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By David G. Hanger


September 20, 2005

Let us once again dispense with the number one non-political issue around Ketchikan, the bridge to Frank Murkowski's property.  There is no point in being selfish about this thing anymore, just as there is equally no point in being altruistic about it.  No bridge will be built here any time in the foreseeable future, period.  Blame it on Katrina if you want, or blame it on Bush Jr., certainly a more logical candidate for the simple and obvious reason he is the one believes government can operate without revenues (So long at least as there is money to borrow on overseas markets to fight our wars, something this country has never done before.).  Whether you prefer to call it an "act of God" or simple fate, this ill-starred project is at an end, at least for the very extended time being.

For the next several years all of the available excess bridge building talent will be down in Mississippi and Louisiana reconstructing various parts of the interstate highway system.  There will be no tax increases; to cover $834 billion in unexpected expenses in the next two to four years, a little budget cutting and belt tightening is all that will be required.  The moon is also made of green cheese.  First on the chopping block is "the bridge to nowhere."  There is no chance this bridge will happen any time soon.

I have read the commentaries of you 'newbies' running for office here on Sitnews, and my first impression is you take this as seriously as a high school popularity contest.  It would be nice to have some new blood on the Council and the Assembly.  We have a pretty good idea what we are getting into with all these 'moldy oldies,' but none of us know anything about you.  Do you stand for anything?  Are you a Republican or a Democrat?  Or do you think it matters?  Do you have some personal agenda?  I know one of you does.  Do you only support businesses capable of paying $10,000 a month for rent, or are you gifted with a greater sense of proportionality respective the economic needs of a viable community?  Are your friends and the businesses to which you are most partial going to be the only substantive recipients of local tax dollars, and how much in the way of public funds do you propose to use to shut down more private sector businesses?  If McGraw Construction is the low bidder on some upcoming project, will you do business with them again?  Will you agree to resign immediately or kill yourself if afflicted by that horrid plague "the leather chair syndrome?" 

Do you want to be elected to the Gateway Borough Assembly, or are you vying for a position on the board of the Seley Log, Shipyard, et. al Trough Feeding Association?  Do you want to be elected to the Ketchikan City Council, or are you looking for a job with the Ketchikan Tourist Association?  If you don't fill in the blanks, someone else will fill them in for you, that much I can assure you.  Lay it out for us instead of hiding behind platitudes; you might thereby actually get elected.

Take the Assembly as example.  George Tipton hasn't met a good old boy yet he isn't willing to force feed public funds with a vacuum hose, and dusted off for good measure are those two abject failures from yesteryear Dick Coose and Maggie Sarber.  Coose with his pseudo-science is willing to bankrupt the whole town to cut and process a few trees, and Sarber will sheepishly follow.  That's called "taking a long step back."  They already screwed the town out of $25 million and then some in economic development funds, so all that's left to clean out is you. 

Dave Landis has done good work and deserves re-election.  Mike Sallee is stubborn and too "green," so his detractors will say; but Mike did good, honest service when last on the Assembly, led by example and stood his ground in the face of what everyone ultimately saw was the mad farce of Gateway Forest Products and its 'gang of four.'  I think we can afford a little "greenness," particularly when you consider the other options.

John Harrington does not want to make any mistakes, and that's his first mistake.  Oh yes, he's served on all these commissions and boards, and everyone has more or less heard his name; but do you just want the job, John?  Or is there something more to your ambition?  You can hide and play the odds, hoping that name identification wins you through; but what's inside the box?  A lot of "show me" folks around this town.

As for the rest of you, you are currently described (and not by me) as "wannabes" and "ne'er do wells."  You have had since early August to campaign, and tell us something about yourselves; and you haven't done diddly.  I will not take you seriously if you do not take yourself seriously; and being married or not, having children or not, having a job or not, does not tell us anything about what we really want to know about you.  With two weeks remaining until the election for all practical purposes at present you do not even exist. 

Right now that means the best we can hope for is Landis, Sallee, and Harrington.  Any combination of two of Coose, Sarber, and Tipton pretty much means there is no future for most of us in this town.  After the handouts to the good old boys there will not be anything left. 

And how flaky are you, Joe Williams?  Even the bureaucrats want Salazar gone.  Why not make a real run at him?

'No,' means no, Marty.  It does not mean at the next council meeting we allocate more funds and commence action on a project that the voters just voted down.  For the Ketchikan Tourist Association there are three seats, two incumbents running along with a bunch of folks no one knows.  As things stand at present put the names in a hat or throw darts at 'em.  Isn't it fun to have choices?

David G. Hanger
Ketchikan, AK - USA




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