Daily Sitka Sentinel from Sitka, Alaska on February 4, 1993 · Page 3
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Daily Sitka Sentinel from Sitka, Alaska · Page 3

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Sitka, Alaska
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Thursday, February 4, 1993
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Bill Would Provide for AIDS Tests of Suspects Daily Sitka Sentinel, Sitka, Alaska, Thursday, February 4,1993, Page 3 Citizen Nominees for Ethics Panel Grilled -...JUNEAU (AP) ~ Sexual assault victims would be able to find out Whether, their suspected attacker carries the'virus that causes AIDS, under legislation introduced in the House. Victims could petition the court to have the-suspect tested for the human immunodeficiency virus, known as HIV, If the court found probable cause, that bodily fluids were exchanged, it would have to order the test The bill is a rewrite of legislation that died last year. More than a dozen states have passed such laws. To protect the rights of suspects, some states require, a conviction before the test can be ordered. No conviction is required under House Bill 109, but if the suspect were convicted, he or she would have to pay for the test. Otherwise, the Department of Health and Social Services would pay. Rep. Pete Kott, R-Eagle River and sponsor of the bill, said a negative HIV test could alleviate fear for a traumatized victim. If the suspect carried the virus, the victim would know of the risk and could seek prompt medical treatment, Kott said. The Hpuse Judiciary Committee is among: the panels that will review the bill. Rep. y Brian Porter, R-Anchorage and committee chairman, said testing suspects may be an unnecessary expense. A negative test for a suspect is no guarantee thai HTV was not passed to the victim, said Porter, a former police chief. An attacker could recently have contracted the virus, but may not be testing positive yet "A victim would have to get tested themselves anyway," Porter said. "Anyone, including victims of sex crimes, can obtain free testing in Alaska.'* -.'. ' i ' The state will lose $200,000 in federal aid without such a law, but administering the program may cost more than that, Porter said. ; Among other measures introduced in the Legislature recently aie these: --Senate Bill 78, which would require the Legislature to approve all major public education funding by March 7. That would allow local school districts to know what the state will contribute before their budgets must be submitted to local assemblies April 1. --SB72, which would remove the provision that allows welfare recipients to continue receiving welfare checks during the month they receive Permanent Fund dividends. Under the bill, the dividend would make the recipient temporarily ineligible for welfare. --HB91 and HB107, which would issue general obligation bonds to pay for public school construction and equipment. HB91 would issue $414 million in bonds for rebuilding schools throughout the state. HB107 would issue $40 million in bonds for a computerized library system and instructional equipment for classrooms. --HB102, which would double -from three to six -- the number of members on the Alaska Labor Relations Agency. --House Special Concurrent Resolution I; which would block an executive order to merge the Women's and Children's commissions. --SB73, which would exempt designers, architects and engineers from liability for their work 10 years after the structure is completed. They would still be liable in cases involving gross negligence and fraud. --HB97, which would clarify that when a child is placed under the'cus- tody of the Department of Health and Social Services and then returned to its parents, that the parents again are responsible for the child's food, shelter, education and medical attention. --HB110 and HBlli, which would extend the life of several state boards and commissions and would transfer some of their duties to other state government entities as recommended by the Legislative Budget and Audit Committee. By BRIAN S.AKRE Associated Press Writer JUNEAU (AP) -- The political allegiances of two citizen nominees to the legislative Ethics Committee were at issue Wednesday during confirmation hearings before a panel of lawmakers. Jack Curry of Juneau and Ruth Apgar of Kotzebue were interviewed for about two hours before a joint meeting of the House and Senate Judiciary committees. No recommendation on confirmation was made pending another hearing. The three other nominees -Margie Mac Neille, Dr. Rodman Wilson and Niel Thomas of Anchorage -- were unable to land in Juneau because of a blizzard. Their interviews were rescheduled for Thursday. The nominations have taken on added importance because of two high-profile and politically charged ethics cases that the new citizen-dominated committee is expected to consider. Sen. George Jacko, D-Pedro Bay, is accused of sexually harassing female legislative employees, and Sen. Dave Donley, D-Anchorage, is accused of hitting a former girlfriend several years ago. Chief Justice Daniel Moore of the Alaska Supreme Court made the nominations last month from a list of 84 applicants. In the past, the ethics panel had a majority of lawmakers. The new panel will consist of five members of the public and four lawmakers, and the chairman will be selected from the public members. Curry teaches computer and ac- counting courses at the University of .Alaska Southeast. He said he was involved in ethics and confidentiality issues for years as a banker and computer expert. Apgar has been a social worker with the state Division of Family and Youth Services for about eight years. Lawmakers questioned them at length about how Republican they really are. Both only recently registered with the Republican Party -- Curry after being unregistered for several years and Apgar after a longtime affiliation with the Democratic Party. ."We can't find anything in your background that substantiates a Republican philosophy, other than you are connected with banking," Rep. Gail Phillips, R-Homer, told Curry. ; Rep. Jeannette James, R-North Pole, asked Curry if he would be a "good representative on the Ethics Committee for the Republican philosophy." Curry said he has never been active in. the GOP, but that he considered himself a lifelong conservative and Republican. "I have not been, over my lifetime, an active political advocate," he said. "I'm not sure I could sit here and recite to you the Republican philosophy as it stands in the United States." Curry said he considered his lack of political partisanship a plus. Apgar said she is a former "died- in-the-wool Democrat" who came from a Democratic family. She said her political philosophy changed about five years ago, though she switched her registration only in September. Gang Leaders from Big Cities Pledge a Truce Anchorage Official Says Ethics Complaint Political ANCHORAGE (AP).-- Formally accused by three people of revealing a grudge against Jewish lawyers in private conversations, Anchorage School Board member Theresa Obermeyer;. held firnr-during a city ethies"boanJb' hearing tht she s the victim of a"pb~ litical witch hunt ''The'board continued the hearing to hear from more witnesses about alleged anti-Semitic comments. That came despite several protests from Obermeyer and her husband that the testimony; amounts to nothing more than their word against hers. 'Theresa, and Tom Obermeyer, sitting side by side Wednesday in the mayor's conference room and voicing their discontent at regular intervals, were particularly upset the ethics board hasn't ruled yet if it should even be investigating the contents of, private telephone conversations that haven't been corroborated by any witnesses. ; That decision is being saved for later, board, chairman Joe Huddleston said. "If your board takes a look at where these complaints are coming from, this.'can be easily resolved," Tom. Obermeyer told Huddleston. Those who did testify Wednesday -- a parent active in the schools, the chair of the Alaska Women's Political Caucus and former school board president Walter Featherly -- painted a picture of; Theresa Obermeyer as a woman obsessed with the notion that Jewish lawyers are to blame for Tom Obermeyer's 14- failures at taking Alaska's lawyer licensing exam.' The ugliest^ the ,accusaupn, came from. Sharon'Long, the parent* who testified ri at she. phoned Obe.rme.yer to discuss a school reform project but instead was bombarded by "hateful and enraged" rantings about Ober- rneyer's family problems. "All these people were after her," Long said, "The (Alaska) Supreme Court justices, the Jewish lawyers, the rich people. It's very hard to remember because it was incoherent.'' The hearing itself, watched from the sidelines by at least five current and former school board; members, was anything but refined. It was contentious from start to finish. Huddleston's initial patience with Obermeyer gradually wore thin after more than a dozen warnings that she was asking too many irrelevant questions and offering unsolicited opinions. After lining up at least one other .witness to testify Friday, Robert Gottstein, Huddieston closed the hearing by asking Obermeyer if she would like to invite any witnesses of her own. A baffled look came across her face, and then she remarked: "Should I call the 18,300 citizens who voted for me, Mr. Huddleston?" "Yes, if you keep your questions short," he said. BySONYAROSS Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) -- Street gang leaders from four major cities pledged a truce on Thursday and said they'll convene a broader gathering this .spring so others can take the oath. Their so-called "summit" was set for April 30-May 2 in Kansas City, Mo., timed to coincide with the first anniversary of the Los Angeles riots. Nine representatives from black and Latino gangs in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and Minneapolis met in Washington to pledge peace, pray together and plan the Kansas City meeting. : . "We have had,.800 killings.in,Los Angeles -Goumy alone,, and. the majoJT. iiy iwere Irfmno.brotberSi" ; said Daniel , Alejandrez, director of the California Coalition to End Barrio Warfare. "We have lost brothers and sisters, and we are tired." , "We are not'going to. buy into the concept of 'Once one, always one,' no more," said Fred Williams, an ex- gang member who helped establish a May 1992 truce between the Crips and the Bloods, the two largest gangs in Los Angeles. "We must admit we have a problem first and remove the element of fear," Williams said. "Only if we work with our families and our children will we be able to have change." The gangs involved were Crips, Bloods, Different Nation, Vice Lords, Disciples and Souls. Organizers said they were inspired by the truce Williams helped design. They sealed their pact by clasping hands and praying together. "Bless these our. brothers, who have offered themselves up on behalf of their communities," said the Rev. Ben Chavis, head of the United Church of Christ's Commission for Racial Justice and a key negotiator. "From Los Angeles to Boston, Minneapolis to Chicago, from the barrio to the ghetto ... On this day, our chain will be strengthened and lengthened in Kansas City, and we're gonna leave there with vision, unity and drive." But police were skeptical, saying the organizers may not have enough clout to pull off such a plan. ? i "It's very complicated. There is a "lot of deep-sealed hatred," said Los Angeles police officer Arthur Holmes. "We don't know enough about the participants, and we don't want to recognize them as if they are countries with legitimate leaders." Billy Davis, spokesman for the Chicago Police Department, said there may not be much of a commitment among gangs to stop the violence, since many gang-.members depehdt-'bfi crime for income. · --j-'----sA. nc "We appreciate these efforts," Davis said. "But a truce is not something the police can look at in a short span of time. With a gang truce,-all we see is a displacement of crime.;. in different areas than before." The organizers agreed on a six- point agenda addressing gang concerns, including police brutality, economic discrimination and finding, the best way to work with activists and clergy on making a nationwide truce hold. "These are missions we hope the Clinton administration can help us express," said a Minneapolis gang member identified only as Sharif. "We are saying to this administration that we must be part of the change." The summit will involve about 100 gang members, representing groups in 20 cities, said Harry "Spike'' Moss, founder of United for Peace, which works with Minneapolis gangs. "In the hands of these young men at this table is the future of our babies," Moss said. "We have to .come together and slop the violence if there is to be a fuiure." * Under the legislative ethics law that took effect last month; the committee's public members must include two. Democrats, two Republicans and one independent. Rep. David Finkelstein, an author of the ethics law, listened to Wednesday's interviews. He said the intent of the party breakdown was to ensure that lawmakers did not stack the committee with one party's partisans. "The goal isn't to get particularly partisan people," he said. "The goal is to get people willing to focus on ethics requirements, not party considerations." Finkelstein, D-Anchorage, said he was surprised by the Republicans' repeated questions about party loyalty. "It was just so off the wall -- like, ' Are you going to be our guy? Apgar also was questioned in detail about a 1980 citation she received for the alleged illegal sale of ivory when she and her husband owned a Skagway hotel and gift shop. Her charge later was dismissed, though her husband was convicted, fined and placed on probation. She said they were ignorant of the federal ivory law, which was new at the time. She said she foolishly relied on her husband to know what was legal and illegal in the ivory irade. "We've never traded in ivory since," she said. Rep.'Jim Nordhind, D-Anchorage, asked Apgar aboul comments' she made to an Anchorage Daily News reporter who, interviewed her about the ivory case last month following her nomination. Apgar told the reporter that she was a born-agairi Christian: and planned "to ask the Lord to punish you for Ihis ... wicked thing you're doing lo me. You're causing me a lot of grief and you're going 10 suffer because of it" · " . ' "That is absolutely correct," Apgar told Nordlund. "I did say that. I felt he was judging me." Apgar said she did not feel the 13. year-old ivory charge should have anything to.do with her nomination to the ethics panel. But some lawmakers said they were troubled by Apgar's efforts to minimize the charge. "I'm having a hard time equating, that a citation for a violation of criminal statutes has nothing to do with ethics," said Rep. Brian Porter, R- Anchorage and a former police chief. "Because I was charged, does not mean that I was unethical, it doesn't mean that I'm not honorable," Apgar said. The ability of the nominees to deal with reporters came up several times. Both nominees quickly picked up on some of the lawmakers' animosity, toward the press. Sen. Robin Taylor, R-Wrangell, said he was concerned about what he described as Apgar's apparent willingness to accept press accounts of the Jacko scandal as fact. Phillips chastised Apgar for recently telling a reporter that the committee might have to investigate the Jacko allegations. Apgar said she had not made any judgments about the case. She said she has had little experience dealing with reporters and would no longer' respond to their questions about a pending case. "If I'm affirmed today, the first thing I think I would do when an allegation is made, is shred the newspapers (and) do my own investigating," she said. Curry said he believed newspapers sometimes sensationalize stories to sell more newspapers, and that he is often skeptical about what he reads. : When asked how he viewed the ethics job, Curry said he would focus on "protecting the worldwide reputation of the state." "The public is naturally suspicious of legislators/' he said. "The media continually focus on the negative. A relative small number of public servants are corrupt or even do anything off-color. "The vast majority of legislators are hard-working, caring individuals who have the best interest of Alaska on their mind." A two-thirds vote of the Legislature will be needed to confirm the nominees. Heard about RAPID REFUND? Relief/rpm America's Tax Team Terri Stefknovic · 747-5678 4O7 HPR next to State Farm You're Invited To FILM NIGHT Support the Alaska Maritime Heritage Foundation "Building Alaska's Tall Ship" Films begin at 7:30 p.m. Enjoy... Friday · Centennial Bldg. "Around Cape Horn" $5 Donation · $2.50 Children "Captain Irving Johnson, - High Seas Adventurer" remodeling sale TfULtOla l/tema ^sOtti" Just a few of the bargains! Makrta circular saw blades 10", 14", 16" Weiserboft entry locksets Belwith combination locks Kirsch drapery hardware KV Ives peghooks KV shelf anchors - walnut color Nautilus brass and oak bath fan N721 Peerless faucets - all antique brass finish Franklin Trte bond glues BEHR Scandinavian wood finishes Abto'bi Americana moldings Hurry-in - Quantities are limited spenard builders supplu · 104 Smith Street'747-3339 II \J Quilt Project Set Saturday The ABC Quilt Project is seeking volunteers for its workshop to be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the high school home economics room. Those needing further information can call Marge Mochak at 747-6342 or Donna Hebbeler at 747-5825 or 747-6383 by Thursday. Fabric donations are being sought and may be dropped off at Verstovia Elementary School or taken Saturday to the high school during the workshop. Body Found DILLINGHAM (AP) -- Alaska State Troopers are investigating the death of a man found Tuesday on a lake near the Bristol Bay village of Egegik. The body of 34-year-old Johnny Zharoff was found by the Egegik village public safety officer, troopers said. '.Investigators said Zharoff's face had some injuries and that he had been drinking at a house where a fight had taken place. Witnesses told troopers they later saw Zharoff walking toward the place where his body was found. Overnight temperatures in Egegik Tuesday were down to nearly 25 degrees below zero. Zharoffs body will be sent to the state crime lab in Anchorage for an autopsy. Sitka Bazaar Thursday, Feb. 4,8a.m. - 6 p.m. Friday, Fob, 5,9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6,9 a.m. - 6 p.m. All Sales Cash All Sales Final No Charges - Visa or MasterCard No Returns y-fappy Shopping!

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