SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Telephone Division of KPU
By David G. Hanger


February 08, 2010
Monday PM

Following is the text of my presentation to the Ketchikan City Council regarding problems with the telephone division of Ketchikan Public Utilities:

I am here tonight to talk about my business's recent experiences with the KPU telephone division. Permit me to begin my address by noting that my telephone number when I was ten years old is ID25986, at 12 it was 546-4646, at 15 684-2538. My girlfriend's number in 1975 was 824-2996, in 1985 684-0143. Just so you get it, I have a photographic memory for phone numbers so extensive the phone books get lost under the clutter in my office. They all use me instead of the phone book.

Now I tell you this not to impress you in any way; memorizing phone numbers is about as worthless a talent as one could have; but rather as background information for what happened next. I left town to visit family right at the first of June last year, and when I left, I thought I had the bills paid. Well, KPU's latest bill did not show up for a couple days.

There were some distractions along my way, and it was not until around July 20 I remembered to do something about this. I thought all my bills were just a few days behind at worst, but this one was behind by more than a month. So I called KPU and said, gosh, I was really sorry, but I had just forgotten to get this taken care of, and how much did I owe them. I expected to give them $250 to $300; instead she demanded more than $900, stating that anyone who got late on their phone bill had to pay for their telephone directory ads all at once. I said that was ridiculous, and I said I wanted to speak with a supervisor. At that juncture I learned that KPU is also the infallible immaculate conception. As I have done for more than 30 years, at the end of May I ordered my second line 225-4124 turned off and put on vacation for the offseason because we only need one line during the offseason. Instead they turned off my faxline and continued to charge me for months an exhorbitant rate for 225-4124, a number I did not need. In the meantime my fax is disconnected, and that is not their fault; it has to be mine. Not only did they refuse to correct the order, never again while KPU had my service did 1st City Tax have a faxline, a period of more than six months. Now, folks I have a photographic memory for phone numbers, and I may be 60, but I do not have Alzheimer's Disease; and a routine that I have done more than 30 times is not a likely error source for me. But KPU is the infallible immaculate conception, and they never make mistakes.

Not interested in working with the self-proclaimed divine, I immediately contacted GCI and ordered that all of my services be transferred over to them. KPU put repeated obstructions in the way of that endeavor and delayed the transfer for six months. KPU is more than a bit light on integrity, as I will relate. My order for the transfer of this service, despite harassing tactics by KPU, had been completed by August 13, and I expected GCI to take over in a matter of a few days. It was almost six weeks later before I got into town myself, at which time I discovered that KPU had continued to place harassing barriers in the way of this transfer of a set of telephone numbers. Finally, by early October GCI called me to advise me that all of my telephone numbers had been re-assigned by KPU, and that none of my business telephone numbers were available to be transferred over to GCI. GCI then politely asked me if I wanted other numbers assigned. I thanked them, and said no, that I had been paying for these numbers, and KPU did not have the right to re-assign them.

That ís when I stopped by and related my problem with KPU to Lew Williams. Lew sincerely attempted to help. A guy named Ed Cushing called me from KPU to tell me what a bad person I was, that I had been routinely late on my phone bills from time to time, and they had computerized records back almost 30 years that told him what a bad person I was. He went on for about ten minutes. If you want the details, I wrote them up on Sitnews some months ago. I gather that KPU is running some kind of Mormon genealogical operation down there, and our families are defined as good and bad based upon their Gestapo documents. Anyway, I think this was all intended as explanation by Ed Cushing as to why I was getting all this harassment from KPU. I told him I was not interested in any of this nonsense, that I just wanted my phone numbers so I could go away. I ultimately hung up on this fool because the conversation was going nowhere.

Now there are three kinds of customers only, that's the first thing these dippo bureaucrats at KPU don't understand: Fast pay, slow pay, and no pay. Those are your three types of customers. Even with the kind of intimidation KPU manufactures, the "slow pay" category is representative of many, if not most customers. While you don't want to wish "no pay" customers on anybody, all the rest of them are really good customers. KPU does not have a clue about that reality.

What KPU did was they lied to me, and they lied to an outside private sector company about the status of my telephone numbers. By re-assigning telephone numbers that I was paying for, they were committing a systematic fraud. By lying to an outside company about the true status of my telephone numbers they were attempting diligently to restrain free trade. As it turned out, they were lying about the fraud; they had not yet transferred any of my telephone numbers. Now when I testify before regulatory agencies about all of this mess, and GCI does the same, what kind of embarrassment has KPU management brought on you? Rather than do that, I hope you are responsible enough to clean up this mess.

Karl Amylonís fingers are all over this. King Karl, that's what they call him, you know, considers himself free to use KPU as a whipping post. Amylon knew what was going on here, and the lies are traceable back to him directly. I do think you desperately need a new KPU manager. This guy has been a bully boy for years. In 2005 a KPU employee named Caskey or Caswell, whatever it was, published a letter on Sitnews. That letter is the only letter in the history of Sitnews that was ever totally vaporized within 24 hours of appearance. Despite Weinstein's assurances to the contrary, the administration of Karl Amylon is a monstrosity of intimidation where everyone fears saying anything.

The telephone division does not know how to compete fairly in the private sector. The bureaucrats who run KPU hate the private sector, view them as an enemy, so their conduct in assaulting me is not all that irrational from their rather paranoid point of view. There is nothing more aberrant than the government trying to sustain an operation that the private sector is handling. Bureaucrats just automatically start becoming bullies in such an environment, because they don't know how to operate otherwise. Competition, for those who have not experienced it, is a traumatic event.

Only under Amylon's administration has this local government gone astray, and attempted to compete repeatedly against the private sector. What do we get for it? Bullying tactics, lies to competitors, a willingness to perpetrate fraud, efforts at restraint of trade, empire building, and ever increasing prices. This Ed Cushing guy is paid, according to inside information, well over $100,000 a year plus has a free government car and gas for his personal business. Maybe he's some kind of bureaucrat, but about business he knows less than a small rock. All these systems analysts maintaining decades of superfluous records are certainly prime candidates for job displacement, too.

Nor should the phone book be used as a hammer to force people to stay with KPU. KPU is no longer the sole provider of telephone service, and the idea that they, therefore, should control publication of the local phone book is entirely obsolete and inappropriate. This should be a joint effort of several companies in cooperation with a separate entity that provides us with a decent phone book, not a weapon for KPU to wield as they see fit.

Thank you for your time.

David G. Hanger, EA, MBA
Ketchikan, AK


Received February 08, 2009 - Published February 08, 2010


Viewpoints - Opinion Letters:

letter Webmail Your Opinion Letter to the Editor



Note: Comments published on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.


E-mail your letters & opinions to
Your full name, city and state are required for letter publication.

SitNews ©2010
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska