Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions
Outrageous Spending of Local Tax Dollars
By Douglas Thompson
May 05, 2016
Let me start this letter by thanking you for providing a needed forum so that citizens may address abuses by the power structure. It is Ketchikan's only avenue for open discussion.
I think David Hanger is right on the mark about the State's financial woes so I will leave that to him.
I was totally disgusted with Ms. Minnich's expression of wanting more taxation for "programs for the poor". I do not think that the State would reject her check if she wishes to pay more State taxes. I think it extremely hypocritical for a member of the Ketchikan City Council to claim empathy for the poor people when it is that same council's policies and wasteful spending that impacts the poor the most and requires even more State welfare. Local taxes are passed on through rent as well as to property owners. So when they are needlessly high the poor have to struggle to keep up. Ms. Minnich is directly responsible for those high and needless costs. She is trying to sign the rest of the fiscally responsible citizens who manage their budgets up for more taxes so she can continue to waste tax dollars. Shame on her.
I read some time ago the response from Corporan to my letter raising many questions about the "harbormasters" eviction of my boat from Bar Harbor. It was a poor attempt at obfuscation. He merely reiterates what I had already stated in my letter. Then he adds the outright lie that they had monitored my boating activity and the boat had not left the harbor. That was a falsehood in two ways. The boat had left the harbor. They do not have the capability nor should they have the capability to monitor every vessel 24/7. This I know because I viewed their ability when I tried to find who had rammed my boat and damaged my trolling motor. Their video was useless and mostly inoperable.
I charged them with trespass in boarding my vessel to examine it without my permission. He readily admits it was well maintained and moored. There was never a legitimate reason for them to board it. That constitutes illegal trespass on private property. That charge was not answered except with the lie that my 'movement was monitored'.
Why was I evicted was never addressed or answered by Corporan in any way. All the many and various excuses cited were patently false and some just ridiculous (I am still amazed that any partially intelligent person would maintain that "all boats had to have the power plant as specified by the designing marine architect"! One of their lamest excuses or that "outboards don't count for propulsion"! Then there was the "we have a waiting list so we are getting rid of you". And a whole raft more of idiotic excuses but when questioned nothing of any substance at all.)
Of course none of these vapid excuses had any merit whatsoever. The George Inlet Museum Barge has no power at all and is perfectly acceptable in the harbor. The State Ferries have their power plants disassembled for maintenance and moor at the docks. It goes on and on. Historically and currently boats are overhauled and maintained at the harbors. It is no legitimate concern of the harbormaster department. If a vessel pays its moorage and does not damage the docks the concerns of the city should be satisfied. This is not supposed to be a totalitarian local government which dictates how and when you spend your money on maintenance, or how often you use your vessel. I was never behind in my moorage payments for forty seven years in the harbor nor did my vessel ever infringe or damage the floats they were moored to. If I choose to restore a classic boat it is my private business and none of theirs.
Yet arbitrarily and discriminatorily I was evicted under a ordinance that was written so broadly it could be applied to anyone at any time. If in any way you displease the harbormaster this gives him the power to evict you with no avenue of appeal. In its full 'Catch 22' ramifications having been evicted by the harbormaster is reason enough under it to stay evicted.
The funny part is that the statute requires the "harbormaster" to implement this decision. There is no harbormaster as Corporan wanted a new position (port director at $134,000 per year and benefits) created for him by his buddy Amylon but he didn't want any erosion of his power so there are only assistant harbormasters and the statute does not provide for a delegation of power. So no harbormaster, no legal eviction under that broad statute. They don't follow law though so they did it anyway for reasons as given below.
This and like actions are also conducted in total secrecy like most societies with no rule of law. The methods of totalitarianism and 'power politics'.
This reminds me of the pre-sixties south where a local entity had laws just like this to declare who they wished as lawbreakers and to incarcerate them. They often happened to be people of color or "hippies". The federal government sent troops to explain the "Constitution" to these authorities and to jail a few of them. Seems the light needs to be shown to the local bureaucrats.
Laws are not legal when written to apply to anyone at any time. This has been upheld time after time by the Supreme Court. It is particularly onerous when they know full well their actions are not legal but use the financial power of city tax money to brow beat the citizens. They know that to correct them in court it costs tens of thousands of dollars but that they are sheltered in their evilness by a tax paid city attorney at no cost to them.
So we get down to what the real reason is behind this action. I have been a vociferous proponent of firing the "Ayatollah Amylon" for many years. I carried sign boards advocating that on my vehicle. He is a totally incompetent manager and negatively impacts this town in a costly fashion.
It was promised on the front page of the Ketchikan Daily News a couple of years ago by councilman "Kj" (or whatever his name is, he doesn't seem to have deserved a given name) when he promised to get revenge on anyone who criticized the council or manager this seems to be just that.
Corporan was hired by Amylon at a cost well exceeding $135,000 per year. A figure he would get nowhere else with his lack of expertise. This is born out by the fact that he was transferred to be "acting public works director" for almost a year and his harbor position was never replaced during that time illustrating just how necessary it was. In fact the sole qualification for his large salary was a "moral flexibility" that enabled him to act as a jihadis for the Ayatollah Amylon when he was sicced on the declared enemies.
So it is very apparent that my eviction from the harbor was a retaliation for my use of freedom of speech. This is a Constitutional right not recognized by the Ayatollah Amylon or his jihadis follower. Their creed does not believe in rights or freedoms but like warlords everywhere they insidiously strive to achieve total power.
They have no moral guidelines in their lives other than the total pursuit of money so are fully capable of actions repulsive to others.
The Ayatollah costs this community well in excess of $250,000 per year. Bear in mind the President is deemed to be worth only $400,00 for the entire nation while Amylon is draining a village of 7000 for his 'take'.
Then there is the "sycophantic seven" who enable this to go on while they act as a private social club rather than a responsible governing body. The Ayatollah rules totally and none of them would dare to defy him. He writes his own contract and they sign it. Woe be it unto anyone who would try to stop this drain on public money.
I spent several hours reading city and KPU budgets and while I seldom read fiction this was an exception I made.
Amylon is hired as the city manager yet he then hires three assistants to do the actual work while he collects the salary. That is not enough. They (the sycophantic seven) then hire him as KPU manager and give him another $140,000 of our money. He then hires two or three assistants to actually run KPU as he has absolutely none of the required expertise. So we as rate payers pay for three people to do one person's job and as taxpayers we pay for three people to do one manager's job. The Council approves all these machinations by the Ayatollah Amylon and more. He has figured out how to charge for every decision made in his administration I am told in addition to his salary in 'consulting' fees further increasing his 'take'.
The budget is singularly lacking in any accounting for vehicles of which the city has a plethora. Each an individual purchase with any an all costly accessories. No such thing as a fleet purchase or 'base cars' as city cars.
Amylon has never in my recollection brought in a major project on time or within budget. Many were complete failures yet no bonds were collected and we paid twice for one job. He is a big proponent of noncompetitive bidding (an oxymoron if there ever was one) so he can further reward those who support him. Sounds a lot like an Afghan warlord to me.
I deem him incompetent because of the over staffing and overpaying of an overly large bureaucracy living on the backs of the taxpayers. He uses these ever increasing budgets (while the population has actually declined considerably) to leverage more and more for himself from the council. Rumor has it (it has to be listened to as the "suck up seven" would never publish a contract for which we are paying!) that the Ayatollah has a contractual clause he inserted giving himself close to a million dollars in severance pay if he is fired. He is also supposed to have full moving costs to leave here with all his possessions to return to the place of his choosing. That can amount to many tens of thousands of dollars also.
In these budgets I see that we have ten listed "harbormasters". Yet any actual work is done by contract and all the cruise ship logistics are taken care of by Southeast Stevedoring. So other than rebuilding Thomas Basin every year just what does this high priced retinue do for Ketchikan?
There is a main bolt that is supposed to attach Float 14 to the main float in Bar Harbor. They removed it in 2001 during a minus tide. It has yet to be properly replaced. During times of water shortages (another failure) how many times have we walked the docks and seen the water main pouring into the bay with breaks neglected for months until contract workers repair them. The sea gull crap is inches thick on city docks in winter yet the harbor department can't seem to operate a fire hose and clean them off.
How do we get these drones? Well one way that they use is to create a false 'need' which management (Amylon) should reject but never does. For instance: A few years ago they went to some 'harbormaster convention' (why we pay for this is unkown as it has no benefit a conference call couldn't solve) and found Juneau charged a 'launch fee' to use the trailer launch ramps. So they proposed to initiate one here. When queried the harbormaster admitted it would cost them more to implement a fee than they could ever collect. Costs estimated (always low) $12k to implement and revenues projected at $4k. Well the harbor advisory board recommended to drop it. The harbormaster sucked up to the city manager and it was done in spite of the rejection. Immediately two or three more harbormasters were hired to 'patrol' the launch ramps in more 3/4 ton new trucks costing the taxpayer dearly. It goes on and on. So now we are at ten harbormasters costing between seventy and one hundred forty thousand per year each (as per the budget in reality probably much more.) as well as a fleet of vehicles and upkeep for no advantage.
Such fees are not revenue generating and as such do not support or improve infrastructure. They just increase the bureaucracy and cost thereof. As such they are purely punitive fees to local citizens.
The Harbor department is a great one for the "But they do it" argument that most of us leave behind in grade school. If they want to use examples let's find a town that spends far less on bureaucracy and harbor departments as there are many to choose from. Something they never bring up.
All maintenance even simple cleaning is done by contract. A couple years ago I saw the floats being pressure washed, thinking this was a good thing I complimented them. I was told "We aren't harbormasters, we are contract workers.". They have all year of sitting around yet when work arises they think they are above it and hire it done. The next three years have built in moorage increases to cover such expenses.
To avoid public pressure they have tied fees to expenditures effectively eliminating any public oversight. They spend more they get more.
The ten employees are an estimation as the budget is rife with fractions of employees here and there. Part of the creative bookkeeping that also doesn't list vehicles or fuel. Since it is appropriated by hours rather than named employees one employee may go to work an eight hour day but get paid for many more hours. You can't tell the way it is accounted for. So with summer part time help and existing employees we may have several more than ten staring out the office windows doing nothing but drawing pay and benefits while driving around in trucks doing nothing positive.
Did you know we have ten librarians, thirty six cops, eighteen firemen (despite all the 'police and fire agencies and departments' that exist in this small village), that we spend over three hundred thousand on the city clerk's office, more than seven hundred thousand on the managers. It goes on and on. There is no responsible management or fiscal planning. This staffing humbles the number employed when the village (and it is that numbers in no way justify the term 'city') was 12000 people yet now we are only 7000!
It would take a ball park figure of nine million to cancel local property taxes. This figure is easily achievable without any actual loss in service. The over staffing alone will go a long way toward that nine million.
That almost no position costs less than seventy thousand in the city is a travesty and needs addressing. While I am for paying well for what we really need I am dead set against bloating and overpaying the top end of the staffing.
I am going to continue to call to account those that want to run on their "record" and the Ayatollah Amylon's growing fiefdom. Bob Sivertsen says he wants to go to Juneau to be "part of the solution". Well he certainly has been a part of the "problem" here and I can't see him changing if he get elected to Juneau. They need work and change not another social yes man. Amylon and his costly cronies need to be cleaned out and his contract cancelled. It would be cost effective to fire him and then tie him up in court over the contract for years. Using the same 'buffalo' techniques he uses to steamroll citizens. He would be long dead before he ever saw one cent of the money he has manipulated from this town if it was done correctly.
I apologize for the lengthy letter but this situation has been evolving for many years and has gotten quite complicated requiring more than just a 'sound bite'. I am in hopes that these issues will be addressed in future elections resulting in a smaller tax burden and a better more democratic town. This is a small village and it doesn't take that many votes to change the players.
Received April May 04, 2016
- Published May 05, 2016
About: "Lifelong Ketchikan resident. Fiscally responsible and a supporter of the Constitution."
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