- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Here is a sampling of editorial opinions from Alaska newspapers:

March 21, 2014:

Ketchikan Daily News: No guns on campus

University of Alaska President Pat Gamble is more right than Sen. John Coghill of North Pole when it comes to guns on campus.

Coghill, a Republican, has introduced a bill in the Legislature that would allow concealed handguns on the university campus.

Currently, the university allows guns as far as locked cars in campus parking lots.

Senate Bill 176 would allow possession of guns on campus for people at least 21 years old who have a concealed handgun permit. If people had such permits, their handguns would be allowed in student housing on university property if their guns remained in lockboxes when the guns weren’t being concealed. The people also would have to have successfully completed handgun courses.

We’re all for the Second Amendment and right to bears arms. We believe guns don’t kill people, that people do. But it is more responsible to ban guns on campus than to not.

Guns don’t belong on school campuses. As Gamble has pointed out, the University of Alaska campus is one of the safest places in Alaska. It is, and it isn’t that way because guns have been allowed on campus. They haven’t.

As much as we believe in Americans’ rights, we cringe at the idea of guns on campus.

It’s OK to have a gun-free zone, and schools should be it.


March 20, 2014

Juneau Empire: Water is everywhere, but it’s not free

There’s no dispute that Juneau residents benefit from the cruise industry, but our city exists for more than the 1 million cruise passengers who visit here annually.

As documented in a recent Capital City Weekly article, the City and Borough of Juneau is looking to change its water and wastewater rate structure. As it stands, an average homeowner is charged nearly $5 for every 1,000 gallons of water used. Cruise ships pay just 70 cents per 1,000 gallons. Considering it costs the city $3.25 to produce 1,000 gallons, the city has been taking a hefty loss when those ships come to town.

As officials contemplate what a new rate structure might look like, it’s become clear that Juneau residents will not be able to subsidize the cruise industry’s water usage much longer.

The reason for the industry’s discounted water rates is a political one: Offering cheaper water may keep ships on a course aimed in our direction. But with a water and sewer system that needs $72 million in improvements - new wells, pipes and treatment facilities, for starters - the cost needs to be more evenly divided between residents and cruise ships.

We see no problem with the city selling water “at cost” to lure ships to port. Cruise ships bring immense economic benefits to Juneau. But last year there wasn’t enough water to meet cruise ships’ demands. Ships were limited to 200,000 gallons daily instead of the 1 million gallons they needed. Even though the water came cheap, there wasn’t enough to go around. That’s hardly an alluring amenity.

Juneau’s water and sewer system desperately needs an upgrade, and passing on the cost to residents is unavoidable. But residents shouldn’t be required to also shoulder the costs of cruise companies.

Charging cruise ships the cost of producing water is reasonable, and we doubt it will have much of an impact on whether or not cruise ships stop in Juneau. The city passes its cost increases on to its customers, and cruise agencies should not be immune.


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