By Samuel Bergeron
September 13, 2006
As a Ketchikan City Council member, I will work tirelessly to create cooperation between the two governments. As a past Borough Assembly member and KIC Tribal Council President, I know the challenges facing our community. With one government having most of the revenue generating enterprises and the other having most of the revenue depleting enterprises, we need to work together and start acting like a community, not warring nations.
As a community we need to start addressing the challenges of the future today. We have ever increasing energy costs that are crippling future economic expansion. With around 160 inches of rain here we need to capture that energy in everyway possible. Oil today is $65.00 per barrel. That will look cheap in 5 years. We must develop an energy plan for Ketchikan and Alaska that utilizes all our natural resources that could provide a steady and inexpensive source of power that would stimulate economic growth and provide heat and lights for all our citizens. We should also consider converting all public buildings to electric heat from hydroelectric sources generated right here; not from expensive imported oil. Enough of the excuses, let's get the intertie built a get an energy plan in action that shows our leaders today had foresight for the future.
The City council controls KPU. They declined to give the school system a utility rate reduction. (At that time the borough was having trouble funding schools to the allowable cap). This would allow the school board to put more money towards making our schools better; instead they gave the shipyard a utility rate reduction in perpetuity instead of our school kids. My priority would have been with our school kids, who can't afford to pay full utility rates, rather than to someone who can.
One of my business philosophies is local hire. When my partner and I built the True North Building located next to the IBEW hall, we use all local materials, designers, engineers, plumbers, electricians, suppliers and contractors. We did this because we know that local dollars mean local jobs and a better economy. As a City Council member I will fight to include as many of our local talents as we can to keep jobs here and strengthen our local economy.
76% of us don't smoke; I'm in favor of Smoke free work places that could include bars and restaurants. With the known dangers of second hand smoke we need to protect our workers and the general public from second hand smoke.
I'm in favor of eliminating the unethical sales tax on residential rent and food. With millions of dollars in reserve in the City coffers it doesn't make sense to me to continue taxing food and rent. This tax is largely a tax on the poor and literally takes food and shelter away from those who can least afford to pay it and puts those dollars in the City's savings account. I would also like you to think of me as the candidate who is all about economic development and also as one who believes.
I believe that the problems that face us are within our grasp to repair. I believe that with the help of some learned people and policy makers who have vision, we can become a viable, thriving town. I love Ketchikan and the people who work and live here. It is my prayer and dream that we will build a place with a future for your kids and mine that includes a good career and a healthy environment. I want you all to know what I say all the time about leadership. "Leadership isn't anything, it's everything".
This election more than anything else is about where we want go. Do we want to continue spending our time saying we can't improve all of our lives because we're not consolidated or start acting like we all live in a small town on an island? I vote the latter.
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.