Editorials

AJOC EDITORIAL: Supporting Hagel a mistake, backing Jewell even worse

From the party that brought you former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who famously said we had to pass the Affordable Care Act “to find out what’s in it,” we now have been given Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel.

Hagel, a Republican by name who is popular with the media and the Democrats (but I repeat myself) for often taking positions against his party, performed to dismal reviews during his Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing on Jan. 31.

FISH FACTOR: Full speed ahead for bill repealing cruise ship discharge rules

Dilution is the solution for pollution sums up the Parnell Administration policy when it comes to cruise ship discharges in Alaska waters.

A bill being moved quickly by state lawmakers will repeal a 2006 citizens’ initiative that requires cruise ships to meet Alaska water quality standards at the point of discharge, and instead create mixing zones for dumping sewage, hazardous chemicals and other wastes. Alaskans won’t know where those zones are, as House Republicans rejected amendments to require disclosure of the locations.

The Bookworm Sez: Shift attitude to change attitude

Lately, you’ve noticed that everyone runs when you enter the building.

You have to admit that you’ve been grumpy for quite some time now. You’ve tried to blame it on the weather, the economy, personal problems, but the fact is that grouchy is your new normal. Even clients have noticed.

So what can you do to remove the black cloud that surrounds you? How can you find the contentment that you had eons ago? In the new book “Get Your Shift Together” by Steve Rizzo, you might find a roadmap.

AJOC EDITORIAL: Session gets off to fast start

First the good news from Juneau.

Those with concerns about a slow session of the Alaska Legislature with a rush to close at the end, forget it.

The pace started fast and is accelerating.

Members of the Alaska State Chamber spent a couple of days during their annual “Fly-In” to the capitol talking to legislators and their staff about oil tax reform, the cost of energy and ways to loosen the permitting stranglehold on new Alaska projects.

The atmosphere is electric, intense, all business.

EDITORIAL: US Air Force wants to hear about Eielson F-16 study

Mark it on your calendar: Air Force officials will be in town Feb. 6 and Feb. 7 to conduct public meetings regarding the proposed transfer of Eielson Air Force Base’s F-16 squadron to Anchorage.

The trip to the Interior will follow meetings Feb. 4 and Feb. 5 in Anchorage and in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough to take public comment about the proposed move of the aircraft and hundreds of personnel to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

AJOC EDITORIAL: State should foot the bill for salmon disaster

Effective Jan. 22, the federal government made official what has been the policy since statehood in 1959: Alaska is in charge of its salmon fisheries.

The first fishery management plan approved after the passage of the original Magnuson Act in 1976 was the Alaska salmon FMP delegating that responsibility to the Department of Fish & Game. After revisions to what later became the Magnuson-Stevens Act were passed in 2006, all FMPs were required to be updated within five years to meet new requirements for setting annual catch limits and accountability measures.

EDITORIAL: Shell incident serious, but doesn't deserve overreaction

On Jan. 5, while the Shell drill rig Kulluk was bobbing along the shores of Sitkalidak Island, a fuel leak inside a fish processing vessel triggered the bilge pump and sent 150 gallons of diesel fuel into Kodiak Harbor.

EDITORIAL: Nome fuel run highlights spirit, challenges of Alaska

As evidenced by the endless lineup of “reality” television shows filmed in our state, Alaska makes for good television. No contrived drama on a crab boat or a suction dredge was more compelling in 2012, though, than the sight of the Coast Guard cutter Healy clearing a path through the frozen Bering Sea for a Russian tanker to deliver vital heating oil and gasoline to Nome this January.

EDITORIAL: Setting it straight on EPA review, DC numbers games

In my Dec. 2 editorial on the peer review of the Environmental Protection Agency assessment of risks from mining to the Bristol Bay watershed, I advised the agency to “take its medicine” from experts who found fault with aspects of the hypothetical mine scenario used in the document.

Looks like I could use a spoonful of sugar right about now.

EDITORIAL: Groups should pay contractors for lost wages

In a rare act for the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, a sensible decision was handed down Nov. 28 when a three-judge panel reversed an Oct. 1 stay that halted construction on the rail extension at Port MacKenzie.

The Oct. 1 stay, also originating from a 9th Circuit decision that included the vote of a judicial relic from the Carter Administration, idled about 200 workers for nearly two months in an entirely unnecessary delay based on a petty challenge to the project on technical grounds brought by Cook Inletkeeper and the Sierra Club.

Interior voters dismantle Senate majority

Fairbanks voters saw to it that the Senate Bipartisan Working Group would not survive the 2012 election.

As Anchorage voters cast ballots to preserve the status quo by reelecting oil tax reform opponents Sens. Hollis French and Bill Wielechowski, Interior residents sent two Democrat incumbents packing and elected Republican Click Bishop to an open seat.

Eagle River voters flipped another Democratic seat to the GOP by electing Rep. Anna Fairclough against incumbent Bettye Davis, who was redistricted into former senator status.

Editorial: Romney gets in Obama's face over lies on energy

Back in September 2008 during the good ol’ days of Hopenchange, then-candidate Barack Obama gave the following instructions to one of his adoring crowds in Nevada:

“I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors. I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face.”

Editorial: Board must take up kings, take no more from setnetters

The — now official —disaster in Cook Inlet during the 2012 salmon season is back in front of the Board of Fisheries at its upcoming annual work session Oct. 9 to 11 in Anchorage.

Editorial: Obama, media friends are an embarrassment after 9/11 attacks

It has been a difficult week for those of us deeply concerned about our national security and the safety of our fellow Americans risking their lives as soldiers and diplomats around the world.

And for those of us who still believe our chosen profession of journalism demands holding those in power accountable, it has been downright discouraging.

EDITORIAL: Alaskans do their part to help economic climate

Although some candidates no doubt disagree, Alaskan voters got it right Aug. 28.

Only 24 percent of the electorate turned out to vote on one of the last beautiful days of summer, but those who made it to the ballot box did their part to prevent negative impacts on the state business climate.

By a resounding margin of nearly 2-to-1, voters rejected Ballot Measure 2, a 15-page initiative to create a new coastal zone management program to replace the prior regime that expired in 2011 when the legislature failed to renew it.

Editorial: Against Props 1 and 2, for Vazquez in District J

Alaskans go to the polls Aug. 28 to decide primary races and two ballot initiatives. Here are some final thoughts:

Against Prop 1: This measure would allow municipalities to raise the property tax exemption from the first $20,000 in value to as much as $50,000. It’s been advanced by some folks in Fairbanks including former Borough Mayor Jim Whitaker, who told the Anchorage Daily News that he understands this will raise property taxes on businesses.

Editorial: Attacks on 'Outside' companies wrong, undemocratic

Here we go again.

An initiative governing resource development is on the Aug. 28 primary ballot and it was only a matter of time before the backers of Proposition 2 to reinstate a coastal zone management program played the “Outsider” card.

After finance disclosures were filed with the state for June and July, the Alaska Sea Party put out a press release decrying the fact the group has been outraised 10-1 by their opponents who were characterized as “foreign” and “Outside” companies.

Editorial: Fuel regs show problem with Law of the Sea Treaty

On July 13, the State of Alaska filed a lawsuit to challenge new fuel requirements for ocean-going vessels plying the West Coast shipping lanes that took effect Aug. 1. The new standards imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency will raise the cost of everything that crosses our docks by at least 8 percent initially, and even further by 2015 when stricter standards kick in.

The following Monday, July 16, Senate opponents to the Law of the Sea Treaty, or LOST, announced they had 34 signatures and enough to block ratification.

Editorial: King closures expose double standard on bycatch

A fisheries management nightmare is playing out across the state caused by weak king salmon returns. The social and economic harms have yet to be calculated, although we have no doubt they are immense.

Sport and subsistence king fisheries have been shut down. The East Side setnetters on the Kenai and Kasilof rivers have been shut down as sockeye surge past the beaches. Commercial chum salmon runs in Western Alaska have been restricted and new fishing gear required — all to avoid killing any king salmon.

Editorial: Note to Politico: Fairbanks isn't 'nowhere'

The State of Alaska received welcome news at the end of June when Congress agreed on a two-year surface transportation bill that largely preserved annual federal funds for the Alaska Railroad Corp.

Under the Senate version passed in March, the railroad was in danger of losing $30 million of the $36 million annual Federal Transit Administration funding it has received since 2006. The potential loss of funding put everything from hundreds of jobs, passenger service and the ability to repay $137 million in capital improvement bonds at risk.

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