By Jacquie Meck
October 20, 2005
First of all, Anchorage can give away what they want - as long as it is theirs - not ours! They often have more money in their government and school coffers than they know how to spend .... while we - who are down in the middle of "nowhere" are having bake sales and car washes trying to get equipment and supplies for our schools .... and begging to be noticed by the federal government, to avoid (unlike Louisiana ... we're working on prevention) annihilation.
Less than 1% of Alaska belongs to private owners, and we need to access Gravina Island. We have almost nothing to offer potential developers.
I could go on and on about many exaggerated statements in that letter: The population here is three times what is stated - people who live in the remote areas and are dependent on our community for supplies and medical treatment. The airport ferry: I only take it when I'm leaving town ... which is every 30 minutes 8 months out of the year.
Gravina's population: Who would live there when the only way to get there is by boat? Imagine taking and picking up your five year old to school in the dark with the wind blowing, and white caps surrounding your skiff threatening to capsize it? School buses don't go on the ferry.
Katrina was definitely a wake-up call for the people in that area - long over-due. Ketchikan has contributed in ways that are much grander than the small community we are. Just last weekend one of the schools had a fundraiser for playground equipment ... a portion of that money went to the Katrina Fund. Most business have jars in their stores, and they gave thousands of dollars in merchandise to be auctioned .... the elementary kids are passing jars around, and around and around to collect money to donate.
WE ARE STRUGGLING! Our own (un)natural disaster has been the government recission of use of our natural resources to make a living. Louisiana - particularly the New Orleans area - has has been aware of their potential dilemma for almost two hundred years .... and has done little to prevent it.
Now you want to cause extirpation of a project we have been working on for over 20 years - our attempt to prevent our own annihilation.
Yes, it is expensive (you try building anything up here that isn't - you've taken away most of our lumber mills, and steel doesn't grow on the trees we get to sit and look at), but wasteful - unnecessary? NO! There's not much "pork" here, and we could sure use "beefing" up.
I prefer to call it "the bridge to somewhere".
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