SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Vote NO on Proposition 2

By Lori Ortiz


September 24, 2022

Dear Editor, 

In the midst of these few weeks leading up to a  vote on Proposition 2, I have been reading, Clams on the Beach, Deer in the Woods, edited by Louise Brinck Harrington and Mary C. Smith. It is a compilation of oral histories from 19 Ketchikan pioneers.   The first dedication pages describe the passion for this project by the book’s editors, the thanks extended to the Friends of the Library (and no doubt some librarians) and  a shout out to John Harrington for his efforts in editing, etc. 

I find great irony in this. 

On the one hand I think, I am just so Darn grateful that the stories…indeed the voices of these amazing pioneers have been preserved. The stories are like magic, and they are instructive. For example, within Marie Henn’s  story, I read this paragraph with interest,

     “,...I liked to read. I used to go to the library and just pick out books at random. If I didn’t know words, I looked them up in the dictionary.”

Wasn’t it great that Marie, a child with less than two pennies to rub together, had the Public Library as a refuge and a resource where, in her own words she Learned to Read!

So on the other hand, I look at the list of Ketchikan Pioneers and I can tell that many of them would be Borough residents. So if their book had been  published after the passing of a Proposition 2, they would have had  to pay to check out their books from the library, and our high school AK Studies teacher would not be able to borrow this beautiful book set from the public library.

Recently, a letter was submitted calling the folks who are working on the Vote No campaign, fear mongers. 'Name calling. The cut is real. There is no plan in place to willy nilly replace these funds. It is legitimate for community minded citizens to raise awareness, indeed, alarm when a proposition will result in a cut to the democratic institution of a public library. It is not fear mongering to note that :

Library hours will be reduced - without a plan or specific funding

Jobs belonging to our dear neighbors will be cut and programs eliminated - without a plan or specific funding

Free access to Borough citizens will end - without a plan or specific funding. 

Do you have an  early library memory? I do. My father loaded his 8 children in a station wagon every Saturday to go to our public library.  This man, who would be 99 this month, and who grew up as a poor kid in the depression, knew the wonder and value of our FREE public library. 

I will be voting No on Prop. 2 on October 4. 

Lori Ortiz
Ketchikan, Alaska




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 23, 2022 - Published September 24, 2022

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