EDITORIAL: Alaska needs the best to serve in judicial branch

Alaska has three branches of state government: Executive, headed by Gov. Sean Parnell; legislative headed by Senate President Gary Stevens and House Speaker Mike Chenault, and judicial, headed by Chief Justice Walter Carpenetti, who is one of five members of the Alaska Supreme Court.

That tells you how important to Alaska and Alaskans selecting another Supreme Court Justice is. There are only five. History shows that most members take a turn as the chief justice.

EDITORIAL: Alaskans — and lawmakers — should plan for growth

Alaskans heard Gov. Sean Parnell’s State of the State address to the 27th Alaska Legislature recently.

It was more than a good speech, perhaps his best to date, but in it, he charted a course for faster growth and greater opportunity for Alaska and its people. He pointed out five critical areas.

EDITORIAL: Progress made in village public safety officer program

Gov. Sean Parnell told the Alaska Federation of Natives in 2009 he would put a law enforcement officer in every village that wanted one. In subsequent years, the Legislature has agreed to build up annual funding for village public safety officers in an effort to fulfill the governor’s pledge.

Filling the positions has been more difficult, but the state must keep trying to do so. The village officers encourage safer, more law-abiding communities in rural Alaska. People in these communities are begging for help.

EDITORIAL: Young's bill for Alaska Native veterans is late, but right

It’s better late than never to do right by Alaska’s Native veterans.

Congressman Don Young has introduced the Alaska Native Veterans Land Allotment Equity Act. It would amend the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act to allow about 2,800 Natives who served in Vietnam to reapply for their Native allotment. They missed an earlier opportunity because they were in the armed services during the war.

EDITORIAL: Time to move beyond talk as legislative session starts

We’re off to an interesting start on what could be an historic year.

Already this year Gov. Sean Parnell has gathered a room full of movers and shakers, with the CEOs of Alaska’s big three oil companies, to talk about the potential for a natural gas pipeline to produce liquefied natural gas for sale in the Far East.

COMMENTARY: Over-the-top route minimizes natural gas benefits to Alaskans

Article VIII, Sections 1 and 2 of Alaska’s Constitution mandate that “Alaska’s resources are to be developed to the maximum use and benefit of its people.”

COMMENTARY: Why natural gas to liquids for Alaska? National security

Alaska, the only North American region partially occupied by an enemy during World War II, and a bastion of defense during the Korean Conflict and the Cold War has the opportunity to again serve our nation during troubling times.

The Department of Defense is actively researching and even implementing the concept of “single fuel” to substitute for gasoline, diesel, and aircraft (including JP) fuels. The concept makes sense, as manufacturing, storing, transporting and utilization of a number of different liquids is expensive and cumbersome.

EDITORIAL: Protect halibut, relationships while seeking solutions

Homer is fortunate. While fish wars have bitterly divided other Alaska communities, Homer’s commercial fishing and sport charter fleets have been able to avoid most of the acrimony that’s found in other fishing towns.

Let us see the U.S. Supreme Court at work

We — all of us — should be able to watch the U.S. Supreme Court in action, and legislation has been introduced in the Senate Judiciary Committee to allow it.

Fifty out of 307 million Americans can — if they get in line a day or two in advance of a particular case being argued before the justices. That leaves 306,999,950 Americans out in the cold.

It isn’t all warm and cozy for the 50, either. They get to stand in line outside court for from 24 to 48 hours in hopes of a chance to see and hear the arguments.

Hardly makes the public feel welcome.

Renewed sense of optimism for Inlet exploration

It seems there is no end to the good news coming out of Cook Inlet these days.

For a long time, all we heard about was the decline of the industry that had for so long been the buoy for our area — oil, gas and energy. That perhaps there weren’t the resources left, or that the investment wasn’t worth the financial risk.

But, now more than ever, it seems that perception is reality in the Inlet.

Like the residents who believed in its potential, who knew it so well, the companies discovered the same.

Anchorage is the right place for namesake naval ship

The USS Anchorage should be commissioned in Anchorage if the price is right.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski has encouraged Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus to have the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship commissioned in Anchorage, for which it was named.

The idea is appealing to Alaskans, particularly those living in Anchorage. Here’s a ship with an Alaska connection.

Alaska film subsidy needs a clear-eyed assessment

When the Legislature takes up the question of extending the Alaska film subsidy program, it should make the program more transparent and require more from the Outside film companies that are reaping most of the benefits.

Statistics released by the state show $28.6 million of the $40.9 million allegedly spent in Alaska went in wages to people who do not live in Alaska. The real amount spent in Alaska is closer to $12.3 million, which is less than the $13 million paid out in credits.

Bypass mail bill could violate U.S. Constitution

Sen. Lisa Murkowski asked the right question: Can the federal government simply force the state of Alaska to pay for the U.S. Postal Service’s bypass mail system?

The answer from the Congressional Research Service reflects what many suspected: The make-Alaska-pay provision is almost certainly unconstitutional.

Government should extend funding on forest projects

The federal government should support roads and schools located in national forests.

Governments should not have a lying policy

It’s not acceptable for the government to lie.

The end doesn’t justify the means is another way to look at it.

The federal government wants to tell the public certain records don’t exist when they really do. For example, the government cites cases involving criminal investigations, protecting the identities of informants, foreign intelligence, counterintelligence and international terrorism.

State PFD Division foul-up handled poorly

It was bad enough when the state issued full Permanent Fund dividends to roughly 5,500 people who should have had some or all of that amount withheld to pay one obligation or another.

Governor needs to address van Meurs' oil tax criticisms

Gov. Sean Parnell and supporters of his plan to revise the state’s oil tax system to spur production have a problem they need to aggressively combat.

The problem’s name is Pedro van Meurs. The problem isn’t the man, of course; rather, it’s a report his company produced regarding oil and gas tax systems around the world.

The report isn’t kind to Alaska’s present oil tax system.

Nor is it kind to Gov. Parnell’s proposed changes.

EDITORIAL: Obama's NCLB rule opens doors to the next steps in education

In 2001, President George W. Bush’s signature reform effort, the No Child Left Behind Act, became law with broad bipartisan support, its centerpiece a bold pledge to hold all students to high standards.

The law, which President Barack Obama said he will dramatically alter in the coming months, requires annual student testing and sets a goal of bringing all American children, regardless of background or disability, to grade level in reading and math by 2014.

EDITORIAL: Open ANWR: Refuge part of deficit solution

Raising revenue without raising taxes. That’s an excellent idea if ever there was one.

All we have to do as a nation is go to a piggy bank, one of which is sitting way up north in Alaska. A relatively small portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge could provide the nation not only with another source of domestic oil but also billions of dollars in revenue from that oil.

EDITORIAL: Ketchikan urges locally made ferries, state should follow suit


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