Response to Open Letter of
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
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
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.
Ketchikan, AK - USA
Note: Comments published
on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
Open Letter To Assembly Members Shay
& Landis by Shelley
Stallings - Ketchikan, AK _ USA
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.
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