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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Ketchikan library funding

By A. M. Johnson


September 15, 2022


Regarding the upcoming election regarding funding the Ketchikan library with borough taxes, in following the submitted letters to the other news outlet, one would assume the issue is the reluctances of borough residents to fund the library with library levies which is a misnomer. And a misleading message to unsuspected taxpayers, particularly those of recent residence, say 10-15 years in time.

I, a lifelong resident, remember the struggle back when the issue of funding with borough funds a topic and the issue was debated with great heat and emotion. The funding side was successful,peace was obtained following many years of satisfaction with the dust settled.

Coming to the issue today is of a different animal, reflecting in multiply color, the tearing of the social fabric of the community reflected by the similar actions across the nation. How we as a community discuss and vote on this issue will reflect as well, the ability of a community to be rational and respectful in the disagreement of the debate/vote.

Across the nation, elected folks of all political stripe have taken to a very discouraging process of ignoring the field of debate for character assassination of the opposite side creating a red herring attack rather than debate or state a belief for a position to defend.

I state this from the position have having viewed the names on the page I signed on the petition containing approximately 12-15 names of fellow borough residents of those I recognized perhaps, six and of those six in relation to the long past debate on paying borough taxes to maintain the library, I recognized one that was vocal against paying any tax to the library. This is from memory and could be hazy, however more to the point. in current discussion, admittedly with like thinking souls.

There is little issue on the desire to defund the library, period.

Which of course is the thread of impression being transmitted by the opposing side. or in my mind, as so. There is a bold lack of any discussion on the moral issue that drove the petition in the first place and that post rebuff from elected officials, which in itself tells a story of the community fabric changing.

It would be a pleasant surprise if in the intervening period to the election, folks were not subject to the current list of adjectives are not used to brand opposition, rather, treating each other regardless of position with restrained respect.  reflected in quite discussion between we residents.  I would encourage each side to do their very best for their cause in a lucid, respectful effort.  We will soon find the outcome and live by it.

As an aside, as a aging resident of my hometown, I can recall when the city was in two segments, Indian Town, (Tomas Basin-Deermount)  South and little Norway, the tunnel North. Ketchikan was a fishing town. Then came the pulp mill, I can recall old Norwegians wondering "Vut the Hell! where did all these different folks come from! The town is going to Hell".  We lived through that era and now find our community being funded in the main by tourist and government funds, both have brought in the main, a new breed of citizen to Ketchikan, changing the forementioned fabric. Seasonal folks with no commitment to the stability of the community and often government employees here on assignment of a short duration, yet both groups influence and affect change then depart. (Note, I welcome those in both category that choose to remain or retire here) This change is reflected in the progressive actions of a population that represents nationally approximately 3% of the population, which is driving its desires in our case, via the library.  Change is change, Ketchikan surely has and is turning progressive by any definition

At my advanced age the witnessing of this change mirrors that of the old Norwegian citizen recognizing the going to hell of the changes in his/her life and their city.

So, there it is, the fabric of Ketchikan indeed has and is changing. It is not about funding the library with borough funds folks; it is the moral changes that are the root of this vote.

With respect,

Ketchikan, Alaska


About: Former Ketchikan Borough Assembly member & School Board member in a distant past.


Editor's Note:

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

Opinions expressed are solely those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Sitnews.

Received September 15, 2022 - Published JSeptember 15, 2022

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