SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Changes are way overdue

By Guy Lane


February 25, 2015
Wednesday PM

Since moving to POW Island it's not hard to see why some small towns just don't go anywhere. First I moved to Coffman Cove where my family was sold an undisclosed buried logging camp dump by the City Administrator which resulted in a lengthy lawsuit with the Defendants paying my family a settlement of $65,000. After the settlement was made, several past and present Coffman Cove Council members and or their associates can't just seem to leave my family alone and continue to harass and slander my family and business which will result in a new lawsuit being filed against them in the near future. My family was threatened and stalked for not wanting to be the proud owners of an undisclosed buried logging camp dump that contained hazardous materials and has since been designated as an illegal hazardous waste dump by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.

After moving from Coffman Cove to Thorne Bay, my family thought that things can only get better, boy did I make a mistake! After purchasing land from the City we decided to lease City property to operate a cafe. That was a short lived business venture when our Insurance Co. stated that because the City never disclosed the water didn't meet State and Federal laws for the food service industry that we would not be covered for any claim resulting from the city water. And what did the Thorne Bay City Council and City Administrator Wayne Benner do about this matter? They ignored my family and the sub standard issue and then the water treatment plant operator proceeded to threaten to bury anyone associated with my family or had anything to do with making public records requests about the City water (Said actions did result in a stalking protection court order). I don't see how a city that knowingly sells water to the Public that can increase your risk of cancer gets away with doing so for extended periods of time. Now that the Mayor supposedly has a severe illness I wonder if he or the City Council will ever make sure no other residents have an increased risk of Cancer by consuming the contaminated City water, the City should not spend one more dime on anything except to make the water safe for human consumption.

Some issues with the Thorne Bay City Council and Administration began when there was a special City Council Meeting regarding the public trust of one of our two VPSOs (Village Protection Safety Officer) who had many complaints made against him such as not controlling the scene of a accident, not contacting individuals when supposedly performing welfare checks, not making contact with a woman with several children who reported that at night a strange man was wanting in her house. This VPSO did state he drove by her residence but did not try to make any contact with the woman because the lights were off, and the fact that the VPSO was on paid administrative leave for approx. 6 months pending a child molestation investigation (see Thorne Bay City Council Minutes from Jan. 3,2014). The City refused to listen to the residents making valid complaints and instead the City chose to listen to Council member Bob Hartwell who wanted to see the VPSO back at work supposedly protecting the community. I am sure Council Member Bob Hartwell is not so concerned as he has no children here and or lives in Montana for part of the year.

Within 3 hours of the public council meeting regarding the public faith in the VPSO, this officer's wife sent a letter to the City Clerk who then sent the letter to every person on the City's email list. The email slandered every person who spoke against retaining this VPSO even though the VPSO already admitted during the council meeting that he could be doing a better VPSO job.

Within days of the VPSO's special public City Council meeting, this VPSO confronted at least one person "while in VPSO uniform" and told said person to NOT ever speak against him at a council meeting or public again, I think that's abuse of uniform and also should be grounds for firing, yet I know of nothing done about it.

The VPSO family's letter also slandered our well liked and respected VPSO James Smith who was doing a great service in the community and provided excellent support for the Fire and EMS going way above his call of duty.

During City Council meetings I told Mayor Jim Gould he was letting the entire town down regarding safe water issues and also for not taking proper action regarding the rogue VPSO. Many people voiced great concerns that our respected VPSO James Smith would leave Thorne Bay and the City would be stuck with this other sub standard VPSO, all concerns were ignored, now look where we are!

It concerned me to hear that this VPSO took no action against a City employee who was making death threats that involved me or my family "especially after this city employee tried to get my son in his vehicle" and especially when this VPSO testified in a false manner under oath in Craig District Court when claiming he was never informed of a city employee threatening to bury people if they make a public records requests about the city water. I think this VPSO testified in a false manner so as to support the claims from the City that I made threats that were supposedly unjustified when protecting me and my family. In court I even played a recorded audio conversation of this VPSO receiving verbal complaints about the death threats that involved my family and associates, this VPSO then admitted it was his voice in the audio recording receiving complaints about City employee threatening to place people in the ground and yet this VPSO refused to change his testimony even though he attended three other council meetings where the death threats were brought to the City Council's attention. As a matter of fact council member Ray Slayton and several other council members testified under oath that they were not aware of any complaints of the City employee making threats to bury anyone involved with making public records requests about the water, even though the complaint was made in person and handed in writing during a recorded city council meeting and complaint was made about the employee threats during several other recorded city council meetings, this sounds like organized selective memory to me.

In my opinion, I think this rogue VPSO and the City of Thorne Bay had some kind of understanding as to the VPSO's testimony to help to temporarily cover up the threats to put persons in the ground made by a City Employee towards my family and associate, and especially when I filed a lawsuit against the City of Thorne Bay and the VPSO's wife for defamation (City did pay a settlement of $38,250.91). The City answered the complaint under oath and claimed to have no knowledge that this VPSO was ever on paid administrative leave for approx. 6 months pending a molestation investigation. Can a City Administration really be that ignorant after having meetings regarding this VPSO's molestation allegations, sounds like more selective memory loss again to me?

City Council Member Cindy Edenfield is being paid to live at the City Trailer Court with reduced rent and or other compensation as long as she heads the Fire and EMS department, As a safety issue I objected to Council member Edenfield being appointed to a position that would require her to operate city equipment, Cindy Edenfield was appointed by (all) council members right after she admitted to only doing drugs at night on her own time.

Now since our responsible VPSO James Smith took a position in another town, the Fire and EMS has been defunct for an extended period of time and any ambulance must come from approximately 45 miles away, when a recent fire alarm went off there was NO fire department response.

A few days ago I called the VPSO in question and he admitted that he has been removed from the VPSO position. I have been informed that this VPSO was fired for not performing his job, I am astounded at how long it took to get rid of this person who was supposedly protecting the community.

Now the City of Thorne Bay has been left with no fire department, NO EMS and NO VPSO, I'd like the City Council to wake up and start listening to the residents once in a while, it makes me sick to think that Council member Ray Slayton admitted to telling this VPSO (after he was investigated for molestation) that he had better not pull him or his family over without a State Trooper and then Council Member Slayton voted to keep him on as VPSO to protect the rest of the community.

As of just a few weeks ago, my son and I were almost run over by a person who just had to park on top of where my son and I were walking and then my family was harassed by that person which did result in the Court granting another stalking order, and it makes me sick to see a supposed cheerleader for the green dot community to stop violence and several other associates there to support this person who would have hit my son and I with the truck if we had not taken evasive action and he then started harassing us with non consensual contact.

Because my family has stood up to and or filed lawsuits against two city administrations on Prince of Wales Island to resolve valid legal complaints and have prevailed, we have been maliciously falsely accused of crimes, belittled, harassed, ostracized, physically threatened and stalked, yet I will not let these few organized bullies and or their associates stop me from voicing my honest opinions and or defend my family.

If no one stands up for their rights, then there will never be any proper legal and or ethical changes made that are way overdue.

Guy Lane
Thorne Bay, Alaska


Received February 25, 2015 - Published February 25, 2015


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