Letters – Oct. 31

Vic Fischer visits Nov. 2

We are fortunate to be able to meet Victor Fischer, one of Alaska’s Founding Fathers, at the College this Friday evening, Nov. 2.
Vic Fischer is the last of the Alaska Constitutional Convention delegates still able to travel and meet with Alaskans. He is here to speak and to sign his just published book, To Russia With Love, about his extraordinary life. Son of the famous American foreign correspondent and Gandhi biographer Louis Fischer and the Russian writer Markoosha Fischer, Vic Fischer and his family fled Germany under Hitler to the Soviet Union under Stalin, where they watched friends disappear after political arrests until the White House intervened to help the Fischer family escape from Moscow. Fischer arrived in America as a teenager and served in the U.S. Army in World War II, while his childhood friends fought in the Soviet and German armies. He moved to Alaska when it was still a territory, helped write the state Constitution, and has participated in Alaskan politics ever since, including as a founder of UAA’s Institute of Social Economic Research and as a state senator.
Many thanks to the Kachemak Bay College for hosting Victor Fischer, and to Grant Aviation for donating his round trip tickets from Anchorage.
Pam Brodie

To All Medicare beneficiaries

Don’t forget – Medicare Open Enrollment for Part D (the drug plans) is Oct. 15 thru Dec. 7. Now is the time to compare your current Medicare Part D plan with all your options for 2013. You may find better coverage, higher quality or lower cost. Some plans offer prescription coverage when you’re in the coverage gap/donut hole but others don’t. However, with the health care law (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare) in 2013 there is at least a 52.5 percent discount off brand name prescription drugs and a 21 percent discount off generics when you’re in that donut hole. By 2020, the coverage gap disappears.
It is very important that you consider not only the premium you’ll be paying for your Part D plan but also the formulary of that plan and your cost shares. Some plans may have lower premiums but either all the medications you need to take aren’t on their formulary or the price you pay can be significantly higher than what another plan offers. www.Medicare.gov offers a tool for comparing the 2013 Part D plans or you can call me at the Independent Living Center 235-7911, and I will be happy to assist you in making the best choice for your needs and your budget.
Patti Boily,
Certified Medicare Counselor,
Independent Living Center

Encourage through write-in campaigns
Kenai Peninsula voters will notice a couple of uncontested races on their Nov. 6 ballot. There is no Democrat or Independent running for the Senate District O seat (Kenai south to Homer) or the House District 29 seat (Kenai-Soldotna-Kasilof area). The two Republicans won their primaries and are now unopposed on the ballot. They have stated their support for their party platform which does not trust women to make their own reproductive decisions. The Senate candidate speaks against the Senate Bipartisan Coalition, which held the line on the Republican governor’s massive oil tax giveaway; the incumbent House member voted for the giveaway last session.
So what are we to do with our precious votes if we are pro-choice and/or pro-coalition? Where are the moderates? We need to find and support capable, hard-working and ethical people who share our concerns. Sadly, only 10 percent of women and 20 percent of men ever consider a run for public office. Yet we all know people who have lived a life of selfless volunteer service to their community. Or a smart young person who has just stepped onto the same compassionate path. So let’s turn this dilemma into an opportunity. Think of a person you wish were running. Write-in their name on the ballot, then tell them you did so and tell them why. Call it an appreciation vote, an encouragement vote. Call it a first step in finding and supporting candidates who care about the health and education of our children, the equal personhood of women, fiscal stability and good jobs in an unpolluted environment. Next election, we may have some real choices.
Of course you have the choice to not vote in those races or to write in your favorite cartoon character (Big Bird may be looking for work), but I can’t help thinking that a stronger and more positive statement could be made by writing in the name of a person who exemplifies what you would like to see in leadership.
Finally, I would like to thank Liz Diament and Ron Devon for stepping forward to offer us choices in the other peninsula races.
Mary Toutonghi

Having a senior moment

Homer Senior Citizens had a raffle over the summer generating funds to purchase lobby furniture for The Terrace, our assisted living facility. Like most of our community, the summer got away from us and we forgot to thank those contributors for their support. We apologize for having a senior moment. 
We’d like to thank North Country Charters for their halibut charter for two, Hallo Bay for their bear viewing trip, Alaskan Adventures for their aerial glacier viewing trip, Homer Air for their round trip ticket to Seldovia, Bear Creek Winery for their beautiful variety basket and Crabbies Restaurant for their bottle of wine and dinner for two. We could not have had this raffle without the incredible prize donations received from this fantastic community. Thank you.
Kate McNulty,
Homer Senior Citizens, Inc.
Board of Directors

Stop legally buying elections

Most Libertarians, Democrats,Tea Party Activists and some Republicans agree that the rich should not be able to buy elections. For the first time, nonprofits, corporations and unions are legally spending billions for political ads. The “Citizens United” Supreme Court decision, 2010, eviscerated campaign reform laws and earlier United States Supreme Court decisions by stating that corporations, nonprofits, and unions have the same free-speech rights as people.  As a person, I have free speech.  After Citizens United, if I were rich, I could give unlimited amounts of money to organizations which can hide my identity. 
In his minority opinion, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote, “A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold.” Before voting Nov. 6, I want to know whether President Obama or Gov. Romney would more likely appoint justices who believe people have greater free speech rights than corporations.  
A chart (summarized here) shows which Supreme Court justices voted for the main part of the Citizens United Decision and which voted against it   The right side of the chart reports which President appointed each justice (R equals Republican; D equals Democrat). Justices for Citizens United     and the president who appointed them: Anthony Kennedy by Ronald Reagan, R.,1988; John Roberts, Chief, by George W Bush, R, 2005; Clarence Thomas by George Herbert Walker Bush, R, 1991; Antonin Scalia by Ronald Reagan, 1986; and Samuel Alito by George W. Bush, R, 2006.    
Justices against Citizens United: John Paul Stevens by Gerald Ford, R, 1975; Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Bill Clinton, D, 1993; Stephen Breyer        by Bill Clinton, D, 1994; and Sonia Sotomayor by Barack Obama, D, 2009  
The chart indicates that Barack Obama is more likely than Mitt Romney to appoint justices who believe that people have broader rights to free speech than corporations.
Amy Bollenbach

Two-part gas costs explained

The cost for Homer property owners to have natural gas service is broken into two parts: Transmission line – This is the big line that brings gas from the source to the boundary of the Homer Special Assessment District. A substantial portion is being paid for by a state grant with the remainder paid by a $1 per Mcf surcharge.
Distribution buildout: This part is paid for through the HSAD and comprises the significantly larger part of total cost.
The transmission line has been one of two major problems expressed by Enstar in serving Homer, the other being a dwindling supply of gas in the Cook Inlet. Though Enstar did not raise the cost of this line as an issue when the Alaska Public Utilities Commission gave it the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity or CPCN, Enstar would not build a line to the HSAD without being paid the entire cost. While Enstar’s approach is troubling, the State assistance is valuable. The Governor and Legislature deserve our thanks.
Now for the HSAD.  It is unclear how the cost of building the distribution system will be calculated and managed.  In reviewing Enstar’s tariff, the Sponsoring Government Body (City of Homer) is due a Free Allowance for the embedded cost of service to each property owner.  The ultimate HSAD cost should be equal to the cost of construction less Free Allowances.  Are Free Allowances accounted for in the estimated cost of $3,283 per property owner?
Homer is including 3,289 property owners in the HSAD.  If hypothetically, 10 are large commercial users, 150 are small commercial users and the rest are residential, the total Free Allowance would be a little over $2.1 million.
We need to see how the cost recovered in the HSAD is calculated and how Enstar’s tariff is applied. This may be seen as wonky but a white board presentation by Enstar or the City would be handy. Also, a confirmation of Enstar’s receiving competitive construction costs is necessary. If possible, the City of Homer should ask Enstar for alternative scenarios using steel pipe for the main line to Homer and different pipeline routes. Probably, Homer property owners’ main concern is the substantial cost of the HSAD.
Many years have passed since Enstar received the authority to serve gas in Homer.  Enstar has received a lot of latitude in doing so in variance from the expectations of the APUC 18 years ago.  The Regulatory Commission of Alaska has allowed this latitude so for better or worse, clinically Homer residents and businesses have a consumer advocate.
If Homer property owners are treated fairly, meaning the same as all of Enstar’s other customers, then the City of Homer is to be commended for moving to the step of forming the HSAD and financing the buildout for Enstar and Homer’s property owners.  
Rick Eckert
Former CEO of HEA

Much appreciation on behalf of Mrs. Prouty

Thank you to the communities of Anchor Point, Homer and Ninilchik. The Anchor Point Volunteer Fire Department and the Anchor Point Baptist Church would like to extend the largest, most heartfelt thank you to all who donated, participated and helped out with the benefit for Mrs Connie Prouty. The list of businesses and individuals who participated is amazingly long. Many, many donations and participation from businesses and individuals made the chili/spaghetti feed and auction a huge success. A significant amount of money was raised for the family. They are overwhelmed with appreciation to the community for all the love and support.
It is the most wonderful feeling to know that you live within a community that will come together with love and support and give so much when one of our own is in need.
Thank you to all who helped make the benefit a success.
Cassandra Parkinson

Voznesenka grateful for tools

I would like to thank Dick Griffin, along with the help of Sandy McDaniel and Denise Beach, for the more than generous donation to Voznesenka School’s Construction Program. Being a well-renowned wood worker in the Homer area, Dick had a plethora of tools he generously donated to our program. There has not been any type of construction program on site for the last 10 years, creating a void of necessary tools to equip our newly established program. On behalf of our students, staff, and community we would like to share our sincere gratitude.
Michael Wojciak
Voznesenka Principal


End domestic terror attack

As I write, there are only a handful of days until we vote to end the second terrorist attack on our country.
On Tuesday Oct. 23 the news went public what free thinking people already knew. It wasnt a surprise, its all we’ve heard for 4 years, but Obama lied about the attack on the embassy in Libya. Two hours after the initial attack, the White house was made aware of the attack, and that Al Qaeda was claiming responsibility. 
Obama, always vigilant in his “Blame America First” campaign, and his wanton destruction of America, ignored the facts and blamed some obscure video that nobody ever heard of. Not exactly a surprise. We’ve had nearly 4 years of revisionist history and “blame Bush” excuses with anything but “Forward” progress.
Because of this “president,” we have record unemployment, record national debt, a reduced national credit rating, millions more on welfare, health care that was so wonderful it had to be forced on us in the form of a tax, (with Washington totally exempt), gas prices doubled in the past four years, but its all part of a carefully conceived plan.
He told us he would do this back in 2008. I quote Obama’s words: “This is the greatest country in history. Please help me change it.” 
In the first two years of his presidency, he could have done anything he wanted. Passed any law, made any regulation and it would have been done. But all we hear is the republicans are in the way. We have had four years of “Blame Bush”, and as Biden admitted to, during Obama’s reign, the middle class has been squeezed in these four years. It’s all on this president, all his problem. People are not buying the blame game anymore. Hopefully, it’s not too late. 
Phil Celtic

Sharing the love

Our hearts are filled with gratitude for the care and compassion shown for our mother, Phyllis Ledger. We would especially like to thank the Homer EMTs and staff at South Peninsula Hospital. The outpouring of love from the Homer and Anchor Point communities has eased the pain of our loss. All of the cards, flowers and prayers have touched our hearts. She will be greatly missed.
Steve and Catherine Ledger, Susan Ledger, Laurie and Lee Martin, Donna and Keith Chesser

Walking the Talk

The Buccaneer public meeting at McNeil Canyon Elementary School illustrated wide gaps in perception between the Australian oil and gas company and local residents. The meeting started with a local resident noting that “Responsibility” was pasted in large letters on the wall of the gym. It ended with the unanswered question, “who will go to jail.”  In-between was a lot saccharin–laced sweet talk by company representatives repeating the usual oil company mantra.  
I think the “who will go to jail” comment gets to the heart of why there is now so much distrust in our “rigorous” (or is it rigor mortise) permitting system. What was meant to protect the oppressed has morphed into protecting the oppressor thanks to years of unrelenting, industrial-scale lobbying. As we’ve seen time and again with environmental disasters, when there’s a breakdown in responsibility, no one is held responsible and no one goes to jail. 
The Buccaneer literature is a lot like the campaign stuff we are now inundated with; long on promises but short on substance. What I think is one of the most important issues, which doesn’t seem to be on Buccaneer’s radar screen, is the impact that the West Eagle drilling program will have on fish and wildlife. While the impacts of the first well, which is in an existing gravel pit, should be minimal, additional drilling pads, roads, and pipelines might slice up the headwaters of the anadromous Anchor River and Deep Creek and the Caribou Hills moose pasture. This could not only impact fish and wildlife but displace a lot of local fishing and hunting opportunity. 
If Buccaneer wants to do things right the first thing they should do is throw out their arbitrary timelines. They need to take the time to see if this project can be done right before making empty promises. 
George Matz

Heli-Skiing? Heli-no!

Would heliskiing in Kachemak Bay State Wilderness Park be “good taste and judgment”? Heli-No!
Kachemak Bay State Wilderness Park was established as Alaska’s first (and only) state wilderness park back in 1972. Back then, both the public and the Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation (aka Alaska State Parks) drew a sharp distinction between Kachemak Bay State Park (KBSP) and the adjoining Wilderness Park (KBSWP), where more restrictive management practices and polices were favored to protect wilderness values.
Although Alaska State Park’s definition of wilderness differs (for good reasons) from that of the Wilderness Act, which only applies to federal lands, the Wilderness Park was established to protect “unique wilderness values” so that the area would be “unaffected, expect in minor ways, by what takes place in the non-wilderness around it, …where development of man-made objects will be strictly limited and depend entirely on good taste and judgment so that wilderness values are not lost.”
For the most part, this is interpreted to mean no development – no trails, no signs, no cabins. Understandably, State Parks did not choose to inhibit access to either KBSP or the adjoining Wilderness Park. Current regulations allow aircraft landing in some places within KBSP and the Wilderness Park and these regulations don’t differentiate between airplanes and helicopters. At question now is whether a new heliskiing operation, Kenai Heli Ski based in Seldovia, should be allowed to operate a commerical heliskiing operation in KBSP and the Wilderness Park.
I argue that allowing a commericial heliskiing in the Wilderness Park is not “good taste and judgment.” Wilderness means different things to different people. What does it mean to you? Public comment on this topic is being accepted through November 19. For more information, contact Pam Russell at 714-2471 or pamela.russell@alaska.gov.
Chuck Lindsay

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Posted by on Oct 31st, 2012 and filed under Letters to the Editor. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 Response for “Letters – Oct. 31”

  1. Heli-Yes says:

    Why not? Seldovia needs winter jobs, the tracks melt in the summer, there isn’t any ‘development”. The parks and wilderness areas are meant to be used and enjoyed.

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