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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Ketchikan City Council Elected to Serve the People

By Shawn D. Kimberley


September 06, 2016
Tuesday PM

Like many other residents of Ketchikan, I have been watching closely as our elected City Council addresses the Marijuana bill passed by Alaska voters. What I, and many other have witnessed, is nothing short of a disorganized, squabbling, unproductive attempt at addressing the bill. Our city council was VOTED in to REPRESENT the people and to SERVE the community. However when it comes to this all important measure, they have performed very poorly as a group.

I consider this to be an important topic for one reason. Revenue. We have a great opportunity to use this measure to improve many aspects of our great city with new tax dollars that can be created. However as I’m sure you are aware, the council has struggled with every aspect of implementing the guidelines. The main reason for this is the members themselves. Several of them (Not mentioning any names but we all know who they are) have done nothing short of sabotage the bill from the beginning. They do not support the bill; therefore, they make every attempt to stop any and all progress of this bill. They are clearly supporting their own agendas and not that of the voters. Which I might add was the reason they were elected.

The Alaska voters voted to pass the bill for recreational use, and wanted to be able to open shops where the products could be purchased legally. At one of the most recent Ketchikan city council meetings, a member actually proposed that we only allow one shop within the city limits. One shop!!

What they are actually trying to promote is a Monopoly for one lucky person to open a distribution shop within the city. Is this really the type of person we want on the city council? A person that is only out to support the voters if THEY agree with them.

We have all heard the comments thrown around the council like “THE VOTERS GOT IT WRONG” and because several of the council members feel this way, they are constantly trying to halt the progress of this bill. This effectively is saying I don’t agree with this, so no business or job opportunities, no tax revenue to go to our schools, roads, harbors, etc.

It is very clear that several of the members are supporting their own feelings on this matter and have forgotten that they were elected to serve the community not themselves. Every time the council has a vote on the matter, it ends in a stalemate. Or the motion on the table is postponed again. Therefore nothing gets done.

I believe that by dragging their feet, the council is causing the city to lose out on a huge amount of tax revenue that could help our city. They are also limiting job and business opportunities within our very community. And Why? Alaskans voted, we want this. Put aside your personal feelings and act. Implement REASONABLE guidelines. For God’s sake, get educated on the matter. Some of the proposed guidelines are completely unrealistic and show just how uninformed the council really is.

I strongly feel like we, as citizens, need to vote out a few board members, and get new members in their place that can help push this through. Or to elect a board specifically to handle this measure composed of people that are for it not against it. It needs to be managed very carefully.

Our city council has proven that they are not capable of doing this. Just look at the amount of time it's already taken. Look at the guidelines and limitations that they have come up with so far. It’s a joke. They are obviously totally misinformed when it comes to this bill and have no idea how to properly implement it. Half of them don’t support it at all and therefore keep trying to deny, stop, or limit it to extremes.

Alaskans voted people. And now our own elected officials are trying to sabotage it simply because they don’t agree. We the people of Ketchikan do have a say, we do have the power to change things. I hope every council member reads this letter. It’s time we stood up and fight for our rights. Let your voice be heard.

Shawn D. Kimberley
Ketchikan, Alaska

Received September 02, 2016 - Published September 06, 2016


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