LKSD would like to express our gratitude to the community of Bethel for the patience and flexibility shown during the first few days of school as we have implemented our interim transportation plan.
LKSD has developed a partnership with BPD and Kusko Cab that has resulted in a successful start to the new school year. We understand the challenges of meeting the transportation needs of 1300 students, and would like to thank parents and the community for being extremely accommodating to this interim transportation plan.
Teachers, principals, and other school personnel have been responsive in helping meet student needs. Our bus drivers have shown flexibility in adapting to daily route adjustments. Parents and community members dropping off and picking up students have helped us ensure student safety by following the new traffic pattern and by being safety conscious. School drop-off and pick-up procedures have been more efficient than we have experienced previously.
The positive attitudes and service mindset of everyone involved embodies the spirit of LKSD and the community of Bethel.
Lock the PFD in the AK Constitution to protect the People’s Fund for the future
My roots in Alaska go deep. I’ve had incredible opportunities here. At 93, my greatest hope is that my children and future Alaskans continue thriving here in a land of opportunity.
When I arrived in Alaska after WWII I was glad to be alive. I had served over two years with a naval construction battalion on Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands. Malaria and other jungle diseases wracked by body. I was a wreck in some ways. But Alaska provided. Alaska healed me.
I met the love of my life here and raised a family in Halibut Cove. Alaska provided abundant fish and spectacular land and seascapes that made me whole. The people of Alaska were hard working, thrifty, and committed to building a better future for everyone – my kind of people.
We worked following the war to build a bright and inclusive future. Statehood was the goal. Control of our destiny was the value we cherished. We achieved statehood by working together, across party lines, over geographical boundaries and in spite of personal beliefs. It had to be done and it was.
The great promise of statehood ensured Alaskans would obtain the land grants and control of our inshore fisheries we needed to thrive. We selected wisely, including the incomparable lands along the Sagavanirktok River near Prudhoe Bay that yielded a stupendous amount of oil revenue.
When the oil revenue started rolling into our state coffers, Alaska’s great promise appeared to have been fulfilled. But the initial bonanza of oil revenues was spent like a sailor hitting port after a long voyage. Some of us worried about spending every cent of our non-renewable oil revenue without saving for the future.
Visionary legislators like Oral Freeman and Hugh Malone led the call to save a slice of our oil revenue. They were assisted by my pool playing buddy, Governor Jay Hammond, who grew up poor in upstate New York and knew the value of savings.
Working together with Alaskans from across the state, we established the Permanent Fund. We only saved only 25% of the oil revenues. The rest was available and spent by the politicians. Some of it even benefited the people.
Jay Hammond convinced me and many other Alaskans the only way to fully protect our Permanent Fund was to make sure each and every Alaskan had a stake in the fund. Hammond believed as long as every Alaskan obtained an uncapped dividend each year, the voters would protect the Permanent forever.
Which brings me to the point I want every Alaskan to consider. The Permanent Fund, now at $65 billion, has benefited all Alaskans for decades. The current law requiring the Permanent Fund Corporation to inflation proof the fund and then pay the PFD according to a legal formula, has been a boon for every Alaskan and the private sector.
Alaskans are treated equally according to this distribution law. Whether you live in Bethel or Ketchikan, Anchorage or Fairbanks, the dividend is your legal right. And why not? The dividend came from our Permanent Fund savings account – a fund established in our Constitution using the oil wealth owned in common by all Alaskans.
Politicians and special interests have tried to hijack your dividend since it was established. For the first time in history they’ve succeeded. In the last three years our politicians failed to address revenue shortfalls in a responsible way. Instead, they stole thousands of dollars from you by shorting your dividend so they can spend your money on projects and activities they believe are more important than your interests.
As a group, our elected officials are addicted to spending. They’ve spent down most of the state’s savings account. Now they are ignoring the law and grabbing your PFD. Eventually they’ll go after the Permanent Fund if we let them.
All of us who helped establish the Permanent Fund did so to pass along a little of the oil wealth to future generations. The PFD isn’t a welfare program or a rainy-day account for government. The PFD was established so every Alaskan would share equally in the Permanent Fund earnings and to provide a firewall between the grasping hands of politicians and special interests trying to rip off our communal savings.
I came back from the war in the Pacific sure in the knowledge that Alaska was a great place to live and full of opportunity. The sea and the land provided. Life was good because we all worked hard, built a better future, and saved a portion of the bounty we inherited.
Letting the politicians raid our savings and cut Alaskans’ PFD is political robbery. Anything short of full constitutional protection of the PFD is unjust and robs every Alaskan of their equal share of our savings.
We must defend our Permanent Fund. To do that, the original PFD law must be protected in our Alaska Constitution.
Clem Tillion is a former nine-term legislator and retired commercial fisherman residing in Halibut Cove near Homer. He is the president of the Permanent Fund Defenders (www.pfdak.com) and helped design the Permanent Fund with Gov. Jay Hammond and others.
Halibut Cove, AK
Alaskans Form Independent Group to Support Governor Walker
Unite Alaska features prominent Alaskans who believe Walker has demonstrated true leadership during tough times – and deserves a second term.
Prominent Alaskans from across the state are banding together to support the re-election of Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott. Unite Alaska is filing paperwork today with the Alaska Public Offices Commission to form an Independent Expenditure organization (officially named Unite Alaska for Walker-Mallott). Unite Alaska intends to raise money and purchase advertising touting the Walker administration’s remarkable leadership during one of the most difficult times in Alaska’s history.
Unite Alaska is co-chaired by Alaska Native leader and businesswoman Barbara Donatelli of Anchorage and Jim Sampson, former Fairbanks borough mayor and founder of the Fairbanks Pipeline Training Center. Other committee members include Alaska Native business leaders Sheri Buretta and Gail Schubert, former legislator Joe Thomas of Fairbanks, and Kenai businessman Tim Navarre.
Donatelli is Senior Vice President at Cook Inlet Region, Inc., the Alaska Native regional corporation for Southcentral Alaska. Donatelli is actively involved in a number of community service organizations, currently serving on the board of directors of the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, Get Out the Native Vote and The Alaska Community Foundation. Donatelli, a YWCA Women of Achievement award recipient, was selected as one of the Alaska Journal of Commerce’s Top 25 Most Powerful Alaskans.
Co-chair Jim Sampson is a former Executive President of the Alaska AFL-CIO. Sampson is a former Chairman of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, served two terms as Mayor of the Fairbanks North Star Borough and served as Alaska’s Commissioner of Labor. He is the recipient of labor’s highest award for distinguished service, the Robert A. McFarland Award, UAF Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient and has been inducted into the Alaska Business Monthly Junior Achievement Hall of Fame.
Unite Alaska committee members also include: Gail Schubert, President & CEO of Bering Straits Native Corporation, an Alaska Native regional corporation serving 17 villages in the Bering Straits region, board member of the Alaska Federation of Natives, board member of the Native American Contractors Association and a member of the Arctic Economic Council;
Sheri Buretta, Chairman of Chugach Alaska Corporation, an Alaska Native regional corporation serving the Chugach region, member of the University of Alaska Board of Regents, board member of the Native American Contractors Association and the Alaska Federation of Natives, and past board member of the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation;
Joe Thomas, former Alaska State Senator representing Fairbanks, former member of the University of Alaska Board of Regents, board member of the Fairbanks Industrial Development Corporation, Business Manager/Secretary Treasurer of Laborers Local 942, member of the Executive Board of AFL-CIO, and Deputy Commissioner of Labor for the State of Alaska;
Tim Navarre, vice president of Zan, Inc., which owns six Arby’s Restaurants in Alaska, vice mayor of City of Kenai, member of the Kenai City Council, Kenai Peninsula School Board, Alaska Gasline Development Corporation Advisory Council, and former chief of staff for the Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor.
National independent group Unite America (www.uniteamerica.org) has also joined the coalition and endorsed governor Walker. Unite America is building a movement to elect common-sense, independent candidates to office who can represent the People – not the party bosses or special interests.
Forming Unite Alaska and filing with APOC are the first steps. The group will be rolling out communications in the coming days and weeks.
Barbara Donatelli and Jim Sampson, Co-chairs,
Unite Alaska for Walker-Mallott