SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Dial for Borough Mayor
& Landis and Bynum for Assembly

By Harlan Heaton


September 25, 2019
Wednesday PM

Collective bargaining, I have always believed that the primary goal of the school board is to do what is best for our current and future students of the school district.

In the last round of teacher contract negotiations, the school district hired a consulting firm to help with this process. This firm knows all the available information as to the cost of living in every city in Alaska and what other districts are paying. Look at the map, Ketchikan is not Juneau or Fairbanks, we should be on the lower end cost of this scale in the state. During negotiations the talks were stalled when the union felt it was not making progress. It was at this time that Sid Hartley, Austin Otis and others decided to break the deadlock by recalling the school board president and two other members. The plan worked. Get rid of the more conservative members that were looking out for the children, teachers and taxpayers. Now the teachers have a contract that the local property tax payers and the state can't afford to pay.

Now Governor Dunleavy is trying to balance the state's budget. The Governor has been saying for months now that the state is in debt and there will be several areas that the budget will be cut.

Governor Dunleavy has asked everyone in the legislature and the local governments to come up with ideas to help fix this problem. Once again Sid Hartley took this statement and instead of coming up with ideas to help the Governor fix the problem, she joined another recall petition. I guess until the permanent fund is gone maybe understanding will come that you can't fix the budget crisis by recalling everyone you have a disagreement with. Austin Otis and Sid Hartley have a common thread, don't work with anyone that disagrees with them.

Michelle O'Brien has a different approach to problem solving, mount personal attacks against assembly members and former borough manager Dan Bockhurst, instead of finding common ground to actually help solve a situation that impacts the community.

Ketchikan is going to be facing tough decisions. We need an assembly and mayor that will work for all of Ketchikan and not just select groups. The State of Alaska has 20 state senators and 40 state representatives, Ketchikan has 2 state representatives, the Anchorage area has 30 state representatives. We need to elect a Borough mayor and assembly members that can work with people with ideas that differ from their own.

I support Rodney Dial for mayor as he has proven his leadership abilities on the assembly. I also support David Landis and Jeremy Bynum for Borough assembly. We need them in these positions to make the tough decisions that are surely coming in the near future and step back from just recalling everyone that a person in this position disagrees with.

Harlan Heaton
Ketchikan, Alaska





Editor's Note:

The text of this letter was NOT edited by the SitNews Editor.


Received September 24, 2019 - Published September 25, 2019

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