By Chris Parks
September 29, 2007
When asked what was the intended purpose of the initiative,and how this initiative would achieve that, the response was, 'to disperse jewelry stores because the town has a right to determine how it will look.' In the petition documents, the intent is stated "to preserve,enhance,and promote a community that provides a variety of year-round retail and professional services to local residents and visitors alike."
When asked "what successful retail and business experts were consulted by the sponsors to arrive at the this conclusion", the answer was "no, we did not consult with anyone"(experts?).
When asked "since this will most likely lower property values of any building within 200 ft of an existing jewelry store, how is the borough going compensate and apply this in a fair manner; who is going to decide who gets to have a jewelry store, and who does not?" The response was, "it will be first come, first served." When asked "what businesses do you see or have knowledge of, that will fill the spaces in between", the reply was the 'the market will take care of that".
When asked "many people think we have too many jewelry stores in our town; how do you determine how many is too many, and how do you determine 'too many' is bad for Ketchikan;what is bad or wrong about jewelry stores, and the people who run them?"
The response was 'the town belongs to all citizens, and we have a right to determine what the town will look like and what its future will be'.
Another question asked was "aren't we subsidizing the jewelry stores by allowing them to only charge $60 sales tax on sales over $1000?" the reply was "yes we are".
First of all, the consumer, not the jewelry store pays sales tax, and ALL stores in the city and borough are subject to the same sales tax code, whether they sell jewelry, cars, furniture, or candy bars.
All citizens of our community do have a right to determine the look and character of our town, but they don't 'own' the commercial property unless their name is on the deed and they are paying the mortgage and property taxes on it; they have no right to restrict what kind of merchandise is sold there, unless that merchandise causes a 'cost' to society and a taxpayer expense; there is no evidence that jewelry is a 'cost' to society, and there is strong evidence and verifiable facts that show jewelry stores are a benefit to all taxpayers; just look at the 30% drop in the mil rate over the last 15 years!
The initiative sponsors believe that restricting jewelry stores will create more opportunities and encourage more year-round businesses, yet they did not not consult with any experts of any kind in the retail, business, financial, economics, or cruise line industries, to make this determination, yet they promote this initiative as community planning.
Proper community planning is a process where all affected parties have an opportunity to give input and comment in public meetings, experts are consulted, and facts and statistics are analyzed and reviewed by our elected officials, so that all cause and effect are carefully weighed before any actions are taken that could harm a community,its economy, and its tax base.
The fact of the matter is that this initiative, if it passes, will have just the opposite effect of its stated intention. It will discourage business investment, lower property values and assesments, lower property tax revenues, lower the economic activity created by these stores and their employees, and will result in LESS year-round stores, and LESS choices, and higher taxes for all residents.It will most likely discourage the cruise lines from promoting Ketchikan as a shopping destination, as they do now.
To achieve a better year-round variety of stores, businesses, goods, and services, we need a year-round economy; the only way we will get that is with proper planning, and support of business and industry in a manner that we can all live with.
As with all planning, there has to be compromises, understanding, and co-operation; this initiative has none of those traits. Bad planning is worse than no plan at all, and this is a bad plan.
Please VOTE NO on proposition
#1, and then support proper community planning through our City
and Borough officials and processes, as it supposed to be done!
About: "Retail Business Manager and Operator for 9 years in Ketchikan, 19 years in the lower 48."
Received September 28, 2007 - Published September 29, 2007
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