SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


The Non-Profit That Wants to Make a Whole Industry Non-Profitable

By David G. Hanger


May 18, 2010

In the history of Ketchikan there have been an incredible number of scams. In the past decade alone we have had "Pips," the "Wooden Bowl Scam," and Veneergate I & II. We still have a city manager who views us as his servants. He is now selling at least part of that public monstrosity that is wrongfully competing with the private sector. Hopefully, the TV and internet crap are sold, too.

Despite this madcap history of greed, graft, and corruption, there is nothing more crooked and nothing more corrupt that has ever been conceived in this community than OceansAlaska. This so-called "non-profit" operation actually intends nothing less than to remove the profit from the entire local tourist industry, thereby making all of those businesses non-profits, too. The reason: The purposes of OceansAlaska and the persons employed and associated therewith are superior to the money-grubbing profiteers of the local tourist industry. These are altruistic bureaucrats, whose sole purpose in milking the tourist industry is for your long-term benefit. They will create new industry. They will save the town from continued population decline. They are the good guys, taking the customers and the revenue from all you bad people in the private sector who just want these profits for purposes of self-indulgence.

In his "OceansAlaska Update," David Mitchel regurgitates for the umpteenth time the same crap that this outfit has been trying to sell for the last several years. OceansAlaska is a scam, period. The whole operation needs to be de-funded and dismantled now before this train wreck can do any more damage. The millions of dollars in taxpayer funds this operation wants to suck up are millions of dollars in taxpayer funds we need for other things. If David Mitchel is an example of what you get out of this outfit, this bunch has not moved off the dime in more than three years, so the millions already tossed at this abomination are so much of nothing.

What is the mission of OceansAlaska? They are going to create a massive mariculture industry in Southeast Alaska that is going to employ 1500 people. Jobs! Jobs! JOBS! And "OceansAlaska can provide the research, training, development, and technology transfer that provide the foundation for all the successful examples around the world." And ice cream is what you find on their toilet paper.

Folks, this is just a big money grab by a small bunch of Snob Hill bureaucrats. This operation is comprised almost entirely of bureaucrats: aquaculture employees, teachers, politicians, etc. It is strictly anti-business with a board of directors comprising a balance of extreme left-wingers and right-wingers, most of who believe government can do it better. In its formation it is designed to be self-deceiving. Only true believers can apply; all others are part of the evildoing private sector OceansAlaska intends to displace for its purpose of sustaining itself indefinitely.

The first problem is these jobs don't become available for 20 or 30 years. In the meantime we have a bunch of bureaucrats paying themselves fat salaries for "research, training, development, and technology transfer ," etc. What part of this concept isn't a scam? These clowns want buckets of government money every year to do "research, training," etc. for an industry that does not exist, and has no intention of existing for at least a generation or so. Do you really want to spend millions of dollars of local government money every year for this crap?

As I have noted many times previously, jobs are the byproduct of successful business enterprises. If there were millions of dollars of profits to be had in a local mariculture industry, and 1500 jobs, the private sector would already be there. Even if it took 20 years, they would already be there. Any of you all around here remember U.S. Borax and a molybdenum mine that's down around the bend that might get opened up some time in the next century?

The second problem is OceansAlaska is not content to remain within its mission statement. It wants to create a mariculture industry the non-profit way, the educational we will prepare you and train you way, but be forewarned, the educational course is at least 20 years. In the meantime, because we are bored, and because non-profit though we claim to be, we still have a manifest desire for other people's money, we want to steal 20% to 30% of all the tourist industry's customers, just to start with. So let's see, everyone in town is paying taxes so this small bunch of folks at OceansAlaska can take a big chunk of the taxpayers' money to put the taxpayers out of business; absolutely the effect when you remove the profit from the industry.

OceansAlaska is an abomination. Its professed mission is as phony as the day is long, and its intent and its effect is to put in jeopardy the prosperity of the local tourist industry. That's nuts. That is just nuts.

Shut it down. This community does not at this time need "pie in the sky" BS that promises results a generation or so from now, that requires millions of dollars annually in government funds, and still needs to rip the guts from the local tourist industry in pursuit of its so-called mission. Trying to create an industry a generation from now by putting at risk the number one industry that exists now is in fact what OceansAlaska is all about.

That platitudinous arrogance is perfectly reflected in David Mitchel's latest missive. It is all blather; there isn't any substance to it all. It is nothing but excuse and justification. We want the money because. We are better than these other people because. We don't need to provide anything in the way of real results for a generation or so because. We, a purported non-profit, need all this revenue from the tourist industry because Because we are a non-profit, comprised of pure, altruistic individuals, no one in the money-grubbing private sector has any right or reason to challenge our self-righteousness. Because..

The owner of the newspaper, last I looked, was a member of the board of directors of this pathetic scam. So was Bob Weinstein. John Sund, Ray Troll, the gravitas of the names on the local palate has always been a very intentional part of the design of this thing, nothing new with small towns and small town thinking. Joseph Stanley Pennell writing 75 years ago about small towns a generation or two earlier said this, "Let a great booby with the handle of Reverend or Doctor on his name deliver himself of some arrant nonsense, some GD tripe, some witches' brew and your village 'folk' will roll over and swoon with love and respect."

So it was a century and more ago, and so it is now. I encourage our good mayor, Lew Williams, to be consistent in his views and, as with KPU telephone division, recognize clearly, and oppose adamantly accordingly, this abomination that is OceansAlaska. It is an immediate threat to the well-being of the largest industry in this town, and on that basis alone should be opposed. Government money, taxpayer money, should never be used for the purpose of allowing one favored group to threaten the town's number one industry.

In that regard Kirk Thomas, et. al, are absolutely correct, albeit about three years late. I don't waste my time carping about these things because I like to; I do so because I recognize the threat to the community. I had some bonehead here recently actually allege in print that I was somehow depriving the community of jobs. In the last decade all I have tried to do is warn a bunch of fools that being ripped off by repeated scams is not in fact good for the local economy. Had you listened, the community would be considerably wealthier; but here a song and a dance play better.

Ice cream is not in fact what is found on OceansAlaska's toilet paper, nor is ice cream what in fact they are trying to sell to the community. The platitudes about "come let us reason together," and all of their claims to be the good guys are bogus as hell. If they are a non-profit, they have no reason whatsoever to be involved in taking customers from the tourist industry for their financial benefit. If that is what they want to do, take all their government money away from them, and no one is going to complain about them competing with the rest of the tourist industry. At that point, an even playing field, OceansAlaska will get wiped out. Bonehead bureaucrats do not have a clue how to compete with experienced private sector individuals. But with millions of government money every year, even as boneheads they can crush anyone that gets in their way.

Kirk Thomas, you should have been on this three years ago. Did your accountant ever discuss OceansAlaska with you? When did it finally dawn on you that a so-called non-profit that wants 150,000 or more of your 600,000 to 900,000 annual customers was a serious threat to the profitability of your businesses? I simply suggest it should have been obvious at the Dead Fish Aquarium's inception several years ago. Why is it you wait until all the chickens are gone before you even think of shooting at the fox?

David G. Hanger
Ketchikan, AK


Received May 17, 2010 - Published May 18, 2010


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