Point of View

Which oil tax would you pick?

Just cause the guy’s a greasy thug and you’re scared doesn’t mean you’ve got to grab the tab. You bet Alaska is a tough place to drill for oil — hundreds of miles from a road, with temperatures that turn oil into sludge, where crews are remote and cold.

But if you’re an oil executive you pick the politics, you choose the infrastructure, you pick your battles with the insurgencies, you choose your chance of hitting oil, you pick what you pay in royalties.  Go ahead pick:

Taxes less than Alaska
(46% includes federal and state royalties)

Vote ‘yes’ on Proposition 1 SB 21 good for oil companies, not so good for Alaska’s future

One of the things I like best about Homer is that friends can disagree and remain friends. A friend of mine wrote last week’s Point of View in support of SB 21, the oil tax give away. It read like a BP press release, full of unsupported statistics and misleading facts. He could not be more wrong.   

Mentoring: important way to pay it forward

Who mentored you? It’s a question that I ask new “Big” volunteers when I interview them at Big Brothers Big Sisters. The answers are fascinating and widely varied: parents, relatives, teachers, coaches, scout leaders, family friends, neighbors, older siblings, friends both young and old, spouses, pastors, employers, co-workers, and on and on. Their answers always trigger memories about the school mentors I had in my own life when I was younger and most of all the host of relatives that lived nearby. 


Voting ‘no on one’ will do much to help state’s business climate

As every business person knows, Alaska can be a tough place to do business. Much of what makes it such a challenge here is out of our control: high costs, distant markets, harsh weather, small workforce. What we can control is how we treat our businesses — and that’s why it’s so important to vote no on one on Aug. 19.

It’s time for Alaskans to be responsible owners

Why I am against SB 21 and believe we need to repeal the “giveaway” this August 19th:

I am from and therefore of Alaska. What I know about life, the world and living has been acquired while existing almost exclusively in Alaska. In other words, Alaska has shaped me and as I grow into stages of adulthood I understand the importance of helping, in my small way, shape Alaska, in return. 

‘March for Alaska’ set for Saturday; elder statesman Vic Fischer to speak

nonpartisan group of Homer people have organized a “March for Alaska” event on Saturday, June 14. Our group is concerned about recent changes to oil taxation in Alaska as enacted by Senate Bill 21. We believe that the former tax structure of ACES provides more fairness to Alaskans.

Honor ‘owner state’ concept; vote ‘yes’ Aug. 19

My friend Mike Heimbuch offered his opinion recently that it may have been a  mistake for the legislature to overturn the oil tax law known as ACES in favor of Senate Bill 21. Mike and I have some common ground in that we are both offspring of Alaska homesteaders and were enjoying Alaska long before oil was discovered.  Mike and I don’t agree on every political issue, but our friendship endures. 

Passages: Homer nonprofits specialize in helping at critical junctures in lives old and young

I’m struck by the passages we go through in our lives. There are many passages we make by choice, from graduation and promotions, to enlistments, marriages and becoming parents. For me, however, the most important passages are the “natural passages,” those we go through, but not by choice. We go through them as we age and as we face the circumstances of life.

Bonfire on the Bay: Shining light on stress, anxiety and depression

If I asked you what you think our biggest problem in Homer is, what would you say? When this question was posed to six Homer youth at a statewide leadership conference called LeadOn! in November 2013, our first thoughts were around substance abuse, which we all think is a real issue for teens and adults in our community. 

Bering Sea out of balance; halibut population hurting

This year the Magnuson Stevens Act will be reauthorized by Congress. The MSA is the law by which the National Marine Fisheries Service and the North Pacific Fisheries Council manage the federal fisheries off of Alaska. In public hearings the message that “all is well in Alaska waters” and “no major changes to the law are needed” has been echoed by many groundfish industry lobbyists. 

How ’bout them ACES?

It’s just overwhelming — the media coverage of how we should vote this fall on the ballot measure to repeal the “new” oil tax. One could simply choose not to listen — admittedly a wise choice — because the strident pros and cons in this debate have tuned out the old-time Alaska mindset that brought us ACES (Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share) in the first place.  

Advice to grads: Remember to wear XtraTufs

Editor’s Note: Karmen Classen gave the following valedictory address at the Kachemak Bay commencement May 7. 


I have only been to one other college graduation. It was in this very theater, but so many years ago I don’t even remember who I had come to see graduate. What I do remember is the keynote address given by our very own Professor Beth Graber, who got up and read a Dr. Suess book to the graduates — you know the one — “Oh the Places You’ll Go. ”

Job at Homer News pays dividends in life lessons

Editor’s Note: As part of its 50th anniversary celebration, the Homer News has asked former “Newsies” to reminisce about their time at the newspaper and some of the top stories of the day. 

In the third such piece, Joel Gay, who contributed to the Homer News in a variety of ways for nearly 25 years, talks about his time at the Homer News, which began in 1978.


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