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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
September 16, 2008

Front Page Photo By CARL THOMPSON

Misty Fjords: Early Morning Brown Bear
Front Page Photo By CARL THOMPSON



Politics: Comparing the candidates' economic remedies By SAM ZUCKERMAN - The 2008 presidential contest between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain is taking place against an economic backdrop that is more troubled than at any time in the past generation.

Rising unemployment, falling real incomes and resurgent inflation are exacting a tremendous toll, putting the economic security of tens of millions of Americans at risk. The disparity of wealth and income between those at the top of the economic scale and everyone else is greater than at any time in decades. And the next president will take office in the teeth of the worst housing crash since the Great Depression.

The two major-party candidates offer sharply varying prescriptions for how to stabilize housing, fix the economy and put the standard of living for working people and the middle-class once again on a rising path. The differences between Obama and McCain are deep-seated, both in their philosophies and their likely policies.

Voters will have a choice between the two dominant economic philosophies that have defined American politics for decades, represented by Democrats and Republicans. For all the focus on personalities, Obama and McCain are not unique. When it comes to economic policy, both are firmly rooted in the main current of their parties.

McCain hews to the Reaganite philosophy that the free market works best to manage the economy. He believes that economic growth cures most ills, benefiting rich, poor and middle class alike. Government should promote growth by cutting taxes across the board and getting out of the way of business. He seems more genuinely committed to small government than the Bush administration and recent Republican majorities in Congress, which stuck to the party's program on taxes, but didn't follow through on spending.

Obama is guided by the notion that growth alone doesn't automatically provide people health care, help them pay for college or offer them training for 21st century jobs. Government should use its powers of taxing, spending and regulating to reduce inequality and benefit people at the bottom and middle of the income spectrum. He would cut taxes for most households, but raise them for those with the highest incomes.

"McCain seems to have put a tremendous amount of emphasis on economic growth. The policies to achieve that are to keep taxes low and government small," said Isabel Sawhill, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a center-left Washington think tank.

"Obama is concerned about the fairness of the tax burden, and he wants to make investments in things that will strengthen the economy, such as infrastructure. His priorities will be a fairer shake for the middle class and more active help for people who are struggling." - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

National: Can financial crisis result in anything positive? By CAROLYN SAID - The United States is undergoing its biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. Venerable institutions are collapsing. Wall Street is reeling.

What does it all mean to the housing and mortgage markets, whose problems triggered these catastrophes?

Believe it or not, the past several days provided a dose of good news -- at least in the short term, because mortgage rates are down. Long-term impact is harder to predict -- and many experts say fallout from the turmoil could whipsaw housing and mortgages in many negative, as well as positive, ways.

Mortgage rates dropped last week after the government's bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and they dipped slightly on Monday after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the fire sale of Merrill Lynch and the struggles of AIG.

Last week's drop came because investors regained confidence in Fannie and Freddie thanks to the government's backing. This week's was because investors fled to the relative safety of long-term U.S. Treasury bonds, causing their rates to rise -- which generally triggers a fall in mortgage rates.

Lower rates combined with bargain foreclosures could entice more buyers into the market. Increased sales are crucial for a housing recovery.

"Lenders reported to us a fair upsurge in interest in placing loan applications last week (from) purchase and refi borrowers waiting for a '5 handle' (interest rate in the 5 percent range) on their rates to pull the trigger on a deal," said Keith Gumbinger of HSH Associates, a mortgage research firm in New Jersey.

Increased refinances also might help some homeowners avoid foreclosure; stemming that tide is another important step for the health of housing.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's in Pennsylvania, said the Fannie/Freddie bailout was key to the housing market, while the impact from Lehman, Merrill and AIG will be slighter. He echoed what Gumbinger and mortgage brokers said about the uptick in refinancing.

Mac and Mae "certainly helped refi activity," Zandi said. "We're down 50 basis points from last week on fixed mortgage rates and are below 6 percent. That should provide a nice, measurable boost to home sales."

But what's next remains uncertain because there are so many moving parts. Here are some of the factors at play:

Mortgage rates: Will the lower rates last? That's going to be crucial if last week's increase in mortgage activity is to be sustained. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008


Fish Factor: Lawsuit filed to stop discharges of pollutants into Cook Inlet By LAINE WELCH - Fishing groups, Alaska natives and concerned citizens have joined in a lawsuit to stop discharges of pollutants into Cook Inlet. The case challenges the Environmental Protection Agency for issuing a permit that will almost triple the amount of oil and gas discharges each year into Inlet waters.

The groups, which include tribes from Port Graham and Nanwalek, Upper Cook Inlet Drift Association, Cook Inlet Fishermen's Fund and Cook Inletkeeper, contend the EPA has ignored hundreds of public comments and violated the Clean Water Act.

"The EPA is happy to slap a small fish processor with a big fine, but they bend over backwards to let the oil and gas industry dump billions of gallons of toxic pollutants into our subsistence, commercial and recreational fisheries," said Dave Martin of the Cook Inlet Fishermen's Fund.

Cook Inlet is the only coastal water body in the nation where the oil and gas industry is permitted by the EPA to discharge pollutants. Because it has the biggest and most dynamic tides in the world, the Inlet is considered a 'mixing zone' that naturally flushes out industrial pollutants.

"The mixing zone embraces the notion that 'dilution is the solution to pollution,' and when Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972, they never mentioned the term mixing zone. Now mixing zones have become the exception that has swallowed the rule," said Bob Shavelson, director of Cook Inletkeeper.

"If you don't have to measure compliance at the end of the discharge pipe and you can measure it somewhere downstream after it's had a chance to assimilate in the water, you completely undermine the purpose of the Act, which was to ratchet down pollution with improved technology over time," Shavelson said. "That's why they set five year permit terms, with the goal being that industries would ratchet down their pollution standards until they get to zero discharge."

The Alaska groups are not trying to put a stop to oil and gas development in Cook Inlet, rather, they want the lead operator, Chevron, to use other disposal methods such as re-injection technology. That method, used for years by BP on the North Slope, is a technique in which drill cuttings and other oilfield wastes are pumped at high pressure down an injection well.

"If they simply installed a re-injection well at one facility (at Trading Bay) it would take care of roughly 95% of the discharges in Cook Inlet. Shavelson said. "And when you dump pollution into a large water body, you are essentially getting a large subsidy because you are using a public resource more or less for free. It's not a technology argument anymore, and they can afford to do it right," he added.

Roland Maw, director of the Upper Cook Inlet Drift Association, agreed.

"If they don't like the re-injection technology, then they could put (the wastes) onto a boat and bring it to shore. They could recover the drilling mud, dewater it and have a reusable product." - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008


Nation's Finances
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National Election
November 4, 2008

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Public Agenda for Citizens -

Ketchikan Regular Election
October 07, 2008

For its 8th year, Sitnews will provide a free web page to all local 2008 candidates.

1) Local candidates are requested to provide background information, experience and qualifications for the public office for which they seek election.

2) Candidates are also requested to address in their statements important issues facing Ketchikan and how these issues could best be addressed.

Candidate's Statements will be published as received. Send your candidate's statement & photograph to

SitNews will provide an unedited public forum in order that citizens can ask questions of candidates as a group. Candidates are encouraged to participate in the public forum.

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Basic Rules

letterPalin and the "Bridge to Nowhere" By Barb Lander - To the many Ketchikan residents who are loudly aghast at Governor Palin's remarks concerning the Gravina access project, please remember that she is a politician. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter Byron Whitesides' Letter By Sen. Bert Stedman - On August 17th, Mr. Byron Whitesides of Ketchikan posted a copy of a recent letter he sent to me regarding the resource rebate passed last month. Here is a copy of the response I sent to Mr. Whitesides today [September 09, 2008]. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter Gas prices By Carl Webb - Take it from the Oilman. The fuel prices at the pumps are being controlled in this small town by Carrs/Safeway. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter RE: Church and State By Preston Clark, Jr - I feel that we do need a little faith when it comes to running a christian based republic. I do not believe that one person should force his/her own personnal beliefs on another when they can't have their own way. Ben Franklin, along with many of the founding fathers, once wrote to the Congress of the United States that they believe that the Bible should be taught in schools and urged Congress to make a wise judgement on deciding this idea during the early years of the US. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter Re: Church and State By David Korkowski - Thank you Mr. Hanger for once again showing us the open-mindedness and tolerance of liberals and Democrats. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter Demise of Tlingit Natives is Religion By Don Hoff Jr. - If only Alaskan Native Tlingits in Southeast Alaska spent only half the time learning Tlingit culture, our traditions and our history, instead of wasting our time learning about Non-Native Gods and churches. We would know what Clan, Tribe and house we belong to. We would be better off in today's society. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter Ketchikan swimming pool By Shauna Lee - I completely agree with Zig regarding the Ketchikan swimming pool. My entire family has enjoyed the facility at one time or another and swimming is a fantastic all around past time on many levels. I fully support the improvement of a city pool. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter Need for pools By Morgan Doubleday - Many thanks to my friend Zig Ziegler for the great pool comments for Ketchikan. I write this because we have a pool here in Sitka at the Hames Center, on Sheldon Jackson campus which has closed its doors. The property likely will be parceled out and the gym and pool facility are very important for Sitka and I'm not sure they see its true value. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter Slamming social work and social workers? By Ralph Mirsky - While watching the Republican National Convention, I asked myself; why would the Republicans spend a whole night of their convention attacking ordinary people? - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter Mayor shooting his mouth off By Charles Edwardson - First of all I am running for City Council. I am a general contractor past commercial fisherman, Pulp mill worker and heavy equipment operator and many other jobs in between. I have served on Ketchikan Indian Community Tribal council for four years, past vice president of the Ketchikan Home Builders Association,(SEABIA) current president of (SEABIA) Southeast Alaska Building Industry Association. I teach construction technology at UAS Ketchikan and helped establish the Ketchikan Construction Academy. I was recently chairman of the Citizens for a Positive Economy (now inactive) and am involved in various other organizations in Ketchikan. In my spare time I coach Dribblers League and have watched every single game of two, going on three, girls' play basketball from Dribblers through Schoenbar ,ultimately KAYHI. They all have done very well. My ten year old is following in her three sisters footsteps and is tearing up every sport she participates in (proud father obviously). - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter Palin supports the Knik Arm Bridge to Nowhere By Joan Beraldi - Doesn't anyone remember that the Knik Arm Bridge was also the "Bridge to Nowhere?" The impression I got today while watching CNN was that Governor Palin forgets that the Knik Arm Bridge which links Anchorage to Wasilla via Pt. Mckenzie, was part of the congressional earmarks labeled with the imfamous saying. The photo on CNN showed Governor Palin holding up a t-shirt with "Nowhere Alaska 99901" imprinted on it. She definately wants to distance herself from the Knik Arm Bridge because the bridge will benefit Wasilla, and she is holding herself out to be against earmark funding to benefit local constituents. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter Sarah Palin is a Politician By Lisa Noland - Sarah Palin is a politician that has a transparent desire to rise to the top at whatever cost. This means that if she needs to twist the facts in order to appeal to the majority of the voters, she is going to do it. She is beautiful to look at, and clearly a polished public speaker. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letterGutter Ads Get Us Nowhere By Christina Zettner - John McCain's "maverick" and "reform" image is proving to be nothing more than that: an image. The John McCain of 2000 denounced attack-and-run politics that smeared candidates and distorted facts. But now, his campaign is relying on those same tactics and has crossed the line with the latest television ad rolled out in battleground states. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter Governor Palin By Marty West - Ketchikan will be the butt of jokes for years to come and a synonym for wasteful spending. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter Remarks hurt Ketchikan By Michael McColley - Ketchikan Mayor Weinstein that will lose his next term as mayor because of his remarks about our Alaska governor. I didn't like any of the Mayor's remarks toward Gov. Palin, and I am sure those remarks will hurt Ketchikan's projects in the future.- More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter Holding Palin's Feet to the Fire! By Jay Jones - Hurrah for Guv Tony and Mayor Bob for holding Sarahcudda's feet to the fire for flip-flopping, or at least changing her mind (don't cut her any slack because she's a woman!). - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter GO PALIN GO By Mike Isaac - I hope that when John McCain takes the helm on 1-20-09 that he pushes for things that are both good for the 300 Million people and not his old friends with their 8 figure incomes that pay their help $8 hr or just steps down after 24 hrs. McCain had no chance till he picked Sara Palin for VP. Some of the polls have Obama ahead by only 5% in NY, 7% in WA, 8% in CA and OR, MN is now tied. Those are states where he should be ahead by over 10%. OH and PA are also tied and MT and FL are looking red and all of this is thanks to Sara Palin. She has taken the lead away from the Messiah. Sara leads the Messiah 227 to 207 with most of the 104 toss ups turning red. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter RE: Racism, whatever the language is wrong! By Donita O'Dell - I agree completely with Ms. Cadle, and thought that I had written as much in my original letter. In the first two sentences I explained that I had a difficult time understanding what point Mr. Garcia was trying to make much of the time. (Like Ms. Cadle, I have experience interacting with ESL speakers/writers, but the letter was undecipherable in many parts.) The rest of my letter was nothing more and nothing less than a statement of the disgust I felt that such ethnically-based smears were printed, in clear violation of the editor's "rules." Since that apparently was not clear enough the first time around, I will say it again, hopefully more clearly: - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter Obama; Too cruel to the handicapped to be President? By Mark Neckameyer - It is just so ironic. The Democrats who present themselves as being so "Feminist", belittle a woman, Governor Palin, for working while having children at home. Next while they claim to be the "protector of handicapped Americans", they run a ad to mock John McCain's war injuries that prevent him from using a computer keyboard. That's right, McCain can't comb his own hair or tie shoelaces. He lost some of the capabilities most people have while defending all of us in Viet Nam where the Viet Cong smashed his arms and hands trying to torture him into becoming a "turncoat" as his father was a top admiral. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter What to do? By Robert McRoberts - I am sure we all get caught up in our lives where we are to busy too care. I should have gotten in on the ballot to be the next mayor, but I am too busy to get involved. I would just like to give suggestions, just as we all should, unless you're just crying that someone did something. Just what does the Mayor get for pay? You cry about buying the guy a few meals. Why should a go-getter want to get involved? - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

letter Go Palin! By Thomas Thrush - Mr Glenn, I am with you on the bridge, I agree 100 percent on the bridge. - More...
Tuesday - September 16, 2008

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Ketchikan, Alaska

M.C. Kauffman, Webmaster/Editor, &
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