AND KNUDSEN COVE HARBORS
by Ken Bylund
September 03, 2004
We have a small boat at Knudsen Cove and was informed by the Harbormasters office that the State of Alaska is auctioning their floats and pilings in our harbor. The users are moderate income families who fish to fill freezers for the winter or commute to the outlying cabins to the north, most with little political leverage or influence, but the stunning implications are that the State of Alaska is "throwing us to the wolves". We received a letter from the Ketchikan Harbor Department stating that after September 30, we would no longer have usage rights to the city docks, to have such short notice for the boat owners is testimony to "the excathedra passing of the hand" regard political shakers and movers have for the citizens who are not big money supporters of politicians. It appears this issue is by design a method to sweep those of us with small boats and little political influence [discretionary money] out of the way of "the waiting list" so the City or whomever buys the peoples investment of this infrastructure, may justify raising fees on these docks, to narrow the field to business owners and professionals, providing exclusive access to them, that same class of "special citizen" who will use the fees as a write-off against Federal taxes. Our voices will not be heard on this issue unless we can swing something back at those in government who are "close to the money stream".
THE STATE SHOULD SAVE THE HARBORS WITH FEDERAL FUNDS
I feel that these harbors should be saved and kept in the public domain as they are an important infrastructure to Federal Transportation and Strategic Military and Homeland Security value. That these harbors might be sold off to be used exclusively by "the special citizens" will symbolize bureaucrats indifference and even contempt for local residents and their families, small businesses, visitors, many others who benefit by emergency shelter or even State business sanctioned activities. The State and Federal elected officials are clearly the only powers that can save these harbors; it is a philosophically altruistic position to support those who will otherwise be squeezed from sharing these waters, who will otherwise be cut off from the benefit of Federal "public" tax funds... our tax dollars. The argument that it is the Borough or the City that should accept these facilities is not economically feasible or desirable as the costs of renting a space will soon be drifting upward of $400 per month, and whatever fee is settled upon it will likely be > 10 % of most current users net annual income, a fact lost or ignored by everyone but the average guy. The Borough should co-operate with the City as to the tidelands, and the City should continue to control the facility usage but... it is the State and Federal entities that must move to save the harbors from exploitation by a few at the expense of the average citizen. I abstain my vote... and so should you!
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.