Letters

Israel is not America’s friend

We move to boycott an apartheid state and our Congress moves to make such opposition a felony. We are belly up to a foreign country and it makes me sick.

Tod Tenhoff

Welcome to Alaska — now go home

Where did Jefferson Smith go when his swindles selling bars of soap got him hotfooting out of Colorado?

Alaska.

Where did Frederick Trump go when he got run out of Seattle for running brothels?

Alaska.

Where did Donna Arduin go after she fouled up Sarasota, Florida and the state of Illinois budgets?

Alaska.

That’s right, the Dunleavy administration has picked a whopper of a con-woman to be the budget director for Alaska. Previously she charged Sarasota $90,000 for a 48-page report. They balked at paying the sum because it was a treatise on taxing the public to pay for costs that developers should shoulder — exactly the opposite of what they requested. She started a consulting firm with the father of junk-economics Art Laffer, whose curve explained how cutting the tax rate would allow governments to collect more in taxes.

She charged the state of Illinois $30,000 a month to steer their budget into desperate straits. After eight months on her budget the treasury was in triage — paying bills on a court ordered schedule that collapsed when they didn’t have enough for disability payments. With her budget up in smoke, they cut her salary and finally asked her to leave.

In Alaska her agenda already shows in the $20 million mid-year school budget cut Dunleavy proposed. These payments (that were supposed to go out in February) will leave school districts bouncing checks to teachers, cooks, janitors, and for school suppliers before the year is out. This works well for the $30 million in cuts to schools she proposes next year because it will drive teachers south, leaving less to pay.

So it’s time Dunleavy confesses he doesn’t know (or care) about education. He really can’t raise money for law enforcement, fund education, trim the budget and pay back dividends. The best move he can make is save a third of a million dollars by letting this high-priced right-wing economist go.

Robert Vernon

Bad news about our children’s and grandchildren’s education

Our governor is proposing an immediate cut of $20 million to this year’s education budget allocation. For our Kenai Peninsula Borough School District this would mean a cut of $1.4 million right now, mid-year. Cutting teachers and other staff working in the classroom right now, maybe a dozen positions, and increasing class size this year.

First, the impact will be on kids who will feel the cut directly and adversely in their daily school lives. If there are additional cuts to education next year, as the governor plans, then the impact will be significantly increased and the overall quality of education for Alaska’s kids will go farther downhill.

I do not believe there is a way to cut our state government enough to provide fiscal stability. All services could be cut and we would still be lacking—this is the math of it. And do we want to go without adequate education for our kids’ future, or public safety, roads, etc.? Most of us say no.

We do need to find a way to bring in some revenue to the state. For starters, “we” could stop giving all those tax credits to the oil and gas industry to reduce their production taxes. As a mother, grandmother and retired teacher, I know this arrangement is not fair to our kids. Those companies operate with huge profits every year, couldn’t we take some of the tax credits back?

Education in Alaska is under attack and we need to speak up now.

Lani Raymond

Life began with a breath

God breathed life into us.

Life begins with the breath, the same air that all of us breathe that keeps us alive — precious air that makes us the living part of this community of air breathers.

Without breath we are in the other realm. Life on this planet begins with the breath.

Lela Ryterski

Grateful for Rotary scholarhisp

My name is Janyce Larrick (Wise) and I am the proud recipient of the Homer Rotary Scholarship for the Spring 2019 semester. I was born and raised here in Homer; as you would say, I come from a long line of Homerites. I am currently enrolled in the nursing program offered at Kachemak Bay Campus UAA. My goal is to graduate in December 2019, take the state licensing test, and then work at South Peninsula Hospital. In the long run I want to finish my bachelor’s degree in nursing then enjoy raising my two boys in this great town. When my boys are more independent, I want to return to school to become a midwife.

The Homer Rotary Scholarship means so much to my education this semester. The financial help allows me to buy all the necessary textbooks for this semester. I am prepared to focus my energy on school and my children instead of having to work part time. These local scholarships mean so much to our community, thank you Homer Rotary Club.

Janyce Larrick

Concerned about education cuts

Maybe it’s because I’m the mother of two, grandmother of three and a former teacher that I am so concerned about Gov. Dunleavy’s plan to cut education spending in order to balance the budget.

Here’s my two cents’ worth:

If we don’t educate the next generation how will Alaska fare in the future?

We need good thinkers, good workers, good citizens.

Our school districts must not be squeezed of funding.

Please let the Alaska State Legislature know the importance of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District to our community.

Diana Conway

Dunleavy abrogates duty

Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposal to slice $20 million from this year’s school budget, and his very likely FY20 move to pilfer another $30 million already budgeted for next year, would be an unconscionable abrogation of government duty.

Fortunately, he may face a legal challenge to cutting the $20 million, and cannot simply veto the $30 million; only a legislative “negative appropriation” can do that.

Such attempted excisions to education spending should do more than simply raise concerns. They should make us all angry enough to force state lawmakers to vote a resounding “NO!”

Funding education is an Alaska constitutional responsibility. I’m not convinced Dunleavy recognizes that obligation. Administration officials busily hacksawing state spending say state agencies should do “less with less.” The education of our children is no place to apply such an abysmally short-sighted strategy.

Alaska faces a serious deficit. But while lawmakers have been cutting for years, they’ve also continued slow-dancing with Big Oil, refusing to revamp their tax liability.

We’re not fools. No amount of further cutting will take us to a balanced budget, not even if the Legislature shreds vital programs across the spectrum of government responsibility. Let’s insist they don’t – not while there is an existing well of money they can prime with a bit of collective intestinal fortitude.

I urge lawmakers to support Sen. Bill Wielechowski’s Senate Bill 14, which would eliminate deductible credits the Oil and Gas Industry uses to reduce their state taxes. Repealing that “sweetheart” subsidy would gain Alaska more than $1 billion in 2019, and go a long way toward wiping out the deficit.

I am asking Sens. Gary Stevens and Pete Micciche, and Reps. Sarah Vance and Gary Knopp to consider co-sponsoring SB14 or a House companion measure, and commit publicly to opposing the proposed cuts to education spending. It is simply the right thing to do.

Hal Spence

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Willy Dunne is a member of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly. (Courtesy photo)
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