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Re: Ferry Administration Move
by Dave Kiffer


March 30, 2004

I wanted to take a minute to thank Sitnews for allowing Ketchikan residents to follow the coverage of the state ferry administration move in the Juneau Empire. It is always interesting to see how stories play out differently in other communities.

Regarding the debate in Juneau - in which Juneau officials seem to be throwing all manner of mud at the wall and hoping some of it will stick - I just wish they had been as "outraged" when the ferry system decided to "move" the new fast ferry from Sitka to Juneau. That decision dealt Sitka a significant economic blow and only marginally improved the Juneau economy. If my memory serves me correctly, a Juneau official was even quoted at the time as saying that the fast ferry decision would have only a small impact on the Sitka economy anyway. In reality, it represented around the same economic blow as the ferry headquarters move to Ketchikan, which one Juneau legislator has called "devastating." Go figure.

I have to give Clark Gruening and the Alaska Committee (the group that fights against the capital move whenever it bubbles up from the Rail Belt cess pool) credit, they alone in Juneau are not leaping to denounce the relocation. Rather they are saying more information is needed. That's because, unlike the mayor and the borough assembly, the Alaska Committee remembers that 40 some odd jobs is less important to Juneau than the continued support of towns like Ketchikan when the capital move comes up again - and you know it will.

I guess I've just grown tired of Juneau's frequent tugs on the "regionalism" heartstrings. In general Juneau thinks that regional solidarity is only important when it comes to Juneau issues like the capital move and not when it comes to Ketchikan or Sitka issues such as the timber industry or the ferry system.

Dave Kiffer
Ketchikan, AK - USA


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