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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Review of the B.C.Hydro stream
By A. M. Johnson


January 25, 2013
Friday AM

Editor Sitnews,

As a result of a submission on B.C Hydro and related earlier efforts, there has been some inquiry and comments. From the tone and depth of those perhaps a review with further gatherings is in order.

First item is to clarify that there is no vendetta towards SEAPA by this writer. This organization was formulated for a specific purpose and organized to manage in the manner they portray to the public.

There is no interest to explore the conception that it operates much as a private owned institution. Yes I can understand the frustrations of not being an open freedom of information public organization. Yes, they do operate on public funding, be it dedicated or rate generated, Yes, they seemingly operative as a closed door group. that is not my fight. The inquiries (2) were advised to discuss this with the City council members, several who are directly related as board members.

Second: It had been stated in the submission that solid proof or knowledge of what the cost of utilities of both the new fire hall and the borough swimming pool were unsubstantiated and it was clearly stated that if there were challenges to those amounts the writer was open to correction.
From official sources, there has been none to date.

From other sources it was learned that the new fire hall is running 9 times more expensive utilities wise, so the sum of $8,000 per month stated may be low.

Regarding the new swimming pool, the utilities may be running 6 times the amount charged to the old pool. so $4,500.00 per month for the old pool seems low which means that the new pool is running in excess of the $28,000.00 initially stated.

Added to this is the new library, seems the utilities for the new library is running 3.3 times that of the old building. Now, remember the old building included the museum which is under consideration for conversion to house a larger museum, so that current utility cost continues and will continue as a separate charge above and beyond the new library.

PLEASE, I have no issue over any of these buildings or the purposes, the community voted for each and everyone and collectively we are obligated to the charges they incur. The effort is to demonstrate and point out the increasing demand for electrical energy in light of an obvious shortfall which will be reflected in the increasing demand over and above all of these posted reflected in the diesel surcharge.

Third: An inquiry asked why the Ketchikan Daily News, once a vocal advocate for the State to focus on the B.C. Hydro connection has not been vocal? This writer was not aware that the Ketchikan Daily News had ever been an advocator for this obvious source of energy that should have the full attention of the community.

One would anticipate the community's première news outlet to be a leader in such an avocation. That is not reflected. A research of the inquiry question then proved a point.

At one time the Ketchikan Daily News had a very very impressive and very well respected in all corners of the State by ranking members of the elected community, the academic community, the industrial/commercial/ and the general all around laboring/fisherman community. Lew Williams was a leader, you knew where he stood, his reputation was of the highest caliber. So when he supported the B.C.Hydro it was full throttle. He wrote editorials back when the paper's editorial writers put their names to the column and stood for the content, however with the passing, the Ketchikan Daily News format that now utilizes collaboration and consensus seemingly lacks the authority of originality or responsibility.

Below is an example of Lew Williams effort on the issue .

One of the inquiry related to generating interest from various large users of electrical energy in their businesses. Would they not become interested in a source of electrical power that would afford consistent and perhaps less expensive? The response to this inquiry again pointed out the responsibility to raise the interest of the community business and industry lays with the Chamber of Commerce. the Chamber body is made up of the cream of the community businesses. The owners,managers and related memberships that advocate for the well being of the community are looked to for leadership. How that relates to the stressed electrical system with regards to brining new business or development to the community may bring the level of concern into question.

Often when the nights are dark and stormy this writer will lay in comfort reading a good Zane Gray western. Always in those books, the local town is controlled by a shady, bad, sneaky hombre(s). It takes a drifter gun slinger, not married, good horse, fast gun, to straighten out the town. With that analogy, perhaps a "Good Hombre" committee of the Chamber will begin exploring the potential of the B.C Hydro connection. Planning ahead to have the questions of consistent, economical energy being addressed, the effort to entice new business here using the new technology the Chamber has instituted for outside sources to access and explore what Ketchikan has to offer. (This author has suggestions for another day for that effort.)

So through the Chamber members such as Wal-Mart if they are, Landing, Narrows, Tyler Rentals, Vigor Ship yard, the Plaza, Carrs, A&P and Tatsuda, plus many more should surely be interested in having consistent hydro power. The bottom line will be the level of diesel use that will be required and the cost of that energy to supplement the stressed hydro production.

Added electrical cost contributed to the diesel surcharge,which in many cases, is a very high cost item to a business, must be passed on to the consumer, who will be paying twice, once for the personal use of energy in residents and then again in the hidden cost of purchases.

That alone will drive local resident purchases to internet sales. Less sales tax, less inventory selection and it goes on.

One only has to reflect on the Ketchikan City Mayor's recent quote that "Thank goodness for home heating fuel oil and gasoline sales - for the higher percentage of our sales tax revenue" to obtain current leadership attitude of looking inward, not "Outside the Box".

Again this writer believes that there is a honest intent of concern, not a commitment to expand the solution base.

This author asks for the general public to be aware that there is a option available that demands common sense research and effort to be made available. Without surplus electrical power thorough hydro the future will reflect the continuing struggle for Ketchikan to survive and grow. The B.C Hydro connection is worthy of consideration.

Regards to all,
A.M.(Al) Johnson
Ketchikan, AK

About: "In my long life I've learned that it takes years to build up your reputation, and it only takes suspicion, not proof, to destroy it."

Received January 24, 2013 - Published January 25, 2013



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