SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

By David G. Hanger


May 24, 2012

Congratulations Ketchikan.   Your number one politician of the last four decades is now a convicted life-long pedophile.  How embarrassing.  Rather than anger (at whom?), some serious soul-searching is in order.  I do not myself forget the fact that Andrea Jacobsen was falsely accusing the Talleys, young Ken Liljekvist, and any number of other innocent people of various forms of child abuse they never thought of committing; and the late Dick Callentine was howling that Ketchikan is the child abuse capital of the universe; and many innocents were terribly victimized and impoverished.

In the meantime the self-righteous judges of K-town were electing and re-electing a life-long pedophile, every time the man ran for office. 

Nor did it matter that over the decades many decent local citizens objected to various aspects of Jack Shay’s policies.  Jack was Jack, and everybody loved Jack, so he routinely disparaged his critics with a joke and a chuckle, and the issues at hand were always ignored.  According to Jack somebody else was a “creep,” and that is all it took in hayseed Ketchikan to diffuse any issue real or imagined.  Just “kill the messenger” and move on.

Well, the town has moved on, and look what it has got you, Ketchikan.  The whole town is now a suppurating joke. 

Let us study momentarily the legacy of Jack Shay:  1) The Bridge - an almost 40 year effort directed toward an insane proposition, the construction of a suspension bridge of the magnitude of the Golden Gate Bridge that is worth almost as much as the town is worth, the maintenance crews alone of which would be sufficient to bankrupt the town;  the “bridge to nowhere” is legendary and aptly named; 2) Trillium - bet you don’t even remember that one, but it wasted more than $10 million of local government money, then went and made a couple local good old boys rich; 3) Gateway Forest Products - gee whiz, let’s just take our $25 million in economic development money and give it all to Richard Leary and Jim Ericsson and without any oversight whatsoever these two good old boys are going to resurrect Ketchikan.  Did a great job, didn’t they?

In Ketchikan we do not have rational political electoral policies or institutions, so our elections do not elevate themselves above the level of grade school popularity contests, the consequence of which is you elect “personality cults.”  There will be more Jack Shays.  There already have been, for those who have not noticed.  Skinner’s name is still on license plates all over this town, and it was not that long ago he declared that he ran “90% of this town.” 

Ketchikan lacks the cue-giving agencies necessary to vet individuals and to identify relevant issues.  Non-partisan, at-large elections simply reinforce “personality cults.”  Personality cults in politics are ineffective except to the ego of the politician, and are otherwise generally powerless.  Sound familiar?

In this instance you need to change your ways to change results.  Otherwise, that which you have just experienced in baldest form will be repetitive, as it has been.

David G. Hanger
Ketchikan, AK


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Ketchikan, Alaska