SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Jewelry Store Initiative
By Hunter Davis


May 22, 2007

So, you don't like having a jewelry store every fifteen feet? I admit that I don't see why anyone would frequent one of them, but then, I am not exactly a jewelry kind of guy.

So you think that the density of them should be strictly governed?

What is next? Too many coffee shops, spread them out. Too many bars, only one per 500 feet of street, please.

The attempt to regulate retail density is to kick the free market in the teeth. If we can tell owners that their business is legitimate, but that we just don't want it, then what is next on the elimination list? If a business is not viable, it will not be around for long.

I have two recommendations to replace this angry, feel good initiative:

One: Rent control of all properties within the central business district. Fix all rentals at x dollars for local owners, and x times 10 for all out-of-towners. Add a clause that prohibits under the table rentals, such as a local acting as an agent who then sublets for a dollar a day to an out-of-towner...with an unreported cash bonus. Get caught ACCEPTING illegal rent and forfeit the title to the property. Put some teeth in the ordinance. Remember, this is an initiative, so pretty much anything is possible, see the state head tax on visitors.

Silly and impractical, huh? If a local landlord can get six dollars a foot, and no local renter is willing and able to afford that, then why not rent it to someone who will and can? Limiting density of one single business type is telling landlords that they may not use their property as they are best able. What if it were yours? And what about sale of that property? If no local buyer is willing to shell out $X00,000 for a fifteen foot storefront, then tell the property owner that he is just Sure Outta Luck, because it is "no sale" to a jewelry store.

Two: I recommend that we demand that any retail establishment,in the central core, be open year round, six days a week. We may allow the owners to close for no more than two weeks for a vacation, and maybe one week for professional travel, such as trade conventions and the like.

Think of it, a street that is open every day, selling more stuff for those of us that are here every day. If the retailer is a jewelry store that we chose not to frequent, then maybe it will go out of business, because we will not allow it to merely close for more than three weeks a year.

If it is not clear yet, I will not sign this initiative and I will not support it. I don't understand why we have so many jewelry stores anyway, but I am not about to tell any of those store owners or landlords that they are not welcome.

Let the market decide their fates, not a hacked off mob abusing the initiative process.

Hunter Davis
Ketchikan, AK

Received May 19, 2007 - Published May 22, 2007

About: "Only lived in Ketchikan eight years and is still in absolute awe of the power of angry people gathered in large groups"



Citizens' group asks, "What fate do we choose for our community?" - Citizens for Ketchikan's Future (CKF), a newly formed citizens' group, has submitted a voters' initiative to the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Clerk's office to limit the density of stores exclusively selling jewelry within the City of Ketchikan. Upon approval by the Borough Clerk, the group will collect the required signatures of the 533 registered voters necessary to have the item placed on the regular October ballot. - More...
Friday - May 18, 2007



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Ketchikan, Alaska