By Gregory Vickrey
April 14, 2007
My Grandfather, may he rest in peace, worked very hard to teach
me a couple of lessons in life that were of particular importance
to him. Papaw, as I called him, wish to instill in me a faith
in God and a faith in People. Interestingly, he was associate
minister of the People's Church of God in Central Illinois for
a number of years, so those two lessons fit particularly well
with his place in life.
I have subsequently tried and failed and tried again to carry
those virtues of faith forward in my own life - knowing full
well that I am not perfect but could strive for perfection, and
knowing that today is another day for learning and growth. I
believe that such an opportunity exists for all of us individually
and collectively - and manifests itself in the decisions we make
individually and collectively. And that brings me to the points
I would like to raise today, regarding the collective nature
and behavior of our community governments, how we choose to interact
with them, and what today (and tomorrow) may bring.
1. I wonder if Citizens for Better Representation (CBR) intends
to look closely at the goings-on with City and Borough Governments.
In particular, I wonder if they noticed the major financial oversight
on the part of the Borough with regards to interests payments
due from Renaissance Ketchikan Group? Further, does the group
intend to look into the matter of the Ward Cove deal and speculate
on the demonstrative trends being displayed both by the Borough
and the purchaser? I have stated for nearly two years that this
is a shady deal with a developer without many credentials in
an area (Ward Cove) that is vital for Ketchikan's economic diversification
and redevelopment plans.
And what about all the other levels and sorts of mistakes that
represent trends with this body, rather than random occurrences?
Will Citizens for Better Representation be looking into these?
Here are a suggested few items of interest:
a. How long will the Borough wait to prioritize support for the
Southern Gateway Shuttle, a dedicated ferry for cargo and passenger
service to the expanding port at Prince Rupert? There are measureable
economic benefits available to our community via this Shuttle,
and yet when I lobbied on its behalf last year, our own representatives
mentioned that the Borough had said little to nothing in support.
Was that because of lack of knowledge? Or was this simply another
critical "oversight"? How many years must we fall behind
before we realize the potential in this project?
b. What about the unethical threats made to the School Board
by Borough Assembly members to pull funding from our kids should
the Board decide to remove Harry Martin, as they eventually did?
I understand that a main motive for CBR is the removal of some
of the School Board members, but does that motive justify ignoring
the unethical (and perhaps illegal) threats should they come
c. Is it important for CBR to search out solutions for the lack
of infrastructural improvement and redevelopment on the home
island of Revilla? Lots of us are fed up with having to drive
on poorly maintained and poorly funded roads - especially the
State and Federally funded Tongass Highway - while the Borough
chases down dreams of a Bridge to Nowhere as well as Roads to
Nowhere (the Gravina Access Highway, etc.) stretching from the
airport to Frank Murkowski's property and to an access point
for a Bridge that won't be funded for a long time, if ever. Will
CBR join with all of us who are fed up and ask the Borough to
change it's priorities to reflect the wishes of this community
by asking for funds dedicated to real maintenance and improvements
for Tongass Avenue and other areas of Revilla BEFORE speculating
on Gravina? Can CBR ask the Borough and City to also take seriously
development and redevelopment needs on Revilla?
d. Will CBR look closely at the dealings between the City, the
developers of Berth IV, and the Army Corps of Engineers? Will
they look to determine if there was any collusion on the part
of the City Government and the developers? Will they try to determine
what sort of nastiness went on behind the scenes in order to
get Berth IV permitted? Will they take into consideration the
concerns of Berth IV neighbors - concerns haughtily brushed aside
by the developer and the City?
Seems to me an organization calling itself Citizens for Better
Representation would be well suited to work on these types of
And since I have faith that Better Representation is a priority
for this community, I also have faith that an entity calling
itself the Citizens for Better Representation will actually serve
the purpose of its name.
2. Will Citizens for Better Representation (CBR) be looking into
the affairs and decisions of our representatives in State Government?
Will they ascertain the influences of campaign donations as our
representatives introduce bills, such as the one altering the
Cruise Ship Ballot Initiative voted into law by the citizens
of this great state, or the legislation that alters tobacco laws?
Will CBR provide a check and balance to the system so that Citizens
are driving the agendas of our representatives, rather than dollars?
With a name like that, I have faith you will.
3. Will Citizens for Better Representation be collectively supporting
candidates in the local elections this October? If so, I ask
for your support as I once again run for Borough Assembly. I
aim to provide better representation for the entire community
encompassed by the Borough. I am a citizen LOOKING for better
representation, especially at the Borough level - representation
that looks to serve our collective needs on this side of the
Tongass Narrows first; representation that won't chase the motives
of funded influence; representation that will protect the cultural
and traditional values in our Borough; representation that will
fulfill the promise of funding for our kids; representation that
understands principles of sound economic development and diversification;
representation that won't allow for the kinds of mistake-laden
trends our Borough is infamous for; and representation that strives
to understand and serve the needs of the entire community, young
and old, with !
a passion and a sense of duty.
I have faith that you would endorse such a candidate, given your
My faith in People allows me to speak frankly on such topics,
and I look forward to any feedback the CBR or anyone else wishes
Received April 13, 2007 - Published April 14, 2007
Note: Comments published
on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.
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