SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



No justification
By Dave Kiffer


January 23, 2006

Editor, Sitnews:

I was shocked to read in the Sitnews' letters columns that there could even be the slightest justification for the outburst that was directed at guests of the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce by the chamber's former board president recently.

The chamber has a long history of inviting individuals to speak on various topics and treating those individuals with respect. That didn't happen last week and to imply that it was if not "acceptable" then it was at least "understandle" belies just about everything the chamber has ever stood for.

It is clearly one thing to attack someone's ideas but attacking someone's right to say them is an approach that only a coward would take and no one should be looking for justifications for that behavior. There simply aren't any.

Implying that someone's time of residence in Ketchkan is somehow the only criteria for relevance is almost comical given the fact none of the people directly involved in this "dust-up" were even born and raised here.

It would be helpful if someone could make it clear at what point residency in Ketchikan truly becomes relevant. My family has only been here a little more than 108 years, so I would like to know at what point my opinions would be considered valid.

I have also worked for "non-profit" organizations over the years. Is there a statute of limitations that needs to be met before I am then deemed worthy of adding to public discourse?

Some non-profits use "public" funds and some do not, but all of them add immeasurably to the betterment of this community and some even work to promote the economic development that is so crucial to the private sector in Ketchikan. We are all truly in this together.

Ketchikan residents do not have the luxury of thinking that all "newcomers" are some sort of alien species that are unfit to have ideas to help build our community.

After all, "newcomers" brought the mining, fishing, timber and tourism industries to Ketchikan. And - God willing - "newcomers" will still be bringing fresh economic development to this community long after we are gone.

Dave Kiffer
Ketchikan, AK - USA

About: Dave Kiffer is a fourth generation Ketchikan resident and the Executive Director of Historic Ketchikan Inc. He is a freelance writer, musician and music teacher. Kiffer is also a member of the Ketchikan Borough Assembly.



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