Letters to the editor

Smokers have right to make a choice

Some legislators are at it again to ban smoking in all public places state-wide. Seems like once you vote, they don’t care.

Some legislators say it is about clean air in the work place for employees. Well, my employees all smoke and it is their choice. I have talked to my patrons, which I also have people that don’t smoke or drink but come in to socialize, play pool or darts, their choice again. My patrons said if I went non-smoking they would buy their booze at the liquor store and stay home. I figured my business is down 32 percent and if this passes I’ll be down another 20 percent and will have to lay off some of my help that is only working part-time now.

We know smoking isn’t good for us but that is our choice and our freedom. There are a lot of places that are non-smoking so ones that don’t like it can go there. Young people who are against smoking, more power to them, but most are too young to buy digs let alone come in a bar. My dad lived to be 100. He died not of cancer but of old age, he smoked everyday.

I’m not the only one having it tough so we need to contact our legislators. Our government wants to get into the PFD and it is so bloated that everybody is having a hard time making a living. I manage to live on $12,000 a year and pay my bills and not much left over but I live within my means. To bad the government can’t do that and the smoking ban is just another way of government control as they think thye know how we should live. Don’t worry they won’t give up. If they would legalize gambling it would probably bring in as much in revenue as oil.

I urge you to call the legislators or write a letter and take it to the LIO office. Freedom is not free according to the government. Let’s try and stop this madness!

Chrystal Schoenrock


Media misleading the public

The media is misleading the public in all forms, newspapers, radio, TV, and magazines. And let’s not forget the email and internet junk.

Back in the 1950s when we had black-and-white TV and only four stations to watch the news at 11 p.m. for 15 minutes, they just gave you the facts and let you make up your mind as to what you thought about the news.

Today the media is nothing but a sideshow trying to tell you how to think and misleading the public.

Take a recent editorial cartoon in a leading newspaper. It showed a grocery store with no vegetables and labeled it because of immigration. That’s what I call misleading the public. I went to the grocery store today and didn’t see any shortages in the vegetable section or the frozen foods department. I would say the editorial cartoon was misleading the public.

As a former major newspaper photographer and journalist in the Army I know how the press misleads the public. No wonder the public doesn’t take the newspaper or watch the news anymore.

Dave Stokes


Marijuana legalization benefitting community

With the legalization of recreational cannabis use in 2014, it has been a long wait to see businesses finally up and running. It is unfortunate that members of our community cannot see the benefits legalization is already bringing, like state tax revenue, state licensing fees and hundreds (eventually thousands) of new jobs. In the Kenai Peninsula Borough, with only two operating retail stores, we already see thousands of dollars monthly in sales tax which goes directly to the KPB school system. Annually this number will exceed $220,000. That’s almost a quarter of a million dollars a year that will fund our schools, pay teachers, and support school programs. Can we really afford to lose this benefit to our community? 46 new jobs have already been created and filled, with the expectation of 30 more this year.

Legal sales are also having an effect on illegal black market sales. Keep in mind, legally licensed marijuana facilities aren’t the ones selling to kids, it’s the other guys. There has been talk of black market struggling in some cases to sell their product here on the peninsula; this can only be due to the retail stores that have taken hold. You know, the ones that are generating over $200,000 for our schools. It is true that black market won’t be completely wiped out, but it is also true that we will see less and less of them.

So far things seem pretty quiet. There has not been any news of an increase of teen use, an increase of marijuana related driving citations, or zombies walking the streets. What has changed since legalization? Well, there are 17 new businesses on the peninsula, 46 new jobs, sales tax revenue for our community, excise tax revenue for our state, and nobody under 21 can purchase marijuana. (Unless they go to the other guys — non-regulated, no taxes, no revenue)

From a commonsense perspective, and with consideration to our states financial woes, it is very clear that this new industry and the members of our community who are part of this industry should receive support. It is time to learn about cannabis and the fallacies that have surrounded it for decades. There is a tremendous amount of clinical research, both scientific and medical, that indicates the stigma around marijuana is undeserved. It is not a gateway drug, it is non-addictive, non-toxic, and there is no consumable amount that causes death. There has never been a marijuana overdose as it is physically impossible. Our community deserves to see the benefits of this new industry. Let’s make the responsible decision and give things a chance.

“Nothing so needs reforming, as other peoples’ habits. Fanatics will never learn that, though it be written in letters of gold across the sky. It is the prohibition that makes anything precious.” — Mark Twain

Dollynda Phelps