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Opinion / Publisher's Column

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The math is easy; the politics are hard

Getting caught between a rock and a hard place is easier. At least you can rent a backhoe and move the rock. Getting politically caught between more money for public schools and even more money for the Permanent Fund dividend will be the hardest plac...

 

It's not our fault, but we seniors can help

Wrangell is getting older. Not just the town, but its residents. Which means its labor pool is getting older and leaving the workforce, with fewer younger people to fill job openings. The numbers are not good for businesses, the services they want...

 

School finances need long-term answer

The staff, faculty and students at Wrangell’s three public schools work hard and believe in the importance of education. Parents help out with volunteer work, and the overall community pitches in, too. The borough this year is contributing the...

 

Governor's plan to unlock wealth could be a mirage

Gov. Mike Dunleavy, who has made a political career out of promising more than the state can afford while never supporting taxes to pay the bills, has a new, almost magical plan to help cover his budget deficits. It’s all about collecting so much...

 

Alaskans heading south, which is not good

For the 10th year in a row, more Alaskans moved out last year than new residents moved in. That’s a draining fact, with no real plan to plug the leak. To confirm the Alaska Department of Labor’s statistics about population and persistent...

 

It's true, liars don't belong in public office

No doubt liars have served in public office ever since the first candidate printed a handbill and later evolved to taping a radio or TV commercial or clicking on social media. It’s as American as apple pie, and as dishonest as the pie stuffed with...

 

Nation needs to learn to work together, again

It’s been almost 40 years since I read “The Good War,” a Pulitzer Prize-winning history as told by more than 120 participants in World War II. They remembered the fighting, the injuries and deaths, the personal sacrifices at home and even the m...

 

It took me awhile to care about spelling

I was never a good student. I was easily distracted, especially in elementary and high school, and figured sentence construction, adverbs, adjectives and spelling were for the students who sat in the...

 

Alaska needs to accept that the world is changing

The world will continue to need liquid fuels refined from crude oil for decades. But it likely will need less in the decades ahead as it transitions to renewable energy sources in hopes of stemming the damages caused by a warming planet. Which means...

 

Alaska needs to do more to attract new residents

More people moved out of Alaska than moved in every year between 2015 and 2021. If not for a healthy birth rate, the state population would have shrunk even more than it did. Wrangell has steadily lost population over the past 20 years, with the...

 

Palin can't win, that's why she lost

Former governor, former vice presidential candidate and perpetual self-promoter Sarah Palin now believes the old ways are the best ways when it comes to elections. She was the first Alaskan to sign a petition last week to put a repeal of...

 

More to election numbers than just winners

The numbers are not final — that will not happen until the last votes are tallied and ranked-choice tabulations kick in Nov. 23 — but it appears that incumbent elected officials representing Alaska, and Wrangell, will stay on the job for another...

 

This much anger is not good for the country

Anger is threatening America. It comes from growing hostility over differences in politics, religion, race, education, personal choices and even the meaning of democracy. Anger that borders on hatred. It’s scary, and it’s dangerous. I’m...

 

Accuracy matters in communication

For the second time in my life, I almost walked into a women’s restroom. The first time was almost a decade ago. I was between flights at the Amsterdam airport. Tired after 10 hours nonstop in the air, a little disoriented and confused, and...

 

A voting lesson from 100 years ago

Alaskans will elect a U.S. senator, a member of the U.S. House, a governor and several dozen state legislators on Nov. 8. It’s an important vote, with real consequences for the nation, the state’s future, school funding, the ferry system, civil l...

 

Dividend politics not music to the ear

Regardless whether you like harp music, it’s soothing, relaxing, even peaceful. Which leads me to apologize for continuing to harp on Alaska’s Permanent Fund dividend politics, which are anything but musical. They’re more akin to the wordless...

 

Republican election deniers threaten democracy

It’s not a headline I take lightly, but it’s scary that almost 300 Republican candidates for U.S. Senate, House and key statewide offices around the country have denied or questioned the outcome of the last presidential election. Not on the basis...

 

The bigger problems are harder to solve

Wrangell is great at helping neighbors in need, at filling holiday food baskets and supporting student activities. The community excels at watching out for each other, watching over our elders and keeping watch over mariners. There are multiple...

 

Reason for concern over state finances

Workers, families and retirees are not the only Alaskans squeezed by inflation, rising interest rates and tumbling investments. The state is in the same tight spot. And it could get worse. The price for Alaska North Slope crude oil was down to...

 

They love their phones far too much

I promise, this will be the first and only column I write that makes fun of how people behave in Washington, D.C. Well, maybe I’ll write another one someday if I see something that is so silly it’s worth sharing with readers. OK, I guess then...

 

My job with the Sentinel will not change

Starting this week, I will be working as a policy adviser to Mary Peltola, Alaska’s newly elected congresswoman. I hadn’t planned on it, but she asked and I accepted. Fortunately, I saved my suits from when I worked in Washington, D.C., for the...

 

Just this one time for anonymous questions

Normally, I do not respond to anonymous questions. Most all newspapers, the Sentinel included, will not print anonymous letters. To do otherwise would allow people to take free shots at anyone they want, hiding from view and protecting their own...

 

Wrangell needs to think about its future

Given my aversion to long planning sessions, whiteboards with erasable markers and consensus building exercises, I can’t believe I am saying this: The town needs a plan for its economic future. A forum to start making that plan is a good...

 

Ferries should mean more to voters than PFD

People vote their pocketbook, or so the old adage says. And certainly more so in this year of high inflation, painful gas prices at the pump and fears of a global recession. It’s understandable that Wrangell voters will think about their household...

 

Wrong reasons to rewrite the constitution

Lust for a supersize Alaska Permanent Fund dividend and giving the government a larger role in dictating personal choices are about as miserable a pair of reasons for rewriting the state constitution as imaginable. Problem is, they are not imagined,...

 

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