SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Voters Say "Yes" to Port Revenue Bond
By Marie L. Monyak


April 12, 2006
Wednesday AM

Ketchikan, Alaska - According to unofficial election results released Tuesday evening, with a 28% voter turnout, voters have said "Yes" to Proposition NO. 1 allowing the City to issue up to $38,500,000 in Port Revenue Bonds. The revenue bonds will be used to fund the reconfiguration of existing cruise ship facilities and upland imporvements along the Ketchikan waterfront.

Prior to the announcement of the unofficial election results, the mood was apprehensive as members and supporters of Ketchikan for a Positive Economy! arrived at Steamers Restaurant on Tuesday evening to await the results of the special Port Bond Election.

Rendering of proposed new berths...
Graphic courtesy City of Ketchikan

Mike Holman, a tireless advocate for the Port of Ketchikan Improvements Project and member of Ketchikan for a Positive Economy!, departed the gathering and headed for Ketchikan City Hall shortly before the polls closed at 8:00 P.M. Tuesday. Holman met with Ketchikan City Clerk Katy Suiter who served as the election supervisor as prescribed by the Ketchikan Municipal Code. Suiter, with the assistance of Deputy City Clerk Dorene Smith, Administrative Assistant to the City Manager Rebecca Brown and City Library Director Judith Anglin, counted the ballots and tabulated the unofficial results.

Holman was prepared to relay the results by phone to fellow KPE member Chris Parks who waited anxiously at Steamers. It was sometime around 8:25 P.M. when Holman contacted Parks with the returns from Precinct 1 (American Legion). Parks announced to those assembled that there were a total of 413 votes and the unofficial results were 270 yes votes to 143 no votes.

With a difference of 127 votes between those for and against the Port Bond, the crowd at Steamers began to loosen up and replace their earlier frowns with more relaxed expressions.

Once again Holman contacted Parks with the unofficial results from Precinct 3 (Alaska Marine Highway Ferry Terminal). With 296 votes for and 160 votes against, the mood at Steamers lightened considerable as Parks informed the many people that had congregated there.

The efforts of Ketchikan for a Positive Economy! along with the city's effort to provide information to the voters was coming to fruition. The registered voters of the City of Ketchikan had an opportunity to be heard at the polls.

Awaiting the results of Precinct 2 (Plaza Mall), with the knowledge that it's the largest precinct, no one at Steamers wanted to appear too anxious and begin celebrating until the final count was in. The mood was still restrained.

jpg Ketchikan for a Postive Economy!

Zig Ziegler, Co-Chair for KPE, and other members were all smiles Tuesday evening when the unofficial election results were announced.
Photo by Marie L. Monyak

Minutes ticked by. Anything could happen at this point. 9:00 P.M., 9:10 P.M., 9:15 P.M., finally at 9:21 P.M., with Holman on the other end of the phone, Parks announced the unofficial results of Precinct 2 (Plaza Mall)... 408 yes votes and 175 no votes.

With the final precinct in, the unofficial tally was 974 voters for the Port Bond and 434 voters against.

With the "Yes" votes ahead by 540 votes, the KPE members and supporters of the Port Bond felt confident to take that first relaxed breath before breaking into a noisy chorus of cheers and congratulations.

The business owners, property owners and concerned citizens that belonged to KPE worked tirelessly and at their own expense to achieve passage of the port bond. According to Zig Ziegler, Co-Chair for KPE, this citizen's group had spent approximately $20,000 to $25,000 of their own money on advertising, promotions, signs and billboards.

Ziegler also said that KPE's primary focus was to assist the public in understanding the importance of Berth III and to encourage a favorable vote. As this was the group's only goal, KPE has no future purpose after the official results are counted.

Ketchikan City Mayor Bob Weinstein was also present at Steamers and when asked how long it would take for the bond financing to be completed and construction to begin, he replied, "We can put the project out for bid before the bond but we just can't award the contract until the finances are finalized."

jpg Unofficial Election Results

With the tourist season just about to begin there should be plenty of time to complete the necessary transactions during the summer so that construction can begin when the last cruise ship leave in September.

When Ziglier was asked how he feels about the fact that borough residents cannot vote in an election like the Port Bond that affects everyone on the island, he answered, "It stinks. It's silly for a community of this size to be broken in two. Most folks in the borough have some interest in the city limits, whether it's KPU or their work."

Rich Elliott, another member of KPE sitting close by added, "Every time consolidation comes up, the borough always votes no." Elliott, implying that until consolidation is complete, borough residents will never have a say in the decisions within the city limits regardless of whether they are affected by the decisions or not.

The Canvas Board will meet Wednesday morning in the City Council Chamber to count the Absentee Ballots (114), Special Needs Ballots (12) and Questioned Ballots (86).


On the Web:

Port of Ketchikan Improvements Project


Marie L. Monyak is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
A freelance writer is an uncommitted independent writer
who produces and sells articles to a publisher such as SitNews.
Contact Marie at mlmx1[at]

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