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Response to Open Letter of 03-17-04
by David Landis


March 19, 2004


Thank you for noticing and commenting on the statements Mr. Shay and I made during the House State Affairs Committee teleconference earlier this week. For background, I had to leave the teleconference session early and didn't have the benefit of hearing all the subsequent speakers I had to depart to Anchorage on business, where I am located as of this writing. By virtue of this web-based forum, (Thank you, Dick!) I'm able to address your letter, but I'm still not fully aware of the exact character and nature of that which prompted your referenced Sitnews letter. I apologize for this difficulty in understanding, but I did want to try and respond to the letter in a timely manner if at all possible.

While it has been impossible for me, where I am located, to physically hear whatever sound bite(s) you apparently heard on the radio yesterday morning, I am aware of what was written in the Ketchikan Daily News and (correctly, I might add!) attributed to me -- (David Landis speaking:) "This proposed facility in the industrial complex is a very fine building structurally and environmentally sound. I understand the State has concerns and we are prepared to address those concerns, whatever they may be." (verbatim quote end.) I believe I also said something like -- (David Landis speaking:) I have driven past this facility daily for the last 30 or 35 years, so I have observed the condition of the building. I recently toured the KPC Administration Building and was impressed by how nice it really was, really first-rate (end.) Or something * VERY * close to that.

I know what I said during the short time I was able to teleconference.

What bothers me now is that somehow, you, Shelley, who I have known since I was a kid and you worked alongside my mom at Revilla High School all those years ago, are calling into question my "cavalier response to the serious health concerns of the ferry system employees". I am troubled by your statement.

While it is true that the former KPC site has had certain environmental clean-up challenges in the past, areas (such as the powerhouse) that have required remediation according to strict NEPA standards have now been fully restored according to these rigorous federal government standards -- and are now ready to be re-occupied for industrial use.

The former KPC Administration Building, though, Shelley, has never been a site for any needed environmental remediation effort. I'm sure you understand that any potentially harmful substances in this area have been (and will be in the future, if necessary) addressed to the satisfaction of all local, State, and federal standards before any ownership or lease transfer will take place. Borough and State officials have stated this fact many times. Mr. Shay and I reiterated it several times during the teleconference you referenced. If there is already broad-based commitment to the satisfaction of any and all environmental considerations before State occupancy, what exactly is your objection?

I would encourage all Ketchikan-area residents to, as Mr. Stallings has suggested, talk to local doctors and health care professionals about their opinions on the unusually high rates of cancer among residents within a 5 mile radius of the pulp mill (sic). As someone who is intimately and professionally involved in local health care matters, I have NEVER heard this as a concern among local health care professionals. Ketchikan is not Love Canal. Ketchikan is not Three Mile Island. Ketchikan is not Chernobyl, for goodness sake! Maybe I just don't understand where this is coming from. Could someone please provide me with objective and verifiable information on these so-called health risks? If there are potential liabilities of any kind at the Ward Cove site, I want to be the first one to know. And if there are higher and better uses for the former KPC site, I certainly want to hear about that as well. Please feel free to contact me as soon as possible if these areas of concern are overriding re-development factors. I really do want to gather this information if it is available.

Fear-mongering is easy and tempting. The difficult part is getting consensus on what kind of community we want to live in as we Ketchikanites progress into the 21st Century. Do we want to spend the bulk of our time and effort brow-beating ourselves over past wrongs and peering into some faded crystal ball - or do we want to show our gritty Ketchikan spirit and recreate ourselves as economic and social survivors? I'm inclined to foster the latter scenario and I anxiously await your responses, so I have more "rudder" to guide me in decision-making. Thank you for the opportunity to serve as one of your elected leaders.

David Landis
Ketchikan, AK - USA


Related Viewpoint:

Open Letter To Assembly Members Shay & Landis by Shelley Stallings - Ketchikan, AK _ USA



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and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.


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