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Land Swap: Let me see if I have this right....
by Alan Bailey


September 07, 2004

Let me see if I have this right. The Borough Assembly, a governmental entity elected by a majority vote of those who voted in Ketchikan, agrees to support the Ketchikan Area Arts Council by a land swap with Mr. Dawson for his land near the Federal Building for property at the pulp mill site. Assembly persons Sarber, Tipton and Lybrand dissenting. A majority votes in favor of an agreement through numbers of formal assembly meetings and public input. The caveat is that the borough must first try to put a bid out and try to sell the pulp mill land for a minimum bid of over a million dollars. If the property doesn't sell for that, then the trade goes into effect with Mr. Dawson. Bidding protocol is established, published and when the time comes, no one bids on the property. The process goes forward with the trade and Salazar steps in and says (In words to the effect) he's vetoing the whole thing because the value of the land is not a fair trade. The original dissenting borough assembly members Sarber, Tipton, Lybrand now agree this needs to be squashed. But there is a slight problem, Salazar's veto does not follow assembly regulations and is not timely. So an attorney is hired to see how they can get out of this original agreement. I wonder if any of the dissenting members have ancestors in the treaty business?

Can someone explain to me what a rock is worth if no one buys it? What major industry is knocking down the doors to purchase a tax-ridden piece of property at the pulp mill site? Any development by Mr. Dawson will result in tax revenues. That's one thing the borough assembly is good at. How can an elected group of officials pick or choose what rules to follow when they don't like the outcome of a majority vote?

You have thousands of voting supporters for the Ketchikan Area Arts Council. Like it or not, a governmental entity made a public agreement and is now trying to figure out a way to break that agreement. Public hearings were held and people had their say. Sometimes we don't like how governmental officials vote but in this instance, this is one issue that the majority of the community agrees. Let's have something that defines our community beside a jewelry store.

Alan Bailey
Ketchikan, AK - USA


Related news:

Listen to this KRBD story... When the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly meets Tuesday, it will consider canceling all agreements pertaining to a land swap that would benefit the proposed Ketchikan Center for the Arts. As Deanna Garrison reports, the Assembly will also consider granting eight acres of Borough land in Ward Cove to the Ketchikan Regional Cold Storage Association.
KRBD - Ketchikan Public Radio


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