Letters to the Editor

Sky-High inflation

Dear Editor,

You’ve probably noticed the prices of groceries at Safeway are way up this year. Same for the cost of gasoline and other items like lumber. Although prices have been rising ever since he got into office, President Joe Biden says this inflation spike is Putin’s fault. He is mistaken.

We are experiencing the highest inflation in 40 years due to his profligate spending bills. For the past two years, the government has been spending far more than they take in as taxes. All that additional spending requires the Federal Reserve to print more dollars. Our federal government keeps spending, forcing the Fed to keep printing, and every time they print more money, it makes inflation worse.

Unfortunately, Sen. Lisa Murkowski has gone along with it. She has voted for most of Biden’s spending bills. Lisa even got money in the new bill for her pet project, the study of battery-powered ferries in Alaska. Good luck Lisa, convincing Alaskans that electric ferries somehow justify our ever-increasing grocery bills. Inflation is here to stay, and it is going to get much worse, thanks to Lisa and Big Joey.


Greg Sarber

Don Young’s visit to Paradise befouled: the Exxon Valdez oil spill leaks into Cook Inlet

Soon after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in March 1989, Exxon held a press conference in Homer City Council chambers with U.S. Sen. Frank Murkowski, the commandant of the Coast Guard, and Rep. Don Young. Just as they declaimed that there would be no oil coming into Cook Inlet or Kachemak Bay, a local walked in carrying oiled pom poms and jars containing crude oil globs and a little dead octopus from Nanwalek (then English Bay), all marked with Alaska State Trooper evidence tags.

The meeting dissolved. The admiral and senator departed, and Don Young was confronted by fisherman Dan Winn, who demanded action. Don Young then commandeered a meeting room and gathered Seldovia’s representative John Mickelson, Dan Winn, the Exxon execs, and myself (I was the bearer of the oiled evidence).

“So what do you want?” asked the Congressman.

Our answer was $3 million dollars for the Kenai Peninsula Borough spill response, which would be replenished every time we wrote a check. Otto Harrison, the Alaska general manager of Exxon, refused charging they would just be ripped off by local government. We locals laughed, pointing out that nobody could rip them off like VECO was doing every day. (Exxon quickly called in auditors to inspect VECO ops.) And then Don Young rose forcefully to the occasion.

“Harrison, the price of doing business in Alaska has gone up [because of spill],” he said. “Give them the money.”

And so it happened.

Borough Mayor Don Gilman said, “OK, spend it where you think it will some good.”

Jon Berryman, Beluga Lake Float Plane, flew oil spotters out, and Homer boats were hired to join Seldovia boats, organized by Tim Robertson. Rich Corazza took Underwater Construction out with their cameras on 500-foot tethers and filmed sheets of oil gliding along the bottom near Gore Point. And our smoke jumpers from the Alaska Division of Forestry in float planes landed on every possible slick (most often kelp!).

Of course, no response actually accomplished much, but, thanks to Dan Winn and Don Young, at least we were able to try. Exxon did not defy Representative Young.

Larry Smith, a local who took the oil spill like his mother, Luella, getting mugged

Let’s talk about why we vote

When I turned 18 in 1974 I was excited to go to the election polls and vote. Public school civics and government classes taught me it was my right and a responsibility to vote. My dad was active in local politics and usually sported a campaign sign on the lawn. Mom worked the voting polls. Civic duty was important to them because of where their parents came from. My grandparents immigrated in the early 1900s from Prussia. The immigration doors were opened to Eastern Europeans only briefly at that time. Their families split up and came by ship in twos and threes. They left because their Polish homeland kept losing the fight for freedom from the forces of empires, their culture constantly being usurped, poverty kept the people down.

Perhaps they could see the tide of Russian revolution coming, and with it, dictatorships. They were peasant farmers and came to the United States of America for opportunity. Like every immigrant, then and now, they came for the basic liberties we all take for granted – to find decent jobs/careers, live in relative safety, raise families, put their kids through school, and be able to vote for representation in a democratic government. No system is perfect. The good often fall to despotic corruption and greed. Somehow democracies seem to keep rising strong out of the rubble of too many lives lost to war. Democracy takes work, and yes – vigilance.

Ukraine has fought hard for their independence, for decades if not centuries, from Russian control. With the fall of the USSR in 1991 the people began to see promise. Courage, hard work and constant vigilance got them to now, finally a democratically elected president. Yet their fight for independence continues and we are all affected, every day, on the news and in our conscience, and in the future of world politics.

Democracy can hang by a thread and some political analysts write that today in the U.S., it may be shredding. What can we do? Vote! Be a responsible voter. Research the candidates and issues. Don’t just take the word of a glossy ad paid for by so-and-so political party. Listen to candidate forums, look at their websites, email them with questions. The state website lists candidates who have completed their paperwork to run, their contacts and websites are often listed. https://www.elections.alaska.gov/.

Remember, your vote does count and your voice does matter.

Therese Lewandowski for Kenai Peninsula Votes