By Sharon Lint
January 22, 2005
Determined to keep the process a positive one, Commissioner Dennis McCarty voiced the need for a spirit of cooperation for all, saying, "This [Consolidation] is a good idea. Let's make it work. This is not an adversarial situation. This is not an "Us or Them." It's "Us and Our Future."
Voters approved the concept for the consolidation on October 7, 2003 and work to produce a viable Petition began on January 13, 2004. By late September of that same year, the Commission had created a document ready for submission and as such, the 2004 "Petition for Consolidation of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough and the City of Ketchikan to the Municipality of Ketchikan, a Home Rule Borough," was received and duly accepted for filing by the Local Boundary Commission (LBC) on September 30, 2004.
LBC set a deadline of 4:30 p.m., Monday, December 27, 2004, for the receipt of responsive briefs and written comments concerning the Petition. Karl R. Amylon, The Manager of the City of Ketchikan filed a Responsive Brief on December 23, 2004. Roy Eckert, KGB Manager and Bob Weinstein, Mayor of the City of Ketchikan submitted their remarks in writing on December 21, 2004, and December 23, 2004, respectively. The Chair of the LBC set 4:30 p.m. February 28, 2005 as the deadline for a formal response from the Commission to the City's Brief and the written comments.
As the Commission discussed that response, they noted most of the comments received were "slam dunks" needing only simple housekeeping changes. These modifications would include clarified verbiage, pinpointing of 'moving targets' and correction of clerical and typographical errors within the Petition. However, they also noted that the comments, objections, suggestions, and complaints as a whole were voluminous and that some issues would require significant discussion.
Chairman Thompson suggested the best way to prepare a thorough and meaningful reply would be to fix the housekeeping issues, then list and address the more difficult concerns and "decide to agree and make some modifications or agree to disagree and let the voters decide."
Alluding to Mr. Amylon 's offer of a meeting to discuss differences and come to agreement on such issues, Chairman Thompson referenced a recent comment he had made to an audience at the new Rotary Club during a debate with Amylon over the Petition. "We're not [at each other's throats]. We're both on the same side here. We both agree that consolidation is something that we desire. It's just that we have a different vision of what that consolidation should look like."
In an effort to combine those visions, Commissioner Debby Otte proposed a meeting with all parties involved in approximately two weeks in order to hammer out solutions in a positive forum.
"As far as addressing the concerns of Mr. Amylon and Mr. Eckert and Mr. Weinstein, I think it would behoove us as a body to see if we can get those particular participants - those who responded to our petition - and Mr. Bockhorst - and have meetings until we can come up with a consensus of how everybody can deal with the situation instead of [acting] adversarily."
She then echoed Mr. McCarty's earlier comment, "It's not us or them, it's Us."
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