SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Why Can't We Have Fair Elections in Ketchikan?
By Robert D. Warner


August 12, 2010
Thursday PM

Dear Sitnews Editor:

For a number of years I have been wondering why Ketchikan cannot have fair and honest elections. All too often there are direct attempts to confuse the voter. Such practices are discouraging and likely are primary reasons for low voter turnout. This current vote on the public library is an excellent example.

When a group of citizens became dissatisfied with plans to build a new public library in a semi-isolated rock pit, they launched a successful grassroots effort to change this decision. Several Ketchikan City Council members apparently were angry that their decision to build a new library at Copper Ridge was being questioned. Then, the Ketchikan City Council generated voter confusion by adding a frivolous proposition which would bless a decision they had already made. The voter is now unable to vote a simple yes or no on the issue. They have to vote twice with the frivolous City Council proposition listed first on the ballot.

Why didn't someone on the council show some leadership and courage by addressing this confusion? Perhaps the most shocking aspect of this public library scheme is that citizens have never been asked to vote on the most basic question of the entire matter. Does Ketchikan need a new public library in the first place? Why have many communities discovered that they no longer need large physical buildings and space to house little used collections of books and magazines in this era of computers? Certainly during periods of economic weakness we need to focus more attention to essential government services rather than frills.

Robert D. Warner
Ketchikan, AK


Received August 12, 2010 - Published August 12, 2010



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