Running in the halls with boughs of holly

We’ve all seen students in school running in the halls–sometimes they’re full on sprinting, like mom cooked Totino’s pizza rolls and you want some, or them all. Some of us still see it to this day, that loud banging of vans, basketball shoes, boots, and rarely crocs.

But sometimes it can be very distracting, one second you’re reading your Curious Incident of The Dog in The Nighttime book or looking at TikTok videos then a second later you see people zooming by. That takes away your attention from work, including the teacher’s attention from teaching his or her class about the current subject. Or you might be walking in the halls and just get shoved because student is running in the halls.

Some students may have reasons to run in the halls during class. For example, you want to get in the front of the lunch line, you’re going to be late for class, or maybe you just have to use the bathroom. The lunch part doesn’t matter, you’ll get your lunch. Try and not to be late for your classes by making sure you have everything, plan ahead, and just use the bathroom beforehand.

Try not to run in the halls, it’s irritating and can be disruptive.

Bradly Oulton, Bethel, AK

A note from Managing Director Alaska Air Cargo

Hello Everyone,

Dec. 19th, 2019: As many of you know, our three freighters were taken out of service last week, after we were notified by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the company that converted our 737-700s, about a potential issue with a component of the 9g rigid barrier wall. This barrier prevents cargo from shifting forward in the event of extreme deceleration.

Since last Tuesday, we received an Airworthiness Directive (AD) and developed a modified load plan that will allow us to safely operate the freighters but at a reduced capacity. To make up for the capacity gap, we’re operating passenger planes as freighters in Alaska when available. Please check our website for updates to any embargoes currently in place.

Trust that we’re doing everything to bring the freighters back into full service, and in the meantime optimizing every load on every flight to move as much cargo as we can prior to the holidays, keeping safety top of mind.

This week has been difficult, but I couldn’t be more proud to be back with the Alaska Air Cargo team. Difficult circumstances like this with our freighter fleet reinforce the commitment our entire team has on moving cargo, especially to our namesake state. It’s been great getting out in the field over the past couple of months to reintroduce myself to our great customers and employees across our system.

Looking forward to 2020, we’re working on three significant initiatives:

1. launching new belly cargo routes on our regional network

2. starting a new seasonal destination in Alaska next summer

3. implementing new customer-facing technology with a new website. The website is the first step in a broader effort to modernize and update our IT platforms for the cargo business.

I want to thank you for your ongoing support and patience and wish you happy holidays!

Torque Zubeck, Managing Director, Alaska Air Cargo

“Alaskans for Better Elections” Seeks to Destroy Alaska’s Voting System

The day before the Independence Day holiday last summer, local progressives quietly filed a petition ironically named “Alaskans for Better Elections,” which would destroy the integrity of Alaska’s elections.

If passed the ballot initiative would bring us ranked-choice voting.* The petition was sponsored, in part, by former District 22 Representative Jason Grenn. You may remember that Mr. Grenn was soundly defeated by now-Representative Sara Rasmussen in 2018.

Are sour grapes on the menu here?

In a ranked-choice general election, voters would “rank” their choice of four candidates for a given office. Candidates garnering more than fifty percent of the vote in the first ranking would win office immediately. If no one person wins a majority, candidates are whittled away, and ranking continues until one individual is declared the winner.

This initiative is backed nearly entirely by outside donations; its major supporter is a Colorado-based organization which gave $500,000 in one pop last month.

Progressives will say this election system brings more moderate voices to the legislature. (Perhaps that is the way Mr. Grenn sees himself). When viewed in practicality, however, this initiative can largely be seen as a plan by progressives to take control of Alaska’s political system.

Ranked-choice voting has been implemented in New York, California, Maine, and Michigan, states which can hardly be considered strongholds of conservative political thought.

Perhaps what is probably most appealing to Mr. Grenn and his initiative supporters is, however, that ranked-choice voting enables candidates with limited voter support to win elections. Maybe Mr. Grenn believes he could have defeated Representative Rasmussen in 2018, even without support from his constituents, under this system.

All Mr. Grenn would have had to do to continue to be considered is not be the candidate with the lowest votes received; he could have persisted in the race long after his expiration date.

Consider this – a 2015 study of four local elections in Washington and California using ranked-choice ballots found that the winner in all four elections never received a majority of the votes. This is because voters usually do not rank all possible candidates.

For the sake of expediency and their own sanity, voters typically only list their top two or three candidates. If those candidates are eliminated, well, then so are the votes of these individuals. Under a ranked-choice system, ballots that do not include the ultimate victors are summarily cast aside.

While this creates the appearance of a majority of votes in favor of the winner, it obscures actual voter choices; it’s a system that fundamentally disenfranchises voters (for example all of those voters who went for Sara Rasmussen, as opposed to Jason Grenn).

In Maine’s 2018 federal congressional race, the conservative incumbent was thrown out, despite receiving a majority of votes in the initial election. In order to achieve this outcome, Maine’s Secretary of State eliminated over 14,000 ballots and handed the win to the liberal challenger.

Australia’s 2010 election had a strikingly similar outcome; the liberal party took over the House, despite receiving 38% of the vote. The conservative party received 43% of the vote, but was somehow denied victory.

One can see why progressives are so excited about this proposal. It reeks of elitism and is engineered to pad the fortunes of liberal candidates. Alaskan voters, don’t let yourselves be taken in. If this initiative reaches your ballot next year, vote it down.

*In the interest of brevity, this OpEd does not discuss the other elements of the ‘Better Elections’ ballot initiative, which include holding a “jungle” primary and eliminating funds raised for the purpose of influencing elections by nonprofit organizations.

Ann Brown, formerly of Fairbanks, now lives in Anchorage. She is an experienced trial lawyer and was the managing partner of her firm’s branch office, concentrating her work on labor and employment law. Currently retired, she serves as the Vice Chair of the Alaska Republican Party.

Ann Brown, Vice Chair, Alaska Republican Party, Anchorage, AK

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