SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


By Charles Edwardson


March 28, 2011

I missed a recent Ketchikan townhall type meeting on economic development, as I was out of town. If I had attended, the first statement I would have made is: economic development and government are like oil and water and the borough assembly and city council are forms of government, and I would then gauge the response of the industry experts in the room before I engaged in any other talks about economic development. If some of the industry experts agreed it would be worth further discussion, but if no one agreed than it would have been a nice forum to catch up with friends and have a nice brainstorming session that will lead nowhere.

Economic development is usually stifled, thwarted, crushed, inhibited, delayed, confused, drawn out, meddled with, by ever increasing federal, state, and ultimately local regulations -- and regulations come from governments.

The only way the Ketchikan borough assembly or the Ketchikan city council will help in "economic development" in our little spot on the globe is to help us in our respective industries navigate and reduce the red tape that is involved in any venture from a coffee stand on the dock, to multi-million dollar construction projects. The simple fact that the local governments feel that this is something that they can fix "lack of economic development" worries me.

First councils and assemblies change continually, policy needs to be developed, and ultimately a body of seven or eight need to agree on something and this many people in one body rarely agree on the same things, so by the time all this stuff is figured out it's time for another election and a new planning session.

What needs to happen for true economic development is to let the industries that want to develop, develop. Ketchikan is not development friendly. It is increasingly more difficult in the construction industry in my case, to simply get a permit to build or remodel something, permits, permits permits, EPA, DEC, Workman's Comp, city engineers ,inspectors, state inspectors, engineers blah,blah,blah... duplicate inspections, duplicate engineering. I understand and comply with all the rules and appreciate the intent of most of the regulations we all need to comply with, but to me it seems here in Ketchikan we're a little over the top, and subsequently more guys in the construction field are flying under the radar just to get the bills paid.

This town is not conducive to economic development on the private sector level, much less on a governmental level. Further our governments task should not be actual economic development cause the only money they have to invest is from us and there will never be overall consensus on what venture to try. Our local governments' task should be to make it possible for "economic development" to happen.

I appreciate the forum and concern from our elected officials, but private industry is the only answer and a supporting role, not a lead role is needed from our respected, elected officials.

Charles Edwardson
Ketchikan, AK

About: "Born and raised in Ketchikan and concerned about our economic future"

Received March 26, 2011 - Published March 28, 2011



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Ketchikan, Alaska