SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


By David G. Hanger


April 24, 2007
Tuesday PM

He was, I hear, the greatest thing since canned milk; a tyrant, the very devil I am told as well.  The tyrant is toppled, yet his many acolytes want they who replaced displaced.  Woo-hoo.  From the Grand Dragon of the KCC to John Harrington of the Borough Assembly the threats and the lamentations have been loud and obscene.  So-and-so's grandma wears combat boots, and you don't want to know what someone's uncle does with his duck.  Oh no!

Apparently, Rick Krueger thinks retired schoolteachers should not be entitled to run for public office, particularly school board, and that seems a little inconsistent.  Rick's a retired ferryboat worker, so they are both former state bureaucrats.  Now if Rick means to suggest that bureaucrats and retired bureaucrats should not be allowed to run for public office or participate in politics in general, I might be willing to sign off on that, but I doubt he will get many of his fellow bureaucrats to jump on his wagon.  So singling out Karen Eakes in this regard does not seem to have any particular relevance except perhaps a little meanness.

Al Johnson, on the other hand, he might just be on to something here.  These issues of honor, integrity, and criminality in our public officials, elected and otherwise, is certainly something concerned citizens should be concerned about.  If some school board official has not paid some user fee, then that official should be held accountable and pay that $50 to $150 user fee; and then said official should hang his or her head in shame for being so naughty.  If you are not adequately contrite, you might not get re-elected, how terrible. 

I haven't quite figured out yet who's sleeping with the devil and who's just sleeping with the neighbor's rooster, but the ghost of Superintendent Harry Martin stirs the soup of innuendo thick.  Oh yes, Superintendent Harry Martin is one dead duck, and the permanence of that condition is confirmed by the power of the ghost.  Well might it thrash and rail, but leader or led, in the end a simple abuse to the senses, over and done. 

In the meantime, I encourage Al Johnson to girth up his loins and call forth his vassals in continuance of his campaign of honor, integrity, and criminality in our public officials.  Assist me, please, in explaining the recent actions (or inactions) of our Borough manager, finance director, and attorney and certain members of the Borough Assembly respective recent dealings with this veneer mill bunch and this guy Jerry Jenkins?  In particular I refer to Agenda Item 9f of the April 16, 2007, Borough Assembly meeting which addresses the curious issue of $197,457.62 in unpaid interest owed by Mr. Jenkins to the Gateway Borough and to the citizens of this Borough. 

Specification 1:  This interest was to be paid to the Borough at the rate of about $30,000 a month, yet it took six months or more for the Borough finance director and/or the Borough manager to even note this money was not being paid?  In a letter to Jerry Jenkins on March 23, 2007, the Borough manager specified that only on March 6 did the "Borough" become aware these payments had not been made.  "As soon as staff noticed that payments had not been received, Mike Houts and I contacted you immediately and discussed the situation with you at that time."  In a letter to the Borough manager dated April 6, 2007, Assembly member Glen Thompson wrote, "I also understand Borough staff's reluctance to make the situation public as it is quite embarrassing, and in fact, someone should lose their job for not keeping proper track of such a high profile project.  However, the longer this is kept from the public, the more it looks like a cover-up."

A) Who on the Borough Assembly did not know about this?  When did they first find out?   The arrearage was clearly common knowledge to some by the first week in March.  How much earlier?  Is there a hidden agenda here for which someone is getting a free ride?  Someone is getting a free ride.

B) If indeed we are concerned about honor, integrity, and criminality in our public officials, should we not be concerned about hidden agendas that cost $200,000 and counting, particularly when our elected officials are salivating over the tax increases they are already expecting to cover prior screw-ups?  If we are going to hold some school board person accountable for a hundred bucks, a missing couple hundred grand seems to be something to be concerned about, don't you think?

C) Glen Thompson has the stones to say it, and he is correct to do so. ...."someone should lose their job for not keeping proper track of such a high profile project."  Yes, indeed.

Specification 2:  In a March 11, 2007, letter to the Borough mayor and the Borough Assembly Mr. Jerry Jenkins wrote the following:  "I am asking you to convey to your Attorney and Manager to take no action on our current situation that would negatively impact our ability to procure funding for the veneer mill start up."  He then goes on to ask, "I also respectfully request your confidentiality in the matter as it could have a very negative effect on my financing efforts which at this juncture are looking positive."  What he requested the Borough to do was withhold the information that he was in arrears to the Borough for almost $200,000 in unpaid interest.  In Assembly Member Thompson's April 6, 2007, letter to the Borough manager is the following statement:  "RKG then notified the Assembly by letter from Jerry Jenkins about a week after the Borough contacted them.  At that time RKG requested that the Assembly keep the information confidential so that RKG's loan application with yet another bank to restart the veneer plant would not be affected.  We honored that request but our patience is not without end."

A) Since when is the Borough Assembly, the Borough mayor, the Borough manager, the attorney, and the finance director authorized to conspire with a private individual to withhold significant financial information from a lending institution for the purpose of securing a major loan for which that individual or entity would otherwise not qualify?  Since when does the Borough or any of its employees conspire with any individual to withhold information that might affect that individual's loan standing?   Is that not sometimes called conspiracy to commit bank fraud?   

B) Al Johnson's campaign for accountability and integrity has eminent applicability here.  We're not talking about pictures of naked women.  We are talking about our Borough government doing very special favors for special people, in this instance letting this guy slide on $200,000 in unpaid interest payments plus withholding information from lending institutions that would adversely affect a bank loan to an individual.  Using our local government and your tax dollars to cheat anyone (in this instance pretty much every one save a chosen few) deserves the thorough scrutiny of any campaign like Al Johnson's that is so concerned about such issues as honor and integrity.

With the fervid example so nobly forwarded this spring by so many of my neighbors and fellow citizens toward honor, integrity, and accountability in our local affairs I am sure in short order that your energy and your combined efforts will purge the evildoers from our local corridors of power.  Be consistent now.  Don't let all those zeroes beyond that $50 scare you.  It was just your money.  Yes, local energy dedicated toward such an endeavor might even prevent outside intervention.  Amazing, what a little honor, integrity, and accountability might do.

David G. Hanger
Ketchikan, AK

Received April 24, 2007 - Published April 24, 2007




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