Readers write: Letters to the editor, December 4, 2017

Monday, 04 December 2017, 04:54:14 PM. Taxes, bears and a thank-you note.

Tax bill changes the rules

The general rule is measure twice, cut once.

But with this tax bill, the rule seems to be cut it and don't worry if it fits because we aren't the ones who get the short end of the stick.

— Rick Terry, Anchorage

Grizzlies more deadly

In his Nov. 30 letter (which was given the unfortunate and incorrect headline "Black bears kill more often"), Chris Deile questions my assertion that black bears "are by nature much shyer and less aggressive than grizzlies and rarely present a danger" and he references "researchers" Larry Kaniut and Stephen Herrero in making his own claim that "black bears attack and kill more frequently than brown bears."

First of all, Kaniut is the farthest thing from a legitimate bear researcher and in fact sensationalizes bear behavior in his books. He's certainly not one I'd depend upon for sound insights into bears.

On the other hand, I greatly respect Herrero's work, but nowhere does he state that black bears kill more people than brown bears. One of Herrero's colleagues, wildlife scientist and former Alaskan Tom Smith, has done an in-depth study of brown, black and polar bear killings of people in Alaska and he found that all three species kill far fewer humans than most people believe. Most pertinent to Deile's letter, Smith found that between 1883 and 2015, brown bears and grizzlies (they're the same species) killed 50 people in Alaska, or about one person every 2½ years on average. Black bears killed far less over that same time period: only eight. That works out to one human fatality every 17 years or so. The frequency has jumped a bit with this year's two deaths, but even adding those, Alaska's black bears kill only one person every 13 to 14 years. Especially given their large numbers — bear researchers estimate between 30,000 and 100,000 black bears inhabit our state—they're hardly a menace.

As for Deile's reference to a Romy Schneider YouTube video: I have no idea what he means.

— Bill Sherwonit, Anchorage

We can't afford this tax bill

The Republicans are trying to add $1.5 trillion to the national debt to curry favor with donors and corporate friends. If I made $40,000 per year and I had to repay a $1 trillion dollar interest-free debt, it would take me 25 million years. What exactly are you saddling my great-great-great-great-grandchildren with?

I love my country. I would never trade politically expedient favors to rich people for the greater good of the country. We cannot afford this tax bill —not for the rich, the middle class, nor those that are trapped in bodies that cannot earn a living. How much is your temporary cronyism worth to my great-etc.- grandchildren's debt?

If a 15-20 percent tax rate is good for your corporate buddies, provide it to us all (permanently). Maybe we can incorporate all voters. Then we get tax relief equal to your buddies, donate any amount of money to sway elections, and pay for the best government money can buy. Or, think about what $1.5 trillion with market rate interest really is to our future. Please — scrap this attempt at tax reform and stop rushing to gain a spurious victory. We can't afford to leave millions uninsured, have no emergency fund, and no ability to pay for military protection.

Slow down. Engage your constituents. All of them.

— Andrea Jacobson, Anchorage

The views expressed here are the writers' own and are not necessarily endorsed by the Anchorage Daily News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a letter under 200 words for consideration, email letters@adn.com, or click here to submit via any web browser. Submitting a letter to the editor constitutes granting permission for it to be edited for clarity, accuracy and brevity. Send longer works of opinion to commentary@adn.com.

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