Sitnews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska - Opinions



Questions and Answers Concerning the KIC Recall Attempt
by Stephanie Rainwater-Sande


May 21, 2004

What is a recall?

In January 2001 KIC membership voted to include a recall ordinance, which is the removal of Tribal Council members for serious offenses. However, this ordinance is so badly written and does not give due process for the targeted council member. Like many of KIC ordinances, policies, and procedures they need to be updated.

Who is trying to recall Council President Stephanie Rainwater-Sande?

Elmer Makua, who has 16 months experience as a KIC Tribal Council member requested a Tribal Council vote on whether to issue recall petitions to him. David Jensen, Norman Arriola and Carrie James, who has less than 120 days experience as a KIC Tribal Council member voted with Mr. Makua to begin the recall process.

What are the accusations that have been made?

The accusations fall into three categories: 1.) Alleged decision making by the President that did not please some members of the Tribal Council; 2.) Offense taken by members of the Council over supposed bad manners during meetings; and 3.) Not writing a response letter to a Tribal member who is in a lawsuit with KIC.

Are the accusations against Stephanie Rainwater-Sande true?

These accusations made by Elmer Makua are not true. There is no requirement for truth to be determined. The Council voted to issue petitions to Mr. Makua without any determination of truth, or any other due process that rightly should have been afforded to Ms. Rainwater-Sande. Mr. Makua and other petition circulators can also say anything and manipulate the truth in any way they see fit in order to obtain signatures. My responses to the allegations are:

1) KIC Council as a whole votes on any changes in ordinances, policies, and procedures before they can be enacted. No one member or the President can totally control decisions like this;
2) Discourteous conduct at meetings is certainly a matter of opinion, but no objective person could observe Stephanie at a council meeting and conclude that she is anything other than energetic and passionate about KIC and reaching her goal to provide more and better services to the KIC membership;
3) In 2003 the KIC Tribal Council voted to not communicate with the plaintiff.
4) Elmer Makua's, statements in the Ketchikan Daily News, "I first start noticing Stephanie's misappropriation of funds when a gift was given to an out going president." Hello! I was being installed and was not in a position of authority to direct the purchase of a gift and did not know that KIC was giving a gift to the outgoing, President Charlie White. I did not select or purchase the gift. I was just standing in front of the membership to accept the gavel as the incoming president.

Are these accusations worthy of removing the President from her office?

No! As they are untrue, fabricated, and presented to the membership as the truth with no back up documentation. This is self indulgent griping based on the dissatisfaction of four block-voting tribal council members who cannot make decisions on their own. This is a question that can only be answered by KIC Tribal members who may vote in the recall election, assuming that there are enough valid signatures submitted to the Tribal Council. Are hurt feelings and hunger for control reasons worth the turmoil and shame that Mr. Makua, David Jensen, Carrie James, and Norman Arriola have brought upon the Tribe? Or do you feel that only legitimate and serious offenses (a court conviction for drunk driving, or robbery, for instance) should trigger a recall attempt? Aren't political differences among Council members the types of issues that we usually suffer through only once a year at an expensive Council election?

What is the outcome of this situation?

Each KIC member and staff is affected by this recall attempt, regardless of the outcome of the petition or the recall election. KIC has been badly hurt. There is a serious loss of staff morale, and staff retention is at risk. Our federal funding partners are now on the alert for weaknesses (resulting in fewer funding opportunities) and will be increasingly scrutinizing all we do, eroding our sovereignty. KIC has taken enormous steps backward in the eyes of the community, the state, and among national leaders. Many are asking: "how can such a successful and well run organization have these kinds of problems?

What happens next?

You may be contacted and asked to sign a recall petition. Ask the circulator of the petition to provide back up documentation regarding the accusations. It is certainly your right to express any dissatisfaction you may feel about the alleged charges by signing the petition, that's the democratic process in action! You also have the right to express your dissatisfaction over the turmoil, embarrassment and expense caused by an unwarranted "6-month election" and refuse to sign it. It is your choice and right as a KIC Tribal Member. If and when there are enough valid signatures, the Tribal Council will again vote on whether the petition should go forward. If they vote to continue, Ms. Rainwater-Sande will have a meeting of the KIC Tribal membership to rebut the charges and prove them false. After this meeting, the tribal members will be asked to vote on whether Ms. Rainwater-Sande should be replaced as President of the Tribal Council based on the facts provided by her with documentation.

What can I do?

Decide how you are going to respond to the petition circulators. If you know the accusations are true and you believe that they are so serious as to require a mid-year election that will cost approximately $11,557 (what the last election cost the KIC tribe), then you should sign the petition. However, if you are tired of the lies, untruth, gossip, grief and shame, exercise your right to say "No!" Come to the Tribal Council meetings! Express your opinion so that the Council has an idea of what the Tribe wants - remember that only 4
people (a majority vote) can make all the difference for 5,000 KIC members! Call Stephanie Rainwater-Sande! Find out the "other side of the story" before you make up your mind to sign or to vote. She'll always take you phone calls 225-9794 (home) or 209-5113 (cellular). There are a great many positive steps that can be taken by KIC in the areas of Health Care, Housing, Education, and Job Training. Please help us keep KIC heading in a positive direction!

Stephanie Rainwater-Sande
President Ketchikan Indian Community
Ketchikan, AK - USA




Note: Comments published on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.


Post a Comment -------View Comments

Submit an Opinion - Letter

Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska