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Vote of confidence instead of recall
by Samuel Bergeron


June 05, 2004

Dear Editor,

The recent effort by David Jensen, Elmer Makua, Carrie James and Norman Arriolla to continue with the recall petition against our duly elected president Stephanie Rainwater Sande is an exercise in gridlock.

The President of Ketchikan Indian Community is elected every twelve months. So where is the logic or circumstance that would warrant a recall petition and election? It doesn't exist. The majority of David Jensen, Elmer Makua, Carrie James and Norman Arriolla would have you believe that high crimes and misdemeanors occur on a daily basis by our president and we can't just go on like this anymore. Horse pooh.

Those of us who wish to get on with the business of the tribe have been met with such stellar policy decisions by the majority as the repeal of a clarifying ordinance for our hopelessly outdated and obsolete ordinance 7. They suggest that following the exact letter of ordinance 7, they're doing what is your best interest, they're not. So they voted to repeal it with out offering up another solution to as to how we do business in 2004.

We have serious issues in front of us: Decreases in funding, regionalization, a joint venture in housing with Tlinghet & Hiada and our never ending power struggle at the board, to name a few. We need leaders that have a vision of where we want to go and the ability to work with others. This group doesn't have that. They have their own agenda of getting things their way at all costs. The net result of this is a lost opportunity to make your life and mine better. By spending our time trying to remain in power and trying to get power, the organization suffers tremendously.

The most serious issue in my mind that faces KIC is the elected leadership that supposes to drop all business and focus on recalling a president that is elected every twelve months. It is really dim-witted. There is no loftier way to put it. I want you all to know these people are hopelessly misguided and they just don't get it. They don't get the fact that we have the opportunity to be a leader in all of native politics, instead with this recall effort, they've caused KIC's reputation and standing locally, State-wide and nationally to be diminished.

What I would like to do is have a special vote of confidence instead of this insipid recall effort. We should give the voters an opportunity to vote to retain or recall any or all of us who serve on the council. My guess would be that the present majority would be sent packing.

There are those who would suggest that we should go back to the old ways of doing our business behind closed doors. They long for the days when all of you had no clue what was going on, what the issues were and what your elected leaders did at the table. If you look back at the history of our people, they embraced every new technology available to them. Starting from iron tools then going all the way with the internet today. When we kept our business in house, we lived communally in a much different society with a much smaller population.

Doing business behind closed doors takes away accountability to your members. If they don't know what goes on and what the issues are, how will they hold their elected leaders accountable? I say this all the time: good government is open government. We are a tribe of 5000 members. We really have no meaningful method of communicating openly with our members excepting for forums like this one. I will strive to give all of you my unbridled opinion as to who is doing what and why.


Samuel Bergeron
Member: KIC Tribal Council
Ketchikan, AK - USA



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