The Donlin Gold mine project represents the start of new opportunities for our children and grandchildren. As many of us have seen, the younger generations are denied the opportunity to provide for their families because of the lack of jobs within the Calista region.
The opportunity for the younger generation to feel pride within themselves by providing care, as well as experiencing the financial opportunity to have and raise a family on their own, has finally come to pass for all tribal members within our Calista Region. Young men and women are forced to rely on their grandparents to provide for them and their family instead of having the ability to provide for them as independent parents, as was intended.
I support the Donlin Gold project because it represents the opportunity for our children and grandchildren to learn how to work hard and provide for their families. It will allow them to feel pride in accomplishing a task and investing in their family because of it.
Our children and grandchildren deserve the opportunity to live as independent and flourishing members of our region. Now is our chance to see the future of our families impacted for the better from this project.
All humans are created equal and should be treated as equals. Even the younger generation. It is our responsibility to give them opportunities to thrive. Donlin Gold offers that opportunity to those in our region willing to take it and improve their families.
For my children and grandchildren, and every other young person in the Calista region, I fully support the Donlin Gold project.
Robert J. Hoffman
ONC and BNC Board Member
ACTIONS AND WORDS
With the current political climate, I expected the divisive rhetoric of this election season. I did not expect the battle lines to be drawn so explicitly between the talkers and the doers.
Those who stayed on the sidelines when the state fell off the fiscal cliff now condemn those who fought to get Alaska back on track, especially Governor Bill Walker. And, in rallying against the fiscal plan and restructured dividend, candidates rely on a set of myths so often repeated that sometimes we forget to question them.
I would like to take a moment to think about the most prominent fabrications and oversimplifications of the fiscal plan compromise so that we can all remember the true version (not the soundbite version) of what has happened to Alaskans’ Permanent Fund.
Myth #1: The Governor Stole Half Your PFD
When Walker entered office, the state was in the middle of a fiscal implosion. The deficit grew to 3.7 billion dollars, the state credit score was downgraded again, oil cratered to $26 a barrel. Our state politicians had no answer. The legislature was stuck in a partisan log-jam that burned through 14 billion dollars in savings and would have killed off the dividend completely by 2020. It is a testament to how far we have come, that people have forgotten how bad it was.
If you want to blame something for a smaller PFD, blame legislative gridlock and the expectation that Alaska could fund government, the economy and the Permanent Fund with the revenue from a single, non-renewable resource. Blame the politicians who, year after year kicked the can down the road, prioritizing party popularity over Alaska’s future.
Governor Walker reduced the deficit by 80% and restored Alaska’s credit rating. This year we will pay out one of the highest PFD checks in Alaska history, at $1,600, and more importantly: the restructure has stabilized our finances so that the dividend can continue to grow, and our children can enjoy it into the future. Walker replaced inaction with results.
Myth #2: Your PFD was Wasted on Excessive State Spending
Many Alaskans do not know where the money from the PFD restructure went. This makes it easy for politicians to villainize the restructure decision and claim dividend money was spent on wasteful government services.
Firstly, 100% of the money that was capped out of the dividend went back into the fund to grow it. We had $20 and instead of giving out all of it, we paid out half and invested the other half, so that we could keep paying out $10 checks for years to come.
Secondly, state spending has been reduced 44% since 2013, its lowest level in 15 years. This administration closed 40 state facilities and eliminated thousands of state positions. Government is currently operating at reduced capacity, and “excessive state spending” is an anachronism. That is why when you hear candidates call for more cuts you won’t hear them outline specifics.
Myth #3: Begich/Dunleavy can bring us full dividends, safer communities, better schools AND slash spending.
This is the promise of the two top candidates in either party. They have no plan for sustaining the Permanent Fund with record-high dividends, nor for maintaining needed services with a reduced budget. Begich strangely wants to dismantle criminal justice reform. Dunleavy wants to rip the guts out of our rural school systems. And neither candidate has any record we can look to for legislative success, as neither passed any bills during their time in their respective Senates. There’s no reason to believe their promises.
There is more to these fictions than the usual campaign blustering. It is wrong for politicians to ignore complicated fiscal realities, in favor of presenting the public with cheap quips. It is wrong to disparage those who have stayed on the field, when you have avoided every opportunity to get your hands dirty. But more than any of that, it is wrong to tell the Alaskans who gave up short-term comfort now for a more stable future that they were duped and ripped off. There were many of us who, out of pride for our state, were willing to take a smaller check in the short term to pass on a better Alaska to our kids. It is wrong to tell us that pride was misplaced.
John McDowell is a US Airforce veteran and a retired member of Alaska Railroad Workers Local 183. John worked on the Alaska Railroad for 28 years.
Alaska Family Action endorses Dunleavy for Governor
The 2018 race for Governor could be the most consequential state election in Alaska’s history. The gravity of Alaska’s problems helps explain why—an economic recession, skyrocketing crime, and a state government that is in a perpetual budget crisis.
But there’s another big reason this election is unique. Voters have a chance to elect a candidate with extraordinary strength, skills, and character. The Board of Directors of Alaska Family Action has voted to endorse Mike Dunleavy for Governor. Only rarely do we endorse candidates, especially in primary elections.
Mike Dunleavy is the exception, because he’s an exceptional candidate. We’ve observed Mike Dunleavy closely during his years in public office, especially the five years he served in the State Senate.
Yes, Dunleavy has solid, conservative values. But more impressive is his steely determination to move beyond “rhetoric and symbolism,” and actually achieve real policy victories that will make a positive difference in the lives of Alaska families.
There is no better example than Dunleavy’s passionate advocacy for educational choice. In his very first year in the Senate, Dunleavy chose to spearhead a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow the Legislature to implement a real system of school choice in Alaska – empowering parents to select the educational option that works best for their child.
Later on, Dunleavy helped pass a measure to protect parental rights in education, especially the right of parents to withdraw their children from any presentation or instruction that undermines their values. He also sponsored legislation seeking to prevent groups that profit from doing abortions, such as Planned Parenthood, from having access to children in public schools.
On issue after issue, Dunleavy has been a leader in defending our values and our freedom. He cosponsored legislation to end public funding for elective abortions. When Governor Walker tried appointing a radical, transgender activist to the State Commission on Human Rights, Dunleavy voted “no” on confirmation, and the appointment was defeated.
Dunleavy’s campaign website makes the following statement: “During the five years I served in the State Senate, no legislator worked harder to protect families from government overreach, and to defend the rights of parents to raise and educate their children according to their values.” We can vouch for the truth of that statement. Mike Dunleavy fought for us—and that’s why we are fighting for him.
In the coming weeks and months, we’ll have more to say about the other major candidates in this race, incumbent Governor Bill Walker and likely Democratic nominee Mark Begich. The contrasts between these two men and former Senator Dunleavy could not be starker. Pro-life and pro-family voters are blessed to have such a clear and obvious choice – and that’s why we respectfully ask you to join us in supporting Mike Dunleavy for Governor.
This communication was paid for by Alaska Family Action, Inc., Anchorage, Alaska. I am Jim Minnery, President of Alaska Family Action, Inc., and I approve this message. This NOTICE TO VOTERS is required by Alaska law. We certify that this communication is not authorized, paid for, or approved by any candidate being endorsed.
Standing for Families, In His name!
Jim Minnery, President
Alaska Family Action
Court system is unfair, due process violated
I have been incarcerated for a while, and I see a lot of prejudice in our court system here in Bethel, Alaska. Isn’t the ‘honorable’ courts supposed to be fair? Well, in the lower 48 states it’s not okay to violate due process but it’s completely fine in Alaska. Miranda Rights have no effect on most of the defendants accused. All issues raised to counsel or court usually falls on deaf ears.
Definition of violation of due process: a confession obtained as a result of beating or psychological coercion violates due process. Even the threat of physical violence will support finding of coercion. Psychological pressure may occur when officers promise leniency in exchange for a confession. A confession that was the product of coercion or was otherwise involuntarily obtained (are inadmissible in courts). And the exclusion of the physical evidence derived – known as the ‘fruit’ of coerced statements.
Bethel court is so remote nobody pays attention to what takes place there. Nobody notices the rules they break. Most of our constitutional rights are violated. Right to an effective counsel are broken because they are biased against defendants/accused. There is no honor when there is prejudice. When cops downstates violate due process, they get fired. And the city and state they work for are often sued.
Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center