it difficult for their customers to get access to sites outside their proprietary domain, essentially ending the open internet access we enjoy today.

Of course, all of this takes place without restricting freedom of speech in any way. It's just that gathering, disseminating and even reading desired information may not be possible or its cost may be too prohibitive for many citizens.

When a monopoly controls not only what you can watch on TV, but what you can find in any other media, there will be a loss of the free and open exchange of ideas.

Write the FCC and your members of Congress.

Paul Zimmerman, Kasilof

Wagoner's behavior shows he's not interested in local constituents

I have been watching Sen.-elect Tom Wagoner's absence from this state to his residence in California. While all other senators and representatives have been attending meetings and conferences in-state to chart our legislative future, Wagoner has been attending to the more important business of his responsibility and interests in the state of California. With his improper reporting of his interests being fined by the Alaska Public Offices Commis-sion, questions surrounding his insincere switching of political parties and a looming lawsuit, Wagoner chose to give his California interests priority.

I understand he was to return Sunday after wasting valuable time here in the area he supposedly had promised to support. Somehow I am not surprised by his behavior.

He ran as a Republican Moderate, then switched to the Republican party after being elected. He says he did so to keep a promise to the people he made it to. Wagoner didn't make that promise to this Republican. He didn't advertise it in his disgusting and inappropriate political ads to the general public so we could honestly assess his motives as well as his honesty. Who did Wagoner make these promises to?

Mr. Wagoner, you have already earned yourself an F!

Susan Davies, Soldotna

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